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How This Family Of 4 Traveled The World On $130 A Day


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Sheelagh Falls



Have you ever dreamt of traveling the world, but thought it was out of reach due to budget constraints? Think again! It is indeed possible to embark on a global adventure without breaking the bank. In this article, we will explore how a savvy family of four managed to see the world on a daily budget of just $130. By employing strategic planning, budgeting techniques, and smart spending habits, they were able to explore incredible destinations and make unforgettable memories without financial stress.


Traveling on a budget requires careful planning and making informed choices. It involves finding affordable destinations, seeking out cost-effective accommodation options, finding budget-friendly transportation, and even being mindful of daily expenses such as food and activities. While it may take a bit of extra effort and research, the rewards are well worth it.


This article will provide you with valuable insights and practical tips on how to travel on a budget. Whether you’re a solo traveler, a couple, or a family, these tips can be applied to make your dream of exploring the world a reality without draining your savings account.


So, let’s dive in and discover the secrets of budget travel from this inspiring family who proved that with careful planning and a bit of creativity, anyone can see the world on a shoestring budget.


Planning and Budgeting

The first step in embarking on a budget travel adventure is meticulous planning and budgeting. Before you start booking flights or making any arrangements, take the time to set a realistic budget for your trip. Consider factors such as airfare, accommodation, transportation, meals, activities, and any additional expenses you may incur along the way.


Research is key when it comes to finding the best deals and identifying cost-saving opportunities. Explore different travel websites, compare prices, and look for discounts or promotions. Consider traveling during the off-peak season, as this can lead to significant savings in terms of accommodation and airfare.


Another essential aspect of planning is setting a daily budget. Determine how much you are willing to spend per day and stick to it. This will help you prioritize your expenses and make informed decisions based on your financial capabilities.


Creating a detailed itinerary is crucial for budget travel. Plan your destinations, activities, and transportation in advance to minimize unexpected expenses. By knowing where you want to go and what you want to do, you can better allocate your resources and avoid overspending.


Utilize budgeting apps or spreadsheets to keep track of your expenses throughout your trip. This will help you stay within your budget and identify any areas where you might be overspending. Remember, being flexible and open to alternative options can often lead to cost savings. Be willing to adjust your plans if a more budget-friendly opportunity arises.


Keep in mind that budget travel doesn’t mean sacrificing experiences. It simply means being more mindful of your spending and making informed decisions. By planning ahead and setting a budget, you can have an incredible travel experience without breaking the bank.


Choosing Affordable Destinations

When it comes to budget travel, the destination you choose can have a significant impact on your overall expenses. Opting for affordable destinations can stretch your budget further and allow you to experience more within your financial limitations.


Consider countries or regions where the cost of living is relatively low. Southeast Asia, parts of Central America, and Eastern Europe are known for being affordable destinations with a wealth of cultural experiences to offer. Research the average costs of accommodation, food, transportation, and activities in different destinations to determine which ones align with your budget.


Keep in mind that affordability can vary within a country as well. While a capital city might be expensive, smaller towns or rural areas can provide more budget-friendly options. Don’t overlook these less-touristy areas, as they often offer unique experiences at a lower cost.


Timing is also important when choosing affordable destinations. Be aware of peak travel seasons when prices tend to soar due to high demand. Traveling during the shoulder or off-peak seasons can lead to better deals on accommodation and activities.


Additionally, consider the exchange rate of the destination’s currency. Visit countries where your currency has a favorable exchange rate, as this can significantly reduce your costs on daily expenses.


Embrace the concept of slow travel to further save on expenses. Instead of rushing from one destination to another, spend more time in a particular area, immersing yourself in the local culture and avoiding unnecessary transportation costs.


Ultimately, the key is to find destinations that align with your budget without compromising on the experiences you desire. With careful research and consideration, you can choose affordable destinations that offer a wealth of adventure and cultural exploration.


