We recently came across this interesting blog post written by Michelle on her blog. The article explains how she set about travelling on a budget, the sacrifices that sometimes have to be made before leaving and some good tactics once she was on the road.
My secrets to low cost traveling
Like many, I love traveling, immersing myself in a new culture, meeting people and learning from their perspectives on life, experiencing an alternative way to living, and above all, trying new food and drinks! But how is it possible to leave a job and traipse around the world for 7 months?
- Had an awesome job in International Education sending students abroad, promoting low cost options, and setting up overseas infrastructure. It was great preparation for my organizing my own adventure.
- Set aside part of my paycheck to pay off university debt as well as another part meant for life’s adventures. This reduced my ability to go out, travel domestically, or splurge on things while at home.
- Researched the best time to buy flights and/or train tickets throughout the world. Purchase your ticket on a Tuesday and try to fly on Tuesdays! Use sites like Skyscanner, Kayak, and country specific low cost airlines.
- Discovered www.workaway.info years ago and had a job that let me explore that website every week. <– This was major inspiration for my decision to explore the world in a unique way living with families who also value cross cultural learning.
- Joined www.workaway.info and have found many hosts who will provide full room and board in exchange for ~25 hours of work each week. This work ranges from organic farming, to tidying up the home, to grooming horses, to delivering little llama babies, to social media marketing, to editing, to being an au pair, etc.
- Have made friends from all walks of life around the world over the years who are more than happy to host me for days or weeks at a time.
My secrets to traveling with ease of mind
PLAN! If you want to hop around the world on a shoestring budget, it requires forethought.
Do you feel financially secure now, when you will be abroad, and for your return? Have you made your budget? Have you considered what immunizations and visas you might need? Are you locked into a lease or have a place to store your belongings?
Have a good and properly filled out profile on www.couchsurfing.org as a back-up plan in case something doesn’t work out with a host from WorkAway.
Have a purpose. Traveling like you’re on vacation for weeks or months on end becomes boring very quickly. Have goals in mind of what you’d like to accomplish. It could be becoming proficient in a language, learning how to cook Indian food, building a home, living through an entire season of wine-making, etc. In my case, my purpose is to increase the awareness of the need to abolish nuclear weapons and live in a peaceful world, organize peace conferences around the world during my travels (Germany & Nepal this year!), and to enjoy life on my own schedule without some of life’s later responsibilities.
Know you’ll have something meaningful to return home to that will occupy your time, whether it be a job, school, family, etc. You don’t want to be abroad and worrying about what kind of a pickle you might be in once returning home.
Have travel and medical insurance.
Discipline. Know how much money you can or cannot spend. Know when to say no to a bungee jumping adventure and when to always say yes to your health and safety.
- Do you know the emergency phone numbers of the country you’ll be in?
- Did you register your travel somewhere?
- Have you written down important information instead of just relying on some electronic device that could run out of battery or be stolen?
- Do you have a padlock for your backpack?
- Did you remember to keep your money in more than one place so if something is stolen or lost, you still have access to funds?
- Did you notify your bank of your travel?
- Do you know if the area is safe to walk in alone at night, especially if you’re a woman?
Granted, all of this takes experience, but just use common sense like you’re in any large city, whether it is New York City, Paris, Tokyo, Dakar, Buenos Aires, etc.
Lesson learned: There’s always more to learn. Value the experience of others.