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5 Vacation Tips for Low Cost Travelers

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Answer one simple question: what’s stopping you from traveling? Most likely, you will answer that you don’t have money and/or time. To fight the latter reason, consider developing a rest-oriented self-culture that can save you from burnout and early health problems. While it may be difficult to find enough time in the XXI century, for most of us money isn’t a problem anymore. At the very least, you can lend from different companies on

We’re happy to live in the era of Couchsurfing and cheap hostels, hitchhiking and local guides, healthy street food, and sharing economy. C’mon, it’s possible to spend less than $500 per adult for a week-long trip! If you still don’t realize how to travel without exorbitant expenses, this guide is for you. Let’s go.

Top Hints for Budget Tourism

Actually, it’s a tough task to choose only five the most important and useful advice about free or just cheap traveling. From first cowboys to Kerouac-inspired beatniks to modern digital nomads, generations of wanderers sought ways to save. There are hundreds of tips. But we’ll try to define the best of the best. 

1. Cheap Destinations

The world is huge. Some countries like Iceland and Norway are pretty costly for budget travelers while other areas offer luxury hotels that cost less than a dinner in your local restaurant. The catch is to find the best place. Say, Portugal is obviously cheaper than Belgium, Turkey is cheaper than Greece, and Latin America is a perfect alternative to its northern neighbor.

Hence, consider the price the main priority. When you look for the next country to visit, check the costs and currency exchange ratio. Analyze accommodation, food, tourist attractions, and other factors to find the cheapest yet interesting destination. If it’s possible, travel during low seasons, e.g. late autumn and early spring for Europe or wet seasons for tropics.

Obviously, try to find low-cost tickets to get in the country. We will talk about transportation hints in the fourth section of this list.

2. Cheap Food

Needless to say that you should eat well and healthy during the trip to have energy. It’s not necessary to visit costly cafes to find tasty food. Here are a few quick suggestions that help travelers to save on meals:

  • Bring your own food. This hint is useful for long travels. When you’re preparing for a flight or bus ride, cook some sandwiches, get water or even a thermos with hot coffee. Thus, you will save on expensive meals in airports. Compare a home-made sandwich to $5 spent on a hot dog before a flight. 
  • Buy at supermarkets and cook at home. Shops like Carrefour in Europe and 7-Eleven in Asia are gems for low-cost tourists. You can grab both raw ingredients and ready-made dishes to cook them in your hostel or apartments.
  • Find the accommodation with breakfast. When choosing between two similar hotels, select one with breakfast included. It can save you a few bucks because, often, the accommodation provides healthy and rich food. Also, you always can grab some snacks or fruits from the main table to have a bite later.
  • Opt for street food. Some countries and cities feature amazing street food culture. For example, in Istanbul, you can get tasty balik ekmek – a sandwich with fish, onions, and lemon juice – for only $1.5. Street vendors there also sell other dishes, e.g. döner kebab that starts from $1.5, too. Cheap and nice!
  • Talk to locals to reveal top spots. Finally, try to discover places for locals only. Restaurants, cafes, markets, and shops that don’t focus on tourists often provide way lower prices. Moreover, you can be sure of the quality. If it’s difficult to communicate with locals, ask your hostel manager or a concierge.

And always do your due diligence. How is it possible to know the best prices without researching and comparing them?

3. Cheap Housing

You know it, right? The travel industry is filled with cheap and free accommodation options ranging from live-and-work to rent-a-couch. If you’re a solo traveler, don’t trust reviewers who suggest Airbnb. The service features pretty high markup so it becomes profitable only for groups of 3-4 people and more.

Instead, select among these variants:

  • Couchsurfing. Stay for free at homes of locals. Pay attention to users’ reviews and be ready to share the room with other tourists or guests.
  • Hostels. Dorm rooms are perfect for budget travelers. You save on comfort but get a nice bed, shared bathroom, kitchen, some snacks, and socialization.
  • Tent. Yeah, it’s a viable option for free accommodation. Just be sure to find an appropriate spot where you’re allowed to stay. Forests, deep parks, and campsites are OK.
  • Unique perks. If you want to stay at hotels, consider extra services. Often, companies provide free meals, transfers, city tours, and various discounts.

Use Booking, HotelsCombined or Hostelwrold to find the best options.

4. Cheap Transport

Since you want to travel without huge expenses, start with transportation. As we mentioned in the first section, it’s important to prioritize costs. Thus, use services like Skyscanner or Cheapflights to compare rates or access advanced features: price calendars and price maps. Using them, you can quickly identify the cheapest deals. Obviously, high seasons and holidays will come with higher costs so remember to compare rates during a year. 

Alternatively, you can avoid flights at all. Consider trains and buses to travel relatively short distances. In the USA, try Megabus with tickets as low as $1. In Europe, check FlixBus and Flixtrain for both auto and railway tickets. Finally, you can try the sharing economy and travel with BlaBlaCar. In this case, you pay for gas only. The last option is totally free hitchhiking but it’s pretty exotic and doesn’t suit all tourists.

5. Loans and Credits

Finally, you can opt for a travel loan. Despite this option is somewhat risky because of potential debts and need to repay interest rate, it suits spontaneous travelers. Say, you found a weekly package tour to Egypt or Turkey for $150 per person. But it starts tomorrow. In this case, getting a small loan and returning it right after the tour is a good idea. Larger loans may be useful for roundtrips or constant traveling.

Other Tiny yet Useful Tricks

Yep, we failed to provide only five suggestions, sorry for that. There are more interesting options for low-cost tourists that can help in your travels. Despite the following points can’t cut costs greatly, they’re pretty handy when it comes to small savings. Move through the list to boost your budget traveling experience even more:

  • Collect bonuses. Air miles and credit card points are good extras.
  • Consider stopovers. It’s a nice option to see another city and save on direct flights. 
  • Don’t bring too much. Pack lightweight luggage to avoid extra flight fees.
  • Find free stuff. Say, there are free walking tours in different cities.
  • Forget about the taxi. Use public transport or, at least, Uber. Not airport taxis.
  • Order travel credit cards and SIMs. Thus, you can save on roaming and fees.
  • Look for discounts. City cards, student IDs like ISIC, rail passes – check them.
  • Use incognito and VPN. To avoid overpaying, mask your IP when booking.
  • Work. To get additional funds, you can teach language,work on ships and farms.

Hope, the article was useful. It’s really possible to travel cheap and even free so don’t wait. Start your first low-cost trip today!



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