I used to think travel was expensive. I thought you’d had to have loads of money to travel the world and have fun experiences. Boy was I WRONG! Having travelled through/living in some of the most expensive countries (New Zealand & Australia), I think I now know a thing or two about adventuring on a dime. Luckily anyone can travel for cheap – it just takes adopting a new outlook when it comes to travel and then putting it to the test. You can do so with my 3 easy ways to travel cheap in ANY country!
1. Embrace public transit
It won’t always be intimidating:
While it may seem scary to hop on a bus or train with locals in a non-English speaking country, it will almost always be the cheapest option. Sri Lanka was a great place to get comfortable with public transit because it was A) no more than a dollar or two to get anywhere and B) it was super well connected. Keep in mind that in countries within Asia, it’s standard to have a tourist and local price for public transportation but either way you’ll be saving heaps!
If you’re scared to go alone, try finding someone in your hostel to go do activities with. Then suggest taking public transit and you’ll start to gain confidence in getting around that way. Soon enough you’ll be doing it on your own, no problem!
What to do if a country doesn’t have great public transit options:
If you come across this problem, you’ll end up taking a tuktuk/taxi/grab etc. Make sure you barter and knock the price down. If you say no and start walking away after stating the price you’re willing to pay, they will always drop it. This tip mostly applies to Asian countries but do some research before going elsewhere and I’m sure you’ll find it happens more often than not!
Another great option for getting around on a budget is by biking or walking. Not only will you see more than you would in a car ride but you’ll get in some extra steps and physical activity for the day.
2. All about accommodation
Know what to book:
While I generally stay in hostels, surprisingly, they’re not always the cheapest option. If you want to travel cheap in any country, first assess how you’re travelling. If you’re with a group, sharing an Airbnb might be cheaper than staying in a hostel dorm room.
HostelWorld is one of my favourite ways to book accommodation, simply because of how easy it is. You can find great prices there but if you want to make sure you’re saving on accommodation, shop around a little! Check other sites such as booking.com, Agoda and look for last minute hotel deals. If you’re settling for a hostel, try booking directly through the hostel’s website rather than HostelWorld to get a lower price!
Know your options:
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again … look for FREE accommodation because it exists! You can work at a hostel in exchange for free stay, sign up on Workaway or WWOOF, as well as crash on someone’s couch with CouchSurfing.
3. Avoid group tours when possible
You can do it on your own:
Don’t let the prices of organized tours scare you. Instead, look into options for doing the trip on your own. In the Philippines, I was able to go on multiple private island hopping tours for under $25 CAD for the day (opposed to $50+ that the tours were offering). I went with 1 or 2 other girls I had met at my hostel simply by going to a local and asking for them to take us around!Usually cheaper to do it on your own/with people if you’re with friends or meet people in a hostel
If you can’t do it on your own:
If creating your own tour isn’t an option, do some research and see what prices are the standard. You travel blogs (like mine 😏), to help you figure out what you’d want to see and do. If you book through your hostel you’ll pay more than the average person. I learned this the hard way at Halong Bay in Vietnam, where my friend and I had paid over double what the other people on the tour had paid. What was the difference? They booked directly online instead of through a third party.
That just about wraps up these three easy ways to travel cheap in any country! As always, feel free to ask any questions and connect with me on Instagram and if there’s any topics in particular you’d like me to touch on, leave a comment below!
See you next week.