Budget Travel Blog


Whenever I ask readers what the number one thing holding them back from traveling is, I almost always get the same answer: Money.

This is something I hear from everyone I talk to: “Matt, I simply don’t have enough money to travel.”

This problem — and how to overcome it — is my most asked question. Over the past 14 years, I have answered this question in a plethora of posts, emails, tweets, and Facebook posts. Long-term readers might even be getting sick of me discussing this subject because it is one I talk about so much.

But I know no matter how often I address this question, it will come up again.

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.

There are plenty of ways to travel on a budget (and for free) — you just need to be willing to get creative.

How to Travel Cheap

Learning how to travel cheap is all about taking advantage of helpful apps and websites that save you money, finding ways to lower your expenses, and even making money as you travel. It’s about finding value and lowering your expenses while still being able to afford to do what you want.

Get a Job Overseas

Not making enough money at your job? Or, even worse, are you working a job you hate? Why not get a job overseas? There are plenty of opportunities in the world as long as you aren’t picky. After all, this isn’t a career you are starting — it’s just a way to earn money for travel.

Here are some popular (and easy to find) jobs you can get when you travel:

  • 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 or immerse yourself in a new culture. You can read this post for more info on being an au pair.
  • 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. If you don’t have the skills to tend bar, consider being a dishwasher or busser.
  • 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 Worldpackers, Workaway, and HelpX.
  • Waitress/waiter – There are tons of seasonal restaurants around the world (and around the US) that need extra help during the busy tourist months. If you have experience, this is an easy job to find abroad.
  • Dive instructor – 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!
  • 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.
  • Cruise ship worker – This is a much more formal position than the ones above, but it’s a great way to travel. The hours are long, but there’s something to be said about living at sea!
  • Casino worker – While this might require some training, if you’re a night owl and don’t mind the casino scene this is a fun job to work abroad.
  • 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!).
  • 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!
  • Yoga instructor – If you have the skills (and certification), teaching yoga abroad is an easy way to make some spending money. While you might need to know the language, there are yoga studios in pretty much every city in the world.

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 a high-paying office job? No.

Will you get a shitty, low-wage job that will pay all your travel bills? Yep!

I’ve met people from all walks of life, both from Western and non-Western countries, funding their travels this way. It’s an easy, fun way to lengthen your travels, deepen your experience, and make a little money so you can keep on traveling.

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 teaching 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 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 as well as cover your rent while you’re there.

If you have a college or university degree you’ll be able to make more money and apply for better positions though it’s not necessary for many countries.

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!

Some places you can teach online are:

  • VIPKid
  • iTutorGroup
  • Qkids
  • EF Education First
  • Cambly
  • Magic Ears

Teaching English overseas is a rewarding way to travel and make money at the same time. You get to immerse yourself in a new culture, meet new people, and have a positive impact on the lives of your students. It’s a win-win situation!

Do WWOOFing and Work on a Farm

WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. It’s a platform that allows you to work on a farm in exchange for free room and board. It’s a great way to see a destination in-depth while allowing you to commune with the great outdoors. You have to pay to get to the farm, but once you are there, everything else is covered! It definitely will help you travel cheap as well as have a unique experience and meet lots of cool people.

WWOOF has opportunities available in 130 countries around the world, with over 12,000 hosts and 100,000 WWOOFers. Some of the most popular destinations for WWOOFers are Portugal, France, Italy, Costa Rica, Australia, New Zealand, and Hawaii.

To participate in WWOOF, you need to become a member of the country you want to visit. Membership fees vary depending on the country, but they are usually around $20-50 USD for a one-year membership. Once you become a member, you can access the list of available farms and contact the hosts directly.

WWOOFing is a great way to learn new skills, experience sustainable living, and connect with nature. It’s also a fantastic way to travel on a budget and explore destinations off the beaten path.

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:

  • BlaBlaCar – A ride-sharing app that connects you with drivers who have extra seats in their car (primarily for medium and long distances, and mainly in Europe).
  • EatWith – Platform that connects you with local cooks serving private meals.
  • RVShare – Lets you rent RVs and camper vans directly from locals.
  • Turo – A car sharing marketplace that lets you rent vehicles from locals.
  • Campspace – This platform lets you camp on private property. Properties range from basic tent plots to luxurious glamping and RV stays.
  • Trusted Housesitters – Connects you with locals with whom you exchange pet and house sitting services for free accommodation.

Using the sharing economy is a great way to save money and have a more authentic travel experience. You get to support local entrepreneurs and connect with locals, making your trip more meaningful and memorable.

Cook Your Own Meals

The best way to save money on the road is to cook all your own meals. While in Stockholm, I spent $60 USD for a week’s worth of groceries instead of an average of $15 USD per meal eating out! That’s a savings of $150 USD!

I’ve done the same thing in dozens of countries all around the world — especially in expensive destinations like Iceland where eating out can really destroy your budget.

