You will find endless articles on the internet advertising ‘how to travel for free’ by doing things like teaching English overseas, working on a cruise ship, or even house sitting short or long term. While all these jobs are great for getting around the world, they are still ultimately jobs. The wanderlust might wear off fast if you are stuck in a daily grind. While we can certainly appreciate a free accommodation or free room and board (cruise ship), most of us travelers might not have the luxury of packing up and moving overseas for a job.

In this article we delve into the aspects of budget conscious travel. Having a plan in place to travel cheap so when dreaming of far-off destinations, vibrant cultures, and breathtaking landscapes, you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg doing so.

We will break down every travelers main expenses, and show how cheap travel is possible for tens of thousands of individuals who believe money is their largest barrier to travel the world.


Table of Contents

Every Travelers Five Main Expenses

Save Money on Airfare

Save Money Accommodations

Save Money on Transportation

Save Money on Food & Drink

Save Money on Entertainment

Other Tips and Tricks to Travel For Cheap

Cheap Travel Time?

Every Travelers 5 Main Expenses

There are of course variations of each, and depending on your starting point, countries of travel, length of itinerary, travel style, and ending point, travel expenses will or course vary. But as a starting point, most if not all travelers have the same 5 main travel expenses.

We will jump into each category and show you how it’s possible to save money and travel cheap on each. The notion that money should be the main barrier to exploring the destinations of your dreams can gradually fade away. Whether you fly mid week to Disney World, or have always dreamed of an ocean room built over the water in Fiji, most travelers have the same travel principles: using travel tips for saving money to enjoy the world.

How to Save Money on Airfare

Airfare is generally your single largest up front expense for travel. International flights can often be very pricey. Saving money can be a challenge when getting to and from international destinations that could possibly take up half of your travel budget. There is endless information on flight deals and how to find cheaper flights. Some of it is true while much of it is not. There are however certain ways to find cheap flights to your travel destination to not eat up your budget.

Flexible Travel Dates and Times:

Being open to flying on weekdays or during off-peak hours can often result in significant savings. Airlines tend to offer lower prices for flights departing on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. Additionally, early morning or late-night flights might be cheaper due to decreased demand. Business travelers tend to book and fly more on Monday’s and Friday’s causing demand for flights to increase on the book ends of the work week.

Flying to less popular destination’s off season time frame is a great way to save money. Not only are you not competing with thousands of other travelers for airfare, you are picking a time when airfare fluctuates between low and high season. In the business of flying, it’s much like everything else. With high demand, the airlines can dictate supply and prices. With lower demand, airlines still want to fill their planes for maximum capacity and are much more willing to publish great deals for a cheap flight.

Use a credit card that has a great travelers rewards program (Chase sapphire reserve for example). Those air-miles will pile up overtime, so do your research online in advance to know what your are ready to spend on for your next vacation.

Use Fare Comparison Websites:

Utilize fare comparison websites and search engines to find the best deals across various airlines. Websites like Skyscanner, and allow you to compare prices and filter results by different factors, ensuring you snag the most cost-effective option. Compare flight deals by sorting from lowest prices first, and see if any fall within your budget. We personally have taken flights with multiple stops or longer layovers to save on overall ticket prices. This of course is a challenge if you are traveling with children or are in a hurry to get to your destination. But if the ticket price is a great way to save money, we have no problem with more legs or longer flights to save on our overall trip.

Pay for a flight deals service like (formerly Scotts Cheap Flights). For about $40 annual fee, you will get regular updates on special flight deals. We can tell you this is very worth it if you are a travel loving adventurer looking for travel deals and special flight prices.

Another of our favorites to find cheap flights is using Google Flights. Put in your home or preferred airport, and type in ‘Anywhere’. You will be brought to a very cool world map that gives you all the current flight prices from your home or preferred airport. By checking this often, you can sometimes find a gem of a deal and plan your vacation based on the destination flight deal. As it’s an entire globe of prices, you will see domestic flights and international, and Google will give you options on whom to book through if you find the one you want.

Book Well in Advance:

Airlines typically release their tickets around 6 to 9 months in advance. Booking early can help you secure lower prices before they start to rise as the departure date approaches. However, last-minute deals can occasionally be found if you’re flexible with your travel plans. Your travel destination flight being likely the most expensive up front cost of your trip, is nice to take care of right away if possible. Once the largest portion is taken care of, it’s easier to travel the world with a peace of mind knowing budgeting for the rest should fall into place.

