Traveling the World on a Shoestring
Most people make the assumption that travel is incredibly expensive, especially for financially stretched young couples. Vacations are a lavish expense and international trips are only possible for the privileged few who can afford them.
But the notion that you can’t get far with an empty bank account couldn’t be farther from the truth.
In fact, if you are open to a bit of adventure, there is no reason you can’t see the world for just a few dollars a day. This guide from Legoland Holidays from the UK shows you how you can get more for less:
The most important part of traveling on a tight budget is eliminating unnecessary expenses. You’ll be amazed at how little you need. Learn to enjoy being somewhere new, meeting people, and learning about unique cultures. None of these cost anything. There isn’t a need to constantly DO. Don’t waste money on touristic package tours and activities just because other travelers do. Get out and explore on foot. Make your own agenda. Getting a taste of the local daily life will teach you a lot more about a country than being loaded into some tour bus with 40 other tourists.
The more people you meet, the more doors you’ll open. You’ll be surprised by how eager people often are to offer free rides, meals, or advice about how to save a few bucks. Traveling cheaply requires local knowledge. The only way to get it is to talk to everyone you can (this often involves a good deal of pointing and pantomiming).
Carpool, hitch rides, fly the cheapest-of-the-cheap airlines and offer locals you meet to pitch in for petrol if they’ll let you tag along. Forget about legroom and air-conditioning. Take the local buses instead of booking through travel agencies. Or try a ridesharing website like hitchhikers.org or erideshare.com. Better yet, hire a campervan with some buddies – you can cover a lot of ground by swapping drivers, and see parts of the country you’re in that very few travelers get to see.
Sites like CouchSurfing and volunteer programs like WWOOF are brilliant ways to travel cheaply. There are hundreds of travel and backpacker networks that can connect you to a community of people doing precisely what you are: trying to see the world on a budget.
Steer Clear of Big Cities
Not much explanation needed here. Big cities = big prices. And there is nothing like countryside hospitality.
Get a Job
It is surprisingly easy to get a casual job abroad. Local bars often hire travelers to promote or bartend. Marinas can be a great place to find a job and hitch a ride––hang out at one and ask around if anyone needs an extra hand on deck. Offer to swap labor for room and board at a hostel or guesthouse. Look into local volunteering opportunities; many times you can land free housing this way. And teaching English is a great option in many places, too.
The slower you move, the more you will learn and the better you’ll get at cutting corners. Going slow also means meeting more people and getting a more intimate understanding of the place. Your guesthouse is a few kilometers away? Avoid the taxi cost by walking––who knows what you might find along the way.
Ultimately, the amount of money you spend while traveling is up to you. If you are willing to work hard, be resourceful, endure some discomfort, and extend yourself beyond your comfort zone, you can get by on very little. In my experience, the less you buy, the more you learn: both about yourself and about the places you visit.
Oliver is a writer at Legolandholidays.co.uk with fond memories of a gap yah he never had (he traveled after university).