“How can you afford to travel so much?” is undoubtedly a question I am commonly faced with upon telling people I have travelled around Europe twice in the past two years.
With a total of 129 days abroad under my belt, all paid for on a hospitality wage, I feel as though I have at least some authority on the subject, so I’m here to impart my wisdom.
Over the course of my travels I’ve managed to shatter the one glaring myth I once held to be true: that seeing the world and exploring exotic places requires some serious dough. This is false. In fact you can be gloriously thrifty without skimping on the fun. Here’s how:
One of the best ways to get the most out of your travels for less is to do as the locals do. Sure, we can all head to a city, tick the main sights off the to-do list and fight our way through the hoards of tourists at every attraction- no shame if that’s your thing, and by all means see the sights you want to see even if it means sticking out like a sore tourist thumb.
But in order to get a real sense of what daily life is like wherever you are, I’ve found that reaching out to locals for their valuable knowledge and advice can result in a truly special, connected experience you won’t forget. Of course remain cautious, but don’t be afraid to wander off the path.
Forego expensive hotels for hostel dorms and AirBnB’s. It’ll halve the price and allow you to get an authentic glimpse of real life in your city. A lot of AirBnB hosts will go above and beyond in ensuring you get the most out of your stay. They will often take it upon themselves to become your personal tour guides, clueing you in to insider tips on the must-do’s and hidden gems around the neighbourhood.
Ditch the overpriced, overcrowded restaurants and instead opt for a humble picnic. Grab yourself some food for an epic platter, disposable plates and some (or lots of) booze and soak up the sun and scenery in a beautiful park.
The number one app to find ridiculously cheap flights. It’s also unbelievably easy to use- just enter your dates and destination and it will compare every airline to find the cheapest. Also, don’t be an airline snob. Low cost, budget airlines are the go for shorter flights.
Avoid trips during peak season. Research the best time to visit your intended destination, and then travel just before or after these dates. Accommodation and airline costs drop substantially during these times, meaning you can redirect those funds towards fun activities over there.
It’s no surprise that more and more like-minded travellers are deciding to extend their trip by turning it into a working holiday. Working abroad is one of the best ways to earn money while living the travel dream. Work at a ski resort in Canada, become an Au Pair in England, even teach a language in Thailand- the opportunities are endless.
If you’ve always wanted to travel, just do it. This sounds like I’m ridiculously oversimplifying it, but I promise I’m not. As the cliché goes- “Travel while you’re young and able. Don’t worry about the money, just make it work”. If you want it badly enough, you can make it happen. Just not without a little sacrifice.
Sell your unwanted stuff. Stop buying new clothes and other material possessions. Draft up a weekly budget. Limit yourself on nights out and say no to expensive events. Sure it hurts at the time, and no one likes FOMO. But in my humble opinion it’s all worth it, as there really is no greater feeling in the world than the rush and curious excitement only travelling can give you. Get prioritising and take the plunge.
By Abbey Martella
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