Travel The World On 10$/Day – 34 Practical Tips You Should Know

After 1 year of traveling the world, I explored over 10 countries and 3 continents at a cost of 2500$. Not bad for a 20 year old, right?

According to Kimberly from Stuffed Suitcase, a one week trip for a family of four will cost around 1000$ per person.

So, how did I manage to travel for over 50 weeks with no more than 2500$?

It’s no big secret, let’s find out.

I will start by dividing travel costs into different major categories and explain how you can save the most in each one of them.

There are many ways to spend your money while traveling, but most of them will be categorized as either, food, accommodation, transportation and activities.

Food

The mindset of: I’m away from home so I need to eat all my meals in a restaurant has to end.

Saving on food is easy and there are many different ways to do so:

 

Restaurants

Restaurants are expensive, but you shouldn’t avoid them.

They are the perfect way to have a great local food experience.

  • Choose local cuisine.
  • Have your fancy meal for lunch. It’s usually cheaper than dinner.
  • If you can eat a lot, a buffet might be more economic than a one course meal.
  • Avoid expensive drinks or don’t drink at all.
  • Fast food chains are a very unhealthy but cheap option in some countries.
  • If you can’t finish your meal, bring the leftovers with you.
  • Recommended apps: Yelp, Foursquare or EAT24.
  • Different countries/cities use different apps, ask the locals or on Facebook Groups.

 

Street Food 

Eating on the go is a cheap way to experience traditional foods.

In some places, like Thailand, it’s mandatory that you try the street food in order to experience the country to it’s fullness.

  • In some countries street food can be very unhygienic.
  • It’s not a very healthy option, so don’t rely on it all the time.
  • It’s better to have a bigger meal than to sack all day long.

 

Cook Your Meals

Cooking is cheap, but it requires effort and a kitchen.

If you aren’t traveling with a portable kitchen, hostels and couchsurfing experiences are great opportunities to use one.

  • Shop like a local.
  • Know the right prices to avoid getting ripped off in markets.
  • Learn a local dish to make things more interesting.
  • It’s very easy to prepare quick meals like sandwiches or fruit salads and have a picnic.

 

 

Eat With A Local

Matt Kepnes, from Nomadic Matt makes great use of the sharing economy to save money while traveling.

He recommends websites like EatWith, which allow you to have a fine dining experience for a more affordable price, by connecting chefs with foodies.

  • Cooking classes are also available through this website.

Nature

In the right season, some countries have many fruit trees and edible plants available.

I’ve snacked on many delicious figs, almonds, plums, blackberries, grapes and many more when I was hitchhiking around Europe.

  • Store fruits in your bag so you can eat them later.
  • Get an edible plants and mushrooms guide, if you want to take it to the next level

Dumpster Diving

This is not for everyone and I know it sounds gross, but let me explain.

There is a lot of food going to waste because of its expiration date, while most of it is still good to eat.

Rob Greenfield, adventurer, activist and humanitarian says that dumpster diving could possibly solve food shortage in the US.

In this video he explains dumpster diving, and how it could end the food waste crisis.

There is even a Trash Wiki and a community with over 35,000 members on Reddit, where users share their tips, stories and best finds.

  • Definitely not practical.
  • Better to do it with someone else.
  • Not possible in a lot of countries.

Drink More Water

Alcohol and most beverages are not only unhealthy but also expensive.

However, drinking bottled water will add up to your wallet and have a negative impact on the planet.

I recommend using a water filter like Life Straw which makes water safe to drink, by removing 99.9999% of bacteria, virus and protozoa.

 

Accommodation

I have been traveling for over a year and I haven’t stayed in a single hotel. There are many other cheaper and rewarding experiences you should know about.

Whether you like meeting other people or not, learning new skills or spending time in nature, I’m sure a few of these tips will resonate with you.

 

Hostels

Staying in a dorm room is great for saving money and making friends. Some hostels provide single or double bed rooms for a higher price. Although this is a popular choice among young travelers, hostels are suitable for people of all ages.

