How to SAVE Money while Traveling Consciously

Maybe you can’t pay more to help an airline’s carbon offset program, maybe you can’t afford that super awesome ecohotel in Tulum that didn’t tear down a single tree during construction, maybe you can’t buy all the stuff at the organic store next to your hostel.

I feel your pain but i’m also here to tell you that there are ways for you to actually SAVE money while still being a conscious traveler. Sometimes, life gives you that little bit of honey to pour into your liquor.

It's all about that honey
It’s all about that honey

What honey, you ask? This honey:

1. Couchsurf and Airbnb:

Couchsurfing gets you free accomodation, and the chance to make local friends. If’ you’re not completely comfy with the idea of staying at a stranger’s try Airbnb. Why is this sustainable budget travel? Well, a lot of the times Airbnb is cheaper* than hotels and hostels (obviously so is couchsurfing), and you’re either supporting the local economy or sticking it to necessary consumerism and paying for your host’s kindness with conversation, wine, and possible friendship. YAY!

You might even get a cuddle buddy!
You might even get a cuddle buddy!

*Airbnb is also a great alternative for budget travelers who have allergies

2. Carry a reusable water bottle:

Whenever possible* say no to plastic water bottles, which are absolutely crappy for the environment, and mostly come from companies that are, at best, exploiting the country’s resources, and, at worst, responsible for murders within the country…yeah, it’s exactly as awful as it sounds. Buy a reusable water bottle and fill that bad boy all day long with FREE tap water, wohoooo!!!!

Don't judge me for my water bottle, I repent!
Don’t judge me for my water bottle, I repent!

*There are some countries in which you most definitely don’t wanna drink tap water. Leah from Went Looking, suggested boiling tap water and cooling it before drinking it, and/or buying portable water filters.

3. Don’t support the exploitation of animals:

I know we all are dying for that pic of us holding an elephant in Thailand by the tusk, but your instagram will survive without it. You know who probably won’t survive? The elephant. Yeah.

While there are legitimate ways to experience your love of animals while you travel (like volunteering at an animal rescue shelter in India), most of the animals seen in tourist attractions are not well-cared for, and are grossly mistreated. Would you give money to someone who kicks dogs? If you would, get off my blog. If you wouldn’t, then please don’t support this while you travel!

This is one of the moments I regret the most in my entire life

Wanna know the best part? You’ll save money by not spending it on this shit, it’s a WIN WIN!!

4. Go to local markets:

Cooking is one of the best ways to save money while traveling, and going to local markets is the best way to get groceries. Not only will you be experiencing an awesome and interesting part of the everyday life of the country you’re visiting, you will also be supporting the local economy (instead of say, giant multinational brands you find at grocery stores), and finding products for cheaper!!

Local markets are also the best place to get picnic goodies!

5. Use a menstrual cup:

I have some issues with menstrual cups which I won’t get into, but as far as sustainable, cheap travel goes, it’s the best thing out there. Not only is it an investment that will last you for a looong time, it is also reusable, which means you will be able to save money and symbolically hug mother nature at the same time.

You will also avoid finding yourself in a foreign country celebrating because you’ve finally found feminine hygiene products after looking for two hours

I know, I know, it’s a beautiful thing!

6. Consider different modes of transportation:

I’ll confess something that will make me loose some hipster points: I suck at riding bikes.

However, if you’re not limited by your total inability to coordinate movements, you should think about renting a bike to explore your destination. If you’re like me, walking is an awesome option that will also let you take your time to explore all the details of what’s around you.

Beyond exploring your destination itself, you can also consider different ways to get there: Take a train or a bus instead of a plane if you can, or even consider hoping on a boat and testing the adventurer within you.

7. Get a job while you travel:

Traveling is a privilege, and being able to travel at a pace that allows you to work while you do it is an even  bigger one. However, if you’re able to, this is probably the best way to travel consciously, and offset your costs significantly.

Working at a hostel/restaurant/wherever while you travel will help you MAKE money while you travel and, again, experience the culture in a more respectful and profound way. You’ll get to go to local markets, make local friends, use different kinds of transportation, and travel slowly. It’s the perfect plan!

I got paid to live in France and hang out with these cuties

If you’re more concerned about not spending all your savings than about actually making money, consider awesome options like Woofing and Workaway, in which you, once again, give the finger to consumer society and exchange work for food and lodging instead of money *gasp!*


Now that you’ve read this whole list, you might as well hop on over and read about how to travel cheaply around Europe (Yes, it IS possible!)


What are some of the ways in which you travel more consciously? Do you have other tips on how to travel both consciously and cheaply?



11 thoughts on “How to SAVE Money while Traveling Consciously

  1. Woo, great post! I agree with all of these things. As far as the bottled water thing goes, if you’re traveling to a place where the tap water is unsafe, you still might not need to buy bottled water. Often the water is fine to drink after boiling it, so you can let it cool then stick it in your reusable bottle. Also, I just invested in a filter which I’m excited to use for future travels. Just be sure to get a filter that’s appropriate for where you’re going - some protect against viruses and some don’t, and depending on where you are you may need that protection.

    1. That is SO awesome to know! I felt awful in Morocco for buying so many water bottles (plus I hate to pay for something which I can get for free). Which filter did you buy? Do you have any recommendations?

      1. Yeah, I am excited to use mine! A salesperson at REI recommended it. The brand is Sawyer. Mine filters bacteria and sediment out, but you can get (a slightly more expensive version - but you’ll make up cost by not buying bottles of water all the time!) that gets viruses. Whether or you need the virus filtration depends on where you go. It can be attached to a faucet or you can fill up a bag it comes with and squeeze the water out. You can also get a Steripen but I’ve actually read some reports that they’re not as reliable as they say.

  2. i loved your thoughts on this! i feel ya on the elephants. went to thailand about 10 years ago and did the same. we’ve done a lot of the tips you mentioned. not sure about the menstrul cup though haha

    1. Yeah that was the moment I realized how awful it was for them. That elephant was so sad and you could tell by his skin he wasn’t healthy. The worst part was seeing how the men treated him and knowing I’d paid them! 😦
      Hahahaha that’s very understandable! Like I said, I have my own issues with it but as far as eco-friendly and cheap options go, it’s the best one!
      Thanks for reading, hope you guys are having a blast in Cali!

      1. been relaxing and doing some work for the past few days. gonna start our salsa today or tomorrow 🙂

    1. Wooh that’s awesome!! Look at you saving money AND being conscious 😀
      Yeah #5 is the most personal one, definitely everyone’s own choice!

  3. I have not been travelling that consciously but I do agree with some of your points…although I didn’t realise that there is such a thing as menstrual cup…that sounds….uncomfortable? Haha..😄

    1. Hahahaha well probably just as uncomfortable as tampons. I feel like it’s a very personal choice and I do have issues with it, but it’s definitely the most eco-friendly since you don’t throw it away, and budget-friendly since you only have to buy one every few years, so something to consider? Of course it also depends on your body and what you’re comfortable with!

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