How to travel on a budget!
People always ask me how I am able to afford to travel that much. 3 years ago I didn´t really know which options one could have to save money while traveling. Over the past few years I gained valuable knowledge on how to travel on a budget, and I would like to share it with you:
1. When it comes to flights
Maybe you have noticed that flights are way cheaper on specific days. Booking flights on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday can be much cheaper than on a Monday or over the weekend. Don´t believe me? Why not check it out for yourself. Another budget saving tip I can offer is to use the incognito window on your computer browser, to search for flights to make the price comparable.
If you are traveling in the United States of America flying within the USA offers another great opportunity not just to save, even to make some cash while traveling. Most of the time flights are overbooked. The airlines then usually look for people that are flexible which they can put on another flight the following day. To reimburse you they give you a hotel room for the night and pay you crazy amounts of money. This is definitely the easiest money to make.
Furthermore, I usually use the search flight website Skyscanner to find the best flight deals. Check it out here:
2. Collect flight miles
Sign up for flight mile programs. Different airlines offer different programs. Especially if you fly a lot, you can collect flight miles, which allow you to qualify for free flights.
3. Make friends all over the world
Whenever I travel I make sure to connect to other travelers or locals. I stay in touch with them on social media. Once I picked my next destination I ask my contacts to either hook me up with friends to stay or to stay at their place. If they ever visit your hometown, you can offer them a place to stay with you.
Keen on traveling to South Africa but still searching for the right touroperator?
Find my recommendation of 2 amazing trips here:
4. House Sitting
Another way of of budget travel and finding free accommodation is to offer your house sitting services. You can sign up on a house sitting platform to look after a strangers house and commit to certain things, for instance to take the dog for a walk every day. At the same time you going to stay at their house which can save you a lot of money.
5. Stay in hostels
If you don´t know anyone in a city/country or house sitting is not your thing, consider staying in hostels, as it is way cheaper than staying in hotels. The cheapest option is a dorm, this means sharing. For those who don´t want to share a room with other travelers, be advised that these day’s hostels offer quality private rooms.
6. Travel Exchange
6.1. Budget Travel: Help exchange
Especially for younger people that just finished school or studies, there are special platforms for a help exchange. You offer to help in a project, family, lodge or hostel for a specific period. On average you work about 25 hours a week, in exchange you receive free accommodation and sometimes even food (depending on the contract). Besides saving a lot of money through receiving free accommodation and food, you also gain practical work experience and improve your language skills. The common platforms to find an exchange partners are:
6.2. Budget Travel: Skill exchange for professionals
Do you have any specific skills in marketing, IT or construction? Perfect! Especially for more mature people with work experience, my advice is to offer your skills to get an exchange deal. It always depends on the people you approach but for me it worked most of the time. I studied marketing and used to be a marketing manager back home. When I find a place that I would like to stay at, I usually check out their website and social media channels. I then make a plan of how to approach them and what to offer them that they can benefit from. I have done many exchanges where I helped hostels with marketing and got offered accommodation and food for the time I stayed. One more budget travel tip: it works even better if you travel off season! Try it, it is totally worth it.
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7. Use public transportation
I usually travel local in order to save money. Just to give you an example: in Kenya I used the Matatu (local minibus) to get from Mombasa to Kilifi (about 60 miles) and I paid 1,50 USD. A shuttle of the hostel would have been approx. 30 USD.
Please note: I do not always recommend public transport – it always depends on the country and the transport itself. In Kenya I wouldn´t have taken the Matatu during the night. Hence, always check with people that have travelled the country before or locals, if your choice of transport is save.
8. Travel off season and to off the beaten track destinations
Traveling off season and off the beaten track destinations can also save you a lot of money for accommodation and flights. As I mentioned already, especially if you are planning on approaching hostels and lodges for an exchange, they are way more open to it in low season.
9. Eat out local or cook
Instead of eating in the tourist places, eat where the locals eat as most of the time it is way cheaper there. For those that don´t want to eat in those places what will save you money as well is choosing accommodation (for instance a hostel) where you can be able to prepare your own food.
10. Look for free activities and things to do
Many cities offer free activities where you don´t need to pay an arm and a leg to explore the city. Make use of those activities.
What is you advice for budget travel? Let me know in the comments.
Too lazy to read? In this video I share all my tips:
Would you like to read and see more about my Africa trips? Here we go!
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