travel bloggers tell all | traveling on a budget

Travel Bloggers Tells All: Traveling on a BudgetI love taking frequent trips with my husband, but it’s important that we don’t break the bank each time. If we’re able to save money when booking flights, hotels and excursions, we’re left with more cash to use for another vacation at a later date. This is perfect because it’s everyone’s goal to see the world, right?

Today I have three lovely bloggers sharing their top tips on how to travel on a budget. We hope you learn something new!

Chelsea from Lost in Travels
Travel Bloggers Tell All - Lost in Travels
Bloglovin’ | Twitter | Facebook

What are your tips for traveling on a budget?
Hello! I’m Chelsea and I blog over at Lost in Travels where I talk about my husband and I’s daily life as expats in Korea as well as document our world adventures and share budgeting and travel tips we’ve learned along the way.

So I’m one of the weird ones who actually loves to budget. This stems off of my husband and I’s habit of using the envelope system to budget both at home and while we travel. We figure that the better we budget in both our everyday life and on trips, the more often we can travel. And isn’t that everyone’s hope?

We have been fortunate enough to be able to travel to seven different countries while living abroad. This is not only because of our convenient location in Asia but also due to extensive planning and budgeting. So what are my top budgeting tips? I’m so glad you asked!

1. Budget before and during your trip. So many times we are diligent about setting a budget before we go but then we completely forget to keep track of it on the actual trip. What I do is keep a notebook on me while we travel to keep track of our spending on a day to day basis. I fill in the sheets of paper like this:


Then, each time we spend something, I put it in the correct spot. It doesn’t take long and it’s a great way to keep track of your spending. If we see that we’re under our budget for that day, then we know that we have extra money to use towards something else, or do something extra on the trip.

2. Eat cheap. Ask the locals were to eat, try the street food, even the grocery stores. You don’t always have to eat at restaurants! And we’ve found that often the smaller spots are the best anyway! While we were traveling in Japan we frequented grocery stores and shopping centers to eat meals. We often saved our money so we could eat at a little nicer spot for dinner.

3. Be open to other hotel arrangements. There are several great sites for finding affordable boutique hotels, guest houses, apartments and even houses that won’t break the bank. Our favorites sites to search include Agoda, VRBO, Gogobot, House Trip and AirBnB to find affordable places to stay. We find that we save more money, have a more enjoyable experience, get to know the staff and gain more insight to the culture of the country better when we stay away from large or chain hotels.

Melyssa from The Nectar Collective
The Nectar Collective blog
Blog | Bloglovin’ | Twitter

What are your tips for traveling on a budget?
Hey everyone! My name is Melyssa and I’m from Southern California, but have been living in Japan for the past two years. Living in Japan has given me the opportunity to travel to tons of other nearby Asian countries. But on a teacher’s salary, I always have to budget for my trips. Let’s just say that if I didn’t travel on a budget, then I probably wouldn’t be able to afford a flight home half the time! Today I’m going to share three of my biggest tips for seeing the world without breaking the bank.

1. NOtel. Heh. I’m so clever. Just kidding. Staying in hotels is nice, don’t get me wrong, but is it worth it if you’re going to be exploring the outdoors all day everyday? I prefer to stay in hostels, which are enormously cheaper! Hostels are usually dorm-style, with a shared bathroom and bunk beds in a large room. I’ve never had any problems with this setup, even while traveling alone as a woman. Hostels are also generally clean and most even have the option to book a private room (still usually cheaper than a hotel!). Can’t afford a hostel? Why not try couchsurfing? I’ve never done it myself, but I have plenty of friends who rave about their couchsurfing experiences and all of the unique people they’ve met around the world. Plus, it’s free. Who can beat that?

2. Souvenirs. I always have this desire to bring something back for every.single.person I know. But the cost totally adds up! My suggestion? It depends where you are, but in some countries it’s totally expected for you to haggle in order to get a lower price. And if you need to buy a bunch of souvenirs, try making most of your purchases at one shop and asking for a discount. If you buy in bulk, lots of places will be happy to slash the price a bit.

3. Visit cheaper places. I’ve never been to Europe and would LOVE to go! But if I kept waiting for “Europe” then I probably wouldn’t have been able to do as much traveling as I have, since most of the countries I’ve been to are much less expensive. If you’re a newbie traveler who wants to see more of the world, I’d highly suggest getting your foot in the travel door by finding some countries that are a bit cheaper to travel to and within. Southeast Asia has been my main squeeze the past couple years and has totally reaffirmed my love of travel! Plus, once you do some traveling, you’ll be even more inspired to visit those more costly countries on your bucket list.

Amanda from Living in Another Language
Living in Another Language blog
Blog | Bloglovin’ | Twitter

What are your tips for traveling on a budget?
It’s no small secret that my husband and I love to travel. In the past year and a half we’ve traded in our lives in the US for travel. I have the wanderlust bug, and just can’t get enough. Since we’ve been expats we’ve traveled to 5 different countries and have a few more coming up soon. I guess the number one question we get from everyone is, “How can you afford that?” Our answer? Teaching ESL in Korea. The cost of living as an English teacher in Korea is very minimal. Rent is cheap (if not free by being provided by your school), pay is pretty good, and utilities are less than $100 a month. We’re able to save quite a bit of our monthly income and use some of this money for traveling!

The first thing we do when finding our next country to visit is check out SkyScanner. I’m hoping there are more expats and fellow travel-junkies out there besides me who use this site. It’s AMAZING! I know Orbits, Kayak, and CheapOair are all great places to look at for cheap flights, but this site goes above and beyond. Not sure where you want to go but you know the time frame? Search where you will be flying from and put ‘everywhere’ in the flying to category. SkyScanner will bring up the cheapest flights out there to a ridiculous amount of different countries.

