Can frugality and travel mix?

I try and live as frugal as possible. There is one major issue though, I love to travel and spend a fair amount of time doing so. The last year has been spent in New Zealand, two years before that in Egypt and two years before that in Canada. In fact in March i’ll be returning home to the UK for the longest time in 6 years and even then i’ll only be back for three months before skipping off somewhere else!

new york city from long haul plane flightTraveling gives me so much but it also pulls a lot of money away from my precious little funds. To counter this I often find myself living extremely minimally and watching pennies whilst traveling, some would say that’s a waste of travel but I think the trade off is worthwhile.

I handle my low level of spending by doing my travel slowly. I rarely go to a place for 1-2 weeks and try to stuff everything in. I visit for extended periods where possible and slowly take my time to get to know it from as local a point of view as possible. If I can learn bits of a language, accept and learn about a new culture and find gems many tourists don’t see then I am fulfilled in my travel. This sometimes means I miss the tourist trail ‘must-sees’ but I feel my travel life is full.

Enough blabbering about me. The point of this post is that although it’s difficult being frugal can go hand in hand with travel and if you pick your destinations / routes / accommodation and activities wisely it could even work out cheaper than living in your home town despite high airfare costs.

To cut down on expenses while travel here are some tips I use.

  • To save on accommodation I often do work exchanges. This could be cleaning in a hostel for a bed or Wwoofing as some examples. You could also try Couchsurfing or Housesitting.
  • Putting effort into finding cheap flights / alternative destinations often pays off. Visit every comparison website, every airline website and call everybody up directly to find the best prices!
  • Try to either cook at your accommodation or find ways of eating cold meals. Hummus and wholemeal bread with veggies can be put together affordably from any supermarket. Just carry a knife with you for cutting things.
  • When you are going to pay for something always search online for a deal / coupon. You may find an alternative too. One example of this was when we wanted to see glow worms in Waitomo, New Zealand. After searching online we found an alternative company that offered a similar experience at $50 cheaper per person.
  • Just keep an eye on budget and consider picking up work as you travel.
  • Earning income online through blogging or providing a service is an excellent way to keep the travel fund topped up.
  • Get to know some locals and find out where the locals go.
  • Always be kind to people, somehow kindness has a way of paying itself back!

So do yo agree that frugality and travel can mix? Do you have any tips to add?

Thanks for reading.

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Hey, I'm Forest, owner and writer at I used to be a graphic designer but now I travel a fair bit and blog for a living. I love all the standard other stuff such as movies, music and socialising :).

9 thoughts on “Can frugality and travel mix?”

  1. When I was much younger, backpacking or skimping on things was okay. As I get older and have more money, it adds to the enjoyment, I don’t go crazy, but I like to fly business class or a veranda on the cruise or a 4 star hotel. I use my frequent flier miles for flights and never pay full price. I won’t even travel if I have to travel (internationally) in steerage.
    krantcents recently posted..A Simple Retirement Plan for You!My Profile

    1. I’ve never actually flown anything but economy! I’m sure once I try anything better it’s going to be hard to go back but as I tend to go to a new destination for extended periods I see the xx hours of discomfort as nothing to be worried about.
      Forest recently posted..Can frugality and travel mix?My Profile

  2. Great tips! My husband and I love taking advantage of the “last minute” deals on Redtag or Expedia. Last year we spent a week at an amazing five star resort in Cuba – the entire vacation (including flights, resort, food, drink, entertainment etc) cost $1,290 for the two of us. I still can’t believe how cheap it was! It was a spectacular vacation…
    Julie @ Freedom 48 recently posted..A Valentines Day Celebration – Done Cheap!My Profile

  3. We just saved on flights to Europe by taking advantage of a website deal and planning the trip around my work trips. My flight is covered by work so we save 50% right there.

    We also like to buy groceries while traveling to cut down on food costs.
    Brian recently posted..Updates: Feb 10 – 16My Profile

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