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.
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 🙂