How to Travel the World When You Have No Money

  | 5 min read

Unfortunately, many of us consider traveling a luxury that only a few can afford.

Indeed, while there are things like rent, tuition fees and medical bills that are more important to spend money on, the experience of visiting a new place can have incredible benefits. For instance,

  • Travel broadens our perspective, and helps us identify shortcomings in our lives and possible solutions
  • Travel relaxes our minds, reducing stress and enhancing productivity when we return
  • Travel expands the network of people we are connected to
  • Travel encourages creativity

So, maybe it’s time we start thinking of travel as an essential part of our continued growth and education as people. And instead of focusing on luxury, we should concentrate on the experience. If you have this perspective, then you don’t have to have a lot of money to travel.

And we’ve got the tips to prove it.

1. Make it a priority:

Simply put, if it isn’t a priority, you will never have enough money to travel.

Ok. Now comes the difficult part, saving.

2. Make a list of all expenses and cut unnecessary ones

There are many things in our lives that we consider necessities but are actually luxuries. When we change our lifestyles we can save a lot of money, for instance:

  • Stop buying lunch. Start cooking at home and packing lunch.
  • Instead of drinking at the bar, buy drinks at cheaper rates from stores and drink at home.
  • Practice efficient methods of driving.
  • If you spend money going to the hair saloon, start doing your own hair.
  • Take note of all the little miscellaneous things you waste money on: snacks, soda, coffee etc.

3. Go somewhere cheap.

There are some countries like, Ireland, France and Belgium that are very expensive to visit. However, there are other countries like India, Malaysia and even South Africa that are relatively affordable.

Even within one country there are some cities that are cheap and others that are more expensive, so do your research to figure out which place is right for your budget.

4. Learn how to book cheap flights

Read more about this here.

5. Use AirBnb or cheap accommodation for housing

If your budget doesn’t allow it, don’t stay at a 5-star hotel. In fact, finding a local place to stay such as a hostel or homestay will help you learn more about the people and culture.

6. Use local transport

Unless taxis are the most popular way to get around – avoid them. Instead, use the local transport (provided its safe), or other cheaper alternatives like Uber and CarPool if they are available and effective in those markets.

For instance, many tourists and locals in Dar es Salaam will use bajajis (three wheel motorbikes) to get around, as they are relatively affordable and reliable. (However, always tell the driver to go slowly and watch the road).

7. Eat local street food

Food is one of the things that distinguishes cultures. And there isn’t a more authentic version of local food than street food or a home cooked meal by a native’s grandmother. Since the later may be challenging, try and eat as much street food as possible. In addition to being absolutely delicious, it’s also incredibly cheap.

In fact, if you come to Tanzania and never eat chipsi mayai and these other local delicacies, then you did it all wrong.

8. Avoid touristy places, go where the locals go

This is pretty straight forward – places that target tourists tend to be more expensive than places that target locals.

Furthermore, the worst thing a tourist can do is travel all the way across the world, just to go hang out with other people from their home country – in places filled with other tourists. Instead of sticking to what makes you comfortable, ask the Tanzanians you meet for advice on where to go.

Note: If you say, where should I go? They’ll promptly direct you to the touristy bars, restaurants and nightlife. But if you ask them, ‘where do you go?” They’ll probably direct you to a local place with great food, local beer and music.

9. Work and travel: Teach abroad or work remotely

Travel doesn’t have to be a unique thing you do once in a while, you can turn it into a lifestyle by working as you travel. Thanks to advancements in digital technology, nowadays people can work from anywhere in the world as long as they have a laptop and internet connection. So if you are serious about traveling, look into how you can make money while traveling .

Another popular way to travel and earn a living is to teach in a foreign country or particpate in a study aborad program.

10. Learn the local language

Knowing important phrases in the local language will make it easier to connect with locals and negotiate prices, move around and get recommendations for affordable places to visit.

For instance, in Tanzania, if you speak English that signals to locals that you are a foreigner with some dispensable income. So, knowing some Swahili can save you a lot of money.

The good life is the simple life

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” – Gustave Flaubert

There are many benefits to traveling, so don’t give it up because you think you can’t afford it.

In fact, you may find yourself having a more rewarding experience when you travel on a budget, as it forces you to be more immersed in local life, rather than touristy activities that may disconnect you from the reality of the place you are visiting.

Iman Lipumba
A digital storyteller, experienced in creating content that improves website visibility on search engines, enhances the user experience, and nurtures brand loyalty. With a background in the social sciences, an expert in researching complex ideas, and communicating them in engaging language to multiple audiences.