Raise your hand if you’re like me. (seriously, lift up your hand.)
You’d love to travel the world…
Immerse yourself in fascinating cultures…
Go on a life-changing adventure…
But unfortunately, all that costs money—money you don’t have. After all, you’ve got student loans to pay, a retirement to save for, adult drinks to buy…where are you supposed to find the extra cash to splurge on a world trip? It’s just not realistic.
So you file that dream away under the “that’s only for rich people” category and go back to your daily grind. Back to your routine. Back to reality.
But hold up a sec.
Have you actually researched cheap ways to travel? Or are you giving up your dream based on assumptions? Because here’s the reality…
Travel is NOT just for the rich. It’s actually surprisingly affordable (if you know the cheapest ways to travel). In fact, you could go on a wild adventure around the world and spend less than you do in your normal daily life.
So if you’ve been using money as your excuse not to travel, today’s your lucky day.
You’re about to be exposed to a mega-resource list of the best money-saving travel tips of all-time—tips famous world travelers use to explore the globe for months, years, even DECADES without running out of money.
Sound too good to be true? It’s not. (I swear!)
And I’ll prove it to you. Let’s dig in…
Table of Contents
- Save For Your Trip The Smart Way
- Set Yourself Up For Cheap Travel Success
- Never Pay For a Flight Again
- Creatively Cut Down Transportation Costs
- Find Free (or Dirt-Cheap) Accommodation
- Keep Your Belly AND Your Wallet Full
- Make Your Money Last Longer Everywhere You Go
- Save Money While Doing Something Meaningful
- With Great Travel Hacks Comes Great Responsibility
Save For Your Trip The Smart Way
Unless you have a job that allows you to travel, your first step will be to save. I know…sexy, right? But if you follow these tips and keep your eye on the prize, you’ll be out exploring the world before you know it.
1. Find some roommates and rack up big-time savings without lifting a finger.
2. Take it a step further and fund your trip by renting out your place while you travel. Use Airbnb or find a renter the old fashioned way.
3. Boost your travel fund without sacrificing what you love with these nine creative tips.
4. Speed up the savings process by selling your junk (or better yet, sell EVERYTHING).
5. Learn “financial planning for travelers 101” from an ex-financial planner turned nomad.
6. Save faster by living in a “cheap” country while earning in a strong currency (ex. teaching English)
7. Be aware of and overcome the 6 obstacles to saving money for travel.
8. Use these tips to save $5k in 3 months or less.
Set Yourself Up For Cheap Travel Success
9. Don’t overlook the travel preparation phase. Some of the best money-saving strategies come into play before your trip actually starts.
10. Choose a destination where your currency will go the furthest.
11. Consider the benefits of traveling during low-season.
12. Pick a destination from this list of cheapest places to travel.
13. Find killer flight deals using Facebook and Twitter.
14. Use travel packing hacks and master the art of packing light (See example packing list).
15. Get yourself a refillable water bottle with a built-in filter (but don’t lose it!).
16. While you’re at it, invest in these 8 other handy items that will save you money.
17. Read backpacker budget guides for your specific destination before leaving.
18. Exchange money like a pro.
19. Open a free Charles Schwab Checking Account to never pay another ATM fee.
20. Avoid paying your bank pointless foreign transaction fees by using these credit cards (or these ones if you’re not from the US).
Never Pay For a Flight Again
If you’re paying for airfare, you’re doing it wrong. One of the cheapest ways to travel is to learn to score free (or heavily discounted) flights. These tips will show you how:
21. Earn free flights fast with these travel rewards credit cards.
22. Hack one trip into two using stopovers.
23. Learn how to travel hack for “normal people”.
24. Use these 18 sites to score last-minute travel bargains.
25. See how to travel hack your way to a free flight in 15 minutes.
26. Sign up for free airline loyalty programs and track points using Award Wallet.
27. Read this ultimate beginner’s guide to frequent flyer miles if you’re still feeling confused.
28. Use these expert tips for finding the absolute lowest prices on flights.
29. Be flexible and “search backwards” for your flights.
30. Take advantage of mistake fares—when airlines offer dirt cheap prices on accident.
Creatively Cut Down Transportation Costs
So you’ve made it to your destination. Now how do you get around? Here are the cheapest ways to travel from place to place:
31. Try a car-sharing service instead of renting a car.
32. Take advantage of vehicle relocation deals to rent cars and RVs for as little as $1/day
33. Kill two birds with one stone by taking night buses.
Find Free (or Dirt-Cheap) Accommodation
Hotels are dead. Well, at least they are to me. I prefer these other types of accommodations instead. Not only will they save you a fortune, but they’ll also give you more meaningful cultural experiences.
36. Check out this guide to meeting and staying with locals for free with Couchsurfing.
37. Camp your way around the world.
38. Bookmark this ultimate resource guide for finding cheap (and free) accommodation.
39. Find housesitter jobs and take care of beautiful houses (and pets) while their owners are away.
40. Save money (and meet tons of cool people) by staying in hostels instead of hotels.
41. Or live like a local by staying in guesthouses or renting an Airbnb. When you find a place you like, use these tips to save even more.
