Many people falsely believe traveling the world is an activity reserved only for the exceptionally affluent–those who can afford luxurious dining experiences, five-star hotels and world-class entertainment. Although this may be an accurate picture of what traveling is like for some, most adventurers spend surprisingly little on a trip abroad by simply being smart about finances. From the foods you eat to the places you sleep, the following four tips can help you live frugally no matter where your overseas journey takes you.

1. Insure Yourself

Penny pinchers may gripe about the added expense of insurance, but when this cost is put in perspective by a pricey hospital bill, the price tag of a reliable insurance policy seems a lot more reasonable. Travelers on extended tours–like missionaries–can purchase mission trip insurance for this specific purpose to not only ensure their safety and well-being overseas, but also to avoid the the potential disaster of a hefty medical bill once the trip is over.

2. Eat Exotic Foods at Home

Dining out is often considered a staple of traveling abroad, but visitors can still enjoy cultural cuisine at home by simply conducting a little research and putting forth a little effort. Before you even take off, research the area where you’ll be traveling and learn about some of the region’s native foods to ensure an authentic dining experience unique to your destination. Collect recipes for region-specific dishes, and be sure the ingredients within can be found at markets and grocery stores in the area.

3. Consider All Lodging Options

Some websites associated with the international hotels you’re considering may not depict an accurate portrayal of what your lodging experience will entail. Because of this risk, you’ll want to verify the quality, safety and pricing of your lodging options by reading about personal experiences from other travelers on sites like TripAdvisor. Moreover, it’s financially prudent to consider alternative options beyond hotels, such as hostels and even couch-surfing. For a long-term visit, it’s likely much more feasible to simply sublet an apartment during your stay to limit lodging expenses; this option also allows you to enjoy the consistency of a home away from home.

4. Exchange Your Currency When You Arrive

It may be slightly anxiety-inducing to enter a foreign land without a dime of acceptable currency, but exchanging your currency at your destination can often save you up to eight percent of your overall total. In the U.S., travelers can lose up to 10 percent of their money by exchanging cash at the airport before taking off. By comparison, most other countries offer currency exchanges only two to three percent higher than the going rate. Visit websites like before you leave to determine the lowest fee available for your currency exchanging needs.

Traveling internationally for an extended period of time can be an eye-opening, fun-filled experience, but it can also cost a pretty penny without the right precautions in place. However, with the above easy tips for frugal living overseas, you can enjoy exotic new lands and experience foreign cultures without ever going over your budget.

Danielle R

Danielle R