How to Travel Without an Income


The old phrase "money doesn’t grow on trees" is especially true when you love traveling. As prices on plane tickets, visas, baggage fees, and even food are escalating, it can make traveling without an income seem intimidating, or even impossible. But, once you’ve explored new parts of the world, it’s hard to imagine a future without travel. Even on a shoestring budget, you don’t have to give up your love for wandering. Traveling without an income is not only possible, but will also bring you to new city corners that you wouldn’t normally explore. 

See Also: Top 10 Destinations to Travel Solo

1. Save up Before You Take of

With at least a small amount of cash saved for your travels, you won’t have to think twice about supplementing your bank account while on the road. Budgeting is obnoxious, we know, but make sure to crunch the numbers to plan ahead for your trip and start saving early. Don’t make any huge purchases immediately before you begin traveling—remember that every dollar you save is another dollar for exploring the world. How much you keep in the bank account depends on where you are going, how long you will be without income, and your spending habits. But remember, when you’re traveling without steady income, it’s always better to have a little extra cash than to be stranded penniless. 

2. Ditch The Hotels

No, we aren’t suggesting that you sleep under any bridges, but there are smart ways to save big on hotels. Camping is a great way to visit new places for free. Many cities have Youth Hostels, which can be safe, clean and unbelievably cheap. Use websites such as to find the best-rated hostels for your destination. Sure, you’ll probably be sharing a room, but if you’re traveling with friends then you can bunk together. When exploring a new place, who hangs out in their hotel room anyways? You’ll probably be seeing the sights most of the day and coming home to crash at night.

Another solution for saving on hotels is staying with the locals! With sites like AirBnB and CouchSurfing, every city has locals willing to let you crash at their place for cheap (or even free). Research the people and places where you’re looking to stay, and you’ll ensure a safe, authentic experience with people who will probably become your good friends!

3. Eat Cheaper Than Ever

You can’t travel for cheap and have a five-star dining experience, but you can still eat really, really good food. In many countries, street markets will be the way to go, steaming up local delicacies that will probably be tastier than the fanciest restaurant in town anyways. Grocery markets are a great place to grab some bread and toppings to make inexpensive sandwiches. Be sure to load up on snacks before heading to places like the airport or tourist destinations, where they love to overprice the food.

4. Wander Where You Save

While most Western countries can break the bank, there are several destinations where you can travel at a very low cost. If your budget is tight, save your trip to Australia for another time, and instead head to places like Peru, China or Bali. Traveling to a cheaper destination means you can extend your trip because your money lasts for more days. Grab a five-course meal for $2, lay by the beach, and you won’t have to worry about money (or anything, really). 

5. Snag Budget Flights

You may not be flying first class, but you can still snag incredible deals on plane tickets. Google Flights can compare all airlines and dates for you and also has a nifty map feature to show you where it’s cheapest to fly from your hometown. Kayak has a forecasting feature to predict how much the airline ticket will rise in the next few weeks. Data analysts suggest buying flights 47 days in advance for the best price, since it’s not too early and not too late. Of course, you could always ditch the planes altogether and travel via train or bus to save money. Depending on where you’re headed, these options are usually much cheaper.

See Also: 10 Ways to Travel the World on a Budget

When you’re traveling on a tight budget, it’s all about strategy. Whether you’re bringing coupons or researching the cheapest restaurants, you can easily stretch your dollars without additional income coming into your account. No matter which roads you take or how you get there, it’s all about traveling safe, smart, and immersing yourself in the culture.

Do you have any other travel tips for those without a steady income? Let us know in the comments section below.