World Travel doesn’t have to be expensive. Here’s the detailed guide on How to travel the world for cheap on a budget for budget Travelers.
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“All You Need To Know Is That It’s Possible. “
— Wolf, A Trail Hiker
No matter how old you are, I’m here to tell you that you can travel the world for cheap.
That’s right. You don’t have to wait until you retire at age 65 to travel the world; you can start right now!
You must be wondering…
Who am I, and what makes me credible enough to share these tips with you?
I’m Salina, and I’m a 23-year-old digital nomad who started traveling the world with my boyfriend Austin when I was 19 years old.
I have been living abroad ever since, for about 4 and a half years now.
I’ve lived in different countries for a month, 3 months, or even a year at a time.
Most people believe that traveling the world requires you to be rich, but that’s not true at all.
I know it’s easy to believe this with all the luxury travel pictures you may have come across on Instagram.
I used to believe that too before living this digital nomad lifestyle, but then I began learning and seeing things for myself.
When I was younger, I always imagined myself being rich and traveling the world.
I am far from rich…
As of right now…
But that hasn’t stopped Austin and I from traveling for the last few years.
So how exactly can you travel the world for cheap?
There are a lot of ways to save money Let’s break it down:
Have A Stable Income Source
This is my most important tip for you if you want to be a world traveler.
If you have a stable income source while traveling, your possibilities will be endless. You can very much afford luxury travel on a budget as long as you have money coming in.
One of the most accessible jobs you can get online or overseas is an English teaching job.
Most English teaching companies and schools abroad may just require an English teaching background or a certificate to teach.
Austin works online under a company called Palfish and they only require you to have a TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) certificate which you can complete online in a few weeks.
Austin and I have attended an in-person TEFL course in Chiang Mai, Thailand, which was our first time traveling overseas.
It took us around a month of going to the school 5 days a week, every week, to get the hours needed to be certified to teach English in Thailand or other countries.
We gained experience from teaching Thai kids in preschool up to college level kids.
Learning and teaching English is something that will always be in demand.
If you like children and are a native English speaker, then this might be an excellent job this for you!
It’s an easy way to get your feet wet into the digital nomad lifestyle and the online working world.
If you decide to change your mind and take up another job, later on, that’s fine too.
If you’re teaching English in a school overseas, you may be able to get a working visa in that specific country.
If you’re teaching online, you truly have the freedom of living anywhere and being able to work, as long as you have a secure WiFi connection.
If teaching isn’t for you, there are tons of other jobs you can find online while traveling such as copywriting, data analyst jobs, etc.
In an upcoming post, I will tell you about 12+ jobs you can do while traveling as a digital nomad, but for now, teaching English is one of the easiest jobs you can start off with!
Change your spending habits to save more money
If you wish to travel the world on a budget, you must alter how you travel. Each of us has our habits, some more negative or optimistic than others. Try to cut down on drinking and partying. Instead, replace it with working out and finding a gym, Crossfit gym, MMA, Jiu-Jitsu, and Muay Thai gym to train at. Go on adventures with locals or meet up with other digital nomads or expats who like to go on adventures in your country. Visit co-working spots to find other like-minded people.
Spend this time abroad to work on yourself and enjoy this new adventure you are embarking on. Don’t spend money at the tourist places, try to find the local markets to buy the stuff you need. Research and ask the locals for the best places to buy or get what you want.
The less partying and drinking you do, the better off you will be and the less trouble you will get into. Try to focus on the online business you are trying to build to make this travel adventure more sustainable and a lifelong journey.
Stay away from tourist areas
If there is one thing I have learned while traveling. Tourist areas come with tourist prices.
Large cities and tourist hot spots tend to be more expensive. Try to find less famous destinations. Explore these hidden treasures of the cultures in the area. If you want to eat out, avoid restaurants on the main streets. It’s likely more expensive and less value!
So far, with all the places we’ve traveled to, we have never lived in a tourist area.
This has not in any way made our experiences boring or unfulfilling.
After doing tons of research before moving to each country, we realized how much more expensive it was to live in a popular tourist area.
You can live in non-touristy areas for a lot cheaper and be a lot safer too.
