How to Travel on a Budget

I love to travel (chances are that you do too – if you’re an au pair). But let’s face it. The small salary you get for your work can make it harder to go to a lot of different places.

There are always ways to travel, even if you are on an au pair salary.

If you’re in the UK, I would recommend becoming a YHA member. This will cost you £5 per month but saves you £3 per night that you stay with them. You can find these hostels almost everywhere in England and Wales. I love staying in these hostels because they have self-catering kitchens (another great way to save some money) and there’s usually plenty of parking space.

Don’t go to expensive landmarks or tourists attractions

They might be fascinating, but they can also easily make a huge dent in your budget for a trip. If it’s something you really want to see from the inside, you should definitely go. Just do some research and make sure you know ahead of time whether you’ll actually enjoy going there, how much it’s going to cost you and whether or not it’s worth the money.

Book tickets in advance

If you buy your train tickets a couple of months in advance on Trainline, they usually give you a discount.

Only pack the essentials

You do not need five shirts and three pairs of jeans for a weekend trip. If you only pack what you really need, you won’t need to bring an extra bag (no checked luggage!).

Pack your own lunch and take a water bottle with you

We are still fighting against plastic, and an easy way to do this is by buying yourself a sustainable water bottle. This will also save you money in the long run, because buying water in airports is always expensive. Also take some snacks with you that don’t expire quickly (I really like Graze boxes)

Once you get to where you’re going, keep an eye out for a cheap supermarket. Most hostels have self-catering kitchens, and this can save you a lot of money. I understand that when you’re on holiday, you sometimes want to treat yourself on a nice meal. Just keep this in mind: would you rather eat more supermarket food and be able to explore multiple places, or visit only one city and eat at fancier restaurants? Figure out where your priorities lie.

Walk everywhere

Public transport can be a cheap way to explore a city. But if you’re on an au pair salary it might actually be cheaper to pay extra for a central hostel so that you can walk everywhere. If not, find out if it would make more sense to buy a 2-day ticket rather than two separate tickets.

Do your research before you go because that can save you money in the long run!


  1. Ellie Plummer
    26 October 2018 / 10:23 pm

    What brilliant ideas. It’s hard travelling on a low salary but there definitely are ways to do it.

  2. Megan
    25 October 2018 / 2:02 pm

    This is a great resource for au pairs! I think if you can really afford to save for it, travel is so worth it.

  3. 25 October 2018 / 12:59 pm

    Walking around new cities is always the best way to explore, especially on a tight budget! I totally agree about making sure tourist attractions are worth the money!

  4. Ankana Silva
    25 October 2018 / 8:35 am

    Walking everywhere when you travel is a good option if you have the time. Cause you will be able to explore more and comes across many new things as well in the process.

  5. laveremis
    25 October 2018 / 12:36 am

    These are great tips and many of them are strategies we’ve used to travel on the cheap as well, especially walking everywhere and packing smart.

  6. 25 October 2018 / 12:29 am

    Great tips for anyone on a tight income! Interesting that you’re an au pair, that must be a really rewarding experience.

    • maartjevansandwijk
      31 October 2018 / 7:53 pm

      It is! I really love doing this work. It’s perfect because I get to live in a different country and earn money without having to worry about rent!

  7. 24 October 2018 / 10:04 pm

    These are really fab tips that could help someone out a lot x

  8. Vu Ha
    24 October 2018 / 3:07 pm

    Those tips are so great. I think I need them for my next travel. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Bindu Thomas
    24 October 2018 / 6:51 am

    I love travelling. These are some great tips for anyone who wants to save money while travelling. I usually do travel on public transportation and there will be my own water bottle with me.

  10. 24 October 2018 / 5:24 am

    These are some great travel tips for anyone who wants to explore while saving money at the same time. Great tips!

  11. 24 October 2018 / 2:49 am

    I love travelling as well! One of the tips I usually do is to book at guest houses because I usually just spend the day and early nights out. I also take the public transportation.

  12. 24 October 2018 / 1:52 am

    These tips are so great for anybody who wishes to travel, but has to be mindful of what they spend. My hubby and I just got back from a trip, and although we didn’t exactly ‘budget travel’, we did choose a hotel that had breakfast included, then brought dinner leftovers back to the hotel for lunch the next day. That definitely helped us on what we spent on meals. We did a lot of walking around, and only did 2 paid activities for the week.

  13. 23 October 2018 / 9:16 pm

    These are great tips for how to travel on a budget! Not only just for an Au Pair but for anyone on a budget!

  14. Joanna
    23 October 2018 / 9:09 pm

    I believe that everyone can travel if they know how to budget. It’s all about moderation and knowing how to save money, even from a small salary.

  15. Peter
    23 October 2018 / 6:55 pm

    I love travelling! Au pair seems like such an interesting situation! Not gonna lie, I didn’t know about this sort of thing before reading. Great stuff!

  16. Kansas Bonanno
    23 October 2018 / 6:49 pm

    These are some great ideas, I’d love to go on a vacation like this sometime.

  17. 23 October 2018 / 4:07 pm

    My girlfriend was an AU PAIR for years and she always got to travel around – she was smart with her money and most likely followed these tips you have listed!!

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