If you’ve ever dreamed of traveling the world but thought it was out of reach because of your tight budget, think again. It is possible to travel the world on a budget, and I will show you how in this article.
One of the best ways to do this is by using your credit card to rack up points and then using those points to finance your trip. You can also save money by traveling in Thailand, which is the cheapest region in the world. Read on for more helpful tips!
How to Plan a Budget-Friendly Trip
Research Prices in Advance
One of the best ways to save money when planning a trip is by doing your research in advance and budgeting for your travel costs. This includes things like airfare, accommodation, transportation, and activities.
You can use websites like Skyscanner or Google Flights to compare prices on flights and find the cheapest time to travel to your desired destination. Hostelworld is an excellent resource for finding affordable accommodation, and you can usually find private rooms for less than $20 per night.
For transportation, see if any discount airlines are operating in the area, such as Ryanair in Europe. You can also look into taking a bus or train instead of flying, which can sometimes be cheaper. And lastly, research any free or low-cost activities that might be available in the area you plan on traveling to.
Watch Out for Scams
When you’re traveling, it’s important to be aware of scams that might target tourists. This is especially true in developing countries, where scammers will try to take advantage of your lack of knowledge about the local area.
Some common scams include being overcharged for taxis or souvenirs or being asked for a “donation” to a fake charity. If you are approached by someone who is trying to scam you, be firm and say no. It’s also a good idea to research common scams before you travel so that you can be prepared.
Make a Priorities List
When you’re planning a trip, it’s important to make a list of your priorities. This will help you determine where to best spend your money and allocate your budget.
You might want to consider the cost of flights, accommodation, and transportation, whether you want to focus on sightseeing or having new experiences, and how long you want to stay in each place. Once you have your priorities figured out, you can start planning your trip accordingly.
Another way to save money when traveling is to be flexible with your dates. This means that you should be willing to travel during off-peak times, such as mid-week or during the shoulder season.
You can also save money by being flexible with your travel plans and booking last-minute deals. Of course, this isn’t always possible, but it’s worth considering if you’re trying to stick to a tight budget.
Check Guidelines for Tipping
When you’re traveling, it’s important to research the local customs around tipping. For example, in some countries, tipping is not expected, while in others, it is considered rude not to tip.
Generally speaking, you should tip service workers such as waiters, taxi drivers, and tour guides if they have provided good service. However, you don’t need to tip everyone, and it’s always best to ask locals for advice if you’re unsure.
Google Maps is a lifesaver when you’re traveling, and it can also help you save money. So before you leave home, download the offline maps for the areas you’ll be visiting.
This way, you won’t need to buy a data plan or use expensive roaming charges. You can also use Google Maps to find the cheapest gas prices and navigate your way around unfamiliar cities.
You can also use Google to research places that you would like to travel to. This is a great way to get ideas for where to go and discover the best things to see and do in each place.
Utilize a Travel Agent
If you’re planning a big trip, it’s worth considering the use of a travel agent. While travel agents can be expensive, they can also help you save money when booking flights and accommodations.
Travel agents can also often get discounts on activities and tours, which can save you a lot of money. If you’re unsure how to use a travel agent, you can always ask for recommendations from friends or family who have used one before.
Get Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is a must, especially if you’re traveling on a tight budget. While it’s not always cheap, travel insurance can save you a lot of money if something goes wrong on your trip.
For example, if you need to cancel your trip due to an emergency or if you get sick or injured while traveling, travel insurance will cover the cost of your medical expenses and any other unexpected costs.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so make sure to get travel insurance before you leave on your trip.
Check Facebook Groups
If you’re looking for budget travel tips, one of the best places to start is by joining some Facebook groups. There are several excellent groups that are dedicated to helping people save money on travel.
In these groups, you can ask for advice from other travelers and find out about some of the best deals. Just make sure to read the rules of each group before posting.
Budgeting for Your Trip
Withdraw Money Instead of Exchanging
If you’re traveling to a country with a different currency, it’s usually better to withdraw money from an ATM instead of exchanging it at a currency exchange.
This is because the exchange rate at an ATM is usually better than the rate you’ll get at a currency exchange. Plus, it’s easier and more convenient to withdraw money from an ATM when you’re on the go.
Use Don’t “Pay Full” to Find Deals on Travel
There are many websites that can help you find great deals on travel. One of the best is “Don’t Pay Full.” This website allows you to search for flights, hotels, and rental car discounts.
