Travel truly is one of the greatest pleasures available to us on this planet of ours. Boarding that plane, train or bus and heading off into the great unknown is always satisfying and mind expanding. It can sometimes be a little bit bank account emptying.
Hitting the road doesn’t always have to be wallet busting however, if exploring the world has taught me anything it’s this – the majority of the people on the planet survive and often thrive on a lot less than we in the western world can even comprehend.
Material possessions – as your friendly neighbourhood buddhist monk would tell you – weaken the soul. It’s possible to do without a lot of things we take for granted and still have an amazing experience.
Below are just four of the things you can do without while traveling to help you save a huge amount of money. But if you also want to make a little extra to help you on your way, there are so many great ways to earn money with apps these days, either offering your services or doing tasks for others. They really have been a game changer!
People, if you’re still paying for expensive accommodation in hotels or hostels whilst traveling then you are living in the past. We are living in the age of the sharing economy, get involved.
I’m sure you’ve heard of Couchsurfing even if you’re not entirely sure what it is. Just to clear up immediately, it’s not a ridiculous water sport that involves dragging your sofa to the beach to catch some waves. No, couchsurfing is the internet at it’s finest. It’s a platform where ‘hosts’ kindly offer a free space in their home, be it a bed, couch or spot on the floor, in exchange for nothing but your time.
That’s right, all you have to do is hang out with brilliantly friendly people and you get free accommodation. What could be better than that I ask you? And it’s not just a free place to stay you get, you also often receive hospitality from a local resident. Someone who knows the best places to eat, drink, hang out. What a win-win situation!
It’s not just Couchsurfing, a number of other similar platforms exist too. From Hospitality Club, and BeWelcome to the brilliant Hot Showers, which links up long-distance cyclists with people willing to offer free food and board to their fellow lycra-clad road warriors.
Admittedly sometimes getting a good night’s rest can be a challenge for lightsleepers when you’re bunking down on the floor in someone else’s home. Don’t despair, the guys at the SleepAdvisor.org have a whole heap of hints and tips to help you with that.
What! Alcohol! No, say it isn’t so!
Yep, I know this one isn’t going to make me popular with some of you but giving up alcohol while on the road may be one of the smartest decisions you could make when it comes to your finances.
I know, I know, having a brewski at sunset after a long day exploring a new town is a genuine pleasure but drinking is also probably one of your biggest expenses. At least it is for me!
Why not do a little experiment the next time you are traveling? Everyday keep a little daily record of what you spend. At the end of the week or month, calculate exactly how much you spent on alcohol. I hazard a guess it’s going to be a very high proportion of your overall spend. Maybe upto a quarter or a third even.
Eating in fancy restaurants
Sitting in a fancy restaurant with a candle flickering on the table and twinkly music playing in the background is of course super nice. In my experience however the food is more often than not a little bit of a dissapointment. This comes down to the human tendency to have expectations far higher than can ever be matched through not fault of the chef.
Contrast this feeling with those times you’ve sat down to dine at a completely non-descript roadside cafe and been completely blown away by both the quality food and the tiny figure at the bottom of your bill. This is because your expectations have been surpassed.
Lowered expectations are the key to happiness. So give up the fancy restaurants while travelling, save yourself a fortune and increase your happiness. Another win-win!
Going off tourist attractions for the sake of it
How many times have you found yourself looking at a church or a castle, or wandering around a boring museum and wondering, ‘Why am I here? Can I leave yet?’
Well, why are you there? Because your guidebook told you go that’s why. For someone with zero interest in art, going to the Louvre is just a waste of money. For someone who doesn’t care about really long piles of bricks, the Great Wall of China is just an expensive bus ride from Beijing. I’m being flippant of course, but you get the general idea.
Guidebooks and travel blogs are jammed full of so-called ‘unmissable’ sights for just about every town or city on the planet. The entire planet is on a listicle somewhere or other. Well, I’m here to tell you ignore all of that and ask yourself, ‘what am I really interested in?’ When you start traveling with this mindset you will soon start saving yourself a fortune in entrance fees.
Well, there you have it – four things you can easily do without while traveling to save yourself a pile of pounds. Happy travels my friends!