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51 Tips to Travel on a Budget and Save Money When Traveling

Updated: Dec 29, 2023

Are you planning a trip abroad soon? You might be wondering if there are ways to save money while travelling. In this article, I'll show you how to travel with a budget by giving you all the tips to find cheap ways to travel.

Because we don't have to be rich to travel the world, I always do my best to save money to travel more.

how to travel on a budget, aeroport

You've always wanted to travel but never had the funds. Now you have an opportunity to do just that. Learn how to travel on a budget!

I have 18 years of experience, so here is my list of 51 tips to travel on a budget without breaking the bank.

what is the cheapest way to travel? by plane

What is the cheapest way to travel?

The cheapest way to travel is most of the time by plane. It depends on how far you have to go. The best way to save money when traveling is always to research all the possible ways to reach your destination and choose the best option for your type of travel.

Most of the time, traveling by plane is the cheapest and fastest option. I always check all the possible ways on the Omio website to find the best travel transport between airplane, bus, and train, and the opportunity to book my ticket right there.

get a good travel insurance

Tips: As soon as you book your next adventure, buy good travel insurance in case you need to “unfortunately” delay, extend or cancel your trip.

I recommend SafetyWing. An excellent insurance company to cover everything about your travel.

*Disclosure: This article contains a few affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you, I guarantee, if you purchase through my links. See it as a way to thank me and support my travel blog for all the information I provide.

If you like this article, feel free to leave a comment below and share it with your friends; maybe someone you know is planning to travel on a budget.

*All links in every article open on a new page, so you won’t lose this page while looking around!

Read Travel On A Budget: 51 Tips on How To Save Money When Traveling Abroad


budapest hungary parliament

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budget for a travel

1. Decide a budget and respect it:

It is easy to plan a budget and spend a lot more. The best way to travel on a budget is by deciding a budget, subtracting flights and accommodation costs, attractions tickets, and transport. And then, divide what you have left by the days you are traveling.

The result will be your money for food and extra daily. I advise you to always save a bit more than you planned, just in an emergency.

The first thing to do is find the best cheap travel destinations near your country.

travel off season
Me and my parents in Sardinia in September. It was cheaper with fewer tourists than in high season and still warm.

2. Travel offseason:

During high season everything is more expensive, and most of the cheapest flights and accommodations are always booked in advance (some travelers book their accommodations even one year in advance).

That is why traveling offseason is one of the best ways to travel on a budget.

Use the widget below to search for low-budget flights to save money!

During high season, all destinations can be very crowded and, in my opinion, less appealing to my eyes.

Do you prefer to wait 1 hour in line to see a museum or only 5 minutes or even none?

How does a famous place look for a picture if it is full of tourists? I prefer it when it is almost empty, but this is just my point of view (and I don't always want to wake up at 6 am to get those empty square pictures).

book your travel a lot in advance

3. Book a lot in advance:

The earlier, the better. So as soon as you decide when to go on holiday, start to plan. This is the best way to find the cheapest rates on both flights and accommodations and the most brilliant way to budget your trip.

Do your research and book everything you have to. The Cheapest Hotels are going to be all available, and when a flight has not been searched too much, it is always cheaper.

4. Choose your destination carefully:

It depends on where you live, where you want to go and if your country's money value is more substantial than your destination or weaker.

There are some countries where everything is very cheap and others where everything is costly so do your research. That is why looking for the best affordable travel destinations near your country is essential.

madeira island, natural pools
Madeira Island, natural pools

5. Choose a less famous destination:

Capitals are always more expensive than the other cities, but some other vacation spots in remote places can be costly too. Choose wisely and keep in mind that small cities and towns are hidden beautiful places.

I went to Madeira, in the middle of the Atlantic ocean and was shocked to find out it is a less-known island that you can visit with a very low budget.

travel when you don't need a visa, passport

6. Choose a destination that doesn't require you to buy a visa:

Avoiding applying for a Visa is one of the best ways to travel on a budget. Some visas can be quite expensive, so if you are looking to save money everywhere, I advise you to choose a country that does not require you to pay for a visa.

rent a car in hungary

7. If you travel by car, find a friend or two to travel with you:

Renting a car (if you cannot travel with one) and paying for insurance and petrol can be expensive in some countries, but it is more affordable if you share the cost with your friends.

