“Money comes and goes, experience doesn’t.” – Someone on the internet
Traveling is another one of the most important investments you can make for yourself. You experience different cultures, different worldviews, and see yourself in different ways. You will make the biggest mistakes, you will learn and you will make the most amazing memories of your life. People don’t regret the things they do, but the things they don’t do. Not traveling enough is usually one of the biggest regrets in people’s lives. That’s why I invite you to start traveling if you don’t, or if you already do, continue on with it.
Money can sometimes be an obstacle for us to travel. I’m here to tell you it’s not. There are ways to travel, have an experience, and still have money to continue the life you have back home.
The two BIGGEST expenses coming with travel are flights and housing. You sometimes do not need to be in an airplane which gives you food in a two-hour flight nor stay at a 4-star hotel with an ocean view. There are cheap options available for flights and housing.
Here Are Some Websites I use to Find Flights:
Student Universe: https://www.studentuniverse.com/
This is a great site for finding cheap flights. Student Universe finds discounted flights for students and people aged 26 and under. It was here I found a $290 direct flight from San Diego to New York City for a week.
Google Flights: https://www.google.com/flights?hl=en#flt=/m/071vr..2019-06-12*./m/071vr.2019-06-16;c:USD;e:1;ls:1w;sd:0;t:h
I often go into incognito mode and search Google Flights to avoid bots looking at my search history to specifically find flights catered to my history. Google Flights is an awesome and easy way to find flights.
Use YOUR Network:
To cut down on housing expenses, use your network to reach out to people. Travel to places you know you have friends or family. I know all I need in housing is a bed, heater, and shower to survive. New York City hosted one of my friends from church who was there for grad school along with my aunt and her family. I stayed with my friend for two days sleeping on a cushion on his floor in his tiny apartment. I then stayed with my aunt in New Jersey in her home in the woods. All for free!
Hostels & Airbnbs:
If you’re traveling to an area where you do not know anyone, check out hostels and airbnbs. Hostels are INSANELY cheap and are an awesome way to meet other travelers. The cheapest and best hostels are in Europe and South East Asia. I haven’t backpacked South East Asia, but when I backpacked Europe, hostels on average were about $15 a night! I’ve actually used the airbnb app to find hostels and booked nights through it!
But if you don’t want to stay in a hostel and want your own private room, airbnbs are the way to go! They can vary from being barely acceptable to sleep in to being more luxurious than you thought. From my experience, Europe has a ton of steals! I’ve found a beach house in Barcelona for $20 a night! I had my own room and was a five minute walk to the beach and five-minute walk to the subway and was surrounded by awesome restaurants.
Eating out often can add up to your expenses, quickly! If you were to travel to Barcelona for 3 days and eat out every single meal (assuming each meal is about $8) that’s $24 a day and $72 on food alone. Eating out is a must for me because I wholeheartedly believe food is an integral part to one’s culture and I must try everything at least once.
My tip to saving money isn’t to just stop eating out, but to eat out less. I make sure to find local grocery stores and buy food for the three days. They’re usually small stuff like cookies and muffins. They’re cheap and filling. This will easily fill me up for breakfast and sometimes lunch. This allows me to eat out at least once a day to satisfy my cravings while being frugal. This is especially important when you’re taking a day trip. During my stay in Barcelona, I took a day trip to a monastery in the mountains. It was a popular spot (and a remote spot), so my friends and I knew they were going to jack up the prices. We packed lunch (which was a ham and cheese sandwich) during the trip and when we got back, we treated ourselves to delicious, cheap, and filling Middle Eastern food.
Here are my ways to minimize your expenses while traveling. Flights and housing are the biggest purchases, but eating out is the small factor which can add up. I challenge you to travel. Don’t let these big prices be an obstacle from stopping you from making the most amazing memories of your life. I’ve done it! And I hope you do it too!