7 Money Saving Tips to Travel More This 2018

The beauty of the Swiss Alps
The beauty of the Swiss Alps

After almost three year of non-stop travel, I cannot help but recall some of the questions I had to answer during one of the many reunions I had with my former college friends upon returning from my travels ages ago.

  • “How did you manage to travel that much while studying abroad in Europe? “
  • “Should I start working right away or take a gap year?”
  • “How come you never got fired in Buenos Aires? You were traveling all the time!”
  • “Is there a way to have sex in a hostel without getting caught?
  • “Israel? Really? Isn’t that country at war right now?”

While I cannot provide a concrete answer to all of them (specially not the fourth one!), I decided to create a small list of tips that can (and will) help you to improve your finances, and set you on the right path to travel way more this year than in the previous ones.

If you’re a young non-wealthy person like me, traveling should be easy as long as you follow these seven magic steps.

Egypt Scams
The mighty Sphinx at the Pyramids of Egypt

How to travel more #01: Stop thinking that traveling is for rich people only

Of all of my college class-mates, I’m way below-average in terms of purchasing power and yet, I traveled way more than even the richest kid of them all. Rich people prefer to fly first class for one hour instead of spending six hours in a crammed bus.

If you’re willing to sacrifice comfort for money, then you, my dear middle-class young person, can travel too. Quite easily, I might add.

How? It’s all about having the right mentality and to be able to overcome the social stigma of living frugally. I’m not saying that you should become a stingy bastard, but it is quite telling that the number 1 expense of the young middle classes are luxury versions of basic goods (branded t-shirt versus Wal-Mart t-shirt) and new electronics.

Do you really need to buy new versions of the hottest electronics (Televisions, phones, laptops, video game consoles…) every year or two?

Stockhorn, Switzerland
Stockhorn Mountain in the Bernese Alps, Switzerland

How to travel more #02: Set your priorities straight

Ask yourself: “Where do I want to travel this year?”. If you want to play it safe, why not start in a country that speaks your own language or even in your own country? It shames me to admit that before 2012, I have never ever had the time, knowledge and courage to travel alone in my own country.

Maybe you want to explore your country first before taking the leap outside, maybe you want to venture into the unknown and take the leap to an exotic location such as South-East Asia or the Middle-East, maybe you want to relax in a beach resort like Acapulco and forget about the world for a while.

Whatever your travel goal is for 2015, you have to make it a priority. After all, you shouldn’t spend all your life breaking that jar of savings every time something unexpected happens, right?

You don’t want to end up like Carl Fredricksen and his eternal dream of visiting Paradise Falls! Work to enjoy living !!!

Petra Travel Guide
Hump Day at Petra

How to travel more #03: Make small sacrifices every day

Do you really need to drink six beers every time you go out with your friends? Is eating out a necessity? How about taking public transportation and selling your car? Small or big, we all have to make sacrifices in order to fulfill our travel goals.

When I was studying in France with the help of a scholarship, I chose the small town of Clermont-Ferrand instead of the cosmopolitan capital of Paris because I had the goal of saving money in order to travel all around Europe.

I managed to narrow-down expenses on local transportation, food and most importantly, lodging. Sure, I missed out all of the fun of going out every single night to fancy clubs but hey, in the end, it was totally worth it.

Make an in-depth analysis of your daily expenses and cut the fat. That $1 USD dessert sure looks tasty but…what if you avoid it every single day?

You’ll not only have a more healthy body but also savings of $365 USD at the end of the year, more than enough for a plane ticket from France to Egypt!

Aurora Borealis and the Starry Sky
Aurora Borealis and the Starry Sky

How to travel more #04: Don’t be afraid to get loans

Gasp! A loan? From a bank? For travel? Yes, this might sound like a terrible advice (and according to your parents, it is!) but hear me out!

If you’re thinking about traveling in your youth while studying/working, chances are that you are not rich (I know I am not) and sometimes, our daily savings might not be enough.

In May 2012 I faced two choices: Stay in Clermont-Faire-Rien and die of boredom (all while paying full rent for a house that was now devoid of any roommates) or get a loan to cancel my lease contract, leave my bags at a friend’s place and use the rest of the money to backpack intensively around Europe for two months.

I ended up owing 1000 euros to a French bank at a very low-interest rate (Hint: if you decide to study abroad for more than 6 months, I suggest you to open a local bank account as a student, European banks have this kind of special loans during summer and winter time in order to encourage the tourist industry) and visited Austria, Czech Republic, Belgium, Greece, Turkey, Hungary, Scotland, England (during the 2012 Olympic craze, no less!) and Ireland during the summer.

Plus, I was able to go to Egypt, Israel and Jordan during my October vacations. Not bad, uh?

