Traveling on a Budget: A Beginner’s Guide

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Traveling is a great way to learn about other cultures and explore unique parts of the world – and it doesn’t have to break the bank either. Whether it’s a short-term trip or a full year abroad, budget travel lets everyone see new things while saving big and small costs.

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What is a budget trip?

Budget travel is a term used to describe when cost-conscious people want to pay less while traveling. Care should be taken to research where to find the best rates for travel and the cheap things to do that make money last longer on a trip.

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How to travel on a budget

Here are some tips that can help you stretch your travel budget.

Plan a trip with cost-saving travel apps

Price comparison platforms such as Skyscanner and Kayak are great tools for getting a rough guide to flight prices. Plus, alerts let users know when great deals come along.

For accommodation, Airbnb,, and Hostelworld offer a variety of options for finding accommodation. Users can filter by price to find the best deals.

Choose a destination carefully

By choosing an area with a low cost of living, you have the opportunity to get more for every dollar than at home. Some of the cheapest countries for accommodation, food, and sightseeing include Southeast Asian countries such as Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, and Indonesia. Other cheap travel destinations include those in Eastern Europe like Romania and Bulgaria and South American countries like Bolivia, Colombia and Guatemala.

Many of these countries have accommodation options for less than $20 per night – and getting full meals can cost as little as $2.

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Fly midweek and book in advance

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are the cheapest days of the week for departures, according to an analysis by Google Flights. Compared to weekend departures, on average, cost savings are 12% including international flights, or 20% when only domestic flights are considered.

Booking flights at least a month in advance results in cheaper airfares. Longer lead times for international connections – between two and six months – are suggested.

Traveling off-season is another way to cut down on expensive flights and accommodations.

Surf the online forums for questions and answers

Free online resources and social media sites can be a great way to understand what to consider and avoid when traveling. Subreddits like r/SoloTravel are useful for learning tips, potential scams, tourist traps to avoid, and the best things to do in certain areas when traveling on a budget.

Take advantage of free activities

All over the world there are parks, beaches, markets, gardens, cityscapes and monuments that cost nothing to visit. There is also the option of visiting museums, art galleries and festivals at low or free prices that allow travelers to soak up the culture.

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Get a travel credit card

There are several advantages to obtaining a travel credit card before departure. Travelers can enjoy promotional cash bonuses, cash back benefits related to travel and dining purchases, and other services such as concierge and VIP lounge access while on vacation.

When you spend regularly with a travel credit card, you can earn points and redeem them for rewards to lower your travel costs.

Additionally, while consumers traveling abroad may unknowingly face foreign transaction fees with some credit cards, many travel credit cards have no such fees. Foreign transaction fees can reach 3% of the purchase price in some cases.

Walk, cycle, rent a car or use public transport

Many cities around the world offer cheaper fares for increased use of public transport. Daily, weekly or monthly tickets are generally cheaper than buying a new ticket. Renting a bike, moped or other vehicle is another great way to explore cities rather than arranging endless Uber rides from point A to point B. Otherwise, the walking is always a free alternative to explore.

Consider keeping your house or your pet

House and pet sitting can be a great choice for those who don’t mind doing a few odd jobs or caring for animals in exchange for accommodation. Platforms like Nomador operate internationally, giving travelers plenty of choice. Requirements are generally tending to gardens and doing routine cleaning for house sitters with the added duties of walking and caring for pets for pet sitters.

Cook instead of eating out

Food price inflation has increased over the past 12 months and is at its highest level in over 40 years. This affected both restore and restore options.

By choosing to cook in their accommodation or in a hostel, travelers can easily free up money for other activities.

Use an eSIM abroad

ESIMs are digital SIM cards that work with different mobile operators around the world. They’re a great way to ensure mobile phone bills don’t get too expensive while on the go. International roaming costs vary between providers, so eSIMs can sometimes save travelers money for longer stays.

Final grip

Before booking a getaway, it’s important to cover essential expenses and make sure you have a checklist ready. In addition to the travel tips above, travelers who bring everything they need before their trip are likely to avoid unnecessary and unforeseen expenses.


Here are some common questions people ask when traveling on a budget.

  • Where is the cheapest place to travel right now?
    • Countries in Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe and South America are among the cheapest travel destinations in the world.
  • What is a good travel budget?
    • A good travel budget will depend on the place visited. Places like Southeast Asia can require less than $30 per day once flights are paid for. On the other hand, a place like New York could cost hundreds of dollars a day, even on a tight budget.