As a continuous long-term traveler, I have learnt a lot about saving money on the road. If you want to maintain travelling as a lifestyle, you need to be able to compromise and have the flexibility to change plans as required. I believe that long-term travel can work for anyone who is willing to make it work. Here are some methods that allow me to keep my costs to a minimum.
Accommodation and transport will make up most of your travel expenditure, and so these are the areas that will require the greatest degree of compromise. There are many ways that you can make accommodation work out cheaply, even if you are in an expensive country.
• Find the cheapest hostels
When I’m travelling in more expensive locations, I almost always have to stay in hostels. Even if I’m in South East Asia, I still stay in hostels if it’s only for a couple of nights because it cuts your costs by a large amount. In Europe, you can find hostels at $20 a night and in SE Asia it can be as low as $5 a night.
The disadvantage of staying in hostels is that you have to share your space with others and it can be disturbing if they make noise in the night. So be careful when you pick your hostel and ask how strict they are about noise so that you don’t end up somewhere that completely derails your sleep pattern.
It’s often the case that hostels are booked up. This is actually the perfect opportunity to ‘couchsurf.’ If you turn up at the hostel and explain how you have nowhere else to go, people are often willing to let you spend the night in the dining or living area at a price far less than a dorm bed.
To find hostels, I make use of both booking.com and hostelworld.com. Some online platforms take commission in addition to the hostel charge so I always call up the hostel or hotel beforehand to negotiate a price. Negotiating a price can work in Asia and less touristy areas of developed countries.
• Sharing with people on the spot
In areas populated with travelers, it is very easy to find people who you can share a room with. This can be better than staying in a hostel if you find people who you resonate with, and it will split your costs even further. Other travelers are mostly likely looking to lower their costs as well.
For example, in West Sikkim, I met a group of Israeli travelers on the way there and connected with them pretty well. When we reached the town, I asked if they wanted to