1. Wash your own clothes, by hand
Let’s face it…..washing your own clothes sucks. But it’s also quite expensive to have it done at hostels or guesthouses unless you’re in South East Asia. 90% of the time the washer / dryer has been over-used and doesn’t clean the clothes or dry them. So let’s get back to the basics…hand wash your clothes. It’s a small task if you tackle the clothes as they become dirty as opposed to waiting for them to pile up. A simple but efficient way to save money while traveling.
2. Make your own meals
I never cooked much back home in the States but I find myself cooking more while traveling to save money. Restaurants are expensive and going out every night adds up whether you’re traveling or not. Spice it up a bit and cook your own meals.”But I can’t cook for just one” you might say. Then don’t. Make friends and share or even sell your food (if you’re that good). You can even ask around the hostel to see if anyone else was planning on cooking, then put together a family style dinner with several plates. This is another great way to save money and meet people.
“Fuck that shit” is what most people would say to this concept of travel, but it’s used quite often as a mode of transportation in many countries and I personally have traveled through lots of countries via hitching. You’re probably playing out every scary movie that involved a hitchhiker in your mind right now…but movies really give the whole culture a bad rep. Is it safe? Is walking across the street in Cairo safe? Yes and no….You have to your wits about you. Choosing the right driver is key, so follow your gut and don’t get in if something feels off. I’ve met some very interesting people and I’ve met people that can’t speak any English and have just sat in a car of silence for a few hours. It’s hit or miss and sometimes tossing in gas money is worked into the negotiation of the ride. To read more about hitchhiking click here.
I’m sure you’ve heard of this already. If you haven’t you must live under a penguin in Antarctica. But to cover the basics, it’s a website / app that allows you to stay on someones couch, floor, bed or yard for free in thousands of cities around the world. Even in impossible places like Easter island, there are couchsurfers. It’s once again a great way to meet new people and save money all at once. I would like to add that this can become a lot of work emailing back and forth trying to secure a host or consistently getting rejected because you don’t have a vag or tits (moobs don’t count). It’s no secret amongst the traveling world that it’s used by men as a way to meet women, so as a man searching for a couch it can be tough. There are enough people on the site to find accommodations and make it worth the hassle though, so it’s still a useful travel tool.
5. Free camp
Camping illegally (or legally, depending on the country) is a great way to get off the beaten path, save money and get closer with nature. I’ve camped in forts, castles, caves, beaches, and mountains all over the world for free! Be sure to check out the laws of the country in which you’re traveling so you know what you’re up against and be informed on fire laws too. I’ve had some great experiences free camping and I’ve had some horrible experiences (you can’t control the weather). Nonetheless I always travel with my tent and my sleeping bag because they save me money. They have officially paid for themselves and they weren’t cheap as I went ultra-light on both.
6. No sim card
To sim or not to sim, that is the question. It’s really not even a question for me…..NO SIM! There are so many offline apps these days that you don’t need a sim card to travel in order to know where you’re going and to find what you’re looking for. The only plus is you can call someone without WiFi, but I’ve never really had an instance when I couldn’t find someone to call the number for me or even needed a phone in the first place. So no sim card for me. Disconnect, meet people, get lost and find your way back without a sim card. If you want to learn about some great apps to have including some offline ones click here.
7. Walk more
I love to walk. Some of my friends even refer to me as a “professional walker” at this point. You see more, hear more and save more by walking. I generally don’t take local city transit if its under 5-8k. Even with bags weighing over 20kg, I’ll walk. Taxi, tuk tuk, and rickshaw drivers are all out for your money and it’s a pain in the ass to haggle for every ride. So just don’t take them. Remove that stress from your life and walk.
8. Eat local
I can’t stress this enough, but don’t go to where all the Westerners are. Sure the food will be good and they will cater to you more but the food isn’t going to be authentic or cheap. Walk around and eat where you see locals eating. It’s guaranteed to be good, cheap and likely safer due to how frequently the food turns over in a busy place. Even if it’s a hole in the wall food stall, a street-side shanty or underneath a bridge, there is a reason the locals are there. The food is good, so eat it! When I was in India I could have gone to a restaurant and paid 150-200 Rupees for a meal. Instead, I went to small little hole-in-the-wall local places and got the same meals for 1/3 the price. The food was much better too. It’s a no-brainer, eat local and save money!
9. Volunteer at a hostel or anywhere for that matter
When I stay in hostels I always ask if they need help around the place. Generally, they can use someone’s help with the bar, reception desk, or managing activities. I even took new photos for a hostel’s website and scored 4 nights of free accommodations and a bar/ restaurant tab. This is also a great way to meet people since they will be part of your temporary job and you will be forced to converse with them and help them out when they need it. To learn more about some of my experiences volunteering click here and here.