“I don’t have the time.” “It’s too expensive.” “I can’t afford it!” We’ve heard it all when it comes to excuses for backing out of your traveling dreams. Between the cost of airfare, accommodation, and food, the price of travel adds up pretty quickly. But what if we told you there are ways to see the world, without burning a hole in your wallet? Here are a few ways to actually save money through traveling abroad.
If you happen to be working in a job that offers the option to work remotely, you should see dollar signs flashing in front of your eyes right now. Telecommuting for a job, essentially means you can live anywhere in the world (as long as you have the internet and phone access) while maintaining your job and salary. The average cost of a two bedroom in Manhattan is $3500… yikes! Living abroad, especially in areas where the value of the dollar is strong and/or the cost of living is much (MUCH) lower, you could save thousands of dollars a month. For example, Chiang Mai, Thailand is a popular home base for many digital nomads. With luxury, furnished, one-bedroom apartments, in the center of the city for as little as $400 a month (which may be a mere fraction of the rent you’re currently paying), can you blame them?
If you’re not a digital nomad (and not trying to be either) and working remotely from your dream destination isn’t an option, there’s still hope for you to add to that savings account while you get your travel fix! Teaching overseas is a fantastic option for you to see the world, while still making a living. So if you’re seeking adventure, with shallow pockets teaching abroad could be the answer to your lack-of-travel woes. Many teaching abroad programs have quite a few monetary perks and benefits beyond just a salary. Take English First for instance. In this program, you can earn up to $28,000 per year and teachers receive free accommodation, health insurance, language lessons and flight cost reimbursement.
Easy Access to… More Travel!
There are many more perks and savings that you can lock down while you’re abroad than what immediately meets the eye. While you’re living, working or just eat-pray-loving your way in your desired locale overseas, chances are that you’re much closer to a ton of other travel destinations on your list. Whether you’re looking to travel by bus, plane, train or car, choosing a destination strategically so that it’s in close proximity to these other locations also means paying less for your travel transportation. Within a few hours from the popular digital nomad hub of Budapest lies Prague, Venice, and Vienna. Train fares from Budapest to any of these three must-see cities start as low as $13. Not only can you get to these destinations for a fraction of the cost for a round-trip from the U.S., but you also reserve the ability to see each city with time and depth, as opposed to rushing through it in your tight 10-day trip, where places are merely spots to cross off a bucket list.
Eating Like a Local
Wherever you decide to venture to, the cost of grub and eating out is always one that may burn a tiny hole in that wallet of yours. Enter local eats. The corner neighborhood cafe may have your favorite cappuccino and almond croissant, but that fancy breakfast may cost you a total of $8-$10. In cities like Athens, Rome and Paris you can walk to a local bake shop for your morning coffee-croissant fix (fresh out of the oven) for less than $5, which either means you can double up on croissants or save yourself a few dollars every morning. We’re not saying the cost of food is cheaper at all times when you’re traveling abroad, but many countries have a much more bustling street and local food scene than we have here in the U.S., which for you means you can eat an entire day’s worth of delicious meals, for half (if not less) of the average cost of a meal at a sit-down restaurant. If gastronomic bliss with a side of savings isn’t reason enough to travel more, we’re not sure what is!
(Don’t) Shop ‘Til You Drop
Yes, I’m looking at you shopaholic. If you’re a person that loves to travel and loves to travel often (or tries to cram in as many sites, cities and countries as possible into every trip) you’re going to need to travel light. Whether you’re in a location semi-permanently for work or you’re traveling solely for leisure, those jam-packed travel itineraries mean you’re going to need to travel light. Ultimately, your intense schedule and need to travel as weightlessly as possible means, you’re going to have to kick your shopping habits as well! When seeing as many new places and having as many adventures as possible as at the top of your travel agenda, there’s much less pressure to buy things, because, well, you can’t even carry them with you! If you find yourself still unable to kick that shopping addiction to the curb, there’s a way for you to quench your shopping thirst, without spending a fortune. Make like a local and head to the market place. Not only are items generally cheaper, you can also haggle your way down and land yourself a pretty sweet bargain!
Make a Difference
…while also saving money while you travel. A little help can go a long way in various volunteer opportunities abroad. You’ll often find that programs include accommodation, a few meals a day, and in larger organizations such as IVHQ you may even have scheduled trips and excursions, built right into your itinerary and fees. If you’re looking to be a part of the growing voluntourism trend, without paying the upfront costs, try doing some research to see if there are any local farms, vineyards or other hands-on opportunities in the area you’re looking to travel to. Check out Workaway, a website with a vast list of opportunities that are not through an organization, but are instead posted by local businesses instead. Many of these offer free housing and meals in exchange for labor and help in the fields. Others offer hostels and low-cost communal living for all of their volunteers.
Do you have any other tips on how to go the distance with a barely-there budget? Tell us about it in the comments below!