by Annie 

September 4, 2021

how to travel and save money

Everyone wants to know how to travel more. I’m certain you’re no exception! Though there’s no magic bullet, except maybe winning the lottery, there are a ton of simple ways to help you get out exploring more often. For most of us, the biggest obstacles to travel are time, money, and the confidence that we know what the hell we’re doing. 

Having spent the last thirteen years figuring out how to travel more, I’ve learned a few lessons along the way. There’s a method of bringing all the pieces together that I like to call ‘Value Travel’. This idea is really about accepting that there’s not one right way to travel. Every travel experience is different based on your budget, time you have to spend, who you’re traveling with (if anyone!), your destination, and what kind of experience you’re in the mood for. 

Approaching your trips with an open mind about how all the pieces come together will definitely help you travel more! Let’s explore this some more, shall we?

How to Travel More With the Value Travel Approach

Think of every trip like a super awesome present you give to yourself. The box that gift comes in is determined by the time and money you have to spend on it. If you have ten days and $3,000, there’s an insane amount of really cool ways you can fill that box with incredible memories. If you have a three-day weekend and $500, there are still tons of options for you to have awesome experiences! There are an endless number of ways you can figure out how to travel more with the value travel approach.

Once you know the size and shape (time and money to spend) of your travel gift, you need to fit the rest of the pieces inside. These are the big things like how you’re going to get there, where you’re going to stay, how you’ll get around, what you’ll do while you’re there, and how you’ll sustain yourself with all the good food available! It’s so much easier than you might think, I promise.

The best part about the value travel approach is that all those pieces are flexible. They can adjust to fit your needs for any particular experience. In certain places, Scandinavia for example, accommodations are more expensive than if you’re planning a trip to Romania. You’ll spend more of your budget on where you sleep, but you can make up the difference by finding cheap flights or opting to have a picnic in the park instead of eating in a restaurant. The experience is just as enjoyable, and you save money so you can travel more often!

How Value Travel Helps You Save Money

The whole point of this approach to planning your travel experiences is that you spend the money on what’s actually important to you. If you love to go out for a great meal, but don’t care about museums, spend your money on dinner. Of course, we want to do all of the things all of the time, right? 

The real question then is this: would you rather make some of your travel dreams come true now with what you have available or sit around waiting until you can do every single thing you want before doing anything at all?

By choosing to say yes to what’s available, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to save money on travel now and have more experiences later. Let me share an example from my own travels so you can see what I mean. When my husband and I went to Iceland with a couple of friends in 2011, our budget was really limited. We only had a couple thousand dollars each to spend. Because Iceland, for us, is all about nature and accommodations are pretty spendy, we chose to take our tents and camp our way around the island. It was so much fun!!

We got to be up close and personal with the natural beauty we came to see and saved a ton of money. Now, camping might not be your jam, but you can make the trade-off somewhere else. If you can be flexible with the time of year you travel, you can save a ton on flights that will make up the difference in accommodation. It’s all about getting creative!

Simply understanding that there’s a huge variety of options for every element of your experience, lets you decide what’s important so you can spend your money there and save for future trips by skipping what doesn’t matter to you. This, my friend, is how you can save money on travel while still getting out there and having unforgettable experiences.

Learning How to Travel More

Now that you know about this whole ‘value travel’ idea, how do you make it work for you so you can travel more? It does take some time to learn the nuances of each option and practice making it happen, but that’s what this blog and I am here for! If you’re really serious about learning how to travel more, then the Indie Travel Collective might be right up your alley. It’s a community of independent travelers (those of us who want full control of our travel experiences) committed to seeing the world and sharing what we can to help each other do the same. 

Here’s the truth of the matter -- if travel isn’t a priority for you, you’ll always find some other way to spend your time and money. It’s really easy to put travel on the backburner and choose the shiny object that you want right this minute. Because of this temptation, I’ve started weighing all my purchases in plane tickets! Lol. For me, a $100 pair of shoes is most of a round-trip ticket to San Francisco or a fourth of a ticket to Europe (or more, if I play my cards right). I’d much rather have the plane ticket, so I usually skip the shoes. If you start thinking about your purchases differently, you’ll quickly see all sorts of opportunities to save money so you can travel more!

One super easy way to travel more is to keep a lookout for travel deals! Secret Flying is one of my favorite sites for finding sweet deals on airfare. If you’re anything like me, your list of places you want to see is never-ending. When you see a great flight price to somewhere on that list, jump on it! This is just one of many tools to help you save money on travel, which you can learn all about over in the Indie Travel Collective

Lastly, one of the best ways to learn how to travel more is by surrounding yourself with other people who actually do it! It’s so inspiring to hear stories from other people out there making it happen. It totally gives me the motivation to do it too, instead of just talking about it or daydreaming. This is one of the best parts about having a community of people with the same interests and priorities! It’s one of my absolute favorite things about the Indie Travel Collective. Check it out and if it looks like your kind of community, you can get your first month for $9 using the code Blog10

The world is waiting, my friend. Are you ready to see it? Let’s go!

Share Your Story

What are the most important elements to you when planning your travel experiences? How have you saved money on travel in the past? Share your tips and ideas in the comments!

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About the author 


Fun Lover. Food Eater. Bold Explorer. Big Dreamer. Annie is a fiercely independent traveler who loves to create unique and interesting experiences. She thrives on finding the magical moments and hidden gems waiting around every corner. Her passion for helping others make their travel dreams come true fuels her work as a travel planner, consultant, educator, and community builder.

  • I love this idea of “value travel”. I think it’s important to to do the things you love & it’s always worth splurging on amazing activities. Some of my best travel experiences have been very expensive, like a hot air ballooning safari in South Africa & in Bagan Myanmar floating over ancient temples! But I can usually save money elsewhere like on accommodation or transport or food. I love eating street food & it’s a great way to save some cash.

    • I agree completely! Value Travel is all about making it work so we can do more of what we love. Oh wow, the hot air balloon safari sounds absolutely epic! Myanmar too! I definitely have some of those epic trips on my list and I’ll be saving money in those other places too. Street food FTW!

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