Is money the only thing stopping you from traveling?
Do you just want to get out on a nice vacation but get scared when you look at the prices?
I have spent the past year trying to figure out how I could save money and potentially travel full time with the e-commerce business I have.
So there I was in the Netherlands, drinking some coffee and listening to my morning playlist full of calm relaxing songs.
I was only 18 years old at the time, living with a beautiful girl I had met in Budapest, Hungary.
My money was coming to an end and I began to stress due to not wanting to give up what had fallen in love with… Traveling of course.
I started to create a list of my expenses for nearly six months of traveling around the world. It included transportation, food, housing, and everything in between even if it was very inexpensive.
After a long list started to emerge, I put them in order from most expensive to least expensive. The items I spent most on each month were at the top.
So there I was. In the Netherlands with a list of my expenses. I started to think what this all meant.
Over the next month, I began eliminating things that I did not need and figuring out how I could cut down costs.
I knew I had to save but I did not want to sacrifice the crazy adventures and fun times with friends.
In the course of two months, I managed to cut my costs down to about $250/ month.
By the end of my travels, I consistently had weeks where I spent no more than $30. That is only $120 a month!
Here is how you can travel for under $200/month.
Food is very important in maintaining health and energy though lowering your food intake can save a lot of money.
I noticed as I started traveling how much I would overeat.
I would often eat past the point of being “full”.
As I became aware of this, I slowly started to cut back on how much food I was eating. Instead of eating a huge breakfast, I would have an egg and some fruit. Both giving you energy and good vitamins at the same time saving money on food.
Instead of snacking through the day on unhealthy foods, I snacked on fruit or nuts. This allowed me to stay full for longer. This will change person to person, though it is good to be aware of this. Maybe try cutting back before you start traveling and see how much food you really need.
- Intermittent fasting really changed eating for me.
Once I developed healthy eating habits, I began to save a lot of money.
- Another key to saving is actually buying and making your own food.
In Croatia, I could buy two weeks worth of food for $20.
I can’t tell you how much money I saved with this one thing alone.
It is also a very good idea to have a lightweight camp stove in order to cook your food. Amazon has tons to choose from but make sure it will be light enough to travel with.
Mine fits in my back pocket and heats things up with no problem.
It boils water in under 2 minutes!
- Make sure to drink water instead of soda or sugary beverages!
Sugary drinks are both unhealthy and expensive!!! Every once in a while it is not bad to treat yourself to a cold drink on a hot day or maybe you go get some dinner with friends you just met on your awesome adventure.
It is not bad to spend a little every once in a while! It is all about the experience.
2. Finding Places to Stay
The second way to save money is looking for the cheapest place to stay.
Now this may seem pretty self explanatory but hear me out.
- Working in exchange is an amazing opportunity.
During my travels, I was not just using websites and apps to find cheap prices. The key is actually reaching out to people. Call up some hostels and ask if you can work in exchange for a place to stay.
I met a guy in Budapest, Hungary that has been using this strategy since the first day he started traveling. He was getting places to stay, places to bathe, and was meeting tons of cool people for FREE!!! It is so easy to do. He even was getting a free meal at the end of the day.
Just start calling, emailing or even actually going into the hostels and asking if you can work in exchange for a place to stay.
There are so many hostels out there that are open to this. All he was doing was changing some sheets and sweeping. He didn’t even have to clean any bathrooms! I can’t express how valuable this is!
- Another way of finding a free place to stay is the CouchSurfing app.
It may seem a little sketchy but it is the complete opposite.
On the app, you must create a profile, add a picture of yourself and put in a short bio on why you are using the app. Many people get certified through the app by submitting two forms of identification. This is a one time payment of $60 which allows other people to see that the person using the profile is actually you. If you don’t have $60 to spend on this, don’t stress because you can also use it for free.
I actually used the free version of the app for about 3 months before I eventually just paid for the full version. Though many people would allow me to stay at their place when I was not verified, I got rejected so many times because of it.
People that have stayed at the houses of hosts will leave a comment or review on their profile so you can see how trustworthy they are. If they have bad reviews, then obviously don’t stay there.
There was this one time I was looking for a place to stay and in the bio of a person it said, “I can teach you how to fall asleep fast.” I am not kidding! I then did not bother trying to stay there.
Anyways this app is another great way of finding free places to stay and the people are often locals and will take you to the less touristy spots.
I have met many amazing people on this app and many lifelong friends that I will visit in the future. And remember, these are connections all around the world.
If I want to stay in Germany then I can contact my friends and have a FREE place to stay. This goes for all of Europe and many other parts of the world!
