August 10, 2011

Traveling The World For Cheap :)

Living abroad could be cheaper then it is for you to be living your current lifestyle. You just need to know how. I spent ten years living overseas and traveling to different destinations.

I discovered that I am not a rarity in the traveling world. Many people are traveling, and have been for years, visiting numerous countries. I want to share all of the resources and tips I learned to make it easy for you to travel.

Step 1: You need about $4,000 to start with. If you're planning on living abroad for a long time, sell your stuff. Otherwise, cancel your cable (you can get every thing that is on t.v. on the internet for free), and don't spend your money on alcohol for a few months (going out to the clubs, parties, the 6-pack you may constantly keep restocked in the fridge..). Don't buy things you don't need (going out to eat, sodas/candy, movie theaters) For most of you, thats really all it will take to save that much. Seriously, add it up! Think about how much better it will be doing all those things you love, overseas :)

Step 2: Pick a country. Apply for a 1-year working visa.

Here are some options, depending on your style: 

* Teach English Overseas: Usually, the only requirement is that you have a college degree. You will be paid enough to live in the area you will be residing/as well as some pocket money, and will meet other people who speak your language. This is a very legit way of beginning your journeys, but do remember that you will be working from one location, and travels will be on your vacation time and to nearby destinations. This is a great way to fully experience one place.

* Get A Job: Do exactly what you're doing now, or better, somewhere more interesting! When you first arrive, get a pre-paid phone, and contact the local companies. You can also apply to have a pre-arranged job set up in advance. You can rent a room in a house or apartment for very cheap, and work like you would in your own country. Some countries (like Australia, New Zealand, and the UK offer recruiter agencies. For free, they will get you interviews)
You can also opt to do some seasonal work at a National Park anywhere in the world. <-- This is a great site!

* Be an Au Pair: Though, I understand this mostly attracts women. There are many websites offered to help you find families that want to hire you from all over the world. I've found you will generally be paid $100-300 per-week, but your food and accommodation is completely taken care of.

* Wwoof: Wwoofing, World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, is like a service-exchange organization. You are allowed to stay/eat on an organic farm free, for a negotiable amount of time, providing you help work on the farm for 4 hours a day. The work is not very hard (though you should have a positive attitude), and you learn a lot from the experience. Depending on the farm, there may be other wwoofers there the same time as you. So you will get the chance to meet people from other countries, doing the same thing. You can get around a country hopping from farm to farm.

* Cruise Ship: Apply to work on a cruise ship that goes around/between the countries you want. This would be a great way to have an organized first experience, as well as a lot of information about where you will be visiting. You will also get the opportunity to meet lots of people.

* Couchsurf: CS is an international social network for travelers (Facebook for travelers). I find this site to be the most helpful due to the multiple ways you can use it to save money while traveling. It is completely free, and you don't have to do any work.

You can go to weekly meet-ups offered in nearly every city. This is the best way to come in to the program in my opinion. You get to meet other types of people who are apart of Couchsurfing, and its in public settings doing something fun.

(I discovered CS while lost on a train in Tokyo. I was trying to get to a festival. A young japanese man, that had two tourists with him, came up and asked if I needed help. Not many people in Japan actually speak english, so this was refreshing. He offered me to come along with him since he was showing a man from Austria and a woman from Germany around. It was great having a guide, not only to get me there, but explain the history and customs associated to the festival, along with other info about Japan. They invited me to a weekly meet-up downtown that night to meet about 20 other couchsurfers. I agreed. It was fun, everyone was interesting and nice to talk to. After that, I used couchsurfing to travel in multiple countries.)

You can use the site to message people in the city you are planning to stay in, and either meet-up with them for coffee, touring.. ect. OR actually stay at their place. Other surfers leave references and you can decide for yourself who you would want to meet-up or stay with. This is really a great opportunity to meet locals, find out about attractions, and not feel isolated while traveling (especially if you are in a country that doesn't speak your language).

Another way to use the site is by going onto the message boards and see who is doing what. Many people post events like BBQs, rock climbing, hiking, touring... ect. You will also find people offering rides to other CS who are going the same way.

*In certain countries you can buy a cheap car ($500-$3,000) once you get there. Many major cities (that have a large amount of tourist coming through) offer places where tourist can sell their cars to other tourists. You can also look online and rent a car/van from these specific places as well. You will find all this information in local hostels. Remember, at the end of the trip, you will be selling the car, and most likely making most, if not all, of your money back.
(Make sure that you check in advance whether you need an international driving license, or if your countries license will be enough)

*If you post where you are heading on couchsurfing, you can give other travelers rides in exchange for the gas money.

*Check the currency exchange rates!! Many countries are cheaper to travel to then you think :)

* Hitchhike: Depending on who/where you are, this could be a convenient way to get around.

*Travel with a friend, split some of the costs :)

Check the luggage requirements for each flight before flying.. one airline may let you have 2 carry-on bags, while another may only allow 1. Going over the allowed amount of check-in weight can be VERY costly.

* If you plan on hitching/walking/driving around a country, hand held GPS devices are a wonderful tool. They usually cost between $100-$300 and can save you a lot of anxiety/time/and money if you are lost and wasting gas :D Make sure to upload the maps you will need before you leave. It may even be cheaper to buy it in the country you are visiting.

*You can get pre-paid phones in any country, these are cheap, and a lot more convenient then bringing your phone/not having a phone while traveling.

* Photographers! Use your talent to make a blog, posting pictures and reviews from the places you've been. When you are heading to a new city, offer your services as part of a service-exchange.

*You can start using these resources in your own city to see how they work.


  1. great points girly! Man wwoofing doesnt sound bad at all :D

    might just ditch that homemade canoe idea lol

  2. Your right Jess, it's not a bad idea at all.
    My brother and I used it all over the north island back in NZ.
    You get fresh delicious homegrown farmer food, a great education you cant learn from any school and contact with the locals in that area, all for only 4 hours of work per day.

    Thats a great Idea! :)