How to Travel Cheap: 7 Budget Travel Tips

Travel is fun, but it can be expensive. It doesn’t have to be, though — you can see the world without breaking the bank. Here are seven budget travel tips that can help you to get around on a budget. Once you know how to travel cheap you’ll never want to travel any other way again.

1. Consider Van Life

travel in van

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We recently told you about traveling while living in a van. This can be a no-go for a lot of people based on their living situations. But if you don’t have kids or a location-dependent revenue stream, this can be one of the cheapest ways to travel.

2. Stay on Bureau of Land Management Land

bureau of land management

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Whether you live in a van or roll up with your favorite tent, staying on Bureau of Land Management land isn’t just inexpensive -- it’s free. You can’t stay for more than two weeks at a time, but BLM land is some of the most beautiful land in the country. Plus you’ll steer clear of the crowds plaguing commercial campgrounds and state or national parks.

3. Avoid Restaurants

man in grocery store

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When you travel, fine dining can be a big part of the experience and there’s nothing wrong with that. But you should be strategic about when and where you eat out. Rather than six meals at an artery-clogging fast food restaurant, consider one nice meal out and a couple trips to the supermarket.

4. Research Free Attractions

free attractions museum

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There’s tons of stuff to do that’s free and not boring. This includes hiking around the aforementioned BLM land, but also the myriad of free museums dotting the nation. In fact, nearly all the national museums in DC are totally free.

5. Stay Out of the Cities

french countryside

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The vast majority of America is wide open spaces without a lot of people. That’s not just beautiful, it’s also far less expensive than the large population centers. Getting off the beaten path yields unique experiences at a fraction of the cost.

6. Stay Close to Home

man and woman on road trip

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You can see a lot near where you live with the right amount of research and creativity. Think of it this way: How far away can you get on a single tank of gas? Probably pretty far. So when you’re experiencing wanderlust but the bank account is close to empty, fill up the tank and go for a ride.

7. Be Flexible

road trip map

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The number one thing you can do to travel on a budget is to be flexible. You can let your budget guide your travel rather than trying to fit your travel into a budget. You might not go to your top choices, but you will definitely expand your horizons.

Remember: Travel is about experiencing new things. Keep that in mind as you travel and you’re bound to get a lot out of the experience.

Banner Image: Matteo Colombo / GettyImages

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