The Ultimate Guide To Cheaper Travel
Lately, I have received so many messages on Instagram asking me how I afford to travel so much and I want to help you by giving you some tips and advice. You don’t need to be rich to travel. My parents told me it was different years ago, but now we are so fortunate with the airlines, that we usually hold negative attitudes towards.
Since this question comes up so often, I like to constantly remind people of this fact:
You do not need to be rich to travel.
Let’s repeat that.
You do not need to be rich to travel cheap!
Last year, I quit my permanent job and decided to travel the world. I sure wasn’t rich but I did everything I wanted to do and had the trip of a lifetime. I had an average-paying teaching job (we all know teaching doesn’t pay well) the year before I left for my trip. It wasn’t a lot after taxes.
Yet I managed to save enough to travel the world. How? I made it a priority. If travel is not a priority for you, you will always find some other things to spend money on and you’ll never have “enough” money to travel. I never have enough money to go shopping or buy a new the latest phone, Mac or iPad. I do unfortunately had a passion for fashion but I am lucky that blogging has supported me in not spending as much on clothes as I use to.
I now spend my money on flights, so there isn’t much left over and when there is, I ensure I save everything. My moto lately is ‘if I don’t have four times that amount in my savings I can’t afford it’, if I’m buying a dress that is 25 pound I make sure I have 100 pound in my savings. Luckily, I have more but there was a time when I didn’t save at all.
It has taken me a good 24 years to comprehend the importance of saving! It will be the day where something imminent happens in your life such as having to leave a job over a family situation or for health reasons etc and not having enough money to survive that you will realise how important saving is. You always need to ask yourself, if I left my job tomorrow would I have enough money to live for 3 months and you should always withhold yourself in a position that you can be financially independent if a situation were to occur. Sounds pessimistic but you don’t want to find out the hard way 🙂
Now it is important to think about the following; what is your savings priority? Is it travel?
If it is travel, what is keeping you from saving money? What are you spending it on?
Last week, I wrote about how essential it is to keep a spreadsheet of your income and expenses and offered ten tips on how to cut out unnecessary expenditure to save money for your trip.
“But Zweena, I work a minimum wage job/am a student/live on Social Security/live with my parents/spend a lot/have kids/have to pay a lot of rent and no matter what I can do, I’ll never be able to do it. I can’t even pay back my student loans. What do I do?”
Do you feel that way? Well continue reading!
The Cheapest Way To Travel The World
What do you do when prioritising your budget and using my 10 tips to grow your bank balance won’t even work? There are many ways to earn money while you travel to enable you to live more freely.
You need to remember you don’t need to be stinking rich to travel!! Hallelujah I know!! I am going to tell you all the ways you can travel the world for virtually free. Our culture /nationality don’t use these methods as much as other nationalities. How do I know? Conversations I’ve had around the world!! You don’t need to rob the bank to begin! Even if you owe money, pay 1/4 of your wages towards rent, there are always ways to do what you desire! As a working class group, we get into a routine of work dinner sleep and become settled with our finances. We should be striving to earn more, work harder during our spare time to earn more cash to do what we desire, especially if you express one of the above excuses of not having enough dolla in your bank!
Follow the below guide to travel frugality and see the world, it’s cheap as chips matey!!
Work overseas — Want to travel? Can’t afford it and don’t want to spend ages saving money? Get a job on a cruise ship or as a cabin crew member if you would like to travel more frequently. The other option is to work in a new location overseas and travel around that country until you move to the next location. Some job examples are below:
- Au pair
- Hostel worker – usually free or discounted accommodation (although this rule is changing in Australia)
- Teacher in Dubai/Abu Dhabi
- Farm worker (very popular in Australia and New Zealand- but very difficult!! )
- Dive instructor (some certification required)
- Tour guide
- Cruise ship worker
- Casino worker
- Seasonal worker at ski resorts
- Yacht worker
- Gardener – popular while on a J1 in America and usually cash paying!
Obviously, there are always pros and cons to the above jobs and life isn’t always rosy as you would imagine it to be. You will without a doubt be homesick for the first while until you settle. However, working overseas often gets discounted as an option because it seems hard to do. It’s not. Just be open. These are the jobs you don’t always Are you going to get some high-paying office job? No. If you have a degree and qualifications, it would make sense to work in your preferred field! But working in the jobs above are suitable for backpackers hoping to have a good time and meet like-minded people. 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.
Hitchhike — A free way to get around destinations that is relatively safe (depending on certain aspects like do you have a travel partner?) and quite common in many parts of the world, including Central America, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. I’ve met plenty people who traveled the whole of New Zealand for free by hitchhiking. Hitchhiking in New Zealand was a lot more popular in comparison to other countries I’ve been to.
Teach English overseas — You can complete a 50 hour TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) online which is very manageable if you have a busy lifestyle. One of the best ways to make money for travel is to teach English overseas. Many people travel to Asia to teach English all you need is the ability to speak English fluently and some sort of TEFT certificate but requirements are different per organisations. 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!
