World Travel on a Shoestring Budget

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shutterstock_104038340As a follow-up to my recent article describing what my trip around the world taught me about money, I wanted to share some of my best tips for traveling the globe at a fraction of what you may think it should cost. From sharing apartments with strangers to constructing a meal from street vendors, it’s easy—and quiet enjoyable—to travel the world even if you have a shoestring budget to work with.

Cheap, Safe Accommodations

Where to stay is a main consideration for any trip. If you’re traveling abroad, you want to make sure you’re finding safe, reliable accommodations, but you also don’t want to break the bank to do so. My favorite solution to this is a reputable house-sharing site such as AirBnB.

Using AirBnB, I was able to secure a place to stay in all of the 13 countries I visited during my trip. While some were private rooms in someone else’s home or apartment, most ended up being an entire apartment that I had to myself—at a fraction of the cost of local hotels. Just remember to use common sense when making a reservation on any of these kinds of sites: Do your homework about the area and vet the host as much as possible (read reviews, send a few emails, etc).

Eats and Treats on the Cheap

When it comes to travel and food, the sky’s the limit as to what you can taste and experience in other countries. As a bit of a foodie, I always push myself to find (and at least try) as much of the local flavors as possible. To do so without breaking the bank, I find a way to get myself off the beaten path and far, far away from the touristy areas.

If that’s not possible (for safety reasons, etc.), I indulge my culinary curiosity by trying street vendor foods. It might not sound glamorous and there are certainly some things that shouldn’t be consumed via roadside in certain countries (such as raw produce in areas where there isn’t clean drinking water in the tap), I was pleasantly surprised with the delectable meals I was able to string together for pennies on the dollar.

Invest in Unique Keepsakes

If you’re embarking on an extended trip, you probably won’t be doing much shopping (or you’ll definitely be headed for hefty bills at the post office to ship those items home!). If you find yourself yearning for a souvenir or two, consider my approach: I buy one small item from each place that I travel to, and I tie them onto my Christmas tree each year.

Not only are these items relatively inexpensive, but they’re fantastic reminders of my various adventures. It makes decorating the tree that much more special when I’m able to unpack all of my favorite “ornaments” each year!

What are your favorite tips for saving money on international travel?

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Jen is the owner of The Happy Homeowner, where she writes about living a healthy, balanced life one cent at a time. Previously, she paid off $14K in credit card debt in less than a year and hasn’t looked back since. Follow along on Twitter with her financial, fitness and travel adventures @bthhomeowner!