You can also sign up for their email list to get alerts about new deals. If you’re planning a trip, be sure to check out “Don’t Pay Full” before booking anything.
Look for Free Accommodation
If you’re willing to stay with strangers, there are a number of ways to find free accommodation. One way is to join Couchsurfing, which is a website that connects travelers with locals who are willing to host them.
You can also try WWOOFing, which stands for “World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms.” This is a program that allows you to work on an organic farm in exchange for free room and board.
If you’re open to staying in less traditional accommodation, there are a number of ways to find free places to stay. Just make sure to do your research beforehand so that you know what to expect.
Claim Your VAT Refund
If you’re shopping in a country that has a Value Added Tax (VAT), you may be able to get a refund on the tax you paid. To do this, you’ll need to save your receipts and then claim the refund when you leave the country.
The process can be a bit complicated, so it’s a good idea to research it before you go. But if you do it right, you can get a significant refund on the taxes you paid.
Set a Budget and Track Expenses with Trail Wallet
Once you’re on the road, it’s important to keep track of your expenses so that you don’t overspend. Trail Wallet is an excellent app for this.
With Trail Wallet, you can set a daily budget and then track your spending while you’re on your trip. This can help you stay on track and avoid overspending.
Use a Credit Card With No Foreign Transaction Fees
If you’re going to be using your credit card while you’re abroad, it’s important to use one that doesn’t have foreign transaction fees.
Foreign transaction fees are charged by the credit card company when you make purchases in a foreign currency. They can add up quickly, so it’s best to use a card that doesn’t charge them.
One of the best cards for this is the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. It has no foreign transaction fees and also offers several other great benefits, like travel insurance and rewards points.
Use Charles Schwab Banking for Reimbursed ATM Fees
You may be charged a fee if you’re using an ATM outside of your home country. But these fees will be reimbursed if you have a Charles Schwab Bank account.
This can be a great way to save money if you’re traveling in a country with high ATM fees. Just be sure to keep track of your receipts so that you can get the reimbursement when you get home.
Destinations on a Budget
Use the “Anywhere” Functions on Travel Search Engines
When using the “anywhere” function, you can find the cheapest destinations to fly to from your departure point. This is a great way to find budget-friendly destinations that you may not have considered before.
Check Travel Companies on Social Media
Social media can be a great way to find out about travel deals. Many companies will advertise special deals and discounts on their social media pages, so it’s worth checking them out before you book your trip.
You can also use social media to learn about other travelers’ experiences. This can be a great way to get first-hand information about a destination before you go.
Add Pre-Trip Expenses to Your Budget
When planning your trip, be sure to include all of the expenses you’ll need to pay before you even leave. This includes things like plane tickets, travel insurance, and vaccinations.
By including these expenses in your budget, you can get a better idea of how much your trip will actually cost. This can help you plan accordingly and avoid overspending.
Avoid Destinations With Expensive Visas
Some destinations can be quite expensive to visit due to the visa cost. If you’re on a tight budget, it’s best to avoid these places.
Instead, focus on destinations that are more affordable and easier to get to. This will help you stretch your travel budget further. Currently, there are 142 different countries that citizens of the United States can visit without a visa.
This list of countries includes Germany, Greece, Greenland, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Norway, New Zealand, Portugal, Saint Lucia, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, and many more.
Stay in One Region at a Time
If you’re traveling on a tight budget, it’s best to focus on one region at a time. This will help you save money on transportation costs and allow you to see more of the place you’re visiting.
Plus, by staying in one region, you’ll be able to get a better understanding of the local culture and way of life. If you’re looking to explore multiple regions, it may be better to do so over the course of several trips.
Go Where Your Currency is Strong
If your home currency is strong, you’ll be able to get more bang for your buck when traveling. This means that you can travel further and see more of the world while spending less money.
Some places where the US dollar is currently strong include Chile, Belize, Jamaica, Argentina, Buenos Aires, Hungary, Mexico, Thailand, Vietnam, and more.
Flights on a Budget
Utilize Free Stopovers
One of the best ways to save money on flights is by utilizing free stopovers. Many airlines will allow you to add a free stopover in their home city, which can save you a ton of money on your flight.
For example, if you’re flying from New York to Los Angeles, you could add a free stopover in Chicago. This would allow you to break up your trip and see another city without having to pay for an extra flight.
