One thing is absolutely certain, in life nothing worth having is easy to get. Travel being on my priority list, it can be a real financial, physical, and mental challenge at times. This morning I woke up in Iceland, put on my clothes and walked outside, when all of a sudden I got a hit of the cold air mixed with the annoying drops of rain that has been hovering over Iceland for the past month. As I run into the guesthouse kitchen where I begin to prepare breakfast for the guests, I decided to log in to Facebook and see what my family and friends on the other side of the world are doing. As usual my feed is filled with absolute bulls**t, however I notice that one of my friends have shared a link to a news article, and moments before dismissing the thread I realize that the person in the news article is actually a guy that I actually meet many years ago. The heading for the news article went something similar to "$15K to $10M". Boom !! What ? Someone that I know has made $10 million and I am cleaning toilets and making waffles ? (good waffles ) But then, a stranger that I have never meet commented on one of my blog posts, asking if I can share more information with him about my amazing adventure, and how I manage to survive while being broke on the road. In the same way that the cold air and rain hit me, so did the realization that what I am doing is much greater than money or financial wealth. I am living life exactly how I want to, traveling the world and saving experiences and memories, not money. So I am writing this blog to show you how I travel with a tight budget.
This is how I travel on a tight budget
This is by far the easiest and cheapest way to travel. In addition to the great financial benefits, it's also the best way to meet local people and get the feel for the local culture. There are many websites out there that make matching up with a host really easy. The website I use is called www.helpx.net. The way it works is that I trade a few hours of work a day, in return for free accommodation and food. What starts as a mutual trade agreement very quickly becomes friendship. Living with people often allows them to open up, and many times make you feel a part of the family. During my stay in France, I was invited to family dinners and taken to some of the highlights in the area. One day we went for a 5 hour drive to the beach, other days we went kayaking. It's a great way to get a feel for the culture, meet awesome and friendly people, and contribute in someone's life.
This is a good way to also find paid work. If the host see's that you are a good worker and you build a good relationship, sometimes they offer you a paid job. This has happened to me and I am sure it will happen to you as well. If the host cannot afford to pay you, they will most likely be very helpful if you are searching for paid work.
2. Do something you know and love
Find something that you are passionate about, preferably something that you are good at. For me, that something is photography. I started by posting free ads on websites such as www.gumtree.com.au. I managed to get a few photo shoots, paying anywhere between $100 and $300. In addition one of the shoots was on a boat cruise, so that meant free alcohol and free entry to an awesome party. You can also print post cards and take them to small coffee shops and speak with the owner, see if they are happy to sell them for you at their shop (they get some of the profit). Another thing I did with photography was going up to the mountains in Iceland with one of my friends to do a mock photo shoot, I then sent the photos to a few small Instagram clothing brands, asking if they were interested in sending me some clothes for me to take photos for them while I was in Iceland.
You will be surprised by the response you get when you actually approach people with an idea. Currently I am in the process of printing photographs for a Guesthouse, and hope that I can take my photography further. Check out my Instagram: andrew_abroad
3. Blog / Vlog
Yes, you are right !! There are thousand's and thousand's of travel bloggers out there, but in today's age when people spend more time on their phones than in their beds, if you have good enough content and you learn how to share it, people will read it. It doesn't even have to be traveling, it can be anything that interests you, in fact the more controversial the better. There are a few ways to make money from your blog once you are generating enough traffic. You can write for per-existing blog sites or make your own. If you make your own, the way I did, then you can choose how you make money. There are hundred's of blogs that go into detail about this, if you are interested I urge you check them out. I personally don't put ads on my website, but rather I use my website to promote my Instagram. (CHECK IT OUT-CLICK HERE)
4. Hitch hike / Ride share
This one is pretty common sense, but I still meet so many people who are unsure about this. Hitch hiking in certain countries can be very hard and dangerous, but in countries like New Zealand and Iceland it is like a walk in the park. I have meet a ton of girls who hitch hike, and they always said that they felt safe. Not everyone out there is out to get you ! The main thing to remember is to smile and be positive, and the universe will answer your call. During my hitch hiking adventures I have meet old people, young people, strange people, happy people. I've spoken to people with whom I don't share a common language. I've heard stories from a time before I existed, in the part of the world I have never heard of. I'm sure you've heard a quote similar to "it's not the destination that matters, it's the journey", well this is the view I have when I travel.
Firstly, I never buy a sim card. There are so many ways to get access to free wifi in all developed countries, that buying a sim card and wasting money on credit is unnecessary. I use Maps.me for maps and directions (it's free). The app downloads a map of the country that you are heading to, so that you never need a sim card or service to use the map, it just uses the GPS system on your phone. It gives route directions and has most petrol stations, restaurants, facilities, and private addresses.
Downloading apps such as Wikicamps is also a good idea. It tells you where all the camp sites are, if they cost anything and any other information you need.
Becoming a member of facebook groups such as "backpacking New Zealand" or where ever it is that you are heading, is a good idea. This is how I found people to travel with in Iceland. We split costs of the car rental and petrol making this very expensive country, affordable to a backpacker.
This varies greatly depending on which country you are heading to, but any advanced country will have a good public transport system in place. Search around on websites such as www.goeuro.com. It compares all the buses and trains to give you the cheapest option. Another method of transportation is ride sharing, which you can be found on blablacar.com. Just think when you are in your home city, you don't catch tour buses or travel agency buses to get around, you use local transport because it's cheaper. Same goes in every other city in the world.
8. Food and Alcohol
If you are traveling in South East Asia, then this might not be a big problem, but if you are heading to Europe, north America, Japan or Australia then this can sneak up on you really quickly. In countries such as Australia, England, Iceland, and Norway alcohol can be very expensive. If you feel the absolute need to drink I recommend you buy something in the duty free on the way into the country. I personally don't drink much at all when I travel, and when I do it's always the cheap stuff in the Hostel before heading out. Alcohol and Take out food can easily be the biggest expense when traveling if you don't control it. I know when traveling to new places you want to taste the traditional food, however most of the restaurants serving traditional food are just tourists traps. If you do what I do, volunteer and couch surf with locals you will definitely have a real taste of local food.
10. Just Go !
There will never be a step by step guide to traveling on a budget, if there were it would be boring. I hope that these tips helped you and re assured you that this life is possible. Humans have learned to control fire, tame wild animals, build space ships and have created medicine. If we have accomplished so much then why can't we do something so simple, such as live a life that we want, the way we want it. There have been so many fears that you have overcome so far, for example learning to ride a bike or the first day of school and yet you have survived, so sometimes the best way to learn to swim is to jump into the deep end ! Book a ticket somewhere, you WON'T regret it ! Go on, really. Go see the sun rise in Australia and the sunset in Iceland, go see the world, go meet people, JUST GO! The rest will work it's self out.
I hope that you guys enjoyed the read, and were able to take something away from it.
Traveling on a very tight budget is very possible, in fact it's often much more adventurous.
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