Can you imagine you only spend 1,000 dollars in a year? That’s what I did in the whole 2012, which included airfares, lodging and meals. I visited Philippines, Myanmar, India, Thailand, Southwestern China and Tibet the whole year! And in 2013 I even had a positive gain in my bank account by the end of the year, I was in Nepal, India and Australia the whole 2013. Here I will show you the first 5 tips on how to spend less or even earn money during travels.
The most expensive part of a trip falls on lodging, where the cheapest YHA hostel still cost at least $15 in developed countries, and $5 in developing one. Using this amazing network: www.couchsurfing.org you are linked with all incredible people in every corners of this world, with great hospitality and trust towards world travelers. Read the profile and comments before you send them a Couch Request, then just sit back and wait, if there are chemistry between you two, they will accept you as their guest! Be a reliable and trustable guest, treat your host a meal, share with them your travel stories, integrate with their culture, interact with them, don’t just play with your laptop for hours, that’s rude!
2. Workaway, Helpx or WWOOFer
These are similar website which you agree to work 4-6 hours per day for your host, in return of lodging, meals and cultural exchange. This is an amazing concept, as there is no free lunch in this world (except you are lucky enough to beg for it). Mostly the hosts ask for simple jobs, like gardening, farm work, building stuff…and they are willing to teach you. Acquire some new skills do nothing harm but GOOD for you, life is a continuous learning progress. Other than the 4-6 hours, you are free to explore the neighborhood and enjoy your free time! It is also a good experience to try authentic local food!
If you don’t want to be hosted by anyone and rather enjoy the freedom wandering from places to places, Camping is the best option! Fanatic campers believe that you can camp in any parks of just beside the road (after dark), because nobody bother you. Buy a GREEN or BLACK tent, find a shaded place, stretch your tent out, only use the torch if necessary. Wake up and pack all the things once the sun starts to smile again. However, wild animals and insects could be a problem, what you can do is to pray and finger-crossed inside the tent! If you are too worried, ask some local people if you can set up your tent in their backyard, normally they won’t reject.
It is a culture used in Europe and America, you can try in other continents but won’t be that successful. But I did it many times in southern China and Tibet, it was amazing! It all depends on luck and the first sentence you speak to the driver who stops, try to be polite and make them feel you need help. And if you are a guy, try to find a female backpacker to do it with you, much more easier! When you get into the car, always be alert and look for the road sign, make sure the driver is going to the direction you are heading. If you notice something wrong, just call for a toilet break or say you want to throw up, they will stop and you can have time to think what to do. It is never 100% safe anyway, but it is worth taking the risk, you always end up spending an interesting afternoon with a local driver, they love to listen to your travel stories!
5. Taking local transports
Travel like a local, take their local public transport. Squeezing in the metro in big metropolitan cities like Hong Kong or New York could be an interesting experience, and I love to appreciate the different designs of underground subway in various countries. I seldom take taxi unless they are super cheap, like India, but I take the oven-hot Indian buses as well as they are almost free to me. Make sure you know which bus you are going to take, and what station are you heading. Ask the driver or passengers, they will remind you to hop off. I always fancy the feeling that when I visit the same city the second time, I know how to take a few buses to go to places I have been to, it makes me feel familiar. And not to say, public transport are cheap. Use Google Map to check for metro and bus stations.
The next part I will talk about airfare, food, visa and volunteer works. Don’t miss that!