Posted: 4/8/2021 | April 8th, 2021
As vaccinations increase and testing becomes easier, lots of parts of the world will be open to travel again soon.
After over a year of restrictions and lockdowns due to COVID, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
It won’t happen anywhere all at once and, what does happen, will be limited at first. But, as the year progresses, a lot more and a lot more of the world will open up and we’ll be able to do that thing that brings us so much joy: travel.
But, even with travel happening again, when you are starved for time or money (or both), travel can seem like a pipe dream. A wish that might never be fulfilled, no matter what the world looks like.
Luckily, there has been a wave of positive developments for those who want to travel more: more affordable airfare, a lot more deal-finding web sites (and other information) online, complimentary walking excursions in a lot more cities, and a lot more opportunities to bypass the standard travel infrastructure and connect directly into the local way of life by means of the sharing economy.
Most of that infrastructure will return in a post-COVID travel world. And, due to travel companies needing cash, there’s also a lot of money-saving deals ideal now, helping to make future trips affordable.
So, as the world starts to ever so slowly reopen, I want to share some ideas and tricks on how to travel on a budget this year!
1. change Your Mindset
Changing your mindset might not be a standard budget tip, but it’s crucial nonetheless. regularly remind yourself that travel is possible while taking concrete steps to make it a reality. action begets action — even if it’s just baby steps.
Start with a “yes, I can” mindset. Don’t think “I can’t travel” — think “What’s one thing I can do today to make my trip closer to reality?”
Life is a mental game. Do one thing each day that gets you closer to your trip and you’ll find yourself building unstoppable momentum.
2. Come Up with a savings Plans
Unless you’re bill Gates, we all need to save a lot more money. but how do you do that? While life is expensive, I do believe there are always ways to save a little more. There’s always something you can cut. A little bit of savings adds up a lot over time.
Get into the routine of putting money into your travel fund frequently — even if it’s just a few dollars a week. Every little penny will help. The a lot more you save, the a lot more you want to save. It sort of becomes a game. It’s no longer a chore.
Here are some articles on how to save money:
22 ways to cut Your expenses and have money for Travel
The utmost guide to traveling Cheap
How Michael saved $14k in 6 Months Making $9 Per Hour
How I find the money to Travel
3. score a flight Deal
One of the things that people always tell me holds them back from traveling a lot more is the cost of flights. But, let me tell you, there’s a lot of deals ideal now.
All the airlines are trying to fill planes and are using a lot of deals for summer and fall travel ideal now. After all, they need to make up for a lost year and are desperate to get people on planes.
The crucial to finding a low-cost flight is to be flexible with your dates and your destination. If you have your heart set on “Paris in June” you’ll be forced to pay whatever the flight costs. But, if you open that up to “France in the summer” — or even “Europe in the summer” you’ll be able to find much more affordable flights considering that you’ll have a lot a lot more wiggle room to test dates and destinations.
I like to use Google Flights and Skyscanner to browse my options. I type in my home city and then pick “everywhere” as my destination. I then base my plans around where I can fly to for the least amount of money.
However, if you don’t want to do that (I think it’s a best Friday night activity), you can check out some of the following web sites that search for deals and email them to you:
Scott’s low-cost Flights – the best web site for finding flight deals from the US
The flight deal – extraordinary deals for flights all around the world
Secret flying – another site with amazing flight deals from around the globe (they find a lot of Asia/Africa/South America deals not found elsewhere)
4. get Points!
Travel hacking, the art of collecting points and miles, is a terrific way to travel on a budget. By getting point-yielding credit scores cards and using a few basic techniques, you can get hundreds of thousands of miles — without any additional spending. These points can then be cashed in for complimentary flights, complimentary hotel stays, and other travel rewards.
I’ve earned many complimentary flights, upgrades, and hotel stays from travel hacking. By optimizing my spending and paying attention to which cards earn the most points where, I’ve saved thousands of dollars — and you can too!
Here are some resources to help you begin:
How I earn 1 Million frequent Flier Miles Every Year
The utmost guide to picking the best travel credit scores Card
The utmost guide to travel Hacking
Even if you aren’t American, you still have options, as points and miles have gone global:
Points Hack (Australia/New Zealand)
Head for points (UK)
Canadian Kilometers (Canada)
5. use the Sharing Economy
The sharing economy has led to a plethora of new money-saving and community-building platforms that have made travel even a lot more affordable, personal, and accessible. It’s never been much easier to get off the vacationer trail, connect with locals, and experience their pace of life. I live by these web sites when I travel! You must too.
Here are some of the best sharing economy sites to help you get started:
Airbnb – the best platform for finding rooms, apartments, and homes for rent by locals.
Couchsurfing – terrific for finding complimentary accommodation (often on people’s couches) and meeting travelers/locals. The hangout feature on the app is my favorite, as you can see who is around to meet up.
Trusted Housesitters – the most detailed web site to find house-sitting gigs. You enjoy a place on holiday while the homeowner is on vacation.
EatWith – allows you to eat home-cooked meals with locals (it’s the Airbnb of food). It always leads to interesting encounters, so it’s one of my favorite things to do.
BlaBlaCar – A ridesharing app that pairs motorcyclists with verified locals who have a spare seat in their car.
RVShare – allows you to rent RVs and campervans directly from locals.
6. find the Free!
The world is awash with amazing complimentary travel resources (like this website) that can help you travel on a budget. No matter where you are going, there’s probably a blog post on what to do and see there for complimentary or cheaply. someone has been there and they’ve written about it! Make the best use of all of them to help you plan your trip.