42. Try Home Exchanging or a House Swap.
43. Hear an ex-hotel manager confess the secrets to negotiating discounted rooms.
Keep Your Belly AND Your Wallet Full
If you want your money to last, you’ve got to find ways to save on food. Luckily, the cheapest options and the tastiest options are often the same.
46. Research the local drinks—the cheapest type of alcohol varies from country to country.
47. Or simply choose a destination where alcohol is weirdly cheap (if drinking is your thing).
48. Put your chef hat on and cook these simple and delicious meals in your hostel (don’t forget these hostel-cooking tips).
49. Follow these tricks to find cheap places to eat anywhere you are (even in tourist traps).
Make Your Money Last Longer Everywhere You Go
Long-term travelers have a way of morphing into money-saving machines. Here are some more great hacks picked up by travelers who’ve “been there, done that”.
50. Use a travel-friendly bank account that doesn’t screw you over in fees.
51. Find free activities in every city.
52. Learn how to get free tours and make friends with locals.
53. Avoid spending a fortune doing your laundry while traveling.
54. Find out what the Reddit crowd is saying about the cheapest ways to travel.
55. Educate yourself on how to avoid common travel scams.
56. Keep your money safe while traveling.
57. Adopt a slow travel mindset.
58. Eat like a local.
59. Travel like a local.
60. Shop like a local (learn to haggle).
61. Basically, the cheapest way to travel is to just do everything like a local.
62. Take advantage of student discounts and travel discount cards.
63. Communicate with friends and family using these apps using free wifi.
64. But if you absolutely need to stay connected with data/cell service, follow these tips.
65. Find a travel buddy to split travel expenses.
Save Money While Doing Something Meaningful
Sure, travel is a time to relax. But we as humans are built to produce and grow. You’ll likely reach a point in your trip where you start to feel antsy—like you need a purpose and want to do something productive. Why not use those feelings to earn some money (or free food/accommodation) while helping a good cause? Volunteering can be one of the cheapest ways to travel.
68. Or learn how to sustain full-time travel with the WorkAway volunteering platform (just make sure to read these Workaway safety tips first).
69. Travel the world for free by WWOOFing (not like a dog—that won’t work.)
BONUS: The best way to make sure your trip never ends? Choose one of these 107 killer ways to make money traveling.
With Great Travel Hacks Comes Great Responsibility
If you made it through all that, consider yourself enlightened.
You now know the secrets to cheaply traveling the world. If you’re fortunate enough to have internet access and are able to read this post, then you can afford to travel. It’s as simple as that.
The truth is, if you still think travel is too expensive after going through this list, then an adventure around the globe probably just isn’t in the cards for you.
I don’t say it to be mean, I’m just telling it like it is…
Because there are two types of people in this world: those who take action on valuable information and go after their goals…
…and those who just dream, do nothing, and wonder why their life sucks.
But that’s not you, is it? You’re not a dreamer—you’re a doer. And doers act. They don’t wait until “someday”. They create their own future.
So what’s it gonna be?
Will you ignore these tips so you can keep using the “money excuse”?
Or will you use them to go on an unforgettable, life-changing adventure?
The decision is yours—choose wisely.
What tricks do you use to save money traveling? Did I miss anything?
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⚠️HOLD UP! Before you peace out to explore the world—are you protected? Don’t leave home without first reading my long term travel insurance guide ⚠️
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Mitch is your typical nomadic backpacker. Or at least, he was. But after stopping in Colombia to take “one week” of salsa lessons, his life took a sharp left turn. He met a cute Colombian girl in dance class, fell in love, and got married. Over half a decade has passed since he left his career to travel the world as a digital nomad, and he’s never looked back.
Nowadays, he’s the blogger behind Project Untethered — where he runs an awesome email newsletter and Youtube channel teaching adventure-craved wanderlusters how to escape the rat race, earn money from anywhere, and build an “untethered life”.
His advice has been featured in Forbes, USA Today, Yahoo, MSN, Reader’s Digest, Condé Nast Traveler, and more.
Mitch's Travel Recommendations:
Travel Planning Resources - Everything you need to plan your trip on one convenient page.
Safetywing Insurance - This cheap travel insurance has saved me over $15,000 in medical bills.
Booking.com - Book accommodation without adding your credit card (in case you need to cancel).
Skyscanner - Find cheap flights.
Trusted House Sitters - Take care of pets in exchange for free (sometimes luxury) accommodation.
Flexjobs - Find remote jobs without having to sift through crappy ones.
Skillshare - Free trial to take unlimited classes that teach digital nomad skills.
Anytime Mailbox - Virtual mail service that can handle your mail while you’re away.
Wise - Send and receive money abroad cheaply (great for freelancers).