Not having enough money is probably the biggest setback that keeps people from traveling. However, people often say they can’t afford to travel without even thinking of solutions. There are countless ways you can travel with little or no money: From booking your flight tickets, to your accommodation and your expenses in your country of destination, you can have the time of your life on a tight budget.
SAVING MONEY BEFORE LEAVING
One way to gather enough money to travel is to cut on unnecessary expenses and save for your trip; Saving to travel was my priority, so I stopped rushing to the nearest Zara store and make my debit/credit card sweat every week. If traveling is not on top of your bucket list, you will always find more important things to spend your money on.
There is no magical formula. Plan your trip months in advance and start saving your coins. It may take a few months to a year, but it will be worth it in the end. Cutting down on less necessary expenses such as going to the restaurant every weekend for instance, take a cheaper monthly phone plan, refrain from buying that 200$ leather jacket that you’ve been eying up every time you pass by your favorite clothing store and do everything in your power to save enough money for your trip. Try to estimate how much will life cost in your country of destination, then execute a saving plan that will enable you to get enough money for your stay.
CAN’T SAVE MONEY TO FINANCE YOUR STAY ABROAD? NOT A PROBLEM!
If you can’t manage to save enough money for your entire trip, you could work abroad to finance your stay. It’s not complicated to do so and you don’t have to be a skilled worker, or have a degree to be able to be able to work abroad. However, you may need a Working Holiday Visa (which is really easy to get depending on the country you want to go to)
Countless people travel to Australia every year and work in farms for instance. No, it’s not a dream job, you may be picking apples all day, but you are fed, housed and paid enough to enjoy yourself and save a little money to travel across the country and have the time of your life!
Working in farms is the typical job that people do when they travel to Australia (three of my friends who didn’t know each other ended up doing it and they loved the experience), that is why I used it as an example. But it is just one technique to finance your stay. Other ways may include working as an au pair, bar tending, being a waiter/waitress, a guide, or a seasonal worker and much more.
Read my post on the Working Holiday Visa to give you an idea of the countries in which you could work.
Don’t freak out, the visa is usually really easy to get (unless you are a French person trying to work in Canada, in which case I wish all the luck in the world because there is an awful lot of competition and of course, limited spots.)
BOOK YOUR (FREE) FLIGHT
Getting free flights: Did you know you could get free flights??
Signing up with a credit card that offers bonus points is one great way to earn free flights and sometimes even free hotel nights. If you are not familiar with this process, here is how it goes: You sign up for a bonus card that offers the most bonus miles upon registration; For instance, in Canada, the TD Aeroplan Visa Inifinite Card offers 20,000 welcome bonus miles. If you want to purchase a roundtrip ticket from Ontario (Canada) to Mexico, you need about 11,000 air miles. The bonus miles you get by subscribing to one travel credit card enable you have a free flight.
The travel card system works for the US and Canada. I will post a more detailed article about it later, to explain how to chose the right travel credit card and will address how Europeans can get reward points and free flights as well.
And if you can’t sign up for a credit card, here is a tip you might want to know: Book your flight on Tuesdays, because companies offer discounts that day.
If you’re traveling with a group of friends, booking an apartment with air BnB will be much cheaper and you will have the comfort of a home, you will be able to cook and do your laundry, for instance.
An alternative to air BnB would be to book a hostel room. However, you might be sharing a room with strangers. Some people don’t like this option. But I did it on several occasions and the experience has always been extremely fun. I met great people and it actually helped me kick off my journeys without feeling like I was alone in the world.
The third and FREE option I can suggest is couch surfing. Now I’m gonna be honest here, I’ve never tried this just because I’ve never really felt comfortable with the idea of sleeping in someone’s couch, but many of my friends did it in Canada, in the US and in France, and they loved the opportunity to get to know a local, who gave them tips on the best places to visit.
Finally, housesitting may be another FREE option, where you watch someone’s house for a few weeks to months, while they go on vacations.
Here are a few websites to sign up for housesitting:
Mind My House
The Caretaker Gazette
If you’re going to settle in a country for a long period of time, look for apartments to share with flatmates.
SAVE MONEY DURING YOUR TRIP
If you go to a hostel, or book an apartment through air bnb, or even if you couch surf, I highly recommend to cook, instead of going to the restaurant which will undeniably be more expensive.
See with your operator if you can have a deal that enables you to use your phone and have internet access during your stay.
Sometimes, admiring the beauty of a monument architecture from outside, with a good book explaining its history, suffices to satisfy your eyes and thirst for culture. It will be much cheaper and sometimes even more contenting.
Some clubs will have free entrance before 1am. Make sure you check that out before going out and paying 10 to 15$ for entrance.
Read the 3 other reasons why you won’t travel and how to overcome them:
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