Do you know that you can go anywhere, at any time with just the clothes on your back, a few dollars in your pocket and your passport? You can go on a grand adventure, explore unknown places and hop in on a wild vacation even when you’re on an extremely tight budget; here’s how it’s done.
Choose Cheap Destinations
You might be dreaming of a classy European tour or a traditional all-American road trip, but these cost a lot. The reason why backpacking tours to South America and Asia are so popular is that you can stretch your budget. Sure, flights to Nepal, Thailand or Indonesia are costly, but your budget there will be minimal.
Instead of staying in a five-star destination, why not stay in local hostels instead? You’ll find cheap accomodations be near scenic attractions, so you don’t really need to pay more for just a bed to sleep at night.
And besides, you’ll be up all day exploring nature, checking out local cultures and tasting delicious delicacies, so you don’t need an expensive room with all the works. How to find cheap destinations? Don’t click travel sites and travel agency sites.
Check out backpackers through social media or use apps to find you cheap accommodations from anywhere. Find people who can offer a personal review of a hostel or a local place where you can stay safe as well.
Take Things Slowly
Every traveler knows that getting from point A to B in the quickest possible way is going to cost you a lot of money. Non-stop flights, bullet trains, and taxis are just examples of how fast you can go, but these things are very expensive.
Take things slowly, and you’ll spend only a fraction of the cost of your airfare, transportation, and your daily needs as you move from place to place. You’ll have time to check out more exciting destinations as well.
Consider riding a commuter train where it’s cheap plus you’ll get to meet locals. Instead of a taxi, ride a bus and experience what it’s like to live in the city. And instead of coast to coast, non-stop flights, take connecting flights. This is cheaper and will even take you to places that are not in your itinerary.
You need to take a more extended vacation than expected, but you’ll see that it’s going to be worth it when you travel slowly.
Have you ever heard of couch-surfing? There are people all over the world who are willing to offer their couches, old mattresses and extra rooms in the house to backpackers for free. This is an excellent idea if you are traveling on a shoestring budget.
If you happen to find kind-hearted souls willing to take you in even for just a night, be sure to give back. You can do a lot of things to repay their kindness like help them prepare meals, shop for them, wash dishes or any job to help out. And be a good guest and observe house rules. Don’t bring alcoholic beverages, charge all your gadgets in one go or take too long in the shower.
Most people who offer couch surfing are backpackers themselves. They know what it’s like to live and travel on a budget. This is why they do all they can to help fellow travelers the best way they can.
Earn Your Keep
Staying for about a week or more is going to cost a lot of money even if you are visiting not too popular destinations. But there’s one way that you can still stay without paying extra.
You can work part-time to earn your keep. Consider talking to the hostel owner or the homeowner about your plans of staying longer and ask if you can do anything to pay for your rent.
Some ideas: you can offer to repaint their home, to cook for free while you stay or to set up their hostel online for free. The possibilities are endless as long as you commit to your promise. Be honest, live with any house rules, and you’ll be the perfect house guest while enjoying a fun and exciting vacation.
Aside from less weight over your shoulders, you don’t need to pay for more when you travel light. Pick a small backpack where you can place clothes, shoes, camera, electronic gadgets, and personal items.
Avoid things that you don’t need like a hair dryer or your favorite pillow. Select items that you can hand carry so you can quickly move around. You don’t have to worry about losing stuff too when you travel with only the important stuff.
But don’t forget to have space for a sleeping bag or a small tent. This is in case you decide to go all natural and sleep under the stars. Consider the climate of your destination as well, so you don’t need to buy clothes when you get there.
Sleep Under The Stars
There’s something magical about sleeping beneath the stars, and at the same time, it’s free and practical too. But make sure to find the right spot to settle like a park or a clearing. It must also have access to clean water and a working toilet.
Use a durable and secure tent. Make sure to mind your belongings when you sleep in a tent and check the weather at least a week from your desired traveling time to make sure there’s no rain or snow. Observe park rules when you pitch your tent, and although it’s free to sleep in a tent, you’re obliged to make the area clean and litter-free before you go.
Another way to travel on the cheap is to follow how locals do it. Who could better help you get the best deals and to live on a budget than locals? Start by befriending locals from your hostel or bed space. Ask about the most affordable places to eat, how to travel from one place to another in the most practical way and how to get by with cellphone service, where to buy medicines, food, etc.
Don’t be afraid; most places have kind residents that will be more than willing to help you. If you plan to stay longer, look for someone to tour you around. This is also a safer way to travel abroad especially when you are new to the dialect or language.
Ride local transportation, eat local food and learn a new language. These are travel experiences that you won’t find from any travel book or blog.
Let’s face it, you can’t exactly go on a vacation without spending, but it helps if you plan. If you are thinking of backpacking this summer, start planning your trip as early as the New Year. Planning this early, booking flights and booking accommodations will make you eligible for low fare rates and affordable room rates.
Some airlines offer reduced rates on seats when you book months before your trip. Same goes for hotels and hostels. As much as possible, travel during off-season months. Take note of the dates when it’s busier and more hectic to travel to a specific area to avoid high fees.
For instance, it would be cheaper to book a flight during any ordinary day during summer compared to booking a trip to the same destination during the off season. If you use a credit card that stores miles after every use, use it to cover your airfare.
Finally, follow airline accounts on social media for the latest deals on seats. As soon as you spot a good deal, sign up and take the chance. As much as possible, plan at least three or four months before you travel.
Download Maps, Use A Translator App
One way to travel on the cheap is to use Google’s Map and translation service apps. Maps will take you to affordable deals and will also guide you to a new city as well. With Maps, you’ll locate accessible dining areas and accommodation plus this helps keep you safe as you move around. Be sure to download the latest version of Maps before you leave home.
A translation app like Google Translate will help you translate local signs and to talk to locals as well. This app will help you read restaurant menus and listings in a newspaper. With your camera, you can read signs and never lose your way. These apps are free and you can even use them offline.
So, travel safely and easily even on a very tight budget when you follow these practical tips. Happy adventuring!