• Meghan Bartok

Travelling Affordably: Travel more, spend less

Updated: May 24, 2021

A while back, I wrote a post on traveling affordably – Travelling Affordably (Part One): How I find great flight deals, with all intent on expanding upon it. While here we are, eighteen months later and I still frequently get asked how I afford to travel. Many people seem to be under the impression that travel is expensive. While it certainly can be if you’re staying in nice hotels and eating out for every meal, it doesn’t have to be. I’ve had trips that were fantastic but didn’t cost me much money. It certainly is possible to have a great time on a budget, which is absolutely essential for me at the moment as I’m trying to balance my love of travel with my rent and student loan payments.

First and foremost, I make travel a priority. I don’t shop, drink, or eat out much because I choose to use that money to travel. But putting that fact aside, there are still many things you can do to cut back on the cost of travel. Additionally, budget airlines mean that it’s possible to get to Europe as little as $200 round trip. Icelandair also has consistently good deals of around $350 to different cities in Europe from the east coast of the US and Canada.


Consider a Workaway or volunteer program

This is a great way to really cut down on your costs. Workaways aren’t usually feasible for shorter trips, but this is a great way to have an awesome winter break from college without spending much money. These programs generally cover your food for at least one meal a day, as well as your accommodation. They are also great for getting to know the less touristy areas of a country, as well as making friends and getting to know locals. The work can be anything from farm work to teaching English, so there is something for everyone! I personally did this for five weeks in Australia, at a resort in the Whitsundays. It definitely was an experience I’ll remember forever, and furthermore, I only spend $11 in the time I was there! You can read a little about that here and here!

Stay somewhere with a kitchen

Eating out gets expensive, we all know this, even from just our daily lives at home. And that’s just it. You don’t eat out every day at home, so why do you need to eat out every night while you’re traveling? If you’re on a short trip, it’s totally understandable to eat out every night, but if you’re on a longer trip, consider buying some food at a grocery store and cooking in the kitchen of your hostel or Airbnb. I’ve done this on several of my longer trips, and it’s amazing how much money you save! It’s even cheaper if you’re traveling with friends, or have made friends in your hostel. What sounds better – €30 for one meal out, or €30 for five dinners at the hostel?

Eat street food

If you’re not staying somewhere with a kitchen or don’t want to cook on your vacation, but still want to save some money, try some street food! I’ve had great experiences with street food in Europe, and it often doesn’t cost much at all – it’s quite easy to find a filling meal for the equivalent of $5. If you’re lucky enough to be traveling in Asia, the cost can be as low as $1. A great place to find trustworthy street food is a market, whether that is a temporary holiday market or a more permanent indoor one. This also means you can try a variety of food in one place!

Travel with friends

Traveling with friends is not only a great time but also a great way to save money! As I said before, having travel companions can help lower your food cost while traveling, but it helps in other areas too. Grab a couple of your best friends and split an Airbnb, and your nightly cost can be as low as $10 each depending on where you go. That’s cheaper than a meal out anywhere in the US! Traveling with several other people can also help to lower costs if you want to rent a car or RV. Plus you’re going to make some great memories to share forever!

Carry-on bags only!

As I mentioned previously, flight costs are dropping, which means now is a great time to travel abroad. The downside to this is that many of these budget airlines charge extra for checked bags. This can easily add $75 or more to your bargain flight find. I’ve found that it’s actually quite easy to travel carry-on only for trips of three weeks or less, it just might mean that you have to do laundry once or twice. Besides saving you money not only on longer flights, but it will also help you save on any shorter flights you might be taking. Additionally, this eliminates the risk that your bag might be lost, and makes it much easier for you to navigate uneven streets and take public transport.


These are five of my key tips to saving on international travel, which has helped make travel more accessible to me, and will hopefully help you too! Let me know in the comments what your favorite way to save money while traveling is!