If you spend your lunch breaks checking flights to Europe and counting the empty pages in your passport, you need these tips.
I pretty much think of my paycheck in terms of rubles, yuan, zloty or leu. And I love to save money, because that means I have more cash for weekend trips to Amsterdam and more money for smoothies in Thailand, right? And don’t even get me started on my Pinterest “travel board”…it’s out of control. But that’s okay because there are ways to afford the sometimes expensive travel hobby.
Thinking you need more ways to save?
Here's how I paid less to live abroad
Some of these tips are sort of obvious because apart from a couple of exceptions, you can’t really travel for free. But you can make it more affordable if you do what I do:
I Volunteered With ILP
I know you’re reading this on the ILP blog so it’s no surprise I’m going to talk about ILP even more…but honestly my semester abroad in China was a one steal of a deal. For a set program cost, I had my flights, visa, housing, food, support and culture classes covered for an entire semester.
The affordable cost of this program is what initially got me hooked…there was no way I could live in a foreign country for 4.5 months for that amount of money. But it’s true, and went back again as a Head Teacher for basically free.
They've got countries all over the world and it was rough just picking one, but I loved my time in China and also spent a semester in Russia as a Head Teacher.
I Don't Travel Alone
When you travel with a friend, you can split the cost of a cab. And a hostel room. And dinner. And snacks. You save so much money when you travel with a friend because you can share everything… You and your friend can split your stuff into 2 slightly larger carry ons instead of one of you paying for a piece of checked luggage. Genius, right?
This kind of goes along with volunteering with ILP, since you'll be set up with a group of volunteers to travel with during your semester. Solo trips are fun, but you always end up saving money when you bring at least one friend along.
I Save Every Little Thing
The main reason I’ve been able to travel so much is because I’ve saved. I keep a separate bank account that is only for travel. I put money in that account every single pay check which means I don’t have an endless new shoe budget. But to me it’s worth it. I might not have 27 pairs of shoes, but I do have 2,700 pictures of me adventuring in Bali which I think is way better. I tend to use the free version of things like Spotify to save even more, and skip out on buying new clothes, or things like getting my nails or hair done. It's a sacrifice, but the money I save turns into plane tickets every single year.
I Book Cheap Flights
I’m on a ton of different email subscriptions and stuff that let me know the best flights. It’s not perfect because you can’t choose when or where flights will be cheap, but it adds a bit of adventure to decide to vacation in Denmark just because flights were $375. Get more info on booking cheap flights here.
I Travel In Affordable Countries
It makes sense when you think about it, but your trip is going to cost way less if you travel in a country where your money gets you further. In some places in Asia, $10 means breakfast, lunch, dinner and a hostel. No kidding.
The flight is always my most expensive purchase, so I try to save once I get there. But Asia isn’t the only place you can travel to cheap: Here are some of the most affordable countries you can travel to.
Thinking you're ready for an adventure?
Come volunteer with ILP! When I heard I could live abroad for a few months for the same price I would be paying to visit just for a couple of weeks, I was totally sold. We have countries all over the world with ILP representatives who are here to help you out.