Use the Widget below to get some discounted car rentals!

be flexible when planning your holiday

8. Be flexible if you can:

Another cheap way to travel is by being flexible.

If you can book your travel anytime you want, lucky you! This way, you can check when flights are cheaper and book to leave for your holiday anytime and come back when you want.

use jetradar to book your flight

9. Use Skyscanner or Jetradar to find the cheapest flights deals:

These are the fantastic websites I use to find flight tickets. The research is extensive and fast, and you can find the best deals. Check out Skyscanner to find your next flight and save money.

10. Check the costs of a not direct flight:

Direct flights are the best ones because you get there straight away. But what if you find one with only 2 hours stop that can make you save money?

Or, if you have a couple of extra days, you can opt for flights with long layovers to save money and have 24 hours or more to explore another city on the way (this is a very excellent idea!).

flight on tuesday and wednesday

11. Flight on Tuesday or Wednesday:

This is what I always try to do, flights on Tuesday and Wednesday are always cheaper, and in this way, you can stay for 7 or 8 days saving money and avoid travelling on the busy Saturdays and Sundays.

travel credit card

12. Get a travel credit card:

With a travel credit card, you can collect points and turn them into a free flight or hotel room, so check them out and choose the best one for you.

Check out

frequent flyer program

13. Join a frequent flyer program:

Many airlines offer this program, so if you usually fly with one that provides it, do not hesitate to use it. It cal help you get a free flight in the future.

travel with a carry on bag

14. Travel with only a carry-on bag:

A good tip for travelling on a budget is to travel only with a carry-on bag. Most airlines include a carry-on bag of a max of 10 kg and a handbag (or small backpack) in the ticket price.

So think if you need to travel with a 25 kg trolley because most of the time, you do not. This way, you can save something like 50-80 euro/$ that you can spend to have fun while travelling.

15. Look for accommodation on as many websites as you can:

Look for as many as possible ways to get cheap accommodation. I usually open my favorite accommodation websites like Agoda and Booking.

They are all great websites. They offer very affordable accommodations with free wifi, a kitchen or breakfast included most of the time.

save money by staying in a hostel and share a room
Publove The White Ferry Hostel in London

16. Be willing to share accommodation:

If you want to find the cheapest accommodation while travelling alone (or even with your friends), a Hostel is what you are looking for.

They can be very friendly, clean, organized, and located in the city centre to save money on transport. You need to look for them on Hostelworld, check the recent reviews, cleanliness, safety etc., and you will love your stay.

Keep in mind that for every place I wrote about, I also created an article with the cheapest accommodation in that destination. So check them out in Destination. Let me help you to travel on a budget!

Use the widget down below to find the best Hostel for your vacation!

Tip: I know it can be scary to stay in a Hostel for the first time, I had many doubts about it before booking my first one too. But I always booked the best rated and I must say that I never had a single problem.

I always met so many other travelers that I was never alone, and we planned to visit the place we were together.

17. Hostels offer free food sometimes:

Another idea for traveling on a budget is to find ways to eat cheaply or for free.

In some Hostels, you will find free pizza night or bbq night. Sometimes they offer a happy hour with free food includes (you pay for your drink, and they give you something to eat with it)

This is an excellent opportunity to enjoy free or very cheap food and meet other travelers.

hostels fridge

18. In a Hostel, look for the free food left by previous travelers:

If your Hostel provides a kitchen for guests, ask if there is a place where they keep anything left from previous travelers. You will be surprised about how much food you can find.

It can be anything, so check the expiry date, avoid open food like yogurt or anything that people could have eaten straight from the container, and make your lunch.

Once I found half a pack of rice, some courgettes, olive oil, salt, and some dry basil, I made a courgette risotto for myself and the other three travelers I was sharing the room with, and all for free.

use couch surfing to travel for free

19. Consider Couchsurfing:

Couchsurfing is a great way to save money when traveling and find accessible accommodations.

I used it during my tour of Spain to meet people (I was not sure about sleeping in other people's houses at the beginning, so I stayed in Hostels). You can contact people who host or are only available to meet for a drink. Just read their reviews first.

I met so many great people. Some also took a day off to spend time with me to show me their city. It was a wonderful experience.

