Cheap Destinations Backpackers, in my opinion, shouldn’t restrict themselves to locations that are easily accessible on a tight budget. I’ve been a backpacker to several pricey places, including the Maldives, Japan, Australia, Iceland, and Hong Kong, and I’ve still been able to accomplish most or all of their must-do activities on a relatively tight budget. essentially on a backpacker’s budget.

I’ll share with you 17 strategies I employ on a daily basis to reduce my travel expenses:

1. Establish a budget goal first and foremost.


Establish a spending limit that represents the most you will feel comfortable spending on this vacation, whether it be a daily or overall budget. Try doing some research by searching for terms like “how much does it cost to travel in [Machu Picchu],” “cost of a week-long trip in [Perú],” or anything similar on Google. You can also visit to see the average cost per place.

Although their estimates are not exact, they will provide you with a general sense of what to expect.
To find out if your goal is attainable, compare those figures to your desired budget. If so, decide if you want your trip to be luxurious, mid-range, affordable, or just basic. I make it a point to spend no more than $50 a day, for instance. This is a basic budget in Norway; in Thailand, it would be considered mid-range.

I knew that I would have relied too much on couchsurfing and hitchhiking, which are fairly common in Norway, even if I could have explored the country for around that daily budget.
To have a little more comfort and freedom, I decided to increase my daily spending to $80 in order to attend some excursions, ride trains, and do other activities.

2. Use hotel and flight points, or miles, to hack your trip.


The art of travel hacking is figuring out how to avoid paying as much money on flights, hotel stays, and other travel-related expenses by either manipulating the system or making the most of the points and miles you accrue. You may significantly reduce your average daily spending by using points and miles to redeem for free travel and accommodations.

I covered how to discover the cheapest flights in depth in my last piece, and using miles or points was one of the strategies we spoke about. Points and miles must be considered money in the strictest sense of the word. Like any other currency, it has to be earned and used at a specific value.
Enroll in your preferred hotel and airline reward programs to start earning points and miles that you can utilize for your benefit.

Check the number of miles or points you receive for every dollar you spend, as well as the value of these rewards when you redeem them for a hotel stay or trip. Every program has a different value.

3. Look for places to stay other than hotels.


Try using a website like Vrbo or something similar to rent a room or apartment. Some lodging options offer a weekly or monthly price that is lower if you plan to remain in the city for an extended period of time. You can give them a call in advance or ask them directly at the reception for such long-term pricing. If you utilize the points/miles method (described above) or have the flexibility to book them at the last minute, hostels are also a terrific and well-liked alternative to spending less on lodging.

When you book a hotel the day before or the same day, websites like frequently give you a significant discount. These lodging establishments would rather turn a tiny profit at the last minute than have a vacant room. I often plan my vacations on the fly; therefore, I utilize this strategy a lot.

Finally, look for Couchsurfing hosts in your destination if you’d like free lodging. Couchsurfing is an international travel social network where individuals from all over the world open their houses to provide a free place to stay for other travelers. You can utilize Couchsurfing, as demonstrated in this post.

4. Look for independent coffee shops and street food vendors.

When I go out to dine, I usually spend a few minutes searching for eateries on foot. I seek out tiny cafés first, then street food vendors if the pricing at restaurants doesn’t satisfy me. The cheapest choice is almost always street food, which is also frequently the best. Don’t be scared to ask them about any specials they may be offering when you go in. Not every restaurant posts all of its specials on the menu.

5. Places for Online Orders

Ask for their daily offers, but also look for discounts and coupons that are exclusive to online orders. To get consumers to utilize their app or website, several restaurants offer exclusive promotions that are available online.

Usually, these internet orders are for “carry-out,” but depending on the restaurant, you might be able to stay and eat there instead.

6. Eat Lunchtime for Your Best Meal

Major city restaurants often provide a lunch menu available at a fraction of the regular price. Depending on the restaurant, these reduced costs are occasionally limited to carry-out or pick-up meals exclusively and are sometimes restricted to a certain time window (such as 11 am to 2 pm).

I make an effort to have a hearty lunch when I discover these less expensive lunch menus so that I can afford a smaller supper—which would ideally be less expensive than a big, I’m-very-hungry evening.

7. Consider “The Spillover Theory.”


Although suggestions from guides are generally well-received, there are occasions when businesses suffer from poor service or increase their costs following their “guidebook fame.”
If the suggested hotel or restaurant does not live up to your expectations, consider “spilling over” to a nearby hotel or eatery.

These nearby locations typically absorb the excess customers (the overflow) from the famous spot and frequently offer the same or better service for less money.
Since the reviews are objective and contributed by other tourists, I usually advise looking up those “guidebook-famous” hotels on Booking or TripAdvisor.

Once more, use the spillover principle. For example, if the well-known hotel featured in guidebooks is ranked #5 on TripAdvisor, find the hotel ranked #6, #7, and so on, and compare the two. Based on your demands and specifications, select the best option.

