Ten Ways To Travel On A Shoestring Budget

by Donia Varghese
Ten Ways To Travel On A Shoestring Budget

Maya Bay draws a lot of backpackers after the movie The Beach was filmed there in 1999. (Image courtesy: distractify.com)

Haven’t we all at some point been tempted to travel more after watching movies like The Beach or after reading about people who have explored the Mayan ruins, shared tea with friendly Bedouins in Egypt or cycled through the wineries in Bordeaux?

Most of the time, the main thing that holds us back from experiencing what the world has to offer is money. However, travel enthusiasts will tell you that the best adventures are ones that are done on a shoestring budget.

Below is a list of things you can do to make your travel dreams a reality without blowing a hole in your wallet:

1)    Save Early: Start a vacation fund after determining how much you will need for the trip. You will be amazed by how much money you can save by cutting down on things like new clothes and eating out. It is easy to ignore the small purchases so each time you sense the spending weakness, keep reminding yourself that travel is your priority.

Ten Ways To Travel On A Shoestring Budget

A vacation fund is a must for those who want to travel. (Image courtesy: jamaicans.com)

2)    Cheap Stays: Check with friends to find out if they know someone who may be living in the city you plan to visit. A small connection is all you need to save some money and maybe make some new friends. Hostels are also a great place to bond with other budget travellers over a shared passion for travel, and who knows? You may even find love!  There are also some neat websites like couchsurfing.org where you can register to connect with locals and stay with them. You can also search online for people who need house sitters while they’re on vacation. If you’re lucky to find one, be nice and don’t forget to feed the cat!

 3)    Off Season Trips: You might miss a few cultural events if you travel off season but you will still get to experience plenty of things for cheap in a new city. Pick Tuesdays and Thursdays to travel as airfare may be relatively cheaper than on other days.

 4)    Volunteer or Work: If you play a certain instrument or are a talented flamenco dancer, you can earn a few bucks by teaching your skills to those who are interested. Blogging about your travels is another way to make some money. Volunteering is fun and also has its perks. A good example of this is the Shakespeare and Co. bookstore in Paris where travellers are offered a free bed in exchange for some chores and a review of their stay. It’s every bookworm’s dream!


Ten Ways To Travel On A Shoestring Budget

Shakespeare and Co. lets young writers stay at the bookstore for free (Image courtesy: cellophaneland.com)

 5)    Limit the Souvenirs: It’s easy to blow money on keepsakes so limit to just one or two items and haggle if necessary. They don’t always come cheap and some of them can be real bulky.  Carrying a big tribal mask along with you isn’t necessarily the brightest idea and is an absolute no-no if you’re a backpacker. Buy small, useful things for friends and family back home. Pictures from your travels make great gifts if you take the time to frame them after your trip.

6)    Free Events: Keep your eyes peeled for activities that won’t cost you a cent. If you’re into visiting museums, look for days when there’s free admission and be sure to get there early to avoid the crowd. Make friends with the local bartender and find out what events are worth going to. Bartenders never lie!

 7)    Eat Local: You can have a decent meal for as little as 3 or 4 dollars at local markets instead of spending more money for smaller portions at restaurants.  Street stalls offer quick meals that are cheap and delicious – perfect for hungry travellers. Reading local food blogs can help you find some lovely inexpensive places that are probably not mentioned in your guidebook.

Ten Ways To Travel On A Shoestring Budget

Street food captures local flavors and are rather cheap. (Image courtesy: scottdunn.com)

 8)    Public Transport: This should probably be number one on your list if you don’t want to hurt your budget. Hop on a bus or a train and enjoy the scenery instead of riding in a weird-smelling cab with a tampered meter.

 9)   Off The Beaten Path: Walking and exploring on your own can lead to amazing finds and you’re more likely to have a great story to share with friends. Take the road less travelled and stay away from tourist traps. Atlas Obscura is a useful website to look for hidden wonders that are well off the tourist radar.

 10)  Do Nothing: Don’t be afraid to do nothing for a day. Trying to squeeze too many activities into a single day will only tire you out. Lounge around the beach or find a good stargazing spot. Sleeping under the stars is something every traveller must do at least once.

Ten Ways To Travel On A Shoestring Budget

Set aside some time to relax during your travels. (Image courtesy: venturegalleries.com)

So quit making excuses, pack your bags, and say hello to adventure!

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