(Photo by Giuseppe Finocchiaro)
Paris, Sydney, London, Hawaii, Greece
Everyone dreams of traveling to the most exotic locations on the planet with the idea of beautiful white sand beaches under their feet. Or the chance to drink fine wine under the Eiffel tower during the moonlight
A trip up north or to the town a few hours away just doesn’t cut it sometimes
But the problem I hear most when I ask people why they don’t travel to the places they really want to visit is unanimous
“Its way to expensive for me to do that”
I have successfully traveled all around many parts of the western world, and am currently in plans to take a trip across Europe for three months visiting all the spectacular museums, lavish restaurants, and colorful nightlife
I am able to do it with student loans breathing down my checking account, very little money to my name, no 9-5 job salary, and I want to show you how
Going on vacations is something that everyone loves to do, but many people lack the financial resources to make their wildest trips possible
In order to combat the need for high priced travel, you must employ the concept of being a conscious consumer and the ideals of frugality in order to maximize trip pleasure and minimize costs
Step 1 Booking a Flight and Hotel
It’s surprising to know that even in this day and age; many people book their flights and hotels directly through their perspective airlines and hotels websites. While having a favorite airplane company to use may be to your liking, you can save hundreds of dollars on your flight and your room by booking them on major comparison flight websites
My favorite site to use is www.sidestep.com
This site allows you to compare multiple flight and hotel booking companies such as Priceline, Expedia and Hotwire to determine the best possible price available for your flight
I once got a flight to Los Angeles from Detroit Michigan for 230$ through sidestep, most websites started at 400$!
Now when it comes to saving even more money, you can use two websites that allow for cheaper, or even free accommodation wherever you go in the world as long as you’re willing to be more travel flexible
Hostelworld.com and couchsurfing.com are some of my most used sites before I leave for a trip
Hostelworld.com is a hostel website of course
It offers user reviews and booking for nearly every hostel around the world, from New York to Tokyo
The nice thing about hostels is that they are dirt cheap, sometimes as little as 10 dollars US per night
You get all of the provisions of a hotel, including a bed, shower, and TV/internet; you even get added bonuses in many hostels including a recreation room and a full service kitchen
The only catch is that you share your room with 1-3 other people
While this may seem unreasonable to many, consider the many adventures you could embark on by meeting brand new people during your stay in an exotic land, sometimes they even have local connections that can lead you to food, drinks, and future travel opportunities with some of the most fun and outgoing people you will ever meet
Couchsurfing.com is a website for just what it sounds, sharing people’s homes across the world for free
While many people may be fearful of utilizing another person’s guest bedroom in a foreign country, couchsurfing.com has many safeguards built right into its service that make for an excellent and safe service
In order to use the service, you must apply for account and share many details about who you are and why you are using the service. Upon acceptance, you can search through a long list of criteria in order to find the right house for you to stay at.
Each house has reviews made by travelers just by you, people explaining what their experience at that house was like and what they liked/disliked about the accommodations.
You then apply to “couchsurf” their house for a period of time, and the person who owns the house reviews your account, as each traveler has personal reviews about them as well.
What this means is that if you are traveling in a small group, you can meet fun, outgoing, trustworthy people and stay at their house for nothing
That’s right, couchsurfing.com is totally FREE
Sidestep.com, hostelworld.com, and coachsurfing.com all offer low cost or even free accommodation all around the world. Each website can fit your individual needs, whether you are a party of one or a large family you can find great deals on your flights and living space that allow you to travel to far and exotic locations that you may have always wanted to visit, but never considered a possibility.
A good friend of mine is currently backing packing through Europe for an extended period of 5 months, to date he is 4 months into his trip and using the techniques I have listed here he has only spent $6500 in total. That’s significantly less than most people spend in one month!
In my next articles I will cover how to spend money during your trip and have the time of your life without creating a credit card statement that is tall as the entrance to the Louvre, and also outline how my friend was able to travel through Europe for nearly 5 months for next to nothing