My favorite search term is “free things to do in X.” You’ll always get a result!
Additionally, don’t be terrified to walk into a hostel — even if you aren’t staying there — and ask them what to do for cheap. Their clientele is budget sensitive, so they always know what to do and where to choose little money.
Local tourism boards will also have tons of info on complimentary things to do as well (more on that below).
7. stick to Public transportation
If you’re on a budget, skip the taxis and rideshares like Lyft or Uber. Unless you can lower your cost by sharing a ride with other passengers, public transportation is going to be the most economical way to get around. Not only will it save you money but you’ll get to see how the locals travel too.
Google Maps normally can give you a basic introduction of the public transportation options and prices available. You can find information about day passes and/or multiday passes from your local hostel/hotel staff (as well as from local tourism offices). For low-cost intercity travel information, check out Rome2Rio.
8. use local tourism Offices
Local vacationer offices are a wealth of knowledge. They exist solely to supply you with information on what to see and do. They typically have tons of discounts not found anywhere else and can also keep you updated on local events, complimentary tours, and the best spots to eat. They can help you find public transportation discounts and/or multiday passes too.
Don’t skip the local vacationer office! They are a significantly underutilized resource.
9. get low-cost Accommodation
Accommodation is one of the greatest fixed costs travelers have, so minimizing that cost can cause big savings on the road. I’m sure lots of backpackers would sleep in a barn if it were the least expensive accommodation they could find! Heck, I’ve slept in hammocks in national parks to save a buck!
Since you have to stay somewhere every night, minimizing this expense can save you a lot of money off the total cost of your trip. stay in hostels, use Couchsurfing, stay in empty university dorms, camp, or try an Airbnb.
Since there’s a lot of ways to cut your accommodation costs, here are my articles on how to get accommodation deals:
How to find the best apartment or condo Rental
How to find low-cost and complimentary Accommodation
How to Crush it on Couchsurfing
And here are the web sites I use to book low-cost places to stay:
Booking.com – For finding budget hotels and guesthouses.
Hostelworld – the best site for finding hostels.
Agoda – another terrific hotel website, specifically for Asia.
Hotel Tonight – uses discounted last-minute hotel stays.
Airbnb – For finding private rooms, entire apartments, and homes for rent by locals.
10. eat Cheap
Other than accommodation, food is one of the greatest travel costs. After all, everyone needs to eat. but there are lots of ways to eat on the cheap:
Go grocery shopping and prepare your own meals
Shop at local markets
Use apps to find deals (Yelp, Seamless, LaForchette, TasteCard, RiceBowl)
Also, use the five-block rule. There seems to be this magical wall that surrounds vacationer areas. a lot of people don’t go past it. It’s been my experience that if you walk five blocks in any direction from a major vacationer area, you end up losing the crowds and finding the local restaurants.
In my experience, vacationer restaurants don’t care about quality considering that those tourists aren’t coming back. Residents do care so places catering to them need to be better — and a lot more affordable – or they go out of business. Those are the places you want to eat at. use the above resources to find where the locals eat and avoid crappy food!
Check out these articles for ideas on eating low-cost around the world:
How to eat low-cost around the World
How to eat around the world on a Plant-Based Diet
11. travel like You Live
The majority of people in your destinations don’t spend lots of money per day like tourists do. Neither do you in your day-to-day life. So take that mentality with you. Walk, take public transportation, grocery shop, spend a day in a park, and look for deals. Do the things you do at home each day to keep your costs down.
Too lots of people get into this mindset that when they go on the road, they just have to spend, spend, spend, spend. That’s not true at all. There’s no law that says you have to spend more. Be smart with your budget — just like you are at home. That will help you save money and stop you from going home early broke.
12. work & Volunteer to lower Your Expenses
If you’re a long-term traveler, consider volunteering or doing a work exchange to lower your costs. There are tons of options out there such as farm stays, working in hostels, teaching in schools, and more.
You’ll normally need to commit for a week or more, however, these opportunities enable you to get a much deeper and a lot more nuanced travel experience. here are some web sites to help you find suitable opportunities:
WWOOF – WWOOF (World large opportunities on organic Farms) is a program that connects you with farms all around the world where you can work in exchange for room and board.
Worldpackers – Worldpackers uses travelers a chance to find volunteer experiences overseas. In addition to hostels, they can help you find experiences with NGOs, homestays, and eco-projects all over the world!
Helpx – like Worldpackers, Helpx uses exchanges such as farmstays, homestays, B&Bs, hostels, and sail boats.
Workaway – Workaway is a lot like HelpX except it has a lot more paid job opportunities (though it has volunteer opportunities too).
In the world before COVID, the world was full of different ways to travel on a budget. In the world post-COVID, these ways will all eventually come back. Some might not ideal away due to social distancing policies and consumer comfort but they will be there.
But, no matter what, there will be plenty of ways to travel this year. As the world reopens, start planning your trip. There’s a lot of demand and you don’t want to get stuck missing the deals! Take that first step. action begets action. once you start moving, everything else gets easier.
How to travel the world on $50 a Day
My new York Times best-selling paperback guide to world travel will show you how to master the art of travel so that you’ll get off the beaten path, save money, and have a deeper travel experience. It’s your A to Z planning guide that the BBC called the “bible for budget travelers.”
Click here to learn a lot more and start reading it today!
Book Your Trip: Logistical ideas and Tricks
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Find a low-cost flight by using Skyscanner. It’s my favorite search engine because it searches web sites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned.
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You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the least expensive rates for guesthouses and hotels.
Don’t forget travel Insurance
Travel insurance will secure you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s detailed protection in