How to travel on a budget: Tips to save money

Who doesn’t love to save money while traveling? Time and money are usually the limiting factors for certain people when traveling. If you have the time to travel, money is probably the limiting factor and vice versa. However, there are many tips and tricks to travel on a budget which is why having plenty of money isn’t necessary to travel. 

The most expensive part about traveling are the flights. However, these costs can be drastically reduced or even canceled (in the case of accommodation). There are other costs, such as food or transport, which can also be easily reduced.

On the other hand, there are very cheap places to visit. In some European and Asian countries, life is much cheaper than in the United States. The currency exchange can also benefit us. There are people who do not travel to Asia thinking that it is an expensive trip and very far away. However, it can be much cheaper than going to London or other cities in Europe. Yes, surely the flight will be a bit more expensive, but what you will save on hotels and on a day-to-day expenses will make the total amount of money spent much less.

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Table of contents

How to travel on a budget: Tips and tricks to save money

What will you learn in this post?

– “Tips to save while traveling!”

– “Oh, traveling on a budget is possible! But how?”

– “Of course it is! Just follow the tips in this post”

Save money in accommodation

1. Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing may sound familiar to all of you. Today, it is the safest and most popular way to save money on accommodation. For those of you who don’t know what Couchsurfing is, it’s a company that connects travelers with locals from any city. You can stay overnight at someone’s house. Can it be easier to travel without a lot of money?

travel on a budget

Tips to find a place to stay in Couchsurfing

Everything is not as pretty as it seems. Sometimes it can be difficult to get someone to host you at their home. Therefore, I wanted to mention several tips that you can follow if you want to secure a home where you can stay for free:

✅ If you don’t have an account yet, the first thing you have to do is create one and fill your profile information. The more information and photos you upload, the better it will be for you as your profile will make hosts trust you.

✅ Search for a host well in advance. The sooner you get things done, the better. If you start looking for a house with little time, possibly many of the homes are already occupied by other travelers.

✅ Read the host’s full profile to see if you think you will be comfortable in that person’s home. Also check if the profile is validated.

✅ Write a good request. You should give a thorough description of your trip and show interest in the host. If you write the same message for everyone, it will be very vague and that will cause rejection by the host.

✅ Write the host’s name in the body of the message. This is quite logical but please don’t forget. There are people who receive many requests. If you haven’t even put their name in the message, you won’t pass the screening process.

If you follow all these steps, you are ready to have a reliable account and you will surely get someone to host you. Do you think this is enough to know how to travel cheap? Read on, there is still much more to do!

2. Hostels

Staying at hostels is also a great option if you want to travel on a budget. You won’t completely eliminate the cost for accommodation like Couchsurfing but you will be able to reduce it significantly. Hostels seem like a perfect option when you travel alone and when you travel with friends. If you’re traveling alone, it is an ideal opportunity to meet other travelers from all over the world. If you are traveling with friends, you may be lucky enough to fill a room and have it all to yourself. If you travel as a family or with your partner, and you want to save money, they are also a great alternative.

travel on a budget
Staying at a hostel

You may think it’s a downside having to share a bathroom, kitchen and common areas with others but you shouldn’t, it’s the fun part of hostels and what allows you to meet many other travelers.

I’ve only had positive experiences at hostels. I’ve only stayed on hostels when I’ve traveled alone or with friends. I’ve stayed at hostels in New York, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Berlin, London, Vietnam, Singapore, etc. If you’re traveling to the United States, I recommend staying at HI USA hostels. In London, I stayed at The Horse & Stables hostel and I enjoyed my stay.

Recommendations to find a good hostel

When choosing a hostel, consider several factors. First, look for one that is in a good location. Most hostels are usually located in the city center. However, it never hurts to see if the neighborhood is good or bad, or if there are shops, restaurants, bars, etc. nearby. 

Details to take into account: look for a hostel that has Wi-Fi, make sure it has a good common area and make sure that the rooms have individual lockers. If the hostel provides activities is a plus.

I recommend reading people’s reviews who have stayed at the hostel you’re interested in.

3. Renting a house, great way to save when you travel on a budget

travel on a budget
Renting houses

Airbnb is ideal for family trips or people traveling in a group of around four people or more. Splitting living expenses will decrease the cost significantly. In addition, you will not only save on accommodation but, by having a kitchen, you can also cook at home instead of eating there every day.

I use Airbnb very often and my experiences have all been wonderful. In Lille, the owner of the house was very nice and even left us some chocolates. In Los Angeles we stayed in a well located and very large house, you could see the Hollywood sign in the distance from the terrace. In Lisbon I also had a great experience.

