By: Daniel Wade
Traveling, this is something that we can all agree on which creates wonder an amazement in our imagination. We dream of visiting far off places so we can develop meaningful connections with locals and partake in their culture.
We set the stage in our mind and imagine what it would be like. Eating their food, drinking their drinks, and walking foreign streets while dodging pushy street vendors selling their handmade crafts. We can hear the strange foreign musical tunes being played in the distance. Walking past an outdoor market catches our noses attention with savory aromas from food so foreign our eyes are in disbelief.
This races through our mind as we daydream at our 9-5 job, then suddenly reality sets in. A sentence starts to form in our mind, “The cost of traveling is too much, it’s just unrealistic for me”. Well don’t listen to the naysayers, yourself included, because traveling has never been easier.
The most expensive part while traveling is the airline ticket. Costing upwards of $1500 to some parts of the world for a roundtrip ticket. Luckily it can also cost you as little as $300 for a roundtrip ticket to Central America. The trick is checking flights through as many avenues as possible and on many different dates of departure and return. Having a more flexible travel schedule is a huge money saver. Booking tickets through sites such as skyscanner and kayak have always been my go to sources for cheap tickets.
After your ticket has been purchased your next major expense is going to be hotels and eating out. You can avoid the high prices by visiting a destination during the “off” season when tourism is at its lowest. Staying in a country via couchsurfing, homestays and hostels are becoming more and more prevalent and are one of the cheapest ways to visit a country. Couchsurfing and homestays are often free or cost very little per week. I stayed in Hanoi, Vietnam last week in a homestay and it cost me $18 for 3 days. A plus to these options is that you will be interacting with more travelers and locals. Also, you will get the more authentic version of the culture and you will be able to see how the locals live and be able to be introduced to their customs.
Other options for traveling the world and keeping as much money in your pocket is WOOFING. Which is where you work on farms in trade for meals and a place to sleep at night. Also some nonprofit organizations pro-rate rooms to you if you volunteer in their organization for a set period of time. I’ve tried this option when I went to Nicaragua to help teach local 1st graders basic grammar, it was a great experience that submerged me in the culture.
You don’t have to be rich to travel, you just have to be savvy and be able to get outside your comfort zone. This might sound daunting at first because it is the path less traveled, but it will continue to be the most authentic way to see the world.