If you are staying in hostels, book accommodation that has a kitchen so you have space to cook. If you’re Couchsurfing or using Airbnb, your host will probably have a kitchen.

No kitchen? Pack your own container and cutlery and make some sandwiches and salads on the go. Not every meal requires a stove, right?

Just because you are traveling doesn’t mean you need to eat out every meal. You won’t ruin your trip to Paris if you decide not to eat out one day! There’s simply no reason to be spending lots of money on food on your trip!

Get Rail Passes

Rail passes (like the Eurail Pass in Europe or the JR Pass in Japan) 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. I’ve saved hundreds of dollars in Europe doing this!

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. The bigger the dorm, the cheaper it will be. While a 4-6 bed dorm might give you more privacy, a 12-18 bed dorm is going to be a bit cheaper. In the long run, this will add up. As long as you’ve got earplugs and a sleeping mask, opt for the bigger dorm to keep your budget intact!

If you’re a light sleeper, make sure you read the reviews before you book to ensure you don’t choose a party hostel. In larger cities, you can usually find a hostel that is quieter than the others. It might not be as social or as centrally located, but you’ll at least be able to get a good sleep.

In a large dorm, you’re almost guaranteed to have some snorers. If earplugs don’t quite do the trick, download an app like Rain Rain, which plays rain sounds on a loop. You can set a timer so they stop playing after an hour or two, helping you ignore the noises of the dorm while you try to fall asleep. Spotify also has all kinds of rain and whitenoise playlists too.

For discounts on hostels in Europe, check out HostelPass. This card gives you up to 20% off hostels throughout Europe. They’re constantly adding new hostels too. I’ve always wanted something like this and am glad it finally exists! (Use code NOMADICMATT for 25% off your membership.)

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 while you’re abroad. 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!

Museums, galleries, and other major tourist attractions usually have discounts (especially in Europe). It never hurts to ask! (There are also often discounts for senior travelers and veterans as well, so always ask!)

Get City Tourist Cards

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 USD with the London pass, $80 USD with the Paris Museum card, $50 USD 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. Not every city has them, but most major destinations do and you’ll save a lot of money if you plan on seeing the major sights.

Capitalize on Your Skills

Need some cash? Use Craigslist (operates in 70 countries), TaskRabbit (mainly in the US and Canada, though also in Italy and Spain), or Gumtree (UK-based) to find paid odd jobs, like assisting people who need a few things done around the house. 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, graphic design, or consulting. It’s never been easier to work online. As long as you have Wi-Fi you can make money. The sky is the limit here — get creative!

Travel Hack and Get Free Flights!

Travel hacking is the #1 way I’ve been able to afford so many flights and hotels over the years. By using a travel credit card for regular spending on groceries, restaurants, and shopping, I’ve been able to earn free flights and hotel stays — all by spending money I was going to spend anyway!

These days, there are tons of ways to earn free flights. Simply 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 (or more) — which is often enough for a free round-trip flight right there. And if you sign up for both an airline card (e.g., a United credit card) and a general rewards card like the Chase Sapphire, you can combine the two point balances and get a cheap flight faster.

You can go a lot further in the world when you take away the cost of flights and some accommodation. By collecting points and miles through credit card bonuses, smart everyday spending, online surveys, bonuses, and other methods, you’ll accrue a ton of miles even before you’ve left for your trip. There’s even a card now — the Bilt rewards card– that lets you earn points on your rent!

Travel hacking isn’t only for Americans either (though US residents have the best options). Canadians can travel hack too, as can folks from Australia and New Zealand and the UK.

Europeans also have several options as well, including all kinds of airline cards such as Norwegian Air, SAS, Aer Lingus, Lufthansa, and more.

Stay for Free

There are many services that connect travelers with locals who are willing to let them stay with them for free. Using these sites, you will never have to pay for accommodation. Years ago I read about a guy who traveled for years while only Couchsurfing.

I’ve used this service dozens of times over the years and always meet amazing people. Sometimes you get a room, sometimes a couch, sometimes an air mattress, but it’s always free.

Ideally, you’ll want to repay your host’s kindness by cooking them a meal, bringing them a souvenir from home, or taking them out for a drink. But that will still be much cheaper than paying for accommodation!

There are also local Couchsurfing group meet-ups that can help you make friends in your new city. You can even use the app just to meet people without having to stay with them. It’s a great way to connect with local insiders — whether you want a free place to stay or not.

Moreover, because of the rise of the sharing economy in the last few years, there are now websites that let you not only stay with locals but share rides, meals, train tickets, gear, and much more! These websites not only save you a TON of money but also get you off the tourist track and into the local life. Win-win! Here is a list of websites to use for free accommodation:

  • Trusted Housesitters
  • MindMyHouse
  • Nomador
  • House Carers
  • Global Freeloaders
  • Couchsurfing
  • Hospitality Club
  • BeWelcome
  • Warm Showers (for cyclists)
  • Servas


Hitchhiking is a free way to get around that is relatively safe and quite common in many parts of the world, including Central America, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

I’ve hitchhiked in more than a handful of countries (and I know solo female travelers who have done the same!). Sure, it has a bad reputation in North America, but with some common sense and a bit of patience, you can hitchhike almost anywhere — saving you tons of money in the process!

