As technology brings the world closer together, travel isn’t as daunting as it once was. Suddenly it is possible to end up on the far side of the earth within a few hours where you can immerse yourself in another culture, enjoy a foreign land, and learn about yourself.
But what about the cost?
Even though many people consider travel cost prohibitive, there are a few easy ways to get the best travel experiences without needing much money. Traveling, especially in your 20s and 30s, isn’t just used as a fun excursion, but rather a thought provoking practice that will expand your consciousness.
Use these 4 different methods and you can not only travel affordably, but have a better experience than luxury travel.
Rent a car – In most countries, the cities are great, but the countryside is really where the culture is. By getting into the countryside you will be able to see a world that remains similar to how it looked hundreds of years ago.
There are some places in Europe where trains are great, but a car will allow you to stop where you want, take your time, and it gives you the freedom to do whatever you’d like. Even though it will cost a lot for your trip, it will give you a few advantages.
For one, you can sleep in your car. It might not be the most ideal situation in the world, but as a young 20 – 30 something, it isn’t impossible to do. There are many overnight flights where you are expected to sleep in a seated position so it definitely isn’t unheard of. Second, you can buy groceries to keep in your car to avoid from eating out too often. It’s healthier and it is definitely cheaper.
Don’t book in advance – During peak travel seasons it might be risky to avoid advanced hostel bookings, but if you can avoid it then do so. Advanced bookings tie you to a specific place and they don’t allow for spontaneity. In my recent visit to Ireland, I never once stayed in a city that I expected at the beginning of the day.
In many parts of the world, visiting a local bar or cafe can lead to new friends and frequently you will get invites to stay over if you have no other plans. We don’t recommend you rely on others or request a free place to stay, but often it will come to you if there are no other plans in the way.
Through this you can save money and, at the very least, you’ll find locals who can suggest a cheap place around town (that you might have never found online). Of course, the best part about this situation is your freedom to travel wherever you’d like based on the suggestions of others. Locals and ex-pats living where you visit will have the best suggestions so go with the flow and you’ll learn a lot about surrendering without a plan and enjoying the unknown.
Find local grocery stores / markets – It doesn’t matter where you visit, there are local grocery stores and markets that are perfect for people on a budget. Paying for restaurant food in New York, London, or Japan can get incredibly expensive, but if you find a local shop you’ll save a lot of money.
Budget some money for local delicacies and dishes, but find your basic food groups in a local grocery market. Most places in the world have deli meat, grab some fruits and veggies, and a loaf of bread. Even a gluten-free diet is easy with some rice cakes.
Not only will you save a lot of money, but you’ll also remain even healthier than eating all the local fare. Even cuisine from a health conscious culture (like the Japanese) can become unhealthy due to the quantities. Aim for health and affordability.
Rely on cash – When you are at home, it’s easy to spend a lot of money with a credit card. An easy swipe of the card and suddenly you have more debt than you know what to deal with. When you are abroad, it can add up even quicker. Try to get a certain quantity of cash from your local bank (better currency exchange rates) and use that throughout the trip.
Seeing the cash going out of your hand or wallet will have a stronger psychological impact. Of course, you don’t want to stress yourself out while on this path, but it will be an easy way to save money.
Even in an expensive country, using some of these tips will not only help you to save money, but also have a much richer experience. Visiting the same old sites every other tourist visits from online lists will be less rewarding than going with the suggestions of locals.
If any trouble results from using these 4 different money saving travel methods, take them in stride. They are learning opportunities that will help you grow as a person. Language barrier? Learn a bit of the local tongue and body language! Whatever it is, you’ll find an opportunity for growth.