Save Money on Long Term Travel | The Ultimate Guide

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This article is aimed at those who are currently travelling the world and trying to remain conscious of their budget or those who are thinking of taking the plunge and trying backpacking, taking a career break or just needing longer trips than the typical holiday.

Most people who are travelling long term will be budget conscious (and even the fortunate ones who are not, may have a time where they need to be).

My mindset when I was working abroad or travelling with open ended tickets was to make it last as long as possible. I didn’t want to be rushed and I wated to have the freedom to stay a bit longer or move one, I also wanted to be able to explore the local areas and enjoy experiences.

Save Money on Long Term Travel | The Ultimate Guide


Backpacker Dorm Room - Source @Unsplash by Nicate Lee
Backpacker Dorm Room – Source @Unsplash by Nicate Lee


Hostels are changing and they have been for the last 15 years as the millennial travel boom hit. My first tip for accommodation options is to stay in hostels where possible, it is rare in life you will be part of such a diverse group in a relaxed space.

  • Where you are all able to exchange your research on the local area of the places to go and avoid.
  • You may want to do group bookings to save further on day trips nearby.
  • The price of staying in hostels is generally a lot cheaper than hotels, BnB’s and home rentals.
  • In addition to this, these are the people that can understand your excitement when heading somewhere new and the annoyance with some of the little things from time to time (that only travellers can empathise with).

You can also book private rooms to give you that bit of Separating. Our favourite sites for finding hostels and tips for backpackers:

Many backpackers will help you to find temporary work if you need or want it, they will also help you with booking and saving money in the area.

House Shares

House sharing websites will vary from country to country but I have included a few below that may be useful. When staying in an area for longer than a month it may make sense to pay monthly or weekly rates rather than nightly. Whilst some small backpackers might be willing to negotiate and give you a deal when staying longer, sometimes you just want your own room and a little bit of a quieter option.

Book With Travel Friends

When travelling overseas you may find you spend a lot of time with the same group of people. If you get along with them well enough if might be worth seeing if you can book accommodation together. Having more bookings and going direct may allow you to get a cheaper rate on hotels or hostels. Even better than that finding an apartment or home on, VRBO, Flipkey or Air BnB can work out cheaper. Find apartments, small holiday homes etc and split the costs.


This has become increasingly popular as a free accommodation option and websites such as trusted house sitters have made this easily accessible with a small annual fee for unlimited stays. In most cases you are also looking after household pets but you can get both long term and short term accommodations. There are also lots of other house sitting site options to chose from.

You could also consider couch surfing, room cancellations and many other ways to save money on accommodation mentioned in our article here:

Ultimate Guide To Saving Money On Accommodation


I’m going to keep this section brief as I have written an article to help with finding deals and saving money on travel. But there are a few key ways as a long term traveller you can save more and get around a little quicker when needed.


I’ve covered this in more detail in my other article on travel transport, but one thing that I need to point out to regular travellers or those who are continually moving around is multi-stop deals. If you are able to plan ahead you can get round the world flights and multi-stop flights for the same price or fractionally more than a normal flight. Your travel needs to be all in the same direction, never back on itself. So if you head from the U.K to eastern Europe you can’t head back and get the same deal, it would then need to continue east.

Check flight deals from Visa companies or representatives. If you are on temporary visas or working holidays etc, some companies that offer these, don’t charge any more or maybe £50 more than the original visa, but in return you get vouchers and discounts to your destination. When I went to New Zealand and decided on a working holiday visa, I had to get this done quick (my original plan was a open ended ticket to go for 2 -4 weeks(ish), closer to the time I wanted to go longer). With this I got discounts with major airlines, vouchers for hostels, free additional nights stays in hotels when booking with them, free upgrades, free meals. I also got bungee jumping in Taupo for less than £30.

Renting Cars or Campers

Check if you are able to do relocation services and save a fortune. Imoova is a top one for campervans in a range of countries. Drive me can be useful in the U.K. for cars. They are very cheap and a great reason to plan a road trip that works with these.

Car Markets and Auctions

Online Car Markets such as Ebay and Trademe can be really useful but don’t underestimate the need to offload vehicles at markets. Many will lower the opening bid, some markets will have times of the year they are overloaded with vehicles and you might be able to negotiate a better deal. Owning a car for your travel can be really useful and cheaper than renting when you are travelling for longer periods of time. Whats more if you meet travellers who you are working or staying with you can split cost of fuel for day trips or getting around.

