50 days abroad for $1056 USD – Part 1

When I tell people I have quit my job and decided to travel the world I am greeted with a few responses, the most common is “Where did you get all the money?!?”  It takes everything I have not to laugh in their face.

Travel does not have to cost an arm and a leg- you can see the most beautiful places in the world for even less than I have, as I have a tendency to splurge sometimes – a liter of wine anyone? Yes please!

40 euro on a hotel in Sparta for a few hours? yup. (should have brought a sleeping bag- epic FAIL on my part). This first post is covering accommodations, and how to get around spending $100 a night on a hotel.

let's hit the road!

let’s hit the road!

I know everyone has heard me preach about the wonders of Couchsurfing. Like every time I mention this organization I have to remind you- couchsurfing is not to be viewed simply as a place to crash- it is an “exchange” organization. Find a way to give back to your hosts- or do some hosting before you start couch hopping!

That having been said, it is a perfect way to save money on the road, and most importantly to make lasting connections with fellow travelers. The money you save on hostels is nothing in comparison to the friendships you will gain through this site. If you’re even remotely interested, I encourage you to start a profile and wait for someone to ask to be hosted by you – then, be brave– say yes, and open your home and your heart. You’ll never be the same.


Another route is HelpX.Net. Similar to WWOOFing in that most of the options are organic farms looking for workers. The premise behind HelpX is similar to CouchSurfing. Create a profile and browse by area for people who are looking for workers. Not a green thumb? That’s okay (I kill plants like it was my job) there are other options: hostels, B&Bs, teaching English- the list goes on. Unlike CS, this website costs money to belong to, and is just another way of filtering out people who are serious versus people who are wasting hosts time. I had two weeks of accommodation in gorgeous Monemvasia thanks to this fantastic site and will be spending harvest (Grapes, of course) in Italy working through this program- go me!


Hostels. I know, you saw Hostel 1 & 2 and are pretty sure you are going to die if you set foot in one. Well, I’ve been in hostels on 3 continents so far and am still alive to talk about them. Hostels are a great (read: cheap) way to crash if you can’t find a couch. If you’re a shy traveler, you can work your way up to the dorm style rooms by scoring a private room for usually only double the cost. Great sites for finding hostels (yes, use more than one site to check!!) are HostelWorld, Hostels, HostelBookers, and TFTHostels. Yes, you will have to share a bathroom, you won’t have a hairdryer, you might have to pay for your own sheets or towels – but you won’t be spending more than $15(USD) to sleep for a night.


Friends. Friends of Friends- Acquaintances of a friend’s friend. Use social media to reach out- Twitter, Facebook, Emails. Let everyone know where you are, where you will be going and where you dream of going. Odds are someone will be able to get you in contact with a person who might have a place to crash, or at the very least, show you around their city. The more people you know- the better your odds of having the hookup! Be friendly, be genuine, be entertaining- homes & hearts will be open to you before you know it.


Street Sleeping. It’s not glamorous or comfortable, but it happens. You are sore in the morning, you look like a train wreck, you wonder why there are bootprints on your face and pray the pile of drool on your shirt is yours (seriously, how did the bootprint get on my face?). Pop 2 Excedrin PM and wake up in exactly 7 hours ready to see the city! If you are gonna tramp it up this way, please use some common sense. Bus or train stations, in front of churches, or near hospitals or other public places are usually the best option. It’s only one night of your life, and let’s be real- you’ve probably slept weirder places when you’re drunk… (or is that just me?)


In the end, the only real question is, what’s more important to you? Seeing more of this world than you once thought possible, or having a plush hotel to stay in?


Note : this is a  REALLY old post from 5 years ago, for all the new information visit the BUDGET TRAVEL page and get yourself on the road! Nowadays I cover more responsible tourism and vegan traveling posts, but budgeting tips never go out of style 🙂

Brandy Bell loves adventuring around the world. She's been a solo female traveler since 2006 and has visited over 25 countries, made countless international friends, and now writes to inspire you to travel in a sustainable and responsible way.

'50 days abroad for $1056 USD – Part 1' have 8 comments

  1. April 22, 2010 @ 6:15 pm HydroJen

    Hey Miss Brandy…

    I signed up for Couch Surfing… paid my donation and waititng for my post card. However, I cannot for the life of me figure out how to add you as a friend??? Can you add me? My user name is HydroJen and the rest is my real name and address…

    Muahhhh, love love love hearing about your travel experiences! When and where do you want to meet up lady? I’m serious… I wanna come see you!


  2. April 23, 2010 @ 12:14 am sarah (Catch A Cub In Its Den)

    great post! i am already an active CS host, but i just emailed myself a link to HelpExchange.net to serve as a reminder when the time comes. thanks for the tip!


  3. April 24, 2010 @ 2:01 pm EagerExistence

    I’ve been on CouchSurfing for years, but only started hosting last year. Haven’t had the chance to surf yet, but looking forward to it.

    I’d love to share this article, but you don’t have any buttons 🙁

    Try adding stumbleupon, delicio.us, facebook, and twitter buttons (to name a few).


  4. May 6, 2010 @ 9:47 pm Ryan Reichert

    Guess I should have started reading here rather than on the About Trip page! Looks like you’re on CS already!




  5. May 12, 2010 @ 2:58 am decidida74

    Great post! Another Cser here. It is great to be able to meet like minded people while you are thousands of miles away from your hometown friends. I also agree with hostels, in Cambodia you can find places for as little as $2 a night. And the street sleeping, I actually tried to stay at the Yangon Airport but they close at 8:30pm… Oh no! Thankfully the fancy hotel across the street allowed me to sleep in their lobby on a couch after they made a copy of my passport.


  6. May 20, 2010 @ 10:48 am Porfirio Racedo

    A big thank you for your blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Really Cool.


  7. July 15, 2010 @ 3:12 pm tsa locks

    Really cool post. We would be definitely using some of those tips as we are poor students trying to go around US with limited fund. I will come back to this site again. Thanks!


    • July 15, 2010 @ 3:58 pm livevicuriously

      great! I am just about to stop being lazy and write out part 2- so stay tuned! let me know if you have any specific questions on anything I wrote about, Im more than happy to help and know the US territory pretty well. Of course, I would love to help set you up with CouchSurfing friends of mine back in USA. Take care & have fun!


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