26 Effective Tips To Travel On a Low Budget

Do you wish to take a faraway, life-changing trip, but your current financial situation prevents you from doing so?

Not to worry! With the rapid development of internet technology and the emergence of moderate carriers, vacation planning has become much easier and less expensive than it was previously.

Traveling is a life-changing experience that introduces you to new cuisines, foreign cultures, and breathtaking scenery at every turn. By immersing yourself in a new environment, you get to de-stress, expand your horizons, and open up your mind, all of which are good for your mental health.

And better yet, you can have a limited amount of cash for an authentic experience. Traveling on a budget can be filled with fun activities such as tasting French cuisine in Paris, partying in Lagos, sunbathing on Cabo San Lucas’s beaches, or exploring Milan’s top attractions.

At glace, here are the tips to travel on a low budget:

  1. Fly With A Budget Airline
  2. Book In Advance
  3. Skip Overpriced Tours
  4. Purchase A Travel Insurance
  5. Use Public Transportation
  6. Avoid Peak Season
  7. Look Into Programs To Volunteer Abroad
  8. Avoid Hotels And Opt For Hostels
  9. Keep Your Eyes Peeled For Discounts
  10. Ditch The Luggage And Travel Light 
  11. Buy A Local SIM Card
  12. Eat Local Food
  13. Make Use Of Money-Saving Apps
  14. Walk As Much As Possible
  15. The More, The Merrier; Travel In Groups
  16. Cook Your Own Meals
  17. Use a Travel Rewards Credit Card
  18. Avoid Tourist Traps
  19. Use a Mobile Phone Plan With International Coverage
  20. Exchange Currency Before You Leave
  21. Use Free WiFi
  22. Use a Reusable Water Bottle
  23. Fly Mid-week
  24. Be Prepared To Share
  25. Consider Backpacking
  26. Be Aware Of ATM Charges
Tips to travel on a low budget

The 26 Must-Know Tips To Travel On a Low Budget (Explained)

If you’re planning to travel and want to know how to manage your tight budget and get the most out of it. Here are a few effective ways to travel on a low budget:

1. Fly With A Budget Airline

Budget airlines are a great way to save money on regional flights — but only if you’re prepared to sacrifice a little comfort. Be ready to pack lightly and squeeze into the middle seat of a cramped row because budget airlines may hit you with unexpected fees if you’re looking for better perks.

Would you prefer a window or aisle seat? It can cost more to select your seat, which means you might pay more if you travel with a group and want to sit together.

Traveling with a carry-on? You might be hit with bag fees even if you don’t check your luggage. You won’t be only charged for a small backpack or purse.

Hungry? Budget airlines differ in their policies, but you might be charged for a snack or meal that may be complimentary on traditional airlines.

What if you want to board early? Time to pay up.

Budget airlines can be one of the cheapest travel methods if you can avoid additional fees.

2. Book in Advance

A last-minute rush can cost you that trip you have been looking forward to or force you to extend your vacation for a few more days despite your cash running low.

It is best to book your flights especially return flights, transport, accommodation, and other services you intend to use during your trip in advance to avoid such incidences.

Booking in advance saves you money. For example, most airlines offer discounts to those who book flights weeks and months before the departure date. In addition to that, you also get to save money by avoiding the high transaction fees and exchange rates associated with peak seasons.

Other benefits of booking in advance include enjoying a hassle-free trip, saving time by avoiding long lines synonymous with peak seasons, and having a chance to choose the best deals.

3. Skip Overpriced Tours

There’s nothing like getting out into a new city to explore. But how much of that exploring can you do on your own? With the online information, it’s simple and easy to conduct your tour for free rather than paying for a guide.

If this doesn’t sound appealing to you, consider instead one of the many free tours that many major cities offer. These walking tours will give you tons of information about the area completely free of charge, though gratuities are welcome.

Otherwise, apps such as Spotted By Locals, Tripadvisor, and Rick Steves offer comprehensive information for many large cities. Often this is free, but sometimes you’ll need to pay a nominal fee.

4. Get Travel Insurance

This is one of the crucial tips for traveling on a budget. Travel insurance may be an additional expense. However, viewing it as an investment that can help you save money during emergencies is best.

During the trip or before the trip, something unfortunate can happen. For example, the trip can get canceled, and your baggage can get lost, or, God forbid, you can get ill.

