Do you want to travel the world but think it’s expensive? Would you like to find a way to make full-time travel more affordable?
Money is often the first issue on the agenda when it comes to travelling. How can I start travelling the world when I don’t have much money? This problem and how to overcome it is probably the most frequently asked travel related question.
If you often find yourself asking this question, you need to know that you don’t have to be rich to travel. In fact, you can travel full-time on less than $14,000 per year! Let’s repeat that: YOU CAN TRAVEL FULL-TIME FOR $14,000 A YEAR (or Less!).
1. Save on airfare
Shopping online for cheap flight tickets can be a boon to your budget, but only when you know where to look for the best deals. Don’t just rely on major airfare search engines to book your flights. Many of these sites actually don’t carry the best airfare deals.
To find the cheapest airline tickets, airfares and discount air tickets, you should carry out a series of internet searches to find the different airlines that fly to your proposed route. Start by finding the website for your proposed departing and/or arriving airport to identify the airlines it caters to, including all of the budget airlines. Try to find airfare deals being offered by these airlines.
Other ways to save on airfare include: ensuring you don’t exceed the limit you for checked bags that you’ve pre-paid for, making sure that you’re arriving at and departing from the same airport when booking connecting flights, being prepared to fly from other airports or terminals entirely, and ensuring that you have enough time to hustle for airfare deals to your new departure point.
2. Work for accommodation
Accommodation is, without a doubt, one of the main factors in determining the cost of your travel. To cut back on this expense, consider taking on work-trade gigs available in your destination. Working in trade for accommodation will not only help you save money, but also get a chance to meet like-minded people, work with locals and immerse the culture, and make friends for life. A number of online platforms exist that you can use to find such work-trade gigs. These include: WWOOFing, Work Away, Help Exchange, Organic Volunteers, House Carers, and Caretaker’s Gazette. Some of these have a membership fee, which is negligible when compared to possible cost savings.
3. Take advantage of free accommodation
Aside from working in trade for accommodation, you can make use of hospitality exchange or accommodation sharing programs that connect you with like-minded travellers and allow you to stay as a guest in somebody’s home free of charge. This can be a great way to make and meet an instant local friend, but you’ll need to observe common etiquette like bringing a gift for your host, helping out with household chores and so on.
Some online resources where you can find hospitality exchange or accommodation sharing programs include: Hospitality Club, Servas, Global Freeloaders, and Couch Surfing.
4. Consider taking on travel friendly jobs
Depending on your expertise and experience, you can take on a travel-friendly job to finance part of your travel expenses while meeting new people. Some of the jobs you can undertake while you travel include: online jobs, freelance writing, photography, travel nursing, cruise jobs, tutoring, etc.
5. Take advantage of travel-friendly volunteer opportunities
Volunteering may end up making your getaway more expensive, rather than helping you cut costs, if you’re not careful. But there’s no denying the fact that you can volunteer inexpensively (or even for free), and get a once in a lifetime experience meeting local communities and making friends.
Only consider volunteer opportunities that are travel-friendly or those that come with packages. You can find such opportunities in volunteer travel resources like Transitions Abroad, Idealist, Voluntourism, Compathos, Personal Overseas Development, Conservation Connect, and Continental Divide Trail Alliance.
6. Try to Integrate into the local community
Remember you are not a tourist, but a full-time traveller. Try to embrace the place you are visiting and be proactive in making new connections and friends who can help you have fun, explore the local culture, and plan the next stage of your trip. There are many places where you can find an opportunity to interact with locals and make important connections, including local stores, pubs and restaurants, libraries, sports stadiums, and headquarters of international organizations like Toastmasters and Rotary (it can be more helpful if you’re a member).
7. Avoid splurging on souvenirs
Don’t waste your money splurging on multiple souvenir pieces; but you can buy one to remind you of the place.
Remember you aren’t a tourist!
8. Save money on food while travelling
Food and drinks are the other main factors in determining the cost of your travel. While it’s not advisable to limit yourself (since it can compromise the quality of your travel experience), you need to determine what is important to you in terms of food and drinks and budget for it accordingly. Are you a foodie or a beer person? Or, do you prefer self-prepared meals? Scrimp on those food items you don’t really need and so you can have money to treat yourself to your favourite meal or drink. Avoid those overpriced meals found in hotel restaurants, and choose popular local eateries. Apart from getting affordable meals, it will give you an opportunity to meet locals and explore local cuisine.
9. Be flexible, open minded and ready to allow your travel plans to evolve with you
Be adaptable and try to go with the flow to save money. Opportunities of many ilk tend to crop up when travelling, including volunteering, work and free accommodation; and being flexible with your travel plans will allow you to take advantage of such opportunities.
10. Make use of travel planning tools and apps
Apart from using these tips, look at your possible expenses and budget carefully before finalizing your travel plans. Travel planning tools and websites, such as Trip Cost Calculator, Tripbase, CompareTravelMoney and others, can help you with budgeting, particularly when it comes to estimating the cost of accommodation and food.
11. Travel slow and see more
Since travelling is a part of your life (and not an occasional undertaking), travel slow so you can have enough time to make lasting connections that can come in handy in your future endeavours. Choose a few destinations and try to stay at each place for a while getting to know people, the language and the culture. The longer you stay, the more you’ll learn about surviving and travelling on a budget in that particular destination.