How I afford to travel… on a student budget

If you’ve been following my blogs you know that I love traveling. So far I have been away in every uni break and many students ask me how I can afford it. With this blog post I want to answer this question.

Well, one thing is that I don’t spend much money on clothes or other stuff. For me traveling is the only thing which makes me rich, nothing else. But of course there are other tips and tricks for traveling on a student budget. The most important thing: Never miss a deal! There are many amazing deals around; you just have to know where to look 🙂

1 – Like Secret Flying on Facebook and follow their posts

Secret Flying posts frequently special deals from around the world. Not only do they post flights but also good hotel deals. In addition, they are always on the hunt for error fares. That means they discover incredible cheap deals which are based on mistakes made by airlines, hotels or travel agencies. You should be careful with further travel planning after booking an error fare since there is always the chance of the airline/hotel/travel agency cancel your booking. But it is definitely worth a try. By following Secret Flying I’ve ended up more than once on a nice beach like on the following picture


2 – Follow Jetstar, Tigerair and AirAsia

All three airlines have always special deals on. With Jetstar and Tigerair you can get cheap flights within Australia but also to New Zealand, Fidjis or Asia. Tigerair has usually special deals on Tuesdays which are published on Facebook. If you don’t want to miss out on Jetstar deals you should subscribe to the email newsletter. They offer regularly cheap flights to Bangkok, Hanoi, Kuala Lumpur or Singapore (and other destinations). With AirAsia you can fly as cheap as $200 return from Melbourne to Kuala Lumpur if you’re lucky. In order to not miss out you should check their website frequently.

Insider tip: If you want to travel in Asia Kuala Lumpur is (most of the time) the best airport to fly to since AirAsia has a big hub there and offers always super cheap flights to many destinations. For example I flew from Borneo to Kuala Lumpur for around $30 or from Kuala Lumpur to Bali for $12. The city is also nice for a short visit; make sure to check out the Petronas Towers.


3 – Couchsurfing

In the last two weeks I had two couchsurfers sleeping on my couch. When I told this my friends I was quite surprised to hear they wouldn’t know couchsurfing. I’ve done it in Asia, Australia and South America and always had fun and amazing experiences.

That’s how it works: People offer their couch (or a bed) on and travelers can search for possible hosts. The whole thing is for free and it is more about sharing travel stories and get insider tips from locals. But of course it is nice if you as a guest say thanks in a way (helping around the house, cooking, bottle of wine, …). Guests and hosts can write references which are accessible to other people. You might think it is not really safe. However, as long as you stay with people with good references it is a fairly safe way to travel.

The first time was in Sri Lanke. The guy who hosted me was a big motorbike lover, he had hundreds of motorbikes and some of them were even hanging in the trees. The second time was in Sydney and the guy picked me up from the airport. Then I did it again in Argentina where my host showed me around on his motorbike and took me to a place were I had the best Empanadas ever (stuffed bread or pastry baked or fried in many countries in Latin America).


4 – Workaway

Workaway is a platform where people are looking for help with a range of different activities like teaching kids, house work, hospitality and many other things in exchange for food and/or accommodation. It is a great way to learn about local lifestyle, get to know other cultures and also to learn another language; and the best is you don’t have to spend any money.

The first time I did it was in Argentina. I decided to do it because (after many months of traveling) I was almost running out of money but was not ready yet to go home. I ended up in a small town two hours away from Buenos Aires helping a guy building up a school for permaculture and bioconstruction. I created the website and helped with gardening. It was an amazing experience; I got to know other workawayers, went to a traditional gaucho festival where I was able to ride a horse and I learned Spanish.

Because my experience was so great I decided to do it again. My second time was in Uruguay where I helped preparing a hostel for the upcoming season. For me this is one of the best ways to travel.

I also worked as a volunteer in a dog shelter in Thailand which was another great experience. However, most of the time you have to pay for accommodation and food.


5 – Hitchhiking

I was always afraid of hitchhiking and never thought about doing it. But then I went to a couchsurfing event in Uruguay and a lady told me about her experience. She told me that she traveled through North Argentina by hitchhiking and that many travelers would do so. I read a lot about it and in general people said it is quite safe. Then I met a girl in Uruguay who traveled all South America by hitchhiking, never alone though. Since I didn’t want to miss this experience I’ve done it a few times but always together with other girls. The first time we got picked up by a VW bulli and the people invited us to come to a small village off the beaten track without electricity and tiny little houses like you see on the photo. It was such a good experience.

The second time I did it was with 3 other girls and we got picked up by a very nice Argentinian guy who introduced us to local music.


I would never recommend to do it by yourself and only hop into a car if you have a good feeling.

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