Traveling Alone and Saving: 7 Ways to Budget

Over the past few years, my inner adventurer has led me to find remote jobs around the world. I’ve spent months traveling alone, always finding solutions to financial challenges. Currently, I’m back in the UK, but I’ve already worked in Spain, Croatia, Greece, Portugal, and Brazil, with plans to expand the list soon.

Each country presents unique challenges in keeping costs down. However, certain tips and tricks can help maintain a positive bank balance, regardless of your digital nomad destination.

  1. The Right Location

Choosing a location is crucial for managing costs. While spending a month wandering Parisian cafés may sound romantic, the French capital isn’t cheap. The same goes for other popular destinations. Consider Prague instead of Paris, Bratislava over Barcelona, or Setubal rather than Santorini.

  1. Light Luggage

Saving money on checked baggage by traveling with just a few suitcases can add up to several hundred dollars. Fees accumulate, especially when jetting from place to place every few weeks.

Surprisingly, you can travel for weeks or even months with a carry-on size suitcase. Start by packing essentials, considering the climate and activities in each country. Pack a small selection of favorite outfits, and if you choose accommodation wisely, laundry should be affordable and convenient.

  1. Choose Your Accommodation Wisely

To minimize costs, I follow specific criteria when searching for remote work accommodations. I filter searches based on a maximum price limit per night, avoiding overspending temptation.

Additionally, I look for accommodations with a fridge and cooking facilities (not just a microwave), saving money on dining out. Ensure washing facilities are available in the flat or apartment complex to accommodate light travel. Comfort is essential, so air conditioning is a must. Check for usage limits or extra charges before booking. Lastly, make sure reliable public transport is accessible.

  1. Negotiate a Cheaper Price

“If you’re too shy to ask, you get nothing” is one of my life mottos. Booking longer stays often leads to discounts, but asking for additional reductions doesn’t hurt. I’ve had success negotiating prices, especially when offering to promote accommodations on my Instagram stories.

  1. Limit Dining Out to Once a Day

You may feel like eating out every meal while traveling, but remember: you’re working, not on vacation. Weekly grocery shopping is essential. Preparing your meals in your accommodation can save you money.

I typically make breakfast and either pack a lunch or cook something fresh and healthy for lunch at home. Then, I can enjoy dinner at local restaurants to try regional dishes without breaking the bank.

  1. Eat Where the Locals Go

Restaurants frequented by locals often serve some of the best food at reasonable prices. At the beginning of my stay, I ask for recommendations from accommodation owners and keep an eye out for popular local spots. I add them to my Google Maps ‘want-to-visit’ list for easy access later.

  1. Use a Cash Card with No Exchange Fees

Spending abroad can get expensive if your bank or credit card company charges fees for transactions or withdrawals. Investigate cash withdrawal options and fees before your trip, and consider using a cash card or contactless payment method with no exchange fees.