Money and miles – How to make the most out of your travel budget

Have you been saving up for travelling once school is over or you get time off work? Maybe you have but you struggle to decide on the perfect trip. It’s hard to choose from all the amazing places, especially if one’s budget is limited. Don’t worry, we are here for the rescue. We collected some ways to use your money and get the most amount of time and experience out of it.

Camp Leaders

If you’ve always wanted to travel to the “land of opportunities”, here is a great way to go to the United States. The US seems like a pretty faraway destination for us Europeans, but Camp Leaders offers you a chance to discover America and don’t go completely broke in the process. The program includes 9 weeks of paid work in one of the summer camps in America and then a free month where you can spend this money on travelling the country.

Image by MJHNYC

There are an abdunce of jobs to choose from depending on your skillset. You can work as a camp counsellor, responsible for a small group of kids, or be an activity leader and have classes of sports, crafts or arts. You are not great with kids? Not to worry, they also have staff working in the kitchen and cleaning the grounds.

Once you are done with the camp, your visa will have an extra month left. You can travel around the US, spending the money you just earned. Camp Leaders provides a bunch of discounts and memberships for their workers to make your travels even cheaper.

Even though you can easily come to a perfect balance of spending and earning during your stay you still need to invest some money. The two biggest things you need to spend money on are your visa fee and your plane tickets. The visa application fee is 160 dollars while flights depend on your location. Right now a round trip to New York in July costs around 170k HUF.

In conclusion, if you are willing to spend some money for flying, this is a great opportunity to work and travel, while not completely decimating all your savings. Also, in case you are not that interested in the US there are other options as well. Camp Leaders offers jobs with similar setups in Canada and China as well.

Working Holiday

If you feel braver and you’re ready to let go of the hand of surety, Working Holiday visas are just the thing for you. Many countries offer it such as Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Canada. The point of these visas are to go to the country of your choice, where you can work a certain amount of time, then spend the money you earned on travelling the country.

Image by Forbes

Let’s look at an example, Australia offers Working Holiday visas to people between the ages of 18 and 30, holding approved passports, such as Hungarian. The visa has requirements: you need to have an approved language exam, have no criminal record, hold eligible health insurance and proof of enough money to fund yourself in case you won’t do any work in Australia.

So, in this case, the investment you need to make is your plane ticket, which can be 360k HUF for a round trip. Besides this, you will have to have the funds mentioned above. This is a bigger amount, but the most important part is that you have access to it. So it can be loaned to you by a parent or be on a shared account.

Once you have this visa you can spend 1 year in Australia. During this you can leave and re-enter as many times as you want (when it’s not covid times). During this time you can work at one place for 6 months and study a maximum of 3 months. The rest of the time you can spend the money you earned exploring the country. If you want to stay for more than a year, you can complete 3 months of specified work and apply for a second Working Holiday visa.

Other countries have similar rules with smaller differences. For example in New Zealand, you can work for 12 months but cannot accept permanent work. To sum up, this is the perfect offer for you if you are not afraid to get your hands dirty and work a couple of months to then travel for just as many, discovering every wonder these countries have to offer.

Workaway

If you don’t mind working for a longer period of time, but you don’t want to be tied down to one country then Workaway might be the perfect thing for you. Workaway is a website that offers jobs and volunteering positions around the world. “Oh, so this is like any other job website”, you might say. But it is definitely no LinkedIn.

Image by Workaway

The main difference is that most advertisers don’t offer a wage for the services they ask for. What they actually provide in exchange is usually housing, sometimes food and maybe even some pocket money. Often working hours are low, so after doing the required work you have time to discover the place you are staying at and the same time minimize your spending.

Workaway is a huge and prestigious website that offers more than 50,000 opportunities. You can search by country, time of travel or type of job you are looking for. You can also see the rating of the hosts and recommendations from other people who have stayed with them before. This way you can make sure that it is the right fit for you.

For example, I chose Italy as the country and had a scroll around. I saw so many options, from families looking for au-pairs, to farms and hostels looking for workers. One of these was a software engineer looking for someone to help with the renovation of his house by the Sicilian beach. In exchange he offered a private room to stay in and having meals together on a regular basis.

This can be the perfect opportunity if you are social and love to interact with people, as you usually would live and work with your hosts. It is a great way to minimise on your expenses and visit many places, staying for a while at each of them.

Interrail

You might not want to work anymore. You have done enough of that to save up for a true holiday. If you are a European citizen, Interrail might just be the thing for you. Interrail is an international train pass that allows you to travel around Europe.

You can choose from multiple different passes on their websites. The best value ones are the passes that allow you a certain amount of travel days within a month. Their best seller is 7 days travel within 1 month. The way it works is that for 251 euros you can travel as much as you want on 7 days you mark as ‘travel days’. The way you use these days is left for your own imagination. You can spread them out and visit multiple countries or use 2 or 3 consecutively and get as far as possible.

You can choose from a great variety of passes. There are ones where you have a set amount of travel days, ranging from 4 to 15 within 1-2 months. And there are some that allow you unlimited travel anywhere from 15 days to up to 3 months. Another great thing they offer is country passes, which apply to trains within your chosen country. My personal favourite is the Greece pass where boat lines are also included besides the train.

This method of travel does take up a good amount of money. Besides buying your pass, you might have to pay extra if you want sleeping cabins on the train. Also some train require you to buy seats. And still, this pass and hostels are a great combo to keep to a budget and still travel around Europe. I have met people travelling with Interrail who slept mostly on trains and spent their days discovering cities. No matter how you do it you can still save a lot of money. I would also recommend investing in a good and sturdy backpack.

Would you try any of these? Of course, you can always spend your money on one grand trip of luxury. But in case you want to get the most experience, meet the most amount of people and discover as many places as possible from your budget, these are great options. Wishing you safe travels and never-ending wanderlust!