How To Travel On A Budget In Your 20s

How to travel on a budget in your 20s
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When you are in your 20s, you have the time, energy, and enthusiasm to discover and explore the magical world. 

On the other hand, twenty-somethings might have student loans, credit card debts, and other financial commitments. It’s also hard to squeeze the travel money from small salaries.

Being young doesn’t often go hand in hand with financial independence.

However, it’s possible to travel on a budget in your 20s, speaking from my personal experience.

You don’t need wealthy parents for additional financial support or a huge budget to finance your world travel. 

But you need to do your homework with careful planning if you want to travel around the world on an affordable budget. 

Here is a list of budget travel tips and hacks on how to travel on a budget when you are young.

All right. Let’s hit the road. 

How to afford to travel in your 20s

Do Your Homework About The Destination

Research can help you develop a realistic budget and give you different perspectives of the places you plan to go.

Once you have decided where to go, the rest of the information comes in handy. 

There are many things you want to check. For example,

  • what you want to do in your desired destination (such as activities, events, and tourist attractions)
  • the average travel cost in the area
  • the best economical route (if you have multiple trips) at the specific date and time

You can check the information on travel websites or read guide books, travel books, and tourism magazines.

Once you have done your homework, you will know the total budget for your travel expenses.

Read on: Which Payment Type Can Help You Save The Most Money?

Save Money For Your Future Trips

If you are living paycheck to paycheck in your 20s, you need to live below your means and start a travel savings account.

Maybe try to cook more often with the help of a lovely meal plan or share the rent with others to save more money. You might want to check out the items I stopped buying that helped finance my trips abroad.

Look out for the small items and big expenses. Once you have a clear money goal (in this case, it’s your upcoming trip), you will find ways to set the money aside.

If there is not much money left after making some lifestyle changes, take one or two part-time jobs to fund your travel or complete online surveys to earn some quick cash.

Open A Travel Savings Account

You can open a separate travel savings account and allocate a certain amount of cash to this account each month.

Don’t forget to set an automatic transfer for your travel savings account so that you are less tempted to spend the saved money.

Further reading:

Why Is Saving Money Important?

Crazy Easy Ways To Save Money For A Travel Fund

Save Your Travel Fund With These Cute Piggy Banks

Best Frugal Tips To Save Serious Money For Your Future Trips

Why Travelers Need An Emergency Fund (Check out #16 – My true story as a female solo traveler in my 20s)

How To Save Up For Your Vacation With A No-Spend Challenge 

– How To Save $5,050 In 100 Days

Get A Travel Rewards Credit Card To Unlock More Travel

If you are a regular traveler or plan to be one, take advantage of the travel rewards credit card.

There are many benefits of using a travel rewards credit card.

For instance, you might earn points, miles, or credits for discount travel (like a FREE hotel or flight). You might also like other perks (e.g., airport lounge access and free checked bags).

Make sure you choose a card with a sign-up bonus to make the most out of it.

🌟 Pro Tip: Use only one travel credit card to pay for all your (daily & travel) expenses, and remember to pay it off on time, so you don’t go into debt.

Read on:

How To Get Out Of Debt Fast

Should I Pay Off My Credit Card Debt Before Saving?

Reasons You’re Bad With Money (And How To Fix Them)

Work Online And Earn Money While Traveling

Thanks to the advanced technology and the availability of the internet, you could work anywhere, anytime.

If you only want to relax and have fun during the holiday, this idea might not sound attractive to you. 

However, it’s pretty tempting for budget travelers who want to stay longer at a destination or travel for a long time (like six months or more). You can finance your travel without going into debt.


Here are some best ways to earn money while traveling around the world.

  • Start a (travel) blog to document your journey or blog about your passion. If you are interested, check this post to learn how to start your blog step by step. No experience is needed.
  • If you are not camera-shy, creating a (travel) vlog channel is also a great idea.
  • Have you got any passion or skill to help others grow? Become a freelancer on Fiverr or Upwork (popular online freelance platforms). 

Want to make quick cash to fund your upcoming trips

Join Survey Junkie here for answering simple surveys in your spare time. You can earn real cash or FREE gift cards (your choice) to fund your trip and buy travel essentials. 

Read on: How To Make $50 A Day Fast

The best part of these money-making ideas is you only need a stable internet connection and a laptop/smartphone (which you probably already have) to start working while traveling.

