A round the world trip can get pretty pricey but there are so many ways to save your pennies and make sure you're spending your hard earned cash on the right things. Whether it's transport, food or lodging we've got the best tips if you want to go round the world on a budget!
Driving a campervan is a fantastic way to save money, both on your transport and on hotels, especially in Australia, New Zealand and the USA. It's great fun and gives you a huge amount of freedom - if you reach the Bay of Islands in New Zealand and decide you have to stay a few more days you can! Stay as long as you want on the vast beaches of Australia and enjoy the spontaneity of travel that a campervan gives you. 'Free camping' can even save you camping fees meaning you can really cut back on your living costs and spend your money on the exciting activities that these countries offer. See our top tips for campervan hire for more advice.
Taking overnight trains is a logical way of saving money on a journey you’d be taking anyway. It also saves you precious time; why take a train all day with a hostel stay the night before/after when you can settle down in a cosy sleeper compartment and combine your travel and accommodation in one? Thailand’s Bangkok to Chiang Mai route is my favourite sleeper train but there are so many other great routes - in the USA the Silver Meteor can deliver you from New York to Miami in a single night, or why not hop on the Indian Pacific in Australia to hop your way between the two great oceans.
The majority of the world is not a city so take the chance to explore the amazing national parks in places like the USA, New Zealand & Australia or the beaches and jungles of Asia. In the USA, an $80 National Park Pass allows you entry to every park in the country for a year, creating the perfect route across America for a road trip.
Discover the desert parks of the West and the cool redwoods of California for a fraction of the price of exploring a city. In Asia it doesn’t cost anything to sit on a beach in Thailand and enjoy the jungle landscape so steer clear of bustling cities and enjoy the wide open (and free!) spaces of the world. In America, these tours are amongst the cheapest ways to see the natural side of the States on an absolute shoestring:
Grab your food from supermarkets rather than cafes or restaurants. This is a massive money saver and definitely the easiest one to apply to your trip. Even if it's just lunches it will save you an awful lot of cash. When I visited Australia, buying fresh yoghurt and sandwiches for lunch meant I could afford to dive on the reef and have a fancy dinner out for my birthday. Plus it gives you the opportunity to explore the weird and wonderful tastes of other countries – Tim Tams in Australia, Hershey's in the USA and the delicious Manau Soda from Seven Eleven in Thailand.
Loads of people work their way around the world and it’s not just a way of connecting with the local people and getting under the skin of the country. Teaching English is a common job for Asia and South America, especially in China, Thailand and Peru. Seasonal work is another way to earn as you travel - picking cherries in Australia, working with eco-tourism in New Zealand or at the fun fair in the USA. To stretch out your time somewhere why not volunteer in exchange for food and lodging – WWOOF (Willing Workers On Organic Farms) is a worldwide organisation where volunteers offer their farm hands in exchange for a bed for the night, a great way to extend your money and explore the area on your days off. See our ultimate guide to the Australian working visa for tips!
If you’re visiting South America and you can’t leave without hiking the Inca Trail, build it into your budget ahead of time. You don’t have to cut all expensive activities out of your trip – they are often the most memorable. Booking things ahead means you can build them into your initial costs rather than getting there and realising you've spent too much already. Just plan ahead and make sure that cruise around the Galapagos Islands or hot air balloon ride over the Serengeti becomes the highlight of your trip.
It’s easy to concentrate any round the world trip on budget-friendly destinations like Asia and South America. 10 weeks exploring India or making your way across South America can be surprisingly cheap (ask us about hop on/hop off bus passes), so do your research and find out where are the best places for your buck. If you don't want to solely stick to cheaper areas of the world, including them means you get to explore more but save your money for the more expensive countries and even out your costs. Cheaper destinations mean you can spend a little more, perhaps staying in a nice hotel or a fancy meal in a restaurant, without splashing out too much.
Souvenirs are a huge drain of money - I’m always surprised how much I spent on the boxing kangaroo that I found hilarious in the shop. Instead just take photos of all the special places that you visit, and maybe collect free mementos, like beer caps from every country or a pebble from every beach you visit. In the end you might even find it more special, as they give a unique perspective of your trip. Combining everything into a scrapbook creates another personal memento.
Chowing down on local food is a surefire way to save money, especially in Asia. Pad thai, lok lak or a big bowl of pho will usually fill you up more than a sub-standard burger - and cost you half the price. In India, explore the street food markets and sample the best on offer, from samosas to vada pav, a spicy potato patty between a bun. You can have a full meal for a few pounds and enjoy the delicious flavours of the area for a great price - leaving your money to be spent on other things!
If you want to do a tour, check out a camping tour, where the price is significantly lower than it would be on a tour that stays in hotels and lodges. Camping tours are available all over the world and Travel Nation can find the perfect one for you - they will include all accommodation, all local transport, breakfast every day plus a few more meals and other things like National Park entry fees. Whether it's coast to coast of the USA, exploring Peru or the outback of Australia, a camping tour is the perfect way to embark on an affordable organised tour.
If you're planning a big trip, we can help you out with round the world flights that can be completely tailored to you. If there's a particular place you've always wanted to see - tell us! We can build any route, so we can build it into your ticket.
We can also help you book the first few nights' accommodation in each place and give you some advice on cheap ways of getting around, like buses and budget campervans. Call us on +44 1273320580 to start talking about your trip ideas - or make an enquiry by email.