As travel becomes more accessible to a lot of people, there is still a huge chunk of us, youngsters especially, who are always looking at possible ways to travel the world without breaking the bank.
From backpackers to mid-range travelers, we are always open to grab travel opportunities where we can cut the cost as much as possible. A good deal is hard to pass, especially if you’ve been bitten by the travel bug but don’t really have a huge amount of money to spare or splurge.
As a full-time traveler, an ex-backpacker, and seasoned mid-range traveler – I hear you. I’ve gone through all possible stages of travel in my life that I’ve found ways to travel the world without breaking the bank.
With all that said, I always advise fellow travelers to always, always, ALWAYS have a safety net when traveling abroad either for a holiday or for a long time. A safety net is an X amount of money that you will only use in case of an emergency or if things don’t go as planned.
So, to make things clear before you proceed reading this post:
- Plan your route and decide how long you’ll be gone
- Save enough money plus some extra (for some wiggle room)
- Do more planning and research about each destination you’ll visit
I’m always about keeping things in order because guys, I’m going, to be honest here, running out of money in a country you’ve never been before is not funny albeit some people call it “adventure” and “living life on the edge,” it is honestly just plain stupid and poor planning.
That said, here are some of the tips I have on my sleeve, which I’ve used throughout my series of misadventures trotting around the world looking for the best deals so I can continuously travel the world without going broke.
Table of Contents
- 1 15+ Ways on How to Travel the World Without Breaking the Bank
- 1.1 Find cheap flights
- 1.2 Utilize accommodation deals
- 1.3 Tell friends to use your Airbnb or Booking.com link for their next holiday
- 1.4 Stay at hostels or guest houses
- 1.5 Do your research before going to a new place
- 1.6 Create a budget plan
- 1.7 Cook your own meals
- 1.8 Go on free walking tours
- 1.9 Use public transportation
- 1.10 Avoid tourist traps
- 1.11 Visit countries that allow you to work (or acquire a work holiday visa)
- 1.12 Visit cheap countries
- 1.13 Find remote jobs that let you travel and earn
- 1.14 Be a TEFL instructor and teach English
- 1.15 Save enough money!
- 1.16 BONUS: Have a travel insurance
15+ Ways on How to Travel the World Without Breaking the Bank
Find cheap flights
It is perhaps quite an obvious tip to give out there, but every small penny you can save up adds up by the end of the day (or your trip).
The best way I find to get cheap flights is through Skyscanner if I have flexible dates. You can find our tips on how to do it in this post.
However, if you’re in Europe or Asia or planning to travel to these continents, the best tip I can give is subscribe to budget airlines newsletter as they do send out constant updates if they have deals going on.
For instance, when I was living in Helsinki, Finland, I’m a constant flier and use Norwegian Airline, RyanAir, and BalticAir in Europe. I’ve found deals as cheap as a €10 return ticket.
For Asia, I always use AirAsia and have found deals as low as €20 from Chiang Mai to Da Nang return.
I found all of these deals through their email blast. On top of these, during Black Friday or Cyber Mondays, they do offer bigger deals, and one way to find out about their early bird deals is through their newsletter.
Utilize accommodation deals
Just like with the airline tips, I also found great deals on accommodation by subscribing to several hotel booking website newsletters and sometimes could get up to 30% discount on some hotel stays.
That said, I always book my hotels through booking.com and found them to have some of the best deals out there as they have constant discounted hotel prices, especially during the offseason.
You can find more details on how to find deals on accommodations in our more detailed post, read it here.
If you’re not familiar with Airbnb or Booking.com’s referral programs, then it is time to learn about them. For both platforms, if you sign up, you are given a personalized link that you can give to people. If they use your link to purchase their next stay, you get a reward that you can redeem the next time you book through them.
Doing this, you can easily save up some money during your travels by cutting down on accommodation costs.
I personally love these programs and share these links through my social media and on this website, so every time a reader book through my link, I get up to €25 on credit, which I use often. Sometimes I even get to stay in hotels and AirBnB’s for free!
Stay at hostels or guest houses
This is not exactly the most luxurious tip I could give, but it does give you an opportunity to travel cheaply by paying less on accommodation.
As you can probably tell, I have already given enough tips on how to save on accommodation, but that’s only because it is perhaps one of the biggest travel costs there can be if you’re not smart about it.
When I was backpacking, I’ve always stayed at hostels as it can be as cheap as €2 for a bunk bed for the night. I’m not fussy, so it was alright, but I won’t stay at hostels now as I stay long term in each destination I visit, but this is still a deal hard to pass if I’m on a pinch.
So, if you are caught in that situation where you really want to save your hard-earned money so you can travel longer, consider staying at hostels or guest houses. It honestly can be fun as you meet like-minded travelers from all walks of life.
