Travel on a Budget: Save Money On Accommodations and Meals on the Road

Just graduated? Got an extended break? Still haven’t spent the refund you got after filing taxes online with a site like TurboTax? A little tight on budget, but still want to see the world? Below are some travel destination ideas to help you get started.

The idea of discovering oneself while traveling to unknown parts of the world is very popular. However, a hindrance to such an adventure is often cold, hard cash. Most people in their teens and twenties don’t have the financial means to spend a year on the road without parental sponsorship. There are ways, however, to reduce the cost of living while traveling.

Two such travelers, Vitaliy and Anna, have been living on a road for one and a half years, paying only minimally for accommodations and food. Find out how you can get free room and board as well. With their advice, this article guides adventurers on how to make their travel dollars go further.


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Wwoofing stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. This organization operates worldwide and connects volunteers with organic farms. Workers exchange 4 to 6 hours of labor for free room and board. Volunteers sign up for wwoofing in a particular country and then have access to a database so they can choose a good match for location and conditions of work. The worker then contacts the host to set up “employment”. Members pay a $30US membership fee.


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HelpX is similar to wwoofing, but is not limited to organic living and working. Again, the premise of the program is an exchange of labor for free room and board. The HelpX system also has a rating system so all members can check if hosts or volunteers have a bad reputation. As in the wwoofing program, the worker contacts the host to arrange for an appointment. The membership fee is $30US for two-year years.


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The Couchsurfing network has millions of members in over 200 countries. The members are all friendly welcoming people who open their homes to visitors. Members can choose to be both a host and a visitor or just a visitor. Being a host, however, will earn you public feedback and increase your chance of being accepted into someone’s home. The system depends on honesty and trust but can offer the most rewarding travel and host experiences. This is a great way to meet local people and get a free night’s sleep. There is no membership fee.

Au Pair or Nanny Programs

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Travelers who genuinely like children may want to consider becoming an au pair. An au pair is live-in child care and domestic helper. Au pairs are meant to be part of the household, eating with the family, and joining in family activities. Typically, an au pair supplies child care and light housekeeping duties in exchange for room, board and a small allowance. Be sure that a contract stipulates the number of hours expected and the financial reimbursement. Au pair experiences vary greatly, so ask as many questions as possible before making a commitment.

Backpackers can solicit farms, hotels or other places of employment for a deal that includes room or meals. Perhaps the restaurant you work at will throw in free dinners. Think innovatively, be friendly, and willing to pull your weight. You will be surprised at the deals you can negotiate.

Travelers who manage to get free room and board can extend their travel time by months. In addition to saving an incredible amount of money, the wwoofing, couch surfing, helpx and au pair programs give a traveler a unique opportunity to genuinely be part of a new society and get to know the locals. The programs offer experiences and personal growth that one can never get via the normal tourist methods.

Now let’s talk about where to go.

Make sure you always have a backup plan in case something goes wrong with your planned accommodation. Always do the research on IMHO Reviews. Often you can find a good and cheap apartment nearby and have little privacy, and rest before you go on the road again.

World’s Best Destinations On A Budget

The world’s best budget destinations are not always what you expect. Even distant countries such as New Zealand and Australia can be reached for reasonable prices, while the budget favorites of Southeast Asia and South America always draw backpacker crowds.

Adventure in South America

A trip to Latin America is in some ways a rite of passage for travelers on shoestring. If you’re looking for adventure: explore the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru or trek through vast jungles and boat up crocodile-infested rivers in the Bolivian Amazon. Surfers and beach bums: don’t miss the beautiful coasts of Brazil. Food lovers: feast on delicious grilled steak and fine red wines in Argentina. Nature purists: breathe the fresh air and enjoy the vast wonders of Chile’s Patagonia. These adventures and many more are waiting for those who dare to make Latin America their next destination. South America is heavy on adventure, yet light on the wallet.

South East Asia On Shoestring

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Bangkok, Thailand is the jumping of point for most trips to Southeast Asia. Thailand offers jungles and elephant rides in the north and beaches lined with palm trees and bronzed bodies in the south. Popular destinations also include a trip to Cambodia to investigate the wonders of Angkor Wat, Vietnam for beautiful handicrafts and a surprising view on the infamous war, and Laos to get a small break from the bartering and hocking and relax for few days in a bungalow with a riverfront view. The people of South East Asia are usually quite warm and friendly, they will often go out of their way to help foreigners, but as always, beware of possible scams. Those wishing to further their adventure should head north into China or south to explore Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia.

Australia and New Zealand on a Budget

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The countries of Oceania are often a dream of those who travel on a budget but the cost to get to these destinations can be prohibitive. A great option for getting to Australia is a budget airline flight with a carrier like Air Asia. Air Asia has cheap flights to Australia from Malaysia. Travelers can even fly to and from London to their hub in Kuala Lumpur for very reasonable prices. Once in Australia or New Zealand, European and American travelers will find costs to be quite reasonable. There are plenty of campgrounds, so bring some camping gear, rent a car, and hit the open road. Remember they drive on the left, so watch where you’re going!


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Cheap travel in Europe is not a budget traveler’s ideal destination, but there is so much to see and experience that it’s worth the extra cost. Venturing around Rome reflecting on the days of the great empire, strolling the balmy beaches of Barcelona or breathing the fresh alpine air of Switzerland will leave you wanting more. With some pre-planning, a trip to Europe can be done on a modest budget thanks to low-cost airlines like Ryanair and great regional train specials. Those traveling in pairs may consider looking for discounted hotels rather than over-priced hostels.

Travel the Middle East

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The history and wonders of the Middle East have drawn tourists for hundreds of years. Most visitors charter package tours, but adventurous people who are wary of scams can enjoy the area without the crowds and save quite a bit of cash. Not to miss sites include the amazing rock-carved ancient city of Petra, the historically and religiously significant Old City of Jerusalem, and of course the ancient Pyramids outside of Cairo. Traveling overland by bus is quite easy and efficient, but crossing borders can be a hassle, especially in Israel.

Travelers have limitless choices for their next destination. Adventurers need to consider their own preferences when choosing their next trip. Things like budget, weather, and type of activities available are all things to consider as well as language and culture.

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