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How to travel the world with no money – by people who have done it

Laura Bingham, pictured cycling across a snowy landscape on a blue-sky day. She cycled across South America, surviving purely on the kindness of strangers

Laura Bingham: 7,000km cycle across South America, July 2016

What was the high point of your trip?
When my sister joined me for a short while in Argentina. We’d been there for two days and a man stopped on the side of the road and began speaking to us. He told us how he’d cycled around Spain last year then offered us his place to stay that night. When we arrived at his home, his mum greeted us with open arms and fed us so much food that we ate like kings for the first time in months. The following day we met another cyclist who invited us to his home for lunch and made arrangements with his friend for us to stay a day later. After a generous lunch, we went to his friend’s place and were stopped in the local town by a man who gave us a large bag of oranges. He, too, offered a stay in his home … This level of generosity shocked me to my core. I think we forget how giving people can be and how a kind stranger can look after you without expecting anything in return. It’s funny how kindness and a warm smile can be the highlight of your day.

Laura Bingham checks her map during her 7,000km ride.

Laura Bingham checks her map during her 7,000km ride. Photograph: Brandon C Giesbrecht

She looked at me, looked at how desperate I was, the tears streaming from my face, and shook her finger. Nothing.

The low point?
The moment that stands out was on day 16, just over two weeks in to my trip. I had been pushing my bike up the Ecuadorian Andes for four days; it was pouring with rain and I was extremely hungry. I had passed house after house of rejection: no one would help. Nothing. We reached a house and I fell to my knees in tears, begging the woman for help, even just her garden to put up my tent. She looked at me, looked at how desperate I was, the tears streaming from my face, and shook her finger. Nothing. I could do nothing and I felt like nothing. I dug deep to source any shred of energy or willpower to keep going.

What’s your advice for anyone who wants to do a similar trip?
If you’re planning a cycling trip, pack light. Very light. Weight will hold you back and you’ll be surprised by the amount of stuff you don’t need. Think practically and essentially. I would recommend Gore gloves and rain jacket as they are lightweight. I also loved my down jacket: it kept me warm and worked as a pillow too! Finally, it is important to keep positive. I was raising money for a charity called Operation South America and the thought of them got me through my darkest days. And download some motivational videos or podcasts. I liked to listen to Motivational Madness – it keeps you strong if you’re feeling low.
Read more about Laura’s adventures at laurabingham.org

Rob Greenfield: 72 money-free days travelling from Brazil to Panama

Rob Greenfield on one of several free rides in Mexico. He is sitting in the back of a pickup truck.

Rob on one of several rides in Mexico. Photograph: Rob Greenfield

What was the high point of your trip?
Stepping off the plane in Brazil. I had no money, no contacts, no solid plans and 7,000 miles of mystery and wonder ahead of me through lands I’d never set foot on. With so many of us on a quest for more stuff and more money, this is a perspective on Earth that few of us get to feel.

The low point?
The daily challenge of finding a new source of food and water, a place to sleep, and a ride made the whole trip through South America strenuous. To hitchhike 7,000 miles when you don’t like cars isn’t always the most fun. One day in Peru I accidentally got off the Pan-American Highway and ended up in the middle of nowhere. It took me around 12 rides to go just 130 miles. But hitchhiking is worth it because it takes you to places and introduces you to people you never would have seen or met in any other way.

Hitchhiking in Mexico

Photograph: Rob Greenfield

What’s your advice for anyone who wants to do a similar trip?
Be prepared and have the gear to be mostly self-sustaining. Carry a tent and sleeping gear, water purifier, cooking equipment and comfy clothes. Travel light and leave behind what you don’t need. Make connections for places to stay, and earn meals through websites such as wwoof.org, helpx.net, and workaway.info. Ditch your expectations before beginning the journey and keep an open and curious mind.
Read more about Rob’s adventures at robgreenfield.tv

Rhinal Patel: travelled from her UK home to Hong Kong

Breakfast at sunrise by Lake Toba, Sumatra

Breakfast at sunrise by Lake Toba, Sumatra

What was the high point of your trip, so far?
There is no better feeling than when someone, without knowing who you are, holds out a hand to help you. One memorable experience was hitchhiking in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. My friend Paco went to ask an elderly Muslim lady how far the next town was and she looked at us like we were crazy (hitchhiking is not common in Indonesia). We started waving at the cars going past when suddenly she came over, calmly stood in the middle of the road and made a stop sign in front of a car going past. It stopped immediately, and she told us to get in. This old lady had more power and courage than most kids today! I was truly inspired and impressed. The power of social media also amazed me. People would find my blog online and contact me, inviting me to stay with them.

