Travel Budgets

Best Budget Resources for Long-Term Travel

Planning long-term travel (3+ months) is way different than a short 2 week vacation. Not only do you have to consider where to go, but also WHEN to go there, how long to stay, how much you’ll spend and what you need to pack.

When I was doing research before starting my own big trip ’round the world, I didn’t find much info on specifically long trips. Plenty of stuff for short vacations, but the 3+ months type of travel I was planning for was a little harder to research. Eventually I figured it out, but it took a while!

To help my fellow nomads out, I’ve put together a list of the 60 best travel resources for budget travelers who want to go on long world trips. You’ll find links to websites for finding cheap and free accommodation, where to search for travel jobs, finding discounted flights, sites for researching world travel, travel groups and community links, plus even some podcasts and books to keep you entertained while on the road.

Travel resources list (free download!)

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Best budget travel resources list (updated 2024)

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one and buy something, I get a small percentage of that at no extra cost to you. Read my full disclosure here.)

Accommodation

Getting discounted accommodation is really the key to keeping a low travel budget, as it’s usually the most expensive thing after transit costs. Some ways to get cheap places to stay around the world include doing pet sitting or house sitting, work exchanges, and searching on the right websites.

  1. HelpX – Work/cultural exchange with listings around the world. Most include free housing and food. Free to search but costs to contact hosts; €20 for 2 years.
  2. Workaway – Work/cultural exchange with listings around the world. Most include free housing and food. $49 USD/year for single traveler; $59 USD/year for couple. The website also has meetups/travel buddies option for solo travelers!
  3. Housesitters America – Petsitting in exchange for housing; US-based listings. $49 USD/year for sitters.
  4. Trusted Housesitters – Petsitting in exchange for housing; international & US listings. Free to sign up and search; $129 USD/year for basic sitter membership.
  5. Aussie Housesitters – Petsitting in exchange for housing, Australia-based. Free to search; $84 AUD/year for sitter membership.
  6. House Sitters UK – Petsitting in exchange for housing, United Kingdom-based. Free to search; £29/year for sitter membership.
  7. Booking.com – Hotels, hostels, apartments around the world; good for Europe/US in particular. Rewards program gives further discounts. Check mobile app for occasional special pricing.
  8. Agoda – Hotels, hostels, Apartments particularly in Asia. Same company as Booking.com but different rewards program.
    • Combine discounts by using Rakuten’s cashback browser extension! Usually it’s only like 4% but sometimes it goes up to 10% or more. Small savings add up over time!
    • Get an extra 10% cash back with my referral link: www.rakuten.com/r/HEREBE4?eeid=28187
  9. Hostelworld – Book hostels around the world. Also has chats for cities/countries that you can use to meetup with people.
  10. Independent Hostels UK – Hostel listings for the United Kingdom (most of which aren’t on other websites). May require you to call to book rather than online.
  11. Couchsurfing – Stay for free with a local on their couch or in their spare room! Users have to be verified. not as active a place as in previous years but can still be good in some locals. $14 USD/year for membership. They also have meetup events and you can request to hangout with locals as well.
  12. Warm Showers – Stay for free with a local while bicycling around the world! One-time $30 USD fee for new users.
  13. BeWelcome – Stay for free with locals! Created by former couchsurfing staff; free to use. Everyone is verified with an ID.
  14. Host a Sister (FB) – For female travelers; meetup and/or stay with locals around the world. Free to use but must have a Facebook account.

Working (Seasonal Jobs and more)

Working while traveling can help stretch your travel time and budget, though you do have to consider visa issues if you’re working outside of your home country. Some places have a Working Holiday Visa for people traveling under 30, but if you’re older (like me) then you’ll want to look on travel job boards for something.

The benefits of this sort of thing is not just that you’ll get some more money for traveling, but that you’ll meet other people doing the same thing. New friends! Yay!

  1. CoolWorks – FREE to use; USA-based job listings for seasonal positions. Can filter for jobs that provide housing as well as food and pay.
  2. WanderJobs – Job board for seasonal workers, housing provided. Mostly US-based but some international jobs as well. Free to use!
  3. Backdoor Jobs – Job board for seasonal positions, with an emphasis on outdoor/adventure jobs. Listings for US and international jobs; free to use.
  4. VagaJobs – Job board for seasonal positions, mostly US-based. Can filter for jobs with housing. Free to use!
  5. USAJobs.gov – Job board for US government positions, including seasonal jobs. Seasonal State and National Park jobs are posted here. Free to use and apply!
  6. Workamper News – Job board/newsletter for work exchange in RV parks & campgrounds. Many places take van lifers as well. Free 30 day trial, then $19.95 USD/year for basic membership.

Transportation

Sometimes the hardest part about travel planning is figuring out how to get somewhere. Use these websites to research routes and find the cheapest options!

  1. Rome2Rio – Search for transit options between two points. Works for international travel as well as local. Shows flights, boats and ground travel.
  2. Skyscanner – Search for cheap flights. can do “anywhere” search from a specific start point; calendar view shows cheapest dates in a month. very handy!
  3. The Man in Seat 61 – Detailed and up-to-date train travel info for around the world & particularly Europe.
  4. BlaBlaCar – Share rides (carpool) with drivers across Europe, mostly western Europe. Ride cost varies depending on distance and location; website is free to use.

