Something that holds a lot of us (probably most of us) back when it comes to travelling is, of course, money. We hear a lot of ‘don’t let money stop you’ or ‘money isn’t everything’, but it’s not always as simple as chucking it all in and getting on a plane.
However, there are some ways – easy ways – that ANYBODY can save a lot of money whilst travelling, allowing you to do it on a smaller budget and for longer. Here are five legit and easy ways to save money on the move:
1. Couch surf
Couch surfing is a great way to meet new people on the road AND stay for totally free! It’s really that simple; you don’t need to offer anything in return, other than perhaps a promise not to burn their home down. It’s also a great way to meet locals for tips about all the best things to see and do in the area. Visit www.couchsurfing.com to find hosts all over the world.
Photo: Flickr – Maureen Didde
2. Volunteer in return for free accommodation
There are many opportunities all over the world to stay for free in a hostel/hotel in return for a few hours of work a day. If you’re lucky, you might even get to eat free, too! Try asking around in person where you’re staying, or use a website like www.workaway.info to connect with hostels that are specifically looking for help in return for a bed. Just be aware that there is sometimes a minimum stay requirement, often a month, for free accommodation, making it less of an option for shorter-term travellers.
3. House sit
House sitting is a gem that every traveller should take advantage of. There are plenty of homeowners, all over the world, looking for somebody to look after their house and pets whilst they are away – and in return you get to stay for free in their house. They can be either short-term (anything from a night or two) or long-term (several months at a time), and there are numerous websites that can help you find a match. One such site is www.trustedhousesitters.com, which allows you to search according to destination, dates or even the type of pet you’d like to look after.
Photo: Flickr – Tom Hannigan
In many countries, hitchhiking is the done thing, and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be your preferred method of getting around if you’re on a budget (or just want to meet some interesting people on the road!). Obviously, safety can be a concern, especially for solo travellers, and I wouldn’t recommend doing it alone. Although it’s great to be trusting and expect the best of people, it’s more important to be wary and avoid trouble for yourself. It also wouldn’t be as fun on your own! On the other hand, try to avoid doing it with too many people – cars are much more likely to be able to fit you and all of your kit if you’re in a pair, or even a three. And on that note, try to travel lightly, as a mountain of kit will also be off-putting to potential rides.
Photo: Flickr – Christopher Crouzet
5. Stay in hostels with kitchens
This is probably the easiest and most obvious way to save money whilst travelling: don’t splash all your cash on eating out three times a day. Whilst eating out can be outrageously cheap in some countries, eating in can be even cheaper – and those three meals a day can add up to a fair amount of your daily expenses. You can usually find out in advance on a hostel’s website, or on Trip Advisor, if there’s a kitchen for guests to use.
So, although travelling entirely penniless is probably an unrealistic expectation for most of us, there are easy ways to really reduce your travel budget and stay on the move for longer – start taking advantage of them!