The low point?
The lowest point was in Germany, I had two days to get to Poland for my flight and I had planned to travel 300km across the north. On the way, a Brazilian guy who picked me up found out that there were growing neo-Nazi towns in the north and I could be entering a dangerous situation. I rerouted via Berlin, adding another 300km to my journey. I arrived late at a service station and decided it was too late to hitchhike, so I slept in the toilet. Then I got a message from someone in Berlin saying that he had read my blogand asked what he could do to help. I told him my situation and he offered to come and get me as well as pay for my bus ticket and a hotel. But before I could reply I lost Wi-Fi connection. I spent the next 90 minutes asking people if I could borrow a phone to call him: everyone said no. Finally, one girl agreed and we waited for her boyfriend to come out of the toilet so I could explain my location to my contact in Berlin. As soon as he came out the look on his face told me he was not going to help me, but I did not expect what was to come out of his mouth: “I am sorry we cannot help you. You might be trying to organise a bomb somewhere.”

What’s your advice for anyone who wants to do a similar trip?
There is the risk something bad can happen to a lone female hitchhiker, but it was important to me to show the importance of freedom and independence, especially for women. I did almost back out after hearing the story of Pippa Bacca (an Italian hitchhiker murdered in Turkey in 2008), but I decided to proceed with caution. I didn’t hitchhike at night with people I didn’t know and I started using other methods, like hitchhiking trains, car shares, or with friends of friends. Asking locals for advice, learning how to read people’s body language and researching countries beforehand is also important.

Emotionally, you need a positive attitude and determination. You are going to hear “no” a lot along your way and sometimes dirty looks and nasty comments. But you cannot give up at the first “no” … try, try, and try again until you get a “yes”.You are much more likely to hitch a ride when you’re smiling than when you are down and depressed. Usually when someone does stop, it ends up being a beautiful experience. Sweden was a difficult place for me to hitchhike because of the prejudice that has developed there, but the best advice that someone gave me is: “Focus on your end objective and don’t let anything or anyone get in your way.”
To read more about Rhinal’s travels visit her blog tinyurl.com/rhinal or donate to her chosen charity at totalgiving.co.uk

How to Travel South America on a Budget

Do you like the idea of traveling to South America on a budget?

south america on a budget

Me too, that has been one of my main goals right from the start since I embarked on my first backpacking trip to Brazil way back in 2012.

In this South America travel budget guide, I’d like to share some tips with you that will help you save money whilst you travel.

Read Post  10 Reasons Why You Should NOT Travel to South America

Table of Contents

South America on a Budget

I’ll share some practical tips you can use for traveling in South America and beyond.

Not only will you learn how to save your hard-earned cash but you may even travel back home with some money in your pocket.

south america backpacking

After considering the budget tips I have exercised over the years traveling around Latin America, I think I did well.

They say Bolivia is one of the cheapest countries in South America, however, when weighing up the cost of backpacking Central America, remember that the cost of living in South America is higher.

It’s still very affordable for most backpackers but difficult to do on a budget, simply because you have a ton more options in South America.

Also, tourism is much more developed in South America.

Now, let’s talk about some of the amazing things I’ve learned on how you can do South America on a budget that works for you.

South America Travel Budget Advice

Now, let’s look at some of these practical tips you can apply when you travel around South America.

south america colombia festival

Disclaimer
These South America travel Budget tips are based on insights I conjured up whilst spending extended periods of time in each country. Read more about my backpacking South America itinerary on this site.

Colombia Travel Budget: Learn the Lingo

In South America, take the opportunity to practice languages, whether it’s Spanish or Portuguese (most widely spoken in Latin America).

backpacking through south america locals in pereira

I’ve found Colombia the cheapest place to fly to in South America from the USA and I always recommend travelers start learning a little Spanish before they go, to get a head start.

I personally, never thought I’d become fluent in Spanish, but after many years of perseverance, it’s finally paying off.

As I mentioned in my Travel Bible, learning to speak Spanish is a rewarding experience, both personally and culturally.

