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Laura the Explorer - ‘How I Afford to Travel'

Updated: Jan 11

For International Women's Day, Instagram influencer Laura Taylor shares tips on how to travel the world on a shoestring budget.

Laura the Explorer on a palm tree

"Nothing beats the Caribbean sea." A heartfelt statement shared on social media by globetrotting mindfulness guru and English teacher Laura Taylor. Of course, she penned the line while actually being in the Caribbean (Bayahibe in the Dominican Republic, to be precise), adding: "Did you know the Caribbean stretches across 29 countries? I’ve been blessed to have visited three of them so far!"

Laura may only have visited a small part of the Caribbean but she has, in fact, explored many, many other corners of the globe. Most of her extended trips have been in far-flung, exotic locations - Mexico, India and Costa Rica, to name just a few. They have provided stunning backdrops for the images she shares with her growing, engaged audience.

At just 27, she has made travelling a priority. It comes first. It is what she is passionate about.

But crisp, inviting images of crystal blue waters, spectacular sandy beaches and magnificent, towering palm trees aren't the only reason why Laura has 'fans'. She isn't just a traveller, she is a savvy explorer. It is how she can afford to travel that is winning her so many admirers.

Currently more than 4,200 miles away from her home in Dorset, Laura found the time to share some of her budgeting secrets with us.

She said: "I'm always asked how I can afford to travel so much and my answer is always this... Travelling can be really cheap and easy - if you want it to be. You just need to make it a priority."

cheap travel

Budgeting for Travel

For Laura, budgeting for travel is a constant in her life. During the months of the year when she is in the UK, she saves every penny she can.

"When I’m at home, I make sure my rent is under £400 a month so I can save more to leave sooner," she says. "The budget used to be £250, but times have changed. I rent a place that’s fully furnished so I don’t need to buy furniture or accumulate anything that’s hard to store or will depreciate in value.

"I don’t own a car, TV, etc. and I’ve actually never bought anything brand new. I put an affordable amount into my savings every pay day or invest in premium bonds so I can’t access my money until I go away. The amount will vary but, as long as I put something away, it all adds up."

Laura says she is careful "not to spend money on things I don’t need - for example, new clothes, beauty products and home decor".

"I only buy what I need when saving, then I treat myself to some new clothes before I go away travelling."

If you don't currently save your change, you should.

Laura points out she puts every last penny of her spare change into money boxes. She once travelled Las Vegas on it!

"I tell myself if I need it, I can take it back out. Then, when I’m wanting to take some, I have a discussion with myself - to see if what I want the money for is worthy of reducing my travel fund."

How to Keep Travel Costs to a Minimum

Laura has lots of tips to share about economising when abroad.

"I eat street food or buy from beach sellers or food trucks," she says. "I also go to street markets or supermarkets - things can be as cheap as pennies (fruit and snacks) and, on average, a small meal like a hot dog or veggie snack can be £1.

"I also talk to locals or walk around an area to find cheap restaurants. However, cooking can sometimes be the cheapest option. All you can eat buffets are my fave!

"These are ways I’ve made my food bills cheaper."

There are downsides to travelling cheap. "It isn’t all rainbows, and it’s not for the faint-hearted," Laura says. "But, for me, the benefits and learning outweigh the drawbacks."

When it comes to accommodation, Laura has some interesting tips - including ways to stay in places for free.

If your budget is very tight, you may want to try a couch surfing app. "You can stay on peoples couches, floors, garages, even gardens for free. I’ve been doing it since 2015," she admits.

Of course, with travel comes the opportunity to connect with new people. Over the years, Laura has made friends with people from around the world and, naturally, they are only too happy to put her up if she happens to come their way.

"It is another incredible way of travelling for free and saving money in between places," she says.

However, she adds: "If I have a choice, I prefer my own space. I seem to find rooms as cheap as a hostel or for just a few quid more. If I had to stay in a hostel I would, but I usually find ways of making cheap rooms work."

Airbnb is one of her go-to brands for discounted accommodation. Laura says, the discounts are especially good for monthly stays.

"Camping is super cheap," she adds. "You can rent tents or just buy your own. Depending where you are, you can wild camp - an amazing experience! I’ve lived on campsites."

Laura also advocates finding work with accommodation provided.

exotic travel destination

About Laura Taylor

Laura initially got the travel bug in her teens. Having grown up in a busy seaside town, she had no problem finding work in the hospitality sector. By the time she was 18, cash earned waiting tables or serving people in shops was earmarked for travel. And all the skills she learned in her hometown have come in handy when looking for work abroad.

These days, Laura takes her work with her. She is an online English teacher, which gives her the freedom to earn wherever she is in the world - so long as she can access the internet.

For all the hundreds of thousands of miles she has travelled, reminders of home are often not that far away. In fact, while on a beach in Mexico she bumped into a Dorset shopkeeper and a Devon-based artist. Naturally, they treated her to a drink!

Laura isn't just a traveller, she is recognised by her peers as kind, caring and thoughtful. She is beautiful inside and out. Her confidence and travel ideas are an inspiration.

Laura regularly shares useful travel tips on Instagram. You can find out more or follow Laura the Explorer here.

* Images courtesy of Laura Taylor


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