The definition of “cheap” differs from person to person and from country to country. While travellers from Sweden may find $30 hotel room cheap, traveller from Thailand may think it’s a bit costly (that’s only an example, not generalization). At eTramping we specialise in extremely low budget travel, so we thought you may be interested in reading our tips to travel for little.
#1 Learn to haggle.
Haggling is a skill, and just like with any other every skill – it is possible to learn and become better at it with practice. Don’t hesitate to ask for discounts, people who don’t ask – don’t get. In the worst case scenario they will decline, otherwise you’ll get something cheaper.
#2 Plan ahead.
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. While traveling it’s very important to go with the flow, but that doesn’t mean you can skip researching the place before you arrive. If you know the area where the cheap places to sleep are before you arrive, you avoid being pressured to go with a more expensive option. If the city is expensive wherever you go, consider couchsurfing, sleeping in a tent or other options – all of which need preparation and planning ahead.
Same goes for food. Instead of buying food when hungry, you should consider visiting a supermarket and preparing your own food. When we cycled Vietnam, we spent so little (less than $10 a day), because we cooked our food. There’s nothing stopping you from doing the same.
#3 Avoid unnecessary spendings.
Taxis are a great and comfortable way to get to your accommodation. However, that’s usually the most unnecessary cost of all, during any trip. Not only you avoid being ripped-off from time to time, but also you expose yourself to a variety of new experiences and adventures, when you travel by other means. I would have never met and befriended so many local people if I went for a taxi instead of asking for directions (walking or a bus).
Same applies to tours instead of venturing yourself, flying instead of using a train or a bus, dining out instead of cooking, air-con room instead of a room with a fan, or partying instead of embracing the culture, etc.
#4 Avoid mainstream attractions and tourist areas.
I’m not saying you should not go to Angkor Wat or Taj Mahal only because there’s a lot of tourists, but Bangkok has a lot more to offer than just Khao San Road (if you were there, you’ll know what I’m talking about). Ha Long Bay in Vietnam is beautiful, but did you hear of peaceful and equally picturesque Ninh Binh? Get off the beaten path and you’ll see that people won’t perceive you as a walking ATM, instead you’ll save money and experience things reserved for those brave and open enough.
There’s no person who gets more from life than a person with a smile. Smile opens doors, creates opportunities and changes a negative experience into a positive one. It does not matter how much money you have, smile often buys things that cannot otherwise be bought – local hospitality. Have your smile with you at all times and you won’t need that much money.