 

Vacation Rental

This is a great way to stay in a more private place for long or short periods of time, while still on a budget. Some hosts rent a spare bedroom, so you will have a local to give you some tips and hang out with.

  • Read the reviews.
  • Choose the location wisely.
  • AirBnb is the most used website for vacation rentals.

 

Staying With locals

This is a very reliable way to save on accommodation while engaging with the local community, for free!

There are a few websites that let you contact people willing to host you in a spare room or free couch, but you can also stay with locals by making friends.

  • I use Couchsurfing(14m users) find hosts, but there are alternatives like: Hospitalityclub(800k users) or Warmshowers(cyclists welcome).
  • Spend some quality time with your host.
  • 3-4 days before your arrival, message a few hosts to maximize your chances of getting accepted.
  • Have a plan B. You are not going to find a host everywhere.

Volunteering

Free accommodation and food are only a few of the many great benefits of volunteering.

You “work” 4-5 hours a day with 2 days off a week. Free accommodation and 2-3 meals a day will be given in return and most times you get to enjoy free activities such as surfing, if you are volunteering in a surf school, for example.

It’s definitely one of the most rewarding things you can do while traveling. You will probably make new friends, learn new skills and do things you never thought you would.

  • I use Workaway for my volunteering experiences. There is also Helpx and WWOOF (organic farms only).
  • Choose the right volunteering experience. Something that you can relate to and would really love to do.
  • Message 1 to 3 hosts. Not everyone replies, and there’s a chance they won’t have enough space for one more volunteer.
  • Make sure the working schedule/days off is clear and that meals are included.
  • Feel free to leave at anytime.
  • If you google “Your destination” + “volunteering” you will find many websites specific to that location.

 

Camping

Camping is one of my favorite activities when traveling.

It allows me to stay in touch with nature for free and explore the wilderness of the countries I visit.

  • If you are camping near urban areas, leave early. Unfortunately it is illegal to camp in most places and you will avoid unnecessary attention this way.
  • Research about dangerous species nearby and how to deal with them.
  • Minimize your environmental damage.
  • It requires extra equipment like a tent, sleeping bag and air mattress.

Overnight Transportation

I always take long train/bus rides during the night.

They allow you to sleep for no extra charge and you don’t have to spend an entire day sitting.

 

Network

Ask your friends and family if they know someone who could host you.

Everyone has a distant relative or a friend of a friend living in a different country.

Facebook groups for travelers are also a reliable way to stay with a local.

 

House Sitting

House sitting means staying in someone else’s places while they are away, for free.

In return you are expected to take care of their pets/garden and keep the place safe. This is an opportunity to live abroad for a few weeks/months and have an entire house available for yourself.

  • Location is specially important when choosing long-term accommodation.
  • Check if everything is working properly.
  • Whether it is taking care of pets or something else, make your chores clear.
  • TrustedHouseSitters is the main website for house sitting. (120$ annual fee)

House Swapping

Let someone stay at your place while you stay at theirs.

This is similar to house sitting, but an exchange of homes happens in this case. House sitting is suited for nomads while house swapping is more convenient for families who own a house, but want to go on a cheap vacation.

  • Get to know the people you are exchanging homes with.
  • Make all the details clear and instruct them on how to use everything in your house.
  • Share tips about best places to shop, visit, transportation etc.
  • HomeExchange is the number one website for house swapping.

Public Spaces

Sleeping in an airport/train station is not the first option for most people, but if you want to save a good amount of money it’s definitely worth a try.

Most likely, toilets, food, electrical plugs and even WiFi are available.

  • Keep your bag really close to you or even use as a pillow to avoid theft.
  • Find a safe spot away from noise before others do.
  • Use a sleeping mask and earplugs to ensure quality sleep.
  • SleepingInAirports is a website with tons of useful info.

 

Squatting

Occupying an abandoned piece of  land or a building is more common than what you might think.

