Get up, go to work. Smile at your colleagues, small-talk in the lift. Work, work, and then watch Netflix and go to bed. Is this your life? But maybe what you really want is to travel — to travel longer and more often? Well, we have good news: it’s much easier than you think. We swear. We’ve been there, wondering and worrying. And then we took the leap: quit our jobs, went for a 10-month trip through South America, and then came back and found a new job. Just as easy as it sounds.
We’re giving you here some travel tips –and hopefully some motivation– to give in to your wanderlust.
Have a flexible job
Have you ever dreamt of working on the road? Logging in to the WiFi of some exotic beach hostel for your daily hour of work? Well, what used to sound Utopian only a few years ago is now completely at your reach. More and more people do it. The 2020 coronavirus crisis has shown to the world that remote work is possible.
So don’t be shy and ask your boss about remote work possibilities or for more paid holidays. Tell them you are more productive when you have more time off. Some of us also manage a sabbatical, an unpaid 1 year off. Others just kiss their company goodbye; some become freelancers. Whatever your choice will be, the following tips give you ideas on how to travel more with a full-time job.
Don’t be put off by the barbarous name: living minimalistically is actually easier to do than to spell. You can save up crumb by crumb throughout the year by reducing the luxuries and sticking to your needs.
But it shouldn’t make you unhappy! Just have a look at your expenses and question whether you need to be spending money on this and that; if you could go out less often; if you need to buy yet another pair of shoes; or if that particular product you usually buy could be replaced by a cheaper version. Making your own food, cosmetics and furniture are fun ways to save money.
To reduce the impact of your trip on your budget, you can also travel minimalistically. That includes indulging in street food and market halls, haggling prices where it’s acceptable, looking for free events or museum days… And a handful of more tips we’re giving you next.
Rent out your place if you can
Imagine being able to save on that rent for as long as you travel! We know not everyone can do it, but maybe your situation allows it. Check your contract before looking for a subtenant. Or register your flat on Air BnB.
Of course, if you work remotely and are location-independent, you can even do without renting a place altogether. Ah, the exciting taste of freedom! Some people need a place they can call home but others can do without. Fly off and find out the kind of person you are.
Find cheap flights
Nowadays, always more and more travel companies have some crazy cheap deals! Travel leaders like SkyScanner, Google Flights and Holiday Pirates have amazing offers. Several airlines have a map where you can quickly see their deals at a glance. Add to that their membership programmes, the miles and the coupons, and you can become a pro travel hacker and see the world for peanuts.
It’s also totally possible to pack little and take on your trips a simple carry-on bag. With that simple trick, we save money and time at our arrival. Who needs all that underwear anyway?
Another way to save more money on your travel is often to visit off-the-beaten-path destinations. Everything there is definitely cheaper than in the more famous locations.
This off-beat mentality applies to more than travel and helps save money in every situation. Choose your accommodation and restaurants outside of the touristy areas. Go for local rather than globally famous. Visit in lower or shoulder season rather than at the tourist peak.
In short, be curious and open-minded. In general, the more flexible you are, the easier it is to save money and travel more often!
Use a hospitality network
A community of travellers hosting each other isn’t simply a trick to save on hotel rooms. It’s a great way to meet locals and get to know a place from the inside, have a peek at the local culture. It’s also a wonderful symbol of worldwide sharing, at a time when everything seems to have a price.
We’ve used CouchSurfing for almost 15 years and cannot recommend it enough*. There are other travellers’ communities online – from Warm Showers to Be Welcome, from Fair BnB to Trusted Housesitters or Welcome To My Garden. We mention CouchSurfing because it’s the one we know the best and because the community is so large and so spread out that there are few places on earth where you cannot find a host!
Don’t book tours beforehand
In fact, try not to book tours at all. Most attractions in the world are accessible independently, using public transportation and a bit of resourcefulness. More often than not, visiting with an organised tour doesn’t bring any benefit: you don’t save time and don’t get to know the place any better.
Depending on the part of the world, the cost of a tour operator can be between 3 and 5 times what you would have spent by doing it on your own. Is it worth it? Well, sometimes it is, if the guide is particularly knowledgeable; or if the tour offers an experience you couldn’t access independently. And in that case, you’ll save loads by booking simply on the spot on the previous day. But often it’s not worth it, so you can save even more money there.
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We don’t promise any travel deals or giveaways but we deliver once a month handy tips to start travelling responsibly and on the cheap. We’ve travelled for many years, both short and long-term, both alone and as a couple. We put all our experience in that digestible (and really rad) newsletter.
Do you know how to find free events in any given city? How to travel for less in South America? How to craft the most irresistible CouchSurfing request? Our monthly email newsletter tells you all this and more.
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