Living as a Budget Traveller

I thought that I would write this post as, upon reviewing my time in College and taking the necessary steps towards an education at university, I realised there is a lack of information and advice given to students to allow them the option of travel. A lot of students, like myself, haven’t got money to support their adventures and would have to fund themselves which can be daunting. With a world that is changing so rapidly as new technology and ideas are developed, the time to travel is now before the cultures and countries that we find so different to our own are ‘westernised’.

This guide will give you ideas and options in order to fund, get the appropriate help and support yourselves while travelling. I will split it into two categories, before you travel and then during your journey.


The majority of these points will be pretty obvious, however I feel they are very important when it comes to gathering up a suitable amount of funding.

  • See a Penny, pick it up

Ok so maybe not as extreme as foraging on the street for anything you can get your hands on, but when it comes to saving for your travelling, every little helps. Avoid going to the cinema, buying the sandwich that you could make yourself or going out on another night out. With the prices in various places so vastly different to our own, a night out could easily buy you 2 full days of food and accommodation while travelling.

  • Trust associations

Something that helped me massively while saving was my application to the Pain Trust in Exmouth. With one simple application, boys aged 11-21 are able to receive money to support adventure activities. With a maximum grant of £700 per individual, the trustees generously helped me, giving me that extra boost for my travels. There is also one for the girls in the Exmouth area that we found were equally as generous to Catlin, The Girl’s Adventure Trust.

NOTE: That the trust funds mentioned above are only for people who live in Exmouth and the attached area, however I am sure that there will be others across the country. I have linked these two below.

Abandoned Villa in Koh Tao
  • Work, work, work

This one is a given. In order to support yourself you will have to work. At one time I had 5 part-time jobs in order to fund myself before I narrowed it down to just 1 full time. As well as this, if you can show that you are committed to your job, various opportunities could open up to you.

  • Look for those flight deals 

I booked all of my flights, from Africa, through Asia, the South East and America, ridiculously cheaply with STA. This travel agent, designed for students, is able to make flight paths at a MASSIVELY discounted price. For more information, got to your local store instead of checking online as many path prices aren’t stated on the website. For students in Exmouth, there is one in Exeter just opposite the central train station.




Here are some top tips for supporting yourself while travelling and making sure that those costs are reduced. Accommodation is likely to be your biggest cost each day so getting it as cheap as possible will allow for more activities and better nights out.

  • Work Away/ WWOOF

These two sites are effectively free-volunteer opportunities. In exchange for work, you will be provided with free food and accommodation. The work ranges from working in Backpackers and looking after someone’s dogs to teaching English with WorkAway. The WWOOFing projects are slightly different as they are mainly based on Organic Farms or places that are trying to care for the environment – (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) – so you may find yourself working at an eco-lodge or in the rice fields. It means that you could spend weeks learning new trade, skills and meeting new people without having to fork out huge sums of money that other volunteer organisations ask of you. As well as this, you will really understand where your time and effort is going as you interact directly with the people you are helping. Every place I have looked into allows free weekends as well that you can use to explore the local area. Below I have included the link for these websites.


Couchsurfing is an online community that enables you to stay with people across the world for free, and as you would guess, sleeping in their spare beds or on their couches. The website is a world  famous one and in case you are weary of the people you will meet, hosts are rated by their guests so it is always best to stay with those that have higher ratings. This way of travelling with allow you to stay for free and be introduced to the local culture by someone who is living amongst it everyday. The hosts are often travellers themselves and understand what it is like to be on no income, so will take you to the best and cheapest places around. Below I have included the link.


  • Backpackers and Hostels

Staying in accommodation with other travellers will allow you to meet people in similar situations and interact with others along the way. And, although travelling with Catlin we have found that sometimes private rooms aren’t as expensive for us as a couple, beds in dorms are often cheaper starting at roughly £5 a night and will be the way to go if you are a solo traveller or part of a group.


Once you create a budget for yourself, it becomes a lot easier for you to keep track of your money. I now record everything that I spend each day and work out how much I go over/under. It has worked out to be averaging around £15 including accommodation, £5 under budget. Some days I go over but most of the time it is less and I can then put that towards other things.


The International Citizen Service

Another idea, that I myself didn’t look into, is becoming involved in the ICS (International Citizen Service) and working within communities across the world and making a real difference to the lives and the futures of hundreds of people. Unlike other volunteer programs that charge you a fortune to help others, ICS is completely free but do ask for you to fundraise for the project you will be involved in. Because I am not traveling with the ICS program, I am unable to give accurate information regarding this service; below I have included a short, but detailed, description of what it involves by a friend of mine, Megan Hartman, who will be heading out to India in May :-

ICS is a government funded programme that aims to get 18-25 year olds to volunteer overseas to create real change in the lives of young people and subsequently the futures of their communities. Because the programme is government funded, I have not had to pay any cost towards my trip. Although, as part of the programme, you are required to commit to fundraising a minimum target that will go directly to the projects you carry out on placement. ICS works with a variety of other charities over 26 countries in Africa, Asia and South America. I’ve been lucky enough to have been selected by Restless Development to work in India for three months. I’ll be based in the region of Tamil Nadu, which is in the South of the country and steeped in a rich history and tons of culture. I’ll be working with other volunteers from the UK and India on projects that focus of two main objectives: livelihood and health. It’s going to be a complete challenge for me; I’ll be thrown head first into a community, living with and working alongside the locals. To know that I am going to have a real, lasting impact in developing communities is so exciting to me. It’s the first steps on a life-long journey of tackling those issues in society I believe need tackling. And I can’t wait. – Megan Hartman, 19, Devon

Megan is now in the beginning stages of funding and has started a blog that she will update when she can during her journey. On there, feel free to email or ask her any questions that you have regarding the application or the program and she will be happy to help.

For more information about the ICS visit –

I hope that you have found everything useful. The tips during your travel are the ones that will truly allow you to live on a budget and put more money away for the activities and adventures that will make your trip more memorable.

If you have any questions feel free to email me at or post on here.




Pain Trust –

Girls Adventure Trust –


WorkAway  –


Couchsurfing –

Catlin’s blog –


5 thoughts on “Living as a Budget Traveller

  1. Mum

    Hopefully, those who take a true and avid interest in considering a gap year, will be aware of the sacrifices required beforehand in order to truly earn the experience of such a unique, life-changing adventure. Yes, the kind support and financial contribution of organisations such as the Pain Adventure Trust is undoubtedly an added privilege and financial bonus but it is more than obvious that 8 months of travel around the world also requires unerring, countless hours of hard work in order to earn the realistic funds needed to make such a challenging, once in a life-time voyage.
    Well done, Benj and Caitlin! Your determination, meticulous preparation and conscientious awareness of the financial demands can only be admired – respect!


  2. Ess

    I’m thoroughly enjoying reading all your posts.
    Thank you for mentioning The Pain Trust and I’m so glad we were able to help you.


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