If you want to go sightseeing or partying, and it happens to be in a well-known popular area, it would be cheaper to hang out on the weekend instead of living in that area and spending lots of money.
Living in a lesser-known area can be a lot more exciting than living in a big city.
You get the opportunity to explore hidden gems and create more experiences in nature and with locals instead of materialistic things.
Budget Travel Research & Planning
After you’ve figured out your source of income, it’s time to start planning where you’re going to live.
I’m sure you know that it is super cheap to live in Thailand, especially Chiang Mai.
This is why Chiang Mai is usually where digital nomads tend to start off to decide if they like this lifestyle or not.
There are many other options for where your first trip could be as a digital nomad.
Dedicating enough time to research the country you are going to before going can significantly help you explore your options of places where you can live affordably.
Many countries people think are expensive are not that expensive at all.
After living in different countries for an extended amount of time and seeing this all for myself, I can say this.
After you figure out where you will be staying, the second most important thing is to know what is around the area.
- How will I get around every day?
- What food is around me?
- How far is a pharmacy/hospital from where I am staying
- What activities can I do as leisure in the area I have chosen?
Simple questions like this will allow you to plan and budget better, providing a more organized and happy travel experience.
Of course, unexpected events can always occur, no matter where you decide to go.
But at least before you get on your flight, you can estimate what your monthly expenses will be.
I have heard of this misconception that travel is expensive and have proven it wrong repeatedly. That’s why I believe you can travel cheaply and efficiently.
You need to plan your trip, and you can learn how to live cost-effectively!
Pack Everything You Need Before You Leave
Most people take too much stuff when they travel. I have learned over the years to pack lighter and only take my clothes, electronics, some soap, and specific products. Everywhere we go, we just take one suitcase and one backpack each, and when we get to the Airbnb or our apartment, we leave the stuff in the house, and if we travel to a different location, we just bring a backpack.
Most of the products we use in The United States are in These different Countries anyway. Just wait until you get to that country to buy some products, so you don’t pack too heavy because trust me, you will regret it!
The first pack lighter than usual. Roll your clothes up, and use a reusable air-tight bag for your products. Carry your main electronics like your laptop, laptop charger, and phone charger in your backpack.
Be aware of annoying ATM charges
ATMs usually charge high fees for withdrawing and exchanging cash. Revolut and Wise allow you to exchange and retain currency using the same card without fees. I mostly pay with my debit card everywhere I go, and I hardly take out money from the ATM, but when I need to get cash from an ATM, I ask around expat and digital nomad groups where the best ATMs are in the area.
Get A Local SIM Card For Your Phone
Get a local sim card for data for your phone. This will save money and will be a lot more efficient than your phone plan back home! It is expensive for people to have roaming fees and pay for data abroad. If you want a cheap and reliable SIM card, find the nearest phone shop and research the best data and pre-paid phone plan in your country! Also, when you leave the country, keep that sim card in your wallet in case you return, and you can use that sim card again! It’ll make it easier to navigate around and stay in contact at home!
Look To Rent Monthly Apartments On Airbnb
Most of the places we go, we stay in an Airbnb. Here are some tips:
- When you get to your destination, rent out 3 days in an Airbnb, look around the area, and ask the expat and digital nomad groups to find cheaper accommodation.
- Read reviews of High-Quality Airbnb.
- Never stay at an Airbnb if the total review score is lower than 4.7 stars; find super hosts, look at those accommodations on Airbnb, and filter the result by adding wifi, air conditioning, and whatever you like.
You can find insanely beautiful places in Bali and Thailand for less than $400 to $500 a month. I got a recommendation to stay in cheap reliable accommodation in Bali next to the gym at Bali MMA on-site. They had a pool, laundry on-site, food on-site, and everything needed within 5 minutes of walking, the same in Thailand. I rented out a penthouse condo in Bangkok, Thailand, for $350 a month. It had everything I needed as well.
If you do this smart, you can live like a millionaire for $1000 a month for all expenses.
Alternatives to cheaper accommodation are to stay with local people. It offers an excellent option to explore a new world of cultures, learn about their lives, and experience different cultures from those.
