How to Save and Earn Money while travelling? Whether we like it or not, travel requires money. I’ve been to ‘’I can’t travel because I don’t have enough money. ‘ And I realise this is what’s holding us back to travel. ‘Paul, how do you travel? You must have lots of money.’
Growing up I did think travel was something I could never afford to do. But when I do, it’s travel with family with hotels and resorts. As I became a strong independent man, and had a corporate job, I worked my ass off and made TRAVEL my number 1 priority. I’m sure my family won’t allow me to travel the world without me sponsoring my own. I wish they would but reality isn’t.
If your intention is really travel, then nothing can stop you, not even the money. It is a big factor but there are ways to overcome the financial dilemma. You can do anything you put your mind to.
You don’t need to be super rich to travel. There’s no need breaking your bank account. I can travel but on a budget. And everyone I believe can do the same.
So in this post on my 120th day on the road (17/04/20), I’m going to share my tips and tricks as to how you can overcome it and be able to travel the world cheap or even for FREE!
There are three basic things that you’re going to need to spend on but can be avoided. We can call this F-A-T. Let’s cut some of this FAT!
- F- ood
- A- ccomodation
- Of course we all need to eat. How you can lessen your costs depends on how you eat.
A. Have 2 meals a day instead of 3. I usually eat brunch and dinner because I wake up normally around 9:00-11:00. You can do a 15-16 hour intermittent fasting too!
B. Buy your groceries and cook your own food. If you’re travelling long term or even for 5 days, then of course this saves you a ton. I recently bought $30 worth of groceries in Morocco good for one month! Some hostels these days lets you cook at their kitchen. If stove is not available, then make sandwiches and put it in a storage container.
My BASIC TO GRAB
- Tomato sauce
- Oats or Corn flakes
- Wheat bread
- Peanut butter
- Apple or Banana
C. Book your hostel with free breakfast. In case you still want to eat your breakfast, then make sure you weigh in which is more expensive— grabbing breakfast outside or having a hostel with free breakfast included in the price.
D. Go Volunteer!
I once volunteered in a hostel in Tel Aviv and they offer volunteers free breakfast and dinner in exchange for working as a cleaner. I literally was asking hostels at the reception and also with some help from the residents.
It’s a wonderful experience because I got to meet other volunteers from 6 continents. I got to know the world around me as a volunteer. Truly it’s only by immersing yourself in these communities that you can achieve an a positive impact.
If you’re travelling for food culture, then I guess these hacks above won’t matter much.
We all need a roof for us to rest. There’s many ways to cut this part of the F.A.T.
A. Stay for FREE with Couchsurfing! This platform helps you connects to the locals and kindly let you stay for free! It doesn’t only save you a lot of money but you get to experience being with a local. You can read my worst experience here.
B. Use your social networks! If you have family or friends across the globe who maybe living in the city where you wanted to go, don’t hesitate to ask! I’m sure they would love to host you if they’re free. Connect with your Instagram friends or people you met on the road. Way before I started my gap year, I’ve already connected to some travellers on Instagram that I’m going to meet them in case I visit their country. I did it multiple times already and so far they’re the kindest people I’ve met so far. I’m just grateful that these people trust me enough to let me in their homes. Not only did I get the most hospitality but they also showed me around their city! Of course in return, I would love to host them back to build closer relationships with them.
Tinder or any dating apps also helps! You get one night FREE accommodation in case you get laid!
C. Go Volunteering!
The act of giving back isn’t just restricted to your community at home. Take your passion for a cause and help people. In addition to traveling, you get to be a part of something important and meaningful. As a volunteer, these working experiences won’t be paid, but the work you put into aiding practicing cross-cultural communication is an experience that has more value than any paycheck you’ll receive.
Find a volunteering job in a hostel in exchange for staying with them for free. As of writing, this is now my second time doing volunteering. My first was in Israel where I physically looked for a job with the help of my friends from the hostel I stayed in. Israel is expensive to visit and the only way to save money if I wanted to stay longer was to volunteer. A lot of backpackers do this. So don’t be shy when you ask the reception because they normally get these type of questions like “Hi. I’m Paul and I was wondering if you guys are looking for volunteers?”
