I get this question all the time. Yes, it’s easy to just show up somewhere when you’re backpacking and have no clue how much money you will be spending, especially when you travel to less expensive destinations, like Thailand. It’s so important to be able to stay within your budget while still being able to have a great time!
9 Tips On How to Save Money When You Travel
1. Travel During the Low Season
When you travel during the low season, you’ll not only have to deal with fewer tourists, but accommodation will be much more available and less expensive. When I went trekking in the Annapurnas in Nepal during monsoon season in June/July last year, all the guesthouses and hostels were much cheaper than they would have been during peak season.
Most of the guesthouses during low season cost just $1 a day, whereas in peak season it would have cost around $5 for the same room. Being in the Himalayas during the low season was a totally out of this world experience! You can walk for miles in and not see a single soul.
2. Skip Out On the Extra Comforts
You can save a lot by taking cheaper modes of transportation such as the local bus or train, especially if you’re traveling for a longer period of time. In India, you can take the local or government bus instead of the sleeper or A/C bus. I took the local bus, and it was the difference of 20 cents versus $20.
Yes, it was an uncomfortable ride and it took a lot more time, but I managed to save more money by skipping out on the comforts of the sleeper bus. I also traveled to Paris from London by bus. It was an overnight journey, and we had to get out of the bus in the middle of the night and hop on a ferry, but it was amuch cheaperoption than taking the Eurostar train.
3. Book Your Flights From These Sites
Personally, I always use multiple sites when searching for flights. I like to use Kayak and Skyscanner the most when searching for cheap flights. When traveling in Asia, sometimes it’s cheaper to book the flight directly from the airline’s website. One of the most common and budget-friendly airlines in Asia is AirAsia. It’s best to choose flights with multiple connecting flights because those usually cost less.
4. Travel to Less Expensive Destinations
You can stretch your money much more when traveling to the budget destinations of the world. It’s always less expensive to travel to somewhere like SE Asia compared to countries in Western Europe or North America. My personal favorite region to travel to is SE Asia (Which is where I’m currently living!) because of its diverse landscapes and cultures, and also with it being known as having some of the cheapest travel destinations in the world.
There are so many work opportunities you can find when you’re traveling, you just need to look out for them. You can pick up some work at the hostel you’re staying at by working the front desk and checking people in or bartending. You could also teach English if you have your TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate, and some countries such as Vietnam don’t even require this to be able to teach. You could also work as a nanny or what’s known as an “Au Pair” in your city of choice. An Au Pair is basically a live-in nanny hired by a family to help out with their kids in exchange for room, board, and a weekly income. This kind of job allows you to live in a foreign country, learn a new language, and experience the culture firsthand while making money.
Use your talents and try out what’s known as “busking” in the streets to make some money from tourists. So, grab an instrument, microphone, or anything else you need, pick a spot with lots of tourists, and show the world your talents! There are also lots of seasonal jobs available. I’ve met many travelers who work seasonally, spending part of the year earning money and then traveling again for months at a time. There are lots backpackers I’ve met in SE Asia who take up seasonal fruit picking jobs so they can travel to Australia. You can check out some seasonal jobs here.
6. Look For Cheaper Accommodation
Check out Couchsurfing and stay in a hosts home for free. The good thing about Couchsurfing is that it provides references from people who’ve stayed with that person so you can see reviews from others.
You can also stay in an Airbnb rental if you’re planning on staying for longer than a week since it would be much cheaper than a hotel. You can Click here to earn $25 of free Airbnb travel credit! Some other budget options are guesthouses and backpacker’s hostels. Lots of backpacker hostels will allow you to stay for free if you agree to work for them. One useful site to use when booking accommodation in Asia is Agoda, which is less expensive than other online booking sites.
Another great site to find cheap accommodation is Hostel World, where I could always find the cleanest and cheapest dorm rooms available. One of my most favorite hostels I’ve stayed at is Freehand in Miami. It’s home to one of the highest ranked mixology bars in the world, the Broken Shaker. I used to stay here before I found my apartment in Miami, and I have so many fond memories of meeting other travelers from every imaginable corner of the world!
7. Spend More Time in One Place
You’ll save a lot on transportation costs, and you’ll be able to thoroughly enjoy the places you’re traveling. When I was traveling in Vietnam, I ended up staying in this amazing town called Da Lat for almost two weeks!
I ended up staying much longer than I’d originally planned, but it gave me the time to really enjoy the surroundings and save on transportation costs. I also got to meet some of the coolest locals here and this is one place I’ll always come back and visit. FACT.
8. Avoid the Tourist Traps
Look for more off the beaten track places where tourists don’t go. Chances are that you’ll find better food, more locals, and cheaper prices. It’s always good to know where the locals go in any given place since they would know about lots of places tourists wouldn’t have a clue about
9. Find Free Things to Do
From exploring local markets to museums, free Meetup events, Couchsurfing meetups, free walking tours, parks, outdoor concerts and fairs, the options for free things to do are endless! You can also bring your student ID along with you to museums and other places that offer student discounts. Here’s a list of free things to do in Miami, the city where I’m from.