Travel The World On 11$/Day – 30 Practical Tips Everyone Should Know

In 1 year of traveling the world, I explored over 10 countries and 3 continents at a total 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 personSo, 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 4 major categories, and break down my method in simple steps to demonstrate how you can save the most under each one.

Traveling demands a whole vast array of expenses, but most of them will be for either food, accommodation, transportation, and / or activities. Let’s tackle these one by one.

 

 

1. Food

★Best Thali Ever★👌👏👍🍛🇮🇳

A post shared by Lucid Lucas (@lucid.lucas.travels) on

Restaurants

Restaurants are expensive, but there is no reason for you to avoid them altogether in order to save money when traveling.

Restaurants can work as the perfect medium for you to have a great local food experience. Here are a few things you need to keep in mind, however, for a memorable – and economical – meal experience at a restaurant:

  • Choose local cuisine – Locally grown, indigenous produce is always cheaper than foreign ingredients, making them a better choice. Let’s not forget that the nutritional value of these is much higher due to quality of produce and seasonality.
  • Pick lunch over dinner – Have your fancy restaurant meal for lunch, for a lot of establishments offer lunch deals designed to attract more customers, making it a more attractive proposition.
  • Hunt down buffets – If you have a big appetite, a buffet might be more economic than the a la carte menu – great value for money!
  • Cut down on alcohol – Avoid expensive drinks or don’t drink at all at restaurants, there are many other choices for libation available. More on this later below.
  • Don’t fall for fast food – Fast food chains may appear to be a cheap option in some countries, but will definitely wreak havoc on your system – which is already susceptible to illnesses when you travel. 
  • Doggy bag it – Bring the leftovers with you. Not only is this a better use of your money, but also so much better for the planet due to its ability to reduce food waste.
  • App store is your friend – Different countries use integrator apps for events, transport, and – most importantly – food. Check the app store for most used apps in the ‘Food & Drinks’ category.

 

Street Food 

Eating on the go is a cheap way to experience traditional foods, while not burning a massive hole through your pocket.

In some places, like Thailand, it’s mandatory that you try the street food in order to experience the country to its fullness. The delicious flavors are a bonus! Just a couple of pointers to keep your street-food experience positive, though:

  • In some places, street food can be very unhygienic. Keep a keen eye out for street food vendors with satisfactory hygiene, even if it means shelling out a bit more money. Don’t worry – it will still be cheaper than eating fancy.
  • It’s better to have a bigger meal than to snack all day long, as the latter makes expenses pile up. Also snacking too frequently could be harmful if the snacks are not nourishing.

 

Cook Your Meals

Cooking is cheap, but it requires effort and a kitchen, which can be a deterrent. It is absolutely worth it, though, because through cooking you get to control the quality of the food you consume, at 1/10th of the price, while picking up information about cooking local cuisines.

If you aren’t traveling with a portable kitchen, hostels and couchsurfing experiences present great opportunities to use one. Here are a few basic pointers to nudge you the right direction, when cooking up a storm while traveling:

  • Buy local, seasonal ingredients. A quick Google search or a conversation with a local should do the trick.
  • Google the right prices to avoid getting ripped off in markets, you can also just ask your couchsurfing host or hostel admin.
  • Learn how to make a local dish to keep things interesting, while educating yourself and immersing yourself in local culture.
  • It’s very easy to prepare quick meals like sandwiches or fruit salads and have a picnic in a public park, or another nice spot of your choosing.

 

Eat With A Local

Depending on your couchsurfing host’s level of interest, and availability, you can make this happen. A great new alternative, however, that I came across is also recommended by Matt Kepnes, of Nomadic Matt, taps into the sharing economy to save money while traveling.

He recommends websites such as EatWith, that allow you to have a fine-dining experience at an affordable price, by connecting chefs, who have been carefully vetted, with foodies. 

Cooking classes are also available through this website.

 

Natural Bounty

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

I’ve snacked on delicious figs, almonds, plums, blackberries, grapes, and – in case of the image above – cashew fruits, among many more while hitchhiking around Europe. Except for the cashew fruit, which was in Goa, India. To make full use of this bounty available around you, make sure that you:

  • Store fruits in your bag for later consumption
  • Check your finds for rot and / or insects
  • Get an edible plants, fruits, and mushrooms guide, if you want to take it to the next level

 

Dumpster Diving

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

A lot of food finds itself going to waste due to expiration dates – which have time and again been proved to be arbitrary – while most of it is still good to eat. 

Sometimes this is not even the case, if you are wary of eating food past its expiration date. During Woodstock, Poland, an extremely popular music festival that attracts droves of enthusiasts, my friend and I saw an incredible amount of perfectly edible food being cast aside and forgotten by attendees. This was not expired produce. This wasn’t even food gone bad. It was simply food that people couldn’t finish.

There are two places for this type of leftovers to end up in, and sadly more often than not it is in the garbage. Instead of having all this food be trashed, we salvaged some of it, to eat a variety of treats to our heart’s content, at zero cost.

