I'm just a simple girl who likes to travel. I would like to see as much of this world as possible with the limited amount of resources I have. Travelling is not always about the insta boujie pictures and luxury hotels. Sometimes I just want to experience a new place and I will check into a hostel instead of a hotel. I might also book an Airbnb if I need to be alone. It has become a lot easier to travel on a small budget these days. Below, I’ve listed ten tips on how you can achieve that.

1. Plan Around Off-peak Travel Times

If you have a flexible schedule, planning your trip during off-peak times is the way to go. This, unfortunately, means that you might not be able to go around chasing summer. You might get lucky and find a little hidden gem though. So don’t let this discourage you from chasing summer on a budget.

2. Stay in Hostels

There are so many reasons why staying in hostels is good for the wallet. One of them is that hostels often have free food, usually breakfast but some do lunch too. This will help save a lot because a good chunk of the budget usually goes to food, no?

3. Travel to Places That Don’t Need a Visa

A few weeks back I posted an article that lists the countries that your South African passport gives you visa-free access to. There is also a link for the website you can check all the other countries. Use that information and plan trips that don’t need the hassle of getting a visa. Visas cost money and the process to get it can get really annoying.

How Powerful Is Your Passport?

4. Book in Advance

Booking in advance is a good way to grab yourself a cheap flight ticket. However, checking on Google to see the pattern of the prices is what has been working for me lately. I’d rather show you than try to explain it. The screenshot below shows the pattern of the prices. I always wait until the prices are in the green to buy. Always use Google flights to compare the prices and then book directly on the airline’s website.

Screenshot of the pattern of prices

5. Check Out the Free Local Entertainment

I’ve said this before and I’m going to say it again, eventbrite is the plug! You can find free or inexpensive local events on this free app that can be downloaded on the App Store. According to its website, Eventbrite is a global platform for live experiences. It allows anyone to create, share, find and attend events that fuel one’s passions and enrich one’s life. These events vary from parties to business conventions so whatever you’re into, you’ll probably find on the App. Asking the front desk or your hosts is another good way to find out about local entertainment.

6. Book Using a Private Browsing Window (Go Incognito)

I have realised that websites track the flights you’ve been looking at and they manipulate the prices using that information. Therefore, you should search for flights privately and book the ticket “out of nowhere” when the prices fit your budget. This trick makes things competitive and cheap.

bicycle on the road under the blue sky

7. Make the Most of Sales

Black Friday is not just for appliances, clothes and electronics. Check out the flight websites to snatch yourself a flight ticket at a good price. Look for travel packages and hotels too!

8. Travel Light

I was surprised when I came to the US and found out that I have to pay extra for my baggage on a flight. In South Africa, guests have a checked baggage allowance of 20 kg. You only pay extra if it weighs over that. I flew Mango mostly so I’m not sure what SAA or the other airlines allow. The point is we don’t pay extra for checked-in luggage! Now that I have to deal with this baggage issue, I only book flights that allow free carry-on luggage. A majority of domestic airlines in the US allow free carry-on so it’s not that big of a struggle to find these flights. Southwest Airlines is by far the best domestic airline in the US simply because they still allow free checked-in baggage that can weigh up to 50 lbs.

9. Street Food is Cheap Food

Street food is where the authenticity is at. Some might worry about hygiene and lack of regulation that comes with street food. I like to be immersed in the culture so I try whatever.

10. Choose a Destination that Fits your Budget

Google is a traveller’s friend and travel blogs are a traveller’s best friend. Simply looking up the cheapest place to travel to will open up your ideas for travel destinations beyond what you see on social media. Thailand is currently the hotspot for South Africans. However, there are plenty more exotic destinations that are just as affordable, you just need to look it up.

So where are you going for our next vacation? I‘d love to hear about your travelling on a budget tips if you have more!

Vonani Ngomana
South African

I’m a solo traveller from Limpopo, South Africa. From a young age, I dreamt of travelling the world and experiencing things that being in one place would never reveal to me. Since I started travelling and posting about it on Instagram, I served as a useful source to those seeking inspiration, help, or advice. I finally decided to own that role and be intentional about it.

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