During my south of England tour, I used it to find free accommodation (because I met so many great people in Spain that I wasn't scared anymore about it), and it was an enjoyable experience.

I cooked Italian dishes for them in exchange for their couches or guestrooms, and they were all very pleased.

book the first flight in the morning to save money

20. Book the first flight in the morning:

The first flights of the day are always cheaper, but also very early so you might have to wake up at 3 am to catch them, but you might save a lot of money.

Think that you can always sleep during the flight as I do. Just sleep early in the evening and avoid coffee at the airport. By doing this, you will wake up at your destination fresh and ready to explore.

I always check for my flights on Skyscanner, which shows you all available flights.

always travel with a prepaid card, revolut

21. Get a prepaid card:

I never leave for a trip without my Revolut card. I genuinely believe it is the best available. It is connected to your phone by its app, so you can load it anytime you need it.

You can exchange money in the local values at the best rate and avoid paying the extra fee at the ATM. I use it to pay for almost everything while traveling because it is the best travel option.

Do you need some Travel Tips?

How do you pack for your next travel and budget for a solo or couple's trip?

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22. Get travel insurance:

If you do not want to end up paying for something you have not planned, like an emergency, health care, delays etc., get good travel insurance and do not NEVER leave for a trip without one.

I recommend you use VisitorsCoverage for short trips up to 1 month and SafetyWing for trips longer than a month.

23. Get as much information about backpacking as you can:

Backpacking is not for everyone, so make sure it is for you. It is an excellent way of saving money, but there are so many things you have to know before doing it; otherwise, you might make mistakes that could ruin your travel.

walk instead of using public transport

24. Walk instead of taking public transport:

Walking is so good and healthy and will also help you keep fit. I always book accommodation not too far from the city centre so I can walk everywhere I have to go, without spending money on transport.

This is a very cheap way to travel and explore a place.

25. Rent a bicycle or a scooter if you have to go further:

Unless you have to ride for 50 kilometers, rent a bike (unless you love cycling).

It is much cheaper than a car or a daily travel card. You will keep yourself fit, and you will also get there faster than on foot. And most of all, it is fun!

Tip: If planning to visit Budapest, keep in mind that there are many cycling line along the river, where to enjoy a fabulous view!

searching tips to travel on a budget

26. Do your research before departure:

Do not leave without searching for the place you are going to visit. How to get from the airport to your accommodation the cheapest way, how to move around, the check-in time, the climate (better knowing what to wear so you won't have to purchase clothes), the food, people, customs, etc.

ask other travellers tips and advise for travelling

27. Ask other travelers tips about your destination:

If you know someone who has been where you are going, ask for some tips.

Or check some travelers' blogs. I, unfortunately, have not been everywhere in the world (I wish!) but have a look if I have been to your next destination.

If you are lucky, I have. So check out all the tips and information I wrote for you. I love to go into details, so you will probably find all the information you need on my travel blog.

look for free activities

28. Look for free activities or classes:

There are always some activities or some classes that are available at your accommodation or online. So check them out. You might end up in a complimentary wine tasting or a free surf class and meet other travellers.

free British museum of London

29. Look for free places to visit:

In many capitals, there are free museums (London, for example, has many) that you can visit for free or at the cost of a donation (can be just 1$).

Some are small museums, but others are big and famous. There are some cities where some museums are accessible on the first Monday of the month (for example) or like the Vatican Museums that are free on the last Sunday of the month.

If you can choose when to travel, you can do it when the attractions you want to see are free. But be aware the line can be pretty long, so wake up early and be there a lot before opening time.

look for free tour guide when travelling

30. Look for free guide tours or plan them by yourself:

Hostels and Information offices often offer a free guided tour, so do not lose the chance to do it.

It will also allow you to meet other travelers and make new friends. If you prefer to plan your city tour by yourself as I do, check out my Destinations and get all the information you need for your next vacation.

bring a reusable bottle with you when travelling

31. Bring with you a reusable bottle and a coffee cup:

Water and coffee can be expensive in some countries. If you travel with a reusable bottle, you can refill it as soon as you pass the airport checks and then fill it at your accommodation or in a drinkable water fountain (if available).