Consider Nearby Airports and Budget Airlines:

Sometimes, flying into or out of nearby airports instead of the main hub can lead to significant savings. Factor in transportation costs to your final destination to ensure it’s still a cost-effective choice.

This also goes for flying out of major airports as opposed to smaller ones. Some budget travel tips dictate to look for your home airport first, and then check the closest major airport to your departure location. It might be cheaper to Park and Fly, or Park Sleep Fly out of a major airport, than to leave from a smaller one.

If all you care about is getting from point A to B, then opting for budget airlines is a great way to travel for cheap. This is extremely common in Europe. Booking a one way flight from an non major airport to airport, then getting to the desired city via bus, tram, or subway.

Sign Up for Fare Alerts and Newsletters:

Subscribe to fare alerts and airline newsletters to receive notifications about special deals and discounts. Airlines often send out limited-time offers to their subscribers, giving you the chance to snag reduced airfares before they’re gone. You just have to filter or delete the excess add emails that you also might receive, and sift through the ones that offer truly great deals to travel for cheap via airfare.

This also goes back to paying for a service like One great deal on a flight and you have already paid for your annual membership fee. You can customize a platform to send you specific flight deals South America or South East Asia.

Remember, flexibility and research are key when it comes to finding the best airfare deals. By being proactive and patient, you can maximize your chances of saving money on flights. If you have the ability to be ultra flexible, check out last minute deals on sites like They have both a domestic and international last minute flight section.


How to Save Money on Accommodations

Stay in Hostels:

Hostels offer budget-friendly accommodations, especially for solo travelers or those looking to meet fellow travelers. Many hostels provide private rooms as well as dormitory options, catering to a variety of preferences and budgets.

Hostels have gone up in price the last few years due to their nature for being much cheaper than your average hotel room and therefor overall popularity. However they certainly aren’t for everyone if you much prefer peace and quite and like to do your own thing.

Hostels in most major cities are a fantastic place that connects travelers of the same nature with each other. Most hostels also offer a small kitchen, which is perfect for preparing your own meal(s). For travelers looking for budget overnight accommodations with little more than a place to crash, hostels are an ideal option worth exploring. One can save tons of money staying strictly in hostels, especially ones that offer student discounts.

Use Accommodation Booking Platforms:

Utilize online platforms like, Expedia, Airbnb, and Hostelworld to compare prices and find the best deals. These platforms often have filters to help you narrow down options based on your budget and preferences.

If you have a favorite hotel, chances are you have a hotel rewards programs that can be used just like airline points. This is a great way to save as much money as you can on overnight accommodations.

Consider Alternative Accommodation:

Explore options beyond traditional hotels, such as guesthouses, vacation rentals, or homestays. These alternatives can offer unique experiences and often come at a lower cost than traditional hotels.

Stay Outside Tourist Areas:

Accommodations located slightly away from major tourist areas tend to be more affordable. Public transportation or walking can make up for the distance and allow you to experience more of the local culture.

Travel During Off-Peak Seasons:

Prices for accommodations tend to be lower during off-peak seasons when tourist numbers are lower. By planning your trip during less popular times, you can take advantage of discounted rates on hotels and other lodgings.

Remember to read reviews and do thorough research to ensure that the accommodation you choose is safe and meets your expectations. With a bit of planning and flexibility, you can find comfortable accommodations that fit your budget while traveling overseas.

How to Save Money on Transportation

Use Public Transportation:

Public transportation, such as buses, trains, and subways, is often more affordable than taxis or private cars. Research local transit options and consider purchasing multi-day passes for added savings.

Walk or Bike:

Exploring a new destination on foot or using a bike rental can save you money on transportation while allowing you to experience the surroundings more intimately. Many cities have bike-sharing programs for easy and cost-effective access.

Opt for the free walking tours for cheap travel. If there are no specific walking tours a particular city offers, do some online research and create your own. Make sure to pick routes that avoid the bad areas of cities. Safety should alway be top priority.

Share Rides:

Consider using ride-sharing services or carpooling options to split the cost of transportation with fellow travelers or locals heading in the same direction. If you rent an Airbnb or VRBO, ask the host if they know anyone who lives close that is heading into the city that you could possibly gain a rid from. As the saying goes, ‘you don’t ask, you don’t get’.

