So, you are thinking of traveling the world and want to to do so without blowing all your hard-earned cash? I feel you! I spent around $720 per month on average while traveling the world between January and the end of August 2018. This post is all about how to travel the world on a budget and how I make it work.
How I organize my expenses
Let me start off by saying that I keep track of every single cent I am spending and have been doing so since 2014. It’s something that I absolutely love doing. Keeping track of your expenses, is in my opinion, the best way to get a handle on your money.
My biggest tip when it comes to how to travel the world on a budget is, therefore, to keep track of every single cent you are spending.
I use Google sheets and have been doing so since 2014. This is the template that I am currently using. I amended lots of the categories and switched things around to suit my needs. The template is 100% customizable. Previously, I used a plain google sheet without any graphics.
How to travel the world on a budget like a pro!
My monthly budget is $1,000 per month and as mentioned earlier, so far I’ve averaged just $720 per month. I posted how my monthly budget is structured earlier this year and figured to write an update.
How do I manage to spend just $720 per month on average while traveling full-time? I am now going to break it down for you. There are a handful of things that I do to save money, to be a bit kinder on the environment and to enhance my experience.
My biggest spending categories are definitely accommodation, food, and transport and this is what I do to cut costs.
I live like a local. I use websites such as Airbnb, Housesitting or Couchsurfing to connect with locals and find accommodation. My daily budget for accommodation with my man is $20 (I pay $10, he pays $10). That is our absolute maximum. Most places we stay in are around $15 per night.
- Housesitting: Between January and August I’ve house sitted for over six weeks. That’s six weeks that I didn’t spend any money on accommodation. Since the end of August, I’ve house sitted for two more weeks and will be doing another house sit in October. House sitting is great if you enjoy spending time with pets. I’ve made lots of YouTube videos about it that I highly recommend checking out. Housesitting this much has resulted in less money spent on accommodation and more enjoyment!
- Airbnb: I mostly stay in apartments with kitchens. In Eastern Europe, this budget got as a whole apartment to ourselves and in Asia with most been staying in rooms or small studio apartments. I choose to travel like this because I want to get as close to the local experience as possible. I lived in a regular apartment building in Brooklyn, why would I choose to stay in a hotel while away?
- Couchsurfing: Couchsurfing is all about connecting with locals. It is based on a cultural exchange and completely free. That means that you can stay with locals for free. It’s all about sharing stories, food and just hanging out. On this trip, I’ve only used it to connect with locals and not to stay with them. Why? I simply prefer it for solo trips and trips with friends.
Food (Groceries & Eating out)
Between January and the end of August, I’ve spent $75 per month on average on groceries and $51 on eating out. When I am not staying somewhere with a suitable kitchen I eat out more than I usually would, hence the relatively big expense on eating out. Just as with accommodation, there are lots of ways to eat better, while spending less.
- Home cooked meals: I cook a lot. I love making food from scratch and knowing what’s actually in the food that I am eating. I stick to fruit, vegetables, and grains and favor local goods over imported ones. I also seek out local markets and vendors (whenever available) as their prices are usually better than those at supermarkets.
- Eating out: Whenever I do eat out I go to local restaurants. I strive to support places that are affordable by local standards and stay away from fancy vegan restaurants. That means doing a little research beforehand to get a better understanding of what’s perceived as affordable (and what isn’t). Most meals that I eat out are around $2 or less.
I walk whenever possible. I only take public transportation when walking doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Buses, trains, boats, you name it. I hardly ever take anything but local transportation and avoid cabs like the plaque.
Why? I hardly ever take cabs whenever I am living somewhere, so why would I take them on the road? I only ever take cabs when public transportation isn’t running due to it being too early or too late.
Public transportation is always cheaper and so much kinder to the environment.
More tips on how to travel the world on a budget
Stay in places longer
This can make the biggest difference when it comes to how to travel the world on a budget. I stay in places longer. I prefer to spend several weeks in one place and don’t like hopping from place to place.
While it can be of course tricky to arrange longer trips, I prefer them over short ones. Staying in a place for a longer period of time saves you money on transport, accommodation (weekly and monthly discounts!) and allows you to explore a place more deeply.
- Example: In April/May 2018 my man and I rented an apartment in Nonthaburi, Thailand. We spent around $330 for a month of living there. Utilities and internet included.
The best part? By staying in a place longer you’ll reduce your impact on the environment.
Travel to affordable destinations
Go to places that will allow you to make the most of your budget. While staying in places such as New York City and London might sound like a great idea, the cost of accommodation and living can be high. Spend the majority of your trip to more affordable destinations and you’ll be able to get the most out of your trip.
For more expensive destinations House Sitting as well as Couchsurfing are great options to cut costs on accommodation while greatly enhancing your experience!
Find a travel partner
If you happen to know someone who’d be down to join you, do it. I am all about traveling solo, however, if I know someone who is down to plan a trip with me then I am all for it! Traveling with someone is going to save you lots of money on accommodation and will give you more options.
- Example: Instead of having a solo budget of $10 night, my man and I have a combined budget of $20. We can get apartments to ourselves in that price range!
You can make it work
Traveling the world can be a lot of fun, even more so when you make it work without breaking the bank. If you know someone for whom this post could be useful, share it with them. These were my top tips on how you can travel the world on a budget.