You don’t have to wait until you amass a fortune before you can travel the world. With the proper know-how, you can go just about anywhere on a shoestring budget.
Knowing how to travel cheap can completely change your life. If you’ve been daydreaming about travel and not taking steps to actually do it, it is time to make a shift.
These tips can help you get started on your world adventures. Have a look, then start planning!
1) Be Flexible, Not Picky
One of the biggest things that stop people from being able to travel in a cost effective way, is putting limits and parameters on the trip. If you can be flexible with your travel dates, your destinations, and/or your accommodations, you’ll find you can get just about anywhere.
Carefully consider Asian and South American destinations where the American dollar is very favorable and will stretch the farthest. Do not close your mind to any of these places. World travel is as much about what you bring to it as it about where you are headed. Keep an open mind and go to places that won’t hold you in financial panic.
Be flexible with your flight plan. Consider travelling to a destination during their off season when everything will be cheaper and don’t be afraid to take roundabout ways of getting there. Start by using tools like Skyscanner to find cheap places to fly into and unexpectedly affordable destinations. Even if you can’t find an affordable flight to your dream destination, you may find a flight to a place nearby and be able to travel to where you want in cheaper ways like a bus or train. Look at alternate airports to fly out of as well. Even if you live in a city with an airport, you might be able to get a cheaper flight from an airport a few hours away. More often than not, it is worth a consideration.
The best thing you can do when planning your travel, is to keep an open mind.
2) Take Your Time
When you take your time, you have more affordable options available to you. If you are travelling through large countries like China, you’ll find the express options, like flights and high-speed trains, are rather expensive. But, if you take a sleeper train or a bus, you’ll save that money and gain in experience. Traveling via slower methods gives you the opportunity to meet more people, to sit with them and share with them. Some of the most rewarding parts of travel are linked to the people you meet and not your mode of transportation. Use the extra time to truly appreciate where you are and learn about your surroundings.
Travelling by bicycle or motorbike is also an option when you don’t have a time limit. This method is a perfect way to really see what a destination has to offer.
3) Pack Light
Pack only your essentials. If you can get everything into one backpack, you’re set. Travelling with just a carry-on allows you to avoid hidden fees at the airport and it means you never have to worry about lost or missing luggage. It makes it easy to pick up and go, or stay where you are without taking up a bunch of space in your hostel or shared accommodation. Simply put, packing light eliminates so much worry.
Bring only the clothing you are likely to need. It is not necessary to have an outfit for every day of the trip. If you are planning to document your trip, consider leaving expensive camera gear at home and bringing only your cell phone and small accessories. It might not seem like much but it will lighten your load and eliminate the fear of damage, loss, or theft. Don’t pack your worries, they will only weight you down!
4) Couch Surf or Camp
When it comes to accommodations, there are many cheap options available to you if you are open to them.
Most obvious budget friendly route is to stay in hostels. The price of hostels is usually very low but it can vary from place to place so it might not always be the best option and it can start to add up after a while.
If you are an adventurous person who loves to meet new people, try couchsurfing. Couchsurfing.com is a site that matches travelers with hundreds of thousand potential hosts in cities all over the world. These hosts offer travellers a couch, air mattress, or floor to sleep on for free. All you have to do is set up a profile and search the hosts. Read their profiles and make connections with them before you go. If you can do something for them in return, it will not only improve your rating on the site as a conscientious surfer, but it will improve your overall experience. They are sharing their home with you, share something with them in return. Offer to cook dinner, for example. The more open you are, the better the experience will be.
If you a little bit of savings that you can play with, try Air BnB. Depending on the location and the season, you can find some incredible deals.
And, of course, there is always camping. Depending on the climate of your destination or the time of year, camping might be the most freeing, cost effective option of them all. All you need is a tent and sleeping bag and you can go wherever your heart desires.
5) Live Like a Local
Forget that guidebook! When it comes to dining and exciting day trips, the best places are the ones the locals visit. You can bet that if it is a place that caters to tourists, it will be expensive. Step off the main streets and look for restaurants and marketplaces. Ask cab drivers, bartenders, and other friendly locals where they like to go. You don’t have to pay the high prices for tourists attractions, you are free to explore everything else for, well, free. People watch, visit the beach, go for a hike. All free, all rewarding.