So we’re in the 21 century, hybrid cars, lasers and washing machines are a part of our lives. We’ve designed these devices to make the quality of our lives better. While we strive for improvement we keep forgetting one think: life!
If you need a hybrid car, a washing machine and an apartment in the city then you’ll have no regrets. But if what you want is living your life to the full here comes the challenge. The challenge is to travel with whatever means of income you have and be able to do it for as long as you want. It’s not about going away for a couple of weeks. I’m talking months or years of travel.
In order to travel continuously you need to realise travelling is essentially about 3 things:
While you may also wish to include costs of museum tickets, souvenirs and fancy drinks these are optional. And it’s good to have enough funds to be able to afford those too but let’s concentrate on the basics first.
Because your travel is all about transport, accommodation and food you want to minimize these costs as much as possible. Therefore, the fourth integral part of your travel will be planning.
When trying to cut costs it’s imperative to plan ahead. Use the internet and find out as much as possible about your travel. How much is it going to cost to move from A to B? What means of transport are available? How much time do you need? What alternatives you have.
Only some of the info will be useful on your way. But as your circumstances change and as you change your plans it may help you lower the costs dramatically.
It’s good to have a general knowledge of the costs of all types of transport in the given area and optimal methods of transport, i.e. a bus ticket may be a little cheaper than a flight but it takes much longer thus making your ticket more expensive.
Also do not rely on map only when planning your trips. Check road distances when planning a road trip, types of roads and estimated time. If you have your own car it’s good to have an estimate of petrol costs.
One other thing to remember, it may not be safe to use some means of transport in a particular region of the world. In developing countries road travel tends to be dangerous and unpredictable.
Eating is perhaps the most important thing during your trip. The type and quality of food you’re eating will determine how much energy you will have, your mood and obviously expenses. The cheapest option is self catering which entails taking essential cookset and a stove or making appropriate arrangements as necessary: e.g. booking self-catering friendly accommodation.
On the downside, cooking your own food means you’ll not going to taste the local cuisine. So try and get a good balance between cost efficiency and taste.
Before you set off for your trip it’s good to have at least a few well tested recipes, rich in vitamins, protein and carbohydrates. You should test them to know exactly what ingredients you’ll need and the proportions, before you start cooking. You will want to avoid taking chances and experimenting in the middle of nowhere unless you don’t mind going to sleep hungry 🙂 .
In general, rice and pasta are the best sources of carbohydrates, have very good energy to weight ratios, cater for a wide range of tastes, are readily available worldwide, are cheep and easy to cook.
The best source of protein during your cost-effective trips is white meat, i.e. chicken, again easy to cook, popular and usually cheep. Also, check local markets if available to see if you can lay your hands on any reasonably priced local specialities. But make sure you’re not compromising quality for price here as effects may be quite unbearable. Especially if toilets are a long run away from your tent.
Finally, plan for the specific region of the world you’re going to, e.g. in the Mediterranean you’ll probably find seafood, vegetables and fruit relatively cheap. BTW, here’s some info on Mediterranean diet.
Just like with transport, some of the offers may be reasonable priced but not exactly safe. Make sure you check any of your options beforehand.
Tents are generally very universal and allow a great deal of independence. On the downside, you’re exposed to the elements and potentially other dangers too. I would highly recommend camping to those travelling in the more developed parts of the world. It’s definitely a great experience to go to sleep in front of a fire and wake up on a beach. You don’t waste time getting to and from a hotel. No need to end your hike early just because the last bus is due.
Another problem with tents is hygiene which generally isn’t a problem if you just spend a night or two in a tent. A way out may be a campsite which, however, deprives you of the freedom to chose when and where you go to sleep. Another thing is campsites are not as popular as shopping malls so be ready to compromise your comfort and get used to bathing in cold water before choosing tent as your main type of accommodation.
Bivvy bags are a combination of a 1 birth tent and a sleeping bag the idea being they’re small and lightweight. They may be a good way of lowering your backpack weight and volume if you travel alone.
Hardcore survival fans may chose hammocks for their low weight and versatility. Hammocks naturally isolate you from the ground which may be cold, wet or rugged and uncomfortable. There are many more positives of hammocks and one of the best manufacturers in the world is Hannessy Hammock. Visit their website for more info.
I’m sure most of you are familiar with hotels, hostels and b&bs. They’re a good alternative when you’re fed up with camping, want some luxury or simply when it’s not possible to camp. Some hardcore urban campers are capable of pitching tents in busy streets which in my opinion is a good way out if you have no other choice.
Planning is the most important ingredient of cost-efficient traveller’s routine. To plan your trip well it’s good to start well before the trip. Take the time to make your crucial decisions. Planning may be a good fun when you’re homebase and urging to set off. Will keep you thinking of your plans and allow for necessary adjustments. You’ll have less disappointment and will be more likely to avoid difficulties and unpleasant surprised. You don’t have to plan every hour of your trip beforehand but it’s good to know as much about the ‘enemy’ as possible.
One of the first things to check when planning your trip would be government travel advise websites like this one.