Here are a few basic tips to help you get started:

  • Use a sign – Make a clear sign that lets people know where you’re heading. That will help drivers decide if they can help.
  • Look presentable – Wear clean clothing, smile, and don’t obscure your face with something like sunglasses. People want to see who they are picking up.
  • Check the laws – Hitchhiking is illegal in some places. Always check the laws to make sure it’s ok to do where you are.
  • Take precautions – Note the license plate of anyone who picks you up and text it to a friend. Chances are you won’t need it but it’s better to be safe than sorry!
  • Keep your valuables on you – Don’t leave any valuables in your bag if it goes in the trunk in case it gets left in the car (or stolen).
  • Consult Hitchwiki – Hitchwiki is the #1 hitchhiking resource there is. Always consult it before you hitchhike to pick up tips and ensure you’re hitchhiking in a safe place.

Take Free Walking Tours

Want to learn about the city, get your bearings, and see the major sights? Take a free walking tour. You can find them in most major cities — just ask the local tourist office, your hostel staff, or Google “free walking tour (city name).”

You’ll get a solid introduction to the city while also getting access to a local guide you can ask questions to. I always start my visits to a new city with one. Just be sure to tip your guide at the end (that’s how they get paid).

House Sitting & Pet Sitting

If you’re on a tight budget, you can pet and house sit for fellow travel lovers when they go on their own vacations! In exchange, you’ll get free accommodation while you’re watching their home and pets (animal care is involved 99% of the time).

You can sign up for one of the sites below to start house sitting, allowing you to stay in one destination for a while without having to pay for accommodation. Everyone’s account is verified and has reviews so you know you won’t get cheated.

This is a great way to travel long-term, with an important added bonus: you get a kitchen to cook your food (which saves you even more money!).

Here are the best house-sitting websites to check out:

  • TrustedHousesitters
  • HouseCarers
  • Nomador
  • MindMyHouse

How to Travel for Free

Learning how to travel for free entails taking advantage of free accommodation, transportation, and activities that are already out there, thereby reducing your cost to zero. You can also use points and miles to earn free flights and accommodation. Here, you sacrifice comfort and convenience to extend your travels as long as possible.

Cook Your Own Meals

Cooking your own meals is not only a great way to save money, but it can also be a fun and rewarding experience. Whether you’re staying in a hostel with a kitchen or camping with a portable stove, cooking your own meals allows you to control what you eat and how much you spend. Plus, it’s a great way to learn about local cuisine and try new recipes!

Get Free Accommodation

There are many ways to get free accommodation while traveling. One of the most popular options is Couchsurfing, where you can stay with locals for free. Another option is house-sitting, where you take care of someone’s home and pets while they’re away. You can also try volunteering or work exchange programs, where you work a few hours a day in exchange for free accommodation.

Use Frequent Flyer Miles

If you’re a frequent traveler, it’s worth signing up for a frequent flyer program with your favorite airline. By accumulating miles through flights and credit card purchases, you can earn free flights and upgrades. Many airlines also offer sign-up bonuses for new members, so you can start earning miles right away.

Travel Hack with Credit Cards

Another way to earn free flights and accommodation is through travel hacking with credit cards. By signing up for travel rewards credit cards and meeting the minimum spending requirements, you can earn sign-up bonuses of thousands of points or miles. You can then use these points or miles to book flights and hotels for free.

Take Advantage of Loyalty Programs

Many hotels, airlines, and car rental companies offer loyalty programs that allow you to earn points or miles for each purchase or stay. These points can then be redeemed for free nights, flights, or upgrades. It’s worth signing up for these programs and staying loyal to a few brands to maximize your rewards.

Use Ride-Sharing Apps

Instead of taking taxis or public transportation, consider using ride-sharing apps like Uber or Lyft. These apps often offer discounts or promotions for new users, so you can get free or discounted rides. You can also save money by using carpooling options, where you share a ride with other passengers going in the same direction.

Take Advantage of Free Activities

Many cities offer free or low-cost activities and attractions. Look for free walking tours, museums with free admission days, or outdoor concerts and festivals. You can also explore nature and go hiking, swimming, or cycling for free. By taking advantage of these free activities, you can have a fun and memorable trip without spending a lot of money.

Use Public Transportation

Instead of renting a car or taking taxis, use public transportation to get around. Many cities have affordable and efficient public transportation systems, including buses, trains, and trams. You can save a lot of money by using public transportation, especially if you buy a multi-day or weekly pass.

Pack Light

Packing light not only saves you money on baggage fees, but it also allows you to be more flexible with your travel plans. With a smaller bag, you can easily navigate crowded streets, use public transportation, and walk long distances. Plus, you’ll spend less time waiting at the baggage carousel and more time exploring your destination.

