It’s a myth that only the wealthy can explore the world. If you’re open to an adventure and don’t mind skimping on some of the more costly perks, it’s beyond possible to jet off with only a few pennies to your name. Here, we offer nine simple ways to see the globe with a bank account that’s less than flush.
1. Let go of (most of) the luxuries.
Traveling on the cheap means being very decisive about how you spend what cash you have. Don’t get caught in the trap of must haves; even so-called essentials like hotels and restaurants are negotiable if you’re willing to walk a different path. Let go of what you think you need, and focus on the experience.
2. Consider couchsurfing.
It’s both a concept and a community. Backed by a well-connected website, the idea of couchsurfing has taken hold among adventurous travelers everywhere. The process is simple: Just browse the site, and you’ll find people all over the world willing to put you up while you explore the destination. What’s more, it’s a great way to make friends while you’re on the road.
3. Use your connections.
Have a buddy in Berlin? Know a girl on Gasmata? Take advantage of those connections. A quick phone call or email before you head out can often generate tons of on-the-cheap travel leads. Maybe an old friend needs someone to watch his house while he’s out of town or a college pal has a guest room with your name all over it. You never know until you try.
4. Score free flights.
If you have a little lead time on your journey, apply for a few credit cards that offer travel points and perks. While you await your planned departure date, you can use these cards on items you’d typically purchase with cash and rack up miles toward a free flight. You can even score offers on essentials like travel insurance with American Express.
5. Get a job.
You don’t have to cozy up to the nine-to-five grind, but making a little money while you travel is often an irresistible way to go. Teaching English is an obvious choice, but take stock of your skills: Can you work as an au pair for a brief time or translate for a tour guide? What about child care or tending bar? If you plan to stay in the same spot for more than a week or two, you could easily make enough money to get you to your next adventure. Who knows? You might even wind up meeting someone who has a friend with a vacant guest house in the next country over. Be willing to explore the possibilities, and the world can open up for you.