What does budget travel mean to you?
For some of my friends, this means a demotion to a three-star hotel instead of a luxury property. For the others, there are their private rooms for the hostel dorms.
Budget travel is unique for everyone. The broadest definition of budget travel is to be financially aware during your travels.
I asked my Fans a question on Facebook: How do you go on a low Budget? Hostel-Dormitories? Couchsurfing? Ever eat in a Restaurant, ever? They had a lot of good answers and I included them in this post.
Extreme Budget Travel
I define extreme budget travel-or what I like to call “on the Hobo” – as travel while spending as little money as possible.
Accommodation? Only free. Couchsurfen or camp in your own tent or Van. Maybe sleep in churches, temples or mosques. Free accommodation on working concerts. Hostel dorms if there is no other option.
Transportation? Free or very inexpensive only. Hitchhiking or travel in your own vehicle. If anything, an occasional bus ride or public transport.
Eat? Only inexpensive. Inexpensive supermarket or Street Food fare. No restaurants ever. Maybe an occasional Kebab to take away.
Attractions? Only free. Walk around the cities and take photos, enjoy free museums and attractions. In the countryside, hike and explore. Forget about paying for a ticket.
How to pass? Work from time to Time. WWOOFing, Workaway concerts, working in hostels or Bars, busking, random concerts along the way.
And while there are occasional exceptions, the above is largely how extreme economy travelers spend their time on the road.
Here are some Examples:
We visited more than 50 countries in our Van spending per day
Here’s how a man traveled through Southeast Asia
I’ve just returned from a 5-month trip. I have hitchhiked over 15,000 km and have been living as unsheltered for about 4 months.
Extreme budget travel professionals
Travel longer. See more. The less you spend, the more time you have to see everything the world has to offer. The price you would pay for a two-week trip in the mid-range could become a months-long extravaganza when traveling with the Hobo.
Enjoy the same attractions at a fraction of the price. No one asks you to walk around the Piazzas of Florence, or pay anything to enjoy the white sandy beaches of Boracay. It’s great to look around and know that you paid a lot less than everyone else!
Expensive goals are not taboo. One thing I noticed is that extreme budget travelers are not afraid of expensive countries. You’ll find as many extreme budget travelers in Norway and Australia as in Laos and India.
With more local experience. You will get acquainted with the locals, whether surfing in the locals ‘ houses, working with locals, hitchhiking with locals or shopping at local markets. Many travelers will pass through the same city without talking to someone who was not a waiter or an employee of the hostel.
The time of your life-on very little money. You will one day tell great stories to your children!
The ability to extend your trip indefinitely. If you pick up enough paid gigs in between, you can keep traveling forever. This works particularly well when taking shows, either officially or under the table, in high-paying countries like Australia.
The pitfalls of extreme economic travel
Reduced Security. If you don’t have funds for accommodation or Private Transportation, what if none of the city’s Couchsurfing hosts address you? What happens if your Bus is after, if you arrive in Tegucigalpa after at night and you cannot afford a Taxi for your accommodation?
Lack of cool activities and social events. You meet a cool group of travel companions and they all go white water rafting. They want to join them – but they can’t. And of course you can go over the Sydney Harbour bridge if the Bridgeclimb is out of your price range, but will you go to Leon, Nicaragua and skip for boarding? What about a wine tasting in a Tuscan town? And even though it’s just a shuttle to the beach that all your friends take from the hostel, you’re stuck on the much longer 25-cent Bus.
Less Exposure to local Cuisine. Yes, there are fresh produce and markets and supermarkets can be your own adventure, but if you make pasta at the hostel every night, you miss one of the best parts of the trip — food.
No backup savings. In an emergency-let’s say you have to go home to the committal of a dear friend-you do not have the money for it. Most of the time, travel insurance will only reimburse you if you are a member of your immediate family.
Isolation and discomfort. If you do not feel comfortable in your accommodation, you will have fewer opportunities and you may be far from the city center or tourist area. If you are limited with money, you can’t just pick up and leave — you may have to hold on to it for at least one night.
No alone time. If you’re a natural extrovert, this probably won’t be a problem, but if you’re traveling on the Hobo, you’ll have to get in touch with a lot of people every day, especially if you’re surfing couch surfing. If you are an introvert, you will struggle to find time alone to relax your mind. (However, Solo Camping is a way around this.)
Others scoff. Conversely, you can wear out day after day, depending on the others. Sure, you can help with cooking, cleaning, or playing music, and you know you’ll one day pay it back to other travelers, but you might be uncomfortable if strangers regularly greet you and feed you for free.