Travel experiences: A boat in Ha Long Bay in front of limestone islands

How I Travel on a Budget

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Whenever I see people’s travel photos, I always wonder what their secrets are. How can they afford these trips? Isn’t it so expensive to be traveling all the time? But then I realize, people might wonder the same thing about my own travels. After all, I’ve been traveling a lot since I’ve moved to Korea.

So I thought I’d share some of my own travel tips and tricks that make my travel affordable and attainable.

Before you travel

Before you begin planning your next trip, you probably need to save some money first. Because they most expensive part of any trip is typically the flight. Or it is for me, anyway.

Eliminate unnecessary expenses

Look around. What are you paying for that you don’t need to be paying for? Perhaps you have Netflix but never watch it. You buy a coffee every morning before work. What are some areas where you can cut back in order to save money for traveling?

Personally for me, I don’t have a car. I live in a city where I can walk everywhere I go. I gave my car back in the States to my sister. I still pay for the insurance on the car, but I eliminated the car payment. I also don’t shop often. Even window shopping is something I’ve stopped doing. I only go to the shops when I need something. That way, I’m not spending money on things I don’t need. After all, I’m going to need to shove everything back into two suitcases when I move again.

By eliminating shopping and a car payment, I’ve been able to save a lot more money, pay off a lot of debt, and travel to six new countries since arriving in Korea.

Find affordable flights

The best way to do this is to have flexible travel dates and know the best places to find flights. There are a lot of websites out there that will help you find the best flights. I personally just use Google Flights. That way, I can see different prices for different days. There’s also a multi-city option, so I can see prices when I’m flying into one city and out of another.

Another tip for saving money is that booking overnight flights means you don’t need to spend money on accommodation for a night.

Look at other modes of transportation

When I went to Malaysia, I didn’t fly there. Sure, a flight from Singapore to Malaysia would have been faster, but the bus from Singapore to Malaysia cost less than $20. Taking the overnight bus also meant I wasn’t really missing out on anything since I was traveling when I’d have otherwise been sleeping anyway.

Book extras before you go

Usually when I travel, I try to do as many free things as possible. But every now and then, I want to do something that isn’t free. I did a bike tour in Bangkok, and it was definitely worth it. When I go to Bali, my friend and I are going snorkeling. I also took a day trip to Ha Long Bay when I was in Vietnam. I book these ahead of time and shop around for prices. Usually, Viator has the best deals and you can explore different packages.

While you’re traveling


I stay in hostels. I’m very, very open about this fact. I love hostels. Some of my friends back home are a bit weirded out at the thought of a hostel. I think this is because we don’t really have hostels in America, so the thought of sharing a room with 11 strangers is unthinkable.

But I love hostels. In every hostel I’ve stayed in, I’ve met some really incredible people. Typically they’re about the same age as me, and they have some great travel stories to share. Sure, sometimes people come back late at night and they wake you up, but that’s never bothered me too much.

Staying in hostels is the single most effective way to save money while traveling. If it weren’t for hostels, I wouldn’t be able to travel nearly as much as I do. On average, I don’t spend more than $10 a night on a room. When I go to Bali in February, the rooms I’m staying in are only $5 a night.

Now depending on where you’re traveling, hostels will cost a bit more. Europe is more expensive than Southeast Asia. Even hostels in Korea and Japan are more expensive than they are in Thailand. But regardless, a hostel is still cheaper than a hotel.

Tip: Book hostels that include free breakfast


In Asia, the best way to save money when traveling is to eat street food. Street food is cheap and delicious. When I was in Thailand, I ate vegetarian spring rolls from a vendor outside my hostel every morning. I survived on street food in Taiwan. Even in Hong Kong it was pretty easy to find cheap and delicious street food.

Like I mentioned above, booking hostels that have free breakfast is the best way to save money on food. But if you can’t find somewhere with free breakfast, the next best thing is to find a grocery store or market nearby and buy something to eat for breakfast. When I was in Hong Kong, I bought a four pack of apples and a four back of sourdough bread rolls to eat in the morning on my trip. It definitely saved me a lot of money.

If you want to go out for a nice meal, go for it! But don’t do it every night. Otherwise, you may find you run out of money quicker than you expected.


I don’t shop while I travel. I don’t buy gifts and the only souvenir I buy is a post card to mail home to my Nana.

On my most recent trip, I did buy a new pair of shoes because my Chacos were giving me insane blisters because it was raining most of the time. Other than that, shopping on my travels is limited.

I only travel with a backpack, so there isn’t must space left in my bag for things picked up along the way. But I also know I don’t need anything. Anything I see while traveling, I can probably find back home or online, so why bother spending the money and dragging it around?

Instead of buying souvenirs, I keep a travel journal. I’ll write about what my travel journal is and why I keep one in another post.

The biggest reason I can travel

Is my location. If I was still living in America, I wouldn’t be able to travel as much as I do. I have fewer expenses in Korea than I did in America.

Flights from Korea to other parts of the world are incredibly cheap. I’m so close to different countries that within a few hours, I can be in a totally different place. Traveling within Asia is also fairly inexpensive as compared to the US, Canada, and Europe.

While my location plays a big role in my ability to travel, I’ve also made traveling a priority. I forgo a lot of things in order to save money for traveling.

What are you travel tips for budget traveling? Let me know in the comments!

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