Do your research before going to a new place
I’ve already protested about the importance of advanced planning early on this article, so it should come with no surprise that I’m mentioning it again.
I’m honestly a firm believer in planning to make your life easier, and I often apply this in all my travels. However, sometimes I joke how much I resent planning for a trip (I still do, my spreadsheets can prove that).
If it is your first time in a new destination, it is just fair to do a little bit of reading about the place to have a clear overview of what kind of activities and sightseeing you’d be interested in. If you put this last minute, I guarantee you that you’ll possibly spend a tad more than you should.
Knowing about the place’s things to do, reading about itineraries, and doing budget research will give you an overview of how other travelers did it before you. I mean, that’s exactly what we do here, we provide precisely that so (here comes a shameless plug) if you have some destinations in mind perhaps you can check our list of travel guides and see if there’s something in there that might interest you.
Anyways, some of my favorite things to do before I head to a new place is doing a quick research about budgets and how much other travelers spent per day in each destination I plan to visit. Doing this, I’ll have a rough idea of how much money I’m going to dedicate to that certain place or even how I can do it cheaper.
One way or another, you should never skip research!
Create a budget plan
Continuing my protest just on another subheading, creating a budget plan will help you save money big time. You can do it however you want as long as you have an overview as to how much you’ll be dedicated to each destination.
As an example, you can read how I save money for my trips to this post.
Each country and cities all over the world are not economically the same, so for example, Helsinki is going to be a bitch on your budget compared to Tallinn, although they are literally just 80km apart by sea.
So, let’s say you’re planning to visit both cities I’ve set as an example, by creating a budget plan (and doing your budget research beforehand) you can easily see how much money you can dedicate for each city.
Also, by creating a budget plan, you can easily foresee if you have some extra wiggle room for unnecessary things like souvenirs or for something fun like an extra pin of beer per night.
One way or another, I find joy whenever I do this because I always find ways to save some money, which I can easily dedicate to a bottle of wine… Or you know, something else.
Cook your own meals
Sometimes the option to stay at apartments or AirBnB’s isn’t exactly the cheapest accommodation option, but if you’re in a city where restaurants are expensive (like Oslo, Stockholm, or Copenhagen) then having a kitchen can easily help you cut down your travel cost.
Cooking while traveling may not be the holiday everyone is looking for. Still, if you’re on a budget, this is one way to save up as eating out can easily damage the bank.
That said, if you’re staying in hostels, you can save up more money by cooking your own food occasionally as most of the hostels all over the world have a communal kitchen you can use.
You do not have to cook elaborate meals, but learning a few simple, quick dishes you can prepare on a whim will literally just take you thirty minutes or less using cheap simple ingredients you can buy from local stores.
When I traveled to Barcelona with my friends, we cooked our meals every day as we all enjoyed going to the market and cooking for each other. Splitting the cost was fun, too, as we all saved up a lot of money from not eating out.
If you’re looking for ideas on what to cook, you can read our post about simple meals you can easily cook in hostels.
Go on free walking tours
One of my favorite ways to get to know a new city is by signing up for free walking tours which are tip-based because not only do I get to visit cool attractions, I also get to talk with locals who are often conducting the tours.
Most of the free walking tours are tip-based and are run by the local tourism board or private individuals who enjoy sharing knowledge about the city they live in. Unlike paid tours, you get more from this without the middle man, which is usually the tour company.
The idea is you give as much as you can, and that’s it. You can also talk to the tour guide and ask for more information you’d like to know. Like, where can you find cheap eats or free attractions to visit.
Use public transportation
I always say that the best way to get to know the city is by walking the same walk the locals walk. Does that make sense? Anyways, the real question is, do you honestly think locals use taxi’s to get around their city to run errands and all?
I don’t think so.
At least I know I don’t use a taxi when I was living in Finland to get to places, so why should I pay for one if I’m elsewhere? Using public transport is one of the effective ways to save money and get around easily.
I’m giving this advice because relying on private transport like taxis to get around can honestly get very expensive while using public buses, trams, and metro’s can be as cheap as €3 for a daily unlimited pass.
Avoid tourist traps
Again, you would know what to avoid if you do your research early on. Let’s face it, some cities have their own little schemes, and some are hard to avoid if you’re caught in the middle of it.
Tourist traps come in different faces, but the ones I personally see everywhere looks like these:
- Expensive mediocre restaurants that surround popular attractions
- Tourist guides that over promise and overcharge
- People selling “fast track” tickets to popular attractions (only for you to skip lines but still have to wait)
- Roman guards posing with tourists only to ask for money for the photo you took (I’m still bitter about that)
- Overly priced water bottles in cities you can drink the tap water
These are just a few things on top of my head, but of course, there’s more depending on the destination you’re going to visit. So, again, do your research.
