Welcome to the part two of my “How to Travel the World” series.
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Read what was already said here. Too lazy? Well, in the last post I touched on minimalism, traveling as a lifestyle, and what to obtain from traveling to new places. These are still key to note before we move forward, and this philosophy does not change once the plane hits the ground. The meat of this post will be responsible spending and how to do it.
Lastly, this post isn’t the only definition of traveling. There more than a dozen ways to move around once abroad, and strict rules cannot dictate on how to go about it. This is an outline crafted from my experiences and what I prefer while traveling. Consider this post a “How to” on how I stretch my dollar to its fullest potential.
I’ve titled this piece “On Backpacking”, so let’s cut to the chase. When I travel, I pack a fifty liter backpack up of clothes and go to different cities by word of mouth. I travel by ridesharing, planes, trains, buses, and even hitchhiking. Backpacking, to me, is the best way to travel with a sense of frugalness in mind.
And other than giving me the kind of adventure I conjured up as a kid, packing everything I need a backpack is quite practical for any sort of traveler from easier mobility to the very culture behind it.
Yes, I said “Culture”
Backpacking isn’t as much about the dumpy hostels and lack of showering, but the people met while moving place to place. While this doesn’t apply to every hostel I’ve stayed at, the general “thesis” of a hostel is the travel community held inside it. These are fellow backpacking looking for cheap opportunities to make great experiences and adding longevity to their time abroad. I’ve always found a lot in common with these travelers, and knowing them has its perks.
“It’s all about who you know”
For those of us in the job market, it’s a saying we’re well acquainted with. Traveling is networking, and when I say this I’m not saying to take advantage of people.
The luckiest moments of my own my travels have been the wonderful people I’ve met along the way. People who have put me up or have helped me find board along my own travels. I’ve met and couchsurfed with people via internet forums, hostels, while transiting to new cities, bars, and while home.
It might sound intimidating to the introverts, but here’s the thing. Traveling is a chance to leave our comfort zones.
And it’s a chance to make new experiences. Experiences never imagined from the comforts of a nice hotel room. Backpacking is jumping around hostels, passing through cities, making new friends, taking risks, and returning the favor to these new friends. The travel community is forgiving, curious, and spontaneous. It’s nothing tangible, and it’s this community that keeps me out there with a bag on my back.
Blanket Statements (Tips for New Backpackers):
Learn how to cook:
Because Mom isn’t coming. Utilizing hostel kitchens and making easy meals has a few perks, the biggest is cutting food expenses in half.
For me, eating and drinking are the biggest expenses. I love food, but I try to keep some self control. Eating out everyday just isn’t practical for longevity. My best advice is to have a good, traditional dish for a city visit and plan meals for the rest.
Take advantage of free stuff in hostels:
Because there’s a lot of it. From free breakfast, walking tours, and even wifi, most hostels offer a plethora of discount opportunities and ventures steps away from the room. This alone is the best reason to stay in hostels.
For example, I always brag about my time in Paris (2014). An infamous week where I stowed away sandwiches and fruit from the free breakfast, took advantage of free tours, and won 100 euro in a free Pétanque tournament held by the hostel.
Although is applies to my drinking audience, it should be common sense. A buzz before the party is essential to having a good time on a budget. Essentially when I plan to party often. Drink responsibly, party on a budget.
Traveling economy has meaning:
This just means not to settle with an expensive train ticket, or breaking up a trip into smaller cities towards the desired direction. Look into rideshare apps, bus routes, and general word of mouth from other travelers. In some places, flying is cheaper. In others, take the bus. If it’s available, rideshare.
Don’t spend all your money:
And come home to a job. No matter how tempting as it sounds. The faster I get back on my feet, the quicker I’m back on a plane heading out again.
TLDR; Sparknotes to Traveling Frugal
Set a budget, know where the money goes, and utilize the given resources. Leave comfort zones and give risks a chance. In the end, it’s best to trust people and keep an open mind.