9 Easy Tips for Traveling on a Budget


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An investment in travel is an investment in yourself ~ Matthew Karsten

Budget travel vacations and amazing travel destinations are what most people looking for. One of the best times to travel is while you’re in college because you haven’t been tethered to one place or have grounding commitments yet. When I was in college, I embarked on a grueling journey down south to Cape Town by Bus. It wasn’t a trip for the light-hearted but to me; it was one the best ways to truly experience Mother Africa in her naked glory. From remote wilderness trails to the bustling city views. Even though travel can be quite expensive, it is completely possible to experience the world on a half-empty wallet, so start counting those shillings.

Here are some tips and tricks I have gathered over the years on how to travel on a budget:

#1 Consider The Mode of Travel

A Mile for miles, the route between home and the most scenic destinations in the world. Be it backpacking or traveling in comfort, the different modes of travel could make or break your budget. I have picked up a few tips and tricks along the way to seriously reduce my travel expenses:

  • Travelling at night. Save on hotels by traveling overnight where you can.
  • Take a bus or train. Opt for a bus or train to reduce your travel fare. This is mainly for local travel or travel within a continent. This entails you to study the public transport system before you leave and know how it works.
  • Book airline tickets well in advance and use various online sites to get the best rates.

#2 Squeeze Many Cities

Budget travel sometimes demands that you try to squeeze many cities or countries into one trip. When traveling on a budget, this will save you quite a lot of airfare and time. For instance, if you choose to travel to Europe, bundle up the trip and visit many countries and cities within the European Union. You can also do the same for Sub-Saharan African countries or the Americas.

#3 Consider Travel Seasons

Usually, for budget travel, it is cheaper to travel during the low season. Asia is summertime, Europe is winter time. Plan your trips around those times and you can score awesome flights and very low prices on hotels.

#4 Bring a Friend or Two

Traveling in a group or in twos makes everything a lot cheaper in the long run because you can split the cost of accommodation and food. This way, you can really get more value for your money.

#5 Get Travel Insurance

Insurance is a necessary expense for budget travel. Think about what may unexpectedly happen on your trip like losing your luggage or falling ill in a foreign country. All these things can quickly turn a perfectly inexpensive trip into a very expensive one. So, look into the different travel health, baggage, cancellation and medical evacuation insurance products and chose the best one for you. These days, they don’t cost much and it would save you much more in times of crisis.

#6 Consider Where You’ll Stay

Depending on your budget you can choose from hotels, apartments or hostels. If you are moving around a lot, (as is expected for backpackers) hostels would be more ideal. They may not offer a lot of privacy but if you are looking for a place to lay your head for a few hours, they are the best. For every city I went to, I found trip advisor quite resourceful in finding cheap places to stay, particularly in Gaborone, Johannesburg, and Capetown. These days, there are many more sites that you can use to compare prices and get the best rates when traveling on a budget.

#7 Plan to Do the Free Stuff

It shouldn’t cost much to experience different cultures. Many places in the world have free museums and historical sites.  You can also sit on the beach, walk around public parks and be acquainted with your environment. There are also many cities in Europe that offer free tours – take advantage! If you run out of things to do, ask the locals about great places to go – usually, people living within a locality are unlikely to spend a lot of money on entertainment.

#8 Book Activities in Advance

Make a list of all the places you would like to go and see if you need to book in advance. Advance bookings cost less particularly when getting airline tickets. Additionally, ensure you take advantage of discounts and coupons.  These days, you can access discounts and coupons on your fingertips by making use of the numerous travel sights.

#9 Make Your Own Food

Eating out can be quite expensive in a foreign city. If you are drawn to a city for its food and culture, consider having two special meals a day. However, go to the supermarkets and stock up on food; make yourself simple breakfasts/lunches to carry around while you roam. All these tips and tricks can save you significant amounts when traveling on a budget.

Overall, treat your travel budget in the same manner as you would treat your home budget. This way, you can afford much more than you can imagine. Even if you are living the high life, the kind of experience gained through travel has no price tag. Save up and explore the world as much as you possibly can.

I hope this resource helps you. Please let us know what you think in the comments section below. If this article has been of great help to you please share it.

Meanwhile, You can click on the following links to read more on budget travel: 

Happy Travels!

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Irene Makanga
Irene has an MBA in Finance and is an avid businesswoman, passionate about financial literacy.


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