Travel During Off-Peak Seasons

Traveling during off-peak seasons can save you a lot of money on flights, accommodation, and activities. Prices are often lower, and popular attractions are less crowded. Plus, you’ll get to experience a destination without the crowds and enjoy a more authentic and relaxed travel experience.

Use Local Coupons and Discounts

Before you travel, research local coupons and discounts for attractions, restaurants, and activities. Many cities have coupon books or discount cards that offer savings on popular attractions. You can also check websites and apps for deals and promotions. By using these coupons and discounts, you can save money while still enjoying all the best things a destination has to offer.


With the right budget and the right mindset, you can make your travel dreams a reality. Even if you don’t earn a lot or you have debt, there are still plenty of ways to go overseas (I still had debt when I went on my first trip around the world). They may not be fancy or luxurious, but if travel is your priority then you can definitely make it happen!

By implementing a variety of these tips, you’ll be able to travel for relatively little money. With a little planning and some creativity, you can travel the world for cheap.

Because if I can do it, you can do it too!

Whether it’s two months, two years, or just a two-week vacation, travel doesn’t need to cost a ton. The key is to get out of the mindset that you must travel in the typical manner of simply booking a flight and a hotel. Using out-of-the-box, nontraditional ways to travel can lead to big savings.

But it all starts with a change in mindset. From there, with some patience and practice, you’ll be able to make your travel dreams a reality — without breaking the bank!

Budget Travel Beginner A Comprehensive Guide to Traveling on a Budget

Traveling on a budget may seem like a daunting task, but with the right strategies and planning, it is possible to explore the world without breaking the bank. In this comprehensive guide, we will provide you with valuable tips and tricks to help you travel on a budget. From early planning to utilizing reward points and traveling during the off-season, these strategies can save you a significant amount of money while still allowing you to have a memorable travel experience.

Start Planning Early

When it comes to budget travel, early planning is key. The sooner you start planning your trip, the more time you have to save money and find great deals. Travel prices tend to fluctuate with demand, so it’s essential to keep an eye on rates and book when they are at their lowest.

While you may not find the cheapest prices far in advance, monitoring rates will allow you to jump on them and book when they drop. By beginning your planning early, you increase your chances of finding discounted hotel rooms, cheaper flights, and other budget-friendly activities.

Book at the Right Time

Booking your travel at the right time can make a significant difference in the overall cost of your trip. This applies to both flights and hotels. To ensure you get the best deals, utilize free online tools like Google Flights’ price tracking tool.

This tool allows you to compare the current fare with past pricing and determine if the rates are high or low compared to average costs. Additionally, Google Flights offers a price tracker alert feature that notifies you via email when fares drop, allowing you to secure the best possible price for your flights.

According to Expedia, Sunday is generally the best day of the week to purchase airline tickets. Keep this in mind when booking your flights to potentially save even more money.

Skip Overpriced Tours

Exploring a new city is an exciting part of any trip, but you don’t have to rely on expensive guided tours to experience it fully. With the abundance of information available online, it’s easier than ever to conduct your own self-guided tour for free.

Websites and apps like Spotted By Locals, TripAdvisor, and Rick Steves provide comprehensive information on many major cities, often free of charge. You can find suggestions for attractions, restaurants, and hidden gems that will allow you to explore your destination on a budget.

If self-guided tours aren’t your preference, many major cities also offer free walking tours. These tours are led by knowledgeable guides who provide valuable insights into the area’s history and culture. While these tours are free, it’s customary to tip the guide if you enjoyed the experience.

Utilize Reward Points

One of the most effective ways to travel on a budget is by leveraging reward points. By redeeming your points for travel expenses, such as flights and hotels, you can significantly reduce your overall costs.

To accumulate enough points for a travel redemption, consider opening a travel credit card that offers a generous welcome bonus. Many travel credit cards provide substantial mileage or point bonuses when you meet the minimum spending requirements within a specific timeframe.

For instance, the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® offers a welcome bonus of 50,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles after making your first purchase and paying the $99 annual fee in full, both within the first 90 days. By taking advantage of credit card welcome bonuses, you can earn enough miles to cover a round-trip flight or a significant portion of your hotel expenses.

Additionally, hotel credit cards from major chains like Hilton, Marriott, IHG, Hyatt, Choice, and Wyndham offer sign-up bonuses and complimentary elite status. These perks can grant you benefits such as free breakfast, room upgrades, and late checkout, further enhancing your budget travel experience.

If you’re traveling with a family or a group, using reward points for hotel bookings is especially beneficial. While hotels may charge additional fees for extra occupants in a room, these costs typically do not apply to reward redemptions. As long as everyone can safely occupy the room, you’ll generally pay the same standard price for the stay.

Travel in the Off-Season

Another excellent way to save money on your travels is by choosing to travel during the off-season. Every destination has a peak period of demand when prices for flights, hotels, tours, and dining are inflated.

