9 Budget Travel Tips for Volunteering Abroad

view of AirAsia flight from below

Have plans to head abroad as a volunteer, yet not exactly sure how the cards will play out? Sounds right. The seed has most likely been planted and the idea is starting to really blossom. Well, you need to figure out how to fund your next greatest adventure now! But how do you do it? What does that actually mean? Well, let us tell you.

person wearing volunteer t-shirt
Having an arsenal of budget travel tips will save you money while volunteering abroad!

Budget traveling is often synonymous with cheap traveling, but it doesn’t have to be. And if so, there’s nothing inherently wrong with cheap travel anyway. Let’s call it the subtle art of combining decent living with economy while out and about in the world, working within whatever means you have.

Whether your budget is five grand or five hundo, having a budget can help you get arranged, giving yourself some structure, while providing a bit of visibility for your future (travel) plans. Keeping in mind a few helpful low budget travel tips will surely help you keep to your shoestring travel budget while maximizing your experience. Win, win, right? Cha-ching!

Is budget traveling as a volunteer even possible?

Cheap travel is rather easy to come by. Cheap travel tips are easy to come by too. There are pages upon pages. While helpful, they aren’t always the most relevant to you. Budget traveling as a volunteer abroad looks similar to budget traveling on holiday — but now you should take into account what you desire from your volunteer abroad experience and what you need.

Other factors like where you want to go, when, and how much time you can afford to volunteer are important as well. To volunteer abroad on a budget, you should be on the look-out for budget-friendly programs that are within your means.

This is normally the staple in your volunteer abroad diet. But that’s just the beginning. Check out some of these other budget travel tips to help you plan for your adventures volunteering abroad!

9 cheap travel tips for volunteering abroad

person serving street food
Looking for low budget travel tips? Hit the streets for some of the cheapest (and yummiest) cuisine in your destination.

1. Choose an affordable destination

No two destinations are equal. Consider starting your budget traveling with a budget-friendly destination. Think about those big-ticket items like your flights, program fees, and accommodation expenses. A flight to Europe may be less expensive, though the cost of living and program fees are often much less in Southeast Asia, for example. Shop around. Extending your stay a few days or weeks might actually help keep costs down.

2. Shop around for programs

One of the most important budget travel tips to remember is to shop around for programs. There are so many options. Browse programs to see what’s on the market before deciding where you’re off to. This will help you get the most bang for your buck. See what different programs offer; some program fees might include airport transfers or a homestay situation (which often include meals). Finding your perfect match might take a few swipes to the right.

3. Create a FundMyTravel campaign

Developing a FundMyTravel personalized fundraiser to help defer your expenses is another cheap travel tip. Asking for financial support from those around you (both near and far) could help you realize your dreams of a volunteer trip abroad. FindMyTravel is super simple. Create your account, develop your cause, and publish it on social media. It will help to have a budget in mind, so make sure to do some research into your ideal experience before launching your campaign.

4. Share your living expenses

Consider or make it a priority to live with others. Whether that be a local, a homestay, or with fellow volunteers, sharing your accommodation is a top-notch way to enhance your experience abroad. It can be an enriching cultural experience while living a touch smarter. Sharing your accommodation can lead to great things, like impromptu dinners and new friendships. It might even divide your living expenses in half. Just sayin’.

5. Book roundtrip airfare

As much as you want to just see what happens and go where the wind might blow you, booking roundtrip airfare is often cheaper than buying one-way tickets. This isn’t a secret — check out any low budget travel tip list. Be sure to scour a handful of search engines, remember to delete your cookies from time-to-time, and consider +/-3 days when choosing the date of your flights. Also try different airports. Sometimes it’s cheaper to fly into one city and take the train to your final destination, if that’s an option. Have a look to see what your options are.

6. Use a budget

This may seem rather redundant, but oh-so important. Devise a budget! Create a budget for the trip as a whole, but also a weekly or daily budget to stick to. Keeping within your means while abroad is also important. Give yourself an allowance and make an effort to follow it. Budget traveling tips will always recommend creating and following a budget. It’s always a great idea, but trying to volunteer in Paris on a budget might not be. See for yourself!

7. Pack lighter

Always. And for many reasons. Your flights may only include a carry-on, for example. Take less rather than paying hefty luggage fees at the crowded check-in desk. It would be nice to have some extra space in the event that you would like to bring something special home, too. Packing light will allow you to travel lighter. Any time not spent in front of an empty luggage carrousel is time exploring your new destination.

8. Eat like a local

Yes, please! In some destinations this could mean eating-in, while in others it is eating-out. Eating local is surely a flavorful way to rub elbows with culture. It’s as if the meal is the tip of a cultural iceberg you can’t even fathom. Furthermore, being aware of what the locals do can help you eat, and spend, like one too. It might also mean packing your lunch. You can brown-bag it to your placement for a few weeks — it will be alright.

9. Get accustomed to public transit

Whether it’s your feet, a bike, or something communal like the bus, taking public transit is one of the cheapest ways to move about. It’s also another stellar way to rub elbows with the local culture. Whether you find yourself on a pedal rickshaw in Southeast Asia, a jeepney honking its way through one of the Filipino islands, or buses in South America, you’re sure to have an interesting experience taking public transit abroad. This can also help you save wads of cash in the meantime!

Budget traveling as a volunteer abroad is possible!

woman crossing bridge in madagascar
We hope that backpack is full of budget traveling tips.

Of course budget traveling while volunteering is possible. There’s always a solution, right? Budget traveling isn’t a matter of giving things up — it’s about being more mindful of your expenses and saving where you can so you don’t have to make such drastic sacrifices.

Just make more informed decisions and plan ahead a bit. That’s something you can start doing now! Imagine saving yourself $5 a day for the next two weeks. That adds up real quick. And if you have a few months before leaving, it’s even more. Get ahead of the game and start saving now.

Consider taking public transit now to save on gas at home, and start looking for the right program. Speaking of the right program, have a look at some of these cheap volunteer abroad destinations to help you get started. While you’re thinking of it, create your FundMyTravel campaign STAT and start rallying up your family and friends — y’all are in this together!

With some of these budget traveling tips in your back pocket, you’ll be ready in no time.

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