Tour operators are in the same boat. Tour operators always strive to improve their offerings in order to draw in more clients because the travel market is very competitive. Again, checking reviews for every trip operator is something I strongly advise.

8. Purchase food from local morning markets and supermarkets.

Purchasing food like a local is the only way to eat cheaply. Shop for veggies and other foods you can prepare at home at the neighborhood store.

Morning markets are great places to find lower-cost options for purchasing locally produced commodities, including fresh vegetables. All you need to do is be a morning person!

9. Be a “late customer.”

When it’s almost time for closure, a lot of convenience stores, supermarkets, bakeries, and coffee shops give away some of their perishable inventory at a reduced price. Companies would rather turn a profit on the unsold doughnuts, cupcakes, cooked pasta, etc. than discard them as a loss. You may find out these sale pricing and timings by asking the cashier whether there are any sales going on during the day. To encourage business early in the morning, some companies, on the other hand, provide an “early bird” discount.

Don’t hesitate to inquire whether there is a “secret” menu as well. There are several chains that are well-known for having hidden menu items, like Five Guys, Chili’s, and Starbucks.
For instance, Subway is unable to give away or sell damaged cookies; thus, if you inquire if they have any, they will give them to you for free.

10. Check the schedules for local attractions (when is it free?)

On one day of the week or month, a lot of museums, pubs, and attractions are free. Certain attractions waive admission fees during specific hours of operation but may impose fees later in the day during peak hours or during major events.

Request the free schedule of local attractions by asking around at tourist information booths. Otherwise, to view all of your alternatives, conduct an internet search for “free things to do in _____.”
In fact, I have a number of postings about free activities available in many places, including Denver, Las Vegas, New York City, Chicago, and others.

11. Guide Yourself Using Apps

I utilize applications like Google Travel’s map and TripAdvisor’s activity map to find out what sights are nearby and to get a quick overview of them. I have been able to navigate the city on my own by using these apps, seeing the attractions without the assistance of a tour or guide.

Additionally, by using geocached photographs, these apps—especially Trover—are great for finding “hidden” locations. When I traveled Australia’s Great Ocean Road, Trover performed wonders for me. I was able to locate all the places I wanted to see and more with it.

12. Enjoy complimentary walking tours.

Free walking tours of the downtown area are available in many large towns. Use them to your advantage since they are frequently quite informative and perhaps even superior to professional excursions.
People who like their city and enjoy exhibiting it to tourists frequently lead these trips. Remember to tip the guide, even if it’s free, as many of them do not get paid.

13. Take local transportation.


It is imperative that you do this. Spending like a local requires riding like a local. You ought to use the city’s buses if that’s how the natives get around. Take trains and trams too, if that’s how people get around. If you were a resident of this place, consider how you would routinely get from point A to point B without breaking the bank.

How will you now know which bus or train to board? Nearly every major city on the globe has excellent public transit routes plotted by Google Maps. I utilize it every day. I found it difficult to locate public transit lines using Google Maps in certain locations, such as Kuwait City. However, I was able to locate the bus routes by visiting the local transportation website. Ask your host or hotel as well; they may be aware of the best ways to reach any points of interest.

14. Purchase attraction tickets

A “city card” or bundle pass is available in many large cities with pricey attractions, allowing you to access them for a much lower cost. If you are certain that you will visit enough attractions to justify the cost and the savings, then just purchase this. Numerous cities’ worth of attraction passes are available through Viator.

15. Keep tabs on your expenses.

Absolutely, you have to! I find it very helpful to keep track of everything I spend so I can see where my money is going and how much is left over from my budget. I do this using the TravelSpend app.
I use graphs to keep track of my expenditures by category and daily average, which helps me keep track of how much I spend at each place. I monitor all of my spending by country.

16. There Is Strength in Stats

While traveling alone could allow you to get by on a tight budget, sharing costs for things like lodging, transportation, and meals when traveling in a group or as a pair can help keep costs down. Generally speaking, I travel alone, but occasionally I meet individuals while traveling, and if our paths align, we may spend a few days or even weeks traveling together.

I set out on my own to travel throughout South America on land. Travelers following the same “gringo trail” north of Ushuaia began to cross my path. We were three travelers together in no time, six later, and eight at one point! To keep our expenses as low as possible, we pooled our resources to split lodging, groceries, transportation, and other expenses. My primary strategy for visiting Easter Island and the Galapagos Islands for a far lower cost than usual was this one.

17. Remember to have a local perspective.

It’s important to reiterate this point, even if I’ve already said it. The secret to spending as little money as possible is to think like a native. Never stop asking yourself, “If I lived here, how could I do X cheaply?”

I have visited numerous remote and exotic places, including the Maldives, the Galapagos, Mauritius, and Easter Island, among many others, and have done so on a minimal budget, many of them for $50 per day or less, thanks to this local thinking and many of the aforementioned ideas. The aforementioned links take readers to my blogs, where I describe the best low-cost travel options for each of those locations.

In closing, I would like to stress that you must adopt a local mindset in order to travel on a budget. Consider the following: if this were your home city, how would you regularly explore it without going over budget?

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