Today I would like to introduce you to the Polish duo Agness and Cez, travel companions and founders of eTramping.com, a blog focusing on cheap travels under 25 bucks a day. They have been enjoying their lives on the road since 2011 trying to inspire another to follow their steps. Here are their best tips for traveling on the cheap.
Many people dream of long-term travel and being on the road forever. Some sell all their possessions, some save up money for years in order to afford it. A year, two, or five years of travels can sound expensive at first. However, when you consider that you do not have rent or a car payment in this lifestyle (or much room to carry any possessions), it can actually be very cheap to live this way, provided you can work a little along the way, or do some kind of virtual freelancing or contract work.
In fact, if you do some research, you will find out that travel can be affordable as long as you plan for it and prioritize it in your life. Here are 10 ways to stay on the road longer than you can imagine:
1. Always travel off-season.
Before visiting a certain country, make sure you get there off-season. In this way you can save at least half the money you would spend when travelling in peak season.
Just to give you an example – you are planning to travel in Europe. If you make it there between October and April, you will get cheaper airfare, find more budget rooms, spend less time in lines, and meet more Europeans than tourists.
2. Go couchsurfing.
Have you ever heard of couchsurfing? If not, it’s high time to get familiar with this term! Couchsuring is a web portal that offers its users hospitality exchange (free couch to sleep on, showing around the place, etc.) and social networking services (helping each other with travel issues). It is free of charge and you should not have any problems with finding a host anywhere in the world.
CS is a great way of exploring places on a budget; you can meet amazing people who can look after you and show you around. If you are a solo traveler afraid of getting lost in a big city, you should definitely set up your account and join the couchsurfing community.
3. Travel with a partner.
Travelling with a partner or a group of friends can save you a lot of money as you can share the expenses. When in Asia or Europe, you will see that a single hotel room often costs nearly the same as a double. And by splitting taxis, chores, guidebooks, and picnics couples save both time and money!
4. Be smart about accommodation choices.
Trust me, you do not need a five-star hotel to enjoy your travels. Instead, you can choose to stay at guest houses and budget hostels. You can book a variety of inexpensive, off the beaten path accommodation types — and none of them involve splitting a room with strangers, camping, or couchsurfing.
A lot of people associate budget travel with roughing it, but it is possible to be comfortable. In fact, by avoiding the beaten path, I usually have a less expensive, equally as comfortable, and more interesting cultural experience. Besides, you can meet amazing people who might join you and share the costs of food with you.
5. Travel by land, avoid flying, and always choose local transport.
By far, this can be the single most expensive purchase of your trip. One flight inside Asia costs from $60 to $300. Instead, you can travel by local buses, trains, vans, and ferries and do the same trip for $10! Your journey might last much longer and it can be less comfortable, but at the end of the day you have more money to stay on the road.
Another thing is to travel by local transport. By avoiding taxis and travelling around the country using local transport, you can save a lot of money. For example, taking the subway is the cheapest and fastest way to explore Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. The subway tickets in Shanghai only cost RMB2 (£0.20/ $0.30). If you take a taxi it would cost you at least RMB200 which is $30.
6. Try local food and avoid Western style restaurants.
Most of the countries in Southeast Asia are full of really expensive Western restaurants where you can get a cheeseburger, pizza, fries and coke. You can treat yourself to amazing Khmer food instead (in Cambodia). It is going to save you a lot of money as Western food costs up to 5 times more than traditional Thai, Khmer or Vietnamese dishes. Would you fancy a plate of rice and vegetables topped with spicy sauce for less than $1 or a takeaway cheeseburger and coke for $5?
7. Keep your partying in check.
You are on your holiday and you obviously want to have fun. However, the alcohol in a foreign country might cost a fortune, especially when you are out off limits. For example, in Cambodia or Vietnam, it all starts with a $0.5 draft and by the end of the night you find yourself broke.
Going clubbing every night is not the cheapest entertainment option so you should always keep your partying in check. Some locals can take advantage of you being tipsy or drunk and rip you off. If you feel like you might over spend on alcohol, take a friend or two with you to keep an eye on your tab.
8. Get a job on the road.
Before setting off your travel, think of various jobs you can do when travelling, such as
- IT specialist – you can do some programming, web design, SEO.
- Teaching – China is a very affordable place to live in. With a free apartment and food provided by most of the schools (if you are interested in teaching English), you can live a fairly luxurious life and still be able to save some money for your future plans, whatever they may be. Did you know you can save up to $18.000 a year teaching English in China while still travelling and enjoying yourself a lot?
- Anything related to Tourism (Tourism Management – you can easily get a job in a hostel or restaurant around the world, work as a hotel/restaurant manager while still enjoying long-term travels and foreign culture.
9. Earn money from your travel blog.
Many travelers use their blog as a source of income when travelling. It can actually bring you from $50 to $3000 a month, so the hard work pays off. The best idea would be to start thinking of your travel blog before you go travelling. Do some research, think of what design you want, come up with a catchy name, your own slogan, logo and design. Connect with fellow travel bloggers, start your first interactions and get familiar with social media network.
Don’t wait till you get on the road as you might not manage to balance blogging with your travel. Believe me when I say it’s a very tough and time-consuming work!
10. Get off the beaten path.
I will not surprise anyone by saying that tourist areas are the most expensive to stay at. Therefore, the best idea is to stay outside busy city centres, a few kilometres away from all hot spots. You will not only be able to negotiate a much cheaper price for your room, but you will also have an opportunity to get to know some locals, discover local areas, and see what other holiday makers will not see. If you feel like going to the city centre, rent a bike for $1 or $2 per day (prices for Cambodia and Thailand) and go there by bike – healthy, eco-friendly and affordable!
As you can see, everyone can afford to travel even for a longer period of time than a week or two. It is a matter of prioritizing things in your life, making a good plan, and being well-organised. Follow these 10 steps and after a week you will see how much less money you have spent in comparison to other fellow backpackers and tourists you meet on the road!