By avoiding these peak periods, you can take advantage of significantly lower prices. In Europe, for example, the high season is during the summer when most tourists visit. Flights and accommodations during this period can be substantially more expensive compared to other times of the year.

For instance, a round-trip flight from Los Angeles to Paris at the beginning of November 2022 may cost $1,255. However, a similar flight during the peak summer season could cost $2,070 round trip. By choosing to travel during the off-season, you can save over $800 on your flights alone.

Traveling during the off-season not only saves you money but also allows you to experience your destination with fewer crowds. You’ll have a more authentic and peaceful travel experience, making it an ideal choice for budget-conscious travelers.


Traveling on a budget doesn’t mean compromising on the quality of your trip. By implementing these strategies, you can save a significant amount of money while still enjoying a memorable and fulfilling travel experience. Start planning early, book at the right time, skip overpriced tours, utilize reward points, and travel during the off-season to make the most of your budget travel adventures. With careful planning and smart choices, you can explore the world without breaking the bank.

Remember, budget travel is all about being resourceful and finding creative ways to save money. By following the tips outlined in this guide, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a savvy budget traveler. Happy travels!

Budget Travel Checklist

Creating a travel budget isn’t all about boring spreadsheets and searching for low-budget bargains — a finely-crafted budget is designed to maximize your total travel experience. In this budget travel checklist, we will guide you through the process of creating a budget that will help you afford your dream trip and make the most of your travel experience.

Can You Afford to Travel?

Let’s start by addressing the most important question: Can you actually afford to travel? While you may have dreams of globetrotting and living your best life in distant lands, it’s essential to assess your financial situation before making any plans.

The amount you have to spend on your trip will need to be proportionate to the place you are visiting. Some destinations can be done on the cheap, while others will require a larger investment. Factors such as accommodation, activities, and distance from home can all impact the overall cost of your trip.

Before you book anything, take the time to break down the potential costs of your dream trip and compare them to the amount of money you realistically have available to fund it. Sometimes, it may be better to put your plans on hold until you have saved up enough cash to truly experience a place rather than rushing to get there and missing out on some of the best parts.

The Two Approaches to Travel Budgets

Whether you are a plan-well-in-advance traveler or more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of person, there are different ways to approach setting out your budget based on what works best for you.

Plan Your Adventure Well in Advance

The most traditional way to book a vacation is to think of somewhere you want to go, plan your vacation dates, and decide how long you want to stay. This kind of advanced planning allows you to book time off work, plan trips around school semesters, and gives you the opportunity to firm up plans before you leave.

Knowing when and where you are going also has another advantage — it gives you plenty of time to save up the cash you will need to truly enjoy your time there. Booking in advance means you can research your planned itinerary and potential expenditure, and maybe even save enough extra for upgrades or luxuries to make your adventure truly special. This kind of planning is a great incentive for saving hard.

Travel Based on Your Bank Balance

If you want to take your cash and get the heck out of dodge, you can work backward to identify the most amount of fun you can have for your money. If you are feeling lucky and know how much you are willing to spend, the world really is your oyster.

The internet has made impulse traveling even easier, as you can simply hit up any number of booking sites to find an exciting destination, suitable flights, accommodation, and excursions in just a few clicks.

Another way to make your budget go further is to think outside the box. Visiting popular destinations out of season, taking shorter vacations, or looking at places away from the main tourist trail can all make your money stretch further.

Consider a trip to the legendary Yosemite National Park during April or May, for example, to experience some of the most iconic open spaces in America before the schools let out. Or, visit the beaches of Miami or the Florida Keys during September and October when tourists shy away from the increased risk of stormy weather.

You can also look at alternatives to more traditional resort destinations to get more bang for your buck. Consider a trip to Reno instead of Las Vegas, hit the slopes in Winter Park instead of the sky-high prices in Vail, or take in the history of Williamsburg and avoid the price tags of New York or Los Angeles on your next city break.

Travel Budget Template Worksheet

To help you plan and keep track of your travel budget, we have created a free, handy Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. You can download our travel budget template here: https://travellosa.com/travel-budget-template

Travel Budget Considerations

When planning your travel budget, there are several things to consider. Break down your budget into subsections to make it easier to plan and stick to:

Passport and Visas

One of the most essential elements of your travel plan will revolve around the legal and local requirements for travel to and from your destination. Research any visa requirements and restrictions before you fly, and be sure to have all the necessary documentation before you leave.

Different countries have their own entry requirements, including restrictions on how much local currency you can bring with you and how long you can stay. For example, if you are traveling to or through any of the main 26 European countries, you must know the requirements of the Schengen Agreement, which eliminates borders and assumes that travelers will be able to enjoy up to 3 months of visa-free travel. This will change in January 2021 with the introduction of the ETIAS.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is essential for any trip. It provides coverage for medical emergencies, trip cancellations, lost baggage, and other unforeseen events. While it may be tempting to skip travel insurance to save money, it is not worth the risk.