Once we have found a great price and researched a little bit in the country we chose, it’s time to look at lodging. I’m a huge Agoda fan and use them for about 70% of our travel arrangements. Always be sure to check out the Trip Advisor reviews before booking a place! Especially in a foreign country. I have also used AirBnB on a few occasions-nothing like a user friendly lodging site!

The next thing we do is check out Trip Advisor for some sightseeing/travel suggestions to our area of choice. Why? Because if it’s something that requires booking, we have found that booking online and ahead of time saves you half if not a third of the price you will pay at a tour agency!

Last but not least we have our food spending. Derik and I budget above and beyond what we think we’ll need for food. Why? Because I’m just not a huge fan of Korean food, and neither is my husband. We LOVE tasting the local cuisines and fully immersing ourselves in foreign food culture. Nothing like trying a little prickly sea urchin or raw cuddle fish right?

Everyone has different ways they travel on a budget. We’re not super strict because to us, traveling is about the experience. Sure we’re going to watch and be smart about what we spend, but we also love to have fun and enjoy life. There is nothing like world traveling; feel free to join us anytime!

How do you travel on a budget?


Filed Under: Hotels, Travel, Travel Bloggers Tell All21 Comments
  • M. at Making Sense of Cents

    Love this post. Really makes me want to travel NOW!

  • Treasure Tromp

    these are ALL such excellent tips; I learned so much for from of these bloggers. thanks for sharing, ladies!
    On a side note, I think that this is a wonderful series, Rachel!

  • Kate

    Yes, I love these tips! Especially Melyssa’s on couchsurfing – I’ve had experiences with it and know several others who have too! Also Amanda’s tip with Skyscanner is a good one, it’s my go-to source for traveling!

    Kate | Diaries of an Essex Girl

  • Mallory @ Sweet Smores

    Thank you so much for the great tips! I’m always looking for ways to save on travel, since I would love to spread my money to different places, rather than just one!

  • Annabel

    Great tips. I love the idea of a designated notebook for expenses; I always end up losing track!

  • Kate Mothes

    This is great — thanks for sharing a few viewpoints! Currently finding myself in the UK where the exchange rate makes everything about 60% more expensive than at home in the US, budgeting has, though important before, become a necessity. Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of where all of your cash is going. (!!?)

    One thing I’ve done at home and am trying to do here is to save my $5 (or pounds, or euro, or whathaveyou) bills in an envelope and count that toward going out/new clothes/treats. It adds up fast if you use cash, and denominations of 5 are just small enough that you can kind of forget you ever had it in your wallet.

    Kate x

  • kristyn

    These are awesome tips! Saving money on food and lodging is definitely a big deal–it gives you so much more room to explore and enjoy :)

  • Erika from Chimerikal

    Great tips, will use. :)))))

    (I think that’s the most succinct I’ve ever been in a comment!)


  • Whitney

    We spend months researching and researching. I know some people that always stay in expensive hotels, but for us that isn’t a priority. I’d rather spend the night in a $40-100 hotel, because you aren’t going on vacation to stay in the hotel. My husband is in the military and we got a vacation that would have been normally $5000 (not including airfare), on sale for $3500, but we paid $1200. That was to an all inclusive resort in Cancun.

    We travel at least once a year for a week. We love to travel and make it a priority. We don’t go shopping and buy things that we deem unnecessary. Without all the impulse purchases people make throughout the year, we just don’t do it.

    We have three airports that we use. One is in my city, and the other two are 1.5 hours away but in different directions. Depending on the price, we will use the cheaper one. We also have family drive us, so we don’t have to pay to leave our car.

  • emi

    this is great. i did a HUGE post on this a few weeks ago too!

  • jackie jade

    so many amazing tips! i haven’t traveled as much recently but would love to do it more in the future. i love chelsea’s tip for keeping track of expenses in a notebook. i tend to be frugal when booking vacations and then just let myself go overboard with spending once i arrive. so will have to try this one next time!
    — jackie @ jade and oak

  • Kylie Rahl

    Love the tips! I have never heard of Skyscanner. I will definitely be using that next time we book a trip! Thanks girls!

  • Laura Cristina

    I just bookmarked this post for future reference!!! But let me say that i checked Sky Scanner and i am IN LOVE! Husband and I are planning a trip to Tokyo/Osaka/Kyoto and were planning on flying from Okinawa-Tokyo and then taking a train to Osaka/Kyoto and flying back from there! I just found flights at $128 to Tokyo and $81 back from Osaka!! Safe to say those are the cheapest flights i’ve seen in my life and our trip will definitely be happening!!

    Thanks for sharing :)))

  • Blogger Ash

    Love this post! Very helpful.

    ~Ashley @ A Cute Angle

  • Britta Marie

    what a great series and so many awesome tips from bloggers who clearly love to travel! this post is a must save.

  • Kelly {Sparkles and Shoes}

    I agree, cheap eats and be open to other options of almost everything!

    Sparkles and Shoes

  • Michelle

    These are some fantastic tips. I try to write down what I spend and keep the gift spending down but it can be hard when you want to buy something for everyone! Iv definately learnt a lot over the years :)

  • Katelyn Brown

    This is such a perfect post! Thank you for this! I can’t wait to use these helpful tips when planning my adventures in the future =)

    xoxo, K

  • Sara Louise

    I’ve always been intrigued by the ‘envelope system’. I may just put it into practice next month.
    And SkyScanner?! How did I not know about this site??!! So happy to have found it :)

  • Casey Martin

    Such great advice!

  • Pingback: A Blogging Year in Review - Lost in Travels()