“Author Robert Neuwirth suggested in 2004 that there were one billion squatters globally.”Wikipedia Article

Staying in an abandoned house can seem scary at first, but let me share with you an example:

Matthew Karsten from Expert Vagabond spent the night in a cave house, with Romanian gypsies. These people make a living by busking, dumpster diving and squatting. (Article here)

  • SquatThePlanet is a great community for squatters.
  • Don’t do it alone if it is you first time.
  • Avoid sketchy places, abandoned areas are not the safest places out there.

 

 

Transportation

 

Flights

Most people think flights are really expensive, but that’s far from being true.

And no, you don’t have to book 3 months in advance to get a cheap flight, you have to look on the right place.

  • I use AZair to find cheap flights anywhere in the world.
  • Being flexible on date and location will help you find a cheaper flight.

Skycanner is recommended a lot by other travel bloggers because they get a commission if you buy from their link.

It is definitely not as good for finding cheap flights. I don’t use it and that’s why I don’t recommend it.

 

Carpooling

Sharing a ride with someone else is an effective way to reduces costs and environmental damage.

There are many services like Uber or BlaBlaCar which connect drivers with people who need a quick or a long ride.

  • Different countries/cities use different apps, ask the locals or on Facebook Groups.

 

Hitchhiking

Not everyone is ok with hitchhiking, but you should definitely give it a try.

Hitchhiking allows you to have an adventure from point A to point B. It’s a great way to get to know the locals and you end up saving a lot of money.

There are a million things you should know about hitchhiking, but here’s my beginners advice:

  • Do it with someone else if it makes you feel more comfortable.
  • Hitchhiking is safer than you might think according to Wand’rly Magazine(Article here).
  • Visit HitchWiki for more info.

 

Cycling

If you own a bike and are fit for the challenge, bike touring might be right option for you.

There are many advantages and disadvantages of traveling around on a bike.

  • You will end up saving a lot of money, specially if you camp and cook your food.
  • It’s great to stay in shape and get out of the beaten path.
  • Finding accommodation is difficult if there isn’t a place to safely park your bike.
  • You need to get the right gear if you want to go far.
  • It is difficult to find equipment needed for maintenance of the bike in some places.

Volunteering On A Boat

FindACrew is a website that brings boat owners and crew members together.

Most of the times you don’t need previous experience, but some people ask you to pay for your own food.

  • Choose a small trip if it is your first time.

IV – Free Activities

 

Self Guided Tours

Freetoursbyfoot.com offers self-guided tours for American and European cities.

You can also search: “(your destination) + self-guided tour” and you will find a lot of options to choose from. 

Also, some cities and hostels offer free walking tours. Check out Freetour.com if you want a free guided tour for your next destination.

 

Museums

Many of the most famous museums are open to public in specific days of the month.

If you are a student/professor you will likely get a discount or free entrance.

As an example, the Louvre museum in Paris, home to the Mona Lisa:

louvre

 

Places of Worship

If someone asks you to pay to visit them, it’s probably a scam.

Some places even offer free food and accommodation.

  • Different religions have different rules, respect them.

 

Events

Seasonal events like the 4th of July or La Tomatina in Spain are great ways to experience local culture and they are open to the public.

 

Embrace The Culture

Observing how people live their lives can give you a deeper understanding of their cultures.

  • Start a travel journal/diary where you take note of everything that gets your attention.
  • Document your travels through street photography.
  • Start a conversation with a local.
  • Learn more about the place you are visiting through books, documentaries etc.

 

Hiking

If you are into outdoor activities, go for a hike during your next trip.

It’s free, accessible and it doesn’t require a lot of specific gear.

  • Be aware of dangerous animals, weather conditions, lack of water, terrain etc.
  • During long hikes bring a tent or hammock, you never know when you might need a rest.
  • Find a trail that suits your gear and physical capacity.
  • To find trails,  I use AllTrails or Google: “your destination” + “hiking trails”

 

If you made it here, let me congratulate you and thank you for reading my first post guys. New articles will be coming soon with more essential info to mastering the art of travel: How to plan a trip, what gear to take, finding the cheapest flights, staying safe and healthy etc.

If you are interested in reading my upcoming posts, make sure you subscribe to my email newsletter. And if you found this information helpful,  help me spread it by sharing with your friends on social media.

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