One of Travel Fashion Girl’s readers recently asked me about how to travel for a long time on a budget. I thought I’d share my answer with you!
As I have been reading your blog, I feel personally close to your epiphany and I just wanted to know how can I support myself financially and logistically to embark in a trip of the unknown.
I would really appreciate your view on this, Thanks in advance!
Ps: loved the cosmo article.
Thank you so much for your email!
The first thing to keep in mind is that you’re 27, it sounds like you have a good head on your shoulders, and are already well traveled. This makes you one step ahead of the game since you have age and experience on your side. The way I see it is that if you give it a try and you don’t like it or you miss home then you can always go back. You’re not stuck.
You have to ask yourself: what’s the worse that can happen? Things don’t work out and you fly back to Colombia. Starting over isn’t as hard as it seems and when you are ready to return home you’ll have much more confidence to do so because you’ve got the life changing experience of travel.
When it comes to long-term travel, you have to keep in mind that this is very different than a vacation. For example, traveling for 2 weeks on vacation in Europe I’ve spent $4000 whereas traveling longer, slower, and on a budget $4000 can last 4 months or more. It just depends on where you go.
VISIT CHEAPER DESTINATIONS
- That’s the first secret of traveling for a long time. You avoid places such as Australia, USA, Western Europe, Japan, etc because these places are more expensive. The less expensive the destinations the longer you can go with less money. Places that are most cost effective for long-term travel include Southeast Asia, Central America, Eastern Europe, and South America. There are also ways you can travel in other parts of the world with less money. Keep reading to learn more!
- The second secret of traveling for a long time is the flight. If you travel somewhere on vacation for 2 weeks your flight costs the same as if you were going for 2 months. That’s the most expensive part so if you focus on one region then you only have to make that big expense one time no matter how long you are in that area.
If you have a certain itinerary in mind such as a one-year round the world trip then you can find RTW tickets that are very cheap in comparison to one round-trip ticket. I use Airtreks and find their multi-country tickets to be a good value. Find out how they work here.
Alternatively, because I never know what destination I want to go to next, I book one-way tickets and use Skyscanner to find the best prices. You can read my flight strategy here.
- Another way to save money when traveling is to take local transportation such as buses versus flights. The one exception for this is Europe where you have low costs airlines like Ryan Air and Easy Jet that make traveling from country to country extremely cheap. More so than trains and buses!
Nowadays many travelers skip travel guides but I find them essential to traveling on the cheap. I buy one for every destination and save it digitally on my smartphone. My favorite is the Shoestring series by Lonely Planet because they show you how to get between destinations on local transportation, which helps me save money and navigate easily between small towns.
(I don’t really use their restaurant suggestions but I do use their accommodation options as a starting point so I know the best neighborhoods to stay especially in non-touristy areas. Plus, I find it convenient to have all the essentials in one convenient location.)
- If you do want to travel to “expensive” destinations then you can look at resources such as airbnb and hostels where you can book cheaper accommodation. Even if you don’t want to sleep in a dorm some hostels have private rooms so the price is still cheaper than a hotel but you have privacy. Hostels also have many free amenities that many hotels don’t and you also get the chance to meet other solo travelers too.
FREE TRAVEL WITH COUCH SURFING
- For free travel opportunities anywhere in the world you can use something like couch surfing where you can stay at people’s homes for free. Always read the person’s profile and review to ensure your safety based on the experience of other travelers. I won’t stay at couch surfing places that haven’t already been reviewed or when the host isn’t verified. Learn more about it here.
FREE TRAVEL WITH WORK EXCHANGES
- My preferred way to get free travel is work exchanges through workaway. You can find awesome opportunities all over the world and have the experience of a lifetime. It can best be described as a working vacation where you work up to 20 hours per week in exchange for accommodation. Sometimes they also provide food. You can read about my experiences here and here. One of the other reasons I love doing this is because I can try something completely different such as when I ran a lodge in the middle of a Guatemalan jungle or learned online marketing in Koh Samui in Thailand.
- As far as getting started to make money for travel I’m afraid there is no shortcut for this. At least I don’t have one. I have always worked very hard to save money for my travels and I’ve spent months working 20 hour days, 7 days a week to save money for travel. I’ve sacrificed going out with friends, shopping for new clothes, eating out, expensive cell phone plans, and other bills that weren’t a necessity.
This is a full list of my personal travel resources.
I hope this helps give you an idea about how to save money to travel and how to make the most of less money when you’re on the road. Good luck with your travels and remember it doesn’t a hurt to try. You can always go back home. Live without regrets!
What are your tips on traveling for long periods of time on a budget? Share in the comments!