Having the local lingo adds an interesting dimension to your trip.

You may be interested to know there are also some indigenous languages like Quechua in Bolivia or Guaraní in Paraguay.

Brazil Travel Budget: Travel Light

With all the tips for backpacking South America on this blog, you’ll know I mention this all the time.

salvador brazil

No matter what people say, packing light is the way! If you find it difficult to do or struggle with a bad back, don’t let it hinder you.

I recommend viewing these backpacks for back pain that I’m looking at; they’ll help you alleviate the pain.

Try not to let packing be your downfall. It may take you many trips to get it right, but when you do, you’ll feel like an advanced traveler.

Traveling South America, especially countries like Argentina and Chile, can give you an experience of a lifetime if you follow the right guides.

In Peru, there are many hikes and off the grid treks, but if you’re not hiking, it make no-sense to carry camping equipment.

I carry a travel size shaving cream everywhere I go, but never the full-size version, only the necessities that can fit in my smallest bag.

Argentina Travel Budget: Dress Correct

You can never be too sure what you get invited to do. Maybe, you’ll go to Machu Picchu or the Salt Flats in Bolivia.

argentina travel budget

Whatever you decide, in the end, just have something suitable for all occasions. Save yourself buying expensive clothes in South America.

If you plan to take buses in South America, be sure to carry a fleece or a warm throw-over. Otherwise, you’ll likely get frozen by the air con.

Either way, by having a few lightweight clothing options, you’ll save space and maintain traveling light, as I mentioned above.

Peru Travel Budget: Look After your Health

One of my biggest questions after backpacking continuously for many years is how to get around South America while staying healthy.

Once I thought it was easy to eat well with the abundance of fruits and vegetables found on the continent. But, that’s not always the reality.

peru travel budget

When backpacking in South America and eating street food etc you’ll notice that most of the food that meets the eye is deep-fried, full of dough, and high in saturated fats.

It varies, though, depending on what country you’re in.

It’s what you eat every day that counts.

If you’re a sucker for hot dogs and other cheap processed products, you’ll be degrading your health with every bite.

The solution? Dig deeper and find healthy options. There is always at least one, no matter where you are in South America.

Connect with Locals

So, now you’re learning how to backpack South America, you’ll need to meet people, right? Especially local people.

If you read my post on how to connect with locals, you’ll understand how important this concept is.

south america meet locals

If you really want to get a 4-dimensional view of a place, connecting with local people is your free entry pass.

There are many ways you can this. When I first started to backpack Latin America, I always had this in mind.

I’d not be as knowledgeable and open as I am today without connecting with local people in Latin America.

Chile Travel Budget: Carry Cash + Credit Card

One question I would ask is how much money do you need to travel South America on a budget?

The truth is, there is no definitive answer. However, keep in mind that I found carrying a credit card helps you save money as you spend.

backapacking chile

As long as you’re not getting charged on foreign transactions, you’ll be literally saving money as you spend it.

I tend to buy things like food and daily items in the supermarkets.

If I’m not using Uber, then I use cash for things like taxis and smaller transactions that require hard cash.

For me, one month in South America requires around $1000 minimum.

This is a good rule of thumb. If you’re in Bolivia or Colombia, you can survive on much less as a backpacker.

However, in countries like Uruguay and Argentina or the south of Brazil, expect to walk away with much less in your pocket.

Depending on your travel style and the activities you want to do.

Travel Insurance For South America

I always recommend backpackers and travelers (no matter who you are) use World Nomads Insurance for fully comprehensive cover.

travel insurance for latin america

If you are due to travel soon, you can get a Get A Free Quote by clicking the link or the image above and filling out your details – that way you’ll get instant cover from the exact date that you choose.

On many occasions World Nomads has provided me with reliable insurance cover for travel in Latin America and the rest of the world.

My Travel Bible shares tips for saving money while backpacking South America, including information on the best air miles credit card to use for saving money and collecting points when purchasing flights.

Book Accommodation in Advance

I tell travelers this all the time, especially if you’re traveling South America alone. Book your accommodation beforehand to not only save money but also to avoid disappointment.

Whilst traveling around South America, the last thing you want to do is end up in some remote village or that infamous party hostel to find out the room you wanted is fully booked.

south america budget

This has happened to me once, and it will never happen again. Keep your options open.

