Dear readers, some of you are old loyal readers that enjoy seeing new posts once a week about stocks or dividend income, and some of you are totally new to Stockles. That means that you might not know the true purpose of my blog.
Stockles, What’s the true purpose?
The goal behind this blog is to educate, inform and inspire people to live their lives in a more comfortable and exciting way. So, this time, we will step away from the normal stock blog post, and I will tell you how you can travel the world on a budget. Seems interesting? Then continue reading.
Who am I to tell people how to travel cheap? Well, I consider myself a well-traveled man. During 2015 – 2016 I traveled alone for a whole year, visited 25 countries and had an average budget of around $25. I even stayed in Vietnam for one and a half month for free.
So, how did I do it? Did I stop eating? Did I sleep on the street? Nope. I traveled smart and now, I’m going to teach you how to travel smart as well.
Lesson 1 – Transportation
The first time I traveled in Europe I did it with a so-called Interrail card. You pay a set amount for a time period and then you can travel on a train for unlimited stops. This literally means that you can go wherever you want in Europe and visit almost every country for a small sum of cash. Sounds amazing, yeah. I know! But, yes, unfortunately, there is a but.
If you, like me, don’t want to waste your vacation by sitting on an old, super slow train, you end up paying for the high-speed train instead. That means that you upgrade your ticket from regular to high-speed, and you pay an upgrading fee. Sometimes, say from Madrid to Barcelona, it’s as much as €30. That’s a lot when your whole ticket only costs around €270. After a while, you end up paying a lot for these high-speed tickets, and the interrail ticket might not be that cheap after all.
In hindsight, I would actually recommend that people use buses, cars or just fly. But how do you find the cheapest flights?
The answer is Skyscanner. They include every airline in the world and locates the cheapest air ticket that you can possibly find. For me, this was a huge turnaround because I realized it was actually cheaper to fly from say Porto (in Portugal) to Barcelona then to take the train.
My second tip is to use BlaBlaCar. This is a ride-sharing website that lets users search and find people that they want to share a car with, for a chosen destination. It’s kind of like couch surfing only for car sharing. You can look at profiles, read former reviews of the driver and passenger, and it makes the whole trip both more fun and much cheaper.
My third tip for transportation is to use buses. It’s by far the cheapest option. The best companies in this category are Megabus or FlixBus. To find the cheapest bus I recommend using GoEuro.
The best thing about traveling with busses is that you can postpone ordering tickets and just show up at the bus station. At least I find this freedom very relaxing.
Lesson 2 – Hotel or Hostel
I have never understood those who travel and stay in boring hotels. Okay, for a short period of time it might be cool and relaxing, but traveling for weeks or even months and staying at those dull places is to me absurd. No, for younger people I recommend using HostelWorld, coachsurfing.com, Booking.com, and Airbnb.
If you travel alone nothing is better than staying at a hostel. Normally it’s very clean, the people are nice and you get the chance to meet so many cool people.
Who are these people that stay at Hostels? Only crazy poor people who use cocaine?
Nope, the most common people who I find are in the age group of about 20-35-year-olds and have higher education. The most normal thing for me to find is people working as a software engineer. It must be because they have project-based work and can work remotely. Other than that, I normally meet other kinds of engineers, a lot of lawyers, business people, finance people. Yeah, generally people with high education and who have goals and a purpose in life.
I’m not saying that less educated people don’t, but I suppose the stigma is that backpackers are people who just wander around with no purpose in life just drinking beer and chilling. That’s not true at all. Most people are smart, resourceful and very interested in meeting others.
My general rule here is that if I want to be alone, I book a room or a bed at a big hostel. They are normally very comfortable, super cheap, but not so social. Also better for more travelers. If I’m alone in a country where I do not speak the local language or I just need friends, I book a room at a social hostel. This is all up to you.
Lesson 3 – How to travel without spending close to anything
I found my job in Vietnam as a high school English teacher by searching on the magnificent site called Workaway International.
This is by far my favorite site on the whole internet. Yes, it beats all the stock and index sites out there! Workaway works (hehehe) is the hosts provide food and accommodation in exchange for work in the host’s home or business. It could be gardening in Barcelona, walking the dogs for a dog owner in Greece, helping a school in Jordan become better in software or becoming a teacher in Gambia. The choices are endless, and all of this is for FREE.
Why am I stressing the word “free?” Well, it’s because most of the time, different companies like Kilroy or others will trick you into thinking that if you want to explore the world, you need to pay a LOT of money. When I was 17 I wanted to go to South Africa and work at a farm over there. Do you know how much they wanted for “letting” me dig shit 10 hours a day for 4 weeks? $4000! THAT IS INSANE!
No, the better option is to use Workaway, find something you like and apply. The best thing is that Workaway is for everybody. Not just young people. Most of the hosts just want to get to know people or they need a specific kind of skill so anybody can apply.
Throughout my travels, I have met so many cool people and while most of them are young, some are quite old. Around 60 to 80 years. They are still traveling, having fun and exploring life, so if you are in your 30s, 40s, 50s to your 60s and think that this blog post is just for the younger generation. You are wrong. You might have to do a bit more searching to find your kind of hostel, your kind of volunteer work, your way of traveling, but there is NO reason why you shouldn’t get the chance to explore the world. Let me show you some pictures:
For me, the world is tiny and the possibilities are endless. My biggest tip is that you learn to say hello to strangers, smile and listen to whatever they have to say. That´s how you get friends and that´s how you learn about life and how the world works.
Thanks for reading,