Another option is booking an overnight train from country to country or city to city. This kills two birds with one stone. Transportation that is also an overnight accommodation!

Book Flights in Advance:

When flying, booking your tickets well in advance can lead to significant savings. Use flight comparison websites to find the best deals and consider being flexible with your travel dates to find the lowest fares. Look for budget airlines for shorter flights in between cities. Ryanair or Easyjet are both great options for Europe. Their secret is not flying into major city airports, but smaller airports located a ways away from larger cities. Be prepared to take subways, trams, and buses to get to the major attractions in the big cities.

Rent Budget-Friendly Vehicles:

If you need a rental car, opt for economy or compact cars that consume less fuel and have lower rental rates. Additionally, compare prices from different rental companies to secure the best deal.

By being strategic and open to various transportation options, you can cut down on transportation costs and allocate your travel budget to other exciting experiences during your trip overseas.

How to Save Money on Food & Drinks

Eat Like a Local:

Opt for local eateries, street food stalls, and markets instead of touristy restaurants. Not only will you experience authentic cuisine, but you’ll also save money compared to dining in tourist-heavy areas.

Cook Your Own Meals:

If your accommodation has a kitchen or kitchenette, consider buying groceries and preparing your own meals. This can be especially cost-effective for breakfasts and lunches.

Happy Hour and Specials:

Look out for happy hour deals and daily specials at bars and restaurants. Enjoying drinks and meals during these times can offer significant discounts.

Pack Snacks:

Carry snacks like granola bars, nuts, and fruit to curb your hunger between meals. This can help you avoid impulsive and pricey snack purchases while out and about.

Stay Hydrated with Tap Water:

Instead of buying bottled water, carry a reusable water bottle and refill it with tap water (where safe to do so). This simple change can save you money and reduce plastic waste. Most airports, train stations, public museums all offer refillable filtered water stations. Perfect time to fill up!

By incorporating these strategies, you can savor local flavors without breaking the bank and ensure that your food and beverage expenses align with your travel budget.

How to Save Money on Entertainment

Free Attractions:

Research and explore free or low-cost attractions, such as parks, beaches, markets, and local festivals. Many cities offer free walking tours that provide insights into the area’s culture and history.

Museum Passes or City Cards:

Some destinations offer discounted passes that grant access to multiple attractions, museums, and public transportation. These can save you money if you plan to visit several paid attractions.

Local Events and Performances:

Seek out local events, live music, and performances, which often have lower admission fees compared to big-name entertainment. Engaging with the local arts scene can be both enriching and help you travel for cheap.

DIY Sightseeing:

Utilize self-guided tours and audio guides to explore landmarks and historical sites on your own. Many cities also have downloadable apps that provide informative and interactive tours. Free things can do can include a free walking tour at major tourist attractions.

Did you know that if you have a lengthy layover in Doha Qatar, you can sign up for a free shuttle city tour? Just make sure you book in advance and hope your layover aligns with the free shuttle tour times.

Enjoy Nature:

Take advantage of the outdoors by hiking, biking, or simply strolling through scenic areas. Nature is often free to enjoy and provides a refreshing break from urban activities. A quick google search can give you nature reserves or short hikes in whatever area you are going to. This is certainly a great alternative and lower cost solution to paying for a guided city tour.

With a mix of free and budget-friendly entertainment options, you can immerse yourself in the local culture and have memorable experiences without straining your wallet.

Other Tips and Tricks to Travel For Cheap

There are other tips and tricks to help you travel for cheap while taking your next trip or vacation. Bringing some local cash with you can help you budget a daily spending allowance. It will also help avoid those banks or credit card companies that charge foreign transaction fees. It’s also recommended to hit the ground running with cash, as there are often foreign ATM fees associated with pulling money out abroad. While bringing cash isn’t always the safest thing to do, just don’t go flashing it around in public. Keep it secure with a money belt, or interior pocket that has a zipper.

If you decide to take a longer two week vacation, tell yourself, your travel parter, or your group that it would be beneficial to plan maybe just a few big meals out. Make that dinner reservation in advance for some special local cuisine, and then depending on your accommodation, buy some food at local markets and prepare yourself. This certainly has the benefit to spend money wisely, get to see the local culture, and connect travelers if cooking together in cheap destinations.

