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How to Budget for Cheap Travel

The best things in life & travel are free...

The best things in life are free. Watching the sunset with your lover, canoing down an undiscovered river, an afternoon with good friends. But what about travel? Is it possible to jet around the world for free? Well, maybe not free - but cheap, yes.

how to travel on the cheaphow to travel on the cheapIf you're aching to take the trip of a lifetime, don't let a small thing like your wallet get in the way. Check out our top ways for traveling cheap - and let us know if we missed any. We'd love to hear your ideas too!

1.    Fly cheap

Saving money on airfare is the underpinning of my love for travel. I want a safe, cheap flight so I can spend my money at the destination - on great meals, the spa... Our Mr. GoGirlfriend wrote a simple plan for booking cheap online travel. Get out your laptop, pour a glass of wine and dig in. Finding cheap flights is easier than you think. Just remember, to save money, be flexible on arrival and departure times, prepare yourself for layovers between flights and don't be afraid to hop between carriers to get the best price.

2.    Enter a travel contest

win a travel contestwin a travel contestGoogle "travel contests" and you'll be amazed at how many websites host contests. Tour companies, airlines, cruise lines, resorts and tourism boards offer up prizes all the time and if you're happy to travel anywhere, you might end up traveling a lot more than you ever dreamed. Remember to read the restrictions closely - there may be blackout time periods.

3.    Exchange houses with other travelers

house sitting while travelinghouse sitting while travelingIf you live in an area of the world people want to visit, consider trading accomodations for travel. Flexibility is key when searching for a fellow house swapper. Renting out your home while travel or house sitting someone else's home is another option. Check out these organizations that will help you hook up with travel-dreaming-homeowners:

4.    Apply for a cruise ship job

work on a cruise shipwork on a cruise shipThink of the people you'll meet, the places you'll visit and the experiences you'll make. While making a lot of money may not be part of the plan, cruise lines around the world are always hiring. Always. Just remember, crew members work long hours, sleep below deck and spend a lot time dealing with demanding passengers. Pack plenty of patience and your sunshiny disposition before heading down this path.

5.    Carpool your way around the world

new opportunities to explorenew opportunities to exploreSharing a vehicle reduces fuel costs and is much safer than hitchhiking. Check out these websites for like-minded carpoolers:


6.    Volunteer your way around the world


see the world as a voluntouristsee the world as a voluntouristRegular readers of GoGirlfriend know we love sharing stories of travelers who've found a way to combine their love of travel with their love of volunteering. Whether you're interested in a once in a lifetime mission or you're eager to learn how to make voluntourism your new way of life, check out how these GoGirlfriend writers travel:


7.    Trade labor for accomodations


backpack opportunities aboundbackpack opportunities aboundHostels and boutique hotels will sometimes exchange work for a room - especially if you plan to stay in one spot for a longer time. HostelWorld lists jobs and message boards to connect you before you leave home. Bartering labor for lodging means there's no exchange of cash - and therefore no work visa required.

8.    Organize a group tour

Ever wonder why high school teachers put their hand up to chaperone 20 teenagers on a school trip? Simple, they get a steep discount while seeing some fantastic parts of the world. As the organizer, you pick a date and get people to sign up for the tour. The booking of accommodations, activities and tour guiding is done by a tour group.

9. Fundraise a team challenge

charity tourismcharity tourismThis is a fun new travel trend. Gather a team (or join an existing one), choose a charity and fundraise for it while a tour company customizes a challenge somewhere in the world. You and your team experience an adventure and the charity of your choice wins the financial reward of your efforts - you win the fun. Check out GlobalAdventures.com.

Got some budget travel tips for us? We'd love to hear you save money while following your bliss around the world. Connect with us on Twitter and Facebook - we'd love to hear your ideas!

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This is genius! Especially in this economy, most of these things I wouldn't even have thought of. I think the only one I was familiar with was finding the cheap flight tickets. It's really as easy as Googling "cheap airline tickets" haha. Thanks for this.

<b>Carpooling</b> increasingly describes specifically the sharing of commuter transportation. Friends sharing the drive to and from work. <br> <br> <b>Ride Sharing</b> is more and more specifically travel related. One trip of a long distance, often involving strangers. <br> <br> These are both very different from <b>Hitchhiking.</b> No standing at the road side ... hopefully. <br> <br> TWO very important sites that offer Ride Share listings in North America are: <br> -Craigslist.org <br> -Kijiji.com <br> Couchsurfing.org also has numerous ride sharing forums throughout it's pages, <br> <br> <a href="http://www.HitTheRoad.ca"><b>HitTheRoad.ca</b></a> is also worth checking out ( NOTE: Writer connected to business ). Vehicle Delivery can also offer budget travel in Canada and the USA>

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts, David. I enjoyed our banter on Twitter yesterday with Greg. And I'm really glad you dropped a link to HittheRoad.ca - I hadn't heard of it before Greg shared it with me. Now about that Mercedes... Julia, unabashed travel addict

I love this post, it opens doors to everyone. We all have the ability we just need to take the leap. I had an incredible experience with a fella I carpooled with. We drove from Toronto to San Diego to Toronto. Stopping in Denver, Colarado Springs, Vale, Vegas, Mojave Dessert, San Diego Malibu Beach, Grand Canyon Sedona, Carlsbad Caverns, St Louis to name a few highlights of our trip. We made a decision early on to be adults and share a room with two queen sized beds, so that saved us so much money. We bought a plug in cooler so we could buy snacks and drinks. Makes a bottle of water 25 cents vs $1.50 ***Please note I checked 3 references for this fella and I felt completely comfortable with him. Even so when travelling I always had cash, passport and credit cards on me so, if at any time I felt uncomfortable I could hop a plane home. 16 days - $900 Another great way to experience the area you are travelling to is use www.meetup.com you will meet locals and experience the area with them. MeetUp was founded after 911 to get people out of the house to meet in real life, now there are groups all around the world. I have used this service in Canada, US & Uk and had great experiences.Most charge a nominal fee $2 plus your personal costs. The next one on my list to try is https://www.couchsurfing.org/ I have had two girlfriends use this service when travelling to Hawaii, Cayman Islands, US etcThey loved it. I would love to hear from anyone else who as used thisf. Please keep the ideas coming looking forward to many more adventures! Sam

Hey Sam, Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your story. I can see my Mom wagging her finger now - you went where with who???? What were you thinking???? You are a testament that this kind of sharing works - brilliantly! For more budget tips, come back and see us next week - we have a new writer starting with us and she's got some great ideas for budge travel too - couch surfing being one of them. Thanks again, Sam!

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