I signed up with Workaway to find a volunteering job in Morocco. I paid $48 for a year of membership. I’m so glad that I did or else I would have been paying my monthly rent in Morocco which is where I’m currently stuck!
D. Go Camping
I have not tried this one but the Spanish guy I met has a camping gear while travelling the world with his bike! If I knew this was possible I would have camped in a city’s public park!
E. Sleep at the airport!
I have slept in the airport many times just to save a night of accommodation. On the day of your last day or last night, choose to sleep at the airport! International airports are open 24/7. Take this advantage! Don’t forget to make sandwiches to avoid buying at the airport.
D. Sleep in bigger dorms
If CouchSurfing is not your thing, then sleeping in a hostel is your best choice. The bigger the room, the cheaper it will be. 10-14 bedroom is going to be a bit cheaper in the long run if you add all the savings.
E. Sell your Photography skills
If you have a huge following on your social media accounts, and you take good photos, you might be in for a luck! You may ask hotels either by email or directly asking them if you can stay with them in exchange for promoting their hotel on your social media accounts.
We all need to be somewhere from point A to Point B. This last part of F.A.T. is important to be cut. So let’s break it down.
A. Use the cheapest Public Transportation as much as possible. It can either be a bus or the metro. Bus is usually the cheaper option but requires more time. Metro is slightly pricey but requires less time. You can mix both if you want. Like if you’re coming from an airport, you can ride the metro going to the city centre and from there you can take a bus or vice versa.
With regards with inter-city travel, I basically have travelled around Europe with Flixbus because it’s more convenient for me. You can just show your e-ticket to them and they have an app too! If you have many cities to visit in short period of time, you might want to consider having Eurail (for non Eu citizens) or InterRail for Eu citizens. It’s faster and it might save you a few dollars. But taking the bus is just a lot wiser. Taking a night bus is also cheaper because you also save a night of accommodation!
How to SAVE MONEY on your flights
As for the flights, I’m a big fan of Skyscanner! There are tips and tricks as to when is the best time to book. Here are some things you need to know before booking:
- USE YOUR PRIVATE BROWSER because the website tracks how many times you’ve visited their site already. If you’re using a regular browser and you didn’t buy your flight yet, it would seem to them you’re holding up and waiting for the price to go down. So when you check it again, the price goes up. So use your private browser to get the best prices.
- YOU HAVE TO BE FLEXIBLE with your dates and destinations because they’re a big factor on the prices.
- Dates- Click the calendar on skyscanner and you will see the prices on each day. It shows the cheapest and expensive ones. Booking on a weekday is cheaper than on weekend and choosing to travel from Friday to Sunday are expensive.
- Destinations- Big airports are usually cheaper to fly in. So let’s say your final destination is Montpellier. Flying directly there would be more expensive than flying to Paris Airport. What you can do is take the bus from Paris then go to Lyon. Or better hitchhike or ask your friends if they’re going near your destination. Spend a few nights there. And proceed going to Montpellier. On the other hand, long stopovers are great! You get to visit the city and much cheaper! I once had a 24 hour layover in Moscow and it was a pleasure to see finally the Red Square!
It really takes time to calculate your costs and weigh in which option is better but it’s so fun! I like to think of traveling as a problem solving.
- Book your flights a month ahead and two weeks ahead for domestic.
- If you want to know the cheapest flight where you are currently at, then, then you can put “Everywhere” in your destination. You will see your options from where you are and how much it is. Normally it goes from cheapest to most expensive ones.
B. Use your legs. I’ve walked probably more than 25KM a day in Paris to save money. From the moment I arrive at the bus station to my hostel which was 6KM with my 23KG backpack, I dared to walk the City. Not going to lie but I got strange looks from people who passed me by. But who cares? It’s a great exercise too!
