Updated October 4, 2019

How to Travel the World (Cheap)

Travel the world without killing your savings
Read more about Travel Rewards

Thinking of taking a trip around the world? It's not cheap to travel anywhere these days. The cost of airfare alone can be enough to make you think twice about traveling internationally to one location, let alone take a multi-country journey. Fortunately, it is possible to travel the world without depleting your savings.

How to travel

The biggest costs will stem from how you will get from country to country. Here are some options for cutting some of that expense, depending on your mode of transportation:

  • Plane: Consider purchasing "around the world" tickets. They come in different amounts and are measured in thousands of air miles. One pass can give you access to several countries with more than a dozen stopovers (24+ hours in one location) and costs a few thousand dollars. While flying is your most expensive travel option, an "around the world" ticket will cost less than booking individual flights.

    Read our guide for more ways to save money on flights or consider using an airline credit card.

    Want to to plan your next big trip, but don't quite have the urge to get started? This post from Adventure in You lists some of the most poignant travel quotes to give you that little bit of inspiration you need.

  • Train: A global pass from Eurail - Europe's rail system - costs only a few hundred dollars and can take you to over 20 countries. If you'll be spending a lot of time exploring Asia, the Siberian Railway will transport you from Moscow to Beijing for just over $2,000 -- but be prepared for a two-week trip.

  • Bus: Traveling by bus is cheaper than rail or air travel, but it's also much slower. Eurolines in Europe has routes that travel between over 45 cities and occasionally offers special deals for attractions.

  • Hiking/Biking: The "backpacking experience" will certainly take a dent out of your overall costs. While this will take a lot more work, since you will need to map out your travels and places for food and accommodations, you will end up with a unique, memorable experience.

Where to stay

© CreditDonkey

Don't take the easy way out and book hotel rooms - get creative! Here's what you need to know about the alternatives:

  • Hostels: In return for saving money, you'll get fewer amenities than a hotel, a dormitory feel, and more risk. Some hostels are sketchy places where you probably wouldn't want to spend the night. Luckily, a number of online resources, including Hostelling International, can help you identify and book reputable hostels.

  • Couch surfing: Check out couchsurfing.org to get access to short-term free or very low cost overnight accommodations. You may have to literally sleep on a couch or even a floor, but it's hard to beat the price.

  • Organic farms: WWOOF International (Worldwide Opportunities in Organic Farming) connects people traveling abroad with organic farmers who could use some extra help. You may need to commit to staying a couple weeks, but you'll get a free room, free meals, and an incredibly unique experience out of the deal.

  • Camping: All you'll need is a tent and a safe place to pitch it every night.

  • Working for room and board: Pick up an odd job in the city you're visiting, even if it's just for a week or two. Babysit a local family or see if your hostel needs some short-term help in return for free room and board.

  • For ways to save money on hotels, read our guide or consider using a hotel credit card.

You can travel the world without breaking your budget if you do some careful planning and use a mix of options to limit the amount you have to spend. There's no substitute for the experience of international travel, but there's also no reason that you have to go broke financing it.

Once you've started your traveling, why not share your experiences with the world - and maybe make some money doing it? This article from The Partying Traveler lays out how you can grow your Instagram travel account's following to the point of eventually making it a viable side hustle or full-time job.

Leah Norris is a research analyst at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and reviews website. Write to Leah Norris at leah@creditdonkey.com

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author's alone. Please support CreditDonkey on our mission to help you make savvy decisions. Our free online service is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content.

More Articles in Tips

Travel Cards

Best Credit Cards for International Travel

The best credit cards for international travel have no foreign transaction fees, chip technology and worldwide acceptance. But what's the right travel card for you?

Leave a comment about How to Travel the World (Cheap)?

Email (won't be published)

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Travel credit cards are a smart way to earn flights and hotel stays. Our favorite is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card because of its bonus point offer and premium travel benefits. Read on to see if the annual fee is worth it for you.
More Articles in Tips

About CreditDonkey®
CreditDonkey is a credit card comparison website. We publish data-driven analysis to help you save money & make savvy decisions.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

†Advertiser Disclosure: Many of the card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which CreditDonkey receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CreditDonkey does not include all companies or all offers that may be available in the marketplace.

*See the card issuer's online application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However, all information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button you can review the terms and conditions on the card issuer's website.

CreditDonkey does not know your individual circumstances and provides information for general educational purposes only. CreditDonkey is not a substitute for, and should not be used as, professional legal, credit or financial advice. You should consult your own professional advisors for such advice.