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Top 5 Tips for Traveling on a Shoestring Budget and Where to Go


We know that traveling can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Whether you’re planning a big trip or just a weekend getaway, there are plenty of ways to save money. In this post, we’ll share our top five tips for traveling on a shoestring budget and where your dollar will go the furthest.

Traveling on a Shoestring Budget – Top Tips

1. Book Your Tickets Ahead



Booking your tickets ahead is always a good idea, especially if you’re trying to traveling on a shoestring budget. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also avoid the hassle of last-minute planning. There are a number of websites that allow you to compare flight prices, so take advantage of them and find the best deal possible. And if your travel dates are flexible, consider traveling during off-peak seasons.

2. Stay in Hostels or Couch Surf

Traveling on a Shoestring Budget

If you want to travel on a shoestring budget, your best bet is to stay in hostels or couch surf. Hostels are a great way to meet other travelers and save money on accommodations, and couch surfing can save you a ton of money on food and activities. Of course, there are a few things to keep in mind when staying in hostels or couch surfing. Make sure to bring a lock for your luggage if you’re staying in a hostel, and be respectful of your host if you’re couch surfing. And, most importantly, have fun!

3. Avoid Tourist Traps

Traveling on a Shoestring Budget

One of the easiest ways to blow your budget while traveling is by succumbing to tourist traps. These are places where the prices are inflated, and the quality is often poor, all in an effort to take advantage of unsuspecting travelers. To avoid these traps, do your research before you go and be aware of what’s worth spending your money on. Instead of eating at that overpriced restaurant in the city center, explore the local neighborhoods for affordable eats or grab your own groceries to prepare. Also, rather than paying top dollar for a sightseeing tour, wander around on your own and discover the city’s hidden gems.

4. Get a Travel Pass

If you want to travel on a shoestring budget, one of the smartest things you can do is get a travel pass. This will give you discounted rates on transportation, lodging, activities, and food—saving you a ton of money in the process. There are a number of different passes available, so do your research and find one that fits your needs. For example, if you’re planning on doing a lot of sightseeing, the London Travel Pass might be a good option. Or if you’re just looking for an affordable way to get around, the Eurail Pass could be a better choice. No matter which of the passes you choose, make sure to time your purchase wisely. Many passes have blackout dates or limited availability, so don’t wait until the last minute to buy one.

5. Travel During the Off Season

If you’re looking to travel on a shoestring budget, one of the best things you can do is travel during the off-season. That’s when all the major tourist destinations are a lot less crowded, and you can get cheap deals on flights and hotels. Also, be prepared to negotiate! If you see a price tag you don’t like, don’t be afraid to ask the vendor if they’ll give you a better deal. More often than not, they will. So, if you’re on a shoestring budget, take a look at each of these places as excellent options on where to go!

6. Eat Like a Local

Photo closeup of hand ordering thai street food

Ladies, let me give you some real talk about food when you’re traveling: Street food is where it’s at! Not only is it easier on your wallet, but it’s also a chance to try authentic local dishes that you may not find in the tourist hotspots. I mean, who wants to pay top dollar for a fancy restaurant when you can get the real deal from a local vendor? Plus, sharing communal eating spaces with locals and fellow travelers can be a social experience like no other. It’s like becoming part of the community, one bite at a time.

But, if you’re all about that #CookLife, then local markets are calling your name! You can pick up fresh produce, cheaper snacks, and even some ready-to-eat local specialties at lower prices than you’ll find in supermarkets. And don’t even get me started on the cultural experience! Markets are vibrant, bustling hubs that give you a chance to interact with locals, learn about traditional ingredients, and witness their daily life.


Where to Go on a Shoestring Budget



If you look for places to travel to on that shoestring budget and use the above tips, you’ll be happy to know that Vietnam is one of the cheapest countries in the world to visit. From food and transportation to accommodation and activities, you can enjoy all the highlights of this amazing country without breaking the bank. Some of the best bargains can be found when it comes to eating out. Street food is an integral part of Vietnamese culture, and you can fill up on delicious dishes for as little as $1-2. Local buses are also very affordable, and a journey across town will only end up costing just a few cents.

Traveling on a Shoestring Budget

Additionally, if you’re looking for a place to stay, there are plenty of budget-friendly options available, from hostels to homestays. So, if you’re looking for an affordable travel destination, Vietnam should definitely be at the top of your list!



