Traveling On A Tight Budget

Some people think that traveling is only for the rich, but what some don’t know is that there are people who travel with just enough money to get them around and enjoy their vacations. Some are even backpackers, and some of them just live with the locals and eat whatever the locals have, since it is usually cheaper than eating at a fancy restaurant. 

Retro suitcase with flag stickers near tourist’s legs

There are ways on how you can travel without ruining your savings or putting a hole in your pocket. These tips are proven to be helpful as I myself is doing them when I travel. I love saving on hotels and use my money to eat and go to the tourist spots of the country that I am visiting in. 

So without further ado, I am going to share with you some of the effective traveling tips when you are on a tight budget. These tips will surely help you travel places even without having a lot of money on hand.

1. Off-Peak Travels

There is also the off-peak season for travelers and these seasons are where you can score discounted plane tickets and hotels. So make sure to do your research on that certain country that you are eyeing, so you know when their off-peak season is. This will help you avoid tourist swarms and price hikes when traveling. 

For example, you can travel to Singapore after the Chinese New Year as the tickets will be low and the hotels are more affordable. During this time, hotels have a high-peak rates which can cause you a lot of dollars. So make sure to check the country that you’re planning to visit to save yourself some money.

2. Consider Hostels or Rentals

Consider staying in hostels as there are affordable ones, but know that some hostels have dorm rooms, which means that you might need to share the room with a stranger. If this is okay with you, then there wouldn’t be an issue. There are also hostels where you can have a private room all to yourself, so you can also check that out. 

You can also check rentals like Airbnb as they are much more affordable than hotels. They have an app where you can browse different units under different prices. Just make sure that whichever accommodation you choose, ensure that it is near restaurants or transportations.

3. Hostels With Free Food

It would also be best to choose hostels that offer free food during breakfast. Most hotels have that, but not all hostels do, so make sure to check and confirm with them. This will save you a lot of money and you don’t have to spend money on breakfast since you can get it free at the hostel itself. Saving on breakfast will let you eat wherever you want during lunch or dinner since you have a spare.

4. Research On Tourist Spots

Every country has its own tourist spots, but some have admission fees that need to be paid. If you are on a tight budget, it would be best to do your research on the best but free tourist spots in that specific country. Usually, that is what backpackers do because they want to save on money for their next adventure.

You can also check out videos online of travelers where they visit unusual tourist spots for free. Usually, these spots are not yet popular with tourists and admission is free, so you don’t have to worry about spending anything just yet. 

5. Experiences Over Things

Gone are the days where people save on money so they can purchase souvenirs. The reason behind this is because more and more people are treasuring experiences instead of things. This is definitely better than bringing materials things in your luggage, thus saving you more money. Take photos and enjoy the view, these are better compared to those souvenirs that might cost you a lot.

6. Advance Booking

Whether you are planning to stay at a hotel or hostel, it will help you book your room in advance. The reason behind this is because booking will provide you discounts compared to booking a week before you travel there. 

The same goes with plane tickets, the earlier you book, the cheaper the fare will be. Also, if there are any airline promos, make sure to get the most out of it. You will be surprised at how much you have saved both for the room and the plane.

7. Travel Light

For you to be able to save more money, it would be best to travel light. Avoid bringing a lot of things especially ones that you don’t need when traveling. Light travelers don’t need to pay for excess baggage which will help you save on that and spend the money on your trip. Bring only the essentials and clothes that you will use, it would also be best to wash your clothes during your trip so you don’t need to bring multiple jeans and such.

8. Renting A Bicycle

If you go to a country where renting a bicycle is possible, by all means, please do so. This will help you to roam around the place you are in using the bike. You don’t need to purchase tickets for train rides or other transportations since you have a bike to help you go through the city. Renting a bike is usually cheap, so there’s nothing to worry about since it will still be cheaper than taking public transportation.

9. Cooking Your Own Meals

Now, if the place has a kitchen, like checking in to a rental or Airbnb, make sure that it has a place where you can cook. This will help you save a lot since you won’t be eating a lot outside. You can do this if you want to save on restaurant bills and spend on other things.