Usually, when visiting some of the more popular places in South America, you’ll find the best accommodation gets booked up much further in advance.

I’m not sure which is the best hostel in South America, but what I do know is that it’s easy to find a hostel in South America.

I use booking.com or, if I don’t like the look of the hostel, I’ll check Airbnb to see what is on offer.

You can get a private room using Airbnb for the same price as you can for an 8-bed dorm room in a hostel.

Traveling South America on a Budget

Travel is one of the fastest ways to innovate your life.

When I travel to South America, my aim has always been to connect with families and to be living in different households.

The more I did this, I began to realize that everything I knew from home was kind of obsolete. I had to learn how to live in a new culture.

Upon arrival in my home country, I felt like a completely new person.

See my thoughts on innovating life as you travel if you’d like to learn more about cultural travel in South America during your travels.

Like this article? Pin it…

south america travel budget

traveling south america budget

Did this advice help you with traveling South America on a budget?

Leave a nice comment or let’s start a conversation below!

“ Dear friend! Some links in this post contain affiliate links. Meaning, if you click through and make a purchase, book a hostel or sign up for a tour, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you . Your support means a lot and helps me to keep traveling and maintaining the quality of this site for you.”

Daniel James

Helping thousands of people worldwide with independent travel in Latin America. Layer Culture means to dig deeper into the ideas, customs, and behavior of a group of people.

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Meet Dan

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After spending years on the road Dan is now offering to help you find your feet in Latin America; inspire you to learn Spanish and get you started on your adventures. Learn how to travel longer and stronger!

How To Travel For Free : 39 Smart Hacks

how to travel without money best tips travel budget

In fact, a limited budget is a challenge that often results in funnier travel experiences and stories to tell. After all the best things in life are free… or at least cheap!

Here’s some simple life-changing hacks to travel more often with a smaller budget.
Choose a category:

Tips To Travel With No Money At All (Seriously!) >>

1 Free Walking Tours

One recent development in Europe is the advent of free walking (or even biking) tours. It’s a great way to get to know the place by the eyes of a local at a minimal cost. In expensive places like Stockholm free tours can be a great way to save money. Plus, you can meet loads of people too!

2 Stay in Hostels For “Free”

Paying with money is so last century. WorldPackers allows you exchange your skills for free accommodation in hostels worldwide.

So instead of paying, you can actually collaborate with your hostel. You can end up improving their website, painting a new wall or even bartending. Just be creative!

3 Seek Out Free Wifi

Finding WiFi abroad is becoming the Holy Grail for travellers nowadays. We all need to communicate, google some essential stuff or post some photos on Facebook to make everyone at home envious.

Start with booking accommodation with WiFi available. It’s convenient to communicate with people back home. While you are outside, mobile apps like WifiMagic make sure you are always grinding the networks nearby.

4 WWOOFing

WWOOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms and is a network of national organizations that accept volunteers on farms around the world.

While you’ll need to get there by yourself, volunteers have a free room and meals. No prior experience required. A great way to combine work and travel on the cheap.

WWOOFF how to travel without money tips

WWOOFFing, an affordable and sustainable way to travel. Source: GapYear.com

5 Look For Free Days

A simple yet so powerful tip. Museums and other tourist sights often have free days or discounted days. Before your departure, make sure you look on their website for this info.

Read Post  Should You Travel to India?

In Barcelona for instance almost of all of the major museums are free on Sundays after 3pm. Vatican Museums in Vatican City have free admittance on the last Sunday of the month. And the Museum of Modern Art in New York City has a free entrance on Friday afternoon.

6 CouchSurf

Couchsurfing connects travelers with locals willing to let them stay with them for FREE.

Frequent users of this website never have to pay for accommodation all around the world. While you can’t afford to be picky – you might get an air mattress or a lousy couch – it’s always free!

7 Walk, Walk, Walk

For me nothing beats walking when I’m abroad. It keeps you active while allowing you to fully explore a new place. There’s no better way to get lost in narrow streets, experience the local cafés or talk with locals. Ah did I mention it’s FREE?

8 Get Paid To Be a Travel Mailman

Ever been asked to bring something from a trip? Now you can finally get paid to do it! Grabr is a peer-to-peer shopping and delivery network that connects shoppers and travellers all around the world, generating a win-win situation.

Shoppers get a quirky item from anywhere delivered wherever they want and travellers have an extra way to earn extra money to continue their travels.