Do I feel embarrassed admitting, this? Heck, no.

Rob Greenfield – adventurer, activist, and humanitarian – dumpster dove around the US to raise awareness of the ongoing, and very real, 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. A few problems associated with dumpster diving are:

  • It’s definitely not practical
  • Always better to do it with someone else
  • Sometimes unfeasible in a lot of countries, where it is either illegal or the surroundings are unhygienic

 

Drink More Water

Alcohol and canned (or packaged) juices are not only unhealthy but also steeply priced.

However, drinking bottled water will cost you, and have a negative impact on the planet due to the single-use nature of the bottle’s plastic.

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

I noticed and used water refill stations in Thailand, where you could fill up a bottle for 1 THB ($0.03). While this service may not be available in the country you are visiting, it is ideal to carry a reusable bottle of your own that you can refill when you come across a safe enough option.

 

 

2. Accommodation

 

 

Hostels

Staying in a dorm room is a way to save money and make friends. Some hostels also provide single or double bed rooms for a slightly higher price.

Although this is a popular choice among young travelers, hostels are suitable for people of all ages.

 

Guest Houses

While traveling with my girlfriend in Thailand guest houses were the perfect accommodation option for us. If you are traveling with someone else or if you just a full room for yourself don’t think twice.

Most guesthouses provide a double bed or two beds and a private bathroom with shower. The prices vary depending on the country, but if you are splitting with someone else, it will cost you the same as a bunk bed in a shared dorm in the hostel next door.

  • Don’t look online, these places are usually more expensive.
  • Ask a few different guest houses for prices, check the room and make sure wifi among other amendments are available.
  • It’s possible to bargain depending on the length of your stay.

 

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 people also 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.
  • Use my link to get a 40$ discount.

 

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 travelers  in a spare room or couch. 

  • 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, it’s a great opportunity to dive in a new culture. 
  • 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 during your travels. 

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.

Also, you get to enjoy free perks like surfing, if you are volunteering in a surf school, for example.

It’s one of the most rewarding things you can do while traveling. You will likely  make new friends, learn new skills and get out of your comfort zone.

  • I use Workaway for my volunteering experiences. There is also Helpx (cheaper) and WWOOF (organic farms only).
  • Don’t do it for the free food and accommodation, choose something that genuinely interests you.
  • Message 1 to 3 hosts. Not everyone replies, and there’s a chance there won’t be enough space for one more volunteer.
  • Make all the details clear: working hours, days off, meals etc.
  • If things are not going as expected, talk to your host instead of leaving the place immediately.
  • If you google “Your destination” + “volunteering” you will find many websites specific to that location.

 

Camping

Camping Spot On The Rif Mountains, Morocco 🗻🌍☀️

A post shared by Lucid Lucas (@lucid.lucas.travels) on

Camping is one of my favorite ways to save money on accommodation. 

It’s great for spending time in nature, relaxing and taking a break from this crazy society. 

  • If you are camping near urban areas, pack early. Unfortunately, it is illegal to camp in most places, so try to avoid unnecessary attention.
  • Beware of dangerous species in your area and take the necessary precautions
  • You will need to carry more gear like a tent, sleeping bag and air mattress if you are serious about camping.
  • And please don’t give mother nature more plastic or any other toxic substance to the environment

 

Overnight Transportation

I really like to take long train/bus rides during the night.

They allow you to sleep for no extra charge and you end up saving time.

 

Networking

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 for free.

 

House Sitting

Stay at someone else’s house and enjoy life as a local.

In return you have 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 for yourself.

  • Location is very important when choosing long-term accommodation.
  • Check if everything is working properly.
  • Make your chores are 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.

  • Make friends with 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 money, it’s definitely worth a try.

Toilets, food, electrical plugs and even WiFi are usually available, for free!

  • Keep your bag really close to you or even use it 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 about sleeping in airports, of course

 

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 a success story:

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 usually not the safest

 

3. Transportation

 

Flights

If you think flights are really expensive, think twice.

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

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

Skycanner is recommended 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. 

 

Hitchhiking

I know notall of you are 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 the right option for you.

But, 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 own meals.
  • It’s a great way to stay fit and get off the beaten path.
  • Finding accommodation with a safe spot for your bike can be tricky.
  • You need to invest in the right gear if you want to go far.
  • It is difficult to find maintenance gear in some places.

 

Volunteering On A Boat

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

If you want to have an adventure in the oceans, this website is for you.

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

 

4. 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 free of charge in some days.

If you are a student/professor you are likely to 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, check if it is not 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 for 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.

That’s it for this post! Feel free to leave any questions, suggestions or opinions on the comment section below.

2 Responses to “Travel The World On 11$/Day – 30 Practical Tips Everyone Should Know

  • Roberto Ibáñez
    1 day ago

    Excelent blog!!!
    A lot of work. Amazing!!
    Thank u very Much!

    • Thank you so much!
      It was a lot of work, true, but I really think there is great value in this information, that’s why I’m so happy to share it for free 😀
      So happy I could help, thanks for reading and have a great day!

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