There was a time when we also used to believe that travelling required a huge salary and lots of money stashed away. Thank goodness we came to our senses because with adventure on our minds, we’ve managed to turn our adventures into a reality and on a shoestring budget too.
Ok, granted you won’t be staying in luxury hotels, but if you’re prepared to live modestly, the world is your oyster.
I remember when we started this idea of cheap travel – we opted for seeing something of our own country first, just to get the hang of things. Travel can be cheap – you just have to do research. For instance airfare and everything else is far more expensive between December and Feb so time your budget travel carefully.
Australia is gigantic so we concentrated on just seeing one region for starters. We bought a discount card –iVenture – which allowed us free entry to lots of attractions. We were busy exploring Brisbane in Queensland at the time and I remember seeing a good part of the city on a river cruise.
I remember the fun of hopping aboard the CityHopper which allows you to explore Brisbane free of charge with ferries running every 30 minutes from morning till late night. This is just a small example of finding ways to explore the world on a budget, but you’ll have to keep checking back here for super ideas to start getting around a bit and making your life far more exciting.
If you are a single woman traveller, one of your biggest concerns will be your residence. You will have to spend more time than usual looking for the right kind of hotels, depending on the places you are visiting. If you are visiting countries that are known to be unsafe for women, you would have to figure out which areas would be safer for you. Areas closer to the city centre, and areas that have a larger concentration of foreign travellers would be the best bet for you in such countries.
If you are travelling to countries that are considered safe for women, it would still be wise for you to do your homework and find out more about the locality that you are staying in. Off late, Couchsurfing and Air BNB has become an option for many people who want to stay in places for free, or people who want to live in houses instead of hotels. If you have opted for this residence, you should talk to the person letting you into their home and see if you do get along with them. You should check for reviews written by other people about this person, to see if there is anything suspicious about them too.
These are movements that will let you figure out the ideal place to stay.
Over the years we’ve really come to learn that packing light is not only better for your budget but also better for your mental health! How can packing light help your budget? Well, it means you can take all your baggage in the cabin, which saves budget airline fees, but it also means you can take local transport like motorbikes, tuktuks and minibuses or even walk to your accommodation without shelling out for private transfers or taxis. Plus do you really want to be lugging around a huge suitacase/backpack in sweltering tropical heat or wading through snow in arctic temperatures? Believe us, we know from experience, having made some ridiculous mistakes ourselves early on…Sarah was particularly guilty of this, in the early days it took a good few trips for the message to sink in that you really don’t need a hair straightener and five pairs of shoes!
So if haircare and footwear is off packing list, what should be on it? It really depends on where you’re travelling to and what kind of trip you’re packing for (business, weekend, round the world, trekking, etc), and it will take a little more planning if going to both hot and cold places in a single trip. There are lots of sites to help you with packing advice so do a Google search for your specific type of trip to start with and heed the advice of travel experts. Certain things always hold true: pack the minimum when it comes to toiletries, the world’s a small place and you can probably buy whatever you need at your destination, roll clothes instead of folding, it saves on space and you’ll get less creases, fill whatever space is available so stuff socks and other items into those hiking boots,and invest in airless bags to save space. Happy packing!
Booking your flight abroad is the one of the most important things you can do to set the tone for the rest of your trip, however long it may be. Firstly, you should try to get an overview of the flights available to your destination by looking at websites like Skyscanner, which compares the flight prices and times of different airlines allowing you to find the best deal that suits you. There are lots of similar sites like Travelocity, Kayak and Opodo but we prefer Skyscanner as we find it the most comprehensive flight search engine, often undercutting competitors. However, beware of budget airlines, they may give the cheapest prices but often they have a ton of expensive add-ons like baggage and check-in fees. Be sure to read the small print/conditions! Also, booking flights at the last minute is a VERY risky business, even with budget airlines.
These days the big name national carriers often have their own promotional discounts for off-peak times like winter and weekdays. It’s worth checking the airlines website directly or getting on their mailing list for future offers. We have been on some really cheap return trips while based in European cities, in fact, it works out way cheaper than budget airlines when you consider the flights generally provide drinks and meals and operate at much more conveniently located airports. In Europe, airport transfers can be more expensive than flights, so research this aspect before you book that budget flight into the sticks! There is also a science to finding the best price, it seems that booking 54 days before results in the cheapest domestic flights.