How To Travel The World On 25 $ A Day - Tips To Travel On A Budget
Updated: Jul 27, 2022
People often ask me how I finance my travels...
I haven't won the lottery nor have I been working in any exceptionally high-paid job. Still, I can spend most of my time traveling.
In this article I tell you how you can do the same and travel for cheap - for as little as 25 $ a day (or 750 $ a month).
Table of Contents:
1. Choosing the right destination
3. Finding The Right Accommodation
4. Food (Cooking and Eating Out)
5. Transportation (Cheap flights)
6. Transportation (Getting around)
1. Choosing the right destination
The countries in the world differ not only in culture, customs and mentality, but also in the cost of living.
So, choosing some cheap travel destinations is key for traveling the world and staying on your budget. To stay below 25 $ a day, I highly recommend to travel to South East Asia first. Once you are more experienced, you can go to other destinations as well. However, it requires some lifestyle changes and adaptations.
South East Asia
The number 1 backpacking destination for easy, cheap and fun travel is definitely South East Asia! You can effortlessly travel for less than 25 $ a day and almost live like a king (or queen).
In Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam or Cambodia you can eat out three times a day and get a private taxi wherever you want to go. So these countries are definitely among the places to travel on a budget.
TIP: Sometimes you can find flights under 200 $ from Europe to Asia (e.g. Berlin to Bangkok or Singapore). Read more about it here.
Australia & New Zealand
With that lifestyle you wouldn't survive long in countries like Australia or New Zealand.
But don't be intimidated! You can go on a budget trip in these countries, too. It just requires a different lifestyle. For example I didn't spent much more money while traveling in Australia than I did in Thailand.
Instead of eating out I cooked myself. Instead of staying in hostels, I bought a van and camped in nature. Australia and New Zealand have a lot of backpackers, so it's easy to meet people and go together on road-trips etc.
USA & Canada
Traveling in these two countries is similar to Australia and New Zealand. I'd say they have less of a backpacker culture, though. I think Canada and the USA are the perfect countries to do road-trips, go camping, and to visit beautiful national parks.
Central and South America
I'd say the traveling costs for Central and South America are somewhere in the middle between Asia and Western countries. You can find cheap places to eat, and buses that take you to places for very little money. But in general, it is definitely more expensive than Asia!
If you're from Europe, shorter trips to other European countries can be a cool and cheap option! I think East Europe is highly underrated, has a lot of beautiful nature and is cheap to travel. Countries like Croatia, Montenegro or Albania are beautiful and cheap beach destinations.
BONUS: Flights within Europe are usually very cheap! Sometimes you can find flights for under 10 $ from one country to another. Alternatively if you have a car or want to rent one, going by car is an awesome way to discover Europe!
It depends a lot where you go and how you live. Essentially the country you're visiting defines on how much luxury you need to sacrifice in order to stay on budget.
If you want to stay on a budget while at the same time treating yourself, then definitely go to South East Asia and visit the countries I mentioned above. There you will get the most for your money!
It is possible to live a very cheap lifestyle in Asia (Hostels for 3 $ a night, food for 3 $ a day etc.) where you end up spending around 10 $ a day. I recommend that if you plan to travel to more expensive countries as well. Then you have a bit more "breathing space" which makes it easier to stick to your overall budget.
2. Staying A While
The longer you stay, the cheaper it gets.
As long as you don’t stay in a super touristy expensive place, the more time you spend there, the cheaper your travels get per day.
So, taking your time and exploring a place for a bit, saves you a lot of money!
Travel expenses can be roughly divided into three main categories:
These three main expenses reduce significantly when you stay for a bit at a place. No transport is needed anymore, accommodation gets cheaper the longer you stay and you can buy groceries in bigger quantities as well as finding the cheapest restaurants around.
Furthermore, “slow” travel allows you to really get to know a place and its local people. After all, it feels more like living there than traveling.
The more I travel, the more I enjoy this way of traveling.
In my opinion rushing through countries and just ticking sights off the list, is not what traveling is about. After a while it can be very exhausting as well...
So why not taking it easy, staying a while and saving some money? ;)
You don't need to do a tour or an excursion every day. Just go for a walk through the city, talk to local people or do what you love doing at home. May it be reading, painting or running.
