Less Money- More Travel Time – Lowering Travel Cost
One of the biggest misconceptions about travelling is that shorter trips cost less than the longer ones. The reality shows that a month-long journey is not only cheaper than 4 one-week vacations. It can also cost about the same as one-week vacation. Likewise, taking a year off to travel can easily be at a better value plus a more memorable experience than a decade of hurried, two-week vacations.
The secret here is not merely a matter of budgeting- it is a matter of mindset. Here are strategies, on how to adopt a mindset that can make a long-term journey affordable:
1) Do not purchase your travel specifics in advance. As wonderful as that Ugandan Safari looks in the promotional literature of a travel company, searching for the same experience when you arrive in Africa will be much less expensive – and you’ll save yourself the trouble of adhering to a fixed date. The same goes for air travel. A discounted “round-the-world” flight ticket may very well seem tempting but it’s generally better to buy a one-way ticket to your first destination and plan your ongoing transportation as you go. Not only is it cheaper this way, it allows you a more organic experience – since you’ll have a much better feel for your journey.
As a general rule, remember that pre-packaged adventures and prior arrangements – even those touted under the phrase “budget travel” – are for people who can only spare a few days away from home.
Long-term travel is all about setting your own pace and finding your own way – and you can rest assured that everything you see in a glossy brochure in Milwaukee will be just as available when you arrive independently at your destination.
2) Go slow
One of the advantages of long-term travel is that it allows you to see and experience things at your own pace. This will ultimately save you money, since a slower travel tempo better integrates you into the local economy, and allows you to wander around and find your own adventures.
Hence, when planning, don’t aspire to “do” Central America in six weeks; you’ll have a much more vivid (and economical) experience if you limit yourself to a country or two. Similarly, don’t plan to “do” Asia in six months; instead, aim to see a part of it, like the Northeast, or India. And – even if you have a year to play with – trying to cram five continents into a single travel is a sure path to exhaustion. Long-term travel shouldn’t be approached like bulk shopping: The value of your travels does not rely on the number of stamps you have got in your passport when you get home – and the slow experience of a single country is always better (and more affordable) than the hurried, superficial experience of 10 countries.
3) Trying out the local hotels
A great way to save money and have an enhanced travel experience is to sidestep international hotels and tour companies. Instead of luxury chain hotels, seek out clean basic, hostels and local guesthouses. Instead of flying from place to place, take local buses, trains, and shared taxis. Instead of dining at fancy restaurants, eat food from street vendors and local cafeterias. Within the local economy, one can take a train from one end of China to the other for what it costs to gas up an SUV back home. For the price of a home-delivered pepperoni pizza, one can eat great meals for a week in Thailand. For a month’s rent in any major American city, one can spend a year in a beach hut in Nicaragua. Moreover, even the industrialized parts of the world host enough hostel networks and camping opportunities to make long-term travel affordable.
This principle also applies to day-to-day life on the road. Shop for food in local farmers’ markets instead of continually seeking out processed supermarket food and restaurant meals (you’ll end up healthier for the experience). Moreover, shopping and sleeping in local economies will help you understand how local residents live.
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