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  • Alex Gerlach

A Beginner's Guide To Traveling On A Budget

Updated: Jun 19, 2022

If you’re gearing up to begin a life of travel and want to experience as much as possible without breaking the bank, then this article is for you. Traveling on a budget is possible and it doesn’t always have to come at a compromise.

All it takes is a curious mind, some research, and asking people question. Soon, you’ll be able to come up with a really cool itinerary for literally any place in the world. Here are a few tips to help you along the way.

Traveling on a budget in Hawaii
Traveling on a budget in Hawaii

Budget It:

The most important aspect of planning a budget trip is the…. *drumroll*. Budget. Before embarking on any research, it’s important to understand how much you can set aside for a trip. This means budgeting ticket prices, food, accommodation, and any other expenses that you predict. Always set aside some extra cash for emergencies and spontaneous purchases.


If money is a constraint, then Google is your best friend. There are so many budget travel bloggers, travel sites, and influencers whose content can help you prepare better for your travel. Find out who or which site is doing the kind of stories that you’re interested in and track their travels around the world. You may find something that you’re looking for.

Plan Ahead:

While it’s not impossible to travel on a budget-friendly last-minute trip, there are a lot of challenges. What you can do is plan your holiday in advance (I would say a minimum of a month from the date of travel) and plan ahead.

This way you’ll save on flight tickets, local stays, and any other surge pricing that generally tends to get out of hand. Use Skyscanner or Skiplagged to track cheap flights, Kayak and Priceline for hotels (or if you’re a Genius member on, that can always save you a few bucks), and car rentals.

Use Public Transportation:

Since you’re probably going to spend a bunch on flight tickets (if you’re heading out of state), find out in advance if a rental car is really necessary. This is especially true if you’re traveling to European or Asian countries, which offer a variety of public transport options that can help you get around for cheaper.

In case you do need a rental car, find out from the rental agency if you are eligible for a free upgrade, especially if you’re traveling in the shoulder season. This will allow you to enjoy your trip more than you initially planned.

Me, dog sledding in Alaska
Me, dog sledding in Alaska

Plan Your Experiences:

We all love to experience new things and that’s generally what drives us to travel as much as we do. But experiences like skydiving, helicopter tours, or scuba diving can sometimes add up to a lot.

So, try to pick one or two experiences in every place you go, depending on your budget and also what the place is known for. For example, pick snorkeling in Maui but try the Helicopter tour of the Napali Coast in Kauai, This will help you do both but in places where they’re most sought-after.

Mix Up Your Accommodation Type:

Traveling on a budget doesn’t have to mean that you only stay in hostels or budget motels. Plan your trip in such a way that you spend the majority of your trip in homestays, hotels, or the like, based on what you normally do, but set aside a day or two to splurge on a more expensive stay.

This is especially true if you’re going to more than one place during your trip. You can even choose cheap but quirky stays on websites like Airbnb and Hipcamp so that it doesn’t feel like you’re cutting a lot of corners.

Outside of my Airbnb in India
Outside of my Airbnb in India

Try Local:

When thinking about food, try to eat local food to make it more pocket-friendly. Explore street food and any other options you can find (again, a bit of research helps). Another great way to ensure you’re not spending too much on food is to cook your own!

Stay close to a general store and pick a place that has a kitchen (if you’re traveling within the country, you can even think about taking a camping stove) that you can use. Then plan which meals you want to cook and when you’d like to eat out.


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