The Ultimate Guide on Budget Traveling When You Have No Money

When I recently shared my blog on Ten ways to cut your expenses and save money for travel with my subscribers, they asked me, “what if I don’t have money at all?” Well! That’s a relevant question, and I know that most of you must have the same concern. I have recently met so many people with their piece of budget traveling advice that it somehow motivates me to try new ways to save money while I travel. When I left my job, I had no money. For a start, I began by giving drawing and English classes to make some money for my next travel and then soon I left for Himachal Pradesh, India.

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I recently met a man on Lonely Planet Travellers group on Facebook. He is so passionate about traveling that he works as a taxi driver in Greece for ten months, save 5 euros every day and spend the rest of the two months of a year traveling. This way he has traveled to more than 100 countries now. Isn’t that great? And there are more such people like him. It’s up to us that how dedicated we are to travel. If yes, then nothing can stop us from saving; moving away from the luxury life and save money for travel. People following me since the very beginning must be tired of reading this sentence, but I again want to highlight for those of you who have just joined: You don’t have to be rich to travel, a tiny budget and a huge passion for traveling would do.

“But Erica, I am underpaid; No matter whatever I do I cannot save; I have kids; My parents are not supportive; I have so many loans; I spend a lot.” Stop here! Even I have all of that (I don’t have kids), but everything else is part of my life as well, but I have made travel my priority. When we don’t make travel a priority we find excuses to spend money on something else. And then we start assuming that the money we just spent was somehow essential and irresistible. Of course, it could have been resisted if we didn’t give it much priority. Let me explain you this: I never have money to go shopping for any occasion because that’s not my priority, but I always have money for travel because that’s above everything.

Let me share some of the best things that have worked for me and for many other passionate travelers those who are traveling for more than ten years now.

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The Ultimate Guide on Budget Traveling When You Have No Money

If you are crazy over traveling and have low paid jobs or debts, it’s still possible to travel overseas. Here is the ultra cheap guide for you never to stop traveling.

Share Your Stay with Locals for Free

Multiple services will allow you to stay with locals for free. I recently met a man who has been traveling for five years on free accommodation by just staying with locals for free. He used to attend local Couchsurfing meetups in the new city and made friends; sometimes he used to cook for people and stay with them (I will talk about cooking in my next point). Sometimes you will get an entire room, sometimes just a bed or sometimes just a mattress but all of this for free. We are lucky that now we have websites that help us to connect with locals that not only help us to get free accommodation, but also free rides, meals and much more. This saves a hell lot of money. The website I would recommend to connect to with locals is Couchsurfing and Servas. Such sites don’t limit your access to the free stay; there is a lot more. Who knows a place better than a local? They know cheap ways to travel within the country, they know which supermarket is cheap, they know which place is appropriate to have a nice and a budget-friendly meal. They will fill you with information that will help you to travel saving a lot of money. It’s always good to have some information about places near you, that won’t burn your money.

Start Cooking

I say this in almost all my blogs because this has a lot of importance while you travel. You can not always depend on eating out, that burns a lot, a lot of money. When I was in Kuala Lumpur, the average amount of my meal was MYR 50 and the total grocery stuff I bought for a week was for MYR 250. That saved MYR 450 for me in a week. The local homestays and most of the hostels and campsites have a kitchen that you can use for cooking. In case you don’t find a kitchen, go for sandwiches, not every meal requires to be cooked. But please don’t skip meals, that’s not a good option to save money. I know you might be a bit disappointed to think that, “Will I cook forever?” No, it’s not that. There are more ways to save money on food because you should never miss out on the must-have authentic dish of a country.

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Other Ways to save Money on Food

Street Food: You will find food stalls lined up on the streets of almost all the cities in the world especially in Asia. This street food gives you the taste of the authentic dishes and is light on the pocket. The Mutton Biryani that costs you Rs 500-600 in a restaurant will cost you nearly Rs 100 – 120 on the street food stalls of India. And trust me it tastes fantastic. Buffet: Buffet offers you the best way to have good food entirely. You can refill your plate multiple times and taste the different dishes of the place. It’s a complete value for money deal and works great when you are a foodie. Refill your water bottle: Please don’t go on buying water bottles every hour, you can refill your bottle from the water coolers placed in the city.


House sitting is the best way to stay for free especially if you are a pet lover. It’s a great choice if you are traveling for a more extended period. So, while house owners go on their vacation, you can stay in their house and take care of their property and pets. Various websites will help you to find your temporary home while you travel, some of the best sites are: Trusted housesittersHouse Carers.

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Since I am a huge sustainable tourism supporter, this is my favorite method of traveling longer and happier. WWOOF means Worldwide opportunities on organic farms, which allows you to work on a farm in exchange for free accommodation. It’s a great way of accommodation if you are willing to live in a place for many weeks. Just pay once before you want to get to the farm but once you are there, everything else is covered. You have a choice to pick the farm you would wish to work on, and that ends up to be more fun. You can choose the destination you want to travel on the WWOOF Website. One of my favourite sustainable tourism partner in India is MylocalDost; it offers “Pay what you like” to multiple Indian destinations where you can stay and eat with locals, get involved in rural activities and explore nearby places. There is no fixed cost to anything, and you can pay what you like at the end of your stay.

Free Walking Tours and Hitchhike

Let me explain one by one. Almost every country offers free walking tours; you can book it online or ask your hosts or hostel caretaker about it. The free walking tours are offered by multiple groups so can google it and find the ideal one. These tours will take you with a group to visit the major and the “cannot be missed’ places in the city. You will get a lot of information about the place you are at. You will also get to know the history, the secrets, the corners and much more about the city.On the other hand, Hitchhike is traveling by getting lifts. People are scared of doing this because they find it unsafe but if you are smart enough and careful about the things around you can go for this and save a lot of money. Hitchhike is quite common in Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, and New Zealand.

Some Extra Tips to Spend Less:

Get Free flights:  I have already discussed this many a times. Sign up for travel credit cards, collect points and then use it for free flights. Many cards offer a huge sign-up bonus of up to 50,000 points. While the ways mentioned above save you from spending more on accommodation and travel within the city, travel credit cards will help you to take a discounted flight or a completely free flight.

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Sell your services: If you are good at something why don’t you sell it as a service? One of my friends has done the hair styling course. She is currently traveling India by just providing her services to people of the cities she visits. I am good at Art and craft, and I help kids complete their never-ending holiday craft projects. And I get paid for that. All these tips will ultimately help you in some way or the other to save tons of money. Even though you have no money at all, Start collecting miles to get free flights, stay with locals and cook your meal. To earn some money start to sell your services or find a temporary job overseas. It is not difficult at all; you will fall in love with whatever you do if you are traveling and fulfilling your passion. I meet a lot of people who share their ways of budget traveling; if you would also want to share yours, you can connect with me here or just drop me an email at

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