Check Baggage Policies
When packing for your trip, it’s important to check the baggage allowances for your flight. Most airlines have a limit on how much luggage you can bring, and if you go over this limit, you’ll be charged extra fees.
To avoid these fees, pack light and only bring the essentials. If possible, try to fit everything into a carry-on bag so that you don’t have to check any luggage. This will save you time and money in the long run.
Pay for Extras Before the Airport
If you know that you’ll need to check a bag or get a seat assignment, it’s best to pay for these extras before you get to the airport.
Many airlines will charge extra fees for these services, so it’s always cheaper to take care of them in advance. This will also help you save time at the airport, as you won’t have to wait in line to check your bags or get your seat assignment.
Open a Travel Rewards Card with a Big Bonus
If you’re looking to rack up points, opening a travel rewards credit card with a big bonus is a good idea. This will allow you to earn points on all of your purchases, which can be used to finance your next trip.
Some of the best travel rewards credit cards include the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, the American Express Platinum Card, and the Citi Prestige Card.
Use Your Rewards Credit Card to Maximize Your Points
If you have a rewards credit card, make sure that you’re using it to its full potential. This means using it for all of your purchases, big and small.
Every time you use your card, you’ll earn points that can be redeemed for travel expenses. So, if you’re not using your card regularly, you’re not earning as many points as you could be.
To maximize your points, use your card for everyday purchases like gas, groceries, and dining out. You can also use it for larger purchases like flights and hotels. Just make sure that you pay off your balance in full each month to avoid interest charges.
Compare Flight Prices
When searching for flights, it’s important to compare prices from multiple airlines. This will help you find the cheapest flight possible.
There are a few different ways to compare flight prices. For example, you can use a travel aggregator like Kayak or Skyscanner, or you can search directly on an airline’s website.
Another option is to use Google Flights, which allows you to quickly compare prices from multiple airlines. Simply enter your departure and arrival cities, and Google Flights will show you a list of all the available flights.
Study the Data to Book at the Best Times
If you’re flexible with your travel dates, it’s a good idea to study the data to find the best time to book your flight.
Generally speaking, the best time to book a domestic flight is between one and four months in advance, and the best time to book an international flight is six to ten months in advance. However, these are just general guidelines.
To get the most accurate information, it’s best to use a fare calendar. Based on historical data, this will show you the cheapest days to fly. Once you’ve found a few cheap dates, you can then start searching for flights.
Sign Up for Emails From Scott’s Cheap Flights
If you want to travel on a budget, one of the best things you can do is sign up for emails from Scott’s Cheap Flights.
Scott’s Cheap Flights is a website that monitors airfare prices and sends out alerts when there are deals. This is a great way to find cheap flights, especially to popular destinations.
Simply enter your email address on the Scott’s Cheap Flights website to sign up. You’ll then start receiving flight deals in your inbox. When you see a deal that interests you, act fast! These deals usually don’t last long.
Switch Up Your Airports
You can often find cheaper flights if you’re flexible with your travel dates and airports.
For example, if you’re flying to Los Angeles, you might find a cheaper flight to Long Beach Airport rather than LAX. And if you’re flying to New York City, you might find a cheaper flight to Newark Liberty International Airport rather than JFK.
Clear Your Cookies
When searching for flights, it’s important to clear your cookies before each search. If you don’t, the airline websites will know that you’ve been searching for flights and will often raise the prices.
To clear your cookies, simply go to your browser’s settings and delete all cookies. This will reset your search history and allow you to start fresh.
Book Your Flight with The Airline’s Credit Card
You’ll often get a few perks if you book your flight with the airline’s credit card. For example, you might get free checked baggage or priority boarding.
You can also use your points to book flights or upgrades. And if you have a flexible travel date, you can often find flights for less than the cost of a hotel room.
Find Mistake Fares on Secretflying.com
Mistake fares are when an airline accidentally prices a flight too low. And when this happens, you can often snag a cheap flight.
To find mistake fares, simply go to secretflying.com. This website aggregates all of the mistake fares so you can easily find them in one place.
When you find a mistake fare, act fast! These deals usually don’t last long, and the airlines will often cancel them.
Utilize Work Travel
If you have a job that requires you to travel, there are often programs that will allow you to bring your family along.
