We often get asked if it’s possible to travel on a low budget. So we decided an article with tips and tricks is much needed!
Travelling can be as cheap or expensive as you like. For that reason it’s kind of hard to tell people about an exact budget they need for the trip they are planning. It all depends on where you go, where you stay, how you transport yourself and where you eat.
Obviously, someone who wants to stay in nice hotels and have fancy meals spend way more, than someone who doesn’t care about comfort.
I will share a few tips you could use to keep your expenses on a low.
Renting an apartment
Yes, it is cool to see as many places as possible during your trip. But if you have all the time you want, and you like to get to know a place better and live like a local, consider renting an apartment. It could save you hundreds of dollars compared to hostel rooms. You will also have more privacy, even though you probably share your house with roommates. Usually rooms will have a kitchen, so you can cook all your meals yourself, saving you on restaurant spendings.
Depending on your destination, you could already start looking for an apartment through the internet. Make sure to check if there is a Facebook page where apartments are offered in the area you are going to. Nowadays you can find almost anything on Facebook.
Otherwise it’s best to book a hostel room for one or two nights and start your hunt as soon as you’re in town. Usually you can find ads in supermarkets or restaurants.
Travel by bus
In Europe travelling by bus may be the cheapest way to get from point A to point B. May, it could also be even more expensive than a flight. Just investigate ticket prices and maybe a few different destinations to see what would work best for you. Last summer I planned a Eurotrip for four guys solely travelling by Flixbus, they paid not even 100 euros and visited at least 7 destinations in the south of Europe. They had a blast!
I’m a big fan of Skyscanner, it has always served me well.
When you want to travel as cheap as possible, it’s important to remain flexible and not stick to a planning too much. If you travel on a fixed date to a fixed destination, chances are tickets will be expensive.
There are a few ways in which you can use Skyscanner.
If you have a fixed destination, but not a fixed date, you fill in where you want to go. For date you fill in ‘whole month’. You will get the option to pick a month, or you can request dates for the cheapest months. Skyscanner will show you prices for the whole month. Also, if you want to change the month afterwards, the site shows you the cheapest price in all the months of the year.
At some jobs you need to request holidays way in advance, without the possibility to change dates afterwards. In that case it’s best to be flexible about where you go. In Skyscanner you can enter the dates and in the destination field you write ‘flexible’. The website will show you the cheapest destinations from the country or airport you’ve picked. From the options you choose a destination that you’ve always wanted to visit, or pick one that’s more unknown and let yourself be surprised. Who knows it might be your new favourite!
Total freedom and zero demands for location? This might also be a good option if you want to start a world tour and don’t know where to start yet. Simply enter the country of departure, ‘Flexible’ as destination and the cheapest month/month you want to travel. Skyscanner will provide you with a list like in the option I described before, you simply scan the list and pick the destination which you’d like to visit. If you’re really adventurous, you pick the destination with your eyes closed! Who knows where you might end up.
Don’t like the prices you see, or do you think they might become cheaper? You can set up a price alarm. This only works on a certain flight route and date, but you get an e-mail as soon as prices drop.
Pretty adventurous and very cool, you’re never sure how and if you will arrive at the destination you had in mind for the night. Pick a place close to the highway, write a sign with a destination and smile!
Be careful though, watch out who’s behind the steer and make sure you don’t do this as a woman alone. I loved the experience, but only with the support of another friend.
Work – in exchange for a roof over your head
One of the most obvious and known methods is to work in a hostel. Walk through town and visit all of them to check or ask if they have a job vacancy. It’s possible they won’t pay you, but at least you can sleep for free.
If you like children, maybe au pairing would be it for you. On Facebook pages of expats in other countries, you will most likely find lots of expat families looking for someone to watch their kids. Some of them prefer someone who speaks English, or their native language. Benefits are housing, meals are included and sometimes also a bit of pocket money for your days off. Do make sure you like children, because you will be spending loads of time with them. If you’re lucky, you might get invited on family trips when the parents don’t have to work.
There are many volunteering agencies that require you to pay a fee, which will benefit the organisation. Some of them might give you housing in return. While others are for free. If you’re interested in volunteering, it’s totally up to you which type you prefer. Make sure to check the conditions before signing up on anything.
Some people travel around, solely depending on couchsurfing hosts. Be aware that in capitals it might be harder to find a host. Also might be very difficult if you’re travelling with more than two persons. Make sure you arrange the hostings in advance, don’t travel to a city and start sending messages while you’re already in your way. It might take them some time to see your message and to decide if they can host you.
Apart from that, it’s a wonderful experience. The idea of couchsurfing mostly is to live with the locals, getting to know them. If you’re lucky they might even want to give you a tour. Be aware that someone just opened his doors for you and let you use his house. You got to respect the person, his rules and show your interest as well. Even though you’re staying for free, they will probably appreciate you bringing something from home, or cooking up a nice meal.
Your journey will obviously be more expensive when you eat out at least three times a day. Okay, depending on the country. In some countries it might even be cheaper to eat all of your meals in a cheap local, because you will never be able to cook a decent meal for the same price. Make sure to pick a place that looks trustworthy – nobody wants to spend too much time in the bathroom.
In other cases cooking everything at home will be better. When looking for a hostel, pick one that has a kitchen. That way you can always cook your own meals, with the ingredients you choose. Prepare more than you would eat in one meal, so you can have another portion for lunch – and/or breakfast.
Often you will find other travellers eager to share dinner time in company. If someone is staying in the same period as you, you could agree on a meal plan. One day you’ll be the chef, the other day you will get cooked for. Also nice to get an extra international touch to the home cooked meals!
Do you happen to have a huge social media following? You might be able to use this in a beneficial way. You simply need guts and a way to show your social media accounts. Walk into a hotel or restaurant and ask them if they want to give you something in return for you posting about them on Instagram, for example. You might be surprised about what you can get out of it.
Do you want to know how to grow your social media following? Join our Facebook group the Limitless Journey or send us a message. We are happy to help you out.