The Swiss Cows of the Jungfrau Region
The Swiss Cows of the Jungfrau Region

How to travel more #05: Live frugally on the road. No shame allowed!

I won’t sugar-coat the truth. Traveling in Europe IS expensive. Not because of transportation costs (they are the lowest in the whole-world thanks to EasyJet and RyanAir) but because of the daily cost of living. Hostels in Europe’s hottest capitals will set you back about $20 USD per night.

Convenience store cheap food (basically bread plus cheese) will set you back 3 to 5 USD per meal. Attractions on average will cost you at least 10 USD a day, even more if you’re not a student of any European school!

Having said that, there are ways, legal ways, to cut those expenses considerably. Did you know that in Europe the local bread stores throw away their products at the end of the day? You can grab free (and clean, I must add) baguettes outside of the local boulangerie at closing time!

You can also try to cut lodging costs by volunteering at your hostel, sometimes they need the extra help to run the bar at night and in exchange they let you stay for free. How about renting an RV and sleeping there instead of paying for a hotel night? There’s always a way to save money my friends!

However, as tempting as it may sound, I strongly advice against jumping the barriers at metro stations, traveling without valid train tickets and undertaking in any sort of illegal activities such as street performing, offering services as an unlicensed tour guide and the commerce of any goods in public areas.

You risk getting fined and/or arrested. DO NOT DO IT.

Me hanging out with my Nepalese safari guide
Me hanging out with my Nepalese safari guide

How to travel more #06: Do it now or regret it later

Is there anything certain in life?

Ever since she was a kid, my aunt Nelly always dreamed of seeing Europe and yet, she was never able to take the leap on her own. Life basically took over her and she always said to herself “Next year…maybe”.

By the time she had both the money and the availability to fulfill her dream it was already too late. Her youth had vanished, her spirit of adventure had died out and she had basically given up on her dream.

In August 2012, tears came down to her face when she saw the Eiffel Tower for the first time in Trocadero, with the splendid fountains and the amazing melody of the Vie en Rose playing in her head. Yes, it took me a while to do it but I finally convinced her to join my mother on a trip to France to visit me.

And no, neither she nor my mother spoke a single word of French…or English for that matter. I still cannot believe that I had to rescue them from customs but that’s a story for another day.

The beauty of the Swiss Alps
The beauty of the Swiss Alps

How to travel more #07: Just do it. Really.

My aunt is, at age 74, an inspiration to me and the living proof that it is never too late to travel but it is, most of the time, too late to travel the way you originally wanted.

Today, her health has taken to the worse and while I’m sure she’ll live for many years to come, the truth is that she would probably not be able to withstand another trip to the Old Continent.

Yes, I am extremely happy that we were able to travel together to France, Italy and Portugal and yet, I cannot help but feel a deep sadness because I know that it’s never going to happen again.

Enjoy your youth while you have it. Travel. Make mistakes. Get in debt. Gain experiences. Live to the fullest. Fall in love on the road. Donate your clothes. Meet tons of awesome friends that you’ll never see again. Quit your office job. Practice an extreme sport without insurance.

Sell your electronics. Ride a camel in the desert. Sleep in a cave. Befriend and feed cute llamas. Experience the kindness of strangers. Learn about life, learn about nature, learn about yourself. And most importantly, be happy. You deserve it.

Trust me, of all the blessings in life, time is the only one that we’re never going to get more of.

Until the next time my wonder friends!

Want to travel more this 2017? Follow these 7 amazing travel tips and make travel a reality this year and beyond via @journeywonders
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94 Comments

  • #6 puts a smile on my face :) I had spent so much of my life regretting not going backpacking after college and just jumping into work. Fortunately, I am lucky enough to do it as part of my job now, but absolutely agree with you on this! The time is now!! Great content and I love your photos! Looking forward to more!

    • Thank you! I believe that mixing working with traveling is a perfect way of exploring the world, I did that last year when I took an advertising job in Buenos Aires, Argentina and had the chance of explore South America to the fullest.

  • A man after my own heart! I’m with you on everything you said! Travel is so important for so many reasons, not least of all for having yourself some fun! I’ve lived in 9 countries and travelled in 60 and though I’m now in my mid 40s with 2 kids and am not as free to take off like I used to be we still take as many trips as we can. We have stayed in hostels & Airbnb with them and use public transport etc and this year we’ve lined up a house-swap (another way to make travel affordable). You’re never too old!
    (Found you through Blog Commenting weekend and look forward to reading more)

  • I have to agree with a lot of your remarks. Especially how people see it as very expensive. When we lived in the US for 3 years and more recently in Belgium for 6 years our friends and family from the UK just kept saying they would love to come visit but it would be so expensive. They never thought about us coming back to visit and how would we do it as often as we did if it was so expensive. The comments of course were by the ones who just had decided this in their minds and had not looked into it. Hope you can help to change the mindset of people over this.

