How to Save Money While Traveling on a Budget

photo of yellow van during daytime

Hello All!

One of the many reasons humans strive to accumulate wealth is to be able to travel without any limitations. Traveling can become extremely expensive, especially if you’re in a part of the world which is inherently more costly.

Because of these monetary guidelines which present themselves, many become paralyzed and unable to move forward when thinking about the opportunity that lies ahead. Traveling should be an experience that all of us can enjoy and love without having to feel stressed about our monetary status along the way.

Due to some personal experiences that I have recently undergone, I decided to create some tips and tricks to hopefully help you traverse those murky waters and allow you to get a better hold of your finances during travel.

Realize the Experience at Hand

As humans, we can become too comfortable in our daily habits and bubble. Unfortunately, this mindset that is trying to “protect us”, can actually prohibit us from actually having the experiences that we want deep down.

It is ESSENTIAL that even though you might be saving money to one day be able to fulfill a dream of traveling, that you give yourself those moments to still have these experiences at the same time. Traveling on a budget becomes a question of the current balance in your life. Have you been spending too much time grinding and maybe you need to, as Matthew McConaughey says, “check out to check in” ?

In many ways, removing yourself from your daily structure can be extremely beneficial, both to your mental and financial health. Too much of anything can actually prove to be less beneficial for our financial output in the long run.

In my own life, I recently had been approached to go on a road trip of a lifetime. My first inclination was to say yes and to go on this adventure, but soon the mirage of my financial situation began to blockade my thoughts. I was worried that if I went on this trip, I would have lost all the progress that I made saving up money to travel.

What was interesting in this instance was that I was saving up to travel and yet here was my opportunity right in front of me. I had been grinding hard in both school and my passions and knew deep down that I needed this.

Eventually, I realized I was out of balance and needed to take the leap to go on this trip.

Next time the opportunity arrises to travel ask yourself, “what is the current status of my sanity and will this trip actually benefit me in the long run”?

Traveling on A Budget

Traveling on a budget can be easy and attainable, as long as you know the necessary steps to consider. To begin, it is better to know when the trip is coming so you can better budget for how much you’ll be spending for this trip, so make sure to do your best to allocate enough time for preparation.

During the preparation time, it is important to be able to figure out exactly what you would like to be doing BEFORE you go. If there are specific activities that you would like to do in that area, take the time to find out which might fit best into your budget for this trip.

Moreover, it is important that you explore all of your options when it comes to finding places to stay. Air BNB and VRBO have made travel even more accessible due to the cheap rates that some of them offer, especially if you have a lot of people to split the cost with.

As someone who travels often with people who are also on a tight budget, I have learned a lot about how to be extremely cost effective on trips. These tips are simple, but if used correctly, you can expect to save HUNDREDS of dollars on your overall experience.

When traveling on a budget, consider…

  1. TAKING AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE
    This is the best possible tip that I can relay on to you by far. Taking as many people as you possibly can will save you so much money in the long run. This mainly stems from the fact that the more people you have, the more you can diversify the cost of traveling. A hotel room which might usually cost $120 a night only will cost you $20 if you brought 6 people. The same goes for food, activities, gear, and transportation. Not to mention, I usually find the experience to be more fun when more people are there.
  2. Buying groceries for your entire trip
    I cannot begin to stress how effective of a strategy this is. If you know that you will be in an area for a good weeks time, buying groceries for your entire trip will save you SO MUCH money. Not to mention, if you’re traveling with a group of people, the overall cost can be diversified throughout the group, allowing you to pay less and enjoy more!
  3. Bringing friends who already have the gear you’ll need
    Renting gear for certain activities like snowboarding or surfing can become really expensive if you’re trying to have the best possible experience. It helps out BIG time if you are able to bring friends that you enjoy being around who already have the gear that you would otherwise be renting on the trip. Yes, this means packing more, but feeling a little more packed in the car is enough of a sacrifice when traveling on a budget.
  4. Networking to have friends in many different places around the world
    One of the reasons why I love networking with other people is because they reside in many different parts of the world. It is true that I don’t see many of them often, but when I do, they always show me a good time. As a local, these hosts usually can show you all the best spots to see or activities to do. Not to mention, they may even have a free space that you can sleep for the night.
  5. Taking the most cost efficient route and car
    Planning which routes are the most cost efficient is a great way to avoid unnecessary expenditures. While it may cost you a large amount on gas to travel through a specific state, traveling through another state with lower gas prices is just another way to become more efficient. Also, take the car which has the best miles per gallon. Yes, it might be more comfortable to take a big truck, but trust me, your biggest expense will be transportation, so better to be a little less comfortable and allocate that money elsewhere.

Slow Travel

This is by far one of my favorite concepts created about travel. YouTuber Nathaniel Drew describes that one of the best ways that anyone can travel is by staying in that area for a longer period of time so they can seriously dive into the experiences of that location.

This can be extremely cost effective if you find ways that allow you to generate money or a way of living for a couple of months at a time instead of spending a bunch of money within a 2 or 3 week time period.

Not to mention, staying for a longer duration of time will provide a much greater experience as you will eventually be more exposed to the true nature of the destination you’ve picked.

When thinking about staying in a location for a long period of time, consider…

  1. Getting a local job in the area you are traveling
    This will take a little more preparation as you will need to apply for a specific visa for the area in which you will be traveling. If you do qualify for the visa however, immersing yourself in the nations jobs will enable you to not only allow you to acquire funding for your travels, but will also unlock the ability to interact with people and learn the locations language.
  2. Working for a local community
    This one is more “do-able” for people who DO NOT want to strive for attaining a visa. Instead of working for a specific company, another option is to apply for specific communal farming jobs which will allow you to work in exchange for a place to stay and food to eat. This is a great way for people to be able to experience the world if they don’t want to spend the money to fund their trip. There are many websites that allow you to sign up for this, but the one that I would recommend is wwoof.net.

As you can see, there are many ways that we can incorporate travel into our lives today. Instead of being paralyzed by the possibility of losing your hard earned cash, using tips like these can help you become more prepared for the trips you desire to embark on.

Take it into your hands NOW instead of waiting till it’s too late. The desires that you have now will inevitably drive your curiosity and adventures in these areas which is CRUCIAL to cling on to. If you have any questions or want to talk about other tips that you used to save money on your travels, don’t hesitate to reach out! I am always looking for ways to connect with you, the reader!

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Andrew Martinez, owner and writer of Minerva Money

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Published by Andrew Martinez

Owner and writer of Minerva Money, a blog on personal finance for the average person who is interested in taking control of their future and alleviating themselves from the burden of uncertainty. I have a deep passion for helping those around me with not only finance but mental well-being so if you have any questions or just want to talk don't hesitate to reach out!

3 thoughts on “How to Save Money While Traveling on a Budget

  1. Great advice, Andrew. If the opportunity is there take it. It’s amazing what can happen when we put our mind to it. We always travel on a budget. It also allows you to be flexible. Sometimes what we save on one day allows us to expand on our experiences the next!

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