How to Travel When You Are Broke

El Capitan Yosemite


Whenever I hear people talking to me about their dreams and travel plans I ask them what is holding them back from making these dreams the reality. Almost every time to answer to this question is the same. Money. But you don’t need to be rich to travel.

In 2015 I visited 4 new countries on 2 new continents while still doing my apprenticeship to become an automation engineer. How? I made travel a priority.

Make Travel a Priority

It’s very easy to spend money on other things than saving it for your epic trip around the world. But if you do that, your trip might never happen or it will take you forever to save up enough money. Instead, spend as little money as you can. That is what I did. I didn’t go out. I didn’t eat at restaurants. While a lot of my friends spent their money on booze I saved it for traveling. In my post about money saving tips I mentioned that you should make a budget to see where your money is going.

You Don’t Need to Save That Much

You made travel your priority and save everything you earn for your next trip? Good. But you don’t even need a lot of money to begin with. Why not work during your trip? You are not trying to start a career here but there are plenty of options to fund your travels. Here’s a few examples:

  • Bartender
  • Waitress/Waiter
  • Seasonal work (Ski instructor or hotel animator)
  • Tour guide

Most of these jobs don’t require a higher degree or a lot of experience in the field. Will you get rich this way? Definitely not. But you can fund your travels while traveling. How awesome is that?!

Teach a Language

teacher teaching

When I was in Thailand I met a girl in Bangkok who was from the United Kingdom and she was traveling for 3 months already without any intention of stopping. She funded her travels my helping out in a school in Bangkok with teaching English. What better way to learn a language than from a native speaker? And teaching can pay very well!

Couchsurfing and AirBnB Are Your Friends

People in a hostel

Even though you are earning money while traveling, you don’t want to blow through it all in a week by staying in a 5-star hotel, do you? Accommodation is one of the most expensive things while traveling. But it doesn’t have to be.

AirBnB has become one of my favorite travel services. Not only is it (almost always) cheaper than a hotel but you also get to meet a local who can give you tips about the place you are visiting.

While I have never tried Couchsurfing myself, I have heard some great stories. Couchsurfing is a site that connects travellers with locals. You can search for people who are willing to let you stay in their home for FREE! Yes, you read that right. Sometimes you can stay on a couch, sometimes you get an entire room. This way you can stay for free and meet local people who know the area. Win-win!

Another option are hostels. If you sleep in a dorm you can save some serious cash.

Don’t Eat Out

Bacon cooking in pan

Not eating at restaurants is a good way to save money for your travel plans but it’s also a great way to save money while you are traveling. Why not cook your own meals on the road? A lot of hostels, guest houses and AirBnBs have kitchens that you can use. If you don’t have access to a kitchen you can still live off sandwiches and salads. This makes even the most expensive European cities affordable.

Don’t let money hold you back. What is your excuse now to not take that trip?

photo credit: saigneurdeguerre Hyasnaa & Lydia von Sturmpanzer V2 via photopin (license)

photo credit: coreeducation Reading via photopin (license)




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