4. Camping

I love staying at campsites if I have the opportunity! If you travel to your destination with a car, staying at a campsite a little further from the city is a great idea. You have two options, sleeping in a tent or in a bungalow. Personally, I like the bungalow experience more because it is more comfortable and you have a bathroom and kitchen. Of course, if you are looking to travel really cheap, the tent is a better option. 

how to find cheap flights
Tips to travel on a budget

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How to find affordable flights when you travel on a budget

Flight prices can sometimes prevent people from traveling. Flights are a large part of the budget. Finding affordable flights isn’t easy… Flight prices vary greatly depending on the dates. It is not the same to travel on the weekend than during weekdays. Flight prices are also more expensive on holidays such as Christmas, Easter, midsummer, etc.

Tips and tricks to purchase affordable flights

Traveling on a tight budget is possible. The following tips can save you some money on your next trip.

1. Search for flights as soon as possible. This does not mean that the later it is, the more expensive your flight is going to be. However, looking for flights in advance is a good idea because you have more time to see if flights fluctuate in price or if a great offer appears.

2. Sign up for alerts via email. Some flight search engines, such as Skyscanner, have this option which allows you to see the price rise and fall and alerts you when the lowest price is available.

3. Search for flights from ta private window. Sometimes there is no price difference between the normal window and a private window one but I advise you to compare it just in case, as sometimes cookies may change the price. 

4. I recommend deleting your search history and cookies. Has it ever happened to you that you have consulted the price of flights and a few hours or a few days later the price is totally different? It may be the cookies.

5. Search for flights with a layover. Before, I used to hate stopovers during my trips. After having layovers because there was no other alternative, I have realized that they are not so bad. Flights with layovers tend to be more affordable.

6. Look for alternative airports. Many of the big cities have several airports in the city itself or in the vicinity. I advise you to compare the prices of the different flights to different airports. Keep in mind the transportation costs from the airport of your choice to the city.

7. If you have flexible dates, try to travel on the cheapest day of the week. Normally, the cheapest days to travel are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

how to save money while traveling
How to find cheap flights

Tips to save on flights

8. Many airlines charge a fee for checked luggage. Do not check luggage regardless of your travel destination and the period of time you are going to be traveling (unless you really have to). You will save money if you do not check any luggage.

9. Bring your own food on the flight. It may seem like a bit of a silly tip at first, but think about how expensive food is on flights. If you are going to fly with a budget airline, you won’t get any complimentary meals. Therefore, I recommend taking a good sandwich, cookies, fruit or whatever you want in case you get hungry.

10. Don’t pay to choose a seat. Many airlines charge you a fee when choosing your seat. If you decide not to pay for it, it is assigned to you randomly. I am going to tell you one of my tricks if I am not satisfied with my seat. What I usually do is approach the staff at the gate. I simply ask if there are any free window seats (or isle seat). If there is, they give it to you without any problem and without paying anything!


Save some money during your visit

travel on a budget
Traveling on a budget

Do you still want more tips to travel on a budget? Accommodation and flights are usually the most expensive part of a trip bur it is also good to save during the stay itself.

1. Spend little money on food

Do not make the mistake of going to restaurants that are clearly for tourists. Prices at these places are usually much more expensive. Do some research yourself or even ask locals down the street to discover affordable restaurants.

If you are staying in a house or a hostel where there is a kitchen, take advantage of it and do not eat breakfast, lunch and dinner out every day. You should buy food and cook some meals. Not only will you save some money but you will discover the local gastronomy in the affordable way possible, in supermarkets!

2. Walk everywhere!

There is no better way to get to know a city than to walk through its streets. When I travel, I try to avoid taking any form of transportation if possible. I love walking from one place to another. There are moments during the trip when I can’t take it anymore and decide to take a taxi or bus.

Some cities are large and places are far away. If that is the case, I take public transportation. If you think you are going to use public transportation a lot, be sure to purchase a multi-trip ticket to save some money.

3. Money exchange

Please do not make the mistake of exchanging money at the airport. Many places are a scam and you will lose quite a bit of money. I recommend getting a N26 card and use it to pay or to withdraw money at an ATM. You will save some money!

4. Tourist passes and free tours

If you like to visit all the museums and touristic attractions in the city, be sure you search if there are any tourist passes. Normally you pay a fixed rate for the days you want to use it and you can visit as many places as you want. Some of the cities where I recommend purchasing this pass are New York and London.

If you want to get to know a city without spending much money, I recommend going on free tours. Thanks to this guided visits, you will be able to know the history and culture of a place only by paying a donation.

Travel insurance, it can save you a lot of money

I have made the mistake of traveling without a travel insurance. Never again! By not purchasing travel insurance, you risk something happening to you and having to spend an exorbitant amount of money for medical attention. Now I purchase a travel insurance for all my trips. Take advantage of a 5% discount on your next HeyMondo travel insurance.

I hope this post about how to travel on a budget has been of great use to you when planning your next trip. Don’t let money stop you from traveling. See you next time, traveler!

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