Travel doesn’t have to be expensive. With countless hacks to snag affordable airfare, find budget accommodations and earn money abroad, that dream trip may be more within reach than anticipated.
Start by finding affordable airfare
There are many tricks to saving on airfare—from the flight search engine you choose to knowing the cheapest days to travel. According to Rick Seaney, the CEO of FareCompare, “Always compare airfare prices on a comparison search site and always search a day or two ahead and behind your targeted itinerary dates. The savings may surprise you.”
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
In terms of the perfect time to travel this summer, Seaney suggests avoiding June 15–August 29, which is peak season and likely to yield higher priced tickets. Rather, late May and late August are good times to fly to snag cheaper fares. If you must fly during peak season, Airfarewatchdog says that, “The lowest in-and-out [flight] combinations tend to include outbound flights on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday with return flights on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, or Thursday.” Avoiding traveling on a Friday and returning on a Sunday can save you up to 20 percent on airfare.
Look to travel to cheaper countries
While London may burn a hole in your wallet, Vietnam will find you living like a king. If keeping a budget is top of mind and traveling longer is the goal, then look to travel to cheaper countries. Forbes reports that the cheapest destinations to travel to this year include: Mexico, South Africa, Morocco and Cambodia. As a rule of thumb, Southeast Asia and South America will always stretch your dollars compared to Europe.
Choose affordable accommodations
Outside of flights, hotels can prove the biggest expense when heading abroad. Large name hotels, all-inclusive resorts and high-end boutiques might be fun for a night splurge but will suck up your funds in a flash.
The options of where to stay don’t necessarily need to be whittled down to comfortable vs. cheap; there are plentyof places to sleep that are both affordable and nice. Great alternatives to hotels are Airbnb rentals and hostels. Hostels can often get a bad reputation as being an enclave of twenty-somethings who like to party, but many hostels are now being recognized and awarded for their quality accommodations.
Better yet, stay for FREE
That’s right, you can do more than find affordable accommodations, you can stay for free. Worldpackers allows you to stay at hostels around the world for free in exchange for your skills. Whether an experienced photographer, social media maven or willing to do hard labor, you can find free beds at a hostel in exchange for supporting their staff. Similarly, WWOOF provides travelers with room and board in exchange for their volunteer work on a local farm.
Choosing affordable activities
If you’re hoping to do more than wander around aimlessly, consider free walking tours and other cheap activities to enjoy while abroad. Vayable is a great resource where locals post tours and activities for visitors.
Earn money while traveling
One of the best ways to make travel more affordable is to earn money while traveling. If headed on a one-week vacation, then earning money abroad may not be a priority; but if traveling long term, earning money can mark the difference between continuing your adventure or packing up early.
A popular way to earn money while traveling is to teach english abroad. Companies like World Teach do not require teaching experience or certification for their programs. World Teach provides a living stipend to their volunteers, paired with the experience of living abroad. Another option is to take on freelance work while traveling. Upwork allows you to post your resume and apply for various freelance projects that can be done remotely, anywhere in the world. Other ways to earn money while traveling include working as a temporary au pair and housesitting.
If you’re traveling long-term or simply looking to enjoy a vacation without suffering a financial loss, then it comes down to traveling frugally. Take local transportation or walk instead of ordering a taxi or Uber. Eat street food, shop at grocery stores and buy from farmer’s markets instead of dining at fine restaurants. If available in the destination, use discount cards such as CityPASS to save on local attractions, museum entry and tickets.
Saving for travel before the trip
While there are ways to cut down expenses while traveling, making travel more affordable starts before the plane takes off. Take a look at your monthly expenses, what can you cut? If you forego that daily Starbucks coffee, you can save money. If you cook at home one night vs. order food, that’s saving money. If you funnel a portion of your paycheck to a travel savings account, you can sit back and watch as the money grows. Apps like Mint can help analyze your personal spending and help you save for that dream trip.
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I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.