Ask people why they don't travel and many will say they can't afford it. But international travel expert Chris Herrmann begs to differ. In fact, he makes the seemingly outrageous claim that it is cheaper to travel the world than to stay home!
"I was preparing to leave on a twelve month overseas travel adventure, when a friend exclaimed, 'Wow, that must be costing you a fortune'", he said. In fact, it cost him less than if he was living at home.
After his backpacking adventure through 23 countries around the world, he says it's about approaching your travel differently.
For your airfare, you may be surprised you can purchase an around the world ticket for under $500. That's exactly what Chris did. He used frequent flyer points. Don't have enough points? "I signed up for a couple credit cards and after the three month qualifying period, I had enough points to purchase my ticket", he said.
Travelling for several months or longer allows you to offset your normal living costs for travel. Your home is a valuable funding source for your trip. If you rent, hand back the keys. It's a challenging decision, but the liberating feeling of not being tied to a place is rewarding. If you own your property, rent it out. If you plan to be away for around twelve months, this is an excellent opportunity to minimize clutter. You could consider selling your furniture to save storage costs and shifting hassles, then just store what's left. Look at it like the start of a new chapter in your life.
What you normally pay for utility expenses and rent (or collect in rent), can now go towards your travel budget. This gives you free accommodation while you're away.
Choosing destinations such as Latin America, Spain or South East Asia are not only cost effective but offer a great cultural experience. These countries offer excellent budget level accommodation including hotels, guest houses, hostels and Airbnb.
Hostels in general are not like the questionable standards of years past. In fact, many now are very professionally run businesses. The benefit of hostels, which generally offer private rooms as well, are they provide a good social hub and travel network.
Useful apps to source accommodation include booking.com, Airbnb, hostelworld and homestay.
How would you like free travel insurance? Health insurance companies will normally suspend premium payments while you are away for an extended time. Those savings can cover the cost of your travel insurance, effectively giving you free travel insurance!
What about your car? Unless you are emotionally wed to it, why not sell it. There's plenty more of them when you get back. Why continue to pay out registration, insurance and other payments only to find you've lost more money from its depreciated value when you arrive back.
Earning extra income will offset your travel living costs. There are many people who live overseas off their pension or other investments. Having an income earning interest while travelling provides an excellent balance and sense of purpose mixed in with the excitement of living in a new destination. If you have a job or business, ask yourself if your role could be done remotely. If you have knowledge based skills, you may be surprised to know you can trade your expertise for an income while travelling. Check out upwork.com. There's a whole global market that may be just looking for your skills