How to live abroad on a budget

Traveling the world and becoming an expat is a dream that many people dream about. But how do you make it a reality?

When you travel overseas for significant periods of time, you don’t just get to explore different countries, you also experience new cultures and traditions.

However, one thing that puts many people off is how expensive travel can be. In this article, we’ll discuss how you can live abroad on a budget. 

Prepare before you leave 

Before you take off on your new journey, it’s important to ensure you have everything sorted out.

For example, you’ll have to consider what you’re doing with your current living arrangements. Are you selling your home? Or considering renting it out for extra cash? You might also try selling off any items you no longer need to add some extra money into your savings. 

The next step is to cancel any subscriptions that you’ll no longer need. For example, you probably won’t have any need for all your streaming services and gym memberships. It’s best to be prepared, so you don’t have any unexpected bills coming out of your account while you are away. 

You’ll also want to spend time searching for the best health and travel insurance so that you are prepared in case of any accidents along the way. Every company offers different benefits and prices, so take time to research the best option. If you’re getting a car, you’ll also need to think about getting car insurance. 

Get creative with your living arrangements 

If you’re planning on staying in one location for a while, you might be considering renting out a place, rather than staying in a hotel for months on end. However, it’s important to note that it might be difficult in some countries, especially if you don’t have any references.

To get around this, you could think about applying as a roommate. This way, you can split the cost of expenses. 

If you don’t think you’ll be in a place for very long, there are also other options. You could consider staying with a local or even house-sitting for someone. Some jobs even offer you accommodation and food in exchange for work. Try finding the cheapest possible option, but always make sure you are somewhere comfortable and safe. 

Another option you might not have thought about before is to travel in an equipped campervan or motorhome. You can choose to hire one, or purchase one and most come with all the facilities you need. They are cheap, efficient and you don’t need to worry about paying for accommodation every night. 

Consider working as you travel 

There are many different costs of living abroad, and most people who plan to live overseas for an extended period of time choose to fund their trip by working.

However it’s essential that you apply for a work visa for each country you visit if you plan to do this. If you don’t, you can be fined, imprisoned, and even sent back to your home country. This can also stop you from traveling to a specific location ever again. 

Once you’ve applied for a work visa, you can find jobs just about anywhere. From fruit picking, waitressing, and working as a nanny, there are many different options to suit everyone.

The more flexible you are, the better, but if you are staying in a place for a while, you can consider applying for a more permanent job. Remember to always keep an eye out for job scams, and never give your information to somebody you don’t trust. 

Create a budget that you can stick to 

While it might be challenging to initially stick to a budget, the more you learn about your travels, the easier it will become. When you begin working, try, and estimate how much you will be earning. You’ll then have to figure out how much you will need to spend on necessities, and how much you can save for your future travels.

There are many free budget templates that you can use online, and even apps that you can download on your phone. 

Another step you’ll want to take a look into is the different exchange rates. If you plan to send money backward and forwards to family and friends, you’ll want to keep an eye on it. Once you’ve got your head around it, you’ll know the best times to send money. 

If you plan to send money backwards and forwards to family and friends, you’ll want to keep an eye on it. Once you’ve got your head around it, you’ll know the best times to send money. Also, consider comparing the exchange rates offered by money transfer companies when sending money back home. For instance, if you have moved to the US and would like to send money back to the Philippines, you should consider looking up the best dollar to peso exchange rate from reliable comparison sites such as

Try to avoid eating out 

Eating out and not preparing your own food can be one of the most biggest expenses, especially while traveling. The truth is, it’s cheaper to plan and cook your own meals, and you get more out of it. If you have the facilities, try meal prepping, to save money and time for your lunch and dinners. 

Try and take advantage of the local markets and purchase produce that is in season. Each country will have unique foods to try, and you’ll be grateful you get to experience new flavors and dishes.  

If you don’t want to give up the excellent restaurant food, try and choose one day of the week where you can enjoy a meal out. This gives you something to look forward to and will become more of a treat than an everyday occurrence. 

Choose your luxuries  

Everybody deserves spending some money on ‘wants’ in life, but may not think it’s possible when they’re living abroad on a budget. Try choosing 3-4 luxuries to keep that you use the most; this way, you can still enjoy yourself during your journey.

For example, choose one or two video streaming services to keep, and one music service. If you enjoy reading, try grabbing a new book once a month. You’ll notice the savings almost right away!

While there may be some tough times ahead, it’s vital to remember to never give up. If you stick to a strict budget, and limit your expenses you can travel with ease. You’ll also be able to experience a difference side of life, and become grateful for all of the things you’ve had.

Photo by Dino Reichmut