5 Easy Tips to Travel When You’re Broke

Photo on Visual Hunt

Many people approach the prospect of traveling with a misconception that they need gobs of money to do it right. In reality, this is only true to an extent.

If “doing it right” means traveling first class, dining on the finest cuisine, and living like royalty, then this is true. However, if your objective is to simply experience the world in a different light and make some lifelong memories, you don’t need deep pockets to do so. There are all kinds of tricks and hacks to cover your bases with a minimal budget.

Let’s discuss.

  1. Look for Travel-Friendly Credit Cards

No one likes paying bills. Whether it be rent, utilities, cell phone, etc., that’s money you will simply never see again. Being as how it costs so much to simply live these days, there is no reason why you can’t get something back for spending all that money. If there’s one good thing about credit cards, it’s the rewards. More specifically, the travel points. These can be redeemed for airfare, hotels, car rentals, and more.

Look into a cards that will give you the most bang for your buck and start using them to rack up points. If you accumulate enough, your transit may not cost you a dime! Do your research and make sure you get a card that allows you to do this.

Just be sure to pay off the balance right away. Credit cards are a slippery slope!

  1. Travel in the Off Seasons

Traveling in the off season has two major benefits. For one, it’s MUCH cheaper. Two, there are way less tourists. This can make popular destinations a lot more bearable and you can see a lot more.

Most places have a good window in the fall and spring when prices are significantly lower than the high season, and you can still enjoy a decent temperature. If you don’t mind the cold, you could potentially save even more if you travel in the dead of winter. It all depends where you want to go!

  1. Look into House Sitting

We are very fortunate to live in a time when it’s incredibly easy to connect with other humans. There are all kinds of websites where you can get in contact with other travelers who need someone to watch their home while they are away. Nomador.com and TrustedHousesitters are great places to start. If it works out, you get an awesome place to stay, a more local experience, and you can even make some money while doing it! However, most people won’t just let anyone take care of their home.

In most cases, you need to make a serious effort to build a rapport with the people you meet through these sites. Best case scenario, they love you and you have a free place to stay whenever you go back!

  1. Work as You Go

One of the greatest things about living in the 21st century is that you can find work just about anywhere. As long as you have an internet connection, you can dedicate certain times in your trip to grab one-off freelance gigs and make some quick money. Sites like Upwork and Freelancer.com make this quick and simple. You can spend the morning hours of the day carrying out a quick project, then use the money you make to have an awesome night.

If you don’t feel like spending hours of your precious vacation time staring at a computer screen, you can look deeper into the local scene for odd jobs. Depending on where you are, this could involve any kind of random work like picking fruit for an afternoon, passing out flyers for a few hours, chopping vegetables, you name it. If you go into a hostel in your area, they probably have a job board set up for travelers in need of this type of short-term work.

  1. Take Advantage of Free Activities

Wherever you go, there is likely a going to be a wide range of activities to keep you busy. Some will come with a price, and others won’t. While there are plenty attractions around the world you should definitely shell out the money to see, in most places, you can have an awesome time without breaking the bank.

Look into things like free museums, public parks, hikes, ect. With a little research, you can certainly find ways to keep yourself entertained. If all else fails, you can always sit down and people watch!

Your Turn

Seeing the world is not something that is only available to the super rich. Ultimately, it all comes down to planning. If you want to enjoy yourself on a trip, you need to examine the destination beforehand to judge how traveler-friendly it is. At the end of the day, you’re not likely going to look back on your life and wish you had traveled less and worked more.


Kevin is a proud Southern California transplant from the Midwest. His love of travel and writing was the inspiration to create Impulsive Wanderlust. From 9 to 5, Kevin works in marketing as a professional copywriter. When he isn’t writing or traveling, Kevin is either rock climbing, hanging out at the beach, or seeking out his next favorite craft beer.


18 thoughts on “5 Easy Tips to Travel When You’re Broke

  1. I live by your point – travel in the off season. Not only are things (lodging, experiences) cheaper, but you usually don’t have to compete with as many tourists. Granted, sometimes it’s hard, especially if something that you want to do or experience is only at one time of year (Christmas markets in Europe, for example). I like the idea of working as you go. It’s easier to stay longer and not be as stressed about money.

  2. Loved all your tips for budget travel. I also prefer travel friendly credit cards, free activities of specific locations and going in off season. I agree with you that if we plan our travel then, it can become affordable hobby and not only for super rich people. Also we can make our travel piggy bank and in the end of year, we would be surprised to see how much we saved.

  3. We’re not especially frugal travellers but we don’t travel first class either. We splurge on things we like and economise elsewhere. My main suggestions would be to self cater and use hostels. Also, don’t be afraid to connect with people. We’ve stayed with people we’ve picked up when they were hitchhiking as well as relatives of facebook friends of facebook friends. Very random connections. Although sometimes these are more expensive than hotels because we take them out to dinner.

  4. These are great tips for traveling cheaper. I think traveling offseason is very beneficial. I don’t like crowds and it’s a great way to avoid them. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Ahhh thank you for sharing those house sitting sites! I’ve always wanted check it out but don’t know which sites are credible. And I love travelling off-season. Not only is it a whole lot cheaper, you get to avoid the crowds too!

  6. Great tips! We are currently on the road full-time and are applying for Upwork etc. Thanks for the tips! Your website is easy to navigate, great job!

  7. Absolutely agree with these great tips you have presented here! Travelling needs not be an expensive affair, as there are just so many ways to cut expenses including getting good flight deals and staying at hostels. I’ll need to check out those travel-friendly credit cards, though, as they seem to be really useful.

  8. Nice ideas. Its always helpful to find new ways of saving money while travelling, especially if you want to travel more and more! hahaha. Definitely travelling off season helps a lot.

  9. Great article! Today you don’t need to be rich to travel around the world. It’s a common misconception by people. When I’m broke I simply volunteer or work while building up my business.

  10. This is actually a wonderfully compiled list, practical and spot on. Haven’t really ventured into House sitting, but I follow the rest of the tips, and they turn out saving a lot.

  11. These are some amazing tips for saving and making money while travelling. It shows that you. Don’t need to. Be super rich to make your travel dreams a reality. Upwork is something I would love to explore in future. Travel cards of used wisely can be a savior

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