Accommodation on a Budget

Accommodation is one of the biggest expenses while traveling, but with some smart planning, you can find affordable options that fit your budget without compromising comfort or safety.


Consider staying in budget-friendly accommodations such as hostels, guesthouses, or budget hotels. These types of accommodations often offer clean and comfortable rooms at a fraction of the cost of luxury hotels. Look for accommodations with shared facilities to further save on costs.


If you’re traveling with a group or as a family, consider renting an apartment or vacation home. This can be a cost-effective option as it allows you to cook meals and have more space to relax. Websites such as Airbnb and HomeAway offer a wide range of affordable rental options in various destinations.


Another option for budget accommodation is camping or staying at local campsites. This is ideal for nature enthusiasts and can significantly reduce your lodging costs. Research campsites in your desired destinations and ensure they have the necessary facilities and safety measures in place.


Stay open to alternative accommodations such as farm stays, eco-lodges, or even house-sitting opportunities. These unique options can offer memorable experiences while saving you money on accommodation.


Consider leveraging rewards programs or loyalty memberships. Some hotels and booking websites offer loyalty programs that provide discounts, exclusive deals, or free nights after a certain number of stays. Sign up for these programs and take advantage of the benefits they offer.


Lastly, be flexible with your travel dates. Weekdays and off-peak seasons often offer better rates for accommodations compared to weekends or peak travel periods. Planning your trip during these times can lead to significant cost savings.


Remember to read reviews and compare prices before booking any accommodation. Look for the best value for money, taking into account factors such as location, amenities, and overall ratings. By being strategic with your accommodation choices, you can make substantial savings and stretch your travel budget even further.


Transportation Tips

Transportation costs can quickly add up while traveling, but with some smart strategies, you can save money and make the most of your budget.


Consider utilizing public transportation options such as buses, trains, or metro systems. Public transportation is often more affordable compared to taxis or private car rentals. Research the public transportation networks in your destination and familiarize yourself with the routes and schedules.


If you’re planning to visit multiple destinations within a region, consider purchasing a regional or multi-city transportation pass. These passes often offer discounted rates for transportation and can be a cost-effective way to explore different areas.


Traveling by bus or train can also be a great way to enjoy the scenery and immerse yourself in the local culture. Instead of flying from one destination to another, opt for overland transportation options, which are often cheaper and allow you to experience the beauty of the journey.


For shorter distances within a city, consider walking or cycling. Not only is this a budget-friendly option, but it also allows you to explore at your own pace and discover hidden gems along the way.


If you prefer the convenience of private transportation, consider carpooling or ridesharing services. Apps like Uber or Lyft can often provide more affordable transportation options compared to traditional taxis. Additionally, carpooling services such as BlaBlaCar allow you to share rides with other travelers, further reducing the cost.


Flexibility in your travel plans can also lead to transportation savings. Be open to taking red-eye flights or traveling during off-peak hours. These options often come with lower fares and can help you cut down on transportation costs.


Lastly, remember to compare prices when booking flights. Utilize flight comparison websites and consider flying with budget airlines, as they often offer significantly lower fares compared to full-service carriers. Just be sure to carefully read the baggage policies and additional fees associated with budget airlines.


By implementing these transportation tips, you can save money and allocate more of your budget towards experiences and activities that truly enrich your travel experience.


Cost-saving Tips for Food and Dining

Food and dining expenses can quickly add up while traveling, but with some smart strategies, you can enjoy delicious meals without breaking the bank.


One of the most effective ways to save money on food is by eating like a local. Explore local markets, street food stalls, and small, family-owned restaurants. Not only will you get a taste of authentic cuisine, but you’ll also find that these options are often more affordable than tourist-oriented restaurants.


Consider opting for self-catering accommodations that come with a kitchen or kitchenette. This allows you to prepare your own meals, reducing the reliance on eating out for every meal. Visit local grocery stores or markets to shop for fresh ingredients and cook your own meals, saving money while enjoying the local flavors.


