Travelling Cheaply: 13 Ways to Afford Travel 2023

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Our Best 13 Top Tips for Travelling Cheaply

We’ve been on the road since 2017, and have become experts at travelling cheaply. When we set off on our adventures we thought we’d last for a year. But, by using our travel budgeting skills and learning to travel the world cheaply, we are still on that travel adventure.

In this article, we’ll highlight all the things you can do to save yourself money and make your travels cheaper.

What we won’t tell you. Some blogs tell you that you can travel for FREE. This isn’t true.

You are always going to need some money, but we can help you with ideas and tips on budget travel —how to travel cheaply and how to save money while travelling.

JUMP AHEAD HERE: Never mind the chit-chat — take me straight to the tips on travelling cheaply

Isn’t Travel for the rich?

When I was young, my family took the same holiday, every year, to a caravan park that was about a 40-minute drive away.

As a child, it was a great adventure, but going to the same place year after year wasn’t particularly inspiring.

Old caravans Travelling cheaply
My annual holiday as a kid was a week in a caravan at a beach 40 mins away

I grew up thinking that the world of real travel wasn’t accessible to someone like me. It was something only the wealthy could afford to do.

To be fair, that was some years ago and travel was not as accessible as it is today. In the modern age of the internet, we are bombarded with special travel deals and last-minute offers in the hope of attracting our attention.

You only have to look up one flight or visit an accommodation website and suddenly you find ads popping up everywhere online trying to persuade you to take a look at all the offers.

Travel, however, can still work out expensive. Therefore, knowing the tips and tricks to make sure you travel cheaply goes a long way in saving you a stack of money.

Use these money-saving travel tips and learn how to travel on a budget here.

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1. Housesit — FREE Accommodation

We’ll start off with the one thing that has saved us thousands of dollars while travelling — housesitting. There are people all over the world offering you free accommodation.

All you have to do is to look after their homes and pets while they are away.


Get $10 off TrustedHousesitters Membership with code THS10

We are flabbergasted that, one, more people haven’t heard of this, and two, more people aren’t doing this. Granted it is easier to house-sit if you are a couple or single. It’s not so easy if you have kids or travel with your own pets.

French chateau in background and cat in foreground - house sitting in France
House sitting in France — looking after a French chateau with cats in the Dordogne

We have been using one of the biggest and most organised house-sitting agencies, Trusted Housesitters for over five years. In that time, we have saved over $50,000 in accommodation fees.

🐾 Sign up today for Vacation Pet Sitting, With Love and you will make the minimal annual signup fee back on your first house sit.

2. How to Find the Cheapest Flights

Finding the best flight deals can save a considerable amount of money, so it pays to do your research carefully.

In fact, if you are flexible, rather than choosing your destination first and then looking for flights, if you want to travel on a budget, research cheap flights to various locations and THEN choose your destination.

These are the top things to consider when looking at booking a flight.

  • Check the fare difference for various days of the week. Prices are often cheaper midweek and increase come Friday and weekends.
    Many airlines and flight search engines such as Skyscanner, now show the prices for a whole calendar month.
    This makes finding cheaper flights much easier.

  • Booking a flight many months in advance can save you money. Flight fares tend to increase the nearer the booking time, so planning ahead can save money.

  • If possible, choose an airline that offers travellers fee-free flight changes or cancellations.

  • Take a look at travelling to your destination in an indirect way. Sometimes, a flight to a lesser-known airport and then hiring a car or taking a bus may work out cheaper than choosing a direct flight.

  • If you have time before you need to book, set up a price alert on flights you are interested in. You then receive a notification of any flight fare changes.

  • Late-night and red-eye flights are often cheaper.

✈️ Find Great Deals by comparing prices on Skyscanner here

3. Ways to Save on Flight Baggage Fees

While we are on the topic of flights, let’s not forget the bugbear of baggage fees.

Baggage fees are bad enough. Navigating various airlines’ weight allowances, dimensions and how many pieces of luggage you can have can be a minefield. Excess baggage fees, however, add a whole other dimension and possible cost blowout.

Excess fees can add a huge chunk to your flight costs. And that’s the last thing you want to happen when you’ve spent time finding that great flight deal.

Travelling cheaply four coloured suitcasesBaggage

Firstly, travelling light is the best option. With just carry-on baggage your costs are less and you also get through airport terminals much quicker.

Always check the acceptable dimensions and weight of your airline luggage. Unfortunately, some airlines are not at all flexible when it comes to this, stinging many customers with excess baggage costs at check-in. Cheaper, domestic flight operators are generally particularly strict in relation to this.

If you have any heavy items of clothing that are pushing you over the limit, wear them instead. The airlines can’t yet weigh you before you board the aircraft!

