Desperate to explore the world but unsure how to do it without breaking the bank? Veteran backpacker, Will Hatton from The Broke Backpacker, has been travelling the world for seven years now on a budget of just $100 a week. Today, he tells us his top tips for exploring the world and having epic budget adventures…
The 7 Secrets To Travelling Cheaply!
1: Couchsurf and meet awesome people!
When it comes to really getting to the heart of a destination, Couchsurfing is the best option! In case your not familiar with the concept, Couchsurfing is a hospitality program where you stay with a local in their home, often on their couch but just as often in a proper bed, for free! You may choose to cook for your host (it’s good form really) but the whole thing, even signing up, is based around free hospitality! Couchsurfing is an amazing platform which will help you make new friends and save your hard-earned cash.
I myself have couchsurfed all over the world; I have met amazing people and stayed in amazing places – once even crashing for a week in a rock-cut cave outside the ruins of Petra!
2: Buddy up!
It sounds obvious but if you have a travel buddy, your buying power has just doubled! Suddenly, hotel rooms are half as much, taxis cost less and you can even share meals, if your on very good terms. If you can’t convince any of your friends at home to come with you then take a look online. Travbuddy and the Couchsurfing forums are both a good bet and you are bound to meet lots of cool people. Alternatively, simply choose THE most popular hostel you can find for the first couple of days; you are bound to meet loads of other cool people who will be heading in the same direction as you! If you have a travel buddy it also vastly improves your buying power when haggling.
3: Travel like a local
Locals know everything about their country, well, hopefully. They know where to find the best food, the best bars and they know how to get around cheaply! Take local transport wherever you can – buses, trains, trams, camels – the list is endless. Bear in mind that camels are ridiculously uncomfortable…
If your feeling particularly adventurous, why not try hitching? Hitchhiking is an amazing way to get around, it’s free, unique and you will meet lots of cool people.
4: Local food
From Pad Thai vendors on the infamous Khao San Road to the Tortilla ladies of Antigua, local food is delicious, cheap and plentiful! If you eat in restaurants aimed at tourists or in international restaurant chains you will really miss out on some of the best culture your destination has to offer. Take to the street; search out hole in the wall eateries, pancake wagons (seriously, pancake wagons…) and fruit stalls! By buying local food you will save a fortune!
Before you travel, do some research on your destination…
Travelling to India for a year long backpacking adventure? It would be helpful to know how to book trains in advance (it’s damn complicated!).
Hitching to Romania in the dead of winter? You may be interested to know that it snows… up to a foot thick… and that hitching is nearly impossible.
Determined to get past Burmese army checkpoints and into the highlands? One simple mouse click is all it takes to find out how to do this and not get caught!
Seriously, do your research. Knowing how to get from the train station to your hostel without taking a taxi is a good example; it takes about 1 minute to find out about local transport options online but it may save you up to a small fortune! Wikitravel is a good place to start.
6: Get a job!
Every now and again, you might be really close to running out of money… Do not despair, it is usually very easy to pick up work on the road. I’ve worked behind bars from London to Hanoi and everywhere in between, often for just a day at a time. You can usually find work in hostels in exchange for accommodation, flyering jobs abound upon the backpacker circuit and you can sometimes even find better jobs such as teaching english even if you don’t have any real qualifications; saying that, I strongly recommend investing in some skills before you head off travelling – it makes finding both volunteering placements and paid work a lot easier.
7: Network like crazy!
“Your aunt’s mum’s friend’s brother lives in Delhi? Great! Can I visit?”
This may sound silly but I’ve crashed with people who I really have a very random link to. Meeting up with people you kind of know can be a great way to save cash, land on your feet with a social network and really get to grips with the place your exploring!
About Will Hatton: Writer and photographer. Adventurer and vagabond. Master of the handstand pushup. Conqueror of mountains, survivor of deserts and crusader for cheap escapades. Will is an avid hitch-hiker, couch-surfer and bargain-seeker. He is a devout follower of the High Temple of Backpackistan and the proud inventor of the man-hug. Will blogs over at The Broke Backpacker about his adventures around the world, you can follow him on Facebook and on Twitter or, if your really friendly, hunt him down on the road for a cheeky pint.