Lots of people are put off travelling by the sheer costs of doing so which is a real shame. It doesn’t have to be the money-guzzling, bank-breaking, pocket-emptying activity that people think it is. Whilst it is nearly impossible to travel for free (though I’ve met some people who do) there are some ways of avoiding or at least minimising the main costs of travel.
There are several ways of avoiding the brunt of travel costs. The first is the obvious one – hitchhike. This can be daunting but for the most part, people are friendly and it works just fine. The second choice is ‘BlaBlaCar’ – a car-sharing website where people list spare seats in exchange for very small contributions for the petrol cost. The third option is slightly riskier (and not strictly speaking legal). You can always hop on and off trains without a ticket and a) avoid the ticket-man, or b) let him kick you off and jump on the next one. I’ve met a few people who do this but it does take a lot longer to get around and some operators have pretty hefty fines if they catch you so be careful!
Couchsurfing is the first option and probably the easiest. It’s completely free (except perhaps for a bottle of wine as a ‘thank you’) and you will meet local people who can show you the real side of wherever you are.
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The second is working for your bed. Lots of hostels will take on part-time staff (3-5 hours a day) who strip beds, clean or do bar work in exchange for a bed to sleep in and free meals. This can be hard to find in Europe and North America as laws can make casual employment more difficult, but it is a very common practice elsewhere in the world.
The third option is “workaway”. This website allows people to list small jobs they need help with in exchange for beds and food. There are actually some awesome opportunities on this site and it’s definitely worth a look! If none of these tickle your fancy, hostels are the next best option and can cost next to nothing in some parts of the world.
3. FOOD & DRINK
This one is a little trickier but as long as you’re sensible and you make your own food, drink water and don’t go out every night you shouldn’t be breaking the bank in a hurry, especially if you’re getting free food from work. Depending upon where you are, street food vendors and local shops or markets are often the cheapest way of eating if you don’t fancy cooking for yourself every day. Alcohol can be a big drain on the travellers budget, especially if you go on lots of nights out. If you are a bit of a party animal a system similar to that in the UK is advised: heavy pre-drinking. Although, in many places, you’ll find that beer is almost as cheap as water!
So travelling isn’t necessarily going to leave you completely out-of-pocket so long as you don’t stay in 5* hotels, eat caviar and drink champagne everywhere you go! Exploring the world shouldn’t be a privilege reserved for those who can afford it. Fortunately, companies like CouchSurfing, BlaBlaCar and WorkAway have really opened up opportunities for those who can only afford to pay for food and a return flight. I hope these tips are useful to you and have inspired you to travel even if you’re stone broke like I usually am!
Here are the websites I mentioned:
If you have any questions about the methods above, feel free to leave a comment or get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org