Another cost-saving tip is to prioritize lunch over dinner when it comes to eating out. Lunch menus are often more budget-friendly, offering similar quality and portion sizes as dinner options at a lower cost. Take advantage of lunchtime specials and set menus offered by restaurants.


Avoid eating in heavily touristy areas, as prices tend to be inflated. Venture a bit further away from popular tourist spots to find more reasonably priced restaurants or eateries that cater to locals.


When dining out, consider sharing meals or ordering smaller portion sizes. This not only saves money but also allows you to sample a wider variety of dishes. Take advantage of happy hour specials or early bird discounts offered by some restaurants.


Stay hydrated with tap water whenever it is safe to do so. Buying bottled water can add up over time, especially in destinations with higher prices. Carry a refillable water bottle and fill up at water fountains or ask for tap water at restaurants.


Take advantage of free meals or breakfast provided by your accommodation. Many hotels, hostels, and guesthouses offer complimentary breakfasts, which can be a valuable cost-saving opportunity.


Lastly, indulge in the local street food scene. Street food often offers a plethora of delicious and affordable options. Don’t be afraid to try local delicacies and snacks from street vendors, but be sure to choose places with good hygiene practices to ensure your safety.


By implementing these cost-saving tips for food and dining, you can savor the flavors of your destination while keeping your travel budget in check.


Free and Low-cost Activities

Exploring a new destination doesn’t have to break the bank. There are plenty of free and low-cost activities that allow you to immerse yourself in the local culture and create lasting memories.


Take advantage of the natural beauty that surrounds you. Enjoy walks along the beach, hikes in national parks, or strolls through scenic neighborhoods. Nature provides endless opportunities for exploration at no cost.


Research local festivals and events happening during your visit. Many cities and towns host cultural celebrations, music festivals, or art exhibitions that offer free or low-cost entry. These events provide a unique glimpse into the local culture and are sure to leave a lasting impression.


Explore the city on foot. Many cities offer free walking tours or self-guided itineraries that allow you to discover the city’s landmarks, historical sites, and hidden gems at your own pace. Walking not only saves money but also gives you a chance to truly soak in the atmosphere and interact with locals.


Visit local museums, galleries, and cultural centers. While some may have an entrance fee, many offer discounted or free admission on certain days or during specific times. Take advantage of these opportunities to learn about the local history, art, and traditions.


Engage in local community activities. Check if there are any free workshops, classes, or performances happening in the area. This could include cooking demonstrations, dance lessons, or live music performances. Getting involved in the local community not only immerses you in the culture but also provides unique and memorable experiences.


Research free or discounted attractions. Many cities have free public parks, gardens, or viewpoints that offer stunning views. Look for free guided tours, free admission days, or discounted passes to popular attractions. You can save money by planning your visits accordingly.


Take advantage of public facilities such as libraries, cultural centers, or community spaces. These often have free or low-cost activities, workshops, and events that cater to both locals and visitors. Attend lectures, film screenings, or performances to experience the local arts scene.


Connect with locals by joining or participating in community gatherings or local events. This could include attending a local sports match, joining a free fitness class in the park, or volunteering for a charitable organization. These interactions provide a deeper cultural experience and often don’t require a significant financial commitment.


Don’t forget to explore the natural beauty of your destination. Spend time on scenic hikes, swim in natural pools or lakes, or have a picnic in a picturesque spot. Nature provides stunning experiences that are often accessible at no cost.


By embracing these free and low-cost activities, you can enrich your travel experience without straining your budget. The key is to seek out the hidden treasures and unique opportunities that each destination has to offer.


Saving on Souvenirs and Gifts

Souvenirs and gifts are often part of the travel experience, allowing us to bring a piece of our adventures back home. However, they can quickly become an unexpected drain on our travel budget. Here are some tips to help you save money on souvenirs and gifts without sacrificing the sentiment behind them:


Prioritize meaningful and practical souvenirs. Instead of buying random knick-knacks, opt for items that hold significance and serve a purpose. Consider purchasing locally made crafts, artwork, or handmade goods that reflect the culture and traditions of the destination. These items not only make for thoughtful keepsakes but also support local artisans.