If you have a job that involves travel, be sure to ask about these types of programs. You might be surprised at how easy it is to bring your family along with you.
Read the Fine Print
When booking a flight, be sure to read the fine print. There might be hidden fees or restrictions that you’re not aware of.
For example, some airlines charge a fee for carry-on baggage. Others have weight and size restrictions. And some have blackout dates when certain flights are not available. So be sure to familiarize yourself with the airline’s policies before booking a flight.
Book Two One Way Flights
If you’re flexible with your travel dates, you can often find cheaper flights by booking two one-way flights.
For example, let’s say you want to fly from Los Angeles to New York City. A round-trip flight might cost $400. But if you book two one-way flights, you might be able to find flights for under $200 each.
Offer to Get Bumped
If you’re willing to give up your seat on a flight, you can often get compensated with travel vouchers or even cash.
To do this, simply ask the gate agent if any volunteers are needed. If they say yes, offer to give up your seat in exchange for compensation.
Fly Budget Airlines
Budget airlines are a great way to save money on flights. These airlines often have cheaper prices than the major airlines.
But keep in mind that budget airlines often have fewer amenities. For example, you might have to pay for checked baggage or in-flight snacks and drinks.
Accommodations on a Budget
Try the Hotel Tonight App
The Hotel Tonight app is a great option if you’re looking for last-minute hotel deals. This app offers fantastic discounts on hotels.
To use the app, simply download it and then search for hotels in your desired travel destination. The app will then show you a list of available hotels and the prices.
Keep in mind that the hotel selection is limited, and you’ll need to book your room quickly. But if you’re able to find a deal, this can be a great way to save money on accommodations.
Become a House Sitter
If you don’t mind staying in someone else’s home, you can save a lot of money by becoming a housesitter. There are websites that connect people who need housesitters with people who are willing to do it.
To become a house sitter, simply create a profile on one of these websites and then start applying for jobs.
You can often find long-term house-sitting gigs, which is great if you’re looking to travel for an extended period of time.
Utilize Hotel Rewards Programs
If you travel frequently, it’s a good idea to sign up for hotel rewards programs. These programs allow you to earn points that can be redeemed for free nights at hotels.
There are many different hotel rewards programs to choose from. So be sure to do some research to find the one that best suits your needs.
Once you’ve found a program, sign up and start earning points. Then, when you’re ready to travel, redeem your points for a free hotel stay.
Book Accommodation With a Kitchen
If you’re looking to save money on food, it’s a good idea to book accommodation that has a kitchen. This way, you can cook your own meals instead of always eating out.
Airbnb is an excellent option for finding apartments and homes with kitchens. Simply search for rental properties in your desired destination and then filter the results to show only those with kitchens.
You can also find hotels with kitchens by searching on Google. Just enter “hotels with kitchens” followed by your desired destination.
Try Unusual Accommodation Types
If you’re willing to try something different, there are many unusual accommodation options that can save you money.
For example, you can stay in a hostel, rent an RV, or even sleep in a capsule hotel. While these options might not be for everyone, they can definitely help you save money on accommodation.
So if you’re open to trying something new, don’t rule out these unusual options. You might be surprised at how much you like them.
Rent an Apartment Abroad
If you’re traveling to a popular tourist destination, chances are that there are apartments available for rent. Renting an apartment is often cheaper than booking a hotel room. And it also gives you more space and privacy.
To find an apartment, simply do a search on Google. Enter “apartments for rent” followed by your desired destination.
Or, if you’re using Airbnb, you can filter the results to show only apartments. This is a great way to find cheap accommodation in popular tourist destinations.
Volunteer in Exchange for Accommodation
If you’re looking for a truly budget-friendly way to travel, consider volunteering in exchange for accommodation.
There are many websites that connect volunteers with families and individuals who need help with chores or other tasks. In exchange for your help, you’ll get free food and accommodation.
This is a great way to save money while also getting to experience life in a different country. And it’s a great way to meet new people.
Book Accommodation in Person
If you’re traveling to a popular tourist destination, booking your accommodation in person is often cheaper. This is because many hotels and hostels offer discounts for walk-ins.
So if you’re looking to save money on accommodation, it’s worth showing up at a few places and seeing if they have any last-minute deals. Of course, this isn’t always possible. But if you can swing it, it’s definitely worth it.
