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Posts Tagged ‘budget’

Traveling is relatively expensive, no matter what your budget. I try whenever I can to save money, wherever I can. The biggest expenses: room and board. That is, food and a place to sleep. Here are some tips on how to avoid paying outrageous prices for either.

If you plan on very short trips to major cities (for example, if you plan on spending two nights in Paris), hostels are a much cheaper option than hotels. You will usually share a room and bathroom with fellow travelers, but you will always have your own bed. Plus you often receive free WiFi connection and breakfast in the mornings. Hostelworld.com is a great, easy to use website for finding good deals on hostels in nearly every country. In my experience, beds typically cost 10 to 30 dollars per night.

Now, a couple of alternatives for the braver of heart…

Ever heard of CourchSurfing.org? Basically, you sign up online and wherever you travel, you stay at the home of a local for free. It’s a great way to meet new people and learn about the culture of the place where you are visiting. You can choose to stay only with people who have had background checks and/or have reviews from other travelers who have stayed with them previously. I haven’t used this website, but I have friends who have had great experiences with it!

Are you willing to work five or six hours a day in return for room and board, probably on a farm outside of a major city, and do this in the same place for at least a week or longer? (It’s a lot more fun than it sounds, trust me.) If yes, there are many opportunities to travel doing this, and to do it very cheaply. Here are some websites I have used that are very helpful. I don’t deny the existence of similar sites that are just as good or better. These are just the ones that I have personally used and liked.

WorkAway

WWOOF

HelpX

Do you know of any other websites like the ones I’ve listed? How do you save money when you travel?

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“If you’re 22, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel – as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them – wherever you go.” – Anthony Bourdain

Where was the last place you traveled? I don’t mean last weekend when you drove the couple of hours it takes to see your parents. I mean traveled, out of your state or even your country, to a place that is fundamentally different from the one you are used to.

I can understand the reservations. Why would I want to leave? I’m comfortable here, and besides, I don’t have the money for it.

I hear you, and both are valid arguments, but I still have a response. Have the courage to be uncomfortable. Have the courage to be poor. Work for your food and a place to sleep if you have to. Travel like your life depends on it, and try to do it while you are still young and impressionable.

I have made two major moves in my life. The first was when I went to college; I moved from Kansas to New York. The second was when I studied abroad my junior year; I went from the United States to Italy. Both were enormous culture shocks, and both made me very uncomfortable. I questioned every experience I’d ever had, everything I had ever learned up until that point. And thank God.

We need to be shoved out of our comfort zones. Or better yet, we must have the guts to leap out of them, overwhelmed with both eagerness and fear. When you travel, you will have the freedom to explore yourself away from everyone who knows you and has certain expectations about your personality. Those people aren’t with you when you travel. You can be whoever you want to be. This is the most liberating feeling I have ever had.

I don’t mean to simplify or dismiss concerns or reasons why you are unable to travel. It can be a significant expense, both in time and money, and while there is no substitute for actually getting out into the world, there is one thing you can do that comes close. You can read. Read everything you can get your hands on about different cultures and countries, especially if the books/articles have been written by someone who is actually from those places. (For tips on Traveling on a Budget, complete with websites for hostels and work exchanges, see my next post.)

All I can tell you is this: if you travel, you will grow as a person. You will be confused and feel out of place, but you will learn more than you can imagine. Do whatever you have to do. Just get out of here.

What was the last trip you took? Where’s your favorite place you’ve ever been? Where do you still want to go in the future? What’s stopping you?

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