4 Steps for International Travel on a Budget

4 Steps for International Travel on a Budget travel insurance


International travel doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. You can afford to see the world, even on a modest budget.

There are a few things to consider when planning your first budget-friendly trip. First, you’ll need to decide on:

  • desired locations
  • how you would like to travel (flight, ship, drive, etc)
  • accommodations
  • what you would like to do in each destination

You will be spending a lot less if you are happy to eat street food, sleep in dorms and to look out for the best deals or discounts on travel.

This doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to sip those cocktails or enjoy a theatre production. You just need to organise your trip and your savings accordingly!


Step 1) Choose a destination

Start by getting a general idea of which countries or regions you’d like to visit. Not sure where to go? Head over to one of our favorite blogs The Art of Non-Comformity.

Author Chris Guillebeau made a goal to visit every country on earth in 10 years – and he did just that. In fact, he visited his first 100 countries while spending less than $30,000! Thankfully, he wrote about every one of those destinations.

Here are a few of our favorite recommendations from his travels:

These are just some ideas to get you started.


Step 2) Calculate your pre-trip fixed costs

There are some expenses that you have to book in advance to get the best deals available to you. This is mainly going to be transportation costs, especially if you are going to several countries during the trip.

Airfare is going to be one of the most expensive outgoings you will have to pay. So decide carefully to get you the most out of your budget.

If you’re planning to visit more than one destination, check apps like Trivago and Priceline. This will help determine the best rates on travel between each.

It’s not always about finding the most efficient or intuitive routes. For example, it may be less expensive to travel from Paris to Vienna, then to London, than Vienna-Paris-London.

It seems silly, but air travel prices vary wildly by date and location. So check ahead and don’t be afraid to be a little unconventional.

Having dates and destinations planned and booked in advance is a great way to keep organized and keep to a budget.

Other costs to consider are:

  • travel insurance
  • visas for each country
  • gear, gadgets, clothing
  • vaccinations (depending on location)

It is also recommended to save up some money just in case of emergency. You know, just in case something unexpected happens.


Step 3) Budget for variable expenses

These costs all come down to your preference and your desired comfort level.

To work out a realistic budget, go with an average daily expenditure. To get started, consider these factors:

  • destination
  • length-of-stay
  • meal preferences
  • entertainment
  • local cost-of-living

Tip: Search Google for ‘daily budget for [country]’. This will give you a rough idea on the costs for a budgeted day. 


Step 4) Track your expenses

Some cities are just more expensive than others. And you may find that you spend more in one place than you’ve allotted for your daily budget. Don’t get too upset by this. If you track your spending well, you can always adjust later to compensate.

Tracking your expenses is the best way to stick to your budget and control your bank balance.

Some great apps for tracking spending are:


level money app, international travel budget


Level Money: Designed to recreate the experience of opening your wallet, the app subtracts recurring expenses and savings from your income before dividing up what’s left to tell you what you can spend each month, day and week. (source: Forbes)

  • Price: Free
  • Links to accounts: Yes
  • Manual input: No
  • Available on: iOS, Android
  • Link: levelmoney.com


mint, international travel insurance


Mint: Helps users create budgets with numerous spending categories, warning users with brightly colored graphics when they are nearing the edge of. Provides credit score access. (Source: Forbes)

  • Price: Free
  • Links to accounts: Yes
  • Manual input: Yes
  • Available on: iOS, Android, Kindle
  • Link: mint.com


penny app, international travel insurance


Penny: Keep tabs on your finances via a text message like interface where “Penny” provides graphics and friendly banter about your spending habits. (Source: Forbes)

  • Price: Free
  • Links to accounts: Yes
  • Manual input: No
  • Available on: iOS, Android
  • Link: pennyapp.io

Any of these tools should work just fine. It’s more important that you track consistently so you have an idea of what you’re spending on a daily basis.


Follow these tips to visit your favorite international destinations on a budget.


Before you go, don’t forget to pack travel insurance. 

international travel medical insurance

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