The Secret to Traveling with a Low Budget

Many people desire to see the world. When asked why they haven’t yet, money is usually the answer.

It is too expensive.

I have too many bills I have to pay.

I usually roll my eyes, because people would travel if they put it at the top of their priority list. You have to be willing to hold yourself back on mediocre purchases like, eating out, buying clothes, or makeup, or whatever is not necessary for the few months that you are planning your trip.

I am a college student. I work part time as a hostess. I am by no means rich, or in any place to have the kind of money to be seeing the world…

So how I am going to Cuba this summer? And how did I make it to the Dominican republic for 3 weeks last summer?

A lot of people tell me how jealous they are, and how they wish that they could travel. I also have a lot of people ask me how expensive my trips are.

I didn’t have an answer. I didn’t know how expensive my whole overall trip was and it was because I didn’t pay for my whole trip at once.

I want to share my secret on how I travel.

Before I get to my actual process it is important to understand, if you want it bad enough, sometimes you have to be willing to bend your comfort zone. By bend, I mean free-fall out of it. Maybe you won’t have AC. Maybe the food your eating is a fish cooked in a dirt hut over fire, and it arrives at your plate as the whole fish, head, tail and all. It is possible your layovers are going to be obnoxiously long. This is the life of a true traveler. If you can’t handle roughing it sometimes or trying new things, stop reading, and consider staying home.

  1. First thing, decide where to go. Once you pick a place, you’ll use google flights as a navigation on where the cheapest airports are. Make sure your trip is at least 4–5 months out if not more. The more expensive it is, the further out you should plan. Once you have found the cheapest airport, and looked at flight predictions to get an idea of what time in the next few months is cheapest to fly, your ready for step 2.
  2. Find an Airbnb. The best options are private rooms with one or two beds. For Cuba I found several under 50$ a night. So I bought my place for around 200. (If you are traveling with someone, costs can be divided in half, highly recommend this if your budget is really low.)
  3. Become a pro flight watcher. Don’t stress too much about buying anything too quickly. Keep working. Get your bank account refilled a little bit and when you have another 200$ get ready to purchase a flight. Hopper is a really good app to have for this. Depending on where you want to go, your flight may be the hardest part of your expenses. Don’t let this stop you. If your flight is kind of expensive, split it. Buy a one way ticket. Keep working refill your bank account, and when you have that 200$ again, buy your return flight.
  4. Now you’re on the home stretch. At this point you might only have 2 months, maybe less until your trip. This is the time to save your beer money. Your trip is completely in your hands, the more you save, the more you can do. Maybe you can’t save too much, so it becomes a beach trip and sight-seeing. Maybe you save a little more, and you can go snorkeling or zip-lining. Either way you are seeing the world.

The most important thing about this mentality, is that you can’t think about how much you have already spent, or how much you will need to spend. If you are buying a dress, or some new shoes, you don’t think about how much you’ve already spent on your wardrobe, or how much you will in the future, you just see if you can afford it right then and there, and if you can, you get it.

You may think, what if I start paying for my trip and I can’t afford it by time it arrives. If you start paying for it, your motivation will kick in, and you will reach the goal you are trying to. Just keep walking step by step and you’ll make it around the world.

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