Travel Groups & Meetups

For the most up-to-date and personalized travel info, I recommend checking out forums and groups. Not only can you get good information, but you can make friends and perhaps have meetups on your travels!

  1. Rick Steves Travel Forum – Great info and discussion for Europe travels, particularly Western Europe including France, Italy, Spain, etc. Skews older than some other groups.
  2. Tripadvisor Forums – Heaps of detailed travel info for international destinations, years of discussion and help to search through. Free app which is slightly easier to use than the website.
  3. Caravanistan – Discussion group for overland travel in Central Asia, and for big overland trips from Europe to Australia. Up-to-date info on places not found elsewhere.
  4. r/TravelNoPics (Reddit) – Good discussion group for travelers, specifically focused on personal experience. the “no pics” part means people can’t just promote their links and skip away– you gotta have actual conversations.
  5. GoWithLess (FB) – Very friendly and positive group with tons of info on long-term travel around the world. Weekly meetup posts; members often meet with each other and host events.
  6. Every Passport Stamp (FB) – Good info from people who aim to visit every country in the world; detailed posts for places not regularly covered on travel blogs or websites.
  7. Female Digital Nomads (FB) – Group for women travelers who are working online or have their own business.
  8. Solo Female Travelers (FB) – Exactly what it says! Good tips and info from other solo female travelers, including safety tips and saving money on travel.
  9. Full Time Travelers and Nomads (FB) – Excellent group for long-term travelers; skews older than some other groups, so lots of retirees.
  10. Travel Fashion Girls (FB) – Packing ideas and info centered on female travelers. Skews towards European travel but good info for other places as well.
  11. The Solo Female Traveler Network (FB) – Another good group for solo female travelers with advice and info on safety and saving money. Lots of members go on group tours.
  12. Girls LOVE Travel (FB) – Absolutely enormous group with over 1.4million members. Has subgroups for specific topics and tons of meetup events for members.
  13. Backpackers in Asia – Collection of Whatsapp Chat groups for people traveling Southeast, East and South Asian countries. Very active!
  14. Meetup – Find groups & events in cities around the world. Free to use; some events may have a small fee.
  15. Facebook events – Find local events wherever you are! Meetup at pubs, movies, walking tours, etc.
  16. AirBNB Experiences – Tours and classes hosted by locals! Great if you prefer super small groups compared to tours you’ll find on other websites.

Travel Research

Where to go, what to see, how to avoid bad weather, what sort of stuff to pack…so many questions! These websites will help inspire and inform you on all that and more.

  1. WikiVoyage – The premier travel wiki, with heaps of information for every destination you can think of. Updated and edited by users, so accuracy is determined by actual travelers.
  2. Atlas Obscura – Interesting & off-beat travel destinations and obscure places to visit.
  3. Travel Independent Info – Collection of info from pre-trip planning to country overviews to packing lists.
  4. Sleeping in Airports – Guide to sleeping in airports around the world. Updated by users so accuracy depends on travelers sending in info.
  5. OneBag – The original “how to” website showing the Whys and wherefores of packing light.
  6. Her Packing List – Women-centered packing tips and stories, from a digital nomad herself.
  7. r/HerOneBag (Reddit) – Subreddit (aka community) for packing tips and tricks for women.
  8. Lady Light Travel – Excellent packing tips and resources for women, with an emphasis on city travel.
  9. Round-the-World Travel Guide – A free how-to guide for planning and executing a RTW trip, updated in 2021.
  10. Women’s Solo Travel Stories from Journeywoman – A wonderful collection of travel stories from women who have done it solo.
  11. Project Gutenburg: Travel shelf – Public domain ebooks of classic travel memoirs. Download and load onto your Kindle for long travel days!
  12. Travel Essentials on Just Gone Wandering – My own book recommendations for good guidebooks and travel memoirs!
  13. JUMP with Traveling Jackie (Podcast) – Fun and inspirational podcast about traveling, features interviews with guests and personal info from the host.
  14. Women Who Travel (Podcast) – From Conde Nast Traveler; stories and discussions. Episodes are about 30 minutes long.
  15. Amateur Traveler (Podcast) – Each episode is focused on a different destination. Nearly 900 episodes to listen to!
  16. Zero to Travel (Podcast) – Interesting coverage on unusual travel styles and destinations.

Discounts & cash back

Another way to save money is to utilize discount programs and cash back incentives. Some of these may only be available in certain countries or on desktop browsers rather than mobile ones.

  1. AARP – Members get discounts on hotels & travel; can buy discounted gift cards for things like AirBNB and cruises. No age limit! Cheapest membership is $5 USD/year.
  2. Klook – Discounted activities, hotels, sim cards for Asian countries. free to use & if you write reviews, you get points to apply for future purchases.
  3. Rakuten – Cash back on purchases on websites. Free to use! Discounts change depending on the promotions but it’s always worth checking.
  4. Airalo – ESIMS for over 50 countries. Not always the cheapest, but the easiest to get and activate, with good consistent coverage.
    • Get $3 credit with code ANASTA0149

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Anastasia is a former librarian turned digital nomad. She's been traveling the world full time for two years and has visited 18 countries so far! Just Gone Wandering is a travel resource for solo female travelers on a backpacker's budget-- or slightly more-- and highlights amazing places to visit as well as providing tips and tricks for traveling smart and frugal. Read more...

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