Getting around your location

Obviously walking is the cheapest and easiest way to do this but sometimes you might need to be a bit quicker and other times you just want to have a bit of fun. Why not consider alternative modes of transport.

  • Rather than relying on public transport when in one spot for a while you could invest in a bicycle or skateboard. The instinct to hop on a bus when in a city or grab a taxi can end up with you spending a small fortune. When I lived in Greece, loads of us used to skateboard to work and when we were travelling to the next village we’d cycle.
  • Renting a bike in a city can even be cheaper than the fuel to get to the same place.
  • Electric scooters are also a cheap way to get around many cities and growing in popularity.

For more ways to Save Money On Travel Transport check out our article dedicated to this. We have researched and collected resources for travellers to use and keep up to date.

Work Abroad

Working Holiday Visas

The first thing that comes to mind when you consider working abroad is a working holiday visa. These are available in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan and the United Kingdom. I high recommend having this experience with a visa that allows you to pick up work with the freedom to stay in a country for a longer period of time without having to commit to minimum time working.

I did a range of work when on my working holiday visa including:

I initially worked a few days a week for pay with an agency and then explore the local area during the long weekends. I also worked on a vineyard which resulted in us getting cheap deals in local hostels in partnership with our bosses. This also allowed me to extend my visa. I also got to work in restaurants, leisure centres and hotels.

However one issue with these are the age caps.

Other Options For Working Abroad

Most working holidays are capped at 30 years old (with the odd exceptions such as the international exchange programmes that are a few years older). If you are within the age to do this I would look into it as the visa fee’s are relatively low (comparable to working permits or visa’s) and they often come with some partnerships with agencies for work and accommodation. I went with visa bureau for my working holiday to New Zealand and got lots of perks from this.

Here are a list of top websites to help you find work when travelling. I have included this section as most of us as some point will need to stop travelling and head home if we aren’t bringing in some kind of income to fund this (unless you are fortunate enough to be Rich or have won the lottery). So many of the contracts that are aimed at travellers or available in locations of interest to tourism provide accommodation.

I’d also suggest checking out temp agencies when on the go. Plan ahead and send your C.V, let them know the dates you are in the area, be flexible and open to extending where possible.

Also check out our range of articles on working abroad from those who have been there and done that.

Remote or Co Working

Something that has become more popular over recent years with more jobs becoming location independent allowing those with the necessary skills to create businesses or work from anywhere with just their laptop. From bloggers, writers, photographers and doctoral students proofing their thesis.

Save Money on long term travel by remote or co working, picking up short jobs along the way.

Sometimes we just need a place away from home, inspired by a snippet of travel, with space to work and focus away from the usual distractions. This is a great way to go to a new location like a local, get work done and still enjoy the area in the evenings or days off. Because these retreats tend to be pre-booked with limited spaces, you may be sharing rooms with others or communal space. For many travellers this is a great option and the price of staying in higher end lodges or accommodation is quite a lot cheaper than booking a traditional hotel or apartment.

First hand experiences:

Check out our guest contributors post on running a remote fitness business in bali here.

You can read about Marya’s experience with co-working in Izmir, Turkey here.

Finding spaces to work

The below links are for great for finding accommodation and work friendly space. Whether you are working on the go or wanting to create a new project check them out:

Also don’t underestimate the impact of interaction and idea sharing with like minded travellers.

By Volunteering

Volunteer or offer your time in exchange for accomodation to save money on long term travel

If you want to stay a while in a location you could get your stay for free or very cheap by helping out. This can often be in homestead/farms, teaching languages or volunteering your existing skills.

• In New Zealand, I volunteered a few nights a week at a backpackers on reception and received free accommodation for my three months in the city.

• In England I volunteered for a summer in the Lake district. I got to live in a cabin in the woods on the edge of Lake Windermere and leading outdoor sports sessions for children.

