How to Travel While You’re Young and Broke
A common misconception about travel is that you have to be rich to do it. While it certainly helps to have an impressive bank account to support all of your wanderlust needs, it is definitely not a necessity. Of course, you might need some money to start you off, but you do not need to spend four figures or more to be able to travel the world. Here are some tips on how to travel without breaking the bank or going into debt.
There are plenty of international programs that allow you to volunteer in a different country in exchange for housing and food. These volunteer programs can typically cost anywhere between $150-$1,000 weekly depending on the location and what the program offers and some are even completely free of charge. Volunteering abroad is becoming more and more popular amongst college students because it offers insight and experience to many future careers such as business, medicine, healthcare, and development. Not only will you be giving back and helping underserved communities, but you will be able to gain experience that may help you in the future. While volunteering abroad can be very rewarding, ALWAYS be sure to do your research and find a program that is really working towards helping others rather than pocketing your money for profit.
WorkAway (or any other similar work exchange)
There are many people in the world willing to give you a place to stay and even some food in exchange for some labor. The most common way to do this is through WorkAway, a website built for hosts and volunteers to connect with each other and exchange services. WorkAway, along with other work exchange websites similar to it, offers people the opportunity to work in hostels and farms or as babysitters or language teachers in hundreds of cities around the world. Being able to have a bed to stay in for a given amount of time in exchange for some labor it definitely worth it, especially because it may save you an enormous chunk of money that would usually go towards hostels or hotels.
Stay at Hostels/AirBnB/Couchsurfing
If working for others in exchange for a place to stay isn’t exactly your thing, then you might want to consider staying at low budget accommodation such as a hostel or an AirBnB. Hostels offer dorm-like accommodations with around 4-12 people in each room, depending on what you pay for. There is also the option of staying in all-male, all-female, or mixed dorms (mixed typically being the cheapest option). AirBnB is often seen as a more “luxurious” accommodation whilst still being outrageously affordable. Your options include renting a shared room, private room, or entire apartment/home and is completely worth it if you are looking for a more local touch. For those who are looking to spend no money at all on accommodation, consider Couchsurfing, a website built for travelers to meet other fellow travelers and stay a couple of nights at other members’ homes completely free of charge. The unique thing about Couchsurfing is that it is designed to connect travelers with the locals in any given city and allows the host and the “couchsurfer” to learn more about each others’ culture.
Budget Your Meals
Eating out may be the quickest and easiest way to dine, but it can get quite expensive. Instead of spending $15 on dinner, opt for a homemade meal if you’re lucky enough to have access to a kitchen or check out the local street foods available in almost all large cities around the world. Not only is this a great way to save money, but it will allow you to put your cooking skills to practice and learn new recipes. However, do treat yourself once and a while and take yourself out to experience the local cuisine– make sure the restaurant is authentic and not a tourist trap!
Take the “Road Less Traveled”
Many people are quick to pay anywhere around $15-$60 for one-way trips around the city in a taxi. Unfortunately, I used to be one of those people, but that’s because I didn’t know any better. After some experience and finding myself with less financial resources along the way, I quickly learned that public transportation is the way to go if you are looking to reduce your transportation costs. Most large cities have metros, buses, and trams that may be slower than the average taxi ride but nonetheless allow you to reach your desired destination. Better yet, tickets can cost anywhere around $1 one-way or $12 for a day pass.