How I traveled to 22 countries with little money

Last updated on June 11th, 2019 at 04:17 pm

Human connections would undoubtedly be the most influential of all the action, you will leave behind for people to cherish, when gone from this miraculous perishable life, in a blink of an eye. This naked contact of mind nurtured with selfless loving-kindness is contagious, leaving a delicious feeling of human existence that will relish every fiber of your being. This is best achieved when you are traveling and exploring places. So listen to your old brag heart and let the beautiful stampede of emotion flow through you.

Something that keeps me moving and traveling

My momma always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”- Forest Gump Movie

“The gladdest moment in human life is a departure into unknown lands.” – Sir Richard Burton

 

What limits us to travel

We all desire to see new places, eat new food and meet new people. But we often have reasons not to travel and that includes

 “I have no money”

“I do not have someone to accompany me”

“It’s dangerous”

“I have prior commitments”

“I am too old to travel”

 

My Travel Map (2013-2018)

I have been very fortunate to travel extensively throughout the world in the last few years. I have visited Austria, Bhutan, Cambodia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Nepal, Norway, Poland, Rome, Singapore, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand and UAE.

Here is the year wise travel map

 

 

How did I do it?

First of all, let us note down some of the common expense when you start to travel

  1. Flights/Trains/Bus
  2. Lodging expenses
  3. Food and Drinks
  4. Visa & Immigration
  5. Money Exchange
  6. Phone and Internet
  7. Adventure Activities
  8. Travel Insurance
  9. Shopping & Souvenir

Now, you can’t save money Visa and transit fees, but you can save money in all the category I had mentioned in that list. 

Let’s start one by one

 

1. How to save money on Transportation – Flights/Trains/Buses

Best Flight offers

 

 

 

Airfare is a relatively easy category to save money. Since the fares are dynamic, you can use these sites and apps to find the cheapest price possible.

International               Indian companies

Google flights                    MakeMyTrip-DomesticInternational

Kayak                                  Goibibo

Sky Scanner                        Yatra

Jetradar                              ClearTrip

Cheapoair                           Sasti Ticket

Expedia

Kiwi.com

I am happy to boast that I had saved a huge amount of money on flight tickets. I had taken flight at Zero effective cost. The cheapest International flight I had taken was around 10 Euro. Many thanks to the Flight Ticket Planner I use.

 

2. How to Save Money on Lodging Expenses

Couchsurfing

Source

I would say, the best thing that has happened to me while travelling knowing Couchsurfing  I have used this site/app extensively to meet people around , to stay with them, to travel with them and to make beautiful connections.

Couchsurfing has  people who got a couch or a spare room and wouldn’t mind hosting a traveller. Some of my nicest friends I have met are from this site. Click to know How Couchsurfing works.

Other alternatives to Couchsurfing

There are also sites like Servas, Bewelcome, Trustroots which is similar to CS and is doing a great job helping spread the love for travelling.

 

Try WWOOF: WorldWide Opportunities on Organic Farms, (WWOOF) is part of a worldwide movement linking visitors with organic farmers and growers to promote cultural and educational experiences based on trust and non-monetary exchange thereby helping to build a sustainable global community. If you can manage your flight ticket then everything else is covered for your stay.

 

 Mindmyhouse: Have you heard of housesitting? If not then it will sound interesting to you. According to wiki housesitting is “the practice whereby a landlord (or “homeowner”), leaving their house for a period of time, entrusts it to one or more “house sitters”. Get an annual membership for 20 USD and avail 25000+ home owners worldwide through Mindmyhouse

 

House swapping is another option if you own your home. New and established home swapping sites such as HomeExchange, LoveHomeSwap, HomeLink, and Intervac allow you to list your house, browse other listings, and contact members about potential swaps.

 

If you’re not picky about the timing or destination of your next trip, you can save money with last-minute deals on hotel rooms, vacation packages and airfare. Hotel Tonight provides discounted hotel rooms for same-day, next-day, and following-week stays. Jetsetter advertises flash sales on hotel rooms and vacation packages.

 

If you want to take a short tour/trek in India then get an annual/live membership from Youth Hostel Association. These tours include the accommodation, food and other expenses and you also get to meet travellers.

 

You can use Carpool or hitchhike. There are sites n app like Juno, Bla Bla Car, Get around.

 

Hitchhiking is a free way to get around that is relatively safe and quite common in many parts of the world, including Central America, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

 

If you can do some research and get yourself acquainted with the places to visit. You can act as a freelance tour guide and also earn good tips.

