Travel is often connected with spending huge amounts of money and people who travel are supposed to be rich. This definitely doesn’t have to be like this. Sure if you go on an all inclusive trip, go on organized tours every day and catch taxis, it is true. But there are certain ways to avoid spending too much during your travels. You just need to find your way. If you really want to travel and it is your priority, it is definitely possible for people from first-world nations.
If there is a will, there’s a way. (English proverb)
This post should show you some simple examples on how you could spend less during your travels and are able to stay longer in one place or do several trips a year without being a millionaire.
Stay with locals/in hostels
Staying with locals has never been easier than it is today. Get an account on Couchsurfing and connect with travellers from all over the world. People host you for free (it’s always nice to bring a small present or cook together for example though) and get to see the city from a local’s perspective. How could a trip be more interesting? You do not even need to host people yourself if you cannot do that. If you’re afraid of staying alone in a house of a stranger, you can also just join a couchsurfing meeting. They often take place on a regular basis, at least in big cities. I promise you, you’ll get some secret tips on how to explore the city or which places to visit which aren’t the main tourist spots.
When not staying with someone from couchsurfing, accomodations still do not have to be expensive. It doesn’t have to be a 4 star hotel. You won’t spend much time at your accomodation anyway. Stay in a nice hostel and get a bed in a dorm. It is not only cheap but you will easily connect with fellow travellers and thus meet people from all over the world.
Work your way around the world
If you want to travel long-term but cannot afford to simply travel for one year or longer, why not work along the way? A lot of countries nowadays offer Work and Holiday Visas. Countries like Australia or New Zealand have a huge backpacker job network and it’s quite easy to find a job to fund your trips.
In countries where it’s harder to get a work visa, there are still opportunities to travel cheaply. Register on pages like workaway or wwoof. A lot of hosts look for people who help them for about 4-6 hours a day. Tasks might include agricultural work, housekeeping, teaching and so much more. Have a look at the hosts on these site and decide which kind of work suits you and apply for it.
In exchange they get you a place to sleep and food. You do not have to spend much while working there and you still have enough time to explore the surroundings. And the best thing: You live with a local family, get to know the country’s culture and probably learn to cook some local dishes. This is what travelling is all about.
Eat local food or cook yourself
Do you go to big fast food chains or international restaurants during your trips? Well, you could save money on that too. International food is always more expensive than the local one. Why don’t you use the opportunity to try all the different tasty dishes your destination has to offer? For me, this is a big part of travelling as I’m always curious what other cultures like to eat. Of course street food is even cheaper than heading to a local restaurant. Forget everything you heard about street food. It doesn’t have to be bad. Local people eat it as well and I’ve tried some very tasty snacks on the street during my past trips.
I also recently read a post on Alex in Wanderland about the website With Locals. It’s a great new page where locals from many Asian countries share their culture with travellers. They offer all kinds of tours including learning something about the local cuisine. And everything for a very reasonable price. If you’re in Asia, you should give it a go. I think it’s a great idea to bring people from all over the world together. People who are not able to travel can host these activities to get to know people from other countries. A unique experience!
Use public transport or walk
When I travel, I walk every distance which is possible. A one hour walk to get to the next sight isn’t too bad as you get to see new things along the way. There are always things to discover which aren’t in your guidebook.
In case the distance is still too big, use public transport instead of taxis. Get out of your comfort zone and ask a local which bus to catch. You will be very proud afterwards that you managed to get to your destination even though there neither were a network map nor bus stops announcements. You did it anyway – how great is that? If you do not want to jump in the jungle of bus chaos, catch a subway if there is one, they are always easy to understand.
Use free tours in cities
Many cities nowadays offer free city tours which subsist on tips. Use one of them instead of spending 50€ on a sightseeing bus. Those tours are often guided by people who love to travel as well. Furthermore as less people take part in those tours, it is easier to ask all your questions about sights, food and culture.
Take overnight busses
Travel distances outside of Europe might be huge. Take advantage of the distance, save on accomodation costs and save time. Catch overnight busses. It sounds like a nightmare to spend more than ten hours in a bus but you probably want to get to your next destination anyway. So why not travel at night and arrive early in the morning?
I always catch overnight busses if they exist simply due to the fact that I do not need to care for accomodation and I can start my day in a new place and have the whole day to discover the city.
Don’t go shopping
Some people travel to another city and heading to the next H&M or other stores they have at home too. I used to like shopping too but I do not understand why you head to a shop you have in your hometown anyway. And why do you go shopping when you only have three days in a city? Don’t you want to spend that time getting to know the place instead of international fashion stores? Save that money and do a cooking or a dancing class instead or a guided tour. There are so many options to better spend your money (or save it at all) and time during your travels.
More budget-related tips
If you need some specialised tips on how to spend less money in a certain destination, have a look on etramping. Agness and Cez are experts in travelling on 25$ a day and their blog offers you many tips on how to deal with your budget in destinations all over the world. It’s very worth checking out!
For me all these tips are things that make travelling to such a fulfilling activity. Travelling can be so much more than a holiday. You can learn so much more than at home from other people. It is not only seeing important sights and taking touristy photos. Sure, I also like touristy spots and in my opinion there is a reason why they become touristy. But travelling isn’t about waking up in a hotel, spending your day at the pool of your all inclusive hotel and only leaving it in the evening to go out.
What I want to say is that I do not only use these tips to avoid spending too much during my trips. They are part of my way of travelling, of my way of learning. I like travelling on a budget cause it leads you to the greatest experiences. So on your next trip, try it, get out of your comfort zone and learn!
Do you have any more tips on how to avoid spending to much during travels?
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