Experiences Travel

How to Travel When You’re Broke

When your broke your probably thinking that travel is impossible for you. Instead you spend hours on Pinterest and Instagram looking in envy at all the people traveling. But travel doesn’t have to be a bank breaker. With some money priorities and frugal tricks, you can have the trip of a lifetime, without needing to declare bankruptcy. 

Stop Spending Your Money on Things

Most people who travel full time don’t own a lot and don’t buy a lot of material objects. That’s because once you start traveling, you start seeing how much further you can get with your money in other countries. As you gain more experiences things start to mean less and less. As you start traveling more and more you will realize you can’t have too many things or it will become cumbersome. Eventually you en up with high quality essentials and thats it really.

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Use Credit Card Points

Credit Cards can be a big problem for a lot of people. But if you use credit cards in a smart way you can get a lot of use out of them without going into debt. Having a single credit card that you can use that gives you great rewards points can be a great way to get free trips! Free hotels, airplanes even cruises can all be bought with credit card points. The trick is to only buy things you normally would like groceries and gas. Do not use credit cards to finance or lease big purchase items. Instead take the money from your bank that you would have spent on groceries and pay off the balance of the groceries bill on your account. This way you only spend what you have and never more, and all the while you are earning free points towards an amazing vacation! 

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Find Awesome Deals

We don’t travel when things are expensive. Hence why we travel during most places off-season. Not only are there less people, things also tend to be much cheaper. Using sites like Skiplagged, Scott’scheapflights, Skyscanner and Travelzoo (to name a few); help insure that we get the best deals, so our money can go more to our experiences, once in the country, rather than getting there. Honestly travel now and days has become more affordable than ever. So things like a round trip flight to Thailand for under $400 really do exist! Thats the cost of flying across the county in America.

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Pack Light

Airlines have become more affordable than ever. But, because of this, they have started to charge an arm and a leg for literally everything! So only having one carry on can really save you in the long run. Especially when you are traveling to multiple places on your trip. A lot of airlines only allow 7kilos about 18pounds per carry on. Keep this in mind as you pack or you could have some hefty fees added on unexpectedly during your travels. Using just a backpack and another small carry on can alleviate any of this worry.

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Eat Local Food

Most countries, besides Europe, are much cheaper than the US. You will find in touristy places anywhere in the world, that the food prices are much higher. If your looking to save a little then eat where and what the locals eat. This way you can experience more of the culture and save money. It’s a win win.

selective focus photography of pasta with tomato and basil
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Use Public Transit

Getting from one point to another in a city can be one of the most financially draining things you do. To lessen the blow, opt for public transit instead of taxis. Most places have buses and trains and they are much cheaper. If you have to use a taxi use apps like Grab and Uber instead.

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Stay at Hostels and Air BnB’s

Most hotels can cost a fortune just for a place to lay your head at night. When you on vacation you hardly even spend anytime in the room anyways except to rest, so whats the point in paying all that money for something you never use? Hostels are usually shared dorm style rooms and a lot cheaper when you are traveling alone. I suggest looking at Air BnB if you are traveling as a couple or with more people, those hostel prices are per person and can really add up.

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Work While You Travel

If money is so tight you wouldn’t even be able to spare a dime towards traveling then working while you travel is a great choice. I know what your thinking working while traveling sounds like the worst. But honestly it can be amazingly rewarding and/or simple. Things lie house sitting for someone while they are away allows you to get free housing and sometimes extra cash on the side and still be able to enjoy your trip. Other option include woofing where you work in exchange for housing and food. You are usually left with an amazing experience with locals and loads of international friends who are doing the same thing as you.

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So if you think money is the only thing holding you back from a trip of a lifetime, think again. By applying some savy tricks you could be flying around the world with little to no expense.

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14 comments

  1. I’m not sure if I would recommend credit cards for people who are flat out broke! Maybe suggest some places with cheap/free accommodation or ways to earn money while travelling? WOOFing comes to mind. Or using credit card points for flights. Eating local can be expensive. Cooking local food yourself is a better option.

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  2. Hey thanks for your comments. I absolutely understand not everyone should have and use a credit card and think I mentioned that. But even when your broke you have things Iike rent and gas that you pay for. If you use a travel credit card and just treat it like a debit card then it’s essentially earning free travel for everyday things you are spending anyways. Also most people with no money traveling are staying at hostels which do not have the ability for you to cook in. Traveling to places during their low season and where your money is worth more than them insures you will be more able to afford the meals out and local meals are always cheaper than places in tourists areas or imported meals. I’m more thinking of people who just want a vacation and are not looking to stay at places long term where they would be able to work abroad. Thanks for those points though. Hope this help clarify for you a bit.

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  3. LOL I literally use all of these tips! I guess I’m a pro at traveling while broke. I would also think about having a few meals at your airbnb or hotel. Buying a container of milk and a box of cereal for the week is significantly cheaper than going to brunch every single day. Sure, treat yourself a couple of times, but that box of cereal will definitely save a lot of money.

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  4. Definitely always looking for good travel deals online and totally agree on eating the local food. I made it a mandatory food meal to eat what the local do. I will not go to tourist recommended area as it has already been mostly tailored to an international taste. Not all but at least most of it! Good tips on these!

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  5. These are good tips. Also cut down on unnecessary subscriptions like magazines, cable or even a landline. I used to have all of these and didn’t think of the money I’m spending when I don’t even use them often. Then I started putting the money on my travel funds. In one year, you’ll be able to save a lot.

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  6. I can so relate because I’m so thrifty so I eat some cheap food and bring my credit cards too and got to some hostel for budget friendly accommodation.

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  7. Some very helpful tips here for sure. I actually do many of these whether I am broke or not – love eating the local food and taking public transport, it’s all part of the experience 🙂
    Wholeheartedly agree with not spending money on things. It’s actually scientifically proven now that people who spend money on experiences instead are happier.

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  8. Your tips like using websites like skyscanner, I couldn’t agree more! I use skyscanner a lot (but always check other websites too) and some of the deals are insane! I go to Thailand from the UK regularly as my gf lives in Thailand and I get some flights for under £300 return!

    Also I love eating local food (although sometimes can be more expensive than cooking your own). But local food just tastes so much better and a lot cheaper than eating western food!

    Awesome article, and fantastic tips! Happy travels 🙂

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  9. There are so many options how to travel cheap especially when you are broke. I would definitely recommend Couchsurfing, hitchhiking, airbnb and volunteering. These are the things I would recommend to broke backpackers. I tried them by myself – they work and save a lot of money!

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  10. These are absolute great tips. I will have to add in something about cheap stays. Thanks for the recommendation

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  11. We couldn’t agree more! All these points make sense when you want to spend less, but also to have a high quality of travel. And quality travel for us is not staying at expensive, all-inclusive hotels with amazing views, eating in recommended tourist places and travelling by taxis for the comfort – it’s staying in traditional houses, meeting interesting co-travellers and local hosts who always have a good story to tell, eating in small, but oh so full with locals places, travelling with them with buses and trains, even if they are shaking left and right. You will still have these amazing views and food, but it will be so much more authentic!

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