Have you ever noticed that some folks on social media seem to be professional country hoppers—and you want to know how they do it? Surprisingly, few are trust fund babies equipped with unlimited funds to support their holidays. Instead, these world travelers are usually frugal and smart when it comes to traveling on a budget. No matter what your financial situation, it’s easier to travel the world than you think. All it takes is a little planning, some flexibility, and willingness to get a little uncomfortable at times.
First, consider whether it’s more affordable to drive, fly, or take another form of transportation like train or boat. Increasingly, it has become cheaper to drive, but that requires choosing the right car (if you live in Georgia, USA) and often teaming up with fellow adventure seekers. You’ll also need to stay on top of car maintenance throughout the trip if you own the vehicle, or you can go with a rental and let someone else worry about auto upkeep.
Ready to find out more ways to travel on a budget? Try out these tips:
- Travel in the off season. Many locations, especially the tropical ones, have on and off seasons. In the off season, flights will be cheaper as will hotels and experiences. You’ll also have a more authentic experience, and there will be less crowds. However, the weather isn’t always ideal (for some people). It might be monsoon season or extremely hot. There are certainly ways to stay comfortable even in these settings. Remember that the locals live here year-round. For a lot of travelers, the off season is preferred regardless of weather because they get more of the local vibe to themselves.
- Fly standby. Every airline has different procedures for standby flying, but the gist is the same. You show up at the airport and get put on a list of possible passengers. If there are open seats on a flight, you can claim them for a fraction of the regular ticket price. How long you have to wait depends on many factors, and obviously traveling during peak times can be a challenge. However, it’s rare that you’ll need to wait more than a day or two. It does require some patience and flexibility but is well worth it.
- Try a work for stay situation. Many organizations and boarding facilities offer free or reduced rooms and meals in exchange for a little work. The most well-known approach to this is WOOLF, but it’s become increasingly popular in recent years on an individual level. Do some research at the locations you’d like to travel, and specifically seek out farms. There has also been an increase in “volunteerism,” but these programs often require you to pay a substantial amount for the privilege of volunteering. This can be a tourist trap, so instead stick with working directly with the border or farm.
- Take public transportation. In many regions, renting a car or taking taxis is what eats up a lot of your budget. If you opt for public transportation, it might take a little longer and be frustrating to figure out at first, but it’s well worth it. Not only will you save a bundle of cash, you’ll also get to experience the real culture. Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to figure out public transport systems if you have access to Wi-Fi and do a little digging online beforehand.
- Go in for a housing swap. No matter where you live, you can bet there’s someone in the world who would love to swap homes with you. There are a number of sites to check out and make sure to spend plenty of time writing the description of your home and city as well as uploading the maximum number of pictures. It’s often housing that is the most expensive part of the trip, so why not take that out of the equation?
- Teach English abroad. Not all contracts are for one year. If you’d like to spend just a few weeks abroad, it’s possible to find summer or winter camp sessions in need of teachers. Arrangements vary widely, but perks often include a stipend, housing, meals, and even transportation to and from the country. You’ll be able to immerse yourself in the culture and get paid to do it. Requirements also depend on the country, and many require at least a bachelor’s degree in any field. However, you can get paid more for advanced degrees or degrees related to English and teaching.
Traveling the world is on most people’s wish list, but it can quickly seem overwhelming or too expensive. Nobody ever said it was easy, but it is possible. Start by asking yourself what kind of comforts you’re willing to give up, and what securities you really need. You can design your own world-traveling itinerary for a much lower cost than you think.