50 Things to Know to Travel on a Budget

When I began travelling, I was not prepared for the little costs that greeted me around every corner. I wish I had done my research before going abroad so I could have saved myself a few of the unexpected surprises and expensive setbacks I wasn’t prepared for. While I certainly know the ins-and-outs of budget travel now, it has been a long and pricey road. Hopefully this list of ‘50 things to know to travel on a budget’ will help other fellow travelers as they make their way around the world on their own budgets.

1. Use Local Transport

Look around to see the modes of transportation the locals are using.  Although this plan of action may not work in a posh neighborhood of Beverly Hills, it is a good rule to follow in most destinations. In China it may be cheaper to hire the back of a motorbike instead of taking a taxi, while in London The Tube is the surest way to go.

2. Haggle

In many countries it is not only customary to haggle the prices, it is expected. Rarely will you visit a street market where a vendor will give you a fair price to start with. Haggle the price to a place you feel comfortable with.

3. Eat Where The Locals Eat

Avoid tourist areas when it comes to dining options. Walk around and explore to see where and what the locals are eating. You will be surprised at how much cheaper food is just by walking a few streets away from major attractions. Street food is your best friend, and amazingly delicious.

4.  Buy Multi-Destination Airfare

Rather than buying an airplane ticket for every leg of your trip, arrange a multi-destination ticket and save big. Companies such as STA Travel specialize in helping you plan your ultimate trip as cheap as possible. Sometimes they are able to suggest alternative routes, or even add-in stopovers at new destinations for close to nothing.

5. Carry an International Student Identity Card

If you are a student, carry an ISIC card.  Major attractions and museums all over the world offer discounted admission prices for students. Your college ID may not be enough in countries that are unfamiliar with your school. The ISIC, International Student Identity Card, is the only internationally recognized proof of full-time student status in the world. The card will cost you around $10, but will pay for itself very quickly.

6. Try RVing

RV- a hotel and transport in one.  If you have always dreamed of taking a road trip across Canada (or The United States or Australia), you know that hotel costs can be very expensive. By renting an RV you can save on expensive accommodation and just park when it is time to sleep along the way. If your RV has a modest kitchen you will be able to prepare your own food as well which will keep costs down even more.

7. Free City Tours

Most major cities have free walking tours, and only ask that you pay what you think the tour was worth at the end. You are under no obligation to tip, so can give as little or as much as your budget allows. SANDEMANs offers free walking tours all over Europe and the Middle-East.

8. Museum Open Days

Some of the world’s most renown museums hold open days where you can view their collections absolutely free. The MOMA in New York City offers free entry every Friday evening and the Louvre in Paris has free admission every first Sunday of the month. Be sure to check if the museums you plan on visiting while you travel have any open days that coincide with your visit. Just a tip, most of London’s major museums are always free to visit.

9.  Work Abroad

If you dream of living in New Zealand but don’t have the funds to make it happen, why not work abroad? There are hundreds of companies that will pair you with a work program in the country of your choice. You can work at a horse farm outside of Queensland and travel the country on your days off. Some travellers work country to country as they travel entire continents. 

10.  Become a Travel Writer

Travel writing can be a great source of supplementing your trip abroad. You can get paid for sharing your travel stories and pictures on blogs and travel websites. Although it most likely won’t cover all of your expenses, the extra money may make enough difference to add an additional leg to your trip.  The things that you write will be a great journal for your trip.

“Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time.”
Steven Wright, American comic

11. Camp

Camping has long been a favorite of the budget traveller. Armed with a pop-up one person tent, you can sleep just about anywhere. Many people who backpack through Europe stay at campgrounds instead of hostels that can easily cut your accommodation budget in half.

12.  Choose your Destinations Wisely

Choosing to travel to Asia instead of Europe could save you money in big ways. Travelling in countries where your money is worth more and the cost of living is low will allow you to get much more for your budget. You could easily spend the same amount of money on lunch in Paris that you would for an entire week of meals in Cambodia.

13.  Purchase Travel Insurance

It may seem strange to advise you to buy something when you are looking to save money. But if you leave home with only one thing, let it be travel insurance. You can’t predict the future, or how you will land after that Paragliding jump. Travel insurance allows you to be prepared for every scenario, and avoid costly medical bills if something happens along the way. If you go for annual travel insurance rather than single policies you will be covered for trips throughout the entire year and will pay substantially less. Even if you aren’t accident prone, you can’t control the weather, other people, or unforeseen circumstances such as flight cancellations.

14.  Avoid ATM Fees

Taking money out of the ATM when we need it is just a way of life for most of us. While travelling you need to be aware that your bank may charge huge fees for a withdrawal made abroad. Before you travel check with your bank and see what they charge. You may be better off getting a new card that doesn’t charge you for international transactions. This simple tip could save you hundreds of dollars in unnecessary fees.

15. Walk

While it may not work in every situation most major cities are ideal for walking. If you have time on your side you can easily walk to where you need to go while avoiding the high cost of public transportation.

Amsterdam is a terrific example and if you have at least two days to explore the city it is much more cost-effective to explore on your feet. You will have a better experience seeing the sites on your own rather than a stuffed tour bus.

To read all 50 tips view 50 Things to Know To Travel on a Budget eBook.  A great gift for a friend who loves to travel!  Also a great book for people who would like to save extra money while they travel. I ENCOURAGE YOU to borrow the book for free from the Kindle Lending Library for Amazon Prime Members.  If you would like to share these tips please email me at lbrennec@gmail.com.  

About Lisa Rusczyk
Lisa Rusczyk is the founder of Charlie The Cavalier (a blog about Charlie her dog, and her friends, family and home) and founder of 50ThingsToKnow.com. Lisa is a Doctoral student in Educational Leadership who happened to start writing her first book 50 Things to Know Before Having a Baby after her little girl was born. Her book sold over 1,000 copies in the first year. Today, she has over 10 books and helps others self-publish. Further, she shares this information with the public via this blog, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, and recently on a local television station. Lisa knows that like her, there are a lot of people who would like concise information on a topic in a digital location. She's known for her simple and effective tips.

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