I haven’t traveled as much as other travel bloggers, so this list is small. As time goes on, I’ll add as I go.
Let’s talk about transportation and accommodation. I have researched quite a bit, and I have found some pretty amazing deals for traveling the United States as well as abroad. The ultimate trick to being a cheap traveler? Flexibility and an open mind. If you’re looking to be a long term globetrotter and a world citizen there are amazing ways to travel on a budget. The most expensive part of traveling is just getting to your destination. The rest is easy!
Transportation in The USA
If you haven’t noticed, it’s pretty hard to get around the United States without a car. If you don’t have one, don’t worry! There are buses and trains and it’s cheap. It requires a lot of sitting and patience, but you also meet all kinds of characters on the way to your destination.
Megabus is awesome! I bought a one way trip from San Jose, Ca to Anaheim, Ca for $10! You can even find fares for the Megabus as low as $1. Like I said before, flexibility is your friend. You can use this bus all over the U.S. and Europe.It’s a double decker bus and has lots of room. I discovered it doesn’t cover as many places as Greyhound though. So keep that in mind.
Speaking of Greyhound, I’ve used them a couple times. The most memorable trip I had was a roundtrip $99 ticket from Seattle, Wa to (I seriously have no clue) Wyoming to visit my sister. Greyhound is a little more cramped than Megabus, but they go to more destinations.
I haven’t used Bolt Bus yet but I hear it’s pretty fantastic. They travel only in the U.S. and only on the West Coast and the North East. Apparently they offer $1 fares as well. I assume that’s dependant on when you book.
The amtrak train is probably the most expensive option, but you can go from coast to coast on it and you have seating/sleeping options. For food, depending on which train you’re on or where you’re going, trains have a dining car, lounge car and/or cafe car. I believe if you opt to get a sleeper car, food is included with the price. My personal advice is to bring your own food if you’re not going to be on there for an incredibly long amount of time. It’ll save you money. Another plus about the Amtrak is the freedom to wander. You can get up, walk around, check out the observation car or grab a bite to eat.
Airbnb is typically cheaper than a hotel and the hosts are usually awesome and full of information! You can find them all over the world. You can rent the whole place, just a room or a shared room. Depending on the place you stay, you may be able to have access to the living room and kitchen. Super good if you’re keen on saving money and cooking at home. To get an idea of how cheap these places can be, I booked a week long trip in New York in a shared room for under $200. Pretty good for one of the most expensive cities in the U.S. Airbnb also started offering “Experiences” on their site. I’m not sure what that is just yet, but I assume it helps people with finding things to do in the city they’re visiting.
If your interested in meeting new people all around the world and sharing stories and you don’t mind crashing on a couch, spare bed or even a floor Couchsurfing is the way to go. And it’s free! It’s definitely a good way to connect with people and learn their stories and about the area they live. Not all people on the site are always available to accommodate you, but most are happy to hang out and show you around town.
I think Workaway is one of the coolest things ever. You volunteer your time to a family or organization anywhere in the world, in return you get free accommodation and sometimes meals. You could be working as a nanny, farming, building houses, gardening, house work, working on a boat, giving tours, tutoring language, or working at a hostel. It’s free to look at the hosts list if you want to get an idea of what exactly I mean. If you want to start workaway and volunteering your time there is a yearly fee of $30. I believe it’s only a few bucks more if you’re traveling as a couple or duo.
Wwoof is a bit similar to Workaway. However, Wwoof is strictly volunteering your time to live and work on organic farms. They are all over the world and I believe there is a small fee to get access to the hosts in each country.
And of course there are hostels. They’re a little more expensive in the U.S. (so I hear) but cheaper than a hotel.
Please keep in mind, each country is different. Depending on how long you stay, different countries require different visas for different things. Know before you go! If you’re specifically looking into traveling to Europe: A majority of Europe is within the Schengen Zone and as a U.S. citizen, you are only allowed to be there for 90 days within a 180 day period. What that means is you can stay there 90 days, go outside of the zone for 90 days and head on back and your time resets. If you’re looking to travel elsewhere, check this out if your looking for more information on visas.
Right now I don’t have too much info on being frugal for flying. BUT… One of the coolest websites I found to help you out if you’re on a monthly budget is CheapAir. If you don’t have the cash to pay right away, you can purchase your tickets and pay over time with a payment plan. They do charge you a small interest percentage, but to me it’s worth it if I’m tight on cash.
Some Cool Resources
Clearly I don’t know everything about travel, but luckily there’s the internet! I’ve found some really cool travel blogs: Nomatic Matt who’s an insanely awesome world traveler with great information and has written a few books. Adventurous Kate is also a great read and full of info.
If you’re looking for things to do in a new area you’re visiting, besides relying on things like your Yelp or Groupon app… Check out Trip Advisor or even Atlas Obscura. There are some really cool things to discover out there.
As I go along in my adventues, I’ll be adding more resources. If you have any more suggestions or even corrections, let me know!