Save Money on Food
Eat Street Food
You can save money on food while traveling by checking out some of the street food vendors and local markets in the area. Street food is typically very cheap and a great way to try some of the local cuisines.
Of course, you’ll want to be careful about where you eat local food from a street vendor. Make sure only to patronize vendors who look clean and well-organized. And if possible, try to eat at a vendor with many customers. This is usually a good sign that the food is fresh and safe to eat.
Use Priority Pass to Get Free Food at Airport Lounges
If you have a Priority Pass membership, you can get free food at airport lounges around the world. This can be a great way to save money on food while traveling.
To find out if your airport has a Priority Pass lounge, simply go to the Priority Pass website and search for your airport.
If there is a lounge, you’ll be able to see what type of food is available. And in some cases, you’ll even be able to view the menu ahead of time.
Visit the Local Grocery Store
Another great way to save money on food while traveling is to visit the local grocery store. This can be a great option if you’re staying in an apartment or rental home.
Grocery stores typically have a wide variety of food options, including some that are suitable for travelers. For example, you’ll often be able to find individual servings of yogurt, fruit, and nuts. These can be great options for breakfast or snacks on the go.
Take Advantage of Happy Hour
Many restaurants and bars offer “happy hour” specials. These can be a great way to save money on food and drinks.
Happy hour typically takes place in the late afternoon or early evening. During happy hour, you’ll be able to get discounts on food and drinks.
So happy hour can be a great option if you’re looking for a cheap meal. Just be sure to check the hours of the happy hour specials before you go.
Avoid Restaurants Near Major Tourist Attractions
If you’re looking to save money on food, you should avoid restaurants that are located near major tourist attractions. These restaurants typically have higher prices than other restaurants in the area.
Of course, you may not always have a choice in where you eat. But if you do have a choice, it’s best to avoid these types of restaurants.
Instead, try to find a restaurant that is located away from the main tourist areas. These restaurants typically have better prices and more authentic food.
Take Advantage of Continental Breakfast
If you’re staying in a hotel, you may be able to take advantage of the continental breakfast. This is typically a very basic breakfast that includes items like cereal, fruit, and pastries.
While it’s not always a very filling breakfast, it can be a great way to save money. And in most cases, it’s completely free.
Pack Healthy Snacks
Whenever you’re traveling, it’s always a good idea to pack some healthy snacks. This can help you avoid buying expensive and unhealthy junk food.
Some great travel snacks include fruits, nuts, and granola bars. These are all easy to pack, and they’ll help keep you full throughout the day.
Bring Your Own Water Bottle
One of the easiest ways to save money while traveling is to bring your own water bottle. This will help you avoid buying expensive bottled water. Instead, you can simply fill up your water bottle at a water fountain or at the hotel before you head out for the day.
Transportation on a Budget
Rent an RV
If you’re looking for a cheap way to travel, you may want to consider renting an RV or campervan. This can be a great option if you’re traveling with a group of people.
Renting an RV or campervan will give you a place to sleep and cook your own meals. This can help you save money on hotels and restaurants.
Of course, it’s important to make sure that you’re comfortable driving an RV or campervan before you rent one. And be sure to factor in the cost of gas when budgeting for your trip.
Carpool With Other Travelers
If you’re traveling by car, you may be able to save money by carpooling with other travelers. This can be a great way to meet other people and save money on gas.
Use Public Transportation or Walk
Try to use public transportation or walk instead of a taxi whenever possible. This is usually the cheapest option, and it can help you see more of the city.
Saving Money on Activities
Utilize Annual Memberships
If you have an annual membership to a museum, aquarium, or zoo, be sure to use it when you’re traveling. Often, these memberships will allow you to get free or discounted admission to similar museums in other cities.
Check Deal Sites
Before you book any activities, be sure to check deal sites like Groupon and Living Social. These sites often have great deals on activities and attractions.
Ask for Group Discounts
If you’re traveling with a group of people, be sure to ask for a group discount. You can often get a discount on activities if you have a group of 10 or more people.
Find Free Things to Do at Your Destination
One of the best ways to save money on activities is to find free things to do at your destination. Many cities have great parks, museums, and other attractions that you can enjoy for free.
Purchase Discount Books
Another great way to save money on activities is to purchase discount books. These books often have coupons for popular attractions and activities.
The key to traveling the world on a budget is with intention and careful planning. Yes, it is a lot of upfront work, but the payoff is worthwhile!