How to Travel the World When You Have Little Money
We’ve all spent too much time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, and 70% of us have been spending time developing our post-pandemic holiday plans. With so many of us feeling far too familiar with the four walls of our apartments and houses, we’ll take any distant shore available.
The problem? It turns out that traveling is expensive. And it’s not like the pandemic has done much good for the average person’s wallet.
So what’s the secret? How do you travel the world on a budget? Is such a thing even possible?
Yes, dear reader, it is. Join us as we delve into the myriad ways that anyone can travel around the world on a budget!
Teaching Your Language Abroad
If you speak English to a native level of proficiency: congratulations. That right there is your ticket to pretty much any spot on the globe that happens to take your fancy.
But even if your level of English is less than native, there are still plenty of opportunities to teach overseas. You could try teaching beginners’ English classes or even branch out into teaching other ‘big’ languages if you have proficiency in them. French, Spanish, Russian, and Mandarin are always in demand somewhere, after all.
But if it’s English you’re teaching, there are very few places you can’t go. Places all over the world — in Africa, South America, even Europe — want English teachers. Asia in particular has a particular demand for them. Japan even has a government-run scheme to attract foreign TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) teachers.
The great thing about teaching abroad is the opportunity to live in a community, not take a holiday there. Some teachers argue it’s the best way to travel the world on a budget because you can forge lasting friendships and community links in a new country.
People meet husbands, wives, best friends, and more while teaching overseas. In fact, plenty of people who teach abroad choose not to come back. It’s got to be a pretty good holiday if you decide not to ever end it.
And, of course, you get paid. You’re working, after all, which means you can take your time and really familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of a new country and culture.
No, not like a dog. If you want to travel around the world on a budget, WWOOF (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms) is an organization that can help.
WWOOF connects would-be travelers with farms around the globe that need a little extra help from volunteers. Unlike teaching, you won’t get paid while working at a WWOOF opportunity, but you will be provided with room and board. Since food and hotels are probably the biggest expenses there are when vacationing, that can be a pretty sweet deal.
A great way to use WWOOF to travel the world on a shoestring budget is to look for opportunities in countries with super high costs of living. You can save thousands of dollars by volunteering at WWOOF locations that would normally demand sky-high accommodation costs from prospective visitors.
Be warned, though: you’ll have to work for that roof over your head. Like with teaching, this kind of travel is a serious commitment. You’ll be expected to help out with actual, genuine farm labor, which is naturally not to everyone’s taste.
But if you can stomach breaking a sweat, woofing offers another great way to really enmesh yourself with the community in a new country. You’re not a tourist, you have a job to do and all the social connections that entails.
But be prepared to pick a few vegetables while you’re there.
Try a Travel Loan
Hey, we get it. For lots of people, a vacation should be a vacation, not a different kind of work. If you want to travel the world on a budget and not have to worry about the 9-to-5, you can look into travel loans!
Yep, that’s right. You can get loans for your holidays, now. And why not? Taking the time to care for yourself isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity, and getting away for a week or two is a great way to practice self-care.
So have a look around. There are all sorts of providers out there offering all sorts of rates. You might be worried about, well, the things people normally worry about when it comes to loans, but you don’t have to. There are all sorts of nifty, flexible repayment plans floating around out there.
Consider a holiday loan from Plenti, for example. Being able to repay a travel loan over the course of anything from 1 to 7 years puts a sunny vacation in anyone’s reach. Give it some thought!
Live a Monastic Life
No, seriously. Want to know a cheap, comfortable, incredibly overlooked way to travel around the world on a budget? Check out the local monasteries in the place you want to visit.
Monasteries in lots of places will often house travelers for incredibly cheap rates, and even provide meals. They are, after all, not really out to make a profit, but to provide charity. That can make monastery-heavy countries some of the best places to travel the world on a budget.
It’s also, you might have noticed, a pretty unique way to do it. Going on a monastery-to-monastery trip through, say, the Balkans is an experience not many people have had. People back at home will be wowed as you regale them with stories of the harsh, ascetic discipline of the monks you lived with.
The main issue with this kind of travel is it can be pretty hard to organize. Inexplicably, very few monasteries have websites with booking portals. You’ll have to rely on getting someone who speaks the local language to place a call and make a reservation, which can be hard to sort out before you’re in-country.
Of course, you could just try riding up to the front door on a donkey. Seems apt.
Live a (Different Kind Of) Monastic Life
Be honest, when you go on holiday, how much of your time do you spend in local pubs, clubs, and bars? And how much do you think you spend on drinks when you’re in there?
Hey, holidays are about having fun. But if you can be a bit disciplined about splashing the cash on nights out, you’ll find your money goes much, much further.
So take a leaf out of the book of the monks you’re probably staying with and have a more sober holiday than normal. Traveling the world on a budget gets way easier when a huge chunk of that budget isn’t dedicated to inessential stuff like expensive nights out.
Even better, you can use the time and money you save to explore and enjoy new aspects of the country you’re in. Galleries, parks, museums: they’re great, cheap (if not free), and you’ll probably remember them better than a hard-partying night on the town.
Of course, that might all sound super boring. In which case, maybe one of these other tips is more to your liking.
Try a Mobile Home
If YouTube’s ‘travel’ section is anything to go by, approximately 300% of couples are currently traveling the world in a van and vlogging about it.
Jokes aside, there’s a reason so many seasoned travel vloggers are living the van life. It’s a fun, cost-effective way to travel the world on a budget. You take your home with you, don’t have to make reservations, and the only cost is the fuel.
What’s more, mobile homes can get pretty luxurious these days. Sure, if you want a jacuzzi and a 12-hob cooker you’re gonna be paying a lot of money, but a comfortable, humble home on wheels is actually quite reasonable.
And once you have it, you have it for good. You can go wherever you want for however long you want (Visas permitting).
Moscow to Vladivostok? Done. Cairo to Cape Town? Let’s go. LA to Rio de Janeiro? Sounds intense, let’s do it.
Or, drive somewhere beautiful, park up by a beach, and enjoy a week by the clear blue ocean. The world is your oyster when your holiday home has wheels and an engine.
But make sure you get a mobile home that can actually fit everyone you want to take. Trying to fit your spouse and kids into a Volkswagen camper isn’t going to drive anyone anywhere except insane.
Travel the World on a Budget but in Style
And there you have it, some of our favorite ways to travel the world on a budget. Whether you work hard, party hard, want unlimited freedom, or just fancy living like a monk for a week or two (hey, to each their own), there’s an option out there for you.
But don’t blame us when you love doing it so much you don’t want to come back!
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