Cheap travel is an excellent way to travel. The benefits are limitless, and it’s about more than just saving money. The rewards can extend to more sociable, immersive, creative and mindful travel. This manner of movement can add an extra layer to your trip. However, how you decide to travel usually comes down to personal preference.
Some people would rather save a lot of money and treat themselves to experiences that are more lavish. Others adopt a work less, spend less, attitude. They would rather hit the road sooner with less money in their pocket. Some travelers test themselves just for the fun of it – seeing how cheap they can travel as a personal experiment.
Whichever your preference, cheap travel at least is worth a try. It forces you to find creative ways to enjoy and experience a new place. It also reduces the financial guilt of a holiday. And ultimately, the less you spend, the longer you can stay on the road.
Cheap Travel: Work Less, Spend Less
It’s easy to allow travel to fall into a vague, future concept, rather than a present reality. So many people put off a big trip, certain that they just don’t have to money to undertake it. They stay in tedious jobs and focus on saving enough to leave eventually. Sometimes, it never happens – they get stuck, and the idea of travel slips into the background. For some people, this is ok. Yet for others, they sacrifice the present moment and daily happiness for the promise of future travel. There is a basic way to avoid or at least reduce this: if you spend less money on travel, you can spend less time working.
So how can you practice cheap travel?
Buying food is probably the most essential spending costs of travel. Food is something you have to spend money on every day. No one likes to go hungry, and indeed, it is unnecessary to do so. A simple way to reduce costs is to avoid eating out. While traveling, the cultural variety of different cuisines and atmospheric restaurants are very enticing. Visiting cafes and restaurants are certainly one of the best ways to learn about local culture. Yet, the food tastes so much better when this experience is a treat, rather than a daily habit.
Instead, buy food at supermarkets. When you get to a new place, buy enough for your stay and stick to the rations. Carry lunch with you when you go out for the day. Find a nice place to settle down and watch passers-by from a bench, beach, or riverside, instead of an expensive café.
One fab thing about hostels is communal kitchens. Take advantage of them, buy your own ingredients and cook your own meals. Not only will food costs be much lower, but also foreign supermarkets are fun to explore. You can get just as cultural experience from the isles of a local shop than from a restaurant menu. Experiment with local recipes and try new tastes.
If you meet some new people, cook together. You can split food costs and enjoy a more sociable dining experience. Some hostels have lovely outside seating areas. Enjoying good, homemade food and good conversation with new exciting people, is one of the best things about traveling.
Accommodation is another daily cost you have to deal with while traveling. To practice cheap travel, explore some different places to stay. Hostels are excellent and usually affordable. But as they rise in popularity, prices rise too, especially in party centers or capital cities. You can always ask if a hostel offers the opportunity to work for your stay – clean or help for a few hours, instead of paying over money.
Couchsurfing is the perfect mix of cheap travel, local cultural immersion, and social interaction. Check out the website. It is a safe, organized system joining local hosts with foreign travelers. You can read the reviews of hosts and chat before you commit to staying with them. Staying with Couchsurfing is free. The exchange is beyond money – instead, you invest time and energy into socializing. The host gets to show you around their city, and you get the local perspective and hopefully a new friend. They recommend bringing a gift from where you live – but the important thing is to offer your story, maybe teach them something new and allow your host to do the same.
Work away is another cheap travel option beyond the exchange of money. Instead, you offer work skills. Often, farms give the opportunity to help with manual labor. Or, families provide a room in their house to help teach them or their children your native language. In return, you get to a free stay. More than this, you immediately know new people in the area. You get to experience complete immersion in the local culture, becoming an inhabitant, rather than a tourist.
It is very easy to fall into tourist traps. Cheap tickets, rides, events, deals, might seem like a bargain, but eventually, the costs add up. And most the time, you overpay because you are not familiar with the local scene. It can be disheartening to spend money continually on entertainment. When you are in a new place, the very essence of being in a new environment can be entertainment in itself.
Walking, observing, reading, writing, and drawing – these are all wonderful, culturally immersive activities that don’t cost a penny.
Transport is a fundamental necessity of travel. To practice cheap travel, do your research on the best ways to navigate a country. Sometimes trains are expensive, but buses are cheap. Sometimes flights are economic means of movement. Remember to travel light to avoid extra luggage costs. Sometimes car shares are accessible – safe and inexpensive. Depending on where you are, be aware of the cheapest way to travel.
Cheap travel is more than just saving money. Indeed, it is essentially about denying money control over an experience. You find creative ways to exchange – placing greater emphasis on skills and stories than the change in your pocket. The result is a more trusting, open attitude and immersive journey. So try cheap travel next time and see how it transforms your trip.