 

3. Food and Drinks

Food and drinks

I usually avoid going to an expensive restaurant or try pricey exotic food. I mostly buy grocery from the supermarket and cook at my host place. I enjoy cooking and this allows me to learn new dishes and try new local food. I remember when I was in Switzerland, I went to several restaurants to have dinner but ended up in a supermarket because the lowest decent dinner I could find was 20 Euro, which was my 24 hours salary that time.

Whenever I go out of the host house, I fill up my water bottle and have enough snacks so I do not need to visit a restaurant. I could use that money to eat something nice when I see new things.

 

4. Visa & Immigration 

Visa

I will skip this, as I do not know if we can save money on Visa.

 

5. Money Exchange

Money Exchange

Do not try to change your money at the airport, the rates are exorbitantly high. If you plan to live longer in a city then use your debit card or get a forex card.

You should also keep in mind that most of the bank charge something called cross-currency charges (2-5%) on cards. So if you have INR and you buy things in USD, you end up paying 2-5% extra. You will not see this deduction immediately on your card but it appears later at the end of the month.

That is why it is advisable to have a Forex card. BankBazar has several offers in their based which is based on your salary. 

 

6. Phone and Internet

It is better to buy a sim card and get connected with the internet to make your travel easy. Before traveling to a new country, try to find the best telecom provider and check the rates for new sim card. Try to avoid buying SIM card at the Airport and prefer a local shop to get one.

When I was in Bali, I saw that they were selling the SIM card at 350k IDR at the airport. I went to the local shop and got the same card and the same plan for 150k IDR and it was activated within minutes.

 

7. Adventure and Activities

Klook

I use Klook app to compare the prices of an activity and then based on where it is cheaper I book it. For instance, in Dubai I paid half the price for the desert safari on Klook as compared to other sites. I also have around 20% on my adventure activities in Singapore.

Many cities also have a city pass which gives you cheaper transportation and reduced prices for entree fees. It comes with a complete package and includes the entrance fees and sometimes the local transport too. Some of the popular ones are

European City Card List

Singapore City Pass

New York Pass

London Pass

Dubai Pass

If you are a student then try to ask for a student discount when buying tickets in tourist places. I have managed to get 50% discount even with my expired ID card. You can also use your Youth Hostel card to get a discount on their hostels.

 

8. Travel Insurance

travel-insurance

I usually avoid buying travel insurance unless it is required for the Visa. Columbus International Travel Insurance is my preferred choice.

 

9. Shopping & Souvenir

Temi Sikkim Tea

For many of us, souvenirs are special so as to remember the good memories. I try to find a suvenir that is locally made and not which is internationally made and supplied, promoted and sold. Be an ethical shopper, and avoid polluting the place and animal products and try to help the local people. 

Try to find out if you needed to bargain and to what percentage. Seek help from local people to help you in shopping.

 

Few More Tips To Travel Cheap

1.     If you are not aware, most bank charges cross currency fees (3.5-5%) on foreign currency transaction. So apply for a forex card to save the charges.

2.     Try to limit your packing to a carry-on bag so you can avoid checked luggage fees. You can do laundry in the middle of your trip if you need to your vacation doesn’t have to be a fashion show.

3.     If you have the luxury of being able to avoid peak season travel, grab it! Travelling out of season will mean cheaper flights and less busy destinations – a win-win situation!

4.     Look for indirect routes, long stopover at the airport to save on airfares

5.     Avoid transport and prefer walking. There’s no better way to see a place than to stroll around, taking in the architecture and looking up at those exciting new skies.

6.     Get some snacks and food before you take the plane if your airline doesn’t provide free food.

7.     If you are planning on going to a club or bar. Get your required amount of drink before you go inside to avoid paying on high price menus.

8.     Try not to stay near the centre if it is costly to stay. Look for slightly cheap places if you happen to book a hotel

9.     Get the best credit card where you can save points, air miles and more.

 

Make your tour beautiful one

All you should do, is get some money, pack some butter and pour some honey
get your bottles and your dusty bags, forget all fears and stop living in rags
take the train and go travel, cover the miles and kiss the gravel

try some food but never be rude, take some selfie and be in the mood
lights are blazing but still, you will feel amazing
go out and feel it, meet people heal it

music for all, and not just one people, put on your shoes and dance to the Beatles
drink some wine, get some life and you will forget all your heartache and strife
take your chances, follow your heart, learn to laugh and lose all fears
look into the eyes with pleasure and by surprise, kiss the skies and go rise and you know life is a surprise with all despise

discover new places and act humble with proud faces, dance to the tune as your heart embraces
and then you realize how good a life can be with all the lovely people who always meet free
it’s a wholesome education, you are learning life and there is no explanation
leave me not forever me, you are more than life and will always be

Thanks to all the travellers for the sweet time we spent together

keep travelling
Zack

 

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