Look For Student Exchange Programs And Study Abroad Scholarships

If you are a college student and want cheap trips to take in your 20s, check out the international student exchange programs.

Depending on the programs, you might need to pay for your flights, accommodation, and other travel-related costs. However, some organizations might cover all the expenses.

You could also apply for study abroad scholarships to finance the expenses of the program.

Try Working Holiday – Earn Money On The Road

Have you heard of working holiday?

As the term explains itself, you can work and make money while traveling abroad

It’s an experience of a lifetime for the young, and it’s only available to young people. 

Many countries (such as Australia and New Zealand) offer one-year working holiday visas. But it’s also possible to get a second or third-year working holiday visa if you meet all the requirements.

Sounds tempting? Feel free to check out whether your dream country has such a program and if your country is eligible for applying.

Once you get your working holiday visa, you can take short-term jobs, study (e.g., three months), and travel to various regions of the country. It’s also more economical to visit the neighboring countries.

Due to currency differences and minimum wage requirements, you might earn much more 💰💰💰 than you do in your home country and support yourself travel abroad financially for a long time, especially if you are a highly skilled worker. 

Don’t miss out on this awesome opportunity. 

Connect With The World Differently – Work Exchange

Don’t have enough money to start your journey?

👉 Try work exchange (sites like Workaway and Worldpackers) and travel for FREE.

For example, some hostels provide FREE accommodation in exchange for housekeeping (such as changing sheets and tidying beds) or reception work. This work requires little experience or skills. However, some work does require particular skills, such as gardening, photography, or administration.

It’s easy to do a work exchange for domestic travel as you don’t need a visa. You can apply online and show up at the destination the next day. But if you intend to do work exchange abroad for FREE accommodation, meals, or other perks, make sure you check the visa requirements first to avoid disappointment.

Places To Travel On A Budget In Your 20s

If you are looking for cheap trips to take in your 20s, here are some popular destinations for young travelers on a budget. 

  • Thailand
  • Indonesia
  • Cambodia
  • Czech Republic 
  • Hungary
  • Cuba
  • Turkey
  • Morocco
  • Peru 
  • Bolivia
  • And more

In these countries, food, accommodation, and transportation are affordable (like $12-15 a day in Thailand). 

Save Money On Accommodation

Luxury hotels are not cheap.

Luckily, there are tons of economical options for budget travelers when it comes to holiday accommodation.

Hostels And Vacation Rentals

Hostels are one of the most popular choices among backpackers and frugal travelers. The living condition is more like a dorm at college.

It also depends on where you go and the average living cost of the region. Some are more secure, comfortable, and costly.

For example, YHAin the center of Sydney, Australia, costs significantly higher than the one in Bangkok downtown, Thailand.

If you are looking for cheap beds in town, try the low-cost hostels or cheap hotels, such as capsule hotels.

You can book through Hostelworld, which provides rooms for travelers on any budget. I personally use this app a lot while traveling.

🌟 Pro Tip: Don’t forget to read (positive and negative) reviews and check the location and facilities when choosing where to stay.

Notice Title

Extra Bonus: Staying at hostels allows you to meet young people worldwide and enjoy endlessly fun activities (such as group trips and pub crawls). 

Another budget-friendly option is to rent a room through Airbnb if you want to live like a local.

Or, if you want to cut the housing cost in half or more, travel with your friend(s) to share the living costs.

Different Ways To Sleep For Free

Sleep On The Plane

If you are pretty flexible, you can fly at night ✈️ 🌙, so you don’t pay for sleeping.

Although it might be uncomfortable, it’s manageable for people who travel on a low budget.

Use Couchsurfing

Did you know Couchsurfing?

It’s a website for avid travelers and local hosts to share authentic travel experiences and foreign cultures.

You can stay with locals for FREE or meet travelers to have a lovely time together.

For your convenience, the mobile app is also available.

Note that Couchsurfing used to be 100% free, but now they charge a nominal fee for its members.

🌟 Pro Tip:Be careful when choosing a reliable host. Security should be your top priority, especially for a solo female traveler.

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How to travel in your 20s - low budget travel

Save Money On Transportation

Aside from living costs, transportation is also a big part of your travel budget.

Here are some money-saving tips to save you hundreds of dollars on transportation as a budget traveler.

How To Find Cheap Flights

If your trip involves flights, check cheap tickets on travel apps like Skyscanner a couple of months earlier and compare multiple budget airlines to get the best deal.

