How to Travel with a Low Budget: Tips and Where to Go

Discover the best budget travel tips and the best countries to visit on a budget. Learn more about how eating locally can help save money on your trip. Read more.
Amabel Polglase
April 19, 2023
min read

Most of us want to travel more but think we can’t afford it. While travelling can cost a lot, you can learn how to travel on a budget to travel more, spend less, and find adventures in less explored places.

By using the best budget travel tips and thinking frugally about your destination, you can turn a budget for a one-week holiday into a month-long backpacking excursion. You’ll have just as incredible experiences, if not better, even though you’re travelling on a budget.

After all, travelling on a budget forces you to get creative with your spending. You’re sure to have unique experiences while figuring out how to travel for cheap.

At HyperJar, we want to help you travel affordably. So, we thought we should share the best budget travel tips and countries to visit to lower the cost of your trip.

Below, we’ve gathered a list of the best cheap travel tips and the most budget-friendly countries to help you navigate how to travel on a budget.

The Best 6 Budget Travel Tips

Travelling can be seriously expensive – but it doesn’t have to be. Planning and travelling smart lets you learn how to travel on a budget. If you use our cheap travel tips to guide your travel plans, you can save hundreds and even thousands on your adventure.

We’ve compiled the best budget travel tips to help you save money and travel further.

1. Travel in the off-season

You can save tons on your trip by opting to travel off-season. The 'off season' differs depending on where you go– i.e. north, south, or on the equator. This means you’ll never have to confine your travels to a particular time of year, even when travelling on a budget.

It’s a good idea to avoid the school holidays, too. Flight and accommodation prices soar around this time since it’s the only time most families can go away. For homeschoolers, you can use these cheap travel tips to maximise your savings by travelling at least a few weeks before the school holidays start.

2. Book your travel in advance

When researching how to travel cheaply, booking flights and accommodation in advance is essential. You’ll get access to the best deals before they’re snapped up by someone who got organised more quickly, and before airlines raise their prices.

When planning a trip, booking accommodation and flights at least a month before you travel (though several months earlier is even better) is best, as prices tend to increase as the departure date approaches.

3. Get creative with your accommodation

There are many creative ways to save money travelling on a budget when you choose to stay somewhere other than a hotel.

You can find super affordable accommodation on platforms like Couchsurfing and Airbnb, where people let out rooms to travellers. Staying in the spare room of your host’s house allows you to save money and meet a local.

Or you could stay in a hostel and sleep in a dorm – it’s cheaper than a hotel room and a great way to meet other like minded travellers.

4. Thoroughly pack everything you’ll need

While many of us opt for a last-minute haphazard pack the night before the flight, this can be incredibly expensive.

Most of us can report forgetting essential items – like phone/laptop chargers, charging adaptors, and underwear (yikes) – that we have no choice but to replace when travelling.

Make a packing list at least the week before you travel to avoid these unnecessary expenses. If you remember anything else the week before your flight, this gives you time to add to it.

5. Eat and shop locally

When travelling, you’ll find that the cheapest way to eat is to eat and shop at locally-owned businesses. Make use of local markets and budget-friendly cafes, and avoid tourist trap eateries.

If you want to find out how to travel cheaply and eat affordably, it’s one of the best budget travel tips to ask the locals. If anyone knows, it’s them.

On every list of top cheap travel tips, you’ll see that cooking for yourself as often as possible is high up there. If you do eat out, though, make sure you shop around and compare the prices of different restaurants first.

6. Choose to travel to cheaper destinations

Your travel destination will have a huge impact on how you spend.

Depending on where you’re travelling to – and from – flights can range from £10 to £2000+ each way. If you’re in the UK, you can often snag flights to Europe for the price of a meal at a restaurant.

The other major cost factor is the country’s cost of living. In South-East Asia, for example, you can travel, eat, and collect incredible experiences for next to nothing – and if you’re planning to travel for a while, this can make it worth the cost to get there.

With this in mind, we’ve listed the most budget-friendly travel destinations.

