How To Find Cheap Ways to Travel For Less the World And Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone

by Olivier De Winne
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If you want to travel for less, you need to deciding to travel abroad for a long period of time can bring a lot of worry and fear. The most difficult part isn’t how to travel or finding cheap ways to travel.  Finding a flight or a hotel or creating an itinerary is the easy part.  The hard part is finding the motivation to jump into the unknown. It takes courage to decide to leave your home and venture into the unknown. Most people never take this step. When I decided ‘I want to travel the word’,  I sold everything to pursue my adventure.  My family and friends told me I was either crazy or very brave. When I returned from my first year traveling abroad, I met up with the same friends and this time they told me that they always wanted to do that, or I was lucky to be able to do that. From my point of view, luck wasn’t part of the success.  The only way you will succeed is if you decide to go travelling overseas and act on your decision. What= I have learned in my life is that if you want to do something, there are no excuses for not doing it. Of course, you are going to face problems, but each problem can be solved one by one very easily.

You can always find thousands of reasons to avoid going travelling for a prolonged period:

  • Is it dangerous to travel?
  • Can I afford it?
  • What about my responsibilities at home?
  • If I quit my job, am I going to find another one when I return?
  • I’m going to be alone, am I going to make any friends?

The list is endless and I’m sure you have plenty of other questions in your mind. All these questions are manufactured by the fear side of your brain. They are there because you grew up in a certain comfort zone. Your parents told you that success in life is to get a good education and to find a good job. You also grew up will the many advertisements you see about traveling around the world. These advertisements tell you that travel is expensive (eg. 50% off all-inclusive beach holidays, now £1500). Travel doesn’t have to be this expensive and the more you travel, the more you learn to travel. Cheap travel is a state of mind and I’m going to show you how to travel cheap for 50 quid a day.  In fact, it is even possible to travel for free and there are many cheap places to travel internationally.

first step

The first step is to decide when you want to go traveling. If not, you will always have something in your mind telling you that you can’t go because you have something in your calendar. If you keep waiting for the perfect opportunity to take a cheap trip, believe me you will wait for a long time because your brain is afraid to get out of its comfort zone. The brain doesn’t want you to do something it doesn’t know. Were you afraid when you first learned to drive a car? Your brain is here to protect you and considers everything new as dangerous. So, when you learned to drive, you were afraid but after a few months of driving, it becomes a habit and a new comfort zone is established. It is the same with traveling. Fear always comes at the start but afterwards travel will become a habit.  You will want to carry on because you will discover that travel offers a very good life style, which you will provide you with plenty of new experiences. It could be a sunset, learning how the locals live or a fantastic meal in the local market.

Some of you may think you can’t go traveling around the world because you are working in the real world, and in the real world we can’t get rid of the bills, mortgage or loan for the new car. In the real world, people believe they need to work to be able to have these things. Once again, this is a constraint created by society and the way you grew up. You need to work if you want to have a nice house. How many times have you heard that?  My father told me that. He wants the best for me, because he wants me to succeed in life and for generations success is to have a nice car, nice watch, and a nice house. However, is this really success? For most people, the answer is yes but not for me. For me, success is being able to do what I want and when I want. To have time to enjoy the simple things in life (eg. taking time to see the sunrise on the beach in Puerto Morelos, Mexico with a coffee in my hand). There is no price for that and it is free. For me, working all year to be able to pay off my house and car isn’t succeeding in life. I did that for a long time after my first year abroad but one day I realised that a lot of my parents’ friends were dying just after reaching retirement age. It seems that when it is finally time for you to travel and enjoy life because you have fulfilled your obligations, most of the time you can’t, because you don’t have enough energy left to do it.


So, fix your deadline now to go and travel and I can tell you that you are doing the right thing. Don’t think about all the questions or how you are going to achieve it, just take the calendar and put a departure date for about 6 months to one year from now. One tip I will give you is to avoid school holidays, as this will save you a lot of money. Remember that traveling for a long period of time means travelling smart, finding the cheapest way to travel and, in some instances, learning how to travel for free. I will help you to find the resources you need to achieve your goal. If it is of any reassurance to you, you are not the first person to make this decision. Many people have done this before you and more are going to do it after you. During your trip, you are going to meet a lot of people doing the same thing as you – trying to travel cheap. You will make new friends and even travel a little bit with them.

For my second big travel adventure, we bought a small catamaran and we sailed for 2 years. In the beginning, we thought we were the only ones doing this with young children, but quickly we realised that there were plenty of other couples with children traveling everywhere. Children aren’t an excuse either to not travel.  Traveling with children is an opportunity to give them the best schooling in the world.  We soon learned about the cheapest way to live with the richest experiences.

If I can do it and if others can do it, you are able to do it as well. My parents aren’t rich, and they never could help me with money. They just gave me the best education they could. I learned to respect people even if they have a different opinion to mine. You can always learn something from people. If you decide to travel, you need to reprogram your brain to have a completely open-minded spirit. You need to trust others. You need to taste food you never ate before. If locals offer you food, it would be offensive if you don’t eat it. Part of being a good traveller is respecting and participating in local customs and protocols, whether you think they are good or not. You also need to be aware of common practices in place in each of the countries you visit. For example, if you go to Japan never tip, because is considerate as offensive. On the other hand, if you travel to America, you need to tip between 15 to 20% as no tipping is considered as offensive and rude.

I’m French and when I was in school, I thought about why I needed to learn English.  I thought I would never go to England anyway, so what was the point. When I started to travel, I realised that English wasn’t a bad idea and I regret missing the opportunity to learn it at school. In life, you are going to have opportunities and it is up to you whether you take them or not. Travelling isn’t a question of chance, but whether you want to do it or not.