  • Local Currency and Budgeting: Having some local currency on hand can help you stick to your daily spending limit and avoid excessive foreign transaction fees. Research local exchange rates and consider withdrawing cash from ATMs in larger amounts to minimize fees.

  • Dining Strategically: Opt for a mix of dining experiences. While enjoying a few special meals at local restaurants is a treat, also explore local markets and grocery stores. Preparing some of your meals can be very cost effective and allow you to sample local ingredients.

  • Cooking and Sharing: If your accommodation allows, consider staying in a place with a kitchenette. This gives you the opportunity to cook your own meals, which is not only budget-friendly but can also be a fun way to bond with travel partners and fellow travelers.

  • Happy Hours and Specials: Many destinations offer happy hour deals and specials at local bars and restaurants during certain times of the day. Take advantage of these offers to enjoy drinks and meals at discounted prices.

  • Rental Accommodations: If you are renting in an AirBnB or VRBO, see what comes with your house. Often included in the rental price, there are things like bicycles or discounts on city tours. Just make sure to do the research in advance so there are no unexpected surprises. Don’t be afraid to connect with your host. They likely have knowledge of the area or city and would be happy to provide much needed information.

  • Travel Light: Pack minimally to avoid checked baggage fees and be prepared for impromptu adventures without worrying about extra costs. You will also feel more free to travel the world with less stuff to tote around and worry about. Don’t be afraid to wear clothing more than once and do laundry as opposed to packing a new outfit for every day.

  • Stop at Information/Tourist Desks: As every city and airport has one, don’t hesitate to stop and ask for budget friendly activities to do. They will give you travel tips regarding free things. As it only takes a few minutes of your time, it’s a great way to travel cheap once at your destination.

  • Visit Less Touristy Areas: Instead of well-known tourist spots, explore less-traveled destinations. They often offer unique experiences at a fraction of the cost and give you a chance to interact with locals more intimately. No one knows about the surrounding areas like a local. Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation to gain some great travel tips. Locals might know of free things to do as well.

  • House Sitting: If you can find a short or long term house sitting gig that lines up with a country or city you want to travel to, great! House sitting would be an excellent way to travel for cheap through ‘free’ accommodation. Just make sure you fully understand what your responsibilities are, so there are no surprises. Check out sites like to see if there is an opportunity somewhere around the world waiting or you.

  • Camp in Unique Spots: Opt for wild camping or find legal, free camping spots in designated areas. This can lead to incredible experiences, like camping on a secluded beach or in a scenic countryside. This of course applies to the adventurers and tenters. Not everyone likes sleeping on the ground in a tent. However it is a very cost effective way to save money on overnight accommodations, and adds a sense of adventure to your goal of cheap travel.

  • Travel Insurance: Travel insurance might seem like an additional expense, but it can actually save you significant money in the long run. It provides financial protection against unforeseen events such as trip cancellations, medical emergencies, lost baggage, and flight delays. Without insurance, you might end up paying hefty costs to reschedule flights, cover medical bills, or replace lost items. Travel insurance acts as a safety net, ensuring that unexpected incidents don’t drain your finances and allowing you to focus on enjoying your trip. In essence, investing in travel insurance can prevent potentially high expenses and provide peace of mind throughout your journey.

By strategically managing your finances, being mindful of dining choices, and planning meals ahead, you can make your travel experience enjoyable, budget-friendly, and culturally enriching.

Cheap Travel Time?

In this age of resourcefulness and accessibility, the notion that money should be the main barrier to exploring the destinations of your dreams is gradually fading away. The art of traveling cheaply is a skill that empowers wanderlust enthusiasts to break free from the chains of financial constraints and unlock the world’s wonders.

Traveling for cheap doesn’t mean sacrificing experiences or missing out on your dream trip. With smart planning and a few creative strategies, you can explore stunning destinations like Central America, even renowned spots like Costa Rica, without breaking the bank. From securing free flights through loyalty programs to doing a house sit for accommodation, there are numerous avenues to make your travel dreams a reality. And while you’re on your budget-friendly adventure, don’t forget the importance of travel insurance to provide you with peace of mind throughout your journey. So go ahead, embark on your cost-effective adventure, immerse yourself in new cultures, and create memories that will last a lifetime—all while keeping your wallet happy.