8 Innovative Tips for International Travel on a Budget

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by PSECU, a Pennsylvania-based credit union.

Many people dream of traveling the globe, but stay parked at their work desk despite their wanderlust. Socrates once said, “The unexamined life is not worth living,” but the unexplored life spent sighing at pictures of other people’s vacations on social media is sad, too. Is it possible to adventure in foreign countries on a budget?

Sure it is! While some destinations can prove pricey, others cost less than staying home. And public transportation systems make travel safe and inexpensive. Here are some tips to help would-be adventurers honor their globetrotting wishes this summer or any time of year.


  • 1. There’s an App for That


Nowadays, there’s an app for everything, and finding cheap international travel is no exception. Apps such as GasBuddy help road-trippers save money at the pump, while those like Google Flights allow those crossing the ocean to find the best plane fares.

One particularly handy app for those with wanderlust is WanderU. The app compares various ways of getting around, such as bus, train or other means.


  • 2. Study the Secrets of Locals


Before heading to the destination of choice, savvy travelers should take some time to go online and seek out local hotspots on the cheap. Websites such as Yelp offer reviews of restaurants and points of interest, including their prices. It’s smart to seek out reviews by locals — just because a restaurant offers low prices doesn’t mean the food is not delish!

Those who want to save even more can make their first stop a grocery store or market to stock up on food inexpensively. And here’s an insider tip for those who want to enjoy a cocktail on the plane, but don’t want to pay airline prices for booze: Empty and re-purpose a travel-sized mouthwash bottle and fill it with vodka or whiskey, then order a cranberry juice or cola mixer for far less.


  • 3. I’ll Gladly Pay You Tuesday


Airports get jam-packed on weekends, and as airlines know people will pay more for such getaways, tickets cost more Friday through Monday. The best time to find a low-priced plane ticket is 3 p.m. on a Tuesday, an hour few travelers covet. Here’s where those in service industries can benefit in particular — as many restaurants and hotels are also busier over the weekend, staff can fly off midweek and still make it back in time for their Saturday night bankroll shift.


  • 4. Use the Barter System


Another way to save big on traveling the world can take a tip from the days preceding the invention of money and work out a swap. Social media connects people with similar interests who reside on opposite sides of the globe. After establishing trust with an online friend, work out a tit-for-tat deal, and alternate turns staying with each other while traveling.


  • 5. Step Outside the Comfort Zone


Fearless adventurers can slash travel costs by noshing on $1 street foods instead of dining out at five-star restaurants. Those hoping to get to the other side of town without spending a dime can give hitchhiking a try. Despite the unsavory reputation the practice has stateside, it is far more common in many nations.


  • 6. Choose Inexpensive Destinations


Why blow two months’ salary in Paris when a similar stay in Indonesia or Mexico can sate the traveling urge? Many foreign countries have a lower cost of living than the U.S., meaning lodging, food and transportation comes cheaper. True, the hostel may not offer views of the Eiffel Tower, but they do offer the adventure of a lifetime.


  • 7. Work for It


Folks who are handy with swinging a hammer, taking care of tykes or working with pets can consider swapping those skills in exchange for overseas lodging. Getting a travel-related job is an excellent way to see the world for free, or at least cheaply. Workers can act as au pairs, serve as crew on a cruise ship or help build shelters for the needy in exchange for the cost of their trip.


  • 8. Tire out Those Tootsies


Seeing the sights proves difficult when driving past at 45 miles per hour. Walking is always free, and it gives travelers an in-depth look at their destination of choice. Additionally, walking is great exercise, and it helps keep off the extra pounds from calorie-laden meals.


  • International Travel Need Not Be Costly


Those who dream of traveling the world don’t have to wait until they’ve saved their pennies. With a bit of ingenuity, it’s possible for those with the travel bug to visit the pyramids along the Nile or anything else they may wish to see on the cheap.

For more frugal travel tips, check out this helpful infographic created by PSECU, a not-for-profit credit union in Pennsylvania!

David Jackson

David is a personal finance expert, a professional male model, and an entertainment writer.