I have travelled quite a lot in the past two years and there were months when I did not work and only studied in order to get a TEFL certificate and there were months when I worked part-time. There is no question people might wonder how can I afford it. The truth is that I used some of my savings and also saved a lot during the months I was working. Some might think that trip to Southeast Asia is something only rich can afford. But that´s not true. Three weeks of low cost travel around Thailand can cost less than two weeks in a fancy hotel in Greece. So what´s the secret? Below are few things which work for me:
Make a budget
Before your trip you should sit and think how much money you would like to spend in total. Set up a budget for flights, hotel and each day. Do some research on internet to find out the cost of living in a given country. The best website for this is numbeo. You should have an idea about how much money will you need per day to be able to afford nice food and coffee.
don´t book your flights immediately
Ok, so you picked your destination. Now make a list of all the airlines flying there from your town/city and go thru them. You should start at least two months before your desired date of departure. It´s also good to consider how much baggage each of them offers and whether the ticket is refundable. One advise – they know when you are on their website and they can monitor what you are searching for, so what will probably happen at the end of the day when you decide to book your flight, is that the price will be all of a sudden higher. That´s why you should open an incognito window and start your booking again. You can also use Skyscanner and sign up for a particular flying route and when a good deal appers, you will be notified via email.
Travel low cost
If you need to travel between Asian countries choose some low cost airline. There are massive differences in prices when you compare same route with for example AirAsia (low cost) and Malaysia Airlines (non budget airline). You can also sign up for their promo´s which for example Air Asia is offering a lot. Use public transport instead of taxi and if you have time on your hands travel by bus or train instead of airplane. If you are about to rent a motorbike, don´t rent from the first rental you will see but search for more and compare. You will see there will be some difference.
If you are travelling only for few days, try to pack all your stuff in a hand luggage. Sometimes the cost of a check-in baggage equals the cost of fly ticket itself, which is insane. I know, it might be difficult but get the miniatures of the basic cosmetics and don´t carry too much clothes.
Research transport to your place of stay
Before boarding on your plane, find out how will you get from the airport to your hotel. If you do, you save some money instead of just jumping into the taxi. Some airlines offer a bus ticket with your flight ticket so worth checking it out. Look for bus and train options as well.
Save on your room
If you travel solo, are not too spoiled and wish to meet new people, then stay in a dormitory room. These days you can find pretty cool, cosy, comfortable, well-equipped cheap rooms. Some hostels usually have a kitchen with fridge, kettle and dishes which are available to use for everyone. They have washing machine and dryer. Basically anything you might need. Other option is to try Couchsurfing meaning you sleep on a couch at someone´s house for free. Never tried but I believe it can be a good experience. You need to create a profile and then just contact your future hosts. Advice – check the reviews!
eat like a local
Eating and drinking coffee at the chains like Starbucks, Pizza Hut or Nando´s will cost you money. If you still want to eat nice food for a good price, follow the locals! For example here in Malaysia we ate plastic (not amazingly tasty) burgers at Nando´s and for two people we paid 11 eur. Today we went to the food court in the mall where we were the only tourist and two plates of rice with chicken and steamed veggies cost us 2,60 eur in total and it was really good!
DO SOME WORK IN EXCHANGE FOR YOUR ROOM AND FOOD
You can travel the world even if you don´t have much on your bank account. All you need to do is to register at websites like WorkAway or Wwoof and find a kind of you job you would fancy. The work can be anything from working at a hostel, teaching or farming. You contact the host, exchange and agree all the neccesary info and for few hours of work per day you get free room and meals.