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Travelling to a distant place far from home is becoming more and more popular, especially among the younger generation who have realized the benefits that can be reaped by integrating yourself into a different culture and way of life.

And they’re not wrong! Travel offers unique life experiences and skills that become invaluable in life later on. But while this is a fabulous opportunity, students are often strapped for cash, and don’t often have the time to save money because they are too busy studying.

That said, loads of students manage to travel, and afford their adventures without loaning money.

So if you’re a broke student, but dream of travel all the same, we’ve put together a range of budget travel tips to help.

Budget Travel Tips for Broke Students

Prioritize Local Travel

A lot of people think that travel has to involve a long distance flight, upping sticks to somewhere near the other side of the world. And although these are exciting places to go, there are often opportunities which are equally as exciting, a lot closer to home.

Start by finding somewhere exciting a bit nearer to you. If you live in Europe, you might want to go somewhere near you that won’t cost too much. If you live in America, the South American region can give you the same sort of atmosphere as travelling across the world would.

It’s important to exhaust every possibility in terms of location when you are looking to travel on a budget. Although that place the other side of the world may look really cool, you won’t always have the money.

Venice sightseeing

Plan to Get a Job at Some Point in the Year

If you want to travel while studying, the best thing you can do is to plan your year out, and arrange classes in a way that allows you to get a job.

For instance, this might mean taking morning classes so you can work afternoon shifts. And while it may be tempting to have someone do your essay / homework for you, make sure you learn to juggle both work and study commitments.

There are also a number of ways to earn extra money so long as you can find an internet connection. These websites let you earn cash online, meaning you can continue working while you’re actually traveling!

Travel With Friends

If you prefer to travel solo, that’s fabulous, but if you have friends who would be happy to tag along, this is a great way to cut your travel costs.

For instance if you’re traveling with a group of 5 + people, it ends up being cheaper to rent a farmhouse or a villa than a hotel or apartments. Food is cheaper because you can buy in bulk from local supermarkets, or split a main if you’re eating at a restaurant, and the same logic applies to car hire.

But the other fabulous thing about traveling with friends, is that if you’re all saving, it’s a lot easier to stay motivated and you can support each other through your coffee cravings!

Jilin China

Volunteer For Bed and Board

Here’s where you have the opportunity to try something new while saving your pennies. Ditch the hotel, ditch even the hostel bunk-bed, and take a look at some openings for volunteer programs.

There are different ways to go about this without paying for programs. Arriving in the country and looking for ways to help locals or further a humanitarian cause is never a bad idea.

You could also try out volunteering on organic farms or homesteads, as in Wwoofing or Workaway during your semester breaks. Both offer bed, food and good company, in exchange for a few hours honest work per day.

Choose Activities Wisely

Cash on the road works a lot like cash at home. It only disappears when you spend it. If you can afford your travel costs, and have your accommodation and food taken care of, the rest of your budget is likely to be spent on activities of some kind, be it hanging out at beach bars, or touring famous museums.

If you want to keep your travel costs down, choose your activities wisely. Hiking can cost next to nothing. Anything in nature requires no more spending than the occasional refreshment.

If you prefer the city life, why not reserve your spending for the iconic landmarks that you really want to see? Sighseeing is free.

Traveling in China isn’t always easy, especially given the language barrier. This is where having local friends was a huge benefit to us!

The Sharing Economy

Anyone who has done a lot of travelling will start to understand that people in the world are generally pretty helpful. There are a lot of options for the open-minded adventurer who is willing to welcome the gesture of a kind stranger, or to connect with others using one of many social apps.

For example, you can try out bla-bla cars for lift sharing, couchsurfing for accommodation, and EatWith for meals. If you feel safe in the country that you are in you could always try hitchhiking too – another great way to get around and meet people.


Apple 13.3″ MacBook Air Laptop

Canon LS-82Z Handheld Calculator

Moleskine Classic Notebook


Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 50+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.




  1. House sitting is an awesome way for students or heck, anyone, to see the world on the cheap. We are sitting our way through New Zealand for most of our 3 month trip. Save the next 3 weeks, all house sitting, all the time. Fabulous experience. Living rent free all by taking care of a few pets.


    • Absolutely Ryan – I think house sitting is something that many people don’t think about, but it’s such a fabulous opportunity to cut costs and have a unique and more immersive experience at the same time.

      I bet you’ve come across some incredible homes throughout New Zealand!

  2. I started trace later in life but budget was a consideration. I traveled via sponsorship and have continued to for almost 6 years. ?

    • A great way to travel and keep costs down Marie :)

  3. Here are a few more: Students, if you want to travel..settle for an inexpensive smart phone, non-name brand clothes, bags, and shoes, not drinking or smoking, and no car payment. If you choose these things you WILL be able to travel, even if you’re not rich.

    A few weeks ago my students (I teach high school history) made fun of my budget smart phone. I knew I had made the right choice and used it as a teachable moment about life priorities. ?

    • Absolutely Jen – great tips! I’ve found that it’s quite incredible how much you can save when you truly commit to living in a way which is minimalistic.

      Good on you for creating a teachable moment with your phone!

  4. I think it’s very practical for a student to get work while they’re studying – obviously your studies should come first and foremost, but each of my children worked during college and paid for their own travels.

    • Absolutely Blanch. I worked two jobs while studying to pay for my addiction to travel. Still managed to stay on top of my school work and get decent grades. I wouldn’t change anything :)

  5. Travel while you’re young. Even if you have no money. You’re fit, healthy, and probably comfortable with a lower standard of living at this age, and life only gets more complicated in the future. Not less.

    • Absolutely Melissa, solid advice :)

  6. My hardest thing is that my parents don’t like the idea. I’ve traveled a lot without telling them. But I think that travel is teaching me far more than my formal education.

    • Sorry to hear that you can’t share your travels with your parents Lizzie. Perhaps if they saw how well you were doing by juggling both travel and study, and saw how positive the experiences are for you they might come around :)

      Wishing you the best.

  7. Great tips! I would also suggest checking to see if there are available government / commercial grants / sponsorship available. The Australian Government had a grant when I was studying in 2010, where it would cut a cheque for those who wanted to study overseas. I got a cheque for $5,000 which paid for the whole experience. That specific program, no idea if it’s still around, but they added it to our student debt which was interest free and the ability to pay back only when we start making a certain salary after graduating. It was a fabulous opportunity, you might be surprised by how many organizations out there are willing to financially support students seeking world experiences.

    • Awesome advice Aaron. And great to hear that you were able to take advantage of government sponsored programs. We’re so fortunate in Australia to have the great programs we do while studying. I love that the government really backs education, and broadening your degree by encouraging international study :)

  8. Saving money isn’t rocket-science, and you can travel through most of Asia for as little as $25 a day. But most students are broke because they spend the little money they have on parties, and socializing – also a very important part of the college experience, though you have to choose one or the other. If you want money for travel you have to be willing to sacrifice in other areas.

    • Absolutely Claudine, it’s always about priorities :)

  9. Traveling as a group is a great way to cut down on costs – we take this to the next level and continue splitting costs between our group of friends when we’re back at uni. We split our streaming accounts, swap clothes, and share one car between 4 of us. The extra cash goes to adventures. Have to budget like a boss!

    • Awesome Katlyn – more power to you!

  10. Thanks for the tips ?

    • You’re welcome, glad it was helpful :)

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