Ellie our student intern, now graduated, reflects on her impending traveling adventure and offers some top tips for others considering a long term trip and needing affordable travel.
Affordable travel and free accommodation through house-sitting
Becoming a new graduate is exciting and challenging all at the same time, not only do you have to contend with facing the real world after the relative safety net of university life, but you also have to start making big life choices, and you soon realise that most of them can be very expensive! The last thing you can afford is to go traveling; or is it?
In the last couple of years more and more affordable travel options are emerging on the travel market. And these are becoming increasingly popular with students and graduates, as a safe and affordable way to see the world on a shoe string budget. We have compiled a list of ideas for you to help you start planning and budgeting your adventure.
Budgeting and raising money
However you decide to fund your travels once you are underway, you will need a fund to get you started, and to start budgeting carefully to make sure that you get the best for your money. There are several ways that you can create a fund for affordable travel, including:
- Working and saving – Working for a while to save enough to be able to enjoy yourself is a good start. Once you start to build your fund, try cutting your living expenses a little so you can save money from your earnings, this will help you in the long term! It is always important to have more than the bare minimum. To make sure you have to have enough for those unforeseen circumstances and emergencies
- Try and exchange your skills for paid work while you travel e.g. if you have writing, IT or design skills you could create a profile on Guru.com and pitch for and secure work projects virtually
- Loans – if you can source a reputable loan from a company, friend or family member who is willing to agree to the risk then this could be the way forward for you.
- Gifts – If you are very lucky you may be able to source money from family or friends as a gift. This provides the same advantages a loan, without the disadvantage of having to pay it back!
However you raise your funds, it is important that you start budgeting. Try making a plan of the essentials you need to buy and research online prices of the countries you will be travelling too!
Preparation can ensure you optimise costs savings for really affordable travel. Read up on the culture, many travel books offer you advice on how to live on a shoe string, whilst enjoying yourself at some of the worlds most treasured destinations Make sure you also do you research on the best accommodation options, as along with good flight deals, these will help you save the most money whilst travelling.
Affordable travel and accommodation options
House-sitting is a fast developing industry that offers travelers seriously affordable travel options and an authentic experience. It is quickly becoming an increasingly popular way to live for backpackers and digital nomads!
House-sitting opportunities offer you free accommodation in exchange for looking after the home and pets while the owners are away. Just by registering online on a house sitting network site such as HouseSitMatch.com you can browse lists of potential house sitting opportunities from across the world.
There are many benefits to house-sitting, not just the money saving advantages. This form of mobile and semi-flexible accommodation also offers safety and security in a home environment; surrounded by a community and almost always at least one set of neighbours. This will allow you to live like a local, which is something a standard hotel room or a cramped hostel bunk house won’t and still it makes for affordable travel.
By living in a local’s house you can also cut down on food expenses as you can prepare your own meals in their kitchen (providing you wash your own dishes!) which is always a cheaper alternative than eating out.
Couchsurfing is also an industry that has taken off, especially appealing to those on a budget. The couchsurfing network is full of like-minded people offering travellers and holidaymakers around the world affordable travel through a couch, bed or even a corner on the floor to stay in exchange for the same kindness when they visit your town.
This is another very good accommodation option for traveling on a shoe string, because it allows you to interact with locals willing to share their knowledge and information about their home country. But alternative accommodation options like house-sitting and couchsurfing should be considered as seriously affordable travel options, they can save you even more money compared to the standard hostel or hotel.
Affordable travel on a budget may sometimes force you to find work while you travel. Even though this may not seem like the most exciting thing to do, especially when all you can imagine is relaxing on a beach in paradise! Working whilst you travel can actually be a brilliant opportunity to meet and befriend locals and also gain some valuable experience.
To maximise your chances of getting a job, before you travel try and gain some valuable experience in the area in which you hope to work. Whether that is office work or a bar job in a hotel, demonstrating you’ve have already got a little bit of experience in that field and the drive to do it is very appealing to many employers. Also do your research online, in many hostels jobs will be advertised but to increase your chances even more, try applying online and making a few connections before you leave.
However these days many lines of work only need a good internet connection and a laptop. Also with a bit of creative thinking to enable you to work outside of the normal office constraints! For example there are plenty of websites and magazines that have paid travel writer positions, or publications that buy reviews on different events and countries. These can allow you to travel and get paid, get started by creating and maintain a blog whilst you travel to demonstrate your writing skills.
No matter how big your budget is though, there are so many affordable travel options for you to create the most amazing traveling experience whilst choosing affordable options. Enabling you to make the most of your big adventure!