    • Yes, it all starts with having the right mindset. Ironically, people here in my country look down on those like me who like to save money by taking local transportation. And yet, it is those same arrogant people the ones spending way too much money on eating out and thus, are unable to travel as much as the ones who live frugally like me.

  • Great advice! I would add, though, that you shouldn’t think it all ends when you marry/have kids/ get a job/ etc. At 51, I still get to do a lot of traveling, and I have all along, even when my kids were little (e.g. camping in Devon and Cornwall with a 5 year-old and a 6 week old baby). It just takes a bit more planning, that’s all. It’s a matter of mindset, not age.

  • Love this! I wish I’d been brave enough to stand up to everyone after I graduated and said, “I’m going to travel now.” But alas, I went directly into the work world. Guess I’m making up for lost time when I get the chance! Found you through Blog Formatting’s Facebook page! :)

  • Raphael, absolutely love this! I do plan to travel more and have fun! We had planned to go to France last summer, but had to postpone it. Thank you for the encouragement

  • Wonderful tips! and very inspiring! As for #7, yes, I agree you should just do it! but it works even if you’re a first time traveller at an older age. My boyfriends parents are well into their late 60’s and decided to travel the world for the first time last year. They headed to Southeast Asia (never speaking English), and somehow worked their way through all of the countries, picked up English along the way and now making their way through India. They’re been travelling for 14 months now and are about to embark on a similar trip across South America. So for others out there who may think “Its too late for me” Its not!! as long as you have your health (and a little chunk of change) the world is still available to you

    • I completely agree!!! It is never too late to dream big and make it happen! During my journey to Asia in company of my mother, I was surprised at how fast she managed to learn English on the road! Two and a half months later, on our flight back to Mexico she was kind of disappointed that the air attendants spoke to her only in Spanish haha

  • Great post! I’m still in the “explore your own country” phase. My goal is to visit all 50 states in the US, then travel to Europe.

    • The US is so big that it can almost count as a sub-continent all by itself! It was always my dream to do the romantic American roadtrip from East to West :D Hopefully I’ll be able to do it in the next couple of years!

  • such a great post:)) one of my new year’s resolutions is to travel more!!! will be following you for motivation:))

  • Getting my priorities right is definitely the aim of this year – creating short term goals that will get me closer to my trip keep the excitement building. Great Blog!

      • I would like to share my experience of traveling, as I was broken and had time, I used to go places as a truest or a stranger, many places it was very difficult to communication, even it was difficulties to understand the people, but I gained the beauty of nature, and people.

  • I love to travel, Indeed, during the year we make some arrangements to set our goals for our trips. I live in Germany and like you state can be a little bit price traveling here, However, I love to travel through ryanair, you can find good deals with them.

  • I could not agree more with everything you wrote in this post! When I moved from Miami to Spain about four months ago, I made a list of the top 5 goals I wanted to accomplish during my time here. Goal #1 is to travel as much as possible. Sometimes it means sleeping in airports and enjoying less tapas and vino tinto once in a while but like you said, the sacrifice is totally worth it! I am so happy to hear that your aunt made it to France. I can only imagine how emotional that must have been. I am determined to take advantage of my youth, but it is always nice to hear about people who don’t let their age get in the way of pursuing their dreams.

    Awesome read!

  • Thanks for the follow on my little blog! Yours look interesting to me since my wife and I have visited 13 foreign countries in the last 5 years with 4 coming up this year and 1 in 2015. Thanks for the tips!

    DJ

  • Looks like you’ve pretty well got your act together, Raphael :) Can’t remember the last time I read such a practical yet inspiring list. Many thanks for the follow.

  • Raphael you are truly one of the most inspirational, motivating bloggers I have come across on this site. I will definitely be sharing this article with my boyfriend in preparation for our long term travel. Thank you <3

  • Thank you for putting into writing the answers I needed to hear to all of my logical concerns… I’m already on my path to travel the world, but the concerns are always there… you’ve summed up my new mindset though – that time is the only thing you can’t get more of, and I don’t want to get to the end of my days regretting not taking that trip!! Might see you at an airport somewhere, some day : )

      • Oh thank you so much, that means so much to someone just getting started!

