What if you could travel for months, visiting far off places for cheap? You could check off some of those destinations on your bucket list or discover exotic locales you’d never dreamed you would, or even could!
There are more ways than ever to save on travel and taking extended trips is becoming more common. I know firsthand how cheap it can be to travel far, for a long time. My family and I spent $74 a day traveling for a year, all costs included. We took seven flights to eight countries on three continents, eating out, visiting attractions on a daily budget less than accommodation costs alone for most vacationing families. Taking an extended trip, traveling a longer time for cheap is easier than a lot of people believe. The key is cutting costs wherever you can while traveling because every dollar saved equals more time seeing the world. Here are some simple ways to travel longer cheaper.
Extended Travel Planning and Budgeting
You need to get in the right mindset to prepare for an extended trip. Part of that is determining the purpose of your trip and a rough outline of your preferences to help you fulfill that purpose. Be flexible and plan intentionally.
Start by asking yourself some important questions:
Why do you want to travel?
Asking yourself why you want to take an extended trip will help you shape your plan. Do you want to volunteer? Are you interested in learning about a particular region or culture? Maybe you want to start the process to become an expat and live and work overseas.
Where do you want to go?
Do you have a list of must see places or simply a starting point? Is it specific cities or whole countries that intrigue you? Using sites like Numbeo and Price of Travel can help you determine basic living costs in different places around the world. I’ve used both to find countries where my travel budget will stretch further.
How can you make it happen?
Can you get the time off or secure leave from your job? Do you want to travel sustainably and work while you’re on the road? Can you sell some of your stuff that you don’t need or want anymore to help finance your adventure?
When do you want to leave?
Having a travel date in mind gives you a goal to work towards. The date may change as plans often do but having to amend when you leaving is no big deal, you’re still going!
How many countries do you want to visit?
If your list is long and spread out over multiple continents, your trip will be more expensive.
How fast do you want to travel?
Faster costs more money, slower keeps costs lower.
How are you willing to get around considering cost, time, and comfort?
Planes can be expensive, and buses can take a lot of time. The seemingly cheapest mode of transportation can end up costing you huge chunks of time and can end up being more expensive monetarily as well. Considering convenience when determining modes of transportation can end up saving you money.
How do you want to stay?
There are accommodation choices to fit every preference and budget all over the world. You need to decide what you prefer and then research accommodation types that fit your budget.
How to Make an Extended Trip Affordable
Make your budget as simple as possible. You and your budget need to be flexible. The most important thing when determining a budget is to be realistic.
The length of time traveling comes down to how long you can be away from your job and how much money you have to spend to devise a budget, that part is pretty cut and dried. Answering the above questions will help you determine what you want to achieve with your trip.
You don’t need to plan everything down to the last detail. But having a clear reason why you want to go and what you hope to achieve will help you figure out important details before you leave and prepare you to recognize opportunities to enrich your travels as they arise on the road.
Now to find ways to get the most value for your money and to meet your travel goals!
How to travel Cheaper
There are ways to keep costs a lot lower; in fact, there are ways to eliminate some expenses all together! Accommodation prices can affect a travel budget the most. Reducing or eliminating some of those costs equals more time traveling.
The one thing that keeps my family traveling longer is staying free with house sitting! There are opportunities all over the world to stay in beautiful destinations free in exchange for minding people’s homes while they vacation.
You can find house sitting assignments for weeks, months and, even years on different house sitting sites. House sitting has accounted for almost a year of free travel accommodation for us. We stayed six months in Panama, two months in Spain, one month in Turkey and two months in the UK with accommodation costs covered because of house sitting.
Here are more ways to save money on the road:
Benefit from the sharing economy
Couchsurfing and WWoofing are other ways to garner free accommodation. They also help travelers learn about destinations on a local level. My favorite way to stay aside from house sitting is with Airbnb. Rentals offer space and conveniences, like full kitchens and even washing machines that make family travel way more affordable than hotels and hostels.
Skip car rentals
Choose accommodation with easy access to amenities and public transportation. Being able to walk to things you need and want when traveling helps you see the finer details of a destination. You also save a bunch of money not needing to pay rent, insure and gas up a rental car.
Approach destinations like locals do
Shop and eat in restaurants outside tourist areas, pricing is always cheaper. Visit sites like Like A Local and Spotted by Locals to get local opinions on great things to do and see in the places you visit. The recommendations are often the best value for money.
Take a food tour
Taking a food tour when you first arrive in a destination is a great way to learn great places to eat. Local guides offer recommendations aside from the places on the tour.
Research city tourism cards to save
Getting a city tourism card can help you to receive discounts or free entry to attractions. Most also give users a discounted rate on public transportation.
Don’t book everything before arriving
Organize the first third of your time in a new destination. Leave the rest open-ended so you can make plans based on money saving tips and opinions of people you meet along the way.
Keep costs at home in check while you’re away
House sitting is a great way to stay in amazing destinations free but using a house sitter to care for your home and pets while you’re away can save you a lot of money as well. Having a house sitter stay will save you expensive kennel fees and additional insurance fees you may have to pay if your home is left empty for an extended period. My favorite house sitting site is House Sit Match. The personal service offered on the site is a great support for anyone wanting to try house sitting services for the first time.
I hope these tips inspire an extended trip for you! I use them as I travel and have saved a lot of money as a result. If you’ve had a long-term travel experience and can offer more ideas how to travel longer cheaper, please share your thoughts in the comments.