Often I read about people who decided to travel and saved up thousands upon thousands of dollars, I even came across a guy who's total preparation got up on about 35.000 dollars. I was blown away by his expenditures and I suddenly had this deep need of showing people how you can go cheap without compromising your journey. With the right strategy, you can actually live dirt cheap even in the most expensive countries.
When we are talking about travel expenditures there are 3 main categories where your money is falling into and that is transportation, accommodation, and food. By implementing new habits in one or all of these 3 categories is the most effective way of saving a lot of bucks, (that you then can put into steem) wink wink!
1. You think the hostel is the cheapest
Don't get me wrong, the hostel is great and sometimes I even prefer them simply because of the natural social aspect. Sometimes you also wish to be by yourself during your sleep or just want to try something else than hostels. At the same time, you don't want to pay for those expensive hotels that suck out any form of life in your wallet.
Instead, look at other opportunities?
Couchsurfing and warmshowers: They are more or less the same but warmshower are specifically more for tour cyclists while couchsurfing for everyone else. Couchsurfing is 99% of the time free and not only that you usually meet some great people(if not new friends) along the way. Also, a lot of times if the host accepts you, it's common they even offer you food. (although I like to offer cooking for those I have stayed at as a sign of good gesture). Nonetheless, if you can spare the extra hassle of writing to a bunch of people through either of these applications, you will suddenly see that you can save A LOT of money. I once stayed 5 days in Berlin for free, simply because of this AND I had a private bed plus red wine every night. I think I spend in total 20 euro those 5 days and that was including sightseeing and beer, Not bad?
Tent: As a touring cyclist this is my go-to accommodation, bringing a tent suddenly gives you the flexibility of both sleeping for free in nature AND on cheaper campsites that usually also can be really nice. Of course, you have to carry the extra kilos witch actually can become an extra expense IF you travel with flights a lot since you can not just have your backpack as luggage(mostly), but for those who hitchhike or like me, choose to cycle. This really adds to the lifetime of your wallet and your adventuring lifestyle.
2. You use the wrong kind of transportation
Let's be real, sometimes you are forced to take the airplane. But making this a habit every time you jump to a new place will start to add up on your expenses. So why not look for new alternatives? Surely you can sometimes catch some cheap trains or busses. But you can go even further than that!
Hitchhiking: Something that's scary for many. The thought of stepping into someone else's car is bound to make your brain go crazy with horror scenarios.
But after the first couple of times you will find not only you are able to travel for free, but it just simply adds a lot more to your adventure. I see it a bit like a wilder version of couch surfing since you cannot see references of the person that stops. But there's a good reason for why so many people are getting addicted to this way of traveling: it's free and its super fun. Much better than sitting in a crowded bus.
Ever used blablacar?: If you don't feel like the wild nature of hitchhiking just yet this is a good alternative of trying it out, but with structure. You look up your area on the website, tell it where you want to go from and to(a to b). Then it will find a bunch of people with cars who also are going in that direction and then you just contact them. (usually you can see pictures of them and they have a profile where you can see other peoples feedback of them. Of course, it is not free, but both a pleasant and fast way to get around in regions like Europe.
cycling: Come on, this is the only way I am traveling more or less, so wouldn't it be obvious to put it on the list? You will find tour cycling will be the main part of your "travel life". It is slow, you won't get far every day. BUT you will see everything in between your destinations and that is something I truly value. There are some additional expenses when you are starting out, but by being a bit creative this can also be cheap. As soon as you are on the road it will cost you nothing and with a tent, you are master of your own journey, true independence. You can go anywhere you wish without worry. There's a reason why some people cycle around the world on two wheels and for many, it is a lifestyle. There are people who spend years if not decades going on their bikes.
3. Food can be cheap but only if you do it right!
Food is probably the only expense you cannot truly put to 0. But you can get damn close. If you go into every touristic fancy pansy restaurant your budget will not last long unless you have 35.000 dollars. So here is the options I found the best:
Local restaurants: Usually they are a bit hidden away and not always look too attractive. But you will be surprised how different the price can be and the food even better. Of course, sometimes you can eat the most boring piece of meatball you have ever tried, but sometimes you might end up buying something you never knew existed and it will taste delicious. A great way to get your hands on traditional food of the country/area.
The cheapest will always be cooking yourself: Unless you get free food from your accommodations such as Couchsurfing, having a small cooking system to make some food for yourself is a great way to make sure your budget stays alive longer. Also if you are like me, I love cooking my own food from time to time, so this is ideal.
You don't have to compromise your journey and live like a hobo. You just have to change your travel habits and choose to be a bit more creative in the way you do things. In fact, it might even enrich your journey and allow yourself to explorer more than constantly living off fast food and sleep with 12 people in a cheap hostel dorm. If you have money you can, of course, choose to do what you want or even better if you found a way to sustain yourself regardless of your geographical position. But a lot of us don't have that luxury and maybe even if we did, we would still choose this "cheap" way of traveling. For those who want a journey but has a lower budget, these tips might both benefit your wallet and your overall experience as a traveler. It is all about strategy!
So don't mind if you don't have a treasure of gold(or bitcoin) at home, you can go for much much less!