How To Travel The World On A Budget

Budget travelling - it can be done!

Backpacker looking out over mountain.

Watching the pennies on your world tour means you’ll be more flexible, spontaneous and open to different opportunities than if you throw a load of cash at an expensive itinerary - and you’re likely to get a real taste of the places you’re visiting. Check out our tips on how to travel the world on a budget, and you’ll be heading home with a backpack full of stories as well as a healthy bank account.

Save as much as you can before you go

It goes without saying that you should scrimp and save every last penny you possibly can before you set off on your big trip. Back to mum and dad’s, extra part-time jobs, no takeaways, forget Glastonbury or Ibiza for a year - whatever it takes.

Buy a round-the-world ticket

Once you’ve secured your travel cash, shop around for the best value round-the-world ticket that suits your needs. STA and Trailfinders have been sending happy backpackers around the world for many years, and are good places to start.

Choose budget destinations

Your backpacker budget will stretch far further in destinations like India, Nepal, South East Asia (Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam), Peru and Ecuador rather than the US, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand or Western Europe.

Find cheap and cheerful accommodation

Don’t book too much of your accommodation in advance from home. Once you get talking to your fellow travellers you’ll be amazed at the array of seriously affordable and, quite frankly, crazy accommodation available. Throw yourself into shoestring travel and stay in hostels, b&bs, guest houses and campsites rather than hotels. You may have a few sleepless nights, but they’ll be worth it for the travel tales.

Savour street food

It doesn’t take a genius to realise that dining in fancy restaurants, or even tourist hangouts, will eat into your precious budget. Look out for the places popular with locals and give the street food a go. If you’ve got kitchen facilities in your hostel, go to the supermarket and cook up a storm.

Take buses and trains

By avoiding backpacker-themed trips or unnecessary flights and hopping aboard with the locals, you’ll save a fortune. You’ll also take some journeys you’ll never forget!

Plan to work overseas

Before you go, find out which countries you are able to get a working visa for, and get it sorted well in advance. For example, young Brits can currently apply for working visas or working holiday schemes in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Singapore and Japan.

You could do anything from hotel, office, construction or farm work to teaching English, which will top up your travelling fund nicely. It’s worth studying for a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) qualification before your trip if you think this would suit you. If you’re a good writer and lucky enough to get someone to pay you for some travel blogging work, then do it!

Budget-friendly activities

Try not to blow your budget taking helicopter trips and white water rafting rides during your first two weeks. Plan which of the more expensive activities you fancy before you go, and make sure you put the cash aside for these. Research free and inexpensive things to do in your chosen destinations, and talk to people when you get there. You’ll find that you’ll have much more enriching and memorable experiences if you force yourself off the well-worn backpacker tracks.

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Written by Maxine Clarke: a writer, mummy, missus and campervan-lover. Used to travel, now enjoys a good holiday! Follow her on Twitter.

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