These are our top tips for ensuring flight baggage costs don’t stop you from travelling cheaply:

  • Choose lightweight luggage.
  • Weigh your bags with a portable luggage scale before heading to the airport.
  • If you know you will have excess baggage pay for it online before arriving at the airport because you can often save up to about 50% by paying beforehand.
  • Depending on where you are travelling and for how long, consider buying shampoo etc. at your destination, it may be cheaper than paying for extra weight.

4. Travel in Off Peak or Shoulder Seasons

When you travel in the peak season airfares and accommodation prices are much higher due to plenty of demand. Not only will the costs be higher but there will also be more crowds, so bear this in mind. Taking a trip in the off-season and even shoulder season is just one of the best ways to travel cheaply.

These are popular travel times that affect prices:

  • School Holidays
  • Summer Holidays
  • Christmas
  • Ski seasons in areas that have snow

5. Buy Travel Insurance (This can you save you heaps in the long run)

Travel Insurance is one thing that we never travel without.

Yes, it’s an expense that you might think you can do without. But trust me, in the long run, having travel insurance can save you thousands of dollars. It also takes a huge stressor out of situations where your travels don’t go exactly to plan.

We detail all the reasons why we have travel insurance and the travel insurance we recommend for those on a travel budget like us, in this article: Why we Never Leave Home Without Travel Insurance.

⭐️ Get an instant quote below and see how much you can save by using SafetyWings Travel Insurance.

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6. Limit Expenses by Avoiding Popular Destinations

While travelling on a budget you don’t want to pick those places that are really well-known tourist hot spots because prices are going to be higher.

If you do want to visit these places, look at the accommodation and travel costs at nearby destinations that aren’t as well-known and consider staying there. If you are hiring a car it might be worth staying out of town where accommodation is cheaper and doing day trips to those more expensive locations.

You can nearly always find other options to the more popular and expensive destinations. For example, we went skiing in Bettmeralp, in the Swiss Alps which was a fraction of the cost of the popular slopes of Verbier or Saint Moritz.

Consider others that are just as good but without all the hype. Instead of a beach holiday on a Greek Island or in Italy, try their neighbour Albania which has stunning beaches on the Albanian Riviera.

Most of the time, off-the-beaten-track destinations, are not only cheaper but more exciting. This is because they are less commercialised, they’re not too busy and locals are often friendlier because they aren’t touristed out.

Skiing in Bettmeralp
Skiing in Bettmeralp, Switzerland

7. Opt for out-of-Town Accommodation to Save Money

Inner city accommodation is almost always more expensive. Often this is because you are within walking distance of many of the city’s sights and therefore it is more convenient.

If you want to travel cheaply though, it will be more cost-effective to stay out of town and use public transport, walk or cycle into the city centre.

On Booking.com you can use the map option which brings all the available accommodation options up around your destination. This makes it easier to find great bargains in those hotels or B&Bs in the outer suburbs.

🛏 We love using Booking. com because many options include free cancellation, saving you money if your plans change. ⭐️ Search for your accommodation deals here ⭐️

It is in these outer suburbs that you are also likely to find cheaper restaurants and cafes. Most locals are more than happy to point you in the direction of their favourite local bar or restaurant.

8. How to Save Money on Food When Travelling

This section gives you ideas on how to save money on food when travelling.

1. Prepare Your Own Food

Preparing your own food is a huge money saver.

Even if you don’t have access to cooking facilities, you can still make sandwiches, salads and buy fresh fruit. Many supermarkets, especially throughout Europe, even have cheap hot options for sale in their Deli sections.

2. Shop at Cheaper Supermarkets or Local Markets

Research the cheaper supermarkets to use in the country you are going to. Also, find out if there are any local markets you could visit to stock up on fruit and veg and any local specialities.

3. Book Accommodation with Breakfast

Another way to ensure you travel cheaply is to book accommodation that includes breakfast. That way you can fill up in the morning and can eat less at lunch. You may even be able to take some fresh fruit or make up a sandwich for later.

This is what we did when we road-tripped around Iceland because eating out and the price of food there was really expensive. In fact, we pretty much lived on bread and cheese for the whole two weeks! We didn’t say travelling cheaply was always fun;)

4. Try Local Street Food

Trying local street food not only gives you a taste of local cuisine but is usually a fraction of the cost you’ll pay in cafes and restaurants.

A word of warning though, if you are in a country where you can’t drink the water, avoid anything that may not be cooked thoroughly or that may have been washed in the water, like salads and raw foods.

5. Filter Water

If you are travelling to a country where you can’t drink the local water, take a water bottle with a filter. Not only will you be helping the world’s reduction of plastic by not buying bottled water, but you’ll save money too.

We use our Water-To-Go drink bottles with filters that can be used to drink water from lakes, waterfalls and tap water.

