Travelling on a shoestring budget doesn’t mean you backpack with just two changes of clothes, hitch hike everywhere and stay in dirty, filth-ridden and illness-inducing hovels. To travel astutely on a budget you need sound money management skills as well as a creative mind and the ability to think outside the box. We are not talking the all-inclusive vacation where you spend your fortnight away trapped around a pool with more food and alcohol than you can shake a stick at. We are talking about real travelling; the kind that sees you immersed in new cultures, eating local cuisine and meeting amazing new people. Take a look at how you can master the art of budget travel.
Although this sounds mundane and boring, the more planning you put into your venture abroad, the more successful your trip will be. Make a list of every destination you want to go to, every flight you’ll need to catch and how much the bare essentials like loo roll, snack bars and bottled water will cost in each country. If you spy a particularly expensive city that doesn’t match your budget constraints, you’ll have to make the tough decision to leave that place for another more prosperous time. Remember, you don’t have to do it all in one jaunt. In fact, you shouldn’t. Don’t destination hop so fast that you can’t become truly enamoured with a destination.
It’s vital that you budget as accurately as possible and don’t get caught short when overseas. Many travellers decide to clear their debts before they travel or at least consolidate them into one manageable monthly payment. The best place to get a personal loan could be the bank or online. Check out all of your options and select the product that suits your personal circumstances.
Forget the expensive Lonely Planet guides, utilise the free Internet forums to help you plan your itinerary. You don’t need to purchase particularly expensive maps or city plans as the Internet holds them all! In any case, you may find that local tourist offices where you are staying have much more detailed and comprehensive versions that are totally free rather than the expensive fold-out laminated ones you can buy in the airport.
As a traveller, you want to go slow; there’s no rush to do anything. Take the trains that stop at the most random little places. These will inevitably take longer to get to your final destination, but they can be ridiculously cheap. Direct trains, although fast, can result in you paying out a much more lucrative sum and you’ll miss the scenery along the way.
While you may be expecting a paragraph on the virtues of hostels, you are a little off base. Hostels are great to meet like-minded travellers and can be a good base to begin with. However if you’re spending a long time in one destination and you meet a couple of people doing the same, you could pitch in together and rent a pad on a short-term basis. Between three or four of you, it’ll be cheap and you can save cash by cooking your own grub.
Travelling is one of the most life affirming experiences you can ever partake in. Don’t allow money constraints prevent you from seeing the world.