3. Finding The Right Accommodation
Finding accommodation nowadays is as easy as getting dressed in the morning.
On Hostelworld you can find the best budget accommodation!
However, a hostel is not only an affordable place to stay, it is also your base, maybe even your home, and usually a great opportunity to meet other travelers and maybe the love of your life... ;)
In my opinion Hostelworld is an amazing site for backpackers and solo travelers since you have a lot of reviews from other travelers, so you already quite know what to expect from a certain hostel.
Booking.com is a good option, too. It has the largest selection on hotels and sometimes you can find good deals on it.
Airbnb might be handy if you're traveling in a group looking for a whole house or apartment.
You might go to some destinations where you can't book anything online. For example on my trip in El Salvador I almost only booked on-site. Don't worry about that! Usually people are really helpful and so far I've always found a bed for the night.
In Southeast Asia you will easily find nice hostels under 10 $ a night. In most of Central and South America, too. However there are countries where you won't find hostels cheaper than 25 $. Hence, a good way to keep to your budget, is to go camping or live in a van.
4. Food (Cooking And Eating Out)
In order to travel the world on a budget you don’t want to spend more than 10 $ on food per day.
As I said earlier in Southeast Asia you can easily eat out three times a day and stay below that 10 $ as long as you stick to local restaurants.
In many other countries, the only option to stay on a budget is to cook by yourself.
When I was doing a road-trip through Australia me and my best mate ate pasta-pesto for about 3 months every single night. Obviously, that is not particularly healthy, and I don’t say you should do that! But just to give you a rough outline what it means to travel Australia on a budget.
Nowadays I eat a lot of fruits and veggies, vary my diet more, and still manage to stay under 10 $ a day. And once every two weeks I eat out, to treat myself ;)
As I said, to travel in more expensive countries, you gotta make some sacrifices. Cooking your own meals is one of them. However, I wouldn’t necessarily call it a sacrifice, I enjoy it!
If you want to party (and drink), it's wise to buy booze in stores and supermarkets and make a little pre-drinking party before actually going out. Expenses for alcohol can add up easily!
5. Transportation (Cheap flights)
If you don't embark on a road-trip or hitchhiking adventure from your own home, you most certainly need to book a flight to get somewhere...
Finding cheap flights is a science for itself, but once you understand it a little, it can be actually fun!
I 100 % recommend using Skyscanner to search for cheap flights!
It is a comparison portal that checks all airlines as well as many travel sites like Expedia or My Trip.
You can select any departure country and it shows you the cheapest destinations from there. Furthermore, you can search for the cheapest months or days to fly...
So, here are some general tips for finding the cheapest flights:
Check different departure airports
Let's say you live in Munich and you want to fly to Bali. Then it might be a lot cheaper to fly from Berlin, Zurich, Amsterdam or Brussels. You can catch a train or bus to get there.
You can even take it a step further by searching for departure countries where you need another short flight to go to.
For example the airline Scoot has really cheap flights from Athens to Singapore, so it might save money to fly from Munich to Athens, and from there to Singapore.
Check different arrival airports
The same applies to arrival airports. If you want to fly to Asia, the cheapest option might be first to fly to Bangkok or Singapore. These are two major airports that many cheap airlines fly to.
For example Scoot flies from Berlin to Singapore. From there you can book another short flight to your final destination (e.g. Bali or the Philippines).
Be flexible on your flight dates
Flight prices significantly differ depending when you are flying. The more flexible you are on your dates, the cheaper it will be. Sometimes a few days can make a huge difference.
Sometimes you can find flights under 200 $ from Europe to Asia (e.g. Berlin to Bangkok or Singapore). However right now flights are pretty expensive. Apart from high oil prices, it's because airlines reduced their capacity significantly during Covid and are now experiencing a higher demand since people want to travel again.
6. Transportation (Getting around)
A general rule of thumb is that public transport is the cheapest means of transport in any country. Local buses in South East Asia, Central or South America can take you through half the country for a few bucks.
The only thing that is cheaper is hitchhiking - in fact it's for free! On top of that you might meet some cool interesting people that are willing to give you a ride. I can totally recommend it for almost any country! However in some places you might want to be a bit careful in which car you get in.
