3 Ways to Cut the Costs of World Travel

Last week, you might recall that I covered the issue of how much it would cost you to travel the world for a year.  Not to spoil the ending for those (very) few of you who haven’t had the opportunity to read through it already, but apparently that amount of travel is not as expensive as you’d expect; it turns out that it is possible to travel the world for less than $20,000, at least according to the seven articles used to prepare the post.

But how, you ask?  Well, if you read through those linked articles (and the associated blogs, most of which are focused on, well, traveling the world as cheaply as possible), you start to get some ideas of how to cut down your costs if you want to spend most of the next year traveling.  There are apparently some methods that are commonly used by the average world-traveling blogger, and here are a few to consider, should you wish to gallivant around the globe anytime soon:

3 Ways to Cut Your Expenses While World-Traveling

1. Buy a Round-The-World Plane Ticket: One of the biggest expenses listed by nearly every article cited (and really, any source that discusses foreign travel) is the travel itself, particularly when it comes to plane travel.  It’s a necessary evil for the would-be world traveler; either you spend a goodly portion of your time in a plane (and spend your money on plane tickets), or find your travel options greatly restricted and your ability to see the world highly limited, if not stopped entirely.  Not the best of choices to have to make.

One way around these problems is to get a Round-The-World (RTW) ticket instead of a series of regular plane tickets.  Such RTW tickets are priced not per flight (which can quickly add up), but instead by the total number of miles traveled or the number of destinations reached (the latter method seems to be the preferred one among the world travelers I’ve attempted to review).

It's pretty helpful to be able to circle this thing, after all.
It’s pretty helpful to be able to circle this thing, after all.

A RTW ticket is not cheap itself, coming in at between $3000 to $10,000 depending on everything from where you start your trip to the travel class in which you wish to fly.  Still, you can potentially travel to some truly out of the way places for a fraction of the cost of a direct flight, as well as making more trips for much less than the normal cost, cutting your per-mile cost down significantly for much of your trip.

2. Consider Couchsurfing or Hostels: The second highest expense of your travel bills is probably going to places to stay (with a few related costs like food coming along for a close third, or sometimes taking second place itself).  While it’s tempting to consider staying at a four-star hotel every night you are out traveling, that will very quickly send a year-long trip cost into six figures, or at least high five figures.  (To say nothing of the problem of finding such lodging in some of the more out-of-the-way, and interesting, places you could visit.)  If you want to keep things inexpensive, you should keep things like couchsurfing and hostels in mind.

Coachsurfing in a relatively recent concept, sort of based on the idea of crashing on a friend’s couch, assuming that friend happened to live in a foreign country.  You go to said foreign country (or somewhere else you wish to visit) and stay in someone else’s house for free.  In exchange, you offer up room in your house to visitors from around the world when them come to visit.  End result: Free lodging for you and others during world travel.  (Admittedly, there are some risks with surfing and/or hosting surfers, from finding your property damaged to potential conflicts that end in violence, so use caution if you use this method while traveling.)

Another method to get places to live with minimal expenses is to find a hostel.  A hostel is where you can get free (or at least inexpensive) food and lodging, in most cases in exchange for performing some chores around the hostel.  If you are generally willing to engage in some physical labor, you can likely get yourself a place to live without spending money in the process.  (There are also some arguments that they are flat-out better places to stay while in a foreign country, but that’s an issue for another day.)

3. Work Abroad: Alright, this isn’t really how to keep your costs down, so much as how to provide yourself with more money while you are traveling.  Should you manage to both cut down your travel expenses and generate a moderate income, you can potentially travel endlessly, without any need to return home, really.   (Of course, you’d need to ensure that you spend more of your time enjoying the places you are visiting than trying to build up money; otherwise, it loses its purpose.)

As you might guess, the easiest method of working abroad is to take advantage of the increasingly global Internet connection in order to set up an online business.  If you happen to be running, say, a blog, you can potentially earn money regardless of where you are writing from; other than having me tell you, there’s really no way to determine whether I’m writing from Pennsylvania or Transylvania.  (Since I don’t want anyone coming after me with garlic and a stake, it’s the former.)

Of course, you could also get jobs as you travel.  One option in this area is to find a means to put your current skills to use, such as by being a English Language Teacher.  Besides being able to pull in an income while you’re abroad, you can also integrate yourself into a foreign environment (admittedly, that’s more useful for someone moving abroad than traveling, but still).  Alternatively, you can try to develop skills that you can apply just about everywhere you go, allowing you to earn some cash everywhere you go; I’d suggest cocktail mixing, in particular, as who doesn’t like a good drink?  (Alright, not that useful in the Arabic countries, but in most of the world…)

These are far from the only methods to keeping your world travel costs to minimum (or building up more funds along the way), but they should help if you hope to visit a great deal of foreign countries.  Do you have any other methods to travel without spending too much?  Did you spent much when you last did some major traveling?

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

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