No matter the size of your bank account, seeing the destinations you’ve always dreamed of is entirely within your reach. Traveling on a budget is not only entirely possible, but it’s also one of the most fulfilling ways you can see the world. Having to be conscious of your money can actually improve your experiences and make you more grateful for everything you experience. If you’re looking to save money while you explore the globe and make the most of every moment, follow these tips.
Your travels don’t have to cost you an arm and a leg to be spectacular (photo credit)
Find thrill in the uncertainty
Forget the all-inclusive resorts and pre-paid vacation packages. Budget travel often involves a great deal of spontaneity, outlining your itinerary one day at a time, hopping on whatever the next train may be, and booking your hotel the night of. By doing so, you find satisfying last-minute deals, but you also find yourself experiencing a true adventure.
Never being certain what that day has in store for you is one of the greatest thrills of travel. By being spontaneous, you allow yourself the flexibility to sculpt your plans around the moments, stay longer in cities you love, alter your route to meet up with new friends, and go wherever the wind takes you. Uncertainty can be scary, but it can also make your travels exponentially richer. Learn to love the spontaneity of budget travel.
Who knows where your road may take you? (photo credit)
Embrace the journey itself
Traveling on a budget often means finding roundabout ways to get from point A to point B. Sure, a direct flight may be quick and easy, but if it’s way out of your price range, you’ll have to seek alternatives. Sometimes that’s a matter of flying to a third, unplanned destination between stops, and sometimes that means hopping on a long, gruesome, bumpy bus ride.
Sure, these methods of travel may sound exhausting and time-consuming, but some of travel’s fondest memories are formed during the journey itself. Turn that unwanted layover into a few days of exploration, and perhaps you’ll find yourself falling head over heels for a city you never thought you’d see. Enjoy the scenery on that long bus ride, whether that involves breathtaking landscapes or villages no tourist has ever set foot in. Take an extra nap, catch up on that pageturner you’re reading, and strike up a conversation with your seatmate. Remember that the journey itself is half the fun.
Who knows what that next bus ride might have in store for you? (photo credit)
Think outside the box
Paris, Tokyo, New York… They’re on the top of most travelers’ bucket lists, with good reason, but they’re also some of the pricier cities in the world. Traveling on a budget often forces you to reconsider your destinations. In doing so, you wind up discovering incredible places that may not have otherwise been on your radar.
Countries like Nicaragua, Armenia, and the Philippines don’t get as many visitors as some of the more well-trodden travel spots, but their low prices make them fantastic choices for budget travel. They’re also absolutely magnificent places with friendly citizens and an abundance of spectacular sights to explore. Who knows which destinations you’ll discover in your attempt to save some cash?
Nicaragua is just one of many amazing destinations around the world for budget travel (photo credit)
Work while traveling
One of the best ways to keep your wallet happy while globetrotting is to find work on the road. Hostels, ranches, and farms often provide food and housing in exchange for labor, and many countries offer working holiday visas that allow travelers to find short-term employment while exploring the country. Depending on your skill set, you may also be able to find location-independent work as a freelancer or as a remote employee for an established company.
Working while traveling is not only financially beneficial, but it also opens the doors to unforgettable experiences. You’ll meet new people, try your hand at new tasks, see new places, and challenge yourself in new ways. Plus, when your travels come to an end, these fresh skills could have a major impact on your career, impressing employers and helping you find your true path in life. You’ll be richer, both financially and emotionally, for having worked abroad.
Some of your favorite travel experiences may come from the work you do overseas. (photo credit)
Appreciate the finer things
When you’re traveling on a budget, let’s face it: your standards are lowered significantly when it comes to everything, from food to accommodation to comfort. A creaky mattress? No worries! It’s still an upgrade from sleeping on that rickety bus last night! The fruit you bought at the market is a little unripe? Definitely tastier than the instant noodles you cooked yesterday!
Being money-conscious makes you more appreciative of everything you spend your money on, so when you get a chance to splurge, even just a little bit, you’re in absolute heaven. If you’ve been staying in hostels for most of your trip but find a nice hotel room for a night, it feels like total luxury. If you save up money to try a three-course meal and a highly-rated restaurant, it’s the best thing you’ve tasted in years. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to keep that mindset with you and forever feel grateful for the finer things in life.
Oh the places you can see, even on a strict budget. (photo credit)
Traveling on a budget can be nerve-wrecking. Will you have enough money to see all the places you wanted to see? What if you arrive in a city and all of the hotels are out of your price range? Will you have to change your itinerary so you can work for cash? Can you afford a flight home?
Yes, budget travel can be uncertain, but as long as you go into it with the right mindset, everything will be A-okay. When the going gets tough, remind yourself that all of this is an adventure. When you’re tired of cheap food, remember how lucky you are to be seeing these parts of the world. When you’re exhausted from long bus rides, tell yourself you have the rest of your life to catch up on sleep. Enjoy every moment, no matter how tough, because these may very well be the best memories of your life.
Kirstie Jeffries is a travel blogger and digital marketer from Pasadena, California who has seen 72 countries and counting. She lived and worked in Madrid and Sevilla, Spain and Sydney, Australia before embarking on a round-the-world adventure, which she blogs about at Venga, Vale, Vamos. Kirstie currently works as an independent digital marketing specialist.