1. Lots of forward-planning to select destinations with temperate weather conditions during off-peak periods when flights and accommodation are more affordable. I usually secure flights and accommodation at least 11 months before travel date and I am always on the lookout for flight flash sales. You will be amazed how much you can save with lots of forward planning.
2. Go easy on the accommodation choices. Take care to pick clean facilities in safe neighbourhoods. Fancy hotels are seldom worth it if you intend to explore the destination during the day and part of the night. All that is needed is essentially a clean place to lay your head at night and catch a shower.
3. Walk or use public transport – especially when visiting most developed countries. Be friends with Google and Google Maps and save on the cab/taxi fare by planning your exploration on foot or through using public transport. Part of the forward planning is mapping your routes and picking a convenient location.
4. Avoid mixing shopping and travel. Hard as it may be, I find that the best travels are experience centred and not wasted in shopping malls, especially when on a shoe-string budget. Prioritize the objective of the trip and if it is to soak in experiences, then do not stretch the budget by adding shopping to the list. It is great to get a souvenir or two but whole suitcase loads of shopping are best set aside for a different trip altogether.
5. Tour regions not single destinations. If you are on a shoe-string budget, it is more cost effective to plan your trip so that you visit a whole region by over-night bus or train or budget regional airlines instead of spending USD700 on a trip to one city when an extra USD50 could get you to a different country. This works great for EU countries with a Shengen visa or in the US where one could tour multiple East Coast or West Coast states by bus – especially the overnight bus which saves on accommodation costs too.
Travel the world, it will challenge your perspectives, expand your horizons and enrich your mindset.