Travel insurance can take care of all this and ensure the wonderful experience is not cut short by such things.

5. Use Public Transportation

Using public transportation during your trip can save you a lot of money. Public transport is always cheaper than having a taxi or personal ride around the city or your destination.

If you have a rental car for a road trip, you can use the unoccupied seats by carrying some people headed in the direction you are going.

By carpooling, you can get money to help you buy petrol for the trip rather than going back into your pocket.

6. Avoid Peak Season

During peak season, the demand is high. The travel industry takes advantage of school holidays and peak season to hike the prices of various services, commodities, and activities.

They mainly target those who can only travel during this period. The best way to avoid the high prices is to get out of the target group.

Due to the smaller crowd, you will have more time to enjoy your vacation due to the airport’s short lines and booking offices. Secondly, the weather is more pleasant due to the moderate temperatures allowing you to enjoy outdoor activities for a long.

Remember, the services offered during the low season are of higher quality and more personalized.

7. Consider Volunteering Abroad

Volunteering helps the community and the planet, and it’s good for your soul. Take your mission overseas with a volunteer opportunity abroad.

There are so many programs out there, so you’re sure to find something that works for you. Not only is this a different way to travel, but it’s also great for budget travelers.

Although you usually have to pay to join the program, that will cover your accommodation, meals, and other costs.

8. Avoid Hotels and Opt For Hostels

If you’re traveling on a budget, ditch the expensive hotels and search for a hostel. Although you’ll have to share a room with other travelers, staying in a hostel saves a lot of money.

Pack a towel, toiletries, snacks, and other travel essentials to save on amenities generally not included in a hostel.

Not only is sleeping in a hostel a budget-conscious option, but it allows you to meet and socialize with other globetrotters. And by enjoying a communal experience and sparking a conversation, you can split up the price of activities or transport with your newfound friends.

9. Keep Your Eyes Peeled For Discounts

Bargain-hunters, unite! Sign up for discount newsletters, check out different travel websites, and search the web before making any decisions.

You can score fantastic discounts and package deals by staying informed and checking regularly.

Airlines usually offer discounts, so subscribing to their newsletters means you’ll be among the first to know about big deals. And when buying things at your destination, feel free to negotiate the price, especially in Bali or Thailand.

10. Ditch The Luggage And Travel Light 

If you’re looking for different ways to travel on a budget, one great tip is to cut your luggage expenses by packing light. Buy a backpack, bring only the essentials, opt for layered clothing rather than chunky pieces, and get a move on!

Airlines are open to additional fees for heavy baggage. You can save yourself the stress of unwanted costs by preparing beforehand.

Traveling with a backpack or cabin luggage saves you a lot of money. It allows you to make your way through crowded situations faster. Having a small piece of luggage means your things are always with you, and there are fewer chances of them being lost.

11. Buy A Local SIM Card

A local SIM card lets you purchase locally priced data and voice packages and stay connected while traveling abroad.

Using a local SIM is much cheaper than data roaming, buying Wi-Fi abroad, or using an international SIM card. All you need is a phone ready for international travel.

The cheap data, texts, and call packages will help you navigate the new place while keeping in touch with your home.

12. Eat Local Food

Many people like traveling so that they can experience new cuisines. However, it takes work to eat on a budget while traveling to a new place. The cuisines can be enticing and captivating to the point you need to remember to keep track of your budget.

Eating local food is the secret to saving money while still getting to have the gastronomical experience of different cuisines.

Get out of the tourist zone and head to the eateries outside the city centers. The eateries serve less expensive food while providing a refreshing environment.

Ask for recommendations of the best local eateries from local people, such as bartenders and passengers. Besides that, you can check out websites that provide local reviews on different eateries.

13. Make Use Of Money-Saving Apps

Fortunately, digital innovations in the travel industry have resulted in thousands of travel apps that relieve your stress while planning your trip and assist you in saving money.

Here are a few of the best travel apps to think about for your next trip:

  • TravelSpend is a travel expense tracking application. It can work miracles for budget-conscious travelers. The app will assist you in staying within your budget. TravelSpend can also be used to split bills and convert currencies.
  • TripIt is a lifesaver for any traveler who cannot plan. Don’t worry if you’re one of them! You only need to download TripIt. As soon as you log in, the app will ask you about your trip (such as the duration, budget, and time of visit) and plan and create an itinerary. It can also sync the details of your flight, hotel, car, and other reservations with your phone’s calendar and add them to your master itinerary.

