• K Hamm

How to Travel on a Budget: 7 Tips to Make International Travel Happen When You're Broke

COVID has most of us thinking about the next time we'll be able to comfortably travel and explore the world as we see fit. However, even when it becomes doable, will it be affordable? That's a more important question, right?

If you're one of the many people's whose desire outweighs their budget, this post is for you because yes, you can travel and see the world when you're broke.

Here's how you do it:

1. Book Your Trip Way in Advance *

One of the easiest ways to reduce your international travel expenses out the gate is to plan ahead! And by ahead, I mean way ahead — like 6-9 months ahead. Domestic flight prices operate differently than international. You can book domestic flights weeks ahead and still save, but that's not often the case with international. Planning ahead will give you more wiggle room to play with prices and package options. Giving yourself some time before your trip can drastically reduce your out-of-pocket costs.

Here are six websites you can check out to find great flight deals and travel packages.

2. Be Flexible in the Time of Year You Travel

If you're set on traveling in a specific month for exact dates, expect to pay a lot. The savings comes when you loosen your grip and allow the prices to guide you. Often something as simple as moving a trip by two or three weeks, you can reduce hundreds. Rule of thumb, find the flight first, then commit to the dates.

3. Go to Cheap Countries

Another way of think of this is to go where the dollar is strong. The world consists of 195 countries. That a lot of countries. However, there are some counties where the dollar can take you quite far during your travel journey. To help get your search started, below are 10 countries that are incredibly cheap to visit.

Here are 10 insanely cheap countries to visit:

  1. Columbia

  2. Cuba

  3. Ethiopia

  4. Mexico

  5. India

  6. Indonesia

  7. Philippines

  8. Thailand

  9. Turkey

  10. Vietnam

4. Travel During the "Off-Season"

Flights are cheaper, hotels are cheaper, even food is cheaper during the off-season. But what does off-season even mean? Off-season travel refers to those less-desirable months. Summer would be the peak-season, and winter, well that's the off-season. This can also include late fall and very early spring like March. Off-season travel has tons of advantages though, including way less tourists and crowds, shorter lines, and a cheaper all-around experience.

Some great places to travel off-season are Europe, Africa and Southeast Asia.

5. Try Staying at a Hostel.

Hostels have such a bad rap. It's sad really, because they really are hidden gems. Not only are they cost effective, they are typically located in great areas of main cities and many have kitchens and lounges to make it easy to work and cook while you travel.

Here are four sites where you can search for a book your hostel stays in advance:

6. Look Beyond Your Nearest Airport

Most people never think to look outside of the airports in their backyard, but sometimes you can save hundreds of dollars by leaving from a different airport.

7. Don't eat out often, take your own food, or plan to cook.

You can spend a ton of money eating out when traveling. But to save money, you're going to have to a lot less of that, and factor in time to cook when you're traveling as it can save you hundreds of dollars. It's important to remember that the most important part of traveling is the experience and to soak in the culture; food is secondary. Stop at a local grocery store shortly after you arrive and pick up some food and beverage essentials to help keep your costs down.

All it really takes to plan a trip when you're broke is a little planning. Cheap travel is a thing; a very real thing and doable thing. Being flexible with the right-attitude can get you on your next trip for less than spending a week a hotel in the city you live in.

*With the pandemic, international flight prices have dropped drastically. It may not be necessary to book so far in advance at this time.