Photo: Martin Lopatka – I think he should hold his sign the other way
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Traveling the world is one of life’s great experiences; it offers you a rare opportunity to get ripped off by locals and to contract any number of unpleasant and deadly diseases. Oh…you can also experience a variety of different cultures, meet great people along the way, and see some the most mind-blowing sites the world has to offer. However, as well as all the good times you’ll experience, traveling is also notoriously draining on the bank balance. Life on the road can wipe out your life savings in what seems like no time at all. However, there are a few ways to reduce your costs so that you can travel for longer on less money, making your return that little bit easier.
Cut down on travel expenses
If you want to travel cheap, then you need to try to find alternatives to traveling by plane. The rule of thumb is that the slower the mode of transport, the cheaper it is. If you’ve got lots of time and little money, then your best option is to think about getting buses. In places like Southeast Asia and South America, in particular, coach travel is big business and there are some great services at competitive rates.
Make sure you talk to fellow travelers along the way as they can shed light onto other options. You may even be able to hitch a ride with a group. For the real daring, why not try hitchhiking itself. In the UK, thousands of students hitchhike to Morocco every year for charity. However, unless you’ve got Liam Neeson (from Taken) as your dad, it’s obviously pretty important to choose your locations wisely.
It’s also worth checking out train options; it’s quick and comfortable enough to get you from A to B in good time and in one piece. Most importantly though, it’s not too pricey, in fact, if you book early enough, you can take a London to Paris day trip for as little as £35.
Most travelers will be steering clear of 5 star hotels anyway, but why not try some even cheaper alternatives to the standard hostels and apartments. Couch surfing is one option that can make staying in Europe in particular a lot cheaper. Lodging with a local family can also work in some parts of the world, especially Africa and can not only be a great experience but is also a great way to cut costs.
For third world countries, accommodation is often reasonably priced, but remember to barter. Remember that haggling and negotiating should be a staple part of everyday life whilst traveling.
Also remember to get out the city. Cities are geared towards draining tourist’s funds. Remote places can be dirt cheap and can also offer a much more of a rewarding and adventurous experience.
For business trips you could try to negotiate a better deal if you also need to book any business related rooms. Say you were in Asia, you might get a better deal on a hotel room if you’re also booking a Hong Kong meeting room.
There are several ways to make money out of selling yourself while you’re traveling, and by that I don’t mean prostitution! The power of the Internet means that you could work on a freelance basis in many lines of work from any corner of the earth. From blogging, to marketing and many other niches, you don’t need to be stuck in one place to earn a bit of spare cash.
Starting your own travel blog is also a good idea. Popular blogs can rake in a good bit of money from advertising, but be aware that it does take time and dedication to build these and get to that point.
Make use of your skills – While you’re traveling the world, you may finally even find a way to make use of your photography degree by selling the pictures you take while you’re away. If you’ve got a good eye for a photo, or even just a good camera, a nice shot can be worth quite a bit to the right website. If you’re musically gifted why not try performing for some money. You could alternatively work for a hotel or hostel, which could help to cover living costs.
Live the life of an international playboy
When you’re traveling you’ll probably meet quite a lot of people; some of these people could even be female. If you’ve got a way with the opposite sex, then you may be able to swindle a few free nights at a local girl’s place. It will be a lot cheaper than staying in a hostel and a lot comfier. Just think how much nicer it will be sleeping on her floor rather than in a cramped hostel. If you dare to dream, you might even be able to get set up on the sofa.
However, if you don’t possess a James Bond like gift for striking up countless holiday romances, then you could always make friends with a man and stay at his.
In all seriousness though, traveling is an once in a life experience. It’s hard not to get carried away at some points, but if you keep track of your finances by noting down daily or weekly expenditures, as well implementing some these tips, the experience could be all the more less stressful and rewarding. It will also mean that you can get to enjoy the final weeks without guilt and worry of debt and that you don’t have to pass up on any great experiences.