The phrases “travel the world” and “broke” cannot be placed in one sentence, can they? With pricey airfares and hotel accommodations, journeying to different parts of the globe seems like an unrealistic pursuit for folks who don’t have the luxury. However, I’m not kidding when I imply that it’s not an impossible dream.
“You don’t have to be rich to travel well,” may be easier said than done but that doesn’t mean it’s not plausible. Traveling the world isn’t limited to the financially privileged. Perhaps travel businesses, whose main aim is to dig deep into our wallets, give us the idea that it is.
If you want to travel the world, then there are four significant words to learn by heart: Live Below Your Means. As long as you know how to stretch out your dollar, carry a passport, and execute a lot of travel hacks, you can explore the world despite being broke. It is possible to cut your spending from only a few bucks to practically nothing while enjoying the picturesque tourist attractions you’ve only seen in travel catalogs.
How far can your couple of bucks take you? Here are 10 traveling hacks to keep in mind.
1. Work overseas. If you think you’re not making enough money at your current job, then why not work abroad to enjoy the best of both worlds? You get the chance to earn more bucks while seeing new places and meeting new people. Eventually, you’ll get to pay the bills and fund your travel costs at the same time.
If you’re not picky about jobs, you can find a lot of job opportunities overseas including hotel and restaurant management jobs (bartender, restaurant server, hostel worker, casino worker), tour guide, farmer (especially in Australia and New Zealand), and cruise ship worker.
2. Volunteer in remote parts of the world. Depending on your skill, jobs for volunteers vary, from working in hostels to working in farms. You’ll be expected to work a few hours per day. In exchange? You’ll be provided with food and accommodation. During your spare time, you can explore the destination and feast your eyes on marvelous views you haven’t seen before. If you’re getting lucky, the roles can even turn into paid roles.
3. Use your card for free flights and hotel points. The statement “I can’t afford to fly” isn’t acceptable when there are plenty of ways to fly without throwing money – like increasing mileage with credit cards.
Financial advisers keep on stressing the idea that “credit cards are bad for you” but if you’re a travel junkie, you can make the cards work to your advantage. Sign up for a few travel credit cards, collect miles, then fly to selected destinations for free. Most cards offer bonuses of 50,000 points when you sign up. You can even get a cheap flight faster when you sign up for both an airline card and a general rewards card. Aside from free flights, you can also get hotel points through credit card rewards, online bonuses, surveys, and special offers, so watch out for these amazing deals.
4. Start with cheaper destinations. Traveling to developing countries, like Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam, can cheaper when compared to traveling to the Carribean. Everything’s cheaper – from airfare to hotel accommodation to food. But just because they are cheaper in price doesn’t mean they’re less in terms of quality. Your $10 can go a long way when compared to overpriced businesses in popular destinations. Another perk is you can see the world from a different angle.
Crossing these off the beaten path destinations out of your bucket list first is a good starting point when you’re still working to build your finances.
5. Take advantage of free attractions. Learning about the city and seeing major sights don’t have to be expensive. In most cases, you can get them for free. Use the free days when visiting museums or tourist sites. Another free stuff that’s worth your time is the free walking tours. You may Google them, ask the local tourist office, or ask the hotel or hostel staff about them.
6. Prepare your own meals. Dining at local restaurants to familiarize yourself with the local culinary scene is a great way to get an authentic experience. But eating out every single day tortures to your budget when you can spend your $50 for a three-week worth of groceries.
Homes (Couchsurfing, Airbnb), hostels, large dorms and even campsites sure have kitchens where you can prepare your own meals. No stove? No problem. Pack your own container and dinnerware and make some sandwiches and salads for a complete meal on the go.
7. Stay with locals for free. We’re not talking about knocking on their doors and barging into their homes on the spot, using the excuse that you’re a broke, nomadic tourist.
In today’s digital-based era, you can use a mobile application to meet locals who’d be willing to let you stay with them for free. Apps like Couchsurfing allows you to travel the world without having to pay for accommodation. Sure, they aren’t even close to hotel’s comfortable amenities. Sometimes you get to sleep on the couch. Sometimes you get to sleep on a bare mattress. But all of these are free of cost. You just have to be friendly and accommodating and perhaps offer a small token or gift in exchange for your their hospitality.
8. Take part of the booming sharing economy. Sharing economy websites have changed the travel game and made journeying cheaper and more accessible for everyone. They let travelers find cheaper accommodation, tour guides, rideshare options, and even practical home-cooked meals made by local chefs.
Airbnb, where travelers can rent a local’s space, is one popular example. Unlike Couchsurfing, Airbnb isn’t free but they are way more practical when compared to pricey hotel rooms.
9. Sleep in hostels or large dorms. If sharing homes with locals isn’t your thing, you may consider sleeping in large hostel dorm rooms. They’re not free but they are the cheapest paid accommodation out there if you’re just looking for a decent bedroom to camp for the night.
10. Camp. Want to escape to the wilderness? Camping is a great option for backpackers who have no problem with ditching comfort and sleeping under the canopy of stars – literally.
Several countries have free camping policies where you can build your tent on any unoccupied piece of land as long as you clean up after and don’t bring hazards (like lighting fires) to the community.
The biggest reward in traveling below your means is the cultural exchange you build with other people. You are introduced to the highlights of the local’s cultural background, as well as the best tourist spots, attractions, and hole-in-the-wall dining places around. You get to share meals, rides, and stories with them. You get out of the tourist track and onto the local life.
Author Bio: Mina Natividad is one of the writers for Holiday Inn Parramatta Accommodation, a modern hotel in Western Sydney known for their exceptional accommodation, service, and location, which appeals to travelers in Australia. She has always been passionate about giving in to her wanderlust and collecting mementos from different places.