6 Top Tips for Traveling Internationally on a Budget

Seeing the world shouldn't leave you penniless.

Got a serious case of wanderlust but a shortage of travel-funds? A lack of having a ton of extra money shouldn’t keep you from pursuing your dreams of seeing the world. Through careful planning and a little research, you can travel like a prince on a pauper’s budget. Read our tips below to learn how. 

Place Dauphine, a square on the Ile de la Cite island - Paris, France.


Place Dauphine, a square on the Ile de la Cite island - Paris, France.

Photo by: Jorg Greuel

Jorg Greuel

1. Use your phone to your advantage.

Use your phone to help you purchase affordable flights using apps like Airfarewatchdog and Skyscanner. You can even bookmark flight routes and be alerted when the ticket price changes. Wait until the last-minute to book your hotel rooms using an app like HotelTonight. Hotels lower rates at the last minute to keep the hotel at capacity, ensuring you get the best deal possible. Instead of paying roaming fees and charges to keep in touch with friends back home, use apps like WhatsApp and Line when connected to Wi-Fi to call or text.  

2. Don’t eat out for every meal.

It’s often tempting to eat every meal out while abroad, but it’s a quick way to blow through your money. Instead of eating out for all three meals, opt for cooking at least one meal in the kitchen at your hostel or Airbnb. Staying in a hotel? Pack a box of your favorite breakfast bars in your luggage and opt for fresh fruit like apples and bananas from a local market by your hotel room. Choosing to eat at least one meal in will save you a nice amount of money, especially on longer trips. When you do choose to eat out…

3. Eat and drink like a local.

When traveling abroad, drink like the locals. In Argentina have a glass of Malbec and in Germany have a pint of beer. More often then not, drinking what is in abundance in a city is significantly cheaper than having a cocktail. When it comes to eating while traveling, steer clear of touristy restaurants and bars. Download Localeur, an app that shares local’s recommendations on where to eat and drink in various cities around the world. 

4. Have fun for free.

Search Google for free things to do in the city you're visiting. Also, be sure to visit the city’s tourism website for a calendar of upcoming free events. Typically they list events that offer something for everyone, whether it’s a free day at a museum or a children’s play in the park. Most cities offer free walking tours - just remember to tip your tour guide! 

5. Say goodbye to Uber.

Using Uber or taxis can get quite expensive when traveling abroad. Instead use the subway system as a more affordable option. If you’re not in a hurry, try taking a bus. If it’s not a very long distance, consider leaving early and walking. Remember, the best sightseeing is done on foot. 

6. Offer your services in exchange for a free stay.

Are you a great photographer? Do you blog consistently and have a loyal following? Put your skills and influence to good use. Travel blogging and travel photography, are both great ways to see the world affordably. Contact hotels and ask for a free stay in exchange for providing them with high-quality images of the hotel or a feature and review of your room and its amenities on your blog. 

Next Up

8 Great Tips for Booking Cheap Flights

 Don't let a lack of funds keep you from traveling. 

Fellow Traveler: Army Veteran Ray Travis

Our photographer's dad packs for California.

10 Ways to Protect Your Info When You Just Can't Unplug

 Staying connected can be risky business.

12 Breathtaking Landscapes in Honor of Earth Day

Revel in the beauty of planet Earth with images from our globe-trotting Travel Channel fans.

What to Stop Spending Money on so You Can Travel More

Small change adds up to big travel experiences.

8 Great Fly Fishing Destinations

Hook a brownie, brookie or rainbow in one of the world's best fishing spots.

How to Start (and Keep) a Travel Art Journal

Brush up with advice from artist adventurers.

Roam 2016 Travel Gift Guide

Peruse our travel-centric gifts.

Fellow Traveler: Brooklyn Photographer Erik Tanner

See what this shutterbug keeps in his bag.