As I may have mentioned before, I’m a girl on a mission to travel further & longer while spending less. Here are some of my favorite resources for budget traveling. This is not an extensive list; these are resources I have personally used or researched & given a thumbs up. Know of something great I’m missing? Tell me about it!
Find a Flight
If you’re not 100% where you want to go, this is a great place to start. You can literally just select your starting point and it will show you which routes have the cheapest fares around the world. You can set a budget and search by season, if your dates are flexible.
I would highly recommend signing up for their newsletter. They monitor ticket prices and alert you when deals pop up. Unfortunately, you can’t specify what dates you want to receive alerts for, but you still go to the site and they will search a ton of other “cheap flight” sights for you.
This site is awesome, especially if your dates are flexible. They search all the budget airlines, and make their money through advertising, not bookings, so you won’t encounter any additional fees. You can search by country, not just city, and they have a handy calendar that shows fare prices throughout the month. These prices are pulled from recent searches, so they’re not always exact, but they’re a good reference.
Another great site. They’re incredibly easy to use, and aren’t affiliated with any major airline, so you really will find the lowest prices. If you’re booking an international flight and need to search multiple cities, this is a great resource. They sort by cheapest, quickest & best. They also have a chart that shows different prices throughout the month.
You can’t beat free! Couchsurfing has an amazing database where you can find a fellow traveler’s couch to crash on. (Obviously, be smart about this, especially if you’re a female). If you’re not comfortable staying with strangers you can still build a great network here. They have forums, groups, and meetups — an awesome way to get an authentic local experience.
This site lets you connect with homeowners who are renting out rooms for a fraction of the price you’d pay for a hotel. Another great way to get a local experience and stay in a non-touristy area. They have some pretty strong safety precautions in place as well.
My personal preference over Hostelword, even though their database isn’t quite as extensive. It’s a great place to find tons of reviews by other travelers and numerous photos, not to mention no booking fees.
House-sitting is great way to find free accommodations off the beaten path. Typically these assignments come with pets to care for as well, so if you’re not an animal lover it may not be the best choice. In my opinion, the signup fees are a tad pricey, but still a great opportunity.
A great resource full of helpful information about working, volunteering, and studying abroad. They let you know what you should expect and what the requirements are for working abroad in different areas. There are also links to a lot of external sites where you can apply for a variety of jobs or volunteer opportunities.
Workaway is a dream come true for budget travelers. They have over 8,000 active hosts willing to provide room & board in exchange for 4-5 hours of work a day. Although the general focus is on language and cultural exchange, you can find just about any opportunity you’re looking for. It’s an amazing way to connect with people & get a ‘non-tourist’ experience. The cost for a 2 year membership is €20 (about $28 USD).
Here you can find opportunities to volunteer on organic farms (everything from llamas to vineyards) in exchange for room and board. It’s a great way to get involved and help support a local community. Each country has its own local organization, so you’ll need to directly contact the one you are interested in working with.
This is another one I love. They have a great listing of free and low cost volunteer opportunities in Africa, Asia, Central America & South America. They also share some fun adventure stories from travelers who have gone off the beaten path.
Score a Seasonal Job
If you want to work in the US, this site has an amazing selection of seasonal and adventure jobs available in just about any state. Warning: browsing CoolWorks opportunities can be extremely addicting.
As they put it, “the coolest jobs on earth.” Probably one of the most random selections of seasonal and unique job opportunities. And by random, I mean awesome.
Get your mind out of the gutter. Whether you’re looking for a short-term adventure job or on a soul-searching quest, you’ll find a great selection of opportunities around the world on this site.