While the prices of food and accommodation are slowly creeping up, it’s still possible to travel on a shoestring budget. Some of the best things to do in Cambodia are explore the Angkor Wat temples, go trekking in the countryside, or relax on the beaches of Sihanoukville. With a little bit of creativity, it’s possible to keep your costs down without having to miss out on any of the fun.



If you’re looking to explore some of the most beautiful and exotic destinations and want to travel on a Shoestring Budget, look no further than Laos! This stunning Southeast Asian country is one of the cheapest places to travel in the world and has incredible landscapes and an abundance of cultural experiences on offer. From the awe-inspiring temples of Luang Prabang to the stunning waterfalls of Vang Vieng, there’s plenty to see and do in Laos. Also, there are a ton of backpacker-friendly accommodations in addition to amazing food options available everywhere.  In Laos, you can easily stick to your budget while enjoying all that this amazing country has to offer.



If you’re looking to travel on a shoestring budget, Nepal is another great option. This small country is home to some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, and it’s surprisingly affordable to visit. You can find hostels for as little as $5 a night, and meals cost just a few dollars.  Of course, there are some things you’ll need to watch out for.  

Traveling on a Shoestring Budget

Nepal is a mountainous country, so trekking can be quite expensive.  Also, because it’s such a popular destination, prices can go up during holidays and peak seasons, but overall, Nepal is a great place to explore on a tight budget.



If you’re looking to Travel on a Shoestring Budget, Morocco is a great option.  With delicious food, beautiful scenery, and welcoming locals, you can explore this North African country for pennies on the dollar.  In fact, a recent study found that Morocco is one of the cheapest countries in the world for tourists.  You can enjoy all of the sights and sounds of Morocco without spending a lot of money. Hotel rooms, transport, and food are all very affordable.  You can often find deals and discounts if you’re willing to explore off the beaten path.  So, if you’re looking for an affordable travel destination, be sure to add Morocco to your list!

Hungary (Budapest)

File:"Arany Palota" Budapest - panoramio.jpg
Dewi König, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Hungary’s capital, Budapest, is a captivating destination for budget travelers, boasting a rich historical and cultural tapestry. With stunning landmarks like Buda Castle and the Hungarian Parliament Building, the city offers a feast for the eyes. Visitors can indulge in the famous thermal baths, such as Széchenyi Baths, and experience the vibrant nightlife and evolving culinary scene. Budget-friendly accommodations, affordable local street food, and accessible public transportation make it an economical choice. Must-see sites include Fisherman’s Bastion, the Széchenyi Chain Bridge, and Heroes’ Square. For an optimal experience, consider visiting during the spring or fall to enjoy milder weather and fewer crowds, enhancing Budapest’s allure as a fantastic and cost-effective travel destination.


File:James's Flamingoes in Laguna Colorada, Bolivia.jpg
Havardtl, CC BY-SA 4.0  via Wikimedia Commons

Bolivia, a landlocked gem in South America, beckons budget travelers with its unparalleled natural beauty and rich cultural tapestry. From the expansive Andes Mountains to the lush Amazon Rainforest and the high-altitude Altiplano, the country offers diverse landscapes that captivate the adventurous spirit. Bolivia’s indigenous culture is deeply woven into its traditions, adding a unique and authentic flavor to the travel experience. One of the standout attractions is the Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat, providing a surreal, mirror-like landscape. Travelers on a budget will find affordable accommodations, particularly in hostels and guesthouses, as well as budget-friendly local markets and street food. The vibrant cities of La Paz and Sucre showcase colonial architecture against dramatic backdrops, while Lake Titicaca invites exploration of its indigenous cultures and floating islands. Bolivia’s charm lies in its affordability, making it an enticing destination for those seeking an off-the-beaten-path adventure without compromising their budget.




In this article, I’ve mentioned five tips to help you travel on a shoestring budget. Now that you know that travel doesn’t have to be expensive, so get that credit card out and start booking.  From Southeast Asia to Africa, these destinations offer plenty of great experiences without costing a fortune.  But no matter where you go, always remember to Travel Till You Drop!

About Jill

Hi, Jill Here

Hi! I’m Jill, a Dallas, Texas girl traveling the world. After a career in the Air Force and touring over 50 countries later, my need to explore keeps going! It’s time to rock & roll and find all those places I never knew I was missing.

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