Those apps are available on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.

How to travel on a budget

14. Walk As Much As Possible

One of my favorite tips for traveling on a budget is to walk as much as possible! Instead of taking public transportation or a taxi, why not walk?

If you are only a half-hour walk away from the town center, there is no point in spending money on transportation. In addition to saving money, you will also get to know the destination better.

It allows you to explore new neighborhoods or the countryside. And the best of all is that you will burn off those pesky calories you gained while exploring the local cuisine!

15. The More, The Merrier

Whether we go alone or with a big group of friends, it creates new ideas and experiences that we could never get at home. Whilst some people prefer to travel solo, there are many benefits that you can only get when traveling with friends.

Traveling in groups can be much more affordable than traveling alone.

Booking out an apartment or holiday home can work out as much cheaper accommodation than paying for a room. Many activities often become cheaper when booked by multiple people, and car hire becomes much more affordable when shared among friends.

In addition, having a friend you’re comfortable enough to share a room with is a fantastic way to avoid paying a single supplement for your accommodation.

Also, traveling is full of exciting adventures, new experiences, and relaxing in paradise. However, it also includes long journeys between destinations, flight delays, broken-down transportation, and waiting in queues.

Having a friend to talk to can make this time more enjoyable, especially when you can talk about what you have done and the places you are excited to travel to next. Whilst you could just read a book, the often human company is exactly just what you need to make those boring situations fun.

16. Cook Your Own Meals

When going on a budget trip, doesn’t mean sacrificing good meals – in fact, it can be a great opportunity to bring healthy foods into your diet. Cooking your own meals while abroad is an incredible way to both save money and stay healthy.

Instead of eating out often, choose low-cost ingredients when possible and plan meals like soups or stews that can make multiple servings.

In addition to that, batch cooking means you have easy dinners ready for days when you’re busy with activities outside the home. So by skipping the take-out menu, you can have cost-effective and healthy meals while still experiencing the culture of your destination.

This is also one of the things you should do to take care of yourself. To know more ways I suggest you read my previous article which was about simple Self-Care Tips While Traveling.

17. Use a Travel Rewards Credit Card

Travel rewards credit cards can offer you an easy way to save money while you explore the world. These simple cards generate points that can be transferred into free flights, discounted stays at hotels, and more.

When you invest in one of these cards before going on a trip, you are able to capitalize on incredible perks and secure your dream vacation without breaking the bank.

To get you started, consider researching different travel rewards credit card options available for use today to begin saving for your next exciting adventure.

18. Avoid Tourist Traps

The next tip on my today’s list is to avoid tourist traps. Tourist traps are filled with expensive restaurants, shops, and attractions that can quickly add up and put you over your predetermined budget in no time.

Do some research ahead of time and find smaller gems off the beaten path for just as enjoyable experiences at a fraction of the cost.

Your travel does not need to be expensive in order to be fun and memorable – By following this rule you will ensure that you always stay within your budget, make memories of a lifetime, and leave enough money left over for future trips.

19. Use a Mobile Phone Plan With International Coverage

If you have been traveling for a while you know how important is for a traveler to stay connected. Therefore, a mobile phone plan with international coverage is the best way to stay connected while abroad and avoid massive phone bills when you return.

Instead of you buying an international roaming SIM which can be pricey, opting for an international mobile phone plan can be a great option for you.

You will enjoy uninterrupted voice services and access your favorite apps like WhatsApp or Skype in any part of the world while staying connected with your family, friends, and relatives back home.

On top of that, some mobile plans include data as well so you don’t have to worry about purchasing internet packages at foreign stores. Traveling with international coverage on your phone just makes each of your trips more enjoyable and carefree.

20. Exchange Currency Before You Leave

One of the best ways to ensure you are able to travel even with a low budget is to exchange your currency before you depart. Doing so ahead of time helps you guarantee that you won’t get caught paying higher rates for exchanging currency abroad, a sneaky way costs add up.

Exchange rates can vary from one place to another and if done in authority-accredited institutions, can guarantee fair prices. Researching the best rate before leaving home will put more money back in your pocket and may even help extend your travels further.

