“The world is a book and those who do not travel, read only one page.”
Countless people dream of going abroad and seeing the world, yet never will. Between money, time, danger, and discomfort; the obstacles can seem insurmountable. Airline tickets are astronomically expensive, hotels can cost a small fortune, and the expense of eating away from home adds up fast.
While we all too often believe that traveling is an overwhelmingly expensive proposition, the reality is that savvy travelers often spend less while on the road than they do at home. For those who know how to get around on a budget, seeing the world is quite affordable.
Chose Your Destinations Wisely
Your chosen destination can play a huge part in your budget. Some cities in the world are tremendously expensive than others. Hanoi in Vietnam was recently voted the cheapest city to in the world for two for a one-night stay in a four-star hotel, cocktails, a two-course meal with a bottle of wine, and taxi transportation in a survey by TripAdvisor.
Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos are popular destinations for backpackers due to their affordable living costs, the general sense of safety and of course spectacular beaches and scenery. Traveling to these areas allows you to see and experience more of the world than you would if you opted to spend time in London, Las Vegas or New York where your budget will not last long. Therefore research potential destinations; get off the beaten track and explore undiscovered parts of the world where your budget will continue, and you will experience a real sense of culture and adventure.
Spend More Time and Less Money
Traveling isn’t necessarily expensive, but traveling fast is. When you rush from place to place, you never have the opportunity to find the best prices, get off the overpriced tourist path, or discover how the locals stretch their budgets. Bargaining is impossible unless you first have an idea of where things are and what they cost. Plus, the most expensive part of travel is the physical act of moving: buses, planes, trains, taxis, and cars. So if you want to go cheaply, commit yourself to going slowly. You’ll learn more, spend less, and see things you otherwise would have missed.
Forgot the ‘Holiday Mentality.’
When traveling on a budget, forget the idea that you ought to pamper yourself. Be satisfied with the simple joys of travel. Forgo expensive luxuries, decadent meals, and luxury accommodation. Find satisfaction in the places themselves, rather than in objects you can buy to fill them. If you are willing to sacrifice luxury, you can save a tremendous amount of money and spend more time in the places you love and experience the good lifestyle on offer and mix with local people.
Eat local and avoid overpriced accommodation that caters to tourists. The whole reason to see the world is to absorb the culture and way of life, by stepping away from the arranged tourist events; you will enjoy local culture at its best and learn more.
Meet people, ask questions, and don’t be shy. No matter how often you travel, every destination has a steep learning curve. As a foreigner, there is a lot you don’t know. So you can learn a tremendous amount by simply being social, meeting fellow travelers and local people. Social skills are an invaluable resource for every traveler on a budget. Many residents will be willing to help you and be hospitable as long as you respect their culture. Simply being open and showing your interest in local life can open the door to some amazing experiences.
The fact remains: if you can afford the cost of getting there, you can afford the cost of being there. Of course, it will mean adjusting to a different lifestyle, defined by various amenities, resources, and ideas of comfort. But that, after all, is why you wanted to travel in the first place—to expand your boundaries, experience new ways of life, and immerse yourself in exciting new cultural environments. Traveling can be expensive, but you can also find the means to make it fit within your budget should you desire to see the world.