Running out of money while still on the road can be incredibly stressful, but don’t panic! Every situation can be resolved, including a broken bank.

Here’s what to do if you run out money while traveling.

How Bad Is It?

First and foremost, assess how bad it is. Is it simply that your budget is slowly dwindling, and you don’t want to go home yet? Or do you literally have $20 left on you?

I have actually found myself in the $20 situation in Patagonia a few years back. Somehow, I miscalculated how much I had in my account, and it turned out that my ten Argentinean pesos was all I had left.

Argentina is a land of horses and horsemen, and I used to run a horse and pony shelter and compete in equestrian sports, so for me, it was a no-brainer: I found a horse training job on a local ranch.

You don’t have to be a horse whisperer to do this, though. Anybody can do ranch or farm work, helping with whatever the owners need on a day-to-day basis. The good thing about working on farms and ranches is that in addition to your wages, you’ll probably also get room and board.

If you suddenly find yourself strapped for cash, this can be a great option. And if there are no farms in sight, see if you can find work in local hostels, hotels, or bars. Foreigners are usually quite welcome to help out since the hotel and hostel owners mostly cater to travelers.

Go Frugal

If you aren’t in an emergency, but you have overspent your budget and don’t feel like going home just yet, you can stretch it out by going seriously frugal.

Check out Couchsurf or Workaway for free accommodation. Buy a tent and wild camp often, and see if you can barter some photos or blog posts with hotel and hostel owners in exchange for free stay.

Cut all the unnecessary expenses like beers, guided tours or excursions, Starbucks, and organic smoothies. For now, you’ll have to live on bare minimum.

Prepare your own meals as often as you can and downgrade your stays. Maintain and service your own bike if you can.

Plan Long Term

If you know that you will run out of money if you keep traveling, but want to keep going nonetheless, you need to come up with a long-term game plan. Working online, teaching English, getting jobs on the go, becoming a freelancer – all of those are options.

Get creative, and get going!


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