Buying or Renting a car
An awesome way to get around is by car. It not only gives you the freedom to go wherever you want, it can be also your new home.
In Australia me and my best friend lived together several months in our car. Might sound a bit intense, but it was the biggest adventure ever!
We could go anywhere we wanted and just camped for the night at beaches or free campgrounds.
To buy or rent a car, depends on the length of your stay. If you find a good budget car rental and split rent and gas with other people, it can be an affordable vacation.
I'd say if you stay more than 2 months, buying makes sense. It can be almost for free if you don't have any major repairs. Often you can sell the car for almost the same price you bought it. Plan some time for buying and selling it in the end.
Again, if you go on a slow trip, you'll save money for gas.
Buying or Renting a scooter/motorbike
In South East Asia it is really cheap and convenient to get around by scooter or motorbike. In Bali for example you pay less than 50 $ for a scooter per month. However, the traffic is a bit more chaotic than the one in Europe. But once you get used to it, it's a lot of fun driving around!
7. More Ways To Travel
If you want to travel for a long time and don't have a lot of money, consider the following options:
Volunteering covers a wide range of things you can do. From helping out in a hostel, to being a hiking guide to building a permaculture farm.
Whatever it is, you bring value to a place and in exchange you get free accommodation, sometimes food, new experiences and lots of fun!
It’s a great way to try new things and figure out what you enjoy doing! It can feel like traveling for free. I volunteered in a hostel in the Philippines, having one of the best times of my life and spending almost no money at all.
Work & Travel
To take it one step further, you can also “properly” work for money while you travel.
One of the most popular places to do that is Australia, since they always have a demand for backpacking workers, and you get paid well.
There is a specific Working Holiday Visa which allows you to stay one year working or traveling.
Many backpackers choose to do farm work which is mostly fruit picking and other farm related activities, but there are many many other jobs...
For example I worked in construction, as a delivery rider, and even as a salesman. Finding a job is quite easy if you're committed.
Among other countries New Zealand, Canada and the United States are popular destinations that offer a similar visa like Australia. Even Germany and the Netherlands have one.
Make Traveling Your Career
Nowadays, many people choose to work remotely. You can get yourself a “digital nomad job” which allows you to work on your computer from anywhere in the world and get paid for it.
If that’s not for you, there are many classic professions that are needed anywhere in the world. Maybe yours is one of them.
Even if you don’t have a profession right now, you can always start on a new path and follow it on your travels. For example I met many surf, yoga and dive instructors on my travels.
8. Bonus Tips
Little things add up
It is crazy once you realize how little costs add up to huge amounts on the course of a year!
Just imagine you have one beer every evening. Just one. Let's say you spend on average 2 $ on it. After a year that accumulates to about 730 $. So instead of having a beer, you could also extend your trip by a whole month.
I don't say cut out beer. In fact I don't tell you to cut out anything you enjoy. After all traveling (and life) is about enjoying the little things.
I just want to make you aware that anything you buy or consume on a regular basis will affect your budget significantly. If you go out for coffee once a week, it won't be that bad. If you do it every day, your wallet will probably feel it.
Bring everything you need
Seems obvious, but a good packing list can save you some money on the way. Try to think about what you really need. This way you avoid buying a lot of stuff on your trip.
At the same time it is also important not to overpack - for your own comfort of not carrying a ton of luggage, but also for staying on your budget.
In South East Asia I traveled with a small backpack that counted as carry-on luggage on flights. That saved me a lot of money, because on short flights you often pay almost as much for your luggage as you pay for your seat.
I can recommend the Deuter Aviant Carry On Pro with 36 l. It has the perfect size, small enough to count as hand-luggage, big enough for everything you need in warm tropical countries.
So, that are basically all my tips - wrapped in one article.
Of course, it is hard to generalize travel tips for every country in the world, but these are some common rules of thumbs that should help you save some money, and go following your dreams!
I believe if you really want it, you can definitely do it!
A "cheap life" can be very rich in experiences...! ;)
Safe travels and enjoy!
Info: In this post there are some affiliate links which means if you make a purchase through one of these links, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.