Avoid buying souvenirs from touristy areas or popular landmarks, as prices tend to be inflated. Venture further into local neighborhoods where you can find unique and reasonably priced items. Explore local markets, flea markets, or artisanal shops for hidden gems.


Consider purchasing souvenirs directly from the source. If you’re in a destination known for its specific products, such as ceramics or textiles, visit the workshops or studios where these items are made. Cutting out the middleman can lead to significant cost savings.


Think outside the box when it comes to gift-giving. Rather than purchasing physical souvenirs, consider giving the gift of experiences. Treat your loved ones to a local cooking class, a guided tour, or tickets to a cultural performance. These experiences create lasting memories and can often be more meaningful than material gifts.


Buy souvenirs in bulk or look for package deals. Many markets or shops offer discounts when you buy multiple items or bundles. Consider purchasing gifts for multiple people from the same place to take advantage of these discounts.


Negotiate prices when appropriate, especially in markets or smaller establishments. This may not be customary in all cultures, so be mindful of local customs and politeness. However, in some places, bargaining can lead to significant savings on souvenirs.


Think about the practicality of souvenirs. Items that are fragile, heavy, or difficult to transport can result in additional expenses for shipping or luggage fees. Opt for smaller, lightweight items that are easy to pack and won’t become a burden during your travels.


Consider creating your own souvenirs or keepsakes. Keep travel journals, collect small mementos like tickets or postcards, or take photographs to capture memories. These personalized items can be more meaningful than store-bought souvenirs.


Lastly, set a budget specifically for souvenirs and gifts before your trip. By deciding in advance how much you’re willing to spend, you can avoid overspending or making impulsive purchases.


Remember, the sentiment behind a souvenir or gift is what matters most. With thoughtful planning and consideration, you can save money on souvenirs while still finding meaningful ways to commemorate your travel experiences.


Budgeting for Health and Insurance

When planning for your travel adventures, it’s important to consider your health and insurance needs. Adequate preparation in these areas can save you from unexpected expenses and protect you in case of emergencies.


Prioritize travel insurance to protect yourself and your finances. Look for a comprehensive insurance policy that covers medical expenses, trip cancellations or interruptions, lost baggage, and emergency medical evacuation. While it may be an additional expense upfront, it can save you from significant financial burdens in the event of unforeseen circumstances.


Research and compare travel insurance policies to find the best coverage for your needs and budget. Take note of the deductible, coverage limits, and any exclusions or limitations. Make sure you understand the policy terms and what is required for a successful claim.


Include travel insurance costs in your overall travel budget. Factor in the length of your trip, your destination, and any activities or sports you plan to participate in. Some policies may require additional coverage for certain activities, such as adventure sports or extreme activities.


Consider your health needs while traveling. If you take prescription medications, make sure you have an ample supply for the duration of your trip. Research the availability and cost of medications in your destination, and if necessary, get a letter from your doctor to carry with you to avoid any issues at customs or security checkpoints.


Take proper precautions to protect your health while traveling. This includes maintaining good hygiene practices, staying hydrated, and being mindful of the local food and water sources. Invest in a quality travel first aid kit and pack any necessary over-the-counter medications or medical supplies that you may need during your trip.


If you require vaccinations for your destination, research the cost of these vaccinations and factor them into your budget. Some vaccinations may need to be administered in multiple doses over a period of time, so plan accordingly to ensure you’re fully protected before your trip.


Lastly, be aware of any travel advisories or health warnings for your destination. Stay informed about potential health risks, such as diseases or outbreaks, and take appropriate precautions. This may include getting additional vaccinations or taking preventive medications.


By budgeting for health and insurance, you can ensure your well-being and have peace of mind while traveling. Prioritizing these aspects allows you to handle any unforeseen circumstances with confidence, without compromising your financial stability.