Get free flights — There are so many ways to earn free flights, I hate when people tell me they can’t afford to fly. Sign up for a few travel credit cards, collect miles, and then fly for free. Most cards offer sign-up bonuses of 50,000 points — and if you sign up for both an airline card (think a United airlines card) and a general rewards card like the Chase Sapphire or AMEX card, you can combine the two point balances and get a cheap flight faster.
Can’t sign up for credit cards? There are many ways to increase your mileage balance without credit cards. Three high-impact ways are:
- Watch out for deals — I sign up for all the airline mailing lists. I always watch out for special 2-for-1 miles deal, or when they have special card offers to get extra miles. United Airlines just gave me 1,000 miles for watching a demo on their new shopping toolbar. I once got triple miles by buying some clothes from Gap just by seeing it in their mailing list. That doesn’t even utilize all the special bonus offers airlines have on cars, restaurants, and hotels.
- Shop at their member stores — All airlines have special offers with all the big stores: Amazon, Apple, Best Buy, Target, etc. Shopping at those preferred stores will earn you 2–4 miles per dollar spent, sometimes even more. If you spend $1,000 a month, you can earn up to 3,000 miles just by going through their websites. The products don’t cost extra. I do all my shopping through the airline malls simply for the extra miles.
- Put everything on the card — I pay nothing in cash. I put everything on my card, from Pret a Manger (which I go to every 2nd day) to phone bills.
Stay with locals for free– I have never tried it but met many people who have! There are many services that connect travelers with locals who are willing to let them stay with them for FREE. Using this site you will never have to pay for accommodation. I know so many people who have couchsurfed- some have warned me of their bad experiences and some were fine. Others had to leave the house because they ended up staying with nutjobs!! I’ve seen some facebook groups for travel lovers who have offered their couch for the night for a small price, checking a person out on facebook always feels more reassuring than arriving to uncertainty.
Mountain climbs or Free walking tours — Most cities I’ve been to offer them! I bet you top dollar you will be in a walking tour with young backpackers as they all know the tricks of the trade! Want to learn about the city, get your bearings, and see the major sights? Take a free walking tour. You can find them in 90% of the major cities in Europe, and there are also a few in large Asian cities, South America, New York, Australia, and New Zealand. To find these tours just google free walking tours. I did the tour in Sydney and it was very useful!
WOOFing — Working on a farm will get you free room and board, while allowing you to commune with the great outdoors.
Hostel Worker- Research this before you travel, some hostels offer free accommodation in exchange for a reduced rate of pay! Although, I have heard of a few hostels changing this rule, it is worth searching forums and ringing up beforehand to save time while you are abroad.
Using the sharing economy – You can find cheaper accommodation, tour guides, rideshare options, and home-cooked meals with local chefs. These are all options that you don’t think about unless you are told, apart from the obvious airbnb as we all know of them now! 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.
House-sit — Can’t afford your vacation? Watch someone’s house while they go on theirs.
Cook your meals — The best way to save money on the road is to cook all your own meals. I really am not fussy when it comes to eating and would happily have noodles for lunch/dinner, these were 13p in Australia and that was my lunch sorted. Although Im not a dietitian, I can’t give advice on that and it is important to have a healthy dinner but needs must while backpacking! I would much prefer to save that extra money for an excursion that a fancy dinner. Luckily, I always could afford to eat out if I wanted to but if you are on an extremely tight budget like other backpackers in my room were, then it really does make sense to cook your meals. You don’t have to do the typical, oven cooking experience. Grab some sausages, burgers etc and find an outdoor BBQ like you see me doing in the picture above. Outdoor BBQ are very popular in Australia!!
Saving Money before you Travel!
Get rail passes — Booking ahead of time can usually save you about 50% of the cost of a train ticket, but if you don’t want to be tied into a fixed schedule, rail passes can save you a lot of money. Booking your rail pass in advance can save you up to 70%!
Sleep in large dorms — Large hostel dorm rooms are the cheapest paid accommodation out there. If Couchsurfing isn’t your thing, this is your next best way to save money on a place to sleep.
Use student and other discount cards — 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!
Get city tourist cards — If you plan on seeing a lot of sights in a city, you should get a city tourism card, which offers you discounted and free access to the major attractions and museums, as well as free public transportation.
Skyscanner– Using skyscanner to search for the cheapest month/date to travel to your dream destination always helps. Sometimes airlines make mistakes on flight prices and there are travel hacks to discover these deals too, which help me out from time to time! Kayak is also a good search engine to discover the cheaper flight deals.
Walking- Yes, I know its an obvious one, but we are so prone to just hopping on and off a bus. In Singapore, my friend and I were going to do just that but instead we decided to get the hop off hop off bus map and walk it instead! By doing this we got to experience destinations off the beaten track!
Please comment below if you thought this was useful! It would be great to know!