Often people think that you need a lot of money to travel. Don’t be fooled by rich jetsetters on social media, they aren’t the only one that can travel. Even though you definitely need a little to get started, it’s not necessarily the case that you need to be filthy rich, win the lottery or have rich family members that fund everything you do. Trust us, going on a world trip without a big savings account is definitely possible. Because we did it too. We left with 6000 euros each and stayed abroad for 18 months in a row. But how did we travel for so long without a big savings account?
Last updated 2 November 2017.
I understand that not everyone is able to travel and that it’s not always only because of money that you can’t travel. Furthermore, often you just really have different priorities in life that come before your dream of travelling the world. This post is for people that want to travel and think they can’t because they aren’t rich.
Going on a World Trip Without a Big Savings Account
Before you go: Make travel your goal and start saving
OK, now that you know that you don’t need a big savings account to travel, we do have to tell you that of course you need some money in the bank. Yes sorry, we still recommend you to have saved up a little bit before you go. You can try to go completely without money, but it’s better to have a bit to get started (you at least need to buy a ticket, right?).
So start saving to travel. Make travelling your priority. Don’t spend it on shopping for clothes, going out for dinner or going out for drinks. If you do need new clothes, go to second hand store. If you really want to do something fun with friends, meet up at home or just have one drink. Yes, it sucks. However, sometimes if you really want something, you need to make sacrifices.
If you really want to travel, make it your goal. Make a calculation on how much you need each month during your travels: at least for the first two or three months. Write everything down; the amount you want for your trip and calculate how much money you can put aside each month while you work.
For more advice read our post 10 Tips on How To Save Money for Travel Without a High Paying Job.
Book your ticket well up front
We usually use Skyscanner to book our flights, and try to do that as far ahead as possible. But definitely also check other search engines, such as Momondo. As soon as you’re thinking of travelling, just start browsing for flights. If you book tickets well up front, it’ll be a lot cheaper than if you’re booking a flight last minute!
Also, keep an eye out for deals. Sign up for mailing lists and alerts of airlines and Skyscanner.
Work during your travels
The reason you don’t need a lot of money to travel long term is because you can also work while you are abroad. There are so many options! Think of teaching, hospitality, work as a nanny or au pair, farm work, freelance work, seasonal work such as a ski instructor and much more.
In a lot of countries you can get a holiday working visa. The requirements are different for each country and also depends on where you’re from.
Different Programs for Working Abroad
Nowadays there are a lot of initiatives for travelling and working abroad. We haven’t used any programs ourselves, because we applied directly for jobs. You can do this too and we’ll discuss this next.
But perhaps you would like some help with getting a job. We did some research and found programs that help you with this. For instance, take a look on the website of Global Work & Travel or on the website of Interexchange. You can find all sorts of jobs here, from volunteer work to teaching, and from being an Au Pair to internships. These initiatives are useful when you don’t really know how to get a job abroad, and help you to get a place to live.
Search for a Job Yourself
Not only may it be that you are not interested in hiring an agency to arrange a job abroad, you may also think these kind of programs are a bit limited in possibilities with travelling. You may not want housing and a steady job. In short, this may just not be the thing for you. Well, then it is best to search for a job yourself. When you are travelling and you notice you’re running out of money, start looking for a job. Talk to other travellers or locals. Let them know you need a job, if they know anything or ask for advice.
Go on Facebook and look for special Facebook groups. For instance, we’re connected to the Backpacker Jobs in Australia. People are posting all sorts of job openings here and a lot of other relevant tips as well.
Don’t spend a lot of money when travelling
If you want to spend more time travelling than working, make sure you don’t spend your money on unnecessary things. We are planning to travel in a camper through Australia. Although this is a big pile of money we have to spent in one time, it saves us a lot of money on accommodation and travel costs later on.
Buy groceries and make your own meals
This isn’t necessary if you’re travelling in most Asian countries. When we were travelling in Southeast Asia we could go out for breakfast, lunch and dinner with a budget of 30 euros per person. But if you’re planning on travelling in more expensive places, such as Australia, it really helps if you make your own breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Choose cheap or free accommodation
This is an obvious tip, but always choose reasonably prices accommodations. Look for great hostels or check Airbnb. It really depends on the destination, but for instance in most Asian countries you don’t even need to stay in a hostel to get a decent price. Often hotels are very affordable.
It’s even possible to find free accommodation in some places. Think about couch surfing or house sitting. Be sure to check out our article on how to become a house sitter for more information.
Volunteer in exchange for food and accommodation
It’s also possible to work in exchange for food and accommodation and not for money. For instance, check Workaway.info or WWOOF to find such opportunities. Of course this is a great way to explore a certain place and keep your money in your pocket.
Interesting books on Budget Travel
Get inspired by popular and praised books on budget travel! Sometimes other people can inspire you to finally take that leap of faith. Check out our post with 5 Best Budget Travel Books.
It’s definitely possible to go on a world trip without a big savings account. It’s might not be super luxurious, but you will have the time of your life.
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