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Travel on a Budget: 15 Ways to Save on Travel

Discover how to save money when traveling on a budget can revolutionize your adventures, allowing you to explore more and experience more. Let’s dive into how to travel on a budget and the 15 ways in which to save on travel, each with multiple budget-friendly travel tips that will stretch your travel budget further than ever before.

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Why Should You Save on Travel?

Being budget savvy can not only allow you to start traveling, but also allow you to travel more.

When you get creative on ways to budget and save on travel you become more knowledgable and expand your solo travel to places you never thought possible.

How to Plan a Cheap Vacation

First, you need to figure out your total travel funds with creating a solid travel budget and start saving money for travel.

Then track your travel budget with your receipts and detailed spreadsheet (or app). If traveling internationally, doing a daily review of your credit card charges against the exchange rate will help confirm your not being charged unnecessary fees.

Person budgeting travel
Budget your trip and track your travel

Last, employ as many of the 15 ways to save money while traveling below and you’re on your way to being a savvy traveler.

How to Travel on a Budget: 15 Money Saving Ways for More Travel

1  – Make Money While Traveling

Being able to earn while traveling is obviously the best way to not spend on ‘travel’ as you’re basically working in your vacation destination, either part-time or full-time. If you can combine this with a free stay and airline miles, then you’re just about traveling for free.

Ideas on how to make money while traveling are:

  • Be self-employed as a digital nomad.
  • Find a side gig, like creating and selling e-products or being a part-time virtual assistant, that you can do remotely to earn money while traveling.
  • Be employed with a company that doesn’t care where you are located.
  • Use programs like Workaway to ‘pay’ you buy way of free accommodations while you lend a hand.
Lady on phone and working while traveling
Digital nomads can work anywhere in the world

For those who cannot so easily earn while traveling, the following 14 ways to travel on a budget all comprise of top budget travel tips to squeeze every penny to reduce your travel expenses and increase your travelling budget.

2 – Plan Travel and Book Ahead

  • Research and compare prices for flights, accommodations, and transportation.
  • Consider traveling during off-peak seasons for better deals.
  • Utilize price comparison websites and travel apps to find the best deals.
  • Book your airline tickets a year in advance for cheap flights

I took an extensive Europe trip in the spring of 2017. I planned for a year, booked hotels and the major bus and train legs between countries well in advance, and I used my airline miles for the roundtrip. 

I paid $7,000 for 7 countries in 7 1/2 weeks and didn’t skimp a bit on all of the big bucket list attractions and tours, had a nice private room every night in an ideal city center location, ate out every day and night, and brought home plenty of gifts (including shipping home a case of Italian wine). It just takes planning and travel budgeting.

3 – Use Travel Rewards and Travel Credit Cards

  • Sign up for new airline, hotel, or travel credit card reward programs.
  • Use existing points for airlines and hotels for free or discounted flights and stays, or the occasional upgrade.
  • Book with a credit card that provides the best insurance and loss coverages to avoid having to purchase extra travel insurance.
  • Use a credit card (and debit card) with no overseas transaction fees and avoid unnecessary ATM fees
Inside airport is easier to navigate traveling alone
Use credit card and airline deals for a better travel experience

4 – Choose Affordable Accommodations

Think outside the box on your stay to extend your travel budget:

  • Consider staying at a budget-friendly accommodations like hostels, guesthouses, or vacation rentals.
  • Look for discounted rates, deals, promotions or freebies offered by hotels or online booking platforms.
  • Avoid the single supplement fee if possible.
  • See if your hotel of choice has a special rate for certain days or type of room.
Hotel Lis Biaxa breakfast Lisbon Portugal
A breakfast inclusion could save you money

5 – Choose Accommodation Amenities Wisely

Prioritize your needed amenities and book around the ones that will give you the best deals.

  • Take the hotel or hostel with breakfast inclusion (if it’s a good price) and save that piece of fruit for a snack later.
  • Get a fridge and coffee/tea maker in your hotel room to allow for milk for coffee, cold snacks, saving leftovers, or chilling a bottle of wine.
  • Ask if your hotel gives free drink tickets in the onsite bar or access to free daily happy hour.