In many places, tap water is even better than bottled one, so you will drink it better and cheaper. About the coffee cup, you can refill it at your accommodation for breakfast and then carry it with you and drink it during the day.

32. Pack a sandwich for lunch:

While having breakfast, prepare a sandwich and grab some fruits to take with you during the day.

Just enough of what you need; remember that other people need to have breakfast, so do not go crazy. In this way, you will have free for the day: water, coffee; a sandwich; and some healthy fruits.

That means free lunch.

33. Look for happy hour places that also offer food:

In many countries, you will find some bars that offer a happy hour with a free buffet. (like Italy and Spain).

For usually 10 euros, you can get a drink and eat as much as you want. And you will also meet the locals and other travelers.

34. Avoid tourist traps:

In every big city, there are tourist traps like typical restaurants for tourists that offer you (not always, but very often) low-quality food for a higher price.

Usually, they have someone good-looking at their entrance handling a menu and trying to get you in.

Other ones are souvenir shops or other little shops selling everything, from souvenirs, to drinks and food. They are probably much more expensive if they are near a tourist area.

Please avoid them. You can find the same items for half the price or even less on more minor touristic streets. For example, in Rome, in front of the San Pietro Basilica, they sell 0,5 L of water for 2 euros, while in a supermarket, it costs only 0,50 cents.

 be aware of pick pockets when travelling

35. Be aware of local scams and pickpockets:

There are different scams for tourists in every country, so do your research and be always prepared to keep your eyes open and never lower your guard.

Have a look at my list of all the locations I have visited if I have been there. I also made a list of the mistakes you must be aware of.

Check out

eat far form the main roads

36. Eat far from the main roads:

The main streets are always packed with tourists, restaurants and shops that, only because they are on the main road, will charge you much more than expected, so avoid them.

If you are looking for a local place where to eat, do your research, ask your accommodation staff where they usually eat, or if you are lucky that I have been there, check out my blog because I always make a list of all the best local places where to eat for every budget.

when travelling, learn the local language

37. Learn the local language:

I am not saying to start studying one year before your travel and learn it as a second language.

Try to learn some basic sentences with Duolingo. It will help you communicate with locals, ask for suggestions, order food at local markets, and hopefully avoid being charged incorrectly just because you are a tourist.

38. Ask for some advice from locals:

They know it better because they live there and know (hopefully) many ways to save money.

Just ask, don't be shy, reach them with a big smile, be king, and say some words in their local language. They will appreciate it, and they will surely help you and give you suggestions about your travel.

learn how to haggle

39. Learn to haggle:

It is customary to haggle in shops and markets in many countries, so try your best to lower the prices.

Most of the time, the price they give you is at least four times higher. Remember to be kind, it is their country so always respect them, if they don't want to lower it more than what they just did, don't insist too much, it is their salary you are talking about, they have to live too.

40. Choose the lunch meal deal at the restaurant:

The lunch meal deal is only the same menu they offer at dinner but a reduced price.

They do it to attract more customers, and it is usually a bargain, so try it out.

Choosing a lunch meal deal is a great way to save money when traveling but still eat delicious local food.

new york cafe budapest hungary

41. Eat local:

Local food is always cheaper and one of the best ways to learn more about a country.

It is one of the reasons I love traveling. I constantly research as much as possible to find the best local restaurant where the locals eat. They are the best at the best price.

In the picture above I was at the New York Cafe' in Budapest that is a very famous place where to get a creamy hot chocolate and delicious cakes. But it is expensive. In Budapest you will find many local bakeries where to eat very good and cheap pastries.

sausages in budapest market

42. Get some meals at the local market:

Every city market offers hot food to eat on the spot or to take away, so if you want to eat local but cheap, local markets are your lunch spot. You will pay only for the food, avoiding the extra costs of the restaurant.

buy your dinner at the supermarket

43. Buy your dinner at the supermarket:

An excellent way to save money when traveling is to buy food at the supermarket for dinner.

You can always find delicious local food that needs to be cooked or is ready to eat. It all depends on your accommodation. If you don't have a kitchen or a microwave to warm up your food, you can always opt for something cold to enjoy while saving money.

travel tips

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cook at your accommodation if there is a kitchen

44. Choose to cook at your accommodation if it provides a kitchen:

Cook at your accommodation is an excellent way to save money if you like to cook. And in this way, you can eat whatever you want. Buy the ingredients at the supermarket or the local markets and prepare your meal yourself.