Choose to travel to cheap destinations
Southeast Asia is one of the cheapest destinations to live in and explore, along with Eastern Europe and South and Central America. Mexico, for example, has a relatively affordable cost to North America.
Cities in Mexico such as Cancun, Tulum, and Playa del Carmen, Mérida, Puerto Escondido, Puerto Vallarta are incredibly affordable. We have spent no more than $1000 a month In Thailand and Bali, Indonesia. For all expenses, it truly is mind-blowing!
Buy Groceries & Eat At Home To Save Money
It could be exciting to live in a new country and want to try out all of the cultural dishes that you are not used to having back home.
The only place you can get away with eating out all the time is in Thailand, where it is well known that you can eat for $1 a day.
It’s an experience to eat Pad Thai and drink Thai iced tea, but these aren’t the healthiest food options to eat every day.
For most of the countries I traveled to, I realized it’s more inexpensive to buy groceries and cook my meals at home.
Uber Eats and eating at different restaurants all the time can get very expensive, especially if you are looking for meals you would typically eat back at home.
Local food markets are always an option if you decide to eat out and don’t want to spend a lot eating at lavish restaurants serving American food.
We have saved tons of money by doing this and choose to eat out only on Friday nights to get more of a taste of the culture in the country we are living in at the moment.
You can even find recipes online and figure out what ingredients to buy from the grocery store to cook cultural dishes in your own home instead of going out to eat.
I made Pad Thai at home while living in Thailand for fun, and it felt like I was eating at the Thai street market down the street from us!
The best tips for traveling with an inexpensive budget can be purchased at supermarkets. Try to get some local delicacies, and prepare the meals yourself. Most hostels and Airbnb, and local Homestays provide kitchens.
Saving Money By Using Travel Credit Cards
Austin and I have only just started using Travel Credit Cards, but travel credit cards can be a big way to travel for *free*!
If you don’t already know how a travel credit card for cheap flights and Hotels works, it is as simple as this:
You use your Travel credit card for regular purchases such as flights, groceries, etc. You keep adding up points.
Then over time, you can get free flights and hotel stays by redeeming your points!
The same money you would spend for a few months on groceries, visas, rent, you can use your travel credit card to pay for these items and, in return, get free trips to another country!
Isn’t that the coolest thing ever?
This is how so many digital nomads can practically travel to so many countries for free!
Get a travel card that will allow you to travel smartly and cheaply. Savings are guaranteed for each product purchase made. Travelers can use travel cards for international transactions without incurring foreign fees. You can therefore save money too. Besides saving, you also gain rewards on any transaction. You can then deposit them into an account to pay for travel or other expenses.
How to Find Cheap Flight Deals!
Find cheap travel offers before preparing for your trip. If you live in Asia, it’s common to find Flights around $100 or less all around Asia is incredible. I regularly book a flight from Bali to Malaysia for approximately $70 one way, sometimes round trip, and it is cheap to fly from Europe to Asia.
Suppose you want to travel to Asia From the USA. In that case, try to Fly out of major Airports and regions Such as New York City, Los Angeles, Miami to find the best deals from the United States, book a few months out to find a cheap flight, and select I’m flexible on flight sites such as Google Flights and Skyscanner. or perhaps take an overnight train or bus if you are close to another country.
Skyscanner provides cheap flights between countries. Just enter the airport and location and see the availability for specific days or throughout the month. Tip: You can get even more affordable flights when you book incognito flights by using a VPN or after clearing out cookies.
How To Find Free Accommodation
Free lodging isn’t for everyone and depends on your personality, interests, and needs. It’s a fantastic accommodation option when you intend to travel to top destinations like Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Canada, etc. In those countries, you may house sit or volunteer in other’s homes or camps without paying a lot of money. House-sitting covers your lodging and sometimes provides the automobile, which you have to be very careful of and take precautions. I’ve never done this personally, but I know of some friends that have done this.
How To Get Travel Insurance
It is essential to have Health and travel Insurance when traveling! Monthly Health and travel insurance from SafetyWing is $40 a month. This is the company I use. It covers Healthcare, Lost Luggage, and more. This saves so much money!
Travel Resources For Transportation And Activities
Here are some of our are our favorite travel tips & resources for saving money and travel logistics that are relevant to this article!