My parents always said to me to be careful when travelling because they saw on the TV that it’s dangerous in this place or another. When I was living on the Reunion Island (in the Indian Ocean), I remember my parents calling me because they saw on the French news that the volcano on the Reunion Island was erupting. This was news to me because the volcano was the same as it had been for the last few months – calm!  Sometimes, I’ve noticed that the news makes things bigger than they really are. They need to sensationalise things to be create newsworthy content and make money.  Looking back, I guess the volcano did smoke a little maybe but nothing else. So always take time to research the risks about where you are going but don’t believe everything. The world is a lot safer than what you see in the media or movies.

There is also no age limit to travel. When we travel, we meet a lot of people of different ages. If you are fit enough to carry your backpack and to walk, you can travel everywhere. Hostels aren’t just for young people. If you are going to stay in hostels, of course you are going to find young people, but also mid-age people. In hostels, you will find like-minded people and it is a great place to meet other travellers. You will also notice that all the other travellers head to the same type of guest houses. A good guest house is cheap with clean rooms.

If you are still worried about backpacking the world, don’t forget that you can still come back home if you dislike it. After a few months, you will be home-sick. We all have this feeling on one day or another. Why are we home-sick? This is simply because time doesn’t stop and when you are traveling your family and friend’s lives carry on. You are going to receive news about your friends with their new born baby and you weren’t there to enjoy it with them or you will receive pictures of a family Christmas and obviously you couldn’t share this moment with them. I remember when I was on the Reunion Island and I was fed up with the sun. I arrived on the island in July and it was 24 degrees. I was the only one to swim in the lagoon. It was winter for them and the locals were wearing long sleeved pullovers, whereas I was in shorts and t-shirts. The temperature carried on rising to 40 degrees and in December, it was very hot. For my body, something was wrong. It missed something and what it missed was the cold season. This is very strange because I love hot weather in general.

So, now you’ve booked your departure date, let’s talk about how you are going to achieve it.

15 Great Benefits of Traveling the World

How To Travel for Less The World And How to Travel On A Budget

From my own experience, you can travel the world with an average of £50 a day. In Australia, Europe and North America, it will be very difficult to travel on £50 as these counties are expensive.  However, in South America, India and other parts of Asia, it is very easy to travel with less than £50 a day (I’m talking British Pounds, but it is true as well with Dollars or Euros). This 50 will be the base of your budget. So, for one month of traveling it will be a total of 1,520 or 18,250 for one year. This looks a lot of money, doesn’t it? You might say you are spending less than 50 a day now, this is because you are not thinking about the real cost of living.

Let’s compare the cost of travel with what are you paying now. Take a piece of paper and write down all your expenses: rent or mortgage, car loan, insurances for home and car, all the other bills for your house, food, mobile phone, restaurants, drinking with friends, cinema, shopping, daily coffees before work, cigarettes if you smoke, commuting fares to go to work and money for your expensive holiday once a year. Add them together and you will have calculated your monthly spend.

Have a look at the results and multiply it by 12 and then compare it with 18,250. I’m going to guess that you are spending a lot more at home, or that you are very close to the cost of a year traveling.  Wouldn’t it be great if you could be on vacation all the time for less than or at least the same as your current monthly spend? The solution is to find 1,520 a month.

money pig

How Can You Find This Money to Travel the World?

This will depend on your own situation. The solution will not be the same if you are aged 40-50 and on the property ladder or if you are just starting to work.

The best way to start is to deduct your monthly expenses and remove them from your monthly salary.  The result will be your first saving. Next, look at some of your expenses. Within these expenses, you have spending for restaurants, cinema, TV packages, drinks and mobile phone. You can save a lot of money by stopping TV packages and entertainment. For mobile phones, you can look at a very cheap plan. Do you really need the latest iPhone?  Start making some small changes to your spending straight away.  Learning to make economies and how to live cheap in your home country is your first step to affordable travel. Ask your bank to make an automatic transfer from your regular bank account to a savings account just after you receive your pay.

Other ways to help finance your travel include using a credit card like Amex or British Airways. These cards reward you with Airmiles towards your plane ticket. Set up an automatic transfer every month so that you never pay fees. Another idea is to buy a big jar and put your loose change in it. Money will accumulate money without you even noticing.  Keep records of all your expenses to see where you can save.  Perhaps you can take on extra work for a catering business or become a waiter for a pub during the weekend. Think back to the jobs you were doing when you were a student.

If you already have a property with equity, you can raise cash this way. Sell your house and then buy a flat or two with the cash and rent them. Very quickly, you will raise your 1520 from renting your flat and your equity will still be available if you need it.

The trick is to have enough willpower to achieve your goal. There are plenty of solutions, if you can’t raise 1,520 for one year.  Just plan to travel for 6 months and you can find work as you travel to enable you to carry on for longer. You can save a lot of money when travelling by doing house-sitting. This is a great way of traveling on a budget.  You get the accommodation for free and this is helpful as it’s the most expensive daily expense. Another tip about how to travel for cheap is that you can travel by commercial ships. You can find ships going everywhere and if you write an email to the company they may allow you free travel or for very little charge. If you combine the two ideas, you can travel for free and get paid!  You can also think about volunteering in churches or temples in return for free food.  These international travel tips should be starting to show you how to travel the world for free.

Read my next post (How To Travel For Free) for travel hacks to help you find free flights and accommodation around the world.

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