So, whenever you plan to go on a trip or travel somewhere, don’t forget to exchange currency before you leave.

21. Use Free WiFi

Another effective way to stay connected after buying local SIM cards at your destination is taking advantage of free WiFi spots.

Using public WiFi hotspots located in many parks, cafes, and other public places, you can save money by relying on free services instead of purchasing expensive data plans.

In that way, you can stay connected to email, use navigation apps to find your way around unfamiliar cities, book accommodations or flights online, and even upload images to social media to share your travel experiences with friends at home.

Public WiFi is absolutely one of the great resources that helps budget travelers make the most of their experience while also keeping within their means.

22. Use a Reusable Water Bottle

One way to plan budget travel is by investing in a reusable water bottle; this one purchase can save you hundreds of dollars and significantly reduce your carbon footprint.

A reusable water bottle clears up landfills of plastic bottles, eliminates you from buying new plastic bottles each time you need water, and minimizes the use of petroleum products used to produce these items.

Furthermore, many locations have filtered tap water that you can fill up from; consider bringing your own filtering system or simply enjoy tap water that’s fresher than any bought at a store.

Travel with a low environmental impact, by packing light and utilizing a reusable water bottle.

23. Fly Mid-week

One very simple, yet often overlooked option is to fly mid-week. Travel within the same area can be incredibly cheaper when you book them during less popular days of the week such as Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

By easing off the weekend demand for flights, airlines will offer discounts to attract more travelers at times when not many people prefer to travel which is an opportunity for you and me to travel for cheap.

Not only does this save you money, but it gives extra flexibility in terms of scheduling and delays can sometimes be avoided if there are fewer passengers on board.

So, remember to fly mid-week for more cost-effective travel without compromising convenience.

24. Be Prepared To Share

With savvy itinerary planning, thoughtful and considered packing, and considering the lesser-known options for sightseeing, you can maximize your adventures with minimal budgets.

It just takes a little preparation and forward thinking to discover places on the beaten track, under-the-radar events, or hidden gems around budget holiday destinations.

The ability to research creative solutions to costly problems is key, enabling you to realize exciting plans while staying within your budget.

Being prepared to share your next experiences with like-minded others is also useful when aiming to save money but not compromise on the joy of exploration and discovery.

25. Consider Backpacking

Couchsurfing, Airbnb, and many other famous travel and property rental sites are an incredible way to explore the world without breaking the bank.

By connecting with locally based hosts, you gain access to unique experiences and insider knowledge, without having to pay for expensive hotel stays.

It’s a great way to meet new people, share stories and make friends in strange places. Thanks to modern technology, those websites have become a powerful tool for those looking to travel on a low budget.

You can use such platforms to connect with locals online and even find amazing homes around the world that they can stay in free of charge.

It’s an opportunity like no other and should be taken advantage of. It’s actually a win-win because you get an authentic experience and help many families with some extra income for renting their homes.

26. Be Aware Of ATM Charges

One way that can help you minimize expenses when traveling is to be aware of ATM charges. If you don’t know let me tell you that many ATMs charge a fee for taking out cash, and the fees can become expensive if you need to take out cash more than once during your travels.

To avoid paying any unnecessary fees, always research the area you’ll be visiting before you go and consider making larger cash withdrawals less frequently from ATMs with low or no extra charges.

More Travel Tips:

Tips For Traveling AloneTips For A Long Bus Ride
Best Tips For Road TripTips For First-Time Travelers
Travel Tips For IntrovertsTips to practice Self-care while traveling

Final Thoughts

In summary, travel comes in many forms, shapes, and experiences. Only some people need rooftop pools and bucket list excursions to have an amazing time and make lifelong memories.

From befriending locals to volunteering your services, there are so many ways you can help your travel budget, no matter how small, work harder for you.

Use these top tips to help you budget smarter and spend money wisely. That way, you can spend more time on the road, enjoy more experiences, and make more memories.

Take your time and shop for a good deal; they may not always be easy to find, but they’re waiting for you. Once you’re sitting on that plane or bus, all the hard work and planning will be completely worth it.

That’s all for this blog post. I hope you enjoyed reading it!

Stay Awesome (:


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The Editorial Team

Optimos Travel is a travel blog to help you travel the world, and explore different lifestyles, traditions, foods, and everything in between.