C. Hitchhiking. I’ve only tried this when I was in Georgia. I was lost that time and it seemed like no one was going to save me. But I kept on foot with my thumbs up waiting for someone to pick me up. It worked! Just be patient though because it takes longer than you think.
D. Cycling or Skate boarding or even use Roller Blades and a Manual Scooter! I know a few people who travels the world on each of this equipment. One Spanish guy I met in Dubrovnik is going East with his bike. I have a friend who uses his skate board travelling around his city. Who would have thought crossing boarders in Europe with just roller blades is possible? Yep, you heard it right! And a French guy just travelled Australia with his manual scooter! ALL FOR THE SAKE OF ADVENTURE TRAVEL!
How To Make Money While Travelling
I never thought I could earn money online while doing what I love. Before I started my journey, I made sure I have a work online just to ease my expenses. I needed special skills to able to work online. So what I did was buy an online course from Udemy to earn my certification as Digital Marketer and User Interface (UI) Designer.
After that, I put myself in the marketplace like Upwork and Fiverr. Just sign up and make your profile and portfolio as good as possible. I personally recommend you follow my Russian friend Vasily Kichigin if you’re keen on learning the industry because he’s one of the biggest sellers on Fiverr. I met him back in the Philippines, had coffee and talked about his journey on top. He’s such a a kind and humble guy. I was inspired.
I did work with Vasily after sometime because I wanted to learn about his Instagram Marketing. This is not just about earning money for me but more so on building good relationships across the globe.
First Anniversary working online…
Unfortunately, I did not make any sale on both platforms up until now. Gladly, I have contacts and been following this French guy on Instagram. Once upon a time, he posted on his stories he needed assistance online on his company in Bali. What do I have to lose for? So I applied.
It was March 2019 when I started working with him. We agreed on our first monthly trial. I posted content on his co working villa in Bali and now for Togean Islands where he’s currently building an eco resort. I’m really happy Glad, I’m still working with him despite Covid-19.
I also did work with a British client whom I helped with Facebooks ads.
You see, I’m already travelling the world by simply working with different nationalities. I get to experience their work culture on how they do things for that, I’m forever grateful.
Teach English Abroad
If working online doesn’t work for you, then Teach English abroad. I haven’t done this because I don’t have my certification yet which I will get from Udemy.
Get Your Working Holiday Visa
Some countries have existing agreements where travellers who will become a resident and would be allowed to work for one year maximum. This enables travellers to arrive at the issuing visa country without prior employer in advance. Most working holiday visas are offered under reciprocal agreements between certain countries to encourage travel and cultural exchange between their citizens. This is definitely how to save and earn money while travelling!
BONUS TRAVEL HACKS:
- Want to learn about the city, and see the major sights? Take a free walking tour. You can find them mostly in major cities in Europe. You may ask your hostel, or Google “free walking tour (city name).” There was a free walking tour I did in Barcelona held by the hostel staff. We all met up at the meeting place together with other travellers from other hostels. We didn’t pay anything at all!
- Use Couchsurfing to explore the city! Locals would be more than willing to help you to go around for free. I once met a Greek guy who showed me things to do in Athens and told me some interesting history too!
- Use student discounts! Are you under 26 and a student? Well you’re in for a treat! Save your student IDs now! Always ask if there are discounts available for students like you. Another trick is if your host from Couchsurfing is a student, chances are he has a student card for the metro. You can kindly borrow it if’s he’s not going to use it.
How to Save and Earn Money while travelling: Final thoughts.
Wishing is no good when it comes to travel. If you want something to happen – you have to make it happen. Because with this modern day, it’s more than possible to make a wish a reality! There are some people who wish to travel have also other priorities, but if travel is your number 1 priority and you’re single and not settling yet for family, then this is your best time.
I am living proof that you can travel with little money.
I hope this was helpful for anyone that wants to start their backpacking adventure! Hopefully, I was able to answer: “How to Save and Earn Money while travelling” I’m sure you’ll be able to travel more for less as I did. If I can, of course you can too! Using these tips and tricks, non traditional ways to travel and you can definitely travel the world!