It’s literally making money while you travel!

9 Land a Job Abroad

I know, who wants to work while you are on vacation?

But if your desire to wander away is stronger than a desire to build a career, you’ll need a way to fund your next adventures. On the plus side, you’ll be making friends and get a taste of the local culture.

You’ll be surprised by the amount of opportunities out there. WorkAway is a good place to start but there are specific jobs that are very remote-friendly, like for instance being a language tutor. On Preply you can be a paid tutor and give language lessons via Skype. From anywhere.

Here are other short-term jobs that don’t require a fancy background or loads of experience.

Short-Term Jobs Abroad To Make Money While You Travel

  • Bartender
  • English Teacher (requires a TEFL degree)
  • Ski Resort Worker
  • Waitress
  • Farm Worker (see #4)
  • Local Tour Guide
  • Lifeguard
  • Hostel Worker (see #2)

Ways To Lower Transportation Travel Costs >>

10 Become Flight Search Savvy Online

Using flight comparison websites like Skyscanner can go a long way to find the absolute best price for your upcoming trip. I always set up their email alerts to let me know whenever there is a good deal.

Hopper goes deeper and gives you insights on the price range of the flight you’re seeking, as well as the expected price evolution until your departure.

I’ve also written a full guide on how to find cheap flights online, full of flight hacks you can start applying today.

Pro Tip to find cheap flights online: Don’t forget to look up flight prices in the anonymous mode of your browser (or delete the cookies/history)!

11 Sleep While Travelling

When travelling a long distance by plane, train or bus, time your journey at night and in order to save a night’s accommodation. You might not get the top of luxury standards, but that one ticket is a “two per one” deal.

12 Use Public Transportation

Whenever the distance is too demanding, I choose to get around using public transports. Not only is cheaper than taxis, it’s a challenging and more authentic way to navigate around a new place.

Bear in mind 24-hour, 3-day or even weekly public transport passes are usually way better value-for-money deals than single tickets.

13 Go On A RoadTrip

I’m a big fan of road trips. I’ve road tripped Portugal a couple of times and my road trip through Croatia was memorable.

Not only a road trip allows you to explore a country at your own pace and rhythm and take more in, it can also be a budget saver in many ways. Journeys, trips and flights can quickly eat your budget.

14 Rent A Bike

Bikes are extremely cost-effective ways of getting around AND you’re keeping yourself active at the same time. After walking, it’s definitely my favourite way to move!

While not all the destinations are suited for this, you can easily explore a city or town for less than 10USD/day in Europe and less than 3USD/day in Asia. I’ve rented a bike for 2USD for an entire day in Ninh Binh, Vietnam!

Some hotels even offer bike rentals included in the room price. I’ll be staying in a Bed & Bike accommodation on my upcoming trip to Chiang Mai.

how to travel without money tips budget - rent a bike

Renting a bike is always a good idea.

15 Be Flexible with Your Flight Dates

Flexibility on flight dates, hours and even airports can make you save BIG. Websites like SkyScanner have monthly and yearly overviews which are quite handy for this kind of analysis. Flying on unpopular hours – like early in the morning – also guarantees you a friendlier price.

16 Explore The World Of Rail Passes

If you’re planning to use train a lot on your upcoming trip, booking ahead of time can usually save you loads of money. About half the price to be exact.

However, rail passes are a better option if you don’t want to stick to a fixed schedule. Specially in Europe, these can be a real bargain. EuroRail website has got more info.

17 Learn The Right Tools to Buy Your Flights

Getting a good deal for flights online has a bit of a learning curve and much of it has to do with timings. Start probing prices as early as possible, but aim to buy your flight 10-14 weeks in advance.

Tips For Lower Accommodation Travel Costs >>

18 Try Secret Hotel Rooms

Secret or mystery hotel rooms are unsold medium-to-luxury hotel rooms and being offered at a reduced price (usually somewhere 20%-50% their usual list price). Hotels use these as an alternative way to get some money for the rooms left empty.

The only catch is you don’t know before hand which hotel are you booking your room. Weeeeell, technically there are some tricks you can use to find which hotel are you likely to be booking.

19 House Sit

Not familiar with the concept? House sitting allows you to “take care” of the house of someone else when the owner is away. This basically means free accommodation worldwide!