10. Tourist Cards

Since you are a tourist and your purpose is to enjoy the city or the town that you are in, it would be best to purchase tourist cards. This will help you with a lot of things, especially discounted admission to museums and major attractions. Some countries even offer transportation for tourists with tourist cards. This will surely help you save a lot of money. 

11. Check Local Markets

For you to be able to save more money, if you’re going to buy something, for instance for cooking, it would be best to shop at the local markets. They have cheaper prices compared to the ones in the malls. Get your local produce in local markets to get affordable prices and fresh vegetables and fruits.

12. Be Ready To Walk

When touring, if you are on a tight budget and the country doesn’t have a tourist card, it would be best to walk especially if it’s not that far. Walking will help you explore the city in different ways, while also seeing locals and other local stores around. Walking will not only help you save money but will also act as your exercise. This is definitely a good activity to do when traveling.

13. Checkout Free Museums and Art Galleries

When traveling, make sure to checkout-free museums and art galleries in the city. There are a lot of free museums in a city and checking them out is definitely a great experience. Art galleries that are free should also be visited. The goal here is to make the most out of the free admissions when you’re traveling. 

14. Start Haggling

There are countries where haggling is part of their culture, for instance, Hong Kong. If you are planning to go to countries like that, make sure to know how to haggle at a more reasonable price. Haggling will help get the price down and will surely save you some money. Yes, haggling may not be that comfortable, but once you get used to it, there wouldn’t be a problem; besides, haggling is very much normal. 

15. Try Local Alcohol

If you plan on checking out bars or restaurants, it would be best to try out local alcohol instead of imported ones. The reason behind this is because they are relatively cheaper than the usual one. Plus, it’s always nice to try out the local alcohol of every city or country that you go to. This is also part of the experience that you will bring once the vacation is over. 

16. Know the Language

The reason why it is ideal to know the local language of that certain country is because there are some countries that offer good rates for locals. There are tourist rates and if you want to save on more money, it would be great to learn their language. If you know the language, they will surely be giving you a local rate. 

Of course, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to learn the entire language and every word of it, only the most commons one especially the words needed when buying or eating out.

17. Use A Local Sim Card

One of the things that I always do when traveling is buying a local sim card. Every country now has a tourist sim card, which you can purchase and use for your convenience. This will help you save a huge amount on mobile internet because you don’t have to turn your local’s sim’s roaming on. 

Also, if you are going to stay in that country for more than a week or so, using a local sim card is always a good idea. You can use it to call restaurants in the city without any charge. You can buy a sim card at the airport.

18. Try Street Food

There’s nothing wrong with eating street food and in fact, most countries have them. They are cheaper than the food inside the restaurant, but I assure you that they taste good. There are countries that are proud of their street food because of how amazing the foods are. South Korea and even Germany have street foods, so why not try them out.

What’s good about street foods, besides its low price is that they are local foods. These foods are only found in that specific country and you can also add them to your experience. From my experience, eating street foods is a must when traveling.

19. Check Local Entertainment

Each country has a local entertainment and there are instances that they are free. For instance, there are musicians that sing on the street and they relatively have great voices. You can start watching them for hours while you’re holding a cup of coffee or a bottle of beer if you want to. This type of entertainment is free, it will be up to you to give a good tip to the performer.

20. Avoid Riding Taxis

In any country, there are taxis and they are more expensive than taking public transportations, like the train or the bus. Avoid riding taxis, because public transportations are always better especially if you are a tourist. This will help you mingle with the locals and get to know the place more. Besides riding trains or buses in other countries it look so fun.

21. Choosing A Destination

Lastly, when traveling, make sure that you choose a destination that will fit the budget that you have. It doesn’t matter if it’s in Southeast Asia or not, Europe or Canada, for as long as the country suits that budget that you have. You can always save up for another trip if you want to. Being more practical is the way to go if you really want to travel and enjoy the experience.

These are all of the tips on how you can travel without breaking the bank. Make sure to follow the tips above so you can truly enjoy the country that you are going to visit. Lastly, save up before traveling so you’re not only physically and mentally ready, but as well as financially ready. Remember that traveling is a whole different kind of experience, so save up!