Traveling has many benefits.
- The last way of how to find free places to stay is through Airbnb.
Now this one is directed more towards photographers so if you want then skip down to the next one if this does not apply to you.
Airbnb allows you to message the people listing their houses. A key to getting a free Airbnb is to scroll through the listings in your area. Look for posts with lower quality photos that are too dark or grainy or maybe too bright where it is hard to see detail. Once you have a place, contact the host. Say something like, “hey my name is Allenii. I am a traveling photographer and I am offering professional pictures in return for one or two nights of stay,”. In my experience, about one out of every ten people would accept this but hey, it is worth a couple nights in a nice comfortable home! I have done this many times and now I get contacted by people wanting me to stay in their place in return for pictures!
Someone actually paid me 70 euros which is about 80 dollars. It doesn’t hurt to get out there.
The worse thing they will do is say no.
3. Research the Location
One thing I definitely did not do while starting traveling that I wish I did was checking the locations where I was planning on going.
You see, what I did (not recommended) was look online for a plane ticket, saw Ireland and was like, ‘hey that seems like a good place to start,’ and then I was off.
My friend has family there so that was another reason of the purchase but there was no research at all prior to the trip. I just arrived and saw the prices.
If you’re on a low budget then google places to go on a low budget. Say you have a little more money to spend, then look up places to travel and google the prices of that area.
It is a very simple way to travel cheap that most people look past.
Say you don’t have a lot of money and you decide you want to travel Norway. You’ll probably find yourself begging for money outside of a grocery store in a couple weeks because you didn’t realize the prices there can be 3–5 times more expensive as other places in Europe.
So get googling and there will be plenty of options for the lower budget!
3. Have Fun. Be Smart.
So say you want to go out with your friends but then you remember you’re on a budget.
One thing that I did was have a set amount of money that I wanted to spend. I would take $10 out and leave the rest of my money and bank cards at the place I was staying.
This allowed me to have fun but did not allow me to spend more than I wanted to.
Even if it didn’t seem like a big deal, I wouldn’t have the temptation of just spending a little more. In the end, every little bit counts when you’re on a budget!
- Bar Crawls
Bar crawls are a great way to make friends, see the city you are in and not spend a bunch of money. You get free drink and it allows you to see and go to many bars or clubs.
This is not for everyone but if you’re looking for a good time with awesome people then check out your local bar crawls.
- Wanting to go to a club?
It can be super expensive!
Drinks can be anywhere from $5-$10 each!
Outrageous when you’re on a budget.
Instead of getting your drinks there, it is a good idea to get some at a local market and drink before you go in. What would cost you $50 at the bar or club can be bought for $10 easy at the market!
Check out the prices and don’t over spend!
- Join the FREE walking tours.
You can google walking tours in the city or check out the hostels. Many hostels have good information on free things to do in the city.
In many different places I have visited there have been walking tours showing the beauty of the city along with the history of it.
Many times it is put on by the locals and they tend to be very funny and talkative. At the end it is polite to give a little bit of a tip but if you’re on a tight budget, then you don’t need to tip anything but maybe a handshake and a thank you will do just fine.
4. Public Transportation
A good way to get around is by public transportation.
Buses, trains, metro and subway are how I would get around the cities. It is simple and they usually offer plans for riding.
I could go from one side of Madrid to the other side for about a dollar and a half. Super cheap and very quick too.
- When traveling from country to country it is best to compare train, bus and airplane.
Generally it is going to be cheaper to go by bus but every once in a while it is cheaper to go by train. I found that when booking last minute, buses are very cheap but when trying to book in advance, trains can be cheaper and quicker.
Rarely can the airplanes be cheaper but it is once in a blue moon.
Sometimes though it is necessary to go by plane though. For instance, when I went to the island Madeira off the coast of Portugal, I had to fly, though I managed to become friends with someone who flies for an airline company through Europe so I got a major discount.
Traveling is worth it!
Well I hope this helped you on saving money while traveling. My goal is to not just create a random following and put out information that everyone else is using. My goal is to create a community of people that share the same interests and use my knowledge and experiences to help others start traveling.
You don’t have to be wealthy or know a lot of people to travel.
At age 18, two weeks after high school, I flew to Europe with just me, my backpack and camera. I knew no one and had no places to go. I didn’t even have a place to stay! I just figured it out as the time came.
I had money saved up from the job I had working through high school. Now I travel full time at the age of 19 and love every second of it.
As always if you have questions then send me a message. Any comments or concerns are always welcome! Cheers.