Wanderlust (n.): a strong, innate, impulse or desire to travel the world.
Wanderlust, a simple word that captures the desires of many hearts. Unfortunately, most are too tied down with responsibilities to dream of visiting all of the continents very few people have explored. With the recent passing of Anthony Bourdain, we’re inspired to put more effort into learning new cultures and appreciating life outside of our luxurious first world amenities.
The biggest question that often comes up is “how?” How can one afford such experiences? A sizeable issue we all share is the need to travel in luxury, thinking every travel adventure should be as substantial as the comfort we experience at home, and then some.
The reality is we don’t go to foreign places to lay up in resorts all day, but to experience the world and its beauty. This common mistake adds hundreds - even thousands to a vacation. Lucky for you, we’ve done the legwork and figured out just how you too can enjoy yourself outside the expense of luxury. You may even learn a thing or two about yourself along the way.
Coming to terms with downgrading your everyday lifestyle and trading it in for simpler worldliness things can be challenging to grasp at first, but is well worth the sacrifice. So now you’ve saved up some money, outlined a budget, and accepted that traveling is about the experience and the people, not the hotel and amenities, we can start to look at "how to" make it happen.
1. Be Flexible
Being flexible with traveling as a whole can provide numerous opportunities. Take flying for instance. Having a little patience when arranging your flight itinerary allows you to get the best deals available. It is also good to be flexible when it comes to choosing activities in the visiting city. You may opt for more affordable and comparable options when funds are low. Flexibility keeps things interesting and helps you manage your budget better.
2. Don’t Be Too Picky
In destinations that is. There are some places where the American dollar stretches further than others. Traveling to Turks & Caicos sounds like an ideal vacation these days compared to more cultural countries like India or Nepal, but opting for a country where the US dollar is worth more will not only offer you the ability to travel on a budget but do so in places others rarely get to see. Countries like India provides a valuable learning experience and are just as beautiful and picturesque as the well-known vacation spots- if not more.
3. Prepare for Adventurous Sleeping Arrangements
If the budget is really tight and the desire to explore is at an all-time high, you can use this to your advantage when fining your lodging arrangements. Keep in mind hotels aren’t the only way to go. There are several options, each with various opportunities to make new friends and new memories along the way.
A common place to stay when traveling on a budget is local hostels. These hotels usually have bunk beds in rooms, where you share with four or more people. It’s a good way to meet other travelers and share stories as well as life hacks and tip for traveling in that country.
Other options include bringing along a tent and camping ($FREE$) or crashing on a couch. Don’t worry if you don’t know anyone in the visiting country, using an app called CouchSurfing will pair you with individuals who are open to sharing their space and welcoming you into their home.
4. Do As The Locals Do
Of course, ditching the tourist traps will save you loads on excursions by simply delving into the culture and asking the locals what they like to do. Participating in things the locals do on everyday bases will give you an authentic experience.
Similar to the locals you can make money. Why not pick up some extra cash to help you out along your journey? HelpX, WorkAway and WWOOF connects you with places that will pay you for your labor while you’re out of the country.
5. Treat Yo’self
It can be uncomfortable sometimes when you’re traveling on a tight budget, finding yourself on a local’s couch with no air conditioning, only to mark another excursion off your bucket list. But it is important to have these times of discomfort to empathize with others life experiences and to appreciate the opportunities that are available here in America.
It is also important to splurge when you can (within budget) and enjoy the world. From getting a fancy pedicure in the exotic resort miles outside of your hotel to sleeping on the beaches of Santorini all day. It’s all up to you but remember: a nod to luxury is a necessity when on the purpose of your journey around the world is for balance and peace.
Being a shoestring budget traveler can be a difficult road to travel, but it will also be a rewarding one. One that is possible for ANY budget as long as you put your mind to it and are open to worldly adventures.
Have you ever traveled to other countries on a budget? What affordable activities did you do to enjoy your time?