How to Travel the World on a Budget


You do not need to be rich to travel.

Let’s repeat that.

You do not need to be rich to travel cheaply.

There are plenty of ways to travel cheap or for free. There are plenty of ways to travel around the world when you have no money if you’re willing to be creative.

The Ultimate Guide to to travel the world on a budget

To travel the world and get paid is a dream coming true, but I don’t forget where I came from. I want to travel the world, where do I start? Be careful! Asking yourself this question can lead to a new lifestyle. Are you ready for it?

The world is getting smaller and more and more people discover that there is more than the bubble in where they live in. The internet is bringing us amazing content from around the world in whatever you are interested in. If you want to swim with whales in Tonga, go backcountry skiing in the Himalayas, get up close and personal with the last remaining gorillas in Africa or travel to the end of the world and set foot on Antarctica, whatever you are looking for you can find inspiration online. This makes us all want to grab our bags but there is often one probable: money! So how to travel the world on a budget… keep on reading!

1. Travel to cheap countries

On a tight budget you have to choose your destinations wisely. Yes I would love to see killer whales in the Fjords in Norway too, but any idea how expensive that country is? What about buying a motorbike and crossing through India? First check what is possible within your budget and then choose your country. It is no secret that Asia is a fantastic playground and going here is probably the cheapest way to travel around the world. Countries like Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and China give you great value for your money. Another hidden gem for budget travelers is Central America with fantastic destinations that wont hurt your wallet like Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador. 

2. Get a Job Overseas

Not making enough money at your job? Why not get a job overseas? There are plenty of opportunities in the world as long as you aren’t picky — and after all, this isn’t a career you are starting, it’s just a way to earn money for travel.
Here are some jobs you can get when you travel:
1.  Au pair – An au pair is a live-in caregiver who helps a host family by looking after their children and doing some basic housekeeping. In exchange, you get free room and board and a small salary. This is a great route if you’re looking to learn a new language.
2.   Bartender – It’s always 5 o’clock somewhere, so if you have the skills then this is an easy job to move overseas. It’s also an easy job to get under the table if you decide to go that route.
3.   Hostel worker – Hostel workers rarely stick around for long, which means there is always a demand for new help. It’s a great way to meet other travelers while adjusting to a new location. You can usually also start off as a volunteer (in exchange for a free room) to avoid visa complications. Three websites that can help you find hostels to volunteer at are WorldpackersWorkaway, and HelpX.
4.   Waitress/waiter – There are tons of seasonal restaurants around the world that need extra help during the busy tourist months. If you have experience, this is an easy job to find abroad.
5.   Farm worker – While hardly glamorous, if you don’t mind the hard work this is a great way to make a lot of money in a short period of time (as you won’t have time to spend your money because you’ll be farming out in the middle of nowhere!). This job is very popular in Australia and New Zealand.
6.   Dive instructor (some certification required) – If you have your certification, this is an easy job to travel with as dive instructors are needed everywhere. Best of all, these jobs are usually in picturesque tropical locations!
7.   Tour guide – If you’ve got a knack for history and don’t mind speaking in front of groups, this is the perfect job for you. It’s also usually a cash job, which means you get your tips directly.
8.   Cruise ship worker – This is a much more formal position, but it’s a great way to travel. The hours are long, but there’s something to be said about living at sea!
9.  Seasonal worker at ski resorts – Instructors, restaurant staff, hotel staff, lifeguards — ski resorts need all sorts of staff to keep things moving, making this a goldmine for the overseas traveler (as long as you don’t mind the snow!).
10. Yacht worker – While the hours can be long, you can make great money working for the rich and famous on their yachts. Best of all, you’re usually in some pretty amazing destinations!

Working overseas often gets discounted as an option because it seems hard to do. It’s not. Just be open. These jobs don’t require advanced degrees or a lot of work experience either. Are you going to get some high-paying office job? No. Will you get a shitty, low-wage job that will pay all your travel bills? Yes! I’ve met people from all walks of life, both from Western and non-Western countries, funding their travels this way.

3. Try Woofing

There is also a thing called woofing. That sounds expensive, right? Think again it is something like working in exchange for accommodation and food. World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms is a huge international organization that brings farmers looking for labor together with travelers that are willing to work a couple hours in exchange for lodging and food. You will have to sign up at the WWOOF website for $40 but then the opportunities are endless with farmers in more than 100 countries looking for motivated travelers willing to get their hands dirty. This is a great way to save money on accommodation and one of the best ways on how to travel abroad for free. This is a great way to explore expensive countries like Canada, Australia, New Zealand, USA and Europe where the costs of living are pretty steep. A friend of mine even got offered a car on his days off to go on road trips. Join this informal family and learn how to travel the world for cheap.