Visit countries that allow you to work (or acquire a work holiday visa)
If you know that you’re traveling long term and have flexible travel dates, then perhaps it is not a bad idea to look into possible work options.
A lot of people opt for a working holiday visa in countries that offers it like Australia and the UK. These are expensive countries to visit also so when you do find a job, it is a really good opportunity to expand your budget, live in a new city, learn a new skill, and travel at the same time.
Just make sure that you’re legally allowed to work in that country and apply for the correct visa before you go there.
Visit cheap countries
We have a really popular post about the cheapest countries in Europe you can visit with budget suggestions (you’re welcome), which we constantly update, so check that one out if you want to stretch your budget and see more countries during your trip.
That said, I do get a lot of queries from readers how long X amount of budget will last them and how many countries and cities they can visit in X amount of time. Honestly, even though we have detailed posts on how to save money and providing tips like what I’m giving in this post, how much you’ll spend will depend entirely on you personally.
Yes, visiting cheap countries will certainly help you financially while feeding your wanderlust, but I have to say this with love – do your research and create a budget plan!
I’ve been in a situation where I visited a cheap country (*cough* Budapest *cough*) and still blew my budget out of proportion. This, of course, is entirely my fault and those damn seemingly cheap beers which turn out to be not-so-cheap-anymore after I-don’t-know-how-many.
That said, I did not have a budget plan when I visited that supposedly cheap city; hence I insist and subtly kept on mentioning why you should have one.
So, visiting cheap countries still get a spot in this post, but make sure to learn from my mistake and stick to your designated budget!
Find remote jobs that let you travel and earn
If you’re looking forward to a more full-time travel lifestyle (just like what I have), then perhaps finding a remote job is for you! Running this website (along with a few other ones) is my full-time job, and I can do it anywhere as long as wifi is available.
This lets me travel with flexibility without worrying about money too much (I still do, living cost money, too). When I say I don’t worry much about money means I do not need to set a certain “travel budget” as I would be most likely staying in one destination rather long term, and that gives me the freedom to explore at my own time.
Plus, living in a new city for a little bit longer gives me an opportunity to learn ways how I can save up on certain aspects like food, sightseeing, and living accommodations.
Be a TEFL instructor and teach English
Granted, I am not an English teacher, but I do have the qualifications to teach it as a second language by acquiring a TEFL certificate. So, if I want to earn extra money on the side and I’m in a country where I have the opportunity to do so, I can.
That said, you can, too! I know many long-term travelers who travel and earn money through teaching English, and I think it is a cool short-term gig to fund your travels.
It is honestly breezy to get it and shouldn’t take you a long time to get the certificate. However, you do need to have the correct patience to teach as, from what I’ve heard, it is not for everyone.
It is awesome to have the choice and opportunity, though, so take a good look at this option.
Save enough money!
Right, we’ve come to an end. If you really want to travel the world without breaking the bank, the greatest advice I can honestly give you is to save enough money (plus some extra) to fund your planned travels.
Plus, planning and sticking to your budget. Having enough money saved up for your travels (again, you should have an extra safety net saving on top of it!) will already take you to many places. You don’t need a lot, but you need to have enough to cover your expenses until the end of your trip.
BONUS: Have a travel insurance
Things happen, and sometimes these things can cost you your whole travel savings. We don’t want to set off to the world only to blow up all our money on (not so) silly things like medical bills because I don’t know, you accidentally broke a leg or something.
Having travel insurance bought BEFORE you start your travels are very important, and I can’t honestly stress it enough.
Yes, perhaps nothing happens, and you just spent €100 on travel insurance for a two-month-long trip, but remember, that is only €100 compared to the possible €2000 medical bill you possibly have to pay if something does happen.
As an example, I have travel insurance, which I pay yearly (€450), and in this year alone, I had to visit the hospital for three medical emergencies (weak stomach). Each visit cost about €150, including medicines, and on top of that, I lost one designer prescription sunglasses (€200), and I got all of these reimbursed on a whim.
In hindsight, I still saved €200 just by having travel insurance. Of course, I’ve always had travel insurance from previous travels and ended up going home in one piece and unscratched, but that is not always the case. So, it is always better to be safe than sorry.
2020 UPDATE: I’ve been using SafetyWing since December 2019 when my insurance from my bank expired and last March 2020, after it was announced that the world officially have a stage 3 pandemic crisis, I was able to get home thanks to SafetyWing’s political evacuation benefit.
So, having travel insurance is not just for your health but also for other possible crises that may come your way.