Do you want to see the world but fear you’ll never get to because you aren’t rolling in money? What if you found out that not having a lot of money is no barrier to seeing your own country and other places worldwide?
Travel in the U.S. can be much costlier than in other countries, so feel free to stay stateside if you’re on a budget. The tips below can help you get on the road without spending a lot.
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You will need to save some money, and if your income is already pretty small, that can seem like a difficult task. However, if you carefully examine your lifestyle and expenses, you can find several ways to reduce your spending.
One way is by looking for personalized rates for everything from life, auto, and home insurance to refinancing student loans. People often assume that these expenses are fixed, but better offers may be available for you. Tracking your spending can help you see where you might be wasting money without realizing it, and making a budget can help you stay on track. Pick up a side gig and put the money into a travel fund.
Choose Inexpensive Destinations
There’s a huge range in what it costs to travel to various places, and you can travel for a week in one place for what you’ll spend in another day. Of course, there are strategies for traveling cheaply wherever you go, so if your heart is set on Italy, you should, by all means, go there, but have you considered the less expensive Croatia instead?
You can still enjoy Roman ruins, beautiful old towns, and gorgeous beaches for a fraction of the price. Substantially cheaper are destinations such as Laos, Nepal, or Nicaragua, all places with beautiful natural scenery and rich cultures.
Saving on Accommodations and Other Expenses
When people talk about the money they spend on a trip, especially a trip abroad, they’re often quoting the price of a package tour, which is far more expensive than a trip you can plan.
In some countries, accommodations will be very inexpensive, but in places where this is not the case, look for hostels or house-sharing sites for great deals. An additional advantage of both of these accommodations is that you usually have access to a kitchen, so you can save money by preparing meals.
Of course, one of the reasons to travel abroad is to eat great food, but when it’s time to splurge, figure out where the locals go, not the tourists. You’ll get a better meal at a better price.
If you’re in a costlier place, go all-in on the adventure of navigating public transportation in a strange city instead of taking cabs everywhere. Carefully pick and choose the tourist landmarks you’ll spend money on.
Look for tourist passes that give you entrance to multiple museums or other attractions at a reduced price. Take advantage of things that cost money that means a lot to you, but look for fun, cheap or free activities: walking in a park, sitting on a beach, or just people-watching with a cup of coffee in a cafe.
Many seasoned travelers swear by using credit card points to put toward flights. You can put most expenses on your card over each month, but you do need to make sure that you pay off the balance each month.
Alternatives to Tourism
If you’re still unable to travel even with the above savings strategies in mind, or you’d like to travel for longer, several different strategies are available. Some platforms match travelers with people looking for house sitters and caretakers, as well as opportunities to participate in educational and cultural exchanges through programs like WWOOF, which involves working on organic farms for a few weeks.
Another option is finding out if your employer is amenable to remote work. This could allow you to visit new places for more extended periods. Some professions lend themselves to opportunities for travel.
If you are a nurse, consider looking into travel nursing, which can allow you to take jobs throughout the country or the world. Teachers can apply for jobs in international schools.
Travel Doesn’t Need To Be Expensive
You don’t need to spend a lot to travel. Following the above tips can help you travel the country, or the world.
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Greg is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) with 22+ years experience in Financial Services. He has held numerous FINRA Securities licenses (series 7, 63, 65, and 66), and is an expert on Investment Products and Financial Planning. Greg has 22+ years experience as a real estate investor and degrees in Psychology and Philosophy.
Greg has been quoted/interviewed in Yahoo Money, Yahoo Finance, USA Today, Authority Magazine, Realtor.com, Business Insider, and others.
Greg is an avid runner, and the father to identical twin girls and their awesome brother. His love of budgeting and his kids led him to join The Great Resignation in 2021.
Disclaimer: Any Financial Tips on ChaChingQueen are general and informational. Speak with a professional about your specific situation.