This post was written by an external contributor. Tom Robinson gives a breakdown for anyone who is looking to go travelling without breaking the bank.
Summer may seem a long way off right about now. The nights are long, the days are bitter and deadlines are looming. However, the glorious summertime months will be coming around before you know it.
If you’ve got dreams of spending that time travelling the world, yet lack the necessary cash to do so, here are some ways to travel on a budget.
Look beyond South East Asia
Newsflash – there’s more to travelling than South East Asia. Sure, it’s cheap when you get there, but with a one way ticket to Vietnam likely to set you back £300, that’s a sizable chunk of your budget gone before you even get there.
Why not check out Eastern Europe instead? There’s a great party scene, golden beaches, rugged mountains as well as a whole bunch of cities packed with culture. The best part? The price. You can catch a flight to the East for less than 20 quid.
Why pay for accommodation when you can get it for free?
Check out schemes such as Workaway and WWOOFING. You’ll be either working on an eco-farm, in a youth hostel, helping renovate someone’s villa, a meditation retreat (there’s a lot of different options out there) and in exchange you’ll get free accommodation and food! Not only that, but you’ll meet a load of interesting people and learn a whole bunch of new skills.
If you like the sound of this, but don’t want to commit yourself to one place, there’s couchsurfing! It’s the perfect way to meet locals and save money on accommodation at the same time. Although, it’s good to remember this isn’t just a free place to stay, someone will be letting you into their home and there’s a certain social expectation that you’ll hang out with them once you’re there.
Get insider tips
Make friends and save money by meeting the locals! Ask where they go for drinks, where they have dinner, where the best party spots are. You’ll not only save a fortune on the tourist traps, you’ll also live like a local and go to the best places in town!
However, beware of scammers. I’ve been a victim of this myself, and although I got to go watch a pretty bizarre acrobatics show that I’d never have thought of going to before, I ended up paying an absolute fortune for the privilege. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Another option for travelling on the cheap (and what I’m doing right now) is van life! It’s the ultimate budget option as all you really need is a gas bottle and cooker for food, a mattress for sleeping, and some curtains in the window.
You could go for the premium experience and get a full on van conversion with integrated showers, toilet, kitchen and so on, but that’s more of a long term (and costly) project. Myself and my travelling companion spent approximately £100 and a couple of weeks converting our 20-year-old Fiat Fiorino into our full time living and travelling mobile, and haven’t looked back since!
Some final top tips
Before you go, be flexible with your dates and if possible, avoid peak season – this is different for different places, so do your research. Always use a private browser when comparing flight prices, as otherwise your cookies will be stored and you’ll most likely see the flights become more expensive.
Once you get there, avoid tourist traps and take advantage of the free culture instead, like local festivals and free museums. Budget for your food and try not to eat out too often, as costs do add up. Finally, get off the beaten track, it’s always more interesting and cheaper out there!