6 – Explore Alternative Accommodations

Save even more by staying for free by:

Last year I stayed 7 weeks in the beach areas of west Los Angeles, during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, for free by house and pet sitting through TrustedHousitters. That saved me at least $10,000 in hotels.

Want to do the same? Use this link and get 25% off TrustedHousesitters membership.

New York City building murals
Stay with a local in any location

7 – Save on Airline Transportation

There are multiple ways to save money while traveling by reducing your airline fare and fees.

  • Use airline miles to book.
  • Get airline miles donated to you by family and friends.
  • Be flexible with your airport locations, departure and arrival dates and times, even be prepared to get bumped on a flight for a heavily discounted ticket.
  • Pick your destination early and set a price alert for ideal routes, days and times.
  • Fly during the week and far away from holidays.
  • Book directly through a different international carrier serving your destination.

8 – Save on Ground Transportation

Not only how to travel cheap, these transportation methods are also eco-friendly:

  • Use public transportation instead of transfers, ride shares, taxis or rental cars.
  • Book affordable (and eco-friendly) transportation like buses or trains instead of flying.
  • Stay strategically so you can walk or rent a bike to avoid further bus or train tickets.
  • Try Carpoolworld for free transportation.
people walking Promenade des Anglais Nice France
Walk as much as possible to see the sights

9 – Eat Like a Local

Employing these money tips daily really helps save money on food to reduce your solo travel budget:

  • Try local street food instead of sit-down dining for a cheaper, authentic local meal.
  • Shop at markets to save on meals and expensive items like alcohol.
  • Cook your meals if you have a kitchenette or hostel kitchen facilities.
  • Avoid dining in the touristy areas near major attractions where prices are higher.

10 – Adjust Your Dining Strategy

Here are more easy travel cheap tips that don’t make you feel like you’re skimping:

  • Bring your own snacks, tea bags, flavored water sticks, etc. to avoid buying drinks and food in the airport, on the plane or while walking around town.
  • Eat a bigger lunch and avoid dinner.
  • Eat at happy hours with nice cocktail to save on high dinner prices.
  • Use apps like Yelp to find cheap eats and read the reviews to see what you get.
  • Combine your dining and exploration with a well-priced food walking tour.
  • On a multi-city trip, save the dining out for the smaller towns and use the tips above for dining in the larger, more expensive cities.
food and wine lete sunset bar patio at sunset Zakynthos
Dine on happy hour fare and a cocktail

11 – Find Free or Low-Cost Activities

How to travel cheap? Find free things to do.

  • Research free attractions, museums, or parks in the destination.
  • Take advantage of museums’ free weekly or monthly entry day.
  • Look for free walking tours.
  • Engage in outdoor activities like going to the beach or parks, hiking, or cycling.
  • Take a self-guided day trip using public transportation instead of a high-priced group tour.

12 – Use Memberships and Coupons

A little bit of research can go a long way when you budget for a trip.

  • Search for travel coupons or discount codes for attractions, restaurants, or activities.
  • Consider joining a new travel club, like AAA, if the benefits outweigh the costs.

13 – Stay Connected Affordably

Reducing your tech expenses is an deal way to travel on a budget.

  • Utilize free Wi-Fi available in public places or accommodations.
  • Purchase a local SIM card or using international data plans to avoid expensive roaming charges.
  • Use messaging apps like WhatsApp or social media platforms, like Facebook messaging, for communication instead of making costly international calls.

14 – Pack Light and Wisely

  • Travel carry-on only to avoid check-on baggage fees.
  • Research airline baggage policies and stay within baggage size and weight for your carry-on and personal item bags to avoid extra fees when traveling internationally.
  • Bring your own reusable water bottle and utensils that save on rebuying disposable items as well as reduce plastic trash.

15 – Ask the Locals

  • Ask the locals, your tour guide, or your hotel staff to get recommendations on budget-friendly dining options, transportation tips, and where to find the hidden gem attractions that produce discounts but also a more authentic travel experience.


Whether you’ve started your solo trip or getting ready to, it’s never too late to find ways to save money on travel.

Budgeting strategically for travel, followed with money saving and budget travel tips and tracking your expenses while you solo travel, are sure ways to do more traveling while on a budget and get more adventure.

Let Me Hear From You

I would love to hear if these 15 ways to travel on a budget were helpful. Post me your thoughts or questions in the Comments section below. Thank you!

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