Cheapest way to travel (6 ways to save money so you can afford to travel)



What is the cheapest way to travel? The question on everyone’s lips. Here we list our 6 cheapest ways to travel. And give you our top tips to help you save money –  so, you too can travel.

I have a very important question for you and please be honest. If you won ‎€15,000 tomorrow would you:

A) Buy a fancy car (or other luxury item)

B) Put it into a savings account or invest it

C) Travel the world

The answer is obvious for me. The reason I said ‎€15,000 is because I know that it’s possible to take an unforgettable gap year with ‎€15,000 to your name. It sounds like a lot doesn’t it, but think of your yearly expenses right now –  including rent, food, car, insurance, bills etc.  I’m sure the total comes pretty close to €15,000.

Continue reading | the top five excuses people use not to go travelling

How much should I save in a year for travel?

Now, I’m not saying you need to have ‎€15,000 in the bank at this moment in time. I’m gonna break it down for you –  ‎€15,000 over 12 months equals about ‎€40 per day. So, say you wanted to travel for only 3 months then I say you need max. ‎€5000 to do so. That includes flights, visas and travel insurance.

Obviously, ‎€40 a day is barely going to buy you a breakfast in countries like Australia or New Zealand. So, use your common sense – I’m only referring to the countries I’ve backpacked in. Countries like Italy, Mexico, El Salvador, Vietnam, Cambodia & Bali.

A staycation can also be a cheap and fun vacation alternative. 

READ NEXT | the everything guide to El Salvador

So you want to travel for 3 months and only want to visit ‘affordable’ countries, then yes you can afford to travel. Without further ado here are our top tips for the cheapest ways to travel – 

Step #1: Set a strict daily budget

€40 per day doesn’t sound like a lot does it? But in some parts of the world it goes a very long way, take Vietnam for example I stayed in some really nice hotels for a maximum of ‎€15 per night. In Mexico and Belize it was a lot harder to find reasonable hotels so we increased our budget to €30 and scrapped the nice hotels instead staying in wooden cabins in the jungle or at a cabana on the beach. Sounds like a pretty great (cheap) way to travel, right?!

Another easy way to save money on accommodation when you travel is to book a last minute travel deal

Step #2: Eat at street-food stalls or cheap restaurants

Our favourite restaurants in Vietnam were probably the cheapest we’ve ever eaten at . We found this tiny restaurant down a back street in Hanoi that felt like you were eating in someone’s house. But, it was run by a finalist on Masterchef Vietnam and was so tasty.

In countries like Mexico where accommodation is more expensive we ate at little taco stalls to save money. In Belize we ate at barbecues run by locals on the beach because most of the restaurants were too expensive for our budget.

Shop around, use TripAdvisor, take out your Lonely Planet book, ask fellow backpackers and I guarantee you will come up with a list the length of your arm of cheap and yummy places to eat. If you want to travel for a year and for example eat only steak or fancy Italian food then ‎€15,000 probably isn’t going to last you for a whole year. But then I’m guessing those people would have selected option A above and so haven’t read this far.

So, if you’re willing to stay in small 1 or 2 star hotels and only eat where the locals eat, then yes you can afford to travel.

cycling tour bali
Bike ride in Ubud, Bali

Step #3: Do your research to get a great deal for an activity

Going on tours however takes a lot more budget planning. Basically, we spent less in the days leading up to the tour. We stayed in cheaper hotels and ate at street vendors for next to nothing. So, if you’re willing to scrimp a little for a few days to go on a once-in-a-lifetime tour to somewhere like Halong Bay or the ATM Caves in Belize – then yes you can afford to travel.

Step #4: Get the bus instead of a taxi or private transfer

Are you a good bus passenger? If you’re willing to take buses everywhere. Yes, that means some 12 hour bus journeys on a sleeper bus with no toilets. And you won’t be tempted to blow a week’s budget on a plane journey to the next city. Then, yes you can afford to travel.

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Surfing at El Cuco, El Salvador

Step #5: Resist the urge to buy souvenirs

Can you resist buying tacky souvenirs that you will probably end up throwing out before your flight home? Then yes you can afford to travel.

On that note, can you stop yourself from buying all non-essential clothing for a whole year? Then yes, you can afford to travel.

Step #6: Opt for the local beer 

Are you willing to swap your G&T’s or glasses of rosé for local beer? Local beer is super cheap and most of the time tastes pretty good. You will become a beer-connoisseur by the end of your trip, I promise you that. No lie I’ve probably tried about 30 new beers because I gave up my G&T’s.  Sound good? Then yes, you can afford to travel.

el tunco beach surf, can I afford to travel
Local boys in El Tunco, El Salvador

The cheapest way to travel doesn’t need to be the worst way to travel

YES you can afford to travel. If you want it you will find a way if not, you will find an excuse. It’s as simple as that. We’re all running out of time, if you want to travel just bloody do it don’t keep saying you want to and then never do it. You will end up living with the regret. Let me leave you with this final thought.

Through travelling you make unforgettable memories. Think of it this way, when you’re old and grey and looking back on your life you don’t want to be thinking about that time you bought a nice pair of skinny jeans in Topshop. Or remembering the time you blew your entire paycheck on makeup.

Luxury travel is great but ‘cheap travel’ can be more authentic

You want to be remembering that time you slept in a wooden cabin in the jungles of  Mexico or the time you hiked an active volcano in El Salvador or the time you swam with sharks in Belize or the time  you ate the best pizza of your life in a tiny town in Italy.

I’ll say it again and again, you will never again be as young  as you are at this moment, embrace it – travel the world, see as much of it as you possibly can because when you’re sitting in your rocking chair at 80 you’re going to wish you had.

Your travel experience doesn’t need to be luxurious to enjoy it! Tell me – what did you think of our top tips for the cheapest way to travel? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section!

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Can I afford to travel - the question on everyone's lips. Here we list over 10 ways to help you save money so, you can afford to travel.

8 thoughts on “Cheapest way to travel (6 ways to save money so you can afford to travel)

  1. Francia Benson Reply

    You’re so right! I buy second hand clothes now to save on clothing. I also eat out less and use coupons for grocery shopping. So , it is allowing me to go to Mexico on March!

  2. Rosemary Reply

    It is truly about making choices….and choosing to make a travel a priority. Love how you broke down the finances to a daily living budget. That helps make it more real. I’ve definitively experienced this for myself and agree….the memories and experiences are priceless!!

  3. Cynthia Reply

    This is so true! Really loved the post! I went through a phase of wanting to buy “a lot” (which still wasn’t that much compared to my friends) of new clothes in grade 10 but thankfully, I’m not into material possessions as much now haha.

  4. Katechka.com Reply

    This is so true and I can totally sign under your article. I am leading a minimalist life style and save everything I can for travel. It is totally worth it!

  5. Elizabeth Wilson Reply

    Love it! Super inspiring!

  6. highheelsandabackpack Reply

    I completely agree it’s all about making travel a priority! I’ve made sacrifices so I could travel because for me it was the most important thing.

  7. Princess Reply

    Exactly!!! You can afford to travel, just have to be smart about your choices! Great article!

  8. GirlAstray Reply

    I would try and invest ino something that would allow me to travel for longer than a year! While traveling, I can subsist on a lot less than 40 dollars a day so I totally agree. Traveling gets easier once you step out of your door, but it is inexplicable to someone who doesn´t want to travel in the first place and is looking for excuses, don´t you think? 🙂

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