        I started my travelling seriously around 2 years ago when I was working as a travel agent, and since I’ve been around Thailand, Italy, Egypt, New Zealand, Paris, London, Barcelona and Cancun… I’m trying to keep momentum going with a trip in June to Vietnam and 6 weeks in USA/Canada/Mexico at Christmas! I’ll be keeping an eye on your blog though for the motivation and inspiration that I need – you write beautifully : )

  • Completely agree with you.
    I’ll always remember when I was a kid, people always seemed to think we were rich because we travelled and to be honest it had nothing to do with that but more about the sacrifices we made that they wouldn’t do.
    I guess being from Europe, we are lucky enough to be able to travel within the continent at lower cost but it’s super expensive, can only agree with you on this one. The old continent is an expensive one, maybe at the exception of the Eastern countries. So I’d add: if you are going there, try to do some couchsurfing, it’s done a lot there and it avoids paying for a hotel!

  • Waw, you are so right! Unfortunately we are humans being never estimate time as we should! We all live like we ll have 9 lives – like cats!!! But the truth we have only one – it`s here and now!
    So true, i`m happy to know your aunt finally made her dream true! Maybe not the time she wanted but she did it finally – that`s important! Best regards, keep on traveling !

  • Excellent tips, Raphael – I definitely agree with all of them though have never taken out a loan specifically for travelling. That said, I did use the remainder of my student loan from university that I have left over to go travelling in New Zealand, so I guess it’s the same thing. Not in too much of a rush to pay off that debt any time either.

  • very well written raph! i bet money can’t buy experiences, i have been to places (while on a vacation) where one can go only with the locals ! one feels blessed during these times.
    in fact when it comes to travel one should be ready to explore. You may get completely surprised with what is in store for you.
    While on vacation one can earn money by working as teacher, yoga or dance instructor, swimming coach, music teacher, working at a local store, or for that matter you can carry stuff viamanyship.com & earn money. Even part time cook! I have done different jobs to earn money while travelling across nations. as the famous quote says travel is the only thing you buy, that makes you richer! adiós for now…

  • Hi Raph,
    Nice article. Liked every bit of it, and I like the point that says you shouldn’t be scared to take a loan to travel, that’s quite original, and it enabled you to have a great time.
    I get a lot of comments from my friends back home, who keep telling me that I am so fortunate to travel. I don’t really understand them, at times. They have money, and they don’t all have mortgages….what’s holding them back? I am not lucky (well, I am), I just made the choice to go do it.

    • I think luck is a relative term and not an absolute one. We’re all luckier than some people, unluckier than some people and completely equal in terms of circumstances to other people. And yes, haters will always find for excuses to justify why they’re not following their dreams even though they’re perfectly capable of doing so.

      If a debt-free person doesn’t travel is simply because they don’t want it bad enough.

  • Hello,

    Just wanted to stop by and say these are great tips! Definitely a great read. I will definitely be sharing on Facebook! I currently run a similar travel site based in Los Angeles, check it out if you have a chance: http://www.visitla4less.com

    Keep up the good work!

  • I am 80 years old and have a new hip with the other one showing signs of wear! I have been everywhere within 9 hours of Australia and love travelling and feel blessed I can still enjoy it! I have been to the Pacific Is., New Zealand and have just come back from Singapore & Bintan also last year, Vietnam and Thailand. And I am on the pension in Aust! I just watch what I spend and get the fares when they are cheapest (usually 12months ahead) and get reasonable accommodation, also a year ahead. I don’t buy new clothes each time but use what I have. I wish I had more years of travel left but alas, I realise time is running out

  • Lovely posts – fab sentiments – yes we should all do it – you have made me want to look at my daily expenditure – thanks :)
    \

  • You have to find cheap tickets, accomodations and free stuff :) Thats my way of saving money to travel:)

  • i like trip but all my trips were like a mission it was in a work plan it was at the field and rural community they were interesting moving is fantastic

  • Interesting, if not somewhat misleading. Also, perhaps you should travel a bit less and take some language courses. Evidently, the “…an scholarship” (sic) was not in Language Arts. Your sponsors should be spanked!

  • Very helpful! :)

    After traveling around Southeast asia, I am now “nesting” for awhile in Thailand saving for my planned trip to Mexico and around Latin America. If you would be so kind as to give me tips on how maneuver my way there, it would be really helpful! :)

    Salamat! (Thank you)

  • In my view travelling should be best hobby for everyone. It not only help you to gain practical experience but also provide you most satisfaction in your mind and heart.

  • great time to go with your tips and enjoy short time in Leh travelling from Shey to Leh ha ha
    Rinchen

  • I have to agree with your opinion that how to travel more. Your opinion is very interesting. Now I learnt lot of things from your post that how to travel more with minimum resources.

  • I want to travel, Indeed, amid the year we make a few plans to set our objectives for our outings. I live in Germany and like you state can be a smidgen value going here, However, I want to go through ryanair, you can discover great manages them.

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