The bad news is that on the large house-sitting websites like Trusted House Sitters you’ll need to pay before you are able to contact the homeowners. Still, the membership fee is a small fraction of what you can potentially save in accommodation around the world!

20 Deal Directly With The Hotel

Websites like Booking have great accommodation deals but sometimes the best way is to go back to basics.

Call or email the hotel, hostel or guesthouse and ask about rates on their rooms. You might get surprised with special deals there are not online anywhere.

Ideas To Lower Food Travel Costs >>

21 Visit Local Markets

Market places are usually a great place to take a pulse on the vibe and energy of your destination. For instance, you can get crazy cheap deals while shopping in the street markets in Bangkok. Additionally, it’s home to some of the best places to eat authentic local food without spending too much.

how to travel with almost no money Boqueria

Don’t eat these for your lunch though. They’re bad for your teeth.

22 Avoid Having Dinner Out

Restaurants often raise prices for dinner and have their best deals during the day. There is a reason why lunch special menus are so popular. You can eat the same (or more) for a fraction of the cost you’d pay during the evening.

Brunches are also great options as they merge two meals – breakfast and lunch – in only one bill.

23 Hit The Buffets

Keep your eyes open for all-you-can-eat buffets. They offer an unlimited amount of food for a decent cost, to say the least. Hitting a few of these places on your trip is a smart way to keep both your belly and your wallet full.

Pro Tip: If you are on hardcore budget, make yourself some sneaky sandwiches and save them for later.

24 Cook Your Meals

While there is the obvious downside of eating out and missing on the local food experience, you won’t ruin your trip to London if you decide not to eat out one day!

Cooking your own meals can be a true budget-saver, particularly in the most expensive destinations. Aim to stay at an apartment – via AirBnb – with free use of the kitchen. Oh and here’s FREE 35USD to get you started.

25 Avoid Touristy Places To Eat

Cafés and restaurants near the top tourist attractions are often overpriced and not good quality. You might end up paying more for something that is not authentic at all.

Sometimes all it takes is to go one block or street over to find hole-in-the-wall places in which you can have much better local meal tucked away from crowds.

Rome is a good example. In a city which such a rich food culture, it would be a crime if you sit to eat in the first trattoria next to the Colosseum. Explore the nearby side streets or go to Trastevere to find cheaper food and avoid tourist traps.

rome eat cheap - tips to travel without money

Off the beaten track Rome.

26 Indulge On Street Food

Street food can be delicious, cheap and against all odds, safe! You can actually see what’s being cooked fresh right in front of you. Pay attention to the busiest street food stalls where locals eat or just try asking someone local where do they go.

An example of a country where you should definitely try street food is Belgium. Belgian street food is cheap, delicious and highly caloric. Oh lord, I’ll never forget those frites!

Digital Tips To Lower Travel Costs >>

27 Use Reviews In Your Favour

Reviews, reviews, reviews. We live in a world of reviews. With this crazy amount of information online, make sure you use it to make smart travel choices.

Apps/websites like TripAdvisor and Yelp are absolute great ways to learn about experiences of other independent travellers and locals on hotels, sights and restaurants. While online reviews have reached the point you can’t trust everything you read, as a whole they’re still useful to make well-founded decisions on your travels.

28 Avoid Roaming Fees

Try to rely on apps that allow VoIP communications like Skype or Whatsapp and if you are an iPhone user, make sure your “Send as SMS” option is disabled. Buying a local or international SIM card might also be an option.

For more details check my complete guide on how to stay online abroad.

how to travel with no money - roaming fees

European roaming charge caps when roaming in countries in the European Economic Area. When traveling to other countries, costs can sky-rocket to an outrageous 8EUR per mega byte. Auch.

29 Save On International Transfers

Sending money overseas can do some A LOT of damage to your bank account. That’s why you need to consider to use a cost-efficient option like HiFX. It allows to send money internationally from one currency to another at great foreign exchange rates and minimal fees.

30 Use The Right Apps

Even if you are not a geek like me or you like to travel “off-the-grid”, some travel resources out there are able to save you money just with a couple of taps on your phone!

Read Post  What to Pack for South AmericaThe Essential Packing List

Here is a small shortlist of the apps you should have installed on your phone.

