Brrrriiinnnng! Take a seat folks, class is now in session! Welcome to Budget Travel Basics 101. On the agenda today, we will go over 10 detailed, comprehensive techniques that I’ve used to help me travel all over the world. These strategies have not only helped me travel far, but also frequently! Traditionally, we’ve been conditioned to believe that traveling has to be luxurious…it has to be fancy… and it has to be a vacation. If you’re looking for ways to travel super lavishly on a basic budget, stop reading…because I can’t help you. If you’re interested in seeing the world, experiencing other's cultures and meeting new people, you’ve come to the right place. Unless otherwise stated, I have used all of these strategies and techniques myself. They have definitely aided in my quest to see the entire planet. So, let go of all your preconceived notions of what traveling is, have and open mind and let’s learn!
1. Throw away your bucket list
In my last blog post, How I Traveled to 11 Countries in 2017, I mentioned that one of the major reasons I was able to travel so much was the fact that I did not choose where I wanted to go. I absolutely have a “bucket list” of places that I want to see eventually, but when it comes down to where I actually travel, I go where I find cheap tickets. For example, in 2017, I hopped around 6 countries in Asia for a little under $600. Some folks pay that to get across the United States. Essentially, look for cheaper destinations first, opportunities to go to your bucket list will come later!
2. Choose places your $$$ will go further
My first BIG trip was three weeks through South East Asia. This area is well known for how affordable and cheap it is. I was able to stay in some amazing, luxury accommodations for a bargain! I stayed at the 5-star hotel, FACE SUITES for around $70 and night. I would have never been able to afford anything remotely similar in the states.
Here are a few counties that are generally less expensive to travel through:
Two cheap places to travel through: Thailand and Cuba
3. Stay in affordable accommodation (Airbnbs, Hostels, Guesthouses)
A huge cost of traveling is always accommodation. I made the mistake early on of always looking for hotels or resorts. Airbnb is a great option because there are room types to fit most budgets. You could rent an entire space or a room for a fraction of the price of a hotel. During my first solo trip to Cancun, I rented a room right on the beach priced at $230 for 6 days. I am also incredibly grateful for stumbling upon the 'wonderfulness' that are hostels. At this point, I don’t waste my time defending them. If you don’t want to stay in a hostel...then don’t, but, not only have they made it possible for me to travel more frequently, but I have gained friendships in the process. Hostels are a great way to save money and make connections. They typically have multiple room set ups and types. So if you're not into sharing a room, you could book a private space for a little more comfort. This way, you would still be able to enjoy the social aspect of what a hostel has to offer. I have also stayed in many that have offered FREE TOURS, and if you're on a budget, that's definitely a plus!
4. Be team carry on
Even if I didn’t need to save money, I would still be team carry on! There are multiple airlines that charge for a checked bags. Opt out and buy a 21’ or 22' carry on and a decent sized personal item (examples below) and pack smart! Not only is this a money saver, but time saver as well. You’ll love the flexibility of just heading right to your gate!
Two carry-ons and personal item
5. Take breakfast/snack food
Eating out while traveling can add up very, very quickly! I usually budget for one meal a day out at a restaurant. The rest of my food consists of snacks or breakfast foods like oatmeal, granola bars, beef jerky, and pretzels. If I feel like I need more food, I’ll grab a sandwich or something else quick and affordable. The one meal out still allows me to indulge and not feel guilty about how much I am spending, (or eating).
6. “Work” for it
Even though I have not officially done this, I plan to in the future. You can use sites like Workaway.info and HelpX.com to help find opportunities to work while you are traveling in exchange for room and board. This option only really applies to folks who have at least a month to spend in a place.
Working for it can also mean something a little different as well. Southwest Airlines ran a contest a few months ago. On their website, you spin a digital wheel once a day for a chance to win points to use for flights. I won around 13,000 points, which equaled two domestic round-trip flights, and all I had to do was get up every morning and spin a wheel. So play those contests, y'all!
I paid only the taxes on my flight to Las Vegas ($11.60!)
Over 1 million in Indonesian Rupiah
8. Look for cheaper one ways/ use incognito browser
It has been said that airlines can track your search activity on a specific flight. Some argue that this can’t be proven and that it’s random. However, I believe they do! I always search for my flights in a private browser. Since I have done this, I haven’t had flight prices fluctuate as I am searching. I also check to see if a one way on different airlines that equal a cheaper roundtrip ticket. I use Googleflights.com to search for most of this.
9. Look for free activities to do on Tripadvisor.com or through your hostel
Before spending any money on tours or activities, I always search for free ones offered to the public or through hostels. I’ve done free walking tours through the city, explored through parks, art exhibits, performances and many others! Another low cost option is renting a bike and doing a self-guided biking tour through the destination you are visiting.
Free tour to Lynn Canyon Park
10. Walk or use public transportation
Vancouver, Canada doesn’t have Uber yet. So I was forced to walk and take public transportation everywhere, because cabs were expensive and just inconvenient to find. I didn’t mind because I saved sooo much money! I used Maps to help me with directions and it was fairly simple!
Well folks, that concludes our session for today! Remember, you don’t have to utilize these all at once. Using a few at a time can free up money for your next destination. I hoped you learned information that will help you follow your wanderlust dreams! Let me know if you have any questions! Class dismissed!
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I have always wanted to travel and after years of aspiring, I am finally able to see the world! Join me as I explore, learn, discover and most importantly, LIVE!