- Booking Flights: To score insane flight deals, search on Google Flights, Skyscanner or kayak. Money-saving tips: fly in the middle of the week, on the weekend; fly carry-on only on a budget airline, and take red-eyes or early morning flights.
- Tours, tour packages, and activities in Bali and booking private drivers: We love booking guided tours, especially food tours and walking tours, to get a local’s perspective and a history lesson while sight-seeing! We reserve our tours using Viator, and GetYourGuide for professional service.
- Accommodations: We usually stay in budget-friendly vacation rentals, boutique hotels, or private hostel rooms. We use Booking.com to book hotels (we love their flexible cancellation policy) and Hostelworld to book hostels (low deposit, easy change/cancellation, and excellent reviews). We use Airbnb monthly for weekly or monthly rentals, where you can get an entire villa for a monthly fee in Bali for under $400 a month! You can also book vacation rentals on Expedia USA, Expedia UK, Hotels.com, and Vrbo, like Airbnb.
- Travel Insurance: We always have travel insurance monthly for international trips and living abroad. We STRONGLY suggest that you have it as well, just in case other digital nomads live abroad, and we always use SafetyWing for international travel insurance and medical concerns. SafetyWing is one of the few policies covering Covid-19, and they start at $42 a month! It’s incredible and always reliable! SafetyWing is perfect for Digital Nomads and long-term travelers!
- Travel Credit Cards
- Vaccines & Meds: We use the travel guides on the CDC website to research recommended medications and vaccines for international trips. You can get them at your primary care doctor’s office or a walk-in pharmacy.
- Transportation: We use GetTransfer, and the local Uber-type apps in different countries. Usually, that is Grab.
- VPN Service: A VPN keeps your digital information (like website login details, bank info, etc.) safe, even when you’re connected to an unsecured network while traveling. Plus, it lets you use Netflix & other streaming sites abroad! We use NordVPN!
How To Travel Cheap Key Takeaways:
- Make money online, find a long-term job or create your own online!
- Plan ahead for your trip and living arrangements.
- Avoid tourist areas most of the time find. Find cheap destinations to see.
- Eat at home and cook your meals, go. Go to the local markets to shop for high-quality food. You will save a ton by cooking your food!
- Travel hack with credit cards is a game changer to take advantage of travel credit cards!
- Find cheaper accommodation on Airbnb or a local hostel.
- Take public transport systems or the country’s version of Uber.
- Stay away from expensive flights. You can find cheap flights on Skyscanner and Google Flights to find the best budget airline.
- Avoid tourist restaurants eat the local food, and experience the local life. Ask the locals about food tips or travel tips. This also keeps the food costs down!
- Get a local sim card for data for your phone. This will save money and be more efficient than your home phone plan!
- Find the best exchange rate in the area to avoid a high foreign transaction fee.
- Travel in off-peak seasons to save money.
- Buy Monthly travel insurance from SafetyWing for $40 a month. It covers Healthcare, Lost Luggage, and more this saves so much money!
- Ask around Facebook digital nomad groups for amazing deals and travel tips in the area you are staying or wanting to go. Maybe you’ll bring some friends along for the adventure!
“Perfection is a road, not a destination.” — Burk Hudson
The more you travel, the better you understand things and become wiser about traveling and spending.
You will learn to save money
while traveling if you do things the right way.
There is nothing wrong with traveling luxuriously, but the more I budget my trips, the more I can travel to different countries and have more money for more experiences across the world.
With every new place we travel to, we figure out how to go about our spending when it comes to cheap flight deals, groceries, accommodation costs, and exploring the city around us.
With every trip, we learn a little bit more each time.
What is your view on cheap traveling?
What was your favorite tip out of the 5 tips I mentioned here today?
As I mentioned earlier, I feel that we are taught that we need to have a lot of money to travel or need to wait until we are retired and have money saved up to go sailing across the world.
We have so many resources out there for us, such as Facebook Expat Groups, Youtube, and the ability to learn anything online and from our own experiences.
If you don’t want to just read from us but want to keep up with our travels, go ahead and follow us on our travel page on Instagram @onelifepassport! Comment below what else you would like to know/see about our experiences traveling the world on a budget!
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