During my time as a traveler to over 65+ countries, I have experienced all the different types of travel. From budget backpacking while staying for free with a Couchsurfing host, hostels, all the way up to luxury villas and resorts. If there is anything I have learned from these experiences it is that proper budgeting is important. Here are 10 tips that will help anybody who wants to travel either short or long-term to save some money.
1. Travel to Affordable Countries
Many people who live in expensive countries like the United States might be surprised to learn how affordable the living expenses are in some countries. A good rule of thumb is to research the median wage of a country so that you know how much locals pay to live in their country. If a local can live for a certain price, so can you.
Some of the most affordable regions of the Earth can be found in South America, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, and in Africa. Countries such as the USA, Australia, New Zealand, China, and the majority of the western EU countries are considerably more expensive.
2. Spend Less Than You Earn
This is something you should do whether you are traveling or not. In this world, it is difficult to do anything (especially travel) without money. As a result, it is important that you keep a close eye on your bank balance and stay aware of how much you spend each day.
If you spend more than you earn each day, you are inevitably going to run out of money. However, if you do not want to run into this issue, make sure that you are always spending less than you earn. If this is not always possible, then try to set aside a small amount each month.
3. Prioritize Your Expenses
This rule can apply to many different personality types. Think about what you spend your money on and consider what is most important to you. As a full-time traveler, your primary concerns should be travel costs, accommodations, and then food/water. As long as these things come first, you can calculate how much you need to set aside each month for the bare necessities.
Once you have enough money that your basic needs are accounted for, then you can start considering more fun activities like sightseeing and partying. However, remember that this is the fun side of travel. It can be easily lost if you are not careful with how you spend your money. Always make sure that travel expenses and basic needs come first.
4. Travel When Flights Cost Less
It is much easier to find cheap plane tickets today than it was only 10 years ago. In the past, you would have to consult with a travel agent or wish for the best when you arrived at the airport. However, these days the internet provides us with advanced searching algorithms that can be used for finding the cheapest day to travel.
There are many different places that will give you an idea when the cheapest days to fly are. Some popular options are Booking.traveltoblank.com, Scott’s Cheap Flights, Skyscanner, Kiwi, Webjet and Google Flights. These options are great for giving you an idea what day you should fly, whether you book with them or directly with the airline.
5. Do not Bring Luggage You Need to Check-In
In my “Best Travel Gear” post I discussed the importance of packing light in detail and how this can be done to save you a lot of money. In a nutshell, bringing more than what qualifies as carry-on luggage for an airplane can require you to pay an extra fee each time that you need to take a flight.
Of course, many airplanes allow you to check bags for free, but many of these companies will account for this by raising the ticket price. It is important to note that some of the cheapest flights you will find do not allow you check extra luggage for free, and may even double the ticket price if you wish to do this.
6. Make Friends with Natives
The native people know more about their country than you ever will. This is especially true when it comes to finding great deals on accommodations, food, or just about anything that you need. Not only will making friends with natives allow you to explore their culture and learn more about their people, but it will also help you to pay what a local does.
7. Cut Back on ATM and Exchange Fees
More than likely, you will need to use cash when you travel abroad. Considering that foreign countries will charge a hefty commission to transfer your native currency to the local currency, it is recommended that you avoid dealing with these people unless absolutely necessary. Bring at least two cards that you can use at an ATM, and never withdraw in small amounts unless you have a bank which pays you back for foreign ATM transaction/conversion fees.
8. Earn Passive Income
Passive income is one of the keys to relaxing long-term travel. Think of passive income as being the keys to exiting the workforce and becoming your own boss. Whether you choose to earn passive income by selling assets, or monetizing a blog or YouTube channel, for example, you are one step closer to experiencing complete financial freedom.
9. Set a Daily Budget
Once you know how much your income is for each month, you can quickly calculate how much you can afford to spend each day. Budget travelers who go to third-world countries might set their daily budget as low as $10 – 20 a day to live like a king. If you travel to destinations such as Western Europe or the USA you will likely need $50 – 100 each day to live comfortably.
In any case, make sure that your daily budget is less than or equal to what you earn (on average) each day.
10. Be Wary of Tourist Scammers
There are many destinations in the world whose economies thrive the best from tourism. In these places, the tourist is the top source of income for the locals (or close to it). Although most people in the world are inherently good people, there are many scammers with the sole intention of trying to get into your wallet without providing any sort of quality service.
These people can be very easy to spot out. For example, if you visit Egypt and want to see the pyramids you will soon discover that there is a price to enter the complex by yourself. However, on the way to the entrance you will encounter many people who will “help you get a good deal,” for example, and then charge 2 – 3x the entrance price to help you enter the pyramid complex. Scams like this can be found anywhere in the world.
Saving money while you are traveling allows you to spend more time on the road, and less time worrying about income and finances. Although the tips described above will help anybody to save money, remember that full-time travel can be expensive. It takes unprecedented levels of commitment, sacrifice, and discipline. If you want to save money while traveling, start first by going to an affordable destination.
About the Author
I have been traveling ‘full time’ for about six years now and have visited over 65+ countries. Running with the bulls in Spain, attending Oktoberfest in Munich and visiting the majority of the wonders of the world, are just a few things already checked off my never-ending bucket list. I love meeting new people and this is one of the reasons I continue to travel! Currently, I am working online as a digital nomad roaming around South America, but my home base is in Medellin, Colombia. You can find more about how I got started with traveling in my Full Bio Here.