A Trip Around the World But On The Cheap: 11 Essential Tips For Budget Travel

We’ve talked about jobs that let you travel the world. But picture this scenario first: you, a backpack, a little money, and endless possibilities, with the world spread out like a sprawling map ready to be explored. No, this isn’t a fantasy—it’s the reality for many budget travelers who discussed online how to squeeze the most adventure out of every dollar. All of this means you can traverse through hidden trails, experience foreign cultures, feast on local cuisines, or gaze at spectacular city skylines—all while staying within your budget.

1. Sleep While Traveling By Land

Long freight train Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) moving along Bow river in Canadian
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Budget travel doesn’t have to mean sacrifice, especially when traveling around Europe. As one traveler pointed out, “You can explore a new city every day and sleep on the bus at night.” Buses and trains aren’t just cheaper options, they’re also a convenient way to soak up the sights and connect with new places. In between your daily adventures, consider staying at a hostel dorm every few days for a well-deserved hot shower and the comfort of a real bed.

2. Job Exchange

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A friend wanted to do some community work in Bolivia but needed more money to travel. He spent a few days researching various companies that provide lodging and food in exchange for work. Now, this friend of mine had eclectic interests and said his dream was to hunt his food and live in the middle of the forest along with spiders and other creatures, and he did!

He found a group willing to pay for his flight if he helped them raise awareness against hunting wild animals and assisting the indigenous people with daily tasks. Less extreme job exchanges allow you to work in something that caters to your interests and experiences. 

3. Housesitting 

Portrait of beautiful woman watering green plants on the balcony, small cozy garden in apartment
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Housesitting is a great way to travel for little money. Individuals pay you to watch their homes while they travel. Sometimes the house owners pay for flights and transportation, but that depends on the individual renting their home. Several job boards and internet forums post housesitting gigs; just make sure to verify the legitimacy of the gig. 

4. Pet Sitting

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Image Credit: Deposit Photos

If you love fur babies, pet sitting is the best way to travel around the globe on a budget. Similar to housesitting, pet sitting allows you to watch someone’s pets while they embark on travel. Sometimes, you can combine housesitting with petsitting for a double whammy. 

5. Work For Food

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Some restaurants let people trade shifts for free food. This saves the restaurant money on labor, and it takes the cost of food off your hands. By working in local restaurants or establishments, you learn more about the destination than by visiting for a short time. And, since you aren’t receiving a paycheck, it is much easier to leave the job when you return home. 

6. Couchsurfing

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Instead of housesitting, Couchsurfing lets people crash on unoccupied couches in locals’ homes. Internet forums and social media post couches or rooms, available for brief periods of time. Usually, these are free, yet the owners may ask you for chores in exchange. There are also websites like CouchSurfing and Couchers.

7. Bring a Water Bottle

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Lots of places have access to free, clean drinking water for free. A fantastic way to save big bucks while globe-trotting is to bring a refillable water bottle. This prevents you from overspending on overpriced bottled water, protects the environment, and keeps you hydrated.

8. Free Self-Guided Tours

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Guided tours are great for learning about your chosen vacation spot but costly. Check out the app store for free apps with self-guided tours to combat the cost. Instead of paying $100 for a rushed two-hour tour with a guide, pick an app to walk you through the city. You save money and get to explore on your own time.

9. Volunteer

Happy family enjoying together while picking apples in orchard.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / hedgehog94

Various non-profits pay for lodging and food if you agree to commit to your volunteer contract. One example of this is World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. The company arranges meals and a bed for participants who volunteer on organic farms and help out the workers.

10. Social Media

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Travel with strangers. If you’re traveling to Dublin, chances are someone else is also traveling to Ireland. A bunch of travel groups on Facebook exist for this very reason. Scroll through Facebook travel groups to meet new people and see if your itinerary lines up. This way, you split the cost and make new travel friends. 

11. Walking or Biking

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Rental cars are expensive and in most countries not necessary. You can walk from place to place in many European countries with little hassle. If you need to go a longer distance, rent or bring a bike. You’ll stay active while traveling farther than on foot.

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