Tip: If you have an accommodation with a fridge just for yourself (in case you book an apartment to share with your friends or partner) do a big shopping, and spend a few hours to cook your meals for the whole week. So you won't have to cook every day, but just warm it up.

find a job while you travel

45. Find a job while you travel:

This is a good way of traveling for a long time. Many Hostels offer free accommodation to people willing to work shifts.

It could be as a cleaner, receptionist or preparing breakfast. This way, you can stay there for free, work a few hours a day and explore the area as much as possible.

Another fantastic way to travel while you work is to find a remote job so that you can work from anywhere in the world.

46. Get a local sim card or only use free wifi:

Using the internet abroad can be crazy expensive in some countries, so do your research about sim cards.

You can sometimes order it online and deliver it at home before your travel or buy it at the airport when you arrive. Another way is to use the free wifi as I usually do.

Make sure that wifi is available at your accommodation without any extra costs. It is most of the time available at coffee shops, restaurants, and as in London, at the tube stations.

Remember that Starbucks, Costa, McDonald and other big chains offer free wifi.

Travel Tip: always download on Google Maps the map of the city/area you are visiting. In this way, you can still use it to explore your destination without using data.


47. Collect memories instead of objects:

I know that souvenirs are often beautiful but think if you need them.

I made the massive mistake of collecting mugs and other souvenirs when I started traveling alone (I mean, without my parents). And during my south of Spain tour, I had 5 kilograms more to carry only because of the souvenirs (crazy, I know).

At some point, I stopped because I had so many mugs at home I could open a coffee shop (I am not joking, guys). Now I prefer to frame a good picture of every travel and keep it around my flat. It brings me more memories than a mug.

48. Claim tax back if you can:

Many countries offer this option for tourists, so check if this option is available in the country you visit. It can be an excellent way to get some money back.

don't buy souvenirs when travelling on a budget

49. Do not buy souvenirs for all your family and friends:

Buying souvenirs for all my family and friends is something I have never done unless there was some local food I know my friends would have loved.

I prefer to have home a souvenir of a county I visited, not one of a country I have never been to. I received some souvenirs from friends, and now if someone comes to visit me and see them, they ask me how that holiday was. Still, unfortunately, I have no idea because it is a souvenir I received from someone else holiday.

So remember that not everybody likes to receive your travel souvenir, so ask them first. You have no idea how much money you can save.

If you want to buy something for your family and friends, if you know they love food, it is good to buy something they can drink or eat (as I always do and my friends love it more than a magnet).

I still have some delicious liquors left from my travels to Greece, the Caribbean, Capo Verde etc.

Please look at my articles on What to Buy in every place I have visited. So you will already know what could be a good souvenir for you and your loved ones.

to save money, don't buy souvenirs at the airport

50. Do not buy souvenirs or local food at the airport:

Do it only if you still have local currency or want to buy liquids and travel only with a carry-on bag.

Otherwise, leave it. Airports are always so overpriced. If I know that in the country I am visiting there are some liquids (alcohol, sauces or jams) I wish to bring back home and I travel with friends, I ask them if they would like to purchase something as I do so we can pay for only one luggage to check-in and share the price.

In this way, we can put all the liquids we want inside and share the transportation cost.

Example: In the Canary Island, my friend Pamela and I wanted to buy some liquids, like local rum, jams, and sauces. So we brought one foldable bag I used to carry my items to go back home, and I checked in my trolley with everything we purchased at the supermarket. The rum cost was 10 euros per bottle at the supermarket, while at the airport, it was 20 euros for a bottle. By purchasing 2 bottles of Rhum, we saved 20 euros, which was the exact cost of the check-in bag.

Travel Tips: If you are like me and know you will want to bring home local food or other things, always leave some room in your luggage.

bring your own food at the airport

51. Bring your food to the airport:

I never buy food at the airport or on a plane. It is so overpriced. An excellent way to save money when traveling is by going to the supermarket the day before departure. Make sandwiches, get some fruits, nuts, and crisps, and bring them. It will save you a lot of money.

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