🛒 GET 15% OFF TODAY with our special code: LJFT15 (all Water-to-Go products)

Water-to-Go

9. Choose Your Mode of Transport Carefully

Our normal mode of travel is by road trip, and we’ve done that in many different ways depending on the circumstances.

They include:

travelling cheaply in a 4x4 bush camper with tent popped up and sides open
Our 4×4 bush camper, fondly named ‘Bucky’

The type of transport you choose will depend on the length of your travels and your travel budget.

If you are going to be travelling around a country it may work out more convenient and cheaper to hire a motorhome or camper.

Alternatively, if you are in a country where your money goes further, it may be easier to hire a car and book your accommodation.

It might also be worth searching online to Find the Best RV Rental Specials with RV Share — where you rent an RV or camper direct from locals.

If you are in a country for any length of time it might also be worth buying your vehicle and selling it again at the end of your travels. This can be tricky though in some countries as you need to be a resident, so hiring may be your only option.

Of course, the cheapest way to get from A to B is to walk. Rather than catching a taxi or public transport – why not walk the 5km to town? The experience is much more immersive, you’re keeping fit, and travelling for free.

Another option that is trending is using a company like BlaBlaCar to find a carpool option.

10. Buy a Local Sim to Limit Travel Costs

Data roaming can soon mount up and in today’s world, it’s a right pain when you haven’t got internet. Navigating your way around a new city, let alone a new country, can become very daunting when you lose connection with the internet’s universe of wisdom.

Life without Google Maps can throw me into a tailspin, let alone all the other things I use my phone for. Losing contact with our loved ones — I tend to use Whats App and Facebook messenger for almost all my communication,— is just a no-no while we’re travelling.

Therefore having an affordable internet connection is a must. Most countries allow you to buy a local sim and prepay for a data plan.

11. Find Free Things to do

When we plan our road trips, we are often looking for photographic opportunities, spectacular scenery, amazing viewpoints and of course our favourite, wildlife spotting opportunities. Most of these are free.

We occasionally need to pay entrance fees, such as some of the Scottish Castles we visited, but on the whole, most of our travels involve very little in the way of activity costs.

Medley of castles for Edinburgh Scotland Castle tours - travelling cheaply by doing free things
Most castles are free to view from the outside — and that can be the most interesting part

Local tourist information centres will be happy to help you find all the great, free things to do in their area. Also, many cities have saver cards that will enable you to get free or discounted admission to attractions. It’s worth checking these out if you plan to visit lots of paid activities.

When we travelled through Europe, we would often take a free walking tour of a city. On these walking tours, a local guide takes you around and you are free to give as much or as little as you like. We always give something, but these work out cheaper than organised city tours.

It’s also a great opportunity to find out more about the local culture first-hand and pick the guide’s brains for cheap eateries or fun things to do or see that perhaps only locals know about.

12. Get a Travel Card to Save on Transaction Fees

Some banks offer free international withdrawals from certain bank partners abroad but to make things easier, many banks and financial institutions now offer travel cards. These can be loaded with varying currencies which means you can use local currency and save on transaction fees.

Also, pay attention to the exchange rates for different countries, your dollar will go further in some countries depending on their economic state. If you have some time before you travel keep an eye on the exchange rate and buy your local currency when it is trending higher.

Be careful about using your credit card overseas as many banks charge foreign transaction fees which can soon mount up. Change to a bank that doesn’t charge them or use your travel cards instead of credit cards.

13. Work As You Travel to Make it More Affordable

When we first set out on our travel adventure we were planning on volunteering with Workaway — where you work on average 5 hours, 5 days a week and generally have free board and meals. We paid for an annual membership (about $60 USD) and were very excited about all the opportunities around the world.

However, due to finding Trusted House Sitters and Lars being able to pick up some contract work on our travels we haven’t gone down that path. It’s a great idea though, and a wonderful way to immerse yourself in local culture and receive free board and food.

Other schemes which are similar include

You might also consider taking a


To help in your travel planning – download our FREE TRAVEL PLANNER HERE.

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Travelling Cheaply … That’s a Wrap

There are so many ways that you can make travel affordable and ensure that you don’t break the bank when you head off on a trip. By using these low-cost travelling tips and ideas you are going to be able to plan to travel affordably.

We are now experts at managing our money and travelling cheaply, but if you were to ask us what our top tip would be for cheap travel, and what saves us the most money, it would be house-sitting every time.

We used Trusted House Sitters to find sits in a French Village, for our travels all through England and Scotland when were back in Australia, in a town on the edge of the Karoo Desert in South Africa, and that house sit led us to our amazing South African Bush Experience.

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Have we missed anything?

Let us know your best travel tips for saving money when travelling. Drop us a line here.

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PLANNING YOUR TRAVELS?

These are some of the travel resources we use when planning our trip and can recommend:

For a more thorough list visit our Travel Resources page here.

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