Oftentimes when I talk about travelling and my travel experiences they tell me how much they absolutely looove travelling and admit how much they long for it. They seem to be craving to lie on the beach, to smell the salty air, to saddle up their backpack, to head to the airport...
At the same time, though.. they moan:
- how expensive travelling is
- and how they cannot, absolutely not afford to go on holidays "right now"
Oh! Seems to me that in their mindset, travelling equals "using money"
Hm. Not in my mindset: Travelling can be for free!
Yes.. If you are willing to sacrifice certain things. You won't be able to stay in a 4 star hotel. Unless you know the owner of the business of course.. but sometimes you newer know what you will get. In a good way.. and the amount of love and hospitality you get while travelling like me is sometimes unbelievable. Let me explain....
Hitchhiking is free. But the seasoned hitchhiker does not hitch because of the money. Lets say not always.
The reason why I cannot stop hitchhiking is that I like the way it opens up my mind. I am active and I am talking to people I would never ever meet. That gives me so much opportunity to switch perspective and to get in new information. Its like Forest Gups saying "its like a box of chocolates, you never know what you´ll get.. but sure it will be chocolates" Moreover I like the challenge and the feeling of freedom.
If you don't want to hitchhike: there are other ways
- Check for special prices with the train companies, monthly passes
- Ask car rental companies if you could drive their cars from one point to another. They sometimes need people to do that. The journey for you will be free.
- Walk: you will be surprised how many things you start to see you never paid attention to before
- Nowadays there are many cheap bus companies in most countries
- Ship-Hike: travel by boat by volunteering or asking to get a lift at the harbours.
2) Staying with locals
It very much prefer staying with locals than in hostels. Why? Hostels are loud, dirty, oftentimes full, stuffed, and because I need to share my room, I can't sleep. There is ALWAYS somebody snoring.
That doesn't happen with locals. Usually I can sleep in the living room or sometimes even in my own room.. Some even - freaked out when I saw it - gave us a whole apartment to stay in.. just for us!
When you stay with locals also you benefit food wise. They will mostly want you to taste their cuisine, the local food or will share some of their food with you. At the minimum you can cook your own meal when staying with locals. That way, you won't spend more money than at home for your living.
Moreover: locals know their city. They can tell you how to save.. what is a tourist trap or how to get to a place by normal local transport and not by touristic mode..
3) Find ways of entertaining yourself without money
While travelling, you will meet other people who live their example to you. They will bring the ideas to you wether you like it or not. For example: I met a street artist in Copenhagen. He made a fortune in just one fire show on the street. He only needed to work 1 hour a day to be able to have enough cash in hand to use public transport, to eat out and even go out in evenings.
If you plan on travelling for a long period of time, it´s best to start performing on the street too! What can you offer?
4) Barter or simply ask people for a favour
Bring something along that represents a value: a book, a skirt, an object that you could exchange for something else. Then what you do is this: you will simply exchange this object for something else you need.
Anther method is as simple as that: just ask! when you need something: ask. You will be surprized how many people are willing to help you if you ask them.
5) Be creative and open minded
This will bring you further than you thought it can! Just go outside and look for yourself!
If you follow all the above tips, you will end up using far less money while travelling than when you are at home paying your apt, your car, your insurances, going out for ridiculously expensive drinks, entertainment you don't even enjoy.