There are many ways you can make and save money while traveling. What works for one person, might not work for another, but over the years, I’ve learned from friends that there is always a way to do things cheaper. I’m all about saving a few bucks here and there, but I also do enjoy spending a bit more if it’s going to make my life a little more convenient.
When I left my reporter job in Hawaii in July 2017, I knew I wanted/needed to work while I was on the road if I wanted to travel long-term. I started freelance writing, and I love my job! Every day I’m grateful to have this opportunity which allows me to continue traveling and exploring.
Read: How to Become a Freelance Writer to learn more about how I got started writing and how you can too.
How I Make Money While Traveling
1) Freelance Writing.
- HER Magazine focuses on stories that empower women. I write about strong women who are inspiring others, and I love learning from the women I get to interview. Check out my stories for HER Mag here.
If you have a great story, I’d love to hear about it. Send me an email – firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Butiqe is a boutique directory app where I write about fashion. I interview designers and brands sold in boutiques about how they got started and what are the must-have items of the season.
If you know of a local brand that’s interested in a feature, send me a message – email@example.com
2) Sponsored Blog Posts.
After years of blogging, and LOTS of hard work, I recently started working with brands on sponsored content. I only write about things that I love and will always let you know if the content is sponsored. For me, the key is making sure the brand is a good fit for my readers and will add value to my content.
How to Save Money While Traveling
I first heard about Workaway from a friend who lived with a family in Switzerland in exchange for making lunch for the children and talking to them in English. Workaway opportunities exist all over the world, and once you connect with a host, you get to discuss how long you would like to stay and what your responsibilities will be. Typically, you would work five days a week for 4-5 hours a day with meals included, but every situation is different and discussed with the host. I paid the fee, signed up for the site and connected with the owner of a boutique hotel in Popoyo, Nicaragua who needed help with social media and public relations. It sounded like a perfect fit for me, but since I could only stay for two weeks, they went with another candidate who committed to 3 months. *I’m currently looking for workaway opportunities in Europe starting in May.
My first and only Couchsurfing experience was in Kauai, and I met the most incredible host. Marc took me to Polihale beach, we went on some incredible hikes, and even went diving for Tako (octopus). It was awesome, and I definitely wouldn’t have known about these places without his help. Thank you, Marc! I recently started using Couchsurfing again for accommodations in San Jose, Costa Rica. After sending a few messages, I got an answer within a few minutes. I ended up staying in a different area with family instead, but if I go back to San Jose, I’ll likely send that host a message.
3) Stay with Family or Friends.
When you are traveling you meet friends from all over the world, don’t be shy about reaching out to see if they have a place for you to stay. When I lived in Hawaii, my apartment was located one block from the beach. I’d often get messages from friends asking if they could stay with me and I always said yes! I love having friends and family in my home, and now I can’t wait to visit them. I’m currently staying at my uncle’s farm in Costa Rica. They have so many animals and grow melons that are shipped to Europe. It’s such a cool experience being here and so nice to be with family.
4) Shop local.
I love eating at great restaurants just as much as you do, but let’s be real, eating out three meals a day can get expensive. When choosing a place to stay, pick a spot with breakfast included. I use booking.com (<—referral link) for most of my reservations and never have any problems finding accommodations. I shop at local markets for fruits and veggies or will visit the grocery store if I know I’m staying in a place for more than a few days. In Nicaragua, you can eat very cheap in the “comedores” and in Costa Rica, “sodas” serve great local food at a very reasonable price.
5) Catch a Ride.
Let me start off by saying hitchhiking is not for everyone, but I’ve personally never had any problems. Always use your judgment and trust your gut. I’ve met people who only travel this way and save a lot of money on transportation, plus you get to meet a lot of cool people. Public buses are way more affordable than taxis or private shuttles but keep in mind it will take longer to get to your destination and you might have to take a few to get to where you are going. I’ve also noticed that ride-sharing apps are available in big cities and are much cheaper than taxis.
6) Swap your stuff.
After a few months on the road, you will probably get tired of wearing the same clothes. I recently swapped dresses with a friend of mine so we both got something new to wear. The dresses she gave me were basically brand new and she loved the stuff I gave her. I don’t like carrying a lot of weight around, so I’ll go through my stuff every few weeks and gift things to locals or friends that I haven’t used in a while.
I want to share how much love and pura vida I’ve felt over the last few weeks. ♥ I spent a few days in San José with new and old friends and now I’m in Guanacaste, in the country on my uncle’s farm. 🇨🇷 Lately I’ve been mastering the art of letting go. I cleared my suitcase and swapped things I wasn’t using with a friend, I’ve let go of my constant need to plan everything and I’m enjoying not knowing what I’ll do tomorrow. (How do you let go of things that no longer serve you?) 🌈 thank you @michelle.kimber.54 for my beautiful new dress! #costarica #puravida #sanjose
I love traveling and writing and I hope some of you are getting inspired to travel as well. One of my favorite things in the entire world is getting a message from a friend or stranger who says I inspired them to take a trip, write or motivated them to achieve their goals. It is one of the best feelings, so if I have encouraged you in any way… I’d love to hear about it!
How do you save money while traveling? I’d love to hear your tips.
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With Aloha, Alex
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