There are two categories of travelers; those who have money and those who don’t. Those who travel to fancy hotels and those who bring their tent, prepared for the worst. Don’t get me wrong here, I am not judging either one of these ways of life but this article will be more oriented towards the latter.
We all want to travel and see the world (at least in my universe…) but sometimes reality catches up and we realize that some things may or may not be possible because of one little detail… money! But does that mean we need to deprive ourselves of life-changing experiences because of the fear of not having enough?! I think it is possible, with a little bit of organization to travel on a budget and do much more with a little less than most people think.
Here is a couple of my own personal tricks to be able to travel, save money and not spend too much while in the country!
1. Organise, budget and organize a bit more!!
So there is nothing wrong with being a bohemian that wanders in this wonderful world we live in, not knowing where the next destination will be and where they will wake up next but when it comes to traveling on a budget, this might not be your best option! Planning and organizing yourself might save you a couple of hundred bucks and at the end of the day and that might give you a bit more time to explore the region and a safety net to fall back on once you come back home.
We are not in the 90’s anymore and last minute flights will cost you more than not, same goes for hostels and hotel rooms. Booking months in advance will allow you to save some money and to give you a timeline of what you need to do before departure. When I was in Barcelona, I was paying about 19 Euros a hostel room that a girl was paying about 5E because she had booked way in advance. And the beauty of this is that in the hospitality industry you can pretty much always cancel 24hrs in advance. And if you decide to stay somewhere a bit longer, then great! You just have to cancel your next destination and catch up a bit later on with the rest of your bookings.
It is also important to be realistic about what you need before and after your travels, we sometimes forget that there are “hidden fees” when it comes to traveling (insurances, travel shots, medications, etc). I recommend paying those also months in advance so you can have more financial freedom and know how much you really need to save. I like to make a diagram with the “How much do I need” and “how much can I save” curve and find the middle point between both.
2. Live below your means
If you hear the little voice in your head saying “But I’m on holiday, I should be able to treat myself right!” then traveling on a budget might not be for you. But hear me out, I have never had better traveling experiences than when I was on a budget. Because you can truly allow yourself to do the travel within as well as without. You don’t live from the ego of wanting the illusion of perfection and you can concentrate on finding perfection in small things. Finding perfection in a sunset, under a waterfall in the jungle, from the laughter of friends you meet. Those are the things that truly inspire and make the soul sing. By detaching from the material and the illusion of perfection, that’s when your vision can shift inwards and towards what your soul really wants and what is really real.
And to live below your means is all about knowing what you really need and what you can cut off. If your goal is to travel the longest on a small budget, then there are some things you might want but that is not important to your survival or your growth. And depending on what country you are traveling to, the prices of everything differs and you can adjust your spendings adequately.
My personal favorite. Volunteering teaches you so many things and different ways of living. Hosts are usually really nice and can help you out immensely to learn about the region you are in or some new sets of skills. This is also a great place to meet like-minded people that love to know a bit more every day! I love to volunteer in unusual places like animal rescue sanctuary or with disabled children because these are the situations that might throw you off from what you are used to and help you with your growth.
Some of you might know how much of a fan I am of www.workaway.info, this website is everything you could ever wish for! You find so many opportunities for volunteering and you are more often than not lodged and fed. And while doing this, you have access to a lot of activities and often times they are free as you are a volunteer. So you can spend a month without spending a lot. If not at all. Because like they say “the best things in life come free”.
4. Use your contacts!
This is one thing that is beautiful about living in a technological world like we do today! We can keep in touch with our friends from all over the world and sometimes reach out for a hand may be the best thing you’ll do during your travels! If you know people living here and there, don’t be afraid to reach out to them and ask them for advice or for shelter. Most of the time, people will be delighted to help out an old friend or to give you a bed to sleep on when you need it. So think about it before you leave, do you know anyone living abroad that can host you for a couple of nights and show you around? Even if you haven’t spoken to each other in years it is always fun to rekindle with old friends.
So this is my short list of things you can do to travel on a budget, I highly recommend you download my spreadsheet on how to budget realistically your next travel. It is all about preparation and about knowing yourself and knowing the difference between what you need and what you want.
Until next time,