List Of Must-Have Apps For Budget Travellers

  • Airbnb – Everything from minimalistic rooms to luxury suites, rented directly to the owner. Can be a huge money-saver. Plus, here’s a 37$ voucher to get you started!
  • Yelp – To find out the best nearby restaurants, cafés and other places. Filter by price to get budget deals.
  • Hopper – Amazingly detailed insights about price flights.
  • Whatsapp – Stay in touch with your friends and family by text messages… for free. For voice calls I prefer FaceTime or Skype.
  • Booking – Simply the best to find cheap hotels and hostels.
  • SkyScanner – Great search engine to find the cheapest flights anywhere.
  • XE Currency Converter – Don’t lose money when exchanging money!
  • Splitwise – Keeping track of trip expenses when you travel in a group can be a nightmare, right? Well, not anymore.

Also don’t forget to check my full list of resources to make you travel smarter.

Other Generic Tips To Travel On A Budget >>

31 Educate Yourself On Your Next Destination

Even if you’re not the planning type, some research is advisable. Get savvy on the price of things, exchange rates and tours. Learn the best way to get around and the cheapest areas to stay and to eat. This will make it much easier to budget your trip. A good guidebook could be of great help in this planning phase.

32 Use Credit Card Rewards To Get Free Flights

I usually don’t like to give out this tip.

Firstly, I’m far from being an expert on credit card rewards. I could be doing a much better job, but for some reason it just seems too complex. It’s even harder to get advice on how to get airline miles on european credit cards.

Having that said, educating yourself about credit card reward schemes is a good bet. Get it right and you could be having free (!) flights frequently without spending almost any extra money!

I recommend you start learning with the experts I’ve got bookmarked on my favourites: The Points Guy and Flyer Talk.

33 Avoid Expensive Countries

I know, this one is pretty obvious. But I often know people who get surprised by the costs of food and accommodation in some countries so I feel it should be on the list. Even though expensive places like Stockholm can be travel hacked and visited on a budget, there are way wiser options.

Expensive Countries Travel

Avoid these if you are on a shoestring budget.

Angola, Japan, Iceland and Qatar are also amongst the most expensive in the world.

Do some research, plan your trip accordingly and spend more time in budget-friendly countries. Most of the countries in Southeast Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe are affordable.

34 Keep Track Of Your Expenses

This is key. Take note of your expenses abroad in a notebook, a memo on your phone or in an app. I usually do this once a day, when arrive the hotel at night. Yes, sometimes is utterly boring, but it creates more awareness than you think. It’s way easier to keep on budget if you visualize where your money is going.

35 Travel Off Season

Traveling off-peak season is one giant step to make your travel costs go down instantly. Flight prices in high season can be the double as compared to peak summer dates, not to mention the combined price of accommodation, restaurants and guided tours which will likely be inflated too.

Timing your trip to target shoulder season – when crowds are far from massive and weather is still acceptable – to save you loads of money.

36 Buy Travel Insurance

I know, it seems another drain on your money, but travel insurance is essential. You never know what can happen. And if you’re not insured in a foreign country, it could end up with a bill of hundreds of dollars!

Get a quote from the simple & flexible World Nomad’s travel insurance.

37 Follow The Disaster

While the rest of the world rules out destinations because of political issues or natural disasters, it’s your time to enter in scene. Right after one of these events, flight prices and accommodation are at a fraction of what they normally cost.

This period of grace can last anywhere from a few days to years. If you are smart about it, you can save loads of money!

38 Be Careful With Exchange Rates

You should try to take a good amount of money at a good rate even before the departure. Additionally, this helps budget your total spend.

When you’re abroad, use the rule of 3: always check three places before exchanging money to get the best deal. Usually airports and withdrawing money directly from ATMs are a bad choice.

Like mentioned in #30, XE Currency can be of great value.

39 Haggle

Obviously this can only be done in some countries, but if you train yourself at it, you can save a respectable amount of money in each purchase. In places like Thailand and Indonesia, take the initial price as a suggestion only, even if it is advertised.

Haggling pro tip: As a rule of thumb, try to pay less than 50% of the initial price.

ways to travel without money - istanbul grand bazaar

Grand Bazaar at Istanbul: my first (not so successful) haggling experience.

Travel Without Money Is Not A Bad Thing!

Watching what you spend by any means does not mean less fun. In fact, it’s often the opposite. To travel without (almost any) money you need to do is to do smart choices!

Like everything in life, balance is key.

