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Tips for budget travelling

April 30, 2014
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April 29, 2014
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August 10, 2017
 

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Do you want to travel around the world and you always thought you can’t because you think you do not have enough money? Well, that’s a lame excuse. You can actually travel around the globe for minimum possible budget and yes I do this, even for example when I am free from work and don’t want to pay the rent for my home, I will leave it for the month and rather travel and hence spending less than I would have spent while staying at home. I have been asked this question hundreds of times that how can I manage to travel, so if you want to know the secrets behind my travelling adventures, ladies and gentlemen, fasten your seatbelts because I am going to reveal them now!

Riding a truck to Trabzon in Turkey

1. Study the place before you leave

Studying is the key to travelling, particularly if you plan to travel on budget, you gotta know the options that you have. This does not mean you have to plan everything in advance and need to stick to it. It means before you leave to a foreign land, you must know the rules and regulations, visa requirements, culture and people. Make a well planned tour and yet I assure you it will never go according to plans and that’s the beauty of travelling like a nomad.

Most important thing is to know if you need a visa and/or vaccination for country you are planning to go. Always use the know before you go service from IATA which you can trust blindly because this is an International body that has the most updated advice on air travelling and check in staff at airline check in counter will always check it from here about visa regulations before they allow you to board the aircraft. You must have a visa if this website says you need it otherwise you will not be allowed to board an aircraft, or you must have all required documents for visa on arrival (VOA) if this website says you are eligible for it. Consult the concerned embassy in your country to get to know about the required documents. You should also know the regulations about customs, religion or any required vaccinations before you leave or you might end up deported and/or refused entry. For example carrying alcohol in some countries is strictly prohibited and carrying drugs in some countries leads to death penalty.

Read about possible available alternative if tip.4 does not work. You should know cheapest possible options to go around. rome2rio is a very good option to get the idea of transportation possibilities.

Of all the books in the world, best stories are found between the pages of a passport (unknown)

Of all the books in the world, best stories are found between the pages of a passport (unknown)

2. Travel light

One jeans, two shirts, 1-2 shorts, 2 underwears and 2 sets of socks, camera, mobile, passport, a set of shoes, wallet and money is all you need to carry. Remember you are not going on a wedding. Depending on where you are going, you might want to carry a couple of packets of noodles/rice but always calculate if you really need to carry it, it might be you can have it from there.

That's how I was travelling in Cyprus

That’s how I was travelling in Cyprus

3. Cheap transport

A miracle is unlikely to happen to get a cheap flight without an effort. You need to search and research. Check multiple sources, compare and purchase on the right time. Look for the offers. What I usually do is, I will begin with the website of the airport where I am planning to go and check all airlines flying there. Go to their website and compare fares or there are websites like Lonely Planet , Trip AdvisormomondoWhich Airline which can scan all online travel agencies and compare the fares offered by all of these agencies. You should then check the least fare offered on all of these sites and buy it.

Airlines sometimes offer promotions on different routes. Saudi Arabian Airlines for example in my experience offers amazingly cheaper fares on almost all its routes in the months of November, December and January.Saudia offers flat rate of about 400  euros for return flight from Milan to Islamabad, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta or New Delhi (regardless of the distance all countries had same fares in these months over the last three years) and if you compare on online travel agencies, it is highly likely that you will end up getting 15-20 euro further discount offered by these agencies in an effort to attract the customer to their site. If you think it’s a huge amount, please note that on a usual time of the year, you get these routes for at least 700-1000 euros. Almost all other airlines occasionally offer promotions and discounts.

And not all this, there are some elite airlines and then there are some cheap airlines like Ryanair, Wizz Air, Easyjet, Air Asia, Air blue, Vueling, Fly Dubai, Air Arabia and Pegasus Air. These airlines usually can take you from anywhere to anywhere for as low as 8 euros. Wizz air offers a discount club membership for 30 euros per year and you get upto 10 euro discount on every flight you purchase. I have flown to more than a dozen destinations with them last year and on average I paid about 13 euros for each flight. Ryanair will take you from Milan to Cologne in just 8 euros and Pegasus will take you from Milan to Istanbul in only 29 euros and the most amazing thing I have ever seen is Wizz Air will take you from Bucharest, Sofia and Budapest to Dubai (DWC) in as low as 45euros. There are at least 15 daily flights between Dubai and Karachi (Emirates 7, Flydubai 4, Pakistan 2, Airblue 1, Shaheen 1) and this competitive environment can help you fly between two cities for as low as 45 euros mostly offered by Flydubai or Airblue

I flew Turin-Bucharest for just 9.99 euros ;)

I flew Turin-Bucharest for just 9.99 euros ?