4. Teach English Overseas

One of the best ways to make money for travel is to teach English overseas. You can make a lot of money teaching — I replenished my travel funds while working in Thailand, and I have had friends leave South Korea with tens of thousands of dollars in the bank. All you need is the ability to speak English fluently and maybe a TEFL degree, depending on the country you work in. The world is yearning for teachers, and this is a job in high demand; many companies in Asia will even pay for your flight over.
Additionally, there are many websites and services out there that allow you to teach virtually. As long as you have a great wi-fi connection, you can help people learn English from anywhere in the world!

5. Use the Sharing Economy

Use the sharing economy to find cheaper accommodation, quirky tour guides, rideshare options, and home-cooked meals with local chefs. You can bypass the traditional travel industry with sharing economy websites and gain access to locals using their own assets and skills to become small tourism companies with cheaper prices. Moreover, locals know where to find deals. They know which supermarket is cheapest, which stores offer the best sales, and where to find the hole-in-the-wall restaurants and bars with the tastiest food at the lowest prices. Talking directly to them gives you access to that knowledge.
These websites have changed the travel game and made travel more accessible for everyone.
Here are some of my favorite websites:

6. Housesitting

Ever heard of this phenomenon? House sitting literally means that you take care of people’s houses around the world whenever they are away. Just like Woofing and Couchsurfing this is an amazing way on how to travel the world for cheap. These kind of free accommodation and can be found online through a bunch of website like for example: Trustedhousesitters, Aussie House Sitters, Mindmyhouse. Don’t think you sign up and the next day you will find this awesome gig somewhere in the hills in South Africa overlooking a winery. Yes these housesitting jobs exist but obviously you will need to build up your reputation and get references from around the world. Let your mates or family get you your first references. Are you an animal lover and miss your dog? Perfect! A lot of houses require that you take care of their pets! :)

One of the most experience Housesitters are actual friends of mine: The Travelling Weasels, check out their complete guide on how to become a professional housesitter.

7. Live sober

The reason I was able to travel around the world for 4 years and not working a single day is that I consider myself a master in spending money wisely. If you want to travel the world on a budget you need to learn how to spend money! This sounds easy, but how many people do you know who are paying off their debts every month? Accept that some things are out of your league! Yes I would love to party hard in Vegas every day, but unfortunately I can’t afford it. Although I had the money to stay longer in Hawaii I only stayed for 5 days, simply too expensive for my travel lifestyle. Want to know my recommendations for the cheapest countries in the world to travel.

Make traveling your first priority, get to see amazing places, take cool pictures and create memories for a lifetime! Long-term travelers will all admit that their trip is far from a holiday. Don’t get carried away, stay disciplined and simply don’t f*ck up spending money on things that don’t matter. It all comes down to how much you are you willing to sacrifice for living the dream and travel the world? Work for your travels and with that I mean nothing is easy. If you are asking yourself I want to travel the world, where do I start, that is here! Your mindset is something very important, if you can do that everything is possible.

Rail passes (like Eurail) are a great way to save money when it comes to train travel. If you’re traveling around the region for a while, rail passes will likely be much cheaper than just booking individual trips. If you are booking individual trips, booking ahead of time can usually save you about 50% of the cost of a train ticket. However, that fixes you to a set timeline. If you don’t want to be tied into a fixed schedule, rail passes can save you a lot of money while giving you the flexibility you need. 

8. Try a Van-life

This is still topping my bucketlist: buying a van and driving around Europe, Australia, New Zealand or the US. This basically is what traveling is all about for me: freedom! Leave everything behind and search for the unknown. Living a van life solves a lot issues and combines accommodation and transportation. This is the perfect way to travel the world on a budget!

Are you a student, teacher, or under 26? Welcome to the world of 50%-off attractions and a plethora of discounts. Get a student/teacher/youth card and save big! Even if you’ve recently graduated, chances are you can still get by with your expired ID card (as long as it doesn’t have an expiry date). Always ask if there are discounts available for students or youth as this is an easy way to save tons of cash as you travel around!
If you plan on seeing a lot of sights in a city, you should get a city tourism card. These will offer you discounted and/or free access to the major attractions and museums, as well as free public transportation. I saved over $100 with the London pass, $80 with Paris Museum card, $50 with a Helsinki card, and tons more with other city tourism cards. They are an amazing way to save money on attractions that not enough people use. Just head to the local tourism office to find out what cards are available. They can help answer all your questions and make sure you save as much money as possible.

Need some cash? Use Craigslist, TaskRabbit, Upwork, or Gumtree to find people who need a few things done around the house and get paid to help them. It’s a way to make money when you travel without committing to a long-term job. Additionally, if you have a skill, sell it. Offer haircuts to other travelers, busk for money, provide online services like editing or consulting. The sky is the limit here! You can also help people learn your native language through apps like Duolingo.

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