Traveling around the world seems like an EXOTIC idea, but sounds costly, doesn’t it?
I bet that you ask yourself several times a week, maybe a couple of times a day, “How on earth will I ever be able to travel the world? I must be a millionaire in order to realize that dream.”
Good news, that’s not true!
You could travel the world without becoming bankrupt if only you give up on lots of unnecessary costly things and start planning it RIGHT. I am not going to ask you to eat from the garbage or to sleep on sidewalks, I will only give you tips that will help you plan it right.
Don’t say I am not a student anymore; I’m too old to share rooms or bathrooms. Who cares, as long as you’re staying in a safe & clean place? You only go there to spend the night anyway.
They are a MUCH cheaper accommodation option than hotels.
- You can book a bed in shared dorms. It is the best option, especially when you are traveling alone, as it cuts costs and allows you to get introduced to new people inside the dorms.
P.S: there are mixed, females and males dorms in 80-90% of hostels, with shared or private bathroom.
- You can book a private ensuite room –with private bathroom- which is slightly more expensive. You’d better choose this option if you are staying in a double/triple/quadruple room with your friends.
- You get to socialize with people from all over the world.
- Obviously sharing a room doesn’t give you so much privacy.
- Going to the bathroom can get a bit uncomfy –but again you only spend few hours at the hostel.
- If you are unlucky enough you’ll be sharing rooms with noisy people, or ones who would arrive really late at night and wake you up from their noise or from turning on the lights –to get over this; use ear plugs and eye masks.
Answers to FAQ
– Most hostels have lockers where you can put your valuable stuff, just make sure to always carry a padlock in case the hostel does not provide any (some hostels sell them, but not all).
– Some hostels do not provide towels or provide them with a minimal fee. I personally always carry my own towels for hygiene reasons, but that is totally up to you.
- If you are traveling in groups you’d better stay in a rented apartment –apartments.com, airbnb.com, or wimdu.com– and split the cost. You’d better rent an apartment with a kitchenette in order to cook or microwave food bought from grocery stores – another money saver. To make sure that the desired apartment is good, well located, in a safe area check its reviews on the website as well as on tripadvisor.
- If you are traveling for a long period of time, it is always better to stay in a private apartment with kitchenette and private bathroom.
- Another cheap option is couch surfing & camping in a garden, haven’t tried any yet –but soon will do-, so I cannot recommend them as I base my recommendations on my personal experience.
2. Food & Drinks
- Buy snacks & fruits from grocery stores and markets instead of buying them on the go from machines, gas stations and souvenir shops, as they are much cheaper & more fresh.
- Always carry a reusable bottle to fill it with tap water, instead of buying mineral water, it’s safe to drink tap water in many countries (but be sure that it is safe before you drink it).
- Anyone usually -I assume- packs very light when traveling, so get use of your allowed luggage weight, to fill it with bottles of water; to have enough water that could cover your usage for few days –you will at least save 5€ a day for 5-7 days (25 to 35 €).
- Go for local & street food instead of eating at fancy restaurants. It’s always a pleasure to have a sense of place through tasting local food -but to have the full experience you have to eat in fancy restaurants as well, but not as much as street food.
- When you buy grocery, choose big packages –i.e. a package of 6 bottles of juice instead of buying one bottle at a time- as usually they are less expensive than buying one by one, which applies to water, beverages, snacks, etc.
- I usually start by looking on generic websites such as expedia, momondo, kayak, orbitz, edreams, skyscanner for two reasons: 1. To look for the best fare & compare prices, 2. To know which companies are operating on the desired destination’s route. Afterwards, I check the prices on the websites of specific airline companies, compare them with those found on generic websites, then I choose the cheapest, yet convenient option.
Don’t torture yourself by choosing flights with long transits & endless stops, that take several hours or days, you don’t want to end up wasting your vacation waiting at the airport or recovering from fatigue & lack of sleep.
- Before you hit the road make sure to buy several 100 ml empty bottles -in case you will be carrying carry-on luggage on your flight- to fill them with shampoo, shower gel, or for any liquid storing purposes- as in most countries they take advantage of the 100 ml carry on allowance to price 100 ml liquids higher than their regular price, sometimes they are even more expensive than big bottles.
- Always carry a Swiss knife in order to avoid buying gadgets like knives, scissors, bottles and cans opener. But DON’T put it in your carry-on luggage.
- Avoid taxis at all cost; they are INSANELY expensive in most countries. It is so much fun to use public transportations instead, especially if you try unusual ones like rickshaws (tuktuks).
- Don’t forget to ask for super saver tickets/passes. In some countries you have the option to buy a pass valid for a day, a week, 2 weeks, or more, there are even specific discounted passes valid for the weekend.
- Before booking anything read reviews about the desired place, I totally depend on tripadvisor (read good and bad reviews of the same place as the good reviews might not suit you, and the bad ones might not be as bad as others think, it always depends on the person).
- During your trip, always carry snacks -fruits, biscuits, energy bars, etc- and a bottle of water in your backpack, you will eventually be hungry & thirsty and the last thing you want is not finding food and water supplies.
- Avoid at all costs; not having extra food before arrival to your destination, always carry an extra sandwich or anything that will get your stomach full, as you might not have access to food for several reasons such as; your flight might be unexpectedly delayed, the traffic might be jammed, hence arriving late after all sources of food are closed. I have tried it once and it was literally torturous.
- Pack light without forgetting to take your essentials, you don’t want to end up spending your money on unnecessary stuff that you already have back home.
- In most countries around the world you could do all the needed bookings for flights, accommodation, theatre, tours, museums and most of the time they are cheaper than buying them on the spot and you’ll get to skip long endless queues.
- Don’t forget to ask for discounted tickets for kids, students, youth & elderly.
- In some countries, there are super saver passes that are offered for free, or sold which entitle you to half price tickets, discounts, offers and even more.
- Sometimes it is cheaper to take internal flights rather than riding a train or a bus. Totally applies to Europe (easyjet, swissair, ryanair, vueling, transavia, etc).
- The earlier you book, the cheaper it gets
See … It’s all about good research, planning and doing your own bookings.
What tips have you used before to travel on a budget? Please share your experience in the comments below.