Now that you’ve saved literally hundreds and hundreds of dollars, loosen up a bit. Use your savings and splurge on that amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience that is both an unmissable opportunity and something normally out of your price range. Allow yourself some treats.

Help me find the tip #40!
What is your biggest budget secret to travel without money and to lower your travel costs?

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48 comments

AirBnb is an incredibly expensive option in comparison with the cheapest hostels. It shouldn’t even be mentioned on budget travel guides. Avoid AirBnb. Even the cheapest Hotels in town are cheaper than AirBnb.

In general I agree. However, in some cases might be worth it. A family of 5 or 6 or even a group of friends can save a lot in Airbnb vs a group of friends.

I want to travel all world by road in low budget by hitchhiking

That’s a great way to explore the world, makes you efficient Dinesh

Thank you for all the great tips. This was really informative. I haven’t begun to travel abroad yet, but I hope to make great use of this knowledge some day!

i really need to go to usa

Worldpackers is truly a wonderful idea, informative and helpful post!

In some places, you can pick up buckets of mussels and crabs from the beach, when the sea turns to low tide. France and Zealand (Holland) surely have someplaces where this is possible (not Always legal)

Interesting, never heard of this, but sourcing our own food is an appealing idea

In Belgium, you can use the site “wattedoen.be” which mentions all flea markets and garage sales. Sometimes they sell very cheap second hand bikes. There is a big variation in prices andquality. Let’s say it must be possible to find a 30 € bike, sometimes cheaper, but there are also more expensive options. I wonder if they have similar websites in other countries. You can travel some time with a bike, sell it again, hitchhike further, and do the same thing again.

Obviously there are flea markets everywhere, but this site aggregating all this info I’ve never heard before. Very smart idea if you’re traveling slow!

Wow, that’s extreme but I guess extremely budget-saving!

Go to big gathering, such as the Köllner Lichte, water bottles and beer bottles are thrown away in huge masse, while there is consignation on it. This means super markets have to refund you for the empty bottles. Used to live a long time in Belgium from the money I receiverd for thrown away bottles, also hired a garden in which I planted fruits and veggies.

Seems like you are a real resourceful guy, I love it!

1 cycle
2 look for free expensive camping gear at festivals, the day after, lots of stuff left behind
3 in Europe there are also cheap bus companies, which have an alternative for global rail passes, euro lines offers an alternative pass, and flixbus offers a five city trip for 99 €
4 try to cook with the fruits of the trees, you can bake apples in the pan as a garniture for bread, you might even make some simple capati’s on a beer can stove or beignets. Rosehips are very common in plantation, but no one uses fresh rosehips, only dried tea
5 go to Ikea, in Belgium they offer a cold breakfast (2 sandwiches, marmelade, cheese, butter, coffee unlimited) for 1 €. They also offer the veggie Swedish balls with cranberries and mashed potatoes/rice/fries for 4 € (in expensive countries, they are surely a cheaper alternative)

6 write down your travel experiences and take some pics, make small booklets of it, and sell them in cities all over the world

7 For the time you stay home, grow your own groceries, fill your fridge with self cooked soups, curries, pasta, burgers. In Belgium you Always find nuts, chestnuts, hazlenuts as ingredients

8 A lot of cities have some social projects where you offen can buy a jersey for 1 € or something similar. Flee markets and garage sells sometimes also offer spectacular things

9 In Europe, try the camino to Santiago De Compostella. It’s a pilgrim route, people of the road often offer free accomodation

10 Also monestaries might provide you temporarily with shelter in exchange of a helping hand

Awesome, thank you so much for sharing so many peachy tips!

Adding to 10. Temples in Asia also do the same!

That was a great guide to travel with save alot money. I like it.

This was really informative. Learnt a lot of useful tips for travelling which i didnt know.

Glad to know Athira!

This is so informative. I am lookinf forward to trying wwoofing on my next trip. I came across something similar to wwoofing on a platform called Hippohelp. Have you ever tried it?

I’ve never tried it, but seems indeed very similar.

It was a wonderful article
I did not think that traveling without money would be possible.

Source https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2017/jan/02/how-to-travel-the-world-with-no-money-by-people-who-have-done-it

Source https://www.layerculture.com/blog/south-america-on-a-budget/

Source https://www.geekyexplorer.com/how-to-travel-without-money/

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