A lot of people think it’s necessary to have fat stacks of cash to travel. Some people I know even think of travelling for extended periods of time as something only for people who’ve either won the lottery or made it big.
What many people don’t realize is that, while it does cost some money to travel; it isn’t nearly as expensive as they’d thought.
Consider this: When I was 19, I traveled to 6 countries in the span of 16 months and I did it with less than CAD$12,000 (spending roughly $25 a day). You might be thinking “B.S. no you didn’t little boy.” but trust me, it’s actually pretty doable to travel even when you’re not a “…billionaire, playboy, philanthropist.” like Tony Stark.
Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship. – Benjamin Franklin
Accommodation is almost always going to be within the top 3 things you spend most of your money on. Regardless of whether you stay in a small city or a thriving metropolis, rent costs a lot of money.
When you’re planning to travel (especially long term), you’ve got to make a lot of tough decisions to save money wherever you can. A great way to cut down on rent is either by finding a roommate to keep your costs down or even just try crashing with family/friends.
Even when you’re traveling, find out if you’ve got some people you know in the area and ask if you can crash with them. Often, you’ll be given a chance to reconnect and learn more about the place from a local’s perspective.
If you’re looking to save some extra money and are open to available job options, a lot of employers like hotels, resorts, travel and adventure groups offer free accommodations when you’re working for them. Some employers will even pitch in 3 meals a day for free!
I’ve personally gone down this route twice and it’s always been a great way to save a lot of money.
Whether it’s coffee, pop, or alcohol, it all adds up when you look at the grand scheme of things.
Let’s say you regularly spend $3 a day for your coffee at some cheap place. Seems like a negligible amount right? Well, $3 x 365 days = $1095 and that’s just without tax added on top. Bump that up to the $6 a per drink from big name stores and you’ll be wasting $2190 in a year.
Which would you rather have? Drinks that only end up making your breath stink and your teeth more yellow or roughly 3-4 months exploring in a beautiful foreign country?
4. Eating out? Stop it
Many of us eat out and it can be a huge problem if you’ve set your sights on travel. Let’s say you spend $30 a week (to be on the conservative side) at your favourite restaurant.
You’ll have spent $1560 in a year with just a weekly splurge.
If, on the other hand, you’re on of those people who loves to get take out and spends roughly $20 a day on take out:
Even taking into consideration that some days you might not feel like eating out (let’s say 65 days of the year you won’t eat out)
Let’s do some quick maths: $20 x 300 = $6000
So, tell me, is it really worth it?
Cooking your own food is usually a lot cheaper and much healthier for you so why are you still buying all that take out?
5. Stop watching T.V.
Seriously, T.V. plans are expensive. In the age of streamed content, you can easily get better deals through websites like Netflix or Hulu while still having amazing content to watch.
Makeup is expensive and everyone knows it. Even someone like me who doesn’t use makeup knows how expensive it is. Nobody really needs makeup. If you want to save money for your travels then consider a no makeup routine. It’ll save you a ton of your time and money. Thank about it, you won’t have to spend an hour doing your contouring, applying foundation, fixing your droopy eye lid with some eye lid tape, the list goes on.
Many us us are addicted to our phones and we feel odd when we’re not distracted by our phones. So, we pay for super expensive phone plans with tons of add-ons that we don’t really need.
Downgrade your plan to include only your bare necessities like texting and calling, it’ll be a lot cheaper. Hell, sell your smartphone and buy a flip phone if you have to.
While you might not get your LTE or 4G with the basic plans, do you really need 9GB of data when WiFi is practically everywhere?
When you’re traveling, you won’t always want to be staying in hostels or hotels because the expenses just add up.
A great way to save some extra money and meet other amazing travellers is through CouchSurfing and WWOOF. They’re both basically free platforms for travelers to find a place to crash in almost any country.
Many travel credit cards provide you with freebies like bag coverage in case your items get lost during flights or flight coverage if your flight gets delayed over a set period of time. Getting a card that has lots of freebies is a great way to keep some of your bases covered. After all, if you’re spending more than 12 hours in an airport because of a delayed flight then you’ll probably want to get a hotel room (your travel card might just reimburse you for it too).
This happened to me in Japan where I had a 14 hour layover and I just needed to sleep without having to worry about my items. So, I went and found a hotel room inside the airport and lo-and-behold; I wound up paying $150 for a room that literally had not much more than a chair and a T.V. inside it. That room was super small and was definitely not worth the money.
As well, a good travel credit card is something you can rely on to not charge you stupid hidden fees for purchases.
(I guess technically, that’s all good credit cards though)
Look into credit cards with no foreign transaction fees so that you won’t have to end up paying extra for purchases made outside of your country.
Fare aggregating sites like these allow you to have tons of control over choosing the best flights for you.
As an example, when I was on my 16 month trip, most flights to the Philippines cost around $1400+ on most major airlines’ sites. Thankfully, I checked Skyscanner before booking a ticket and eventually found one for $900. And just like that, I saved $500.
The only downside to these sites is that they’ll (usually) list cheap flights that have really long layover times. Most of the time, the flights are cheaper because tons of people aren’t generally willing to wait an extra 10 hours for a $300 difference.
We’ve all got a bunch of stuff that we don’t need or just don’t use anymore. Sell your stuff and earn back some money from things that are just laying around in some corner collecting dust bunnies anyway.
Chances are, since your stuff’s just been collecting dust, you’ve probably completely forgotten about it anyway so it may not even be important (or practical) enough to keep.
While traveling alone is an amazing experience, it isn’t always cost effective and it can get kinda lonely.
The reason I say travelling solo isn’t always cost effective is that when you travel with other people, a lot of your costs can be split. From accommodation to transportation to group activities, large groups tend to be more cost efficient for every individual member. (That’s why you usually end up saving money when you buy things in bulk.)
Take in that most hotels tend to charge you per room anyway and not per person so it’ll be cheaper to split the payment between everyone you travel with.
A lot of the time, places in the middle of absolutely nowhere are the most beautiful (and worthwhile) places to go.
More often than not, there will hardly be anyone there and you’ll have the place mostly to your self. Wouldn’t you prefer that over having to zigzag through a 3000 vehicle traffic jam or having to wait in a line for 5 hours just to take a picture of some place that’s been photographed at least ten thousand times before?
Just take a trip somewhere you have next to no clue about (do find out if there’s anything going on in the area that may cause you harm). You’ll find that getting lost is one of the best ways to find exactly what it is you’re looking for. Corny? Damn right it is, but it’s true.
14. Use public transportation, ride a bike, or walk
Public transportation is there for a reason. Use it. It’ll usually be cheaper than paying for your car’s insurance and its many expenses.
If you’ve got the option, walk to wherever it is you’re going or ride a bike.
Well, for one, walking/riding a bike gives your body a chance to move around and exercise. Two, you don’t have to pay for gas. And three, you still don’t have to pay for gas. I don’t know about y’all but gas is $1.35 per liter where I am. Right now, it’s a good time to be a race walker.
Admittedly, it may not be in everyone’s best interest (nor is it entirely practical) to drop everything and hit the great wide expanse for months (or even years) on end. With that being said, though, you’re the one who chooses how long you want to travel for. Ultimately, everyone can find some way to travel. It’s really just a matter of figuring out a way that works for you.
Remember, if a monk that’s literally sworn a vow to poverty can still find a way to travel, you sure as hell can too.
Got any tips for saving money? Leave a comment below and let me know about them. I’m always up to find new ways to make better use of my money.