Managing Finances While Traveling

Managing your finances effectively while traveling is crucial to ensure you stay within budget and make the most of your travel experience. Here are some tips to help you maintain control of your finances:


Set up a travel budget and stick to it. Determine how much money you can allocate to each aspect of your trip, including accommodation, transportation, food, activities, and souvenirs. Use budgeting apps or spreadsheets to track your expenses and ensure you’re keeping within your predetermined limits.


Notify your bank and credit card companies about your travel plans. Banks and credit card companies may flag overseas transactions as suspicious if they are not aware of your travel plans. Let them know your destination and dates of travel to avoid any unnecessary complications with accessing your funds.


Research the best options for accessing money while abroad. Compare exchange rates, ATM fees, and foreign transaction fees to find the most cost-effective method. Consider obtaining a travel-friendly credit card or prepaid travel card that offers competitive rates and benefits for international use.


Carry a mix of payment options. Have some local currency on hand for small purchases or destinations where card payments may not be widely accepted. It’s also a good idea to have a backup card or emergency cash in case of unforeseen circumstances or card loss.


Be cautious with your spending. It’s easy to get carried away while on vacation, but maintaining discipline is important. Avoid unnecessary splurges and focus on experiences that truly align with your travel goals. Always ask yourself if an expense is essential or if there is a more budget-friendly alternative.


Keep track of exchange rates. Stay informed about the current rates to ensure you’re getting the best value for your money. Compare rates at different exchange offices or consider using digital currency exchange platforms for competitive rates.


Be wary of common tourist scams related to money. Familiarize yourself with local currency and exchange rates to avoid being cheated by dishonest vendors or street money changers. Keep an eye on your belongings and be cautious when providing your credit card details in unfamiliar establishments.


Use Wi-Fi for data and communication. International data plans can be expensive, so take advantage of Wi-Fi connections whenever available. Use messaging apps for communication and offline maps for navigation to avoid unnecessary roaming charges.


Keep receipts and track expenses for potential reimbursement or tax purposes. This is particularly important if you’re traveling for work or if you plan to claim travel-related expenses when you return home. Organize your receipts and document your expenses in detail.


Monitor your accounts regularly. Stay vigilant and review your transactions regularly to identify any suspicious activity. Report any unauthorized charges or discrepancies immediately to your bank or credit card company.


By implementing these strategies, you can effectively manage your finances while traveling. This allows you to make the most of your budget, avoid unnecessary debt, and enjoy a worry-free travel experience.



Traveling on a budget is not only possible but can also lead to some of the most enriching and memorable experiences of your life. By implementing smart planning, budgeting techniques, and making conscious choices, you can explore the world without draining your bank account. From choosing affordable destinations and accommodations to finding cost-effective transportation options, there are numerous ways to make your travel dreams a reality while staying within your financial limits.


Remember to prioritize the experiences that truly matter to you, whether it’s immersing yourself in local culture, exploring natural wonders, or connecting with fellow travelers. Seek out free and low-cost activities, engage with the local community, and savor the affordable culinary offerings of each destination.


It’s crucial to allocate a portion of your budget to health and travel insurance to protect yourself in case of emergencies. Be mindful of your finances while traveling, keeping track of expenses, and making informed choices to stay within your budget. By managing your finances effectively, you can ensure peace of mind and focus on making the most of your travel experiences.


Ultimately, budget travel is about finding a balance between saving money and creating meaningful experiences. It requires careful planning, flexibility, and a willingness to embrace new opportunities. By following the tips and strategies outlined in this article, you can embark on incredible adventures, create cherished memories, and satisfy your wanderlust without breaking the bank.


So, go forth and explore the world on a budget! Whether you’re a solo traveler, a couple, or a family, there are endless possibilities awaiting you. With the right mindset and a bit of creativity, you can embark on unforgettable journeys, discover new cultures, and expand your horizons while keeping your finances in check. Happy travels!