I’ve never been much of a cheap traveller. I’ve always had a stressful working life and, for me, holidays meant a reward for all the hard work I’d put in throughout the year. But everything changed the day I decided to travel the world for a year. At that moment I realised that if I did what I did on holiday, I’d come home sooner.
Not only did I travel for a year, I ended up travelling for two. That’s because I learnt to manage my money well during the trip, learning to travel cheaply, and better still, learning to enjoy travelling cheaply. I realised that travelling this way was much more adventurous, had more of a human essence, gave me more contact with the local culture and made everything more interesting.
Cheap travelling is an art, but anyone can learn it and I’m the best proof of that. I always hear people saying that they can’t afford to travel and that it would be impossible to travel for so long because they’re not millionaires. But that’s because they haven’t yet managed to visualise how it’s possible to travel while spending less. And the day they discover this, they’ll realise that there are no limits and that it’s possible to explore the whole world, within everyone’s financial reality.
But there’s no magic to this formula. What we need is to understand a few basic concepts that allow us to travel so cheaply.
? 1 – Reduce your prejudices ?
This is the first barrier that will prevent you from travelling cheaply (and I had to break it down). We tend to associate cheap with bad and poor quality. And this is definitely not a direct relationship for everything. We judge without even trying. So if you want to start travelling cheaply, the first step is to open your mind to this new style of travel with an open heart.
? 2 – Optimise your itinerary ?
To travel cheaply, you need to make intelligent choices for your itinerary. Every variable makes a difference:
Choosing low-cost destinations makes travelling more viable (and there are many super interesting destinations around the world where you could spend less than 20 dollars a day);
Make a more concentrated itinerary. For example, instead of wanting to visit 5 countries on the same holiday, concentrate on visiting just 1, as your travel costs will decrease and haste is the biggest enemy of cheap travel. When we’re in a hurry, we spend unnecessarily, pay more for convenience and don’t have enough time to think about the best choices.
✌️ 3 – Be flexible ✌️
Instead of thinking about a destination, let the destination choose you. Decide where to travel by taking advantage of the opportunities that come your way. Have you seen a flight deal that’s half the price of the place you wanted to go? Then go there. The world is full of interesting destinations and what makes the difference when travelling are the experiences you have and the people who cross your path. Any destination can bring memorable experiences.
? 4 – Know the right tools ?
The world is connected. It’s never been easier to find information to make any dream possible. But do you know where to look for the best deals to make your trip more affordable? How do you buy your plane ticket, how do you find your accommodation, where do you get your travel insurance? There are intelligent “search engines” that make our lives easier by comparing the products and services of various companies to help you find the best value for money. On Hostelworld, for example, you can see hostels from all over the world in one place. Compare prices, read other travellers’ reviews, make your booking… But to talk about all the sites and services in detail, I’d have to write a book.
? 5 – Take advantage of collaboration ?
The collaborative economy is booming and this is also influencing the travel sector. Today there are platforms that connect people from all over the world who are interested in exchanging something. Hitchhiking apps, exchanging work for accommodation, renting items you’ll only use while travelling… these are just a few examples.
About the author:
Carol Fernandes is the founder of the ViraVolta project and a world traveller.
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