Koh Phi Phi, Thailand - how to travel on a budget

A guide to traveling on a budget

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A guide to traveling on a budget – cheap flights, accommodation, time management, saving, and online income…

‘A common misconception about travel is that it is expensive…
Not true – if you travel wisely.’

This year I have been 3 trips to Spain – Salou (6 days in April), Benidorm (5 days in May), and Malaga (6 days in June) – I am off to Canada (17 days) at the end of July, Nepal (25 days) in October, and Amsterdam (4 days) in December.

Recent questions I have been asked are – have you won the lottery? Have you robbed a bank? Are you selling drugs?

My answer… none of the above! I can travel frequently because:

a. I am self-employed and can take time off work more or less when I want.
b. I often travel at off-peak (out-of-season) times.
c. I don’t mind staying in budget accommodation.
d. I look for cheap flights – or book flights well in advance (which works out cheaper, and also gives me time to save for the trip).
e. I rarely go on typical 2-week vacation\holidays (that – oftentimes, end up costing a fortune).

I would also like to add that although I travel solo sometimes, I  have a family – a wife and two children (a girl – 17, and a boy – 13), who I take with me whenever I can, but- because my wife can’t always get time off work, and my children are still in school – I occasionally travel without them. For example, I took my wife and son to Salou in April; my upcoming trip to Canada in July is for the whole family, and in December my wife and I are off to Amsterdam.

There are five key components that allow me to travel on a budget…

1. Cheap Flights
Living in the UK is great for cheap weekend or midweek trips to Europe. Most budget airlines – like Ryanair and Easyjet, allow a small cabin bag (usually 10 – 15kg). The key to saving money on these budget airlines is learning to travel light. I have an Osprey Farpoint 40l backpack that is perfect for cabin luggage – I can fit up to a weeks worth of clothing in it, as well as my laptop, and don’t need to purchase any additional baggage space which would otherwise bump up the price of the flight.

An example of cheap flights that I have purchased this year are as follows:

May 2017 – Benidorm, Spain = £60 return flight from Glasgow to Alicante
June 2017 – Malaga, Spain = £62 return flight from Glasgow to Malaga
December 2017 – Amsterdam, Netherlands = £55 to Schipol Airport, Amsterdam

Skyscanner is a good site to search for cheap flights. If you’re flexible – type in your departure airport and click ‘anywhere’ and ‘cheapest month’ – try and plan a trip around the dates that come up. The Skyscanner app is a great app to have on a smart phone.

2. Accommodation
The second key component to traveling on a budget is accommodation. There are loads of affordable hotels, hostels, and guesthouses to be had all over Europe. I use Agoda for searching for cheap accommodation. Agoda are a trusted worldwide Hostel, Hotel, and Guesthouse booking company with some of the best deals on the internet. Click on the following link to see examples of great deals on accommodation in Barcelona.

Good deals can also be found on Airbnb. Click here for £30 off your first Airbnb stay of £55 or more.

3. Time Management
The third key component is time management. I am self-employed, which affords me more freedom than most, but even if you are employed you can still manage your time effectively by using one or two days of your annual leave here and there to extend weekends and utilising bank holidays and public holidays for travel.

4. Saving and money management
I have always been a good saver. I have been working since I was 12 years old and learned how to save effectively back then. Effective money management doesn’t mean living on bread and water but you do have to prioritise over what is important in your life and what is not. For example, I don’t have any SkyTV or cable subscriptions because I’d rather use that money for traveling; I don’t have a car either, because I have a van – that I use for work and leisure.

5. Online Income 
The fifth component – online income – is a key component for me, but it is not essential for travel. I have a few sources of online income, one of which is this blog .

A blog is a great way to share your travel experience and knowledge to help and inspire other people to travel, and over time it can be monetised with affiliate links and programs like Google Adsense to help fund your travels. Selling physical products on the internet is another way of generating online income, or you can write an ebook as I have done and publish it on Amazon – click here for a link to my book.

If you’d like to know more about creating a blog and how to generate money online, you can read my blogpost here. If you’d like to know how to publish a book on Amazon click here for my guide on how to self-publish on Amazon.

A few pics of my recent travels to Spain…

Salou with my son’s football team – Barcelona Cup

Climbing Puig Campana in Benidorm, Spain

The mountain village of Competa – Malaga Province, Spain

Traveling on a Budget - 5 Key Components
Traveling on a Budget – 5 Key Components


‘In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.’

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Copyright © 2017 Raymond Carroll

18 thoughts on “A guide to traveling on a budget”

    1. Thanks Nicole – I was just speaking to a friend of mine yesterday who recently got back from a 10 day holiday to Lake Garda, Bardolino in Italy where he spent an absolute fortune (thousands of pounds); when I told him about my travels and how much I travel for (cheap) he couldn’t believe it. Anyway, thanks for commenting. Good luck…

  1. You’re so right that travel doesn’t have to be as expensive as people think! Gosh you’re so lucky with those cheap flights tho! I’m from the US and we can’t even fly to somewhere in our own cou try for that 😂

    1. Hi Carly,
      thanks for commenting. We – in the UK and Europe – are lucky when it comes to travel, although you need to search around for cheap flights, and be flexible with your dates, if you want to find real bargains. Anyway, hope you are well – take care for now…

  2. People ask me the same, because I travel more than ‘the norm’. But indeed travelling longer and if you are flexible with your dates, it is not so expensive as people think…

  3. Great tips for those traveling on a budget or want to travel on a budget. Being self employed and having a flexible budget plays a big factor, IMO. If you’re able to travel whenever then there are plenty of great deals! I’m curious as to which websites or apps you use to find good flight deals?

    1. Hi, thanks for commenting. The flights mentioned I booked directly from the Easyjet and Ryanair websites – you can look at flight prices for individual months on both their websites and that way you’ll see what dates are cheapest and plan your trip around those cheap dates. Always clear your cookies before checking for flight prices so as to make it seem that you’re checking first time around (if you don’t clear your cookies then the prices tend to rise each time you visit the site). Hope this helps – good luck!

  4. Great guide! Travel can be as expensive as we want it to be, but it can also be a lot cheaper than people think. All we need is to be a little creative! I try to take long weekend trips a little more locally and found them to be just as fun as going to more “exotic” destinations. It’s all about perspective.

  5. I thought I was the one who went on lots of holidays but it looks like you’ve beaten me with your list! You are very well organised with your time, money etc… so you are benefiting with cheap flights. There must be so many low price deals from Glasgow airport, I’m hoping to take the train up to Glasgow and Edinburgh this year. I take my cheap flights from Leeds or Manchester airports and also get some cheap priced flights.

    1. Hi James, it’s been a while – hope all is well with you! I’m doing pretty good this year travel-wise – lots of great deals on flights from Glasgow to Europe and also got some decent deals on my upcoming Nepal and Canada trips by booking flights well in advance. Hope you enjoy your trip to Scotland – if there’s anything I can do for you, let me know. Thanks for commenting. Take care for now…

  6. Great practical and doable tips.
    If one doesn’t crave for luxury these budget trips are doable. I always try and do combinations, like: off season travels and stay in luxury hotels that give good discount then.

  7. Great tips for budget travelers! I find that traveling during off season definitely saves a lot on accommodation and flight. It makes a big difference and you can use that money on attractions and food.

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