Are you a budget traveler that sees the world or experiences it? Find out these low budget travel mistakes and how to avoid falling into a common rut!


Low Budget Travel Mistakes to Avoid


Budget travelers prefer to spend their money frugally so they can see more with less money. Their goal is to see as much of the world as possible without spending a dime. One theory is that the less you spend the more you can see because your budget lasts longer. Instead of going on a six day resort vacation you can stretch the same amount of money on a six month backpacking adventure.

I tested this theory out back in 2011 and 2012 when I stretched my savings of $10,000 into four months of travel between Central America and Southeast Asia.

Financially, low budget travel is feasible but does it actually guarantee you’ll see more of the world? That’s up to you.


If you’re planning on living abroad and staying put somewhere


With ten grand you can live like a king or queen. Budget accommodation around the world can be extremely reasonable not to mention food and the overall cost of living. When time is on your side you can take advantage of inexpensive monthly rentals or free work exchange opportunities. This allows you to save money while fully exploring a destination.

The problem is that many travelers don’t stay put for too long in their hopes to add as many stamps to their passports as possible. They squeeze in four countries in four weeks or four continents in four months. If you aim for low budget travel then doing too much in shorter periods of time can become a problem.


When you’re goal is low budget travel of $5-$20 per day


The thing about budget travel is that sometimes you get so focused on spending less that you completely miss the experience itself. You may skip out on certain sights; eat a cup of noodles instead of local food; or stay in to avoid spending your money on a night out. You may find that you can’t afford to fully experience the destinations you do visit.

While we splurged on incredible travel experiences such as scuba diving in Honduras, Borneo, and Thailand; for the most part we were extremely frugal with our spending during that particular time period. There are things we missed out on because we were more focused on traveling for an indefinite period of time versus the quality of our experiences.

It took us eight months on that trip to realize:


What’s the point of having 12 months of budget travel when you can have 8 months of indulgent travel?


The thing about “indulgent” travel (as a backpacker) is that it’s still cheap in comparison to your daily life at home especially when you travel to places such as South East Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe.

Our version of budget travel in 2011-2012 was $15-$20 a day or about $600 a month. 

The meaning of “indulgent” when you’re a low budget traveler can be as little as $30 a day or $1000 a month depending on your location. That was closer to my budget on my Round the World Trip in 2010 when I spent $15,000 total for all expenses visiting 13 countries in nine months. I had a blast and I didn’t miss out on anything!


For how to pack for this type of trip, read this round the world packing list!


Isn’t that still relatively inexpensive?


What’s the point of going to delectable Argentina and never trying their world famous steak because you’re trying to scrimp and save to travel longer? Why spend a month house-sitting for free accommodation on a tropical Caribbean island if all you’re going to do is sit in your room and play on Facebook all day?

You wouldn’t believe the amount of travelers we met that were making the horrible mistake of traveling around the world and completely missing out on activities (even free ones), local cuisine, and generally the culture. What’s the point?


Isn’t that why you saved some money to begin with?


To experience the world with your hard earned cash? We save at home so we can spend on the world.

It took us a long time to figure out that traveling isn’t a game where the cheapest spender wins – they’re actually the ones that lose out. It’s not about how long you travel it’s about how you enjoy it – quality vs. quantity.


All low budget travel doesn’t suck. It’s the ultra-tight “everything is too expensive and I can’t afford anything” type of thinking that can become an issue. Try to keep things in perspective and know when to save and when to spend.


Read these tips on how to travel cheaply for ideas on how to maximize your travel budget!


Have you experienced any of these low budget travel mistakes? Comment below!