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travel on a budget
A lot of people think traveling is just for rich people. In truth, especially in recent years, things have become more accessible to everyone; in fact, there are many options to travel on a budget or for free around the world. All it takes is to take some precautions to not squander your budget and have a good ability to adapt. So, the trip is only expensive if you want it.

Thanks to some of the sites I will list, I have had some fantastic experiences such as collecting tea leaves in the Vietnamese mountains or I worked in a hostel in Kuala Lumpur and this has greatly saved me on my budget.


The experience in Vietnam was the most particular; it was like living in the past as I found myself in a remote and rural area on the border with China. Lung Tao is a colorful village, away from the tourist routes, with a beautiful natural scenery at the foot of the Tay Con Linh mountain. There are many aspects of the unique traditional culture of the Red Yao people, famous for having black teeth due to chewing betel but also tribes like Shan and Tay. In this area grow the ancestral tea trees, recognized as heritage of Vietnam. Since ancient times, the ancestors of the tribes of Ha Giang have lived in high mountains, often surrounded by a thick fog, taking care of the rare and precious trees that today we call Tra Shan Tuyet. There the tea grows wild and is harvested by the local population, they grow a small amount without the use of chemicals, which positively affects its quality. In addition, the owner undertakes to reinvest the entire profit generated to improve sustainable livelihoods for local tea growers, young people and the preservation of indigenous tradition.
rice terrace

rice terraces

tea plants

Collection of tea


I still remember pleasantly when, during my day off, I decided to go for a photo session to the rice fields that I had seen a few days before, on the occasion of the collection of leaves. I remember that my eyes were enchanted by that green color and by the rice terraces that seemed to be drawn with a pencil. I certainly couldn’t lose them and even if I had to walk a lot to get there, I didn’t lose heart. I started the long walk in a secondary road, winding and all uphill but fortunately after the first kilometers some Vietnamese with their climbing scooters stopped to ask me if I wanted a ride. Our communication was gestures since English around here is not even known what it is. At first I was hesitant then instead I decided to accept, so they took me right in front of the rice paddies without even asking me

preparation of tea

preparation of tea

one dong. And I was there in the midst of that natural spectacle in front of the terraces that gently descend from the mountain and are built with my bare hands. The landscape changes according to the seasons, at that time the color of the rice was bright green. I find myself and no other tourist, in the middle of culture and tradition and between present and past. This whole thing has given me a chill inside. On the way back, while I was walking, a local family made me the gesture of entering their home, I had not yet realized that it was time for lunch and that they were inviting me into their home to eat together, just for the simple fact that they were pleased that I attended the lunch with them. Our meal was simple, made of rice and vegetables that grow there, and we ate it sitting on the ground in a circle but the extraordinary thing is that that small big gesture of welcoming me into their home was one of the most beautiful moments of my journey. In this area I have known hospitality and solidarity without ulterior motives. This experience gave me the opportunity to get to know the process of preparing and processing tea, living with local people and teaching English to children less fortunate than me. So I can say that from the human point of view it has enriched me much more than it made me save on accommodation and board.
tea collection

Collection of tea leaves

lunch with the local

Lunch with the locals

I will now list a few sites that I have used to cope with my trip and allowed me to significantly reduce costs.


The term indicates surfing on the sofa and allows a friend or a stranger to stay in the house for free with the opportunity to experience the city with a local.

#1 Couchsurfing

This is the most popular platform and is a free service that allows a stranger to stay at home using
any space, from the floor to the sofa, or a room. In this case you will have the opportunity to be a guest of a local person. You can be the host or the guest and it is absolutely free to contact those who want to travel the world.

#2 Belwelcome

A little less known than the first, BEWELCOME is run by a non-profit organization and is an online exchange service. Registration is free of charge.


The owner entrusts his house to a person and provides that the person indicated remains in the house for free in exchange for custody and care of both the house and the owner’s pets when he is absent. There may also be other tasks that you will decide in agreement with the owner. Be careful to check all the details.

#3 Trusted House Sitters

In this platform you will require to take care of an animal so if you are an animal lover, it is a viable alternative. They also have a section for long periods so, in this case, there is an annual fee to be paid.

#4 Nomador

It’s a new site less known than the first, but there’s a good amount of ads. Also in this case it provides for the care and care of the house and the animals of the owner.

#5 Luxury House Sitting

The aim is to list houses that are “luxurious”, the same houses are also found in other sites but you can find hidden pearls.


This is a house exchange, for a specific time you will exchange house with someone from another country. You will live in their house and he or she will live in yours.

#6 Love Home Swap

A good home exchange platform. They also have a point system where you will earn points by hosting.

#7 Home exchange

It’s one of the world’s largest trading house sites, you’re going to trade the house for someone else from another country.


The volunteer performs a certain job in exchange for food and lodging. Below are some sites where you are looking for travelers like you who work for them. Some provide a membership fee, however you are free to consult the list of offers before paying the fee

#8 Workaway

It’s the most popular volunteer work platform in exchange for board and lodging, and it’s very much used by travelers. This site offers a wide range of activities: reception, kitchen, babysitting, English lessons, agriculture, gardening and more.

#9 Wwoof

This site connects organic farms and small farms looking for voluntary help with those who want to experience rural life and learn various farming techniques. Wwoof is one of the first organizations related to volunteering and ecotourism in the world.

#10 Hostel Jobs

It’s a site that provides different job opportunities in the hostel to perform different tasks.


You can book yourself on some sites that provide cheap hostels

#11 Hostelworld

It’s the leading platform for booking hostels with several good solutions.

#12 Hostelbookers

Another great platform for booking in the hostel. I recommend to use this site and
compare it with Hostelworld and see the best offer. Most of the time it turns out Hostelworld.


These sites are a viable alternative if you decide to stay in one place for a longer period, usually other sites like Couchsurfing or exchanges of homes do not offer.

#13 Airbnb

It is an excellent site that can offer spaces ranging from private rooms, entire apartments, castles and villas but also tree houses, cottages and any other type of accommodation.

#14 Housetrip

It’s a platform that connects people looking for accommodation with people who have space available to rent. It focuses on worldwide vacation rentals for short-term rentals. An alternative to hotels, it is synonymous with authenticity, convenience and flexibility.


Family stay is how local communities allow you to stay in their home and rent one of their free rooms. It’s a good opportunity to get in touch with local life in a foreign country.

#15 Homestay

The largest platform for family stays and is present in 140 countries.

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