How to save money while traveling long-term

Saturday, June 10, 2017

In a lot of people´s minds, traveling goes hand in hand with spending a lot of money. Traveling for a few months or even years can consequently seem like an impossible task, that only the richest among us could be able to afford. But, with some tips and strategies at hand, you can easily save money while traveling and stay on the road longer.

Cheap transportation

Let´s start off with the first thing you will be looking into before starting your journey: the transport. Whether you´ll be traveling by bus, airplane, car or train, there are always ways to make it a bit cheaper and save money while traveling.


When you plan your travels by train, look into deals and combos that allow you to travel longer and further for less money. A well-known example is the Eurorail pass, that will allow you to travel to almost any country in Europeinfo-icon, as long as you stay within the time frame you chose while buying the ticket. Although the passes can be quite expensive, if you plan your journey well you can really get a lot of travel for your money.


This is a tricky one. In some cases, the best way to save money while traveling by bus is avoiding the tourist buses and choosing a local bus instead. Especially in third world countries, local buses are a lot cheaper than the big bus lines. However, if you are traveling for longer distances (and maybe crossing a border or two), the tourist bus lines are generally a smarter choice. Not only will they be cheaper than all the local buses added up over the long distance, you´ll also be a lot more comfortable for your long journey. Being sandwiched between a half-naked man and a panicked chicken is not the way you want to spend 10 hours on a bus. I always search for bus lines like Ticabus, Greyhound or Flixbus (depending on which part of the world I find myself in) to get the best deals!


Finding a cheap flight is one of the most productive ways to save money while traveling. Ticket prices can skyrocket for no apparent reason sometimes, so finding the best deals can be a bit of a challenging – though rewarding – task. When searching online for your flight, make sure to follow these tips:

  • As a rule, flights are generally cheapest when booked 3 to 4 months in advance.
  • Include nearby airports in your search. Flying to Dusseldorf instead of Amsterdam for example can make quite the difference in pricing.
  • Always use price comparison websites like Swoodoo (try with different dates and locations)

shopping on the second hand market in Nairobi, Kenya
shopping on the second hand market in Nairobi, Kenyainfo-icon

Cheap accommodation

Another great way to save money while traveling is by saving some cash on your accommodation. Go on the search for the hostels with the best deals, or scroll through AirBNB until you´ve found the best price-quality ratio out there. Or, if you don´t mind doing some work for your stay, check out sites such as WOOFing or Workaway. Better yet; for a completely free stay on a stranger´s couch, go to and sign up. For a full guide on finding cheap accommodation, check out this post.


The locals are probably not eating out every night, and if you really want to keep your spending to a minimum – neither should you. Eating out is one of the biggest traps in which many travelers fall. And I get it, eating out is fun, easy, it tastes good… But if you really want to save money while traveling and stretch your budget a long way, get ready to do some cooking. It might seem like your missing out, but going to the grocery store is actually a great way to find out what the locals eat on a day-to-day basis. See what they are buying, or if you´ve already made some local friends ask them to teach you how to cook a local dish. Also, remember to pack your own lunch and some snacks before going out for the day, this will keep you from falling for the temptation of the great smells during lunch.

Be Prepared

I know traveling long-term is all about the adventures, but some mild planning will help you a lot with saving money while traveling. If you want to visit a big tourist attraction for example, go during lunch time. Everybody will be off to the restaurants, and you´ll be able to actually see the attraction instead of just people taking selfies with it. Also, do some research before you go… anywhere. Knowing things like how much a taxi generally costs can come in very, very handy to avoid rip-offs.

Carry a water bottle

Carrying your own refillable water bottle is not only a great (necessary) help to the environment, it will also allow you to save some money while traveling. Plastic water bottles are cheap in most places, but in some tourist-dense spots, even water can become a big investment. Not to mention how fast those little bits of money spent on water will quickly become a quite significant amount, especially if you´re visiting a hot country. Be smart, drink the tap water. There´s a lot of refillable water bottles out there that come with a filter, making it safe for you to drink water from taps in most countries.

Adrian Sameli founder and editor of
Travel mindfully to meet local people around the world and embrace new cultures. Get inspired and inspire others!