After this difficult and complicated period, many people have revised their priorities and many are thinking of quiting everything and visiting the world. After all, who would not like to leave behind an unsatisfactory life to go on an unforgettable adventure? Eat delicious food, always wake up in different places, meet lots of other travellers and enjoy amazing sunsets. True wealth is having the freedom to do what you want with your life. Compared to the past, this experience has become much cheaper, thanks to the advent of low – cost airlines that have radically changed the concept of travel. I remember that when I was little, taking a plane was really a luxury and we used to visit my grandmother in Paris by train, this being the cheapest option at the time.
They often ask me how I managed to travel with 15 euros a day. I want to clarify that I am not a “Daddy’s Girl” and in life no one has ever given me anything; the decisions I’ve made and the things I’ve done have been earned by rolling up my sleeves with determination, will, perseverance and so much sacrifice. In addition to this, it is essential to have a good spirit of adaptation. The traveller’s life is pleasant and exciting, but also hard and tiring, especially if you are traveling on a low budget. Here are some precautions that helped me to contain costs during my trip and gave me the opportunity to extend my stay. The first thing to do, of course, is to choose your destination carefully.
Eat in the places frequented by the locals where you will find both a nice atmospher, typical foods as well as cheap prices. Avoid eating Italian food or going to much more expensive tourist restaurants. Southeast Asia is a street food paradise; that is mobile stalls or carts on the sidewalks or on the side of the road that sell local foods. Also, many hostels have kitchens where you can prepare your own dishes; shop at the supermarket, around evening hours you will find many offers.
Choose budget accommodation such as the hostel. This is an accommodation that caters to all travellers, regardless of age. Here you will have the great opportunity to make new friends and share travel experiences. It is a place where you can find mixed dormitories of various sizes, especially in Southeast Asia the quality-price ratio is very good. But if you are a woman and you prefer not to go to mixed dorms, do not worry because in most cases there are female dorms. After doing your research, contact the hotel by email or introduce yourself in person: most likely you will be offered a cheaper rate than Booking or Hostelworld, but avoid doing it during the high season. Furthermore, if you like to photograph, write , or make videos, you can offer your service to the structure where you are staying in exchange for one or more free nights.
The mode of transportation you use will have a huge impact on your budget. Buses, trains, night trains, scooters and country-specific local transport are the cheapest ways to travel and cross borders. Use ground transportation and travel with the locals. Move around at night in order to save time and money on accommodation, for example the sleeping buses in Vietnam are fantastic and comfortable for tackling the night journey. On arrival at the airport, use public transport to reach your hostel or, in Southeast Asia, GRAB (download the application), is similar to the Uber we have in Europe, but with much lower prices. Furthermore, if you have not yet bought a local sim, there is WiFi in the various airports.
There is no need to take a taxi or public transport to every place you mostly go when you want to save money. Many places can also be reached on foot, a way that, among other things, is also good for health. As you stroll by the local shops, you can have rewarding and culturally engaging experiences with the locals. If you feel safe, you can also choose to hitchhike. In some countries it is illegal and there are specific rules to respect if you want to request a ride.
For your trip choose a backpack that is not too big. In fact, many airlines give you the option to take it on board as hand luggage without having to spend additional money on it. How many times on returning from a trip have you realized that you have only used part of the clothes you brought with you? Well, especially for long trips you don’t need who knows what clothes, on the contrary you will always wear the same ones and, when you visit Angkor Wat, the temples of Bagan or Bangkok, nobody will care about your way of dressing. In Southeast Asia there are also laundries that you can use for 1-2 euros per kg, so you will always have clean and fragrant clothes.
It literally means “surfing on sofas”. It’s a free way to stay and travel. You will find a community of people ready to host you in their own home, making their sofa or bed available for travellers, anywhere in the world. Just sign up, tell something about yourself and start looking for people with a sofa available in the destination city.
Workaway is an online platform where travellers from all over the world can practice their host skills in exchange for room and board. It is one of the many solutions for those who travel long-term and want to alternate travel with voluntary work. You can do the most varied types of activities, from teaching English to looking after animals, working on farms, and much more. In short, there is an embarrassment of choice. Thanks to this opportunity, I had an incredible experience collecting tea leaves in the mountains of Vietnam.
If you have flexible dates you can find really good deals on flights too. In Southeast Asia there is the low – cost airline Air Asia which offers flights for a few euros. On some occasions, I had not focused on the destination, thus choosing the cheapest ticket from my city of origin, such as Borneo from Kuala Lumpur. My favourite search engine for long-haul flights remains Skyscanner. Another tip is to “browse incognito” a search mode without leaving traces so the PC will not remember the searches made previously.
#8 ORGANISED TOURS
Wherever you go you can find things to do for free, essential if you are looking for the cheapest way to travel around the world. Type in Google: “free things to do in …”, and you will be surprised at how many things you can do by filling your days without spending a euro. For example, hiking through the cities, hiking to see viewpoints, visiting religious buildings, picnics in the park, playing sports with the locals, watching sunrises and sunsets. Locals often would like to improve their English or another foreign language, so they invite you to have a coffee or eat with them simply to have a chat for a couple of hours. Be creative if you want to travel abroad while staying within your budget. In some areas it is not possible to go on excursions independently, so the solutions offered by the hostels as value for money are very good as well as being a way to meet other travellers. Avoid relying on agencies.
#9 TELEPHONE PLAN AND LOCAL SIM
The easiest way to cut phone costs is to take advantage of the free Wi-Fi connections that you can find both at the airport and in the hostel. Before leaving for an excursion, remember to take advantage of the free Wi-Fi connection to download and save tickets, maps, timetables, and addresses so that you can then access them at any time in offline mode; that is, without having to connect to the internet. Some applications allow you to use their services even in offline mode such as Maps Me. Furthermore, you can buy a sim of the country you are visiting if you want to always stay connected; in fact, each country offers packages at advantageous prices.
#10 BANK FEES AND CURRENCY EXCHANGE
Credit cards are still the most convenient form of payment nowadays, but some circuits may charge higher fees than others: take the time to compare fees and exchange rates before leaving. Some banks, such as those online, offer free credit cards and no commissions on use abroad. Do not change your currency at the airport, as the exchange offices here charge quite high fees. I therefore recommend going to the city centre where the exchange rate is usually cheaper. In addition, it is advisable to have two cards: one from a MasterCard circuit and the other from a Visa circuit. Just in case!