How to explore the world on a budget – 5 handy tools

If you’re interested in travelling – many people think it costs a fortune. Most people look at glossy brochures, guidebooks, newspapers for inspiration. You might have the impression you could never afford it, or it’s a pipedream. But it’s amazingly doable right now.

Travel is sold as a luxury product. It’s sold as a “you only have 4 weeks off a year” so make it count.

The truth is it’s cheaper to live in several different places a year, and travel around, than live in a UK or US city.

When you really travel, you go beyond the artifice of plump pillows, all-inclusive breakfasts and cabarets.

Real travel happens when you leave your hotel and see the town. It’s when you see how the locals work and live somewhere. Real travel happens when you’re in a foreign land,  struggle with the language and gesticulate to get understood. Real travel happens when you trek across the mountains or get out your comfort zone.

New websites and apps can help you explore the world on a budget. These are a great place to start.

AirBnB – This is amazing. Hosts rent out a spare room in their house, or entire apartments/houses. Think of AirBnB as accommodation on tap. If you want to be somewhere, doing something it’s perfect. It’s normally cheaper than staying in a hotel and has more soul and connection to it.

You simply put in your credit card details and you can book places from 1 night to several months if there’s availability. Usually the longer-stay prices are much cheaper than the daily rates.

I love looking around on the site and imagining all the different lives I could lead, and places I could go.

BlaBlaCar – Although I haven’t used it yet, I have friends who do. BlaBlaCar is a carpooling site. Drivers who are going on long journeys list their journey, then you can be a passenger and give them petrol money.

It’s a quick way to get between places where public transport isn’t great, or to save money on the train. It’s really taken off in Spain and across Europe. There’s some usage in the UK too.

Rome2Rio – This is a great way or working out your various different transport options. between two places. Should you take the bus, train, ferry, plane or should you drive? Rome2Rio answers that question.

Google Flights – To find the best dates and prices for flights – this is GOLDDUST. I found the £30 return flights to Palma a few months ago.

Flexibility – Lastly I want to mention something that isn’t a tool, but will help you be more mobile. Most other people can only take holidays in school holidays. At these times, flights and accommodation are ridiculously expensive.

So if your work is flexible you can zig, while other people zag.

Of course you might not be able to take the time off work. However there are ways of making it possible.

Some jobs will allow you to do remote working and you could come to an agreement . You could also only take jobs for a few months at a time (I’ve never held a job for longer than 5 months because I wanted more than 4 weeks not-working per year).  You could also take unpaid leave.

If you have a skill in demand, there will always be ways to find work that gives you flexibility.

So there you have it. I think travel is the only the thing you can buy that really makes you richer.

There’s a whole world out there to explore and if you’re strategic about it – it doesn’t have to cost you your soul to go and experience it.

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