Why You Don’t Need to Be a Millionaire to Travel the World
I’ve been thinking recently about my recent trips abroad. I went to Thailand last month, spent two weeks backpacking through Asia, then came home via Singapore (which was actually quite expensive) and London. It wasn’t exactly the cheapest option but I had fun nonetheless.
The thing is it didn’t bother me at all. Yes, I could probably cut down some costs here and thereby being more careful with my spending. But ultimately I’m happy I did that because I got to see so many new things, meet lots of interesting people, explore incredible places, and generally experience new cultures. And who cares if I paid $500 instead of $200? The point of these vacations isn’t really about saving money per se it’s about making memories.
So whether you’re planning a big overseas adventure or simply want to get away from it all this summer, here are 8 reasons why you don’t need to be a millionaire to travel the world.
You can always find a way
Maybe you think you’ll never be able to afford to go somewhere exotic like Australia, New Zealand, Europe, etc., but that shouldn’t stop you from trying! There are plenty of websites offering affordable, unique destinations such as Go Abroad Adventures which offer packages for backpackers looking to volunteer abroad.
Or perhaps you’d prefer to spend time volunteering locally rather than going on a long tour overseas? You might even consider finding a hostel closer to where you live which would allow for cheaper stays over longer periods. If you do decide to book something far away, look for low season rates or ask friends for recommendations.
Or maybe you haven’t thought about it yet, but you should try searching for flights using Skyscanner or Kayak. They often come up with better results than official airline sites. Another handy tool is Google Flights, which lets you search for popular destinations and compare prices between airlines and hotels. Once you know roughly what you want, start researching different routes and plan accordingly.
It all depends on your mindset and attitude as well as what you value most in life
Yes, you may feel limited by your current financial situation but that doesn’t mean you can’t change any part of your itinerary. For example, I mentioned earlier that I flew directly home after my Asian vacation.
That was mostly because I wanted to save money upfront (and also because I felt jetlagged). However, since my budget was tight, I decided to forego accommodation altogether and stay with friends/family nearby. This meant I saved money without missing out on accommodations entirely, plus I ended up having a great time anyway.
If you can swing staying in hostels, that’s fantastic. But if you choose to splurge every now and again, you won’t miss out on luxury experiences by doing so. Similarly, you could opt for a nicer hotel occasionally if you’re worried about cost. In fact, it’s worth noting that many of the best hotels charge higher prices during peak times. So keep your eyes peeled and don’t worry so much!
Also, remember that quality trumps quantity sometimes. Going to one amazing place does not equal several average ones. Choose carefully based on personal preferences and values.
A Budget Trip Isn’t Just About Savings
Some people prioritize “saving” over everything else. Saving money means they will only eat ramen noodles and chicken rice until their next paycheck. Other people enjoy variety and diversity and therefore appreciate exploring multiple restaurants throughout their trips. Budgeting comes naturally to some people, others struggle. Whatever works for you is fine. What matters is that you’re comfortable enough to stick to whatever your chosen route happens to be.
But regardless of how much cash you have left in your pocket each day, it’s important to remember that you’re traveling for pleasure. Whether you’re eating tacos at 5 am, taking off your shoes and relaxing under a beach umbrella, hiking trails at sunrise, sipping cocktails poolside, or camping overnight, go ahead and indulge yourself whenever possible. No amount of money can buy happiness, but it definitely helps.
Don’t forget that there are other ways of getting around too! For those of us living near major cities, public transit is usually pretty good. Of course, depending on where you live, this might not apply.
My parents live in the middle of nowhere, so bus rides were few and far between growing up. We used to rent cars fairly regularly though. Depending on where you live, driving can help you reach certain areas quicker than public transport, especially if you’re heading towards tourist attractions.
However, renting a car can also be costly. Especially considering gas prices right now. Plus, parking fees add to the overall expense. Instead, try picking up hitchhiking companions along the way, or use apps like Ride Share Carpool or Hitchhike World. Both services connect drivers willing to give lifts with passengers looking for them.
Alternatively, if you’re feeling adventurous, you could learn to drive yourself. Check out this article on how to become a self-driving expert. Lastly, don’t underestimate the power of walking. Most countries have extensive pedestrian zones, giving you access to tons of cultural sights. Alternatively, you can walk wherever you want within city limits, and it will likely prove less expensive than paying for a taxi ride.
Don’t forget that cycling is another viable method of transport. Many European nations encourage biking, providing safe infrastructure, bike lanes, and bike stations everywhere. Take advantage of this opportunity and hop on a bike.
In short, don’t limit yourself unnecessarily. Even if you can’t afford to fly to Europe, maybe you could afford to hire a driver and visit smaller towns? Maybe you can manage a hike instead of hiring a private transfer to climb Mount Kilimanjaro? The possibilities are endless.
Know when to say no to freebies and offers.
This applies to food tours, activities, shopping sprees, museum passes, airport transfers, etc. When deciding whether or not to participate in a particular activity, question yourself honestly: Is participating really worth its price tag? Will I gain anything tangible from it aside from the satisfaction of knowing I participated? Do I genuinely care about what I am seeing and experiencing? Am I excited to go? Does it align with my core beliefs?
Try saying yes less frequently. Remember that nothing is truly free. Sure, you may get discounts and perks, but the true cost is what you sacrifice when you accept things you don’t absolutely need or desire.
That said, it’s okay to shop sales. Just watch out for hidden extras. Some retailers include steep service charges on items purchased online, limiting how much you can actually save. And then there are taxes and shipping fees. Make sure you understand the total cost of buying an item before committing to purchase.
Likewise, it’s smart to avoid signing up for membership programs unless you really need them. These tend to be pricey, and companies rarely send discounts your way anyways.
Remember that you can negotiate prices with vendors. Sometimes it pays to haggle.
Just keep in mind that it isn’t always necessary to pay full retail prices, especially when selling secondhand goods. Sites like eBay and Facebook Marketplace are excellent sources for purchasing vintage pieces. Also, try looking for shops run by locals. Often, they sell authentic crafts at lower prices.
Here are 7 useful tools to bargain hard like a pro:
Don’t forget that you can bring gifts and souvenirs home with you.
Most airports provide duty free allowances nowadays, meaning you can stock up on goodies without breaking the bank. Shop wisely and strategically, however, and read product descriptions closely. Not all products qualify for duty free status, so check beforehand.
As for ideas, we love discovering cool stuff ourselves, so we suggest browsing Instagram accounts like @worldofstylexplore, @soloexplores, @thelittlethingsproject, @traveldiaries, and @journeysbyjiu. Here are 6 inspiring Pinterest boards for cheap travel inspiration.
Similarly, browse hashtags such as #adventurerstwitterdrama, #instameetforaipod, #foodporngram, and #photography.
Finally, remember that there’s no shortage of resources available to help you save money on international purchases. Online marketplaces such as Amazon Local, Alibaba Global