I love budget travel. Not only due to the fact that I have quit my job to travel the world, but also because I love a challenge. In this post, I am going to tell you what methods I use to travel the world on a budget and how I travelled for a whole month spending only £10 per day.
Travel the World on a Budget Tip 1: Cheap flights.
You can’t travel the world unless you are prepared to actually travel. This means a mode of transport. Long distance this can mean flying therefore I often search on Skyscanner when I am off on my next adventure.
Check out my post: “10 Secrets to Finding Cheap Flights”
Why Skyscanner? Well they have the great ‘flexible’ option meaning I can put in the airport local to me and the ‘nearby’ airports and see where in the world I can fly to for the cheapest. You might be very very surprised. You can get some great deals booking in advance or at the last minute
Travel the World on a Budget Tip 2: making friends with locals.
I have had some amazing experiences with local people. I have stayed with people I have met on the train, been driven back to my accommodation so I don’t have to walk, been invited for dinner and even shared a picnic with a family in Turkey tending to their grape vines.
This is not begging. None of this has happened because I have played the poor backpacker card. This has all been due to locals’ kindness and has been returned with it being passed on when I have met people I can help. Like the traveller who stayed with me for a month, the hitchhiker I picked up and drove to their destination in the opposite direction to that I was travelling and the coffee I bought the man on the plane because who wants their change to a big Indian note in Malaysian money when you are travelling to India???
Travel the World on a Budget Tip 3: Couchsurf
I love Couchsurfing. Couchsurfing allows you to connect with local people and meet them/stay with them. This might be on their sofa, floor or even their spare room. It also connects other travellers and helps you find events in the area you are travelling, aside from being able to travel the world on a budget.
I could write all day about Couchsurfing so if you want to check out more then take a look at my post about why you should Couchsurf. You can also read some of my great Couchsurfing experiences.
Read: Why I recommend Couchsurfing and my tips to stay safe.
If Couchsurfing isn’t for you then check out Airbnb. I have stayed in some amazing places through Airbnb and, as you are renting people’s own homes, it is a lot cheaper than a hotel. Hence, it is a good option for those who want to travel the world on a budget.
Use this link to get money off your first trip:
Travel the World on a Budget Tip 4: Hitchhiking
Ok, so hitchhiking isn’t for everyone so I am not going to keep this solely to actually hitchhiking. There are other options.
There are pros and cons to hitchhiking. You can meet some amazing people and have wonderful experiences or you can meet one of the few people who would want to harm you. I have had some great times hitching however I usually do it in a pair. Take a look at my hitchhiker’s guide to South Korea and check out “Hitchwiki” which gives you information about each country.
Car share websites like Blablacars are safer and a little more reliable than hitch hiking. When you stick your thumb out, you never know when you are going to get picked up. Blablacars is prearranged but at a cost. Costs are normally small and can be a lot cheaper than public transport. Basically drivers rent out the seats in their cars at a share of the fuel costs.
I’ve had some great fun whilst car sharing. I met a fellow nurse who had been to the same swimming pool as me the day before and we spoke solidly for 4 hours and had a great trip from Copenhagen to Hamburg costing just 20 euros and a free boat ride.
I would highly recommend it.
Travel the World on a Budget Tip 5: Working for your accommodation.
Use websites like Workaway and HelpX. The deal is that you work 4 – 5 hours per day, five days a week in return for your food and accommodation. I have done official workaways and unofficial ones such as my time at Nature Healing Home in the Philippines.
Here, I helped them with internet based things such as copywriting for their Airbnb profile, redesigning their website, putting them on Booking.com and managing their social media. If you need any help in this area then check out my Work with me page.
Travel the World on a Budget Tip 6: Eating out.
You can always buy your food in a supermarket and make sandwiches in the park. Sounds lovely doesn’t it, well not if you are doing this for three meals a day! Believe me you get a little sick of cheese sandwiches.
So as a treat, buy your lunch out. It is common that lunchtime menus are cheaper than evening meals. You get the sense of eating out somewhere without a high expense.
And if you have any left, don’t be shy of asking to take it away as a doggy bag. It is actually a compliment to the chef!
