“Travel is never a matter of money, but of courage….”
I’m a Singapore-born Malaysian, who has a strong passion in roaming around the world getting lost, meeting people and learn more on living in different cultures. I love to stay with a local’s home (i.e couchsurfing) and work with/for them (i.e workaway), or sometimes i may even be teaching English in local village school or doing summer camps.
So here comes the magic question: How do I afford to travel constantly?
Planning for next destinations, booking of flights, looking for hosts to stay or work with has been my life for a long long time, and I would never want this wanderlust life of mine to end. Trust me, I can never understand how people can save so much, travel for a year or two, and then…..back to square one? 🙄 Trust me again, it’s been a long long time since my bank account has $1,000 in it and I’ll die of boredom if I’m back to a normal work routine. 💀
Truth is, travel does cost money. So, without savings and without a full time job, how can I still able to travel most of the time? 🌍
Multiple Freelance Jobs
Yes, I am not completely jobless! When I’m back to Singapore, I work really, really hard. I work almost 7-days a week, about 7-12 hours per day. The current jobs I’m holding right now: lifeguard, camp facilitator, rock climbing belayer, tour guide, blogger. 🤑 Having different jobs make me more motivated to work longer hours, thus earning more money. In this way, I can just work 2 months and travel for a month or more. 😉
Work hard, travel harder.
Booking of flights
Nowadays there are so many budget airlines from Singapore flying to faraway places with less than $500! (Do you know that Airasia is flying to Hawaii?!) Every Tuesday is the cheapest to buy air tickets plus it’s also Scoot promotion day, every Friday is Jetstar and Airasia promotion day, etc. I signed up for airlines newsletter to be updated on all the promotions. And my favorite app, Skyscanner, allows me to randomly choose my destinations based on cheap flights. 🛩🛩🛩 Honestly, I would pretty much prefer to travel by land or sea than by air!
Hostelworld: My favourite app to book hostels from all over the world. Hostel per night not more than $15, accessible location (means I can walk or take public transport to get there) and reasonably good reviews are good enough for me.
Couchsurfing: Not only do you get free accommodation, you get new friends too! Doing Couchsurfing also means that you get to shop and eat at local places, and even play at local price if you are lucky!
Workaway: I choose this if I am going to stay at one place throughout my whole trip. Workaway allows you to “earn” your accommodation (and most of the time your meals) in exchange for working for your host a couple of hours day. Some of the workaway I did was teaching English in Vietnam, hosteling in Egypt and farming in Australia.
Whenever I need to travel intercity, I will take overnight train/bus. If I have a super early flight or train to catch, I will just sleep at airport or train station. This is also a way to save money! 😎
A country can be so big you can’t possibly explore every place in one trip! I like the idea of going back to the same country exploring new hidden gems. I like being able to stay with the locals, to experience their culture, to live like them even for that short period of my stay. I would never envy or understand those travelers who rush travelling around the world in 2-3 years. To me, you can’t really say you had traveled the world if you didn’t dive all 5 oceans, or set foot on countries like North Korea, Antarctica, Somalia, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, etc.
By spending more quality time at a place, i tend to spend much lesser on unnecessary mainstream stuff like what a tourist would do or buy. Plus, I will have more time to find free things to do! Most of the time I stay as long as my visa expires or my budget used up, whichever that comes first. 😬
Spend like a local
As a tourist you tend to spend a lot because you have the mentality of: “everything is so cheap here, so must buy!”, or “not coming back again, so just spend the money and do it.” 😶
As a backpacker, I set my budget based on the local’s living of standard. I choose places to dine where it’s full of locals instead of foreigners. I take public transport because I know 1 trip of cab fare can allow me to take 10 times of bus trips. I buy things from vendor who can’t speak English well rather than bargain with English-speaking vendor. This all goes back to slow travelling. 😎
Go against the norm
Avoid popular destinations for Summer, avoid the capitals and big cities Avoid tourist traps. Wherever the norm go, I head the opposite. No doubt flights are cheaper flying into the capitals or big cities, but that doesn’t means you need to just stay there! Wherever is easily accessible by tourists, it’s expensive to eat, sleep and play.
When I touch down at the big cities, I will find a bus/train and continue travel to the furthest town/city I planned to start with. And then I will slowly wander around the small towns and left the last for the Capital or main cities. By then, I would have collected enough information from those locals whom I met along the way on where to find local areas in a touristy city.
Last but not least, I have a golden rule for all my trips: Budget shouldn’t exceed double the cost of air ticket, i.e air ticket: $400, budget: $800.
You may find it impossible but this is how I always set my budget. Most of the time my budget didn’t even exceed what I had spent on the flight, meaning that my flight is $300, my whole trip expenditure is less than $300. As Singapore Dollar is quite a strong currency, so it’s really not that hard to travel tight these days!
There’s nothing glamorous or secret tricks about my way of travelling! It is all about self-control and how much you want to make it work 😋 Feel free to comment and share your way of travelling with me! 🤗🤗🤗
This planet is my playground **ŘΔŴΔŘŘŘŘ**