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Gabby Beckford’s Top Tips for Traveling on a Budget



Many people are eager to hit the road again after the lockdowns and restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic. Evidence shows the travel industry is bouncing back as travelers take to the skies despite high airfares and fuel costs. According to NPR, there’s even a new term for this upsurge: Revenge Travel.


Itching for new horizons but fear you don’t have the necessary funds? Tuck those anxieties away. Armed with the following tips from travel expert Gabby Beckford, the influencer behind Packs Light, you’ll soon find even the most exotic locations within reach.


Tip #1: Get someone else to pay

“My top tip is to apply to paid travel opportunities (PTO),” Beckford said. “PTO is a term I coined that describes the opportunities that exist out there to allow people of any age, nationality, phase of life, etc. to travel the world at little or no cost. PTO can include funded conferences, internships, fellowships, grants, study abroad scholarships, remote jobs, etc.”

Beckford’s website explains PTO in depth, as well as how to find these opportunities. While applying doesn’t guarantee acceptance, she also offers a suite of tools that maximize your chances.

The benefits far outweigh the risk of not being picked. “With PTO, you allow the sponsoring organizations to fund your dream trip, saving yourself from having to break the bank,” Beckford explained.

Who can beat having someone else pay you to travel?


Tip #2: Reduce the cost of meals


To save money while traveling, Beckford also recommends restricting how much you eat out. 

“Eat breakfast at home every day and carry snacks with you,” she said. “If you are going to dinner at a restaurant with friends, consider eating a light snack beforehand. That way, you  won’t overspend on food.”

She also advises shopping at grocery stores and markets to pick up a stash of nonperishable food items to keep in your room. “I like easy, ready-to-go options like apples, granola bars, and crackers,” she said. Along the same lines, accommodations that include a kitchen have the advantage of enabling travelers to cook for themselves.

When it comes to beverages, Beckford points out that you can buy alcohol more inexpensively at liquor stores. While out for a night on the town, simply carry a flask of it with you. “That way, you can just pay for a soft drink instead of a mixed drink” at a bar, she said. “That approach is many times cheaper.”


Tip #3: Design your trip to avoid needless expense

According to Beckford, it’s easy to travel on a budget if you know how, but going to the right sources of information is key. “Travel guides for upscale travelers are going to lead you to upscale restaurants and hotels,” she said. “Pick up guidebooks that are specifically geared toward young people and budget travelers. That travel content creator you find on TikTok or Instagram likely has some on their website! Support a small business, and get tips and insights from someone just like you.”

Choosing destinations with lower costs of living can also help you save. “In some places, once you are there, you can secure lodging, meals, and recreation for just thirty dollars a day,” Beckford said. “India, Southeast Asia — these are extremely affordable destinations. Eastern Europe tends to be less expensive than Western Europe. If you are determined to go to Western Europe, Portugal is probably your best bet. If you go to Mexico or countries in the Caribbean, avoid resorts marketed toward Americans. I recommend you stay among the locals in Mexico’s interior cities as they can be just as safe and beautiful!”

Similarly, she recommends considering hostels or guest houses rather than hotels. “These have the added benefit of being more social places,” she pointed out. “Travelers in hostels and guest houses tend to mingle and get to know each other in communal spaces, whereas those in hotels can end up being isolated in their rooms.”

In addition, longer stays can mean reduced prices, since Airbnb and other vacation rental apps often offer discounts for stays of a month or longer. “In many cases, the airplane ticket is the trip’s major expense, so longer stays leverage your airfare as much as possible,” Beckford said.

Finally, she recommended avoiding the day trips hosted by hotels and professional touring companies. “If you want to take a day trip, use the same transportation that the locals do,” she said. “This will not only be a lot cheaper, but also give you a chance to immerse yourself in the local culture.”

Jay Feldman is an 8 figure entrepreneur and host of Mentors Collective podcast. He is also a regular contributor at