How to Travel on the Cheap When You’re Broke as a Joke
Are you one of those people who spend days after days looking at travel Instagram profiles? If you answered yes, then today’s post is about you! If you’re dreaming that one day you will visit the amazing places you see on Instagram and you think you need lots of money to do so. I am here to tell you that you don’t need much.
I mean who can tell you more about it, than a broke ass person who’s constantly on the go. Believe it or not, there was this one time when I spent nearly a month in a hostel in Oruro in Bolivia. I was living in a sunny room. I became friends with the owners and they took me on the Altiplano hills… I was amazed by the communities and how they simply shared stuff. They took me on a couple of village festivals, and here the winners got to take home a live sheep tied to a ribbon. And all I paid for that was my knowledge of English. Namely, I translated their website from Spanish to English, nothing more!
The thing I am trying to tell you is you need to stop daydreaming! Yeah broke traveling isn’t for everyone and you need to be dedicated and passionate. But, it sure is better than daydreaming!
According to the math we did, the money you spend on monthly living expenses in Brooklyn would get you a plane ticket and two months of traveling. The 28-year-old Tommy Palmer from New York managed to get together $3000 from her bartender job. With this kind of money, she managed to travel across 30 countries. “Be flexible and have a big heart,” she added. Learn how to accept unexpected opportunities!
If you get the rest of your life under control and manage to get just a little bit of money, we can take you places you’ve never dreamed of going and for really cheap too!
Seek cheap destinations, and don’t be picky
Don’t be picky about the destinations. Each and every place has something to show you and you will love it, but first, you need to go there and see it! If you’re traveling in the lower class countries than you’re looking at beautiful and colorful hostels for less than a cheap meal in the USA. And, if you want to try some of the local meals, that will cost you less than your regular coffee! Don’t skip on places in Europe, there are some pretty cheap places there too! If you would like to find some cheap places check-out this article!
You need to be pretty flexible with choosing your flights. Cheap flights can be found if you have a bit of time. Try and travel out of the “Travel-Season” because fewer people equals more room in the hostels at the place where you’re traveling!
As we mentioned before if you aren’t in a rush and you can afford traveling slower traveling becomes extra cheap. The more time you spend when traveling from one place to another, the less money you will spend!
Let’s take the travel from Beijing to Shanghai for example. A first-class express train costs $140 and if you have time (lots of time), then you can board a sleeper train, this one costs $45, nearly a third of the cost. Now, you can’t sleep on this train because of the shared benches, but you can talk to the locals and befriend some people.
Yes, befriending people, or even sometimes the tour guide, can also save you some money, they can invite you to someone’s house and you get food and place to spend some time for free!
Don’t fill your bags with unimportant stuff! Travel light, a backpack and one travel bag would be fine! By doing this you won’t have to pay luggage fees and you’ll also be able to jump on low-cost airplanes. Another great tip is that you can fit better on a crowded bus with just your carry-on and nothing more. One less worry to think about!
… or just sleep in a tent
Traveling light and cheap gets even better when you’re visiting some warmer places… Simply because you don’t have to pay for hostels and drag more clothes. Take Alex – a 37-year-old bike-packer who was driving around Southeast Asia for whopping 7 months. He traveled by bike, slept in a tent and spent less than $400 on his gear and some clothes. He didn’t spend more than $10 back daily including room, food and a drink, he was getting rooms just to clean himself up and he slept in a tent!
Ditch your Lonely Planet guidebook and do as the locals do
Going by the travel book isn’t always good. The spots marked there are mainly priced and marketed towards tourists, so they’re more expensive. Instead, you can see where the locals go, and you can get in a café or a restaurant for much cheaper than you would get if you followed the guide. You can even ask your driver what’s his favorite place to go! Be creative!
Get to know some people, a bartender would be a good choice because they oftentimes are broke and they know their way around cheaper places. A hospitality worker that was in UK and Paris advises you to “be your extraverted self that you know you can be, tap into survival instincts, and make some friends.”
Work. (Yes, really.)
Don’t think twice on this, if the possibility presents to you grab it and don’t let go! Find someplace to work and make some money that you’ll be able to spend. For example, Alex, the bike-packer we talked about earlier worked at a cheap hostel for 70 days. “By staying in one place, the world was coming to me,” said Alex. He managed to meet people that he turned in his future hosts for traveling around the world.
If you can’t talk your way into a job try and take a look at sites like HelpX and Work Away. Here you’ll be able to find some possibilities that will exchange work for food and a place to stay!
You can also check out some house sitting options. You can pay a one-time annual fee in order to browse sites like HouseCarers and MindMyHouse. Your job would be simply taking care for the house, dusting, watering the plants etc. You will have to fill out applications and earn the trust of the owners, but for what you’re getting you have to try a bit!
Athens, Greece | Neirfy/Shutterstock
Get comfortable with discomfort, and don’t forget to treat yourself
Once every now and then you’ll have to expect some pretty discomforting accommodations or food. In fact, one time me, and a friend of mine ended up in a small town near the border of China and Mongolia. That’s where I got my cheapest accommodations, but it was the ugliest one too! Constant attacks by mosquitoes and peeling walls is what you get when you’re paying 5$ for accommodations!
These were the tips for traveling cheap. We hope that some of them will help you in the future. And, we hope we sent you out on an adventure of your lifetime!