Travelling cheap is very easy and it shouldn’t be an excuse for not booking that next adventure. Below are 5 tips for travelling the world cheaply, all of them are very practical and very easy to do.
A big reason why travel can seem so expensive is that people eat out and indulge multiple times a day for the duration of their holiday. When they are at home they don’t do this, yet they do this every day when they travel.
There are no rules stating you need to eat out all the time. Dining out will slowly eat away at your funds. Cooking meals and preparing your own foods is an effective way to travel cheaper.
It’s not always easy to cook meals if you stay in a hotel that has no kitchen. So that’s why I would recommend not always choosing a hotel. Airbnbs and hostels are both great options if you want to cook. However, some hotels do come equipped with small kitchens or kitchenettes. While others come with just a kettle and a microwave.
If you are unable to cook meals in your accommodation then stick to markets, supermarkets or cheap street foods. This would also depend on where you are in the world. Choosing to buy a pre-made sandwich from the local supermarket for $3 is or a noodle dish made by a street vendor is going to be a lot cheaper than buying a meal for lunch or dinner at a restaurant.
An important part of travelling is eating local cuisines and trying new things so I do recommend eating out, you just don’t have to do it for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day.
YOU CAN READ MORE ABOUT THIS IN A PREVIOUS POST BELOW:
Take free walking tours
A really great way to see a city and learn more about it is to go on free city walking tours. These services are offered in hundreds of cities around the world.
You just have to Google free walking tour *city name* and you will find them in most major cities.
I know for a fact the free tours in Melbourne and Sydney, Australia are very good. I have listed a few other companies from around the world that have great reviews and a range of different tours available to choose from.
Please note, a small tip at the end of your free tour is sometimes recommended.
An alternative to this is to download audio guides from the app store on your phone and do a self-guided audio tour. Rather than have a physical guide show you around, you can listen to the audio in your headphones and follow a map on your phone. Some guides are free, some you may need to pay for.
Another alternative is to visit free museums. Every city has free museums. Many of the activities we did on our 2018 world trip included visiting some of them. Some of the free museums we saw included The Natural History Museum and British Museum in London, The Los Angeles Public Library, The Berlin Wall Documentation Centre (across the road from the free Berlin Wall Memorial) and the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.
Whichever option you decide on you will be educated on the history of the destination you’re in. These things can be done without spending any money. At the very most you may have to spend a few dollars in the form of a tip or purchasing an audio guide on the app store or at the museum.
Don’t always stay in 5-star hotels
The accommodation you choose to stay in will significantly impact the total cost of your holiday. While staying in 5-star hotels is exciting and is luxurious, the costs of these establishments can be ridiculous. Staying in a fancy hotel every time is almost a guarantee you will go on fewer holidays.
I often find that these hotels are so good with the amenities on offer, I end up spending more time in the hotel than out exploring and getting to know the destination I’m in. Guess what, that’s exactly what they want you to do. These hotels want you to be comfortable and they want you to spend money inside their establishments.
Choosing to stay in smaller 3-star hotels, hostels or even Couchsurfing will save you a lot of money. If you plan on undertaking a long multi-week or multi-month trip, cheaper accommodation is necessary.
The thing to remember is that your accommodation has two main purposes. One, it is a place for you to store your luggage when you’re out and about. And two, it is a place for you to sleep at night.
Please don’t take this advice as you should never stay in a 5-star hotel. Sometimes it’s good to treat ourselves and stay in these establishments. Other times a 3-star hotel or lower-rated hotel or hostel is sufficient. In 2018 Kayleigh and I travelled around the world for three and a half months. On that trip, we had stops in Asia, The UK, Europe, Morocco, The United States, Canada and Mexico. During that time we stayed in only two 5-star hotels. The rest of our accommodation was two and three-star rated hotels (maybe one four-star hotel), a couple of Airbnbs and a friends house.
Travel in non-peak season/low season
Non-peak season means flights are more likely to be cheaper and accommodation is going to cost less. There are obviously a few downsides to travelling in quieter seasons. Some of the major attractions may be closed or the weather might not be as good. However, travelling to a destination during these seasons is a great way to see and experience a place in an entirely different way.
Kayleigh and I travelled through Europe in 2018 during the middle of winter until the start of spring. It was more affordable for us to travel there at that time, as opposed to their summer. We have also travelled to Japan twice, both times were not during the popular cherry blossom season.
Avoid taxis and use public transport
An often very expensive way of getting around in a new destination is the taxi. It’s easy to catch a taxi when you first arrive at your destination, they are always waiting in the ranks outside. But most of the time there are cheaper alternatives, public transport, usually buses and trains. The only time a taxi might be cheaper than public transport is if you’re travelling in a large group and you all pitch in to pay. But in some cities, you often have to take more than one cab because they don’t have large enough taxis.
Using public transport is a great way to save money, a taxi could cost upwards of $30 to get from the airport to the CBD, depending on where you are. Here in Melbourne, Australia it costs between $60 and $75. In many cities around the world, it might only cost about $5-$8, or less, via the train. Using public transport is also much better for the environment.
Public transport should be used as much as possible, not just getting to and from the airport. You can also use trains and buses to get from city to city and across multiple countries in places like Europe. We travelled across Europe with a rail pass and even caught a bus from London to Paris. We have used metro trains to get around in many cities around the world, including Hong Kong, Tokyo, Los Angeles, London, Seoul, Paris, Lisbon, Barcelona and Singapore.
I have written a more extensive article about why you should use public transport. You can read about it here:
There are also many alternatives to using taxis. I recommend using ride-sharing apps like Uber where available, they are almost always cheaper than a traditional taxi. Uber is not the only app of its kind in the world. South-East Asia has Grab, China has Didi Chuxing and The Middle East has Careem and there are many others out there.
Sign up for Uber through our referral link below and you will get $10 off your first Uber ride.
Hiring a bicycle and walking are also great options if they are practical.
5 Tips for travelling the world cheaply
Thanks for reading my 5 Tips for travelling the world cheaply. Let me know in the comments below how you travel cheaply.