Not only flights, Megabus in europe will take you from any destination to any destination for as low as 1 euro, including free WiFi onboard. I booked Turin to Milan, Venice and Naples number of times and everytime I paid 1 euro per trip. Flixbus is another cheaper options to travel in europe. Eurolines in Italy also takes you from Turin to Rome and Naples for just 1 euro and Italo, the fastest train in Italy will take you from Turin to Milan for just 7 euros in only 35 minutes which usually takes about 2 hours and costs 12.5 euros on regular trains.

Ryanair cheap flights

Ryanair cheap flights

4. Hitchhiking

Well, if you still think it’s too much for you, I have something you can’t believe. I never believed either when one friend in Bucharest told me she travelled from Europe to Tehran hitchhiking and suggested me to try it. I was really afraid if it will work but it did and it went really great. In Turkey, where average waiting time for getting a lift was reported to be about 30 minutes, I got it in less than 15 minutes most of the times. Yes once in the evening near Sivas, I had to wait for about 45 minutes when I finally gave up and decided to look for a place to sleep. I sat down near a traffic signal and car stopped and asked if we were hitchhiking and we got it. Turkey always had a special place in my heart and my hitchhiking trip made it even more special. I got offers for chaye, apricots, dinners, chats and in short, it was an amazing and encouraging experience. (It won’t always be encouraging by the way!). I did not pay a single penny for my trip from Konya to Hopa, the last town of Turkey before entering into Georgia. I also tried hitchhiking in Georgia and it worked there too.

The best thing about hitchhiking is you directly interact with locals, people of different kinds and with different mentality. You get to see the real picture of the country and meet some really nice people, ofcourse those who stopped for you were nice.

Hitchhiking in Kayseri (Me, Volkan and the truck driver)

Hitchhiking in Kayseri (Me, Volkan and the truck driver)

5. Couchsurfing

Not only you can travel for free, you can also live for free anywhere in the world. Couchsurfing is a website where you can look for a place to stay to sleep anywhere in the world or can invite travellers visiting your area. whenever you host a guest or get hosted by a host, both the host and the guest give feedback on each other’s profiles and hence you grow your reputation as you travel. More the reputation, more are the chances to get a couch. But couchsurfing is not only a free couch to sleep, it once again gives you the opportunity to live with locals and get to know the real country. A direct interaction with locals helps you overcome the misunderstandings you or he/she might have about each other’s countries. I have extensively used couchsurfing in Europe, Asia and Africa and it really works, all you need to do is to be careful who do you choose to host or to be guest with. Your common sense along with references of your host/guest should be the key for choosing him/her, and because it’s more than just a couch hunting site, you must return the favor to the travellers in your area by offering them your couch.

Mehmat and Shukran have been my best hosts so far on couchsurfing

Mehmet and Shukran have been my one of my best hosts so far on couchsurfing, what a lovely couple

6. Skip Museum

I, usually will never visit a museum charging for entrance unless it’s really something that matches my interests. Afterall I am a traveller and not a tourist. But if you really want to visit one, check they might have free or discounted entry for students. Many museums in the world have free entrance days once a week or once a month, you just need to study before you visit.

7. Free Guided Tours

Almost all big cities in the world have daily free guided tours where you get to know the history of the city in detail. They will explain the story behind all important buildings and take you walk around the city. Not required but voluntarily tipping your guide is a nice gesture. Free Sofia Tour is one example of such tours. They offer free tours in Sofia, the Capital of Bulgaria.

8. Sleeping in Airports

Well if you have a flight early morning and you are staying in a hostel/hotel, I would suggest you to leave the day before your flight, spend the day sightseeing and go to airport at night and thus you have saved money for that night. Almost all airport officials know people spend nights there while waiting for next morning flights and many airports are trying to accommodate such budget travellers by offering sleeping arrangements. Guide to Sleeping in Airports is a website that lists and ranks almost all airports in the world based on sleeping arrangements at the airport. You can check what you can expect while sleeping in an airport. Many airports offer free WiFi which is a bonus for you. This website also offers annual airports ranking based on four C’s of airport travel (comfort, conveniences, cleanliness and customer service) and this exactly is the website that ranked Islamabad’s Benazir bhutto International Airport as the worst airport in the world last year.

Sleeping couch at Prague airport

Sleeping couch at Prague airport

In the end, always get ready for unexpected delays, things not going according to plans (they never will), missed trains or planes and even more than that, never panic even if you think it’s the worst situation. This happens quite often and you can come over it only if you don’t panic.

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