Some places allow you to stay anywhere from a few days to a few months, renovating a house or garden, helping on a farm, exchanging your skills for cheap or free stay etc. Here Are Some Useful Websites for Volunteering

  • HelpX
  • Work Away
  • Wwoof International – Volunteer on farms, vineyards, homesteads, travel and backpackers for free accommodation in awesome locations or helping to extend your visa
  • Fit Bodies For Temporary Fitness instructing on resorts in tropical locations in exchange for free or heavily discounted stay.
  • Moving Worlds Share your existing skills with others whilst exploring the world

Some of the above include paid work also and we have also included a bit more further down in this article.

There are some other volunteer websites where you will pay a premium whilst volunteering on specific projects from building orphanages, to rescuing and rehabilitation in animal sanctuaries. These can be a fantastic way to save money on travel overall, given that the accommodation, food and costs for additional experiences are often included in this package. However, this is more suited to those taking a sabbatical from work, gap year that have a bit of a larger total budget. There are so many to chose from but you would need some time and initial outlay of costs. These are some of the most well known – Go Eco, GVI, Fronteering, Via Volunteers, Abroadly etc…

Study OR Learn A New Skill Whilst Travelling

Learning a new skill formally or informally isn’t necessarily something that will save you money straight away but in the long term can add so much value to your travel experience.

Not only this but many courses will offer accommodation inclusive options.

  • If you learn the local language whilst travelling you are more likely to get cooperation from locals, get help when you need it and get respect.
  • You can offer to exchange your skills with others who you need help from.
  • Potential income earner if its a skill thats transferable to a job or career in a new location or one that allows you to travel.
  • Immersing yourself in a course can allow you to stay focussed and appreciate things a bit more than when you have all the distractions and demands of learning near or in your home.
  • Events and festivals often need travelling staff to support them on the ground. With many of them paying for travel expenses, giving days off to explore and often come with accomodation packages.

Learn to Lead Activities

Sometimes plans just don’t happen, you might find yourself stuck in a place for a little longer than intended, unable to get out much due to weather, funds or location.

Why not make the most of your time, teach yourself something with so many online tools it could be cooking a new recipe or learning how to take photographs that you can exchange or sell, start a blog or vlog etc.

Similar Money Saving For Travel

I soon learnt some of the key areas I could save money and how I could extend my travel:

  1. The Accommodation – For accommodation tips check out my Ultimate Guide To Saving Money On Travel Accommodation
  2. The Transport – Keep an eye out for our article on Saving Money On Transport.
  3. Food and Drink
  4. Share Your Skills Volunteering or Working abroad – You may also like out our Work and Travel
  5. Study Abroad
  6. Learn New Skills – transfer your new skills into something you can earn money or use skills exchange to negotiate a stay or experiences during travel.

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Follow Nicole:

Owner of Travels and Wandering | Lecturer by Day, Nomad at Heart Adventure Travel Tester | Outdoor Instructor | Mountaineering and Outdoors Researcher | Strength and Conditioning Coach | Yoga Instructor | Personal Trainer | Fitness Pro | Endo Warrior, Pelvic Congestion Syndrome, Spoonie

6 Responses

  1. Alma

    A wealth of information in this blog, definitely worth referring to when embarking on long and short term travel. Thanks for sharing this info.

  2. Renata

    I’m planning to let go of my steady job as soon as I can so that I can travel fulltime. If I don’t discover a gold mine by then,
    I’ll have to watch my budget a bit. Therefore, your tips are really valuable since I’ve never been in the position where I really had to watch my means.

  3. Sue

    Great ideas here & through the years I have done many of these to either keep travel costs down, earn a bit more so I can stay away for longer or just because they are a great way to meet people & enhance your travel experience.

    Long term travel definitely requires a different mindset so thanks for all the tips & insights.

  4. Linda (LD Holland)

    Some good tips for saving money when travelling.  We do like to travel with a bit of luxury.  But we are “thrifty” by nature and save when we can to splurge on other things.  We often save money when getting around town with local buses or bikes.  I like the idea of looking for savings when relocating a car or camper van.

  5. Larch Gauld

    Some great ideas here! I have housesat around the world and it is a fabulous way to immerse yourself in the community if you stay for a few weeks/months.
    I also made sure I have work that I can take with me (I am a web designer) which gives me the flexibility to work anywhere, Thank you for sharing your tips and I will be referring back to this often,

  6. Ann

    I have never thought of trying to do some volunteer work in exchange for accomodations, but that seems like a great way to savesome extra money! I am so looking forward to reading your other articles for saving money on travel

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