Which leads me onto:
Travel the World on a Budget Tip 7: Dumpster Diving.
All over the world, supermarkets are throwing out food as they have reached their ‘best before date’ or ‘sell by date’. This doesn’t mean that the food is spoilt but they have to throw it away. Dumpster diving is where you rescue that binned food and make some amazing meals with it or give it away. . . for free.
The food is still packaged and are often put in the bin inside shopping bags. Check out this video about dumpster diving and see if it is for you:
Travel the World on a Budget Tip 8: Save a night in a room, sleep on transportation.
Ok, so I don’t mean just sleep on the tube or on the number 6 bus in London. I am more talking about taking long distance transportation overnight and using it as a bed for the night.
My best experiences has been in India where the sleeper trains are just perfect. My worst experience has been in the Philippines, crammed into a tiny minivan with no head rest on windy roads. Each time I fell asleep my head jerked me awake as there was nowhere to rest it.
Travel the World on a Budget Tip 9: Have portable Wifi
Are you forever buying a coffee or food so you can use the WiFi? Why don’t you invest in TED portable WiFi. You can use it all over the world and split it between multiple devices. So you can share the daily cost.
Even if you are travelling alone, I have managed to rent out the device password to fellow travellers so we have both had 24 hours worth of internet. Instead of renting the device, look at buying it to make it even cheaper.
I much prefer using my TED wireless internet rather than getting a sim card in the country that I am in purely as I can use it on my laptop. I have never had much success hot spotting my phone to my laptop. However if you are in a country for a few weeks then consider getting a local sim card. Most countries will have a pay as you go deal where you can get a data package for 28 days cheaply. This is great for lone travellers for safety and help when you are lost.
If all else fails, head for the nearby McDonald’s . . . guaranteed to have WiFi except for the one in San Fernando City in the Philippines.
Travel the World on a Budget Tip 10: Sometimes hiring a car can be cheaper than not doing.
A car can give you the freedom you need to get to that cheaper hotel/hostel. To go to that out of the way place without paying for a taxi. I use Skyscanner to search out the best deal on car hire and I also make sure I have third party insurance so I don’t have to take out the company’s overpriced insurance. A year’s insurance third party has cost me the equivalent of less than a week’s cover with the car hire company.
I have hired cars for as little as £1 a day but remember they will try and catch you out. Take photos with the timestamp of the car before you accept it. Make sure you return it with whatever the deal was on fuel and on time!
When driving abroad, check that you don’t need an international driving licence. Also make sure you stick to the rules of the road in whichever country you are driving. Don’t be that person that has to bribe the police officer in Morocco after being caught accidentally speeding or have your hire car towed two days in a row as you can not read the Spanish signs.
These are expensive mistakes to make.
Bonus Travel the World on a Budget Tip: Have good travel insurance.
Yes it is expensive if you are travelling for more than just a few weeks. Prior to my long term travel, I would take out an annual policy where I was covered for trips under 4 weeks. It worked out pretty cheap.
However, now that I am away for 18 months I have to pay a hell of a lot more. Is it worth it I hear people ask? Well I have never claimed but I have been close to that point. Like the time I broke my foot in South Africa but was kindly treated at a free hospital or the time, more recently, when I chased down the thief who stole my brand new phone and got it back.
But imagine you are taken ill abroad and need to be flown home? The bills could reach the tens of thousands, even millions. How about that time I totally forgot to take my daily malaria tablet in Kenya, or that time my taxi driver fell asleep at the wheel in Kuala Lumpur or that time I was caught in a blizzard on top of North Africa’s highest mountain. These could have ended with me needing to claim.
I am insured by Go Walkabout who are a UK provider. I highly recommend them as their cover beats by far anyone else I looked at for a lot less. Interested? Please support this blog by checking out the link below:
If you don’t have insurance, some hospitals around the world WILL refuse to treat you.
Please comment below if you have found this post useful. Have you got another other tips on how to travel the world on a budget? Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog (It’s free!) for more posts like this and interesting travel stories.
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Such great advise! When we first starting travelling we were on a real shoestring! I wish I had known about SkyScanner back then definitely! Now we use it every time we book a trip!