There are a lot of common misconceptions about traveling the world and doing it cheaply. Some are afraid to go for it because they feel traveling isn’t worth it if they can’t do it luxuriously.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to stay in dirty or unsafe places to be a frugal traveler.
You can live it up around the world without breaking the bank. You just have to know how to do it right.
In this article, we’ll give you tips for being a frugal traveler and even give you specific recommendations for great countries to visit that are cheap.
Traveling inexpensively may seem impossible, but it can be done. Read on to learn how you can become a frugal traveler — someone who is tight on change but rich in experiences.
Tips for Becoming a Frugal Traveler
As you embark on your journey of becoming a frugal traveler, here are some tips you’ll want to keep in mind.
Do your research and find more ways you can save money, but these basic suggestions will get you started.
Stay in Hostels
If you want to be a frugal traveler, you need to face the reality that you’re going to have to say goodbye to the hotel life. Hotels are great for people who want to go on vacation and don’t mind spending a lot of money to do it.
Hostels, however, are usually the cheapest accommodations possible. Some do have age limits, so check into this before you book.
Many travelers stay in hostels so that they can save money and spend it on other things. Hostels usually have options including private rooms and dormitory style rooms.
This means bunk beds and shared spaces like bathrooms and living areas. It’s a much different experience from a hotel, where you are treated like a valued guest and you have your privacy.
In hostels, you might feel like you’re back in college again, but it can be a great way to meet fellow travelers and like minded individuals. No matter how uncomfortable you may be, you only have to sleep there!
If you just need a place to crash and want to spend the rest of your time out exploring a new city, hostels are the way to go.
Set Up Flight Alerts
There are all kinds of theories out there about when to shop for flights in order to get the best price.
Is it best to buy on Tuesday nights? Or should you wait until Saturday morning? Should you be six months out from your trip, or is three weeks ideal?
More than any strategy you could gamble on, the most effective thing you can do is to set up flight alerts. Using sites like Skyscanner or Google Flights aids the search for cheap flights to your destination.
If you know your dates and your airports, you can set up a flight alert that will email you every time the price changes — up or down. Set this up a few months in advance so you get a feel for how the price fluctuates.
When it’s as low as you’ve seen it, buy!
You can also use these tools to browse cheap flights out of specific airports if you do not necessarily have a destination in mind. If you’re open to exploring new places, you may find a great deal to somewhere you had never before considered visiting.
This is the best way to save money on flights and make sure you’re getting the best deal possible.
Set a Budget
In life as in travel, setting your budget ahead of time is key.
If you don’t know how much you have to spend, how can you make sure to stay under your budget? Who’s to say when you go over?
Before jetting off, you’ll need to take an honest look at your finances. Decide how much you can afford to set aside for your travels.
When you’ve taken an honest look at your financial situation and determined how much you’ll be able to spend per trip, find a way to stick to it. Maybe this means taking out cash and only using that, so you can see very clearly when you’re running low.
You’ll also need to look at where you usually spend the most money and see if you can find ways to pare it down. Eating out at restaurants while traveling is usually a big money sucker.
However, just because you’re in the expensive city of London, it doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune on food. You can find places to eat in London that taste gourmet but won’t break the bank.
Explore other options and only commit to things you know you can afford.
Scroll through apps like Yelp and TripAdvisor and filter your results so that it only shows you the cheapest restaurants and activities. Then you won’t be tempted to shell out more than you should.
Choose from the options available that are within your price range and you’ll find options that make you happy and keep your wallet full.
So you’ve paid the money to fly somewhere exotic — but what do you do when you get there?
There will be a ton of ways you can run out of money — fast. Most places have all kinds of options for tourists, like cooking classes and adventurous activities and tastings and tours.
All of these options may be very tempting. And, of course, you do want to learn about the local culture and take in the food, sights, sounds, and smells.
That’s why you’re trying to become a frugal traveler in the first place — you want to see the world.
However, you don’t have to spend a lot to take in a lot of the local culture. One of the best ways to truly soak it all in is to go on walking tours.
Whether you curate this yourself by marking different points of interest on a map that you want to see or sign up for a walking tour, this can be a great option!
Many places around the world offer free or very cheap walking tours. Tour guides operate off of tips, so just donate what you can and expect to walk around with a large group of other travelers who wanted to find an inexpensive activity.
These walking tour guides are usually locals looking to make a few extra bucks. This means it’s a great way to truly see the city up close, visit all the coolest spots, and chat with someone who lives there.
Become a Flight Attendant
This may sound crazy, but if you’re really committed to the travel lifestyle, why not look into working as a flight attendant?
The main reason that many people dive into this career is because they love to travel and want to see the world. Flight attendants get awesome job perks like free flights and buddy passes so they can bring their friends.
Men and women alike can become flight attendants. The pay is usually not very exciting, but the perks far outweigh the drawbacks. You’ll get to travel all around the world and make money while doing it.
Not having to spend on flights, or paying very little to cross continents? Getting paid to help out on planes? Hanging out in airports like it’s your job?
Now that’s being a frugal traveler!
Go Cheap Places
Another frugal travel tip that may seem obvious is to go cheap places.
If your main objective is to see the world, but you don’t necessarily have an agenda in mind other than to see as many places as you can, then simply opt to visit countries that are inexpensive.
For example, it’s hard to go to Iceland on a budget. It’s easy, however, to stretch your money extremely far in Thailand or Cambodia.
If you simply visit places that have a low cost of living, you’ll be able to get really far with the money you have. A coffee that costs $10 in Iceland may cost $1 in Thailand, and that trend will prove true across the board.
Things like transportation, food, and accommodations are all less expensive depending on whether you visit Europe or Asia, South America or Africa. Living as a frugal traveler starts with being wise about where you go.
Importance of Frugality
The priceless experiences you’ll have by getting out there and seeing the world make all the money saving efforts worth it. You won’t think twice about how nice your hotel is when you’re seeing the Eiffel Tower with your very own eyes.
The unimportant things just fade away. The travel bug bites and you realize that you’ll spend every last penny you earn on traveling and experiencing other cultures firsthand.
Becoming a frugal traveler can also set you up for success in life. It’s important to spend your money wisely and invest it in things that matter.
As you pick up money-saving skills in your new life as a frugal traveler, you will become more resourceful and learn to value experiences all the more.
No matter what you choose to pursue in life — travel or not — being frugal is a very valuable skill to have.
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