If you happened to be here on in this page due to your curiosity to travel for a long term with using as little money as possible or even without any money, I have a few thing to share with you. People usually ask any travelers who are constantly on the road one main question, "How are you able to travel all the time?!".
Basically this question comes from the conditioning we have regarding the concept of traveling. We all think at some point or the other that traveling is really an expensive affair. But let me tell you that it is not. "Travel is never a matter of money, but a matter of courage."
But you are here not to get pumped up reading some travel inspiration quote. You want to know some practical steps to make your travel cheaper and sustain your wanderlust!
My #1 advice for anyone who asks for any advice on how to travel cheap or rather travel for free would be to become a couchsurfer.
Couchsurfing is a world wide community of travelers who believes in helping each others. If you are looking for a very basic definition, it is like a friend you haven't met giving you a place to stay when traveling to a new place. But couchsurfing is actually much more than a free accommodation. It involves sharing of culture, a more experiential local experience, learning, sharing and caring.
If you want to know more about couchsurfing check out the article Couchsurfing : An idea that everyone should try.
I will be updating soon how I used couchsurfing to stay in Hampi for almost a month.
Everything comes with a price. Even traveling cheap or without money comes with a price and the price you have to pay is the difficulties on the road! Without a right temperament it will be difficult to continue the journey of shoestring budget travels.
Foe example, if you are going to stay with a couchsurfing host, depending on the person who are hosting, you might end up sleeping on a soft king size bed in a big mansion or maybe in a sleeping bag or no a couch in a run-down single room apartment. I have slept on the tables of a restaurant, in a tent on a rooftop, in a private room with aircon and even in a big house all alone.
When you are travelling on a super tight budget, you just can't be demanding and discard the sleeping options that comes your way! For that one needs to have the right attitude and good traveling spirit. If you are flexible and adaptable many other doors of traveling on a budget open up for you such as hitchhiking.
There was one time I traveled without any money, any material things except a pair of inner wears just to understand how the less fortunate people would travel. That was a revelation to me!
If you want to travel the world with thinner than the shoestring budget, this is one way to go about it. But to be able to hitchhike one need to have the right temperament and a lot of patience.
If you are uninitiated and wondering what exactly this hitchhiking is, in simple terms it is the way of getting from a point A to point B, by way of asking free lifts from passing vehicles. Hitchhiking these days have become sort of a trend, thanks to the vloggers and bloggers who hitchhiked with their gopros!
It is not that hitchhiking is a new concept. People have been have asking for free lifts and travelling for a very long time. But only recently it became a 'cool thing' to do due to the surge of social media influencers. And people are pushing the limits of Hitchhiking these days. There are people who do it across the continents!
When hitchhiking is collaborated with couchsurfing, it becomes a winning combination for super long term budget travel.
In 2018 when everyone was celebrating the New Year's eve, I was hosting one of the couchsurfing hitchhiker at my place. What a great way to start a new year! Now he is hitchhiking around the world.
If you want to travel the world with slightly more comfortable way, pick up one of those travel related jobs, that actually let you travel. It might not let you travel to those places that are in your bucket list, but still you get to travel to certain destinations . And the best part of it is that someone else or the company you are working with is paying for your trip.
You can become a tour guide if you know about a destination quite well. You can become an itinerary designer for some of the travel start-ups that are looking for local experts, you can be a travel writer and so on. At times it is easier said than done.
If you are really serious about this option, you can find a way to make it happen. You can go to one of the destinations of your liking and get in touch with the local tour operator and explore your opportunities.
If your communication skills are good enough, you can learn about the local tour and deliver it as a tour guide. Your understanding of the place also improves, you get a real feel of the place and above all you are getting paid for it. This is exactly how I learned more about Fort Kochi.
If you can get into a great company, you can even travel around the world for free!
Are you expert in any touristy destination? Do you know anyone who is an expert in a certain destination? Do it yourself or Team up with the expert and organize a trip for others. Don't look at making profit. Rather look at making a margin that helps you to make your travel expenses zero. In that way, you are helping people to explore a new place and you are also experiencing the place.
Recently I was doing a motorbike trip through Hubli and met this rider. Second day after our first meeting, we were planning to organize a trip to Bhutan for others. He has already done Bhutan and knew about the places to visit. I only had to create an itinerary and organize a few other things. That is how I've gone to Bhutan for the first time in my life. But I must warn you that it is a lot of responsibility!!
I am preparing a post with an 8 day itinerary for Bhutan Motorcycle trip which might be useful to you, if you have plans.
I will be adding to this list every week. Keep watching this space if you want to know more about travelling long term. Do send more ideas that you know.