Travel the World on Your Own Budget

By: Rhea Tomlinson (BMR-PT, BA)

Certified in Acupuncture & Dry Needling

RYT 200 hour


Aitutaki, Cook Islands

Many people want to travel but feel they cannot due to many reasons such as their budget. This blog will give you tips on how to see the world on your budget!

First prioritize how much travelling means to you. You would be surprised on the things you can cut out of life temporarily, such as coffee or going out and put the money saved into a travel budget. It all just depends where your priorities lie and if you actually do want to travel. If you want to go out more or prefer to have nice things instead then do that! Travelling does not have to be for everyone.

Here are some tips on how to save for a trip:

  1. If you are on a tight budget, set aside a pre-determined amount each day (i.e $5-10 per day) for a set number of months until you reach your trip budget.
  2. For Christmas and birthdays if people are asking what you would like for gifts ask for items for your travels (or money).
  3. Give yourself enough time to save. I have planned my trips over the past 12 years a year ahead of time. That gives me a whole year to save my goal amount.

Choose your budget and build your dream trip from there. First and foremost, you have to decide what you can actually spend on your trip. It might be a thousand dollars, it might be forty thousand. Be realistic with yourself and then you can choose your destination and duration of the trip.

If you have a tight budget, really consider the destinations on your bucket list; read travel blogs, or buy lonely planets to learn about your desired destinations and decide if they will be feasible. For example: Asia is markedly cheaper than Australia or Northern Europe. Some areas of South and Central America are cheaper than others; if you visit places like Nicaragua, Guatemala or Colombia you will save a ton compared to visiting Costa Rica or Brazil. If you decide on Europe you can choose the countries that are a bit cheaper to tour and there are many! If you are not sure, talk to people who have traveled to these regions, or search the internet.

Once you have chosen your destination await seat sales. Check budget airlines and booking agents such as Cheapoair which price compares through multiple airlines for you. Double check your credit card points and see if you can put these towards your tickets.

Foz Do Iguacu, Brazil

Accommodation might be the biggest money saver. Decide how much accommodation means to you. For me, outside of my wedding trip for the one week while we were on the Cook Islands, it almost never does. I prefer to put my money into our excursions, knowing we spend very little time in the room. However, you want to spend more time in your room or resort and maybe a private pool or beach front is highly important. If so, you will budget your adventures and destination accordingly. If you have 2-4 people travelling with you, you will save per room if you are sharing. Consider Airbnb’s or VRBO in people’s homes as they can be huge money savers. You could spend ten-hundreds of dollars, even thousands a night on accommodation. You can also get entire private apartments or houses that are competitive with hotel rates and much more spacious. Again, this will all depend on what is on your priority list and everyone’s will be different.

Check reviews and ensure if you are spending less on accommodations that the hostel or room you are renting is clean and reputable (no bed bugs!). If you are staying in an Airbnb home or room (which I highly recommend and have done often), check the renters ratings and reviews prior to booking. Airbnb also shows photos and google map, so you can check out the cleanliness and location of your hosts home.

I am a big fan of saving on busy days where we just want to lay our heads down and splurging on days when we want to relax at our place by their pool, beach, or use other amenities that come with nice accommodations. Remember to get an idea of accommodation pricing, but to not book all of your accommodations until you know your activities and destinations you want to see along the way.

Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Once you have chosen your accommodations choose your “must see attractions”. With Google it is now so easy to find adventures to suit your interests. Choose the activities that fit in your budget; there might be a luxury island nearby, but that might cost as much as your entire trip budget and may have to wait for your “future trip ideas”. When I travel I know I cannot possibly do everything in the short time I am visiting, so I spend a lot of time prioritizing what cannot be missed, and what is in close enough proximity to make it worth visiting in terms of time and budget.

Sand Dune Ride in Huacchina, Peru

Sand Dune Ride in Huacchina, Peru

Save money on transport, especially if you are gone for weeks or months. Take the train, take the bus, get a bus pass. This means downloading metro apps or pre planning your routes prior to leaving your nearest Wi-Fi. Cabs and Ubers add up way too quickly when you are gone for longer than a week. If you are flying check out local, budget airlines.

Tuk Tuk Ride in Agra, India

Tuk Tuk Ride in Agra, India

Minimize your shopping. Set aside a “shopping budget” for souvenirs, clothes, etc. Shopping can get out of hand quickly and make your trip seem very pricey.

You can eat fast food for $5 or a fancy dinner for hundreds, or something in between. Consider setting a daily budget for food so you can stay on track. A great way to save money on food is renting accommodation with a kitchen and buy groceries. If you are out for the day pre-pack a lunch. Go out and enjoy the cuisine of course, but this can get pricey quickly if you are on a long holiday and going out three meals per day.

Fresh Tuna Steaks we caught in Rarotonga, Cook Islands for dinner

Fresh Tuna Steaks we caught in Rarotonga, Cook Islands for dinner

Plan the duration of your trip last. Once you know what your flight, accommodation, activities and food budget are set how many days-months is feasible without breaking the bank.

“The world is a book and those who do not travel only read one page.”- St. Augustine

Goa, India

Goa, India

Writer Rhea Tomlinson has a strong passion for travel and has been touring the World since the age of 15. Even working through 7 years of secondary education, Rhea has been able to gratefully visit 28 countries around the world including areas in Asia, South, North & Central America, Europe & New Zealand. Rhea truly believes she is the person she is today from her life experiences travelling and exploring this world’s wondrous beauties and heartbreaking hardships.

If you have any questions in regard to this blog, please reach out to our amazing Zen Physiotherapy team!




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