There are more affordable options if you accept flying at inconvenient hours (like 3 a.m.) during the off-season.

If you travel on a budget, another way to save is to let the cheap holiday destinations choose you. I know this might not suit every traveler. But it’s SO cost-effective. 

Public Transport 

Use public transport (e.g., metros, trains, ferries, and buses) whenever possible.

Try apps like Uber for a lower cost or share a taxi with other tourists if you need a taxi service.


If you are traveling in a lovely town or city, it’s nice to have a walking tour for FREE. 


I haven’t tried hitchhiking while traveling. But I know some great and terrible stories using this mode of travel for FREE.

If you want to try, do it with caution.

💡 Be safe and smart.

Bicycle Touring

If you are looking for adventure, pleasure, and autonomy, consider bike travel.

You can do this for multi-day trips or even years. But make sure you do your research beforehand.


It’s easier to move around withspecific vehicles in some areas. 

For example, if you travel on the islands in Thailand, it’s perfect to rent/buy a scooter to explore the natural views. Sometimes, buying is cheaper than renting. When you leave the country, you can sell it to other backpackers.

Or, if you are up for a road trip on a lovely weekend in New Zealand, a car rental would be a great option to satisfy your wanderlust.

If you want to drive in a foreign country while traveling, get an international driving permit and check the traffic laws of your destination before you go.

You can get your driving license recognized while traveling, but it might cost more in terms of the currency difference and labor cost.

Travel Light 

Taking only needed stuff for your trip could save you hundreds (or even thousands) of bucks down the road, especially for longer trips.

Why? Here are five main reasons. 

  • Fewer personal belongings mean less worry about financial loss (even with travel insurance). 
  • Carry less stuff, so you don’t physically exhaust yourself quickly. 
  • Fewer clothes mean fewer laundry services. 

Note: Try to either hand wash your clothes or wash in bulk using laundry and drying services. DON’T buy the single unit dose laundry detergent at the laundry machine. You can get it at the local supermarket for a lower price.

  • The budget airlines with the cheapest flight tickets can charge you additional fees for extra luggage. 

Most often, the extra baggage costs more (double or triple) than the discounted ticket (especially when you use budget airlines in Europe). No kidding!

  • It reduces the time of claiming luggage if you only have carry-ons.

Save Money On Food While Traveling On A Budget

As a low-budget traveler, skip the expensive dining at fancy restaurants most of the time.

If you are a foodie, spoil yourself with delicious local food 🌮 🥘 🍱 and cut back on other areas.

🌟 Pro Tip: Avoid eating at restaurants in tourist places. The food prices are usually overpriced. Check the restaurants that are crowded with locals instead.

Not so picky with food?

Then try to cook your meals and buy the ingredients from local markets. Some hostels come with fully equipped kitchens.

Alternatively, try cheap street food in the local areas while traveling on a shoestring budget.

Buy Travel Insurance

Nobody likes accidents, but they do happen (often).

Getting travel insurance for your trips (especially for long trips) can back you up financially.

Even if you travel on a low budget, this is the area you don’t want to save.

For instance, if you get sick while traveling, medical bills could be high depending on the destinations (like Australia). But if you are insured, there is no financial loss.

🌟 Pro Tip: Make sure to compare the prices and buy travel insurance from trusted insurers.

Track All Your Travel Expenses

I record everything I spend on trips with a financial app, helping me control overspending.

Say if your travel budget is $500 for a 10-day trip, you want to assign every dollar to a specific task and track the actual expenses.

Remember to include all the visa fees (such as the airport transit visa), the cost of your passport, and travel documents.

Keep reading: How To Quit Your Job Properly Before Traveling The World

Travel On A Budget In Your 20s Is Possible.

Traveling doesn’t have to cost a fortune. With a bit of research and planning, you can afford to travel in your 20s.

Are you ready to travel the world on a budget? Stop putting off your dream trips and start planning.

I sincerely hope these money-saving tips and ideas could inspire you to travel on a budget when young and energetic.

Stay safe and healthy while traveling around the world.

Enjoyed this post? Don’t forget to share it. Your share might help others start planning their trips.

Don’t forget to follow Create Earn Live on Pinterest for the latest money tips. If you want to learn more about saving money and making money, check out our saving money section and click here for genius money-making ideas.

How to travel on a budget in your 20s
How To Travel The World In Your 20s

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