Nomad Life,  Budget Travel,  Solo Female Travel

Cozy Budget Traveler Manifesto

This post is to explain my style of budget travel, which is maybe a little different than how other people do it. I call myself a “cozy budget traveler” to differentiate myself from the shoestring travelers, extreme backpackers, and retiree travelers who may have a similar budget, but have different goals for how they use that budget.

Basically, I try to spend as little as I can without sacrificing my own comfort. I’m willing to pay a bit more for a more comfortable (cozy) stay, have comfort (Western) food, and for activities that are worth the price.

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For me, a solo traveling person currently doing a loop around Asia, that works out to about $1,300-1,500 USD/month. You can travel for a lot less than I do, and you can travel for a lot more. But that’s about where I feel the most comfortable. I don’t have to make too many sacrifices on comfort, I can stay in nice apartments or in cozy hostels, go on the occasional day tour, and I can eat as much cheese and potatoes as I want.

To break it down a little more, my cozy budget travel style looks like this:

Traveling slower, staying in a country for the entire visa length and moving between cities once a week or less.

Staying in hostels to save money, but splashing out for private rooms when I can.

Upgrading to hotels, guesthouses, or even furnished apartments if it’s $20/night or less price difference from a hostel.

Going overland versus flying, except when the time cost is more than I want to spend to get somewhere. For instance, if it costs $50 USD to fly for 2 hours and $35 USD for a 10 hour bus, I’ll probably just fly.

Likewise, I’ll pay for an upgrade if it means a better overall experience, like on Vietnamese sleeper buses.

I never do flight upgrades (and I save my credit card points for hotels), but I’ll pay a bit extra to book a better seat or get a meal.

Packing light so I don’t have to pay for oversized luggage fees, but also willing to pay a bit more to check a bag if it means an easier airport experience.

Paying for a premium credit card (or lounge membership) so I can access airport lounges.

Cooking at home when I can, and willing to buy certain kitchen implements to make it easier if necessary. (AirBNBs never seem to have a decent spatula.) Packing spices, instant coffee, oatmeal, bouillon cubes, etc. to help pad out kitchen offerings.

Paying for Western food whenever I get cheese and potato cravings, or cheese and bread, or basically anything with cheese in general.

Mostly DIYing my own tours and tourist site experiences, but willing to pay for group tours when it makes sense to do so.

Paying for Grab cars vs. scooters to have air con and comfort when it’s a longer ride. Also prebooking an airport transfer to my hotel if I think it’ll be too difficult to navigate public transit.


What kind of budget traveler are you?

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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