How To Save Money While Traveling
Traveling a lot/full time is often misinterpreted as having lots of money. One of the most common question travelers get is "how can you afford to travel so much" or "you must have a lot of money,'' Little do people know, some travelers have less money than they do. I strongly believe how you travel determines how much money you need or spend. I don't think there's a right or wrong way to travel, we all like different things. Some of us prefer an all exclusive, guided tour trips to exotic locations for 5 days to a week, and some prefer spending a month or more backpacking through different countries. I personally like the idea of spending the least amount of money in order to get an extra week or 2 or choosing another location. For me, travel isn't about using my 2 week vacation time, I work to travel and that's all I want to do at the moment. I recently spent 7 weeks backpacking Canada on a tight budget. Below, I'll explain how I did it, how I spent less money in 7 weeks than most spend in 4 weeks not traveling. I hope this list can show and prove how you don't need lots of money to travel.
The first thing I before leaving for Canada, was reach out to a bunch of host families on sites like WWOOF, HelpX and Workaway. With these sites, you are offered room and board in exhange for a few hours a day of work. Work ranges from working on farms, B&B's, hostels, tutoring and au pair. Getting involved in a work exchange program is as simple as sending an email to hosts families after paying the site's membership. Doing a work exchange can save you heaps of money, while exploring. I also learned a lot about farming and ate fresh fruits and vegetables everyday.
Couchsurfing is not only a money saver since it's FREE, but also a great way to meet locals. Couchsurfing is available in many different countries around the world. As awesome as it is, there are still crazy people who will take advantage of you especially women, choose smart, make sure the host has positive reviews and use your judgement.
I've stayed at hostels many times in different cities. They are cheap, provide lots of daily activities, some provide free breakfast and will have lots of other travelers to meet. Airbnb is another option for affordable accommodation. At times, Airbnb can be cheaper than hostels if traveling with someone else and splitting the cost. However, some host will have extra charges like a cleaning fee or even a security deposit.
Ridesharing/carpooling is a great way to save money on getting around. There are websites/apps in different countries where you get to ride with someone else for a really low price, websites like Carpoolworld and Ridebuzz. I used the service called HitchPlanet in Canada and would save at least $10 every time.
If it's legal, do it. I got the chance to hitchhike alone and with others in Canada. It was a pleasant experience, it was very easy and I felt safe. Just like anything else, try not to hitchhike too late, and stay safe.
Cook Your Own Meals
Food is usually one of the biggest expenses when it comes to traveling. If you're backpacking, buy your own food from the grocery store, and prepare your own meals. I'm a big foodie, I love trying new foods everywhere I go, but I limit my self to one meal a day. The rest, I make at the hostel and bring a snack. Most hostels will have a full kitchen and usually free supplies such sugar, oil, salt, etc.
Avoid Bank Fees
Bank fees add up, don't do it. A couple of ways to avoid this is by getting a cash passport card, using a bank card with no ATM fees like Capital One 360 and Charles Shwarb, and finding other banks affiliated with yours. For example, Bank of America has affiliations with Scotia Bank in Canada, Barclays Bank in the UK and many more including Barclays Africa in South Africa.