Reality check for those who are seriously thinking about a traveling retirement: It is almost nine o’clock in the morning, it’s getting dark outside – that means it’s going to rain, again. Maybe I should say it’s going to rain some more. Yes, definitely rain. I hear fat drops hitting the tin roof of my [...]
Extreme Budget Travel
How to save money when traveling
This is a collection of tips about how to travel better for less money.
“A dollar saved today is a dollar to travel another day.”
Most all but the most affluent have a budget when they travel. In this sense, the term “budget travel” has little meaning. But, in usage, budget travel is a philosophy in which a traveler attempts to extend their journey longer, farther, and better on their specified budget. Taken as an ever present challenge, budget travel is an art that often takes many years on the road to hone. When done properly, moving through the world on very little money will not deprive the traveler from experience but will create the driving impetus to devise strategies
The cheaper you travel, the closer to the places you visit you will be. Travelers with ever expanding bank accounts are able to float through the world as if in a bubble: if they want something, they just pay for it, they can afford to be shuttled through a highlight reel of planet earth. But the budget traveler needs to get down an dirty in a culture and a place, they must work on the road, be aware of their spending habits, and come up with creative solutions to first get what they need to subsist and then entertain themselves on the least amount of money possible. In is in this light that I share the following tips for extreme budget world travel.
Top Budget Travel Tips
Don’t buy anything you won’t croak without- This means souvenirs, unneeded clothes, sex, anything that doesn’t keep you from buckling over and dying at the end of the day. Money should be thought of as something that exists for necessities only — all else can be had with a little wit and determination.
The world is a tour- Walking down the street in a foreign city is a tour in and of itself, and, with a little effort, can be transformed into a free event that no tour company can match. Do some research online and talk to locals, find the points of intrigue wherever you are and visit them. Most should be free. Find out where the locals go to recreate — often they go to places that do not have admission fees — and follow suite. Travel is about making your own path, live this intention.
Many travelers seem to pay out money to go on tours because they don’t know of what else to do. The tour infrastructure has become drilled into the heads of the modern backpacker, and, for most, it is part of the daily routine: wake up, go out for breakfast, go on a tour, go out to the bars, go home, repeat. This can bore the life out of even the most hardcore backpacker in little time. Make your own tour, talk to people on the way, travel is still about exploration and not just recreation.
Although I must admit that there are still some pretty interesting formal tours on this planet, and this tip is not meant to be taken with absolute rigidity. With the fact that $15 is a day of travel, pick and choose your tours carefully. Dropping $3 to go on a river boat to see some crocodiles in Mexico may be worth the price to you, while dropping $30 just to go up into the Tokyo tower may not.
Look for alternatives to the formal tours as you navigate your own path. In the above example, I mentioned the cost of going up in the Tokyo tower. When I was there I decided that there was no way that I was going to do this, but I did want to see an aerial view of the city. So I found another very high sky scrapper that had a free observation deck and went up in it. It was perfectly satisfactory. This is just one example of many that can be used to illustrate how many of the options being sold in tours CAN be had for free by looking for equivalent options on your own.
Avoid bars- Drinking alcohol is often part of the main recreational schemes of most travelers. In point, humans all over the world use alcohol recreationally, and is often part of the social glue which can bond acquittances together. Avoiding drinking in the name of saving money can often leave you on the outside of the social games that are erupting all around. It is a good thing that in most countries alcohol sells cheap — sometimes cheaper than water — it is the drinking in bars that is expensive. So when you find yourself surrounding with a group of could-be friends who are looking to go out for a night of drinking, suggest an alternative: stay out of the bars and go drinking in the mountains, on the beach, in the woods, save money, make the night an adventure. In my travels I have had many memorable nights drinking with new friends out in the hills that would otherwise have been spent bored stiff dropping money in some stuffy bar.
Don’t make yourself miserable in the process of saving money-The budget travel lifestyle can be taken to extremes — saving money can become a game at best, but an obsession at worst. Traveling cheaply should force you deeper into the layers of a place — force you to make friends, find work, make contacts in places you ordinarily would just pay out for a bubble ride over — but the moment you feel as if you are missing out.
Travel Budget for China Question
“Hey Wade, read your site for quite some time now and am currently in the preliminary stages of planning a trip to China. I’m curious as to what you think someone traveling solo could expect to pay per day. I realize you preach the 10-15 per day anywhere motto. I like this. Is this reasonably [...]
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