Shop around and speak to different providers to find the best travel insurance policy for your needs. Look for coverage that includes emergency medical expenses, repatriation expenses, cancellation or curtailment coverage, lost baggage coverage, travel delay/missed departure coverage, journey disruption coverage, personal liability coverage, legal expenses coverage, and electronics loss/theft and damage coverage.

Additionally, consider any additional coverage you may need, such as winter sports coverage, terrorism disruption coverage, cruise coverage, business coverage, and sports equipment coverage.

Remember that your domestic health insurance may not cover you when traveling overseas, so it’s important to invest wisely in travel insurance.


Before traveling to certain parts of the world, it’s important to ensure that you have all the necessary vaccinations to protect against common diseases. Research the recommended vaccinations for your destination and consult with healthcare providers for advice.

Vaccination costs can vary, but as a rough guide, some common travel vaccinations and their approximate costs include:

  • Cholera: $45 for a single-dose oral vaccine
  • Hepatitis A: $115 for a single-dose vaccine
  • Japanese Encephalitis: $290 per injection for a series of 2 doses given 4 weeks apart
  • Meningococcal Disease: $135 for a single-dose vaccine
  • Rabies: $3000 for a series of 3 or 4 injections over 4 weeks
  • Typhoid Fever: $60 for a single oral dose
  • Yellow Fever: Up to $350 for a single shot

Additionally, consider taking antimalarial tablets to reduce the risk of contracting malaria in certain regions. The cost of antimalarial tablets can range from $20 to $260 per pack.

Clothes, Gear, and Toiletries

When packing for your trip, consider the clothes, gear, and toiletries you will need. Be mindful of the destination and pack accordingly. Consider compiling a capsule wardrobe with versatile clothing items that can be worn in various ways to save space and weight in your luggage.

Avoid buying new items for every vacation and reuse your favorite clothing items, such as bikinis, flip flops, and party dresses. Only replace items when necessary.

For gear and toiletries, consider the necessity of each item and opt for travel-sized products or decant full-size products into smaller travel containers. Avoid taking expensive gear that increases the risk of loss or theft.


The cost of flights can vary widely depending on factors such as destination, airline, direct or connecting flights, time of day, time of year, and booking timing. To find cheaper flights, consider the following tips:

  • Use points and miles if available.
  • Book flights as early as possible to avoid price increases.
  • Be flexible with your travel dates and times.
  • Consider discount airlines for short or domestic flights.
  • Sign up for email notifications from airlines to receive discounts and flash sales.
  • Use aggregation sites to compare prices, but don’t settle for the first price you see.
  • Consider booking connecting flights instead of direct flights for potential cost savings.


The cost of accommodation can vary depending on the type of accommodation, location, and time of year. Consider the following options to save money on accommodation:

  • Hotels: Book directly through the hotel, include weeknights or Sunday nights in your stay, and be flexible with your location.
  • Airbnb: Rent a private home or vacation apartment for more affordable and unique accommodations.
  • Camping: Consider camping to save money and enjoy the great outdoors.
  • Hostels: Stay in hostels for budget-friendly accommodations, especially in expensive cities.
  • Rent a recreational vehicle (RV): If you’re traveling by road, consider renting an RV for both accommodation and transportation.
  • Car rental: Evaluate the cost of renting a car versus using public transportation, especially in remote or off-the-beaten-path destinations.

Local Transportation

Research the local transportation options available at your destination to save money on getting around. Consider the following tips:

  • Buy daily, weekly, or monthly travel passes in advance.
  • Bulk buy tickets online or via an app.
  • Take advantage of discounted fares for students, families, seniors, or children.
  • Avoid traveling during peak commuter times.
  • Look for deals on public transportation, such as flash sales or discounts for group bookings.

Attractions and Activities

Research the attractions and activities available at your destination and factor in the costs when creating your budget. Look for discounts, city passes, and money-saving ways to experience the best attractions. Consider the following tips:

  • Check local listings magazines or newspapers for free events and coupons.
  • Subscribe to online discount sites like Groupon for discounted ticket prices.
  • Take advantage of reduced entrance prices at off-peak times or group discounts.
  • Look for free entertainment options in big cities, such as street performers and shows.
  • Research costs for activities like water sports or guided tours and look for discounted prices.

Walk-Around Money

While you may have budgeted every dollar, it’s important to have some pocket money for unforeseen expenses. Keep a small amount of cash on hand for items like water, sunscreen, or entrance fees to additional attractions. Ensure that you keep your money safe by not flashing large amounts of cash and keeping your notes and loose change in a secure location.

Gifts and Souvenirs

If you plan on buying gifts or souvenirs, be mindful of your budget and choose items that have special meaning to you. Avoid buying unnecessary trinkets and focus on unique mementos that you can treasure forever. Consider the cost of gifts and souvenirs when budgeting for your trip.

