by Liberty Stembridge, Lifestyle Columnist
Published in Lifestyle on 23rd July, 2018
Everyone wants to travel, but not everyone can afford it - or so they think. With a little research and insider knowledge you can travel the world for a dime, and you'll probably have more fun doing it too. There are so many different ways you can save money while travelling, and some of them you probably already know, so we'll be focusing on the new and less heard-of opportunities and savings you can take advantage of.
Workaway.com is a website that connects travelers who are willing to volunteer with hosts in faraway countries that need some help. Workaway isn't the only website to offer services like this, wwoof also provides similar services, but workaway.com is one of the most popular services, and there are a huge variety of work-away opportunities, from looking after kids, to landscaping, to hostel cleaning or reception work or looking after a farm, you're likely to find some work that suits you. What's particularly great is that you can search for organizations and causes that are close to your heart and find a place to volunteer and support that cause. So if you love animals and want to travel to Europe, you might search for "animal sanctuaries in Europe" and the next thing you know you're on a flight to Portugal to help out at an animal rescue center. Work-aways also cater for couples or friends that are travelling together, but in many cases, they're even better if you're alone. You get to discover a new place, connect with locals, contribute to the community and meet a whole bunch of new people, all without having to pay a penny for accommodation. Some work-away hosts even feed you as well!
An au pair is similar to a nanny, except not as qualified. It's a way that you can travel to another country, meet new people and earn some money while you're at it. Au pairs will stay and live with a family in the country they're travelling to and help to look after the kids and the household, and then in their free time, explore the surrounding areas. You may not be raking in the big bucks, but you're likely to make at least a few hundred dollars a month.
You don't have to be Afroman to live in a van, what was once associated with homelessness is now a celebrated form of frugal living and a way to travel the world cheaply. The #vanlife hashtag on pretty much any social media site is choc-a-bloc full of advice and inspiration on how you can renovate and travel the world in van. Although this method does come with some potentially hefty start-up and maintenance costs, once you're on the road, you won't regret it. If you're serious about saving money and travelling, van life might just be the way for you.
Whether you're living in a van, working on a farm or just camping wherever you can, you'll probably still need some source of income eventually. Many travelers fly out to their dream destination, stay however long they can and then come back home to work for a while and save up money, but this can feel limiting and get quite frustrating. While you're back at home, chances are you'll have to be paying rent, meaning you can't save up as much as you'd like, and all time and money spent working at home is time you could have been spending exploring the world. It's also unlikely that you'll be able to find a well-paying job that will allow you to just up and leave for a couple of months every so often. But what if there was another way to earn money, while travelling, without ever having to return home if you didn't want to?
There's now a growing movement of "digital nomads" - adventurous souls who travel full-time and earn money while on the road. They primarily work online, running their own businesses, freelancing or working remotely either full or part-time. So long as you've got an internet connection and a laptop, you too can become a digital nomad.
There's a tendency in modern travel to aim for luxury, we stay in fancy hotels in expensive areas, or rent out large air-bnb apartments right on the coast, and this drains a huge amount of money. Rather than spending the majority of our money on the places we will (ideally) be spending the least amount of time, it's time to start flipping our perspective on travel accommodation on it's head. Take time to scout out the cheapest spots and places to go. Bali is a hugely popular destination for frugal travelers because of the gorgeous landscape and incredible accommodation options, all at a fraction of the price you would get in say, Greece. If you're looking to travel on a budget, be careful where you go and be prepared to give up luxuries if you're planning on staying somewhere that is known for being pricey.
Couchsurfing has been around for a while, it's a website where you can connect and stay with hosts all around the world for free. They offer you a couch or bed to sleep on and will often teach you about the culture and city you're staying in, and in return you can help them with language skills, provide company and a bit of your own culture. If you're travelling alone and you're on a tight budget couch surfing is a great way to completely do-away with accommodation costs and meet new people.
Another tendency for modern travel is do try and do everything all at once. We book flights to a foreign city for a week or two and try to cram as much as possible into that time-frame. This not only results in us spending a lot of money in a short amount of time, but also probably getting very stressed and not actually enjoying our travel experiences as much as we'd like to. Maybe it's time to adopt a new approach to travelling: slow travel. By taking your time, staying in each place for a few weeks or a few months, potentially longer, you have the opportunity to really get to know a place. If you're choosing to do a work-away, you'll be able to find better opportunities and get to know the locals better the longer you stay, and save more money in the long run.
You don't always have to be jet-setting off around the world to reap the benefits of travelling. Sometimes staying in our own home country can provide more experience and knowledge than travelling half way across the globe could. If you're really strapped for cash, or have full-time commitments where you are right now, taking shorter trips to explore your own country could be the answer. There's probably some natural beauty spots and landmarks that you've never even heard of, waiting to be discovered.