Solo Travelling Doesn’t Have to Break the Bank: Here’s Why
We all know the frustration here at SocialBee very well. You open your Instagram feed, and for the third time today, you're un-surprisingly bombarded with every person you've ever conversed with flaunting some luxurious escape from the harsh, grim reality that is home.
"I don't understand. Jim from accounting makes half my salary. Didn't he go to Bali and Thailand last month?" You speak to yourself out loud, gritting your teeth and squinting at your bank account's measly lack of sums. You feel like an estranged alien in the affluent world of travel. How will you ever experience your palm tree, white beach dreams, just like boring old Jim from accounting?
There is a way around it, we promise. This may sound crazy but get this: Travelling doesn't have to be an expensive luxury we spend years saving to afford. After all, some of the most unique and fulfilling life experiences through travel aren't always from a penthouse view in Santorini or Dubai.
The beautiful reality is that if you can learn to make conscious choices to travel on a budget, you can still have un-forgettable experiences. So stick with us; we'll give you some tips on how to out-travel Jim and utilize the crumbs in your bank to have the most amazing, worldly time of your life.
Choose Budget-Friendly Countries
When making conscious and smart choices on how to travel on a budget, you may want to start by simply choosing a country that you can afford to visit. One of our top picks, for example, is southeast Asia (specifically Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos).
They may feel far and foreign, but these are very safe countries, with many international travelers visiting each year. In the 2019 Global Peace Index, Vietnam ranked 57 out of 163 countries in general safety. In comparison, the U.S. sat at 114. Crime of a violent or even petty nature is rare in most parts of South East Asia.
Now, you may break a sweat when you open Google Flights, and your eyes come upon the price of traveling to South East Asia from the U.S. and immediately close your browser. However, if you contrast with how much you will spend daily, your overall spending will be much, much less than the likes of traveling Western Europe and even some parts of Mexico! And you’ll be able to live like a king/queen without having to stress about cash, giving you space to have the time of your life without any worries.
To give you a ballpark figure to budget for, in most parts of south east Asia, you can expect to spend as little as $25 USD a day, factoring your budget with three street food meals daily, dorm-style accommodation (of top-notch quality in most parts of the continent!) and using busses to travel overland as opposed to flying (most busses in South East Asia are sleeper busses, crowded with foreigners with lay down beds to sleep and TV's at your feet).
But that's just the bottom line; you'd be shocked to see how little your budget increases if you still choose to sleep in a beautiful room in a resort on occasion or take a cheap tour from time to time.
If you want to stay a little closer to home, we'd recommend checking out Colombia for a unique but budget-friendly experience. Safety may be your first concern, but we promise you that Colombia and Colombians have done everything to welcome foreigners over the last decade. You'd be surprised how big the backpacking culture is there, also. We'd say, as long as you have an eye on your belongings on buses or walking through the street, you'll find it to be a very welcoming place, full of beautiful, kind people and unique art, dancing, and biodiversity.
By choosing countries that suit your budget, you'll be able to have a fantastic experience without having to worry about the overall bill.
Opt For Hostels Over Hotels (They Aren’t All Bad!)
Hostels have a negative reputation for most Americans, thanks to the Hollywood film Hostel.' However, hostels are the only way to go for many European and Australian travelers. Most hostels have incredible amenities and are very comfortable with affordable prices and a fantastic opportunity to make friends.
Most of the time, those in dorm rooms respect each other's space, as we are all traveling and can all relate to the general human need for quiet, personal space. However, be wary of this in party hostels. Always look at the reviews to see other travelers' experience to ensure it matches what you want.
Feeling a Little Strapped for Cash? Pick up a Remote or In-Person Job Teaching English
Here are two major bonuses of being a native English speaker:
1) Naturally having the ability to communicate with everyone on your travels.
2) Always having an opportunity to teach English online or in person, wherever you go.
If you feel a little strapped for cash, but the travel bug has bit you so bad that you can feel your legs running to the airport gate ahead of your mind, we’d recommend looking at options to teach English online.
Through most platforms such as Engoo or Cambly, you can simply have conversations with non-English speakers for the chance to earn some cash. It comes out to about $10 USD an hour in most cases. However, if you’re traveling in a country where you only expect to spend $25 USD a day, you might find all your expenses paid for by doing a couple of hours in the morning a few days a week.
You may not feel like a teacher or have the credentials, and that’s okay! You’re not technically a teacher, per se. You are a new online friend for somebody else who wants to practice their English. The platforms will provide you with content in case of shy students, but most times, you’ll find your students have come to class knowing what they want to talk about and learn. Maybe you’ll even make a new friend in Japan, or Korea, who can show you around when you eventually get there?
So get out there and give it a go! You never know unless you really give it your best shot, and just remember, in moments of fear or hesitation, life always has a way of working out. But you’ll never know if you don’t give it your best shot!
Check out our other blog posts for more budget-friendly travel ideas!