The 6 Best Budget Travel-Friendly Countries

When figuring out how to travel on a budget, your choice of destination is crucial.

There are loads of countries you can visit when travelling on a budget. Beyond flights – which vary depending on where you’re flying from – the best countries to visit on a budget have a low cost of living, a favourable exchange rate (so you get more bang for your buck) and affordable accommodation.

In short, budget-friendly countries offer unforgettable experiences that don’t hurt your wallet.

 Here are our six favourites.

1. Thailand

Bangkok is one of the cheapest major cities to visit – and you can't do better in terms of food, nightlife, and a fast-paced travel experience.

Thailand is cheap if you avoid touristy resorts like Koh Phi Phi. So, if you prefer the laid-back beach lifestyle, you can head to one of the lesser-known beach spots, like Krabi or Koh Lanta. You could even visit the Khao Phing Kan Island, made famous by James Bond.

2. Vietnam

From the rolling rice paddy fields to the azure waters of Ha Long Bay to the iconic ‘Train Street’ in Hanoi, Vietnam has some of the most diverse and beautiful landscapes in the world. Luckily, budget travel tips are easy to implement since Vietnam is a cheap country to travel.

Hiring a motorbike can cost less than £5, accommodation and food costs even less, and tours to see some of the most iconic Vietnamese sights – like visiting the Binh Thuan lakes or exploring the Cu Lao Cau Island – are super affordable.

3. Cuba

Travelling on a budget in Cuba is much cheaper than you think, especially regarding activities and experiences. This includes the cultural capital of Havana or the natural wonder of Valle de Vinales.

Tickets to baseball games are less than £1, and you can get dance lessons in the heart of Latin America for just £8. You won’t be out of pocket when buying street food either or when staying in a lively hostel dorm, which can cost just £5 a night.

4. Prague, Czech Republic

Compared to others on this list, Prague is a tad more expensive. But, for a Western country – and in Europe in general – it’s one of the most affordable capital cities you can visit.

Stroll through the old town, across the mediaeval Charles Bridge, and through the halls of the iconic Prague Castle for just £8 admission in a city steeped in history.

5. Laos

With accommodation from £7 a night, the low cost of travel in Laos means that you can take your time exploring the country, visiting the stunning Kuang Si Falls and The Living Land Farm in Luang Probang, and strolling through Buddha Park in Vientiane.

Cross-country buses are cheap, too, so getting from place to place won’t break the bank.

6. Cambodia

In Phnom Penh – Cambodia’s capital city – it’s easy to figure out how to travel for cheap.

You can get a bunk in a hostel dorm for as little as £2 a night and buy food at street food stalls for less than £1 per meal.

Cambodia is brimming with stunning cultural and historical monuments – Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm Temple, Bayon Temple – and you can see it all because Cambodia is so cheap to travel to.

Travelling Abroad with the HyperJar Travel Card

One of the best cheap travel tips is saving a lot. HyperJar’s prepaid travel cards allow you to travel and spend without pesky international transfer fees and get access to a ton of rewards.

You can also make your money go further, thanks to HyperJar’s collaboration with TUI. If travellers organise their holiday planning in advance, they can earn a 4.8% growth on their savings towards their next holiday.

If you want to save money for travelling before your trip, HyperJar can help with that too. The HyperJar money management app can help you figure out how to travel on a budget. You can even set up savings ‘jars’ to help you save for things like flights and accommodation.

Amabel Polglase

Chief Marketing Officer

Amabel has diverse experience in business, marketing and entrepreneurship, including founding her own successful startup. She served in several senior leadership roles prior to joining HyperJar including Zilch and Curve Card where she led brand, marketing and communications. Before joining the fintech revolution, Amabel was a managing global client partner at Facebook and prior to that at McCann-Erickson, the world’s largest ad network. She volunteers at Girls Out Loud, a charity created to empower and inspire teenage girls, and is also a mentor at The Girls’ Network. She received her MA in history and international relations from the University of St Andrews.

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