Want to save money so you can start traveling? Don’t know where to start planning your trip? Or need tactics for negotiating those street vendors while on the road? This is the page for you. Here you will find the money and time-saving tips I’ve learned through trial and error on the road!
1) Saving for Travel: Can you guess the number one excuse most people list for not being able to travel? Money. But for many people, income is not the problem, it’s their expenses. Check out my page on how to save for travel. There you will find some easy ways, and some not so easy ways, to SAVE for your big trip!
2) Timing and planning: By now you probably have a destination or region in mind. Before jumping on a plane though, you’ll need to get a few things ready. What’s the weather like where your going? Is it high season or low season for tourists? What are the Visa requirements of the countries you want to visit? Do you need a Visa ahead of time or can you get a Visa On Arrival when you land? What vaccinations do you need? What should I pack and what kind of backpack should I buy? Don’t stress, on my Timing/Planning/Packing Page I’ve listed an outline of what you’ll need and provided links for more in-depth research.
3) Getting Around: Should you book a Round-The-World flight, or wait and book the flights are you go? Why not use a travel agency to book all your lodging, tours, and modes of transport? It would be easier right?? Do I even have to fly, or can I take buses and boats everywhere? Well, I guess it really depends on how you like to travel, and how much money you want to spend. I’ll list some pros and cons, and maybe it will help you decide.
Travel agencies – First of all, travel agencies are a waste of money if you are backpacking. They take a cut on the lodging, the transport, the tours, the flights, etc. They are great if you are taking a short trip and don’t have the time to research, but you pay muuuuuch more for the convenience. On average, I spent between $600-$1000 per MONTH while traveling through Latin America and Southeast Asia and that included all food, hostels, buses, tours, activities, and alcohol! If you plan to travel for longer than two weeks, skip the agencies and do it yourself. If you need advice on where to go, where to do, what to do, routing, etc, check out the pages on this site. For more in-depth help, email me and we can set up a Skype session where I can answer all your questions for $30/hour.
RTW flights – These are offered through many airlines, but they mostly use one of three alliances (Star, One World, Sky Team.) Tickets bought like this in advance are generally cheaper than paying as you go, and good for people who like structure. It gives you a path and deadlines to follow as you move along. The negative for most people is the lack of flexibility in destinations, modes of transportation, and time limit of 12 months. The debate has pros and cons on both sides, but basically a RTW ticket is probably only worth it if you plan to make numerous long haul flights between continents within a year.
If spontaneity is not your thing, backpacking is likely to bring it out of you. You never know when you’ll hear about some unknown town, or festival, or fun thing to do. If you don’t have a “next” place to be, you’ll have the opportunity to see those things. What if you meet new friends or locals that you want to tag long with or spend more time with? There have been a few instances were I had to rush through some travel to make a flight, and it’s a situation I try never to repeat.To me, it’s far more important to have flexibility on the road. Part of the fun with backpacking is freeing yourself from routine and welcoming the unknown. Another positive about flying as you go is being able to take advantage of budget airlines and other modes of transportation between countries such as trains, buses, motorcycles, etc. Most of your travel will be done in buses and minivans, and when you do have to fly, the local budget airlines or boats will be far cheaper. I recently flew from Singapore to Gold Coast, Australia for $160 including my bags. That price for an 8 hour flight on an Alliance airline would be unheard of. As would flying 4 hours from Kuala Lumpur to Manila for $40! Speaking of cheap flights, I almost always use Skyscanner. You can search for the cheapest flights in and out of an entire country, and over the period of entire month. They, and most search engines, don’t search every airline however, so make sure you figure out which budget airlines operate where you are.
4) Cameras, video cameras, laptops, speakers, and other useful travel electronics
While on the road, there will be times when you need to entertain yourself, others, or the kid sitting on the 20 hour bus next you who won’t go to sleep! There is much to say about these, so I’ve made a separate page for them here.
Hopefully you are now a few steps closer to exploring the world! Between the pages listed above, you have the checklist you need to get out there and experience amazing things that very few people will ever see. Happy Travels!