Websites to Help Research Travel Costs

To help make your research easier, there are several websites that provide valuable information on travel costs and destinations. Some popular websites include:

  • https://travellosa.com/: A comprehensive travel website that offers tips, guides, and resources for travelers.
  • Budget Your Trip: A repository of travel costs gathered from thousands of travelers, providing a comprehensive guide to the cost of your trip. You can create a personalized travel budget on the website.
  • Nomad List: A resource for remote workers, digital nomads, and travelers, offering information on destinations, places to work, neighborhoods to stay, and the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals.
  • Expatistan: A website that provides cost-of-living information and allows for comparisons between different locations. It offers insights into the expenses you can expect at your destination.

The Best Apps for Travel Budgets and Expense Tracking

To help you keep track of your expenses while traveling, there are several apps available. These apps can help you manage your finances and stay on budget. Some popular apps include:

  • Trail Wallet: An easy-to-use expense tracker that allows you to record your expenses, set spending limits, and view reports. Available on iOS.
  • Trabee Pocket: A sleek and easy-to-use app that allows you to track your expenses, categorize them, and create expense reports. Available on iOS and Android.
  • TripCoin: A concise expense tracking app that allows you to add expenses and view reports. Available on iOS.
  • Wally: A comprehensive finance app that helps you track your money, set budgets, and manage your expenses. Available on iOS and Android.
  • Splitwise: An app for splitting expenses and keeping track of shared costs among friends or travel companions. Available on iOS and Android.

Saving for Your Vacation

Before worrying about managing your finances while traveling, it’s important to have the funds to afford your vacation. Saving for your trip requires careful planning and commitment. Consider the following tips:

  • Set a savings timeline: Determine how long it will take you to save the desired amount for your trip by setting a monthly savings goal.
  • Multiple savings accounts: Separate your travel savings from your regular bank account by setting up a separate savings account.
  • Visualization: Keep track of your progress and motivate yourself by visualizing what your savings can afford. Set milestones and reward yourself for reaching them.

In conclusion, creating a budget and managing your finances while traveling is crucial to make the most of your trip. Plan your spending, research costs, and look for ways to save money across all aspects of your journey. By being mindful of your budget and making informed decisions, you can have an amazing travel experience without breaking the bank.

Budget Travel Saving Tips

Travel can be expensive, whether it’s high gas prices during your road trip or increasing travel demand causing hotel and airline costs to rise. But it doesn’t have to be as costly as you might think with these tips for saving money on travel.

How to save money while traveling

1. Pack light

Packing light is undoubtedly beneficial for avoiding checked bag fees, but there are a few other incentives to do so. For starters, packing light means you can get around a lot easier. With a light suitcase or backpack, you’re more agile, enabling you to navigate public transit rather than feel like you need to pay for a taxi.

So how do you pack light? Bring clothes that you can wash easily in a sink. Look for items that dry quickly, and pick clothes that you can mix and match. Default to basic items that go with pretty much any outfit, so you don’t need to cram four pairs of shoes into your bag.

Plus, packing light means you won’t be tempted to pay for souvenirs — because limited capacity in your suitcase or backpack will deter your urges.

2. Shop at local grocery stores

Visiting local markets can be an adventure on its own. You’ll find different types of foods that you wouldn’t necessarily come across at home. Plus, having food on hand means you’ll likely save money, as you’ll be less tempted to buy the stale, overpriced muffin from the hotel cafe just because you were hungry.

3. Pack snacks

If you can’t visit a local market, packing snacks from home is the next best thing. Look for protein-heavy items like jerky and protein bars, which can make you feel full and not take up too much space in your luggage.

Bottled water can also shape up to be a considerable expense when you’re on the go. Assuming you have access to a clean water source, pack your canteen, and consider a portable water bottle that can collapse to fit in your pocket.

4. Get yourself into the airport lounge

One of the best ways to get food while traveling is at an airport lounge. Many premium travel credit cards offer lounge access as perks, generally through the Priority Pass lounge membership program. Food quality ranges by lounge, but you can usually expect light snacks like fruit, chips, cookies, and coffee. The fancier lounges sometimes provide entire buffet meals.

Beyond food, lounges can provide Wi-Fi speeds typically faster than what’s offered in the airport. In addition, some lounges offer showers, exercise rooms, or massages. Get to the airport early to maximize the amenities.

5. Arrive early

Leave plenty of time to get to the airport early. If you’re running late, you might hail an overpriced cab in a panic instead of taking public transportation at typically a fraction of the cost. You may also find that rideshare prices could be higher for routes to the airport at certain times. Having more time allows you to avoid surge pricing.

Don’t risk having to rebook a flight last minute because you arrived late.

6. Get TSA PreCheck or Global Entry membership fees reimbursed

You can speed through airport crowds by applying for either TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. Both are types of Trusted Traveler programs offered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

If approved, you’ll be able to use expedited lanes, which typically have shorter, quicker lines because travelers aren’t forced to remove their shoes, laptops, belts, or jackets. According to TSA’s data, 94% of TSA PreCheck passengers waited less than five minutes in December 2021.

Certain credit cards will reimburse your application fee, typically $85 for TSA PreCheck or $100 for Global Entry (though the TSA PreCheck fee has recently changed to $78).

7. Take advantage of credit card free night certificates

Some hotel credit cards — even those with sub-$100 annual fees — offer free hotel night certificates. Assuming the value of your hotel room is more than the credit card’s annual fee (which it very easily can be), it could be a smart move to get one of these cards to save some money with a free night stay.

Plus, these cards typically offer extra benefits like elite status, making your stay more enjoyable, and bonus points, which can make future stays free — or at least cheaper.

8. Book hotel rooms on points

Speaking of bonus points, it’s almost always a good idea to spend your hotel points rather than save them. Booking rooms on points versus cash is certainly a smart way to avoid dipping into your cash savings for a vacation, but there are a few other benefits:

  • You may avoid resort fees: Resort fees (those extra charges that hotels impose to cover additional amenity usages like pools and Wi-Fi) are irritating, and they can sometimes run north of $50 per night. Thankfully, some hotel loyalty programs, including Hilton Honors and World of Hyatt, don’t charge them for rooms booked on points.
  • You might get extra discounts: For stays booked on points, you might unlock additional discounts for staying longer. For example, you receive the lowest point-value night free for every five consecutive nights stayed at a Marriott property funded with Marriott Bonvoy points. Hilton has a similar policy where members with at least Silver Elite membership receive the fifth night free when booking on points.

9. Travel during the offseason

If you can travel during the offseason, that’s not only a way to avoid crowds and the headaches that come with them, but you’ll usually be able to get a better deal. A NerdWallet analysis conducted in spring 2021 of over 1,110 airfares found that airfares averaged more expensive for holiday travel than any other booking window.

Booking window | Average economy class cash airfare
— | —
15 days out | $576.51
180 days out | $464.77
During the holiday season (Dec. 22-29) | $655.32

Airfares for flight routes during the holiday season average 41% more expensive than other flights booked roughly six months out during non-holiday seasons.

10. Explore tourist attractions that don’t cost you any money

Even trips to notoriously expensive spots like San Francisco, New York City, or Walt Disney World don’t have to break the bank.

For example, there are tons of no-cost things to do at Disney World. Ride around the monorail or watch fireworks from the beach at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. In addition, you can find free walking tours in most major cities (though tour guides typically rely on gratuity, so tip accordingly).

Prioritize the free tourist attractions over the ones that have a fee. For example, tickets to San Francisco’s de Young Museum cost about $15, but you can go to one of its coolest rooms, the Hamon Observation Tower, for free panoramic views of the city.

And while there are dozens of excellent cultural institutions in St. Louis, start at the ones that have free admission, including the Saint Louis Art Museum, Saint Louis Science Center, and Saint Louis Zoo. If time permits, then turn to the attractions with a fee.

11. Get a baseline understanding of typical costs

Knowing the general prices of things can help you avoid getting up charged with a so-called, unofficial “tourist tax.”

For instance, look up average taxi costs before you travel so you know the ranges to expect. Consider researching typical prices for items at the market so you can haggle with confidence. Avoid overpaying on a bus fare by knowing how to purchase official tickets in advance.

12. Consider travel insurance

If you’re worried about losing the value of upfront travel costs, consider purchasing travel insurance. This optional standalone insurance can be purchased separately from your airfare.

But you might not even need to pay out-of-pocket for trip insurance because many credit cards offer travel insurance as a built-in benefit to customers who pay for travel expenses such as flights or hotels on that card.

Sometimes, though, not even trip insurance will guarantee a refund. Unless you’ve purchased a Cancel For Any Reason policy, which is usually more expensive, you’re only entitled to a refund if you cancel for a covered reason.

Final thoughts on all the ways to save money on travel

Travel costs can add up. Your vacation might not be as cheap as that slick airfare deal may have led you to believe when you factor in other expenses. Often, vacation spending can rocket past your initial budget once you’re out on the road.

Saving money on travel with these tricks can give you more freedom to spend where you need, whether that’s on this trip or your next one.

Bold: budget travel saving tips

Budget Travel Digital Nomad Experience in Sicily – Cummari Coliving

Cummari Coliving Tours in Sicily Coworking Retreats

At Cummari Coliving, we offer an unforgettable experience for digital nomads looking to enjoy the charm and beauty of Sicily while maintaining their remote work lifestyle. We provide coliving and coworking spaces in the heart of the vibrant island, allowing you to immerse yourself in the local culture, forge connections with like-minded individuals, and make the most of your budget travel digital nomad experience.


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About Cummari Coliving

Cummari Coliving is a leading provider of coliving and coworking spaces in Sicily, catering specifically to digital nomads and remote workers. We understand the unique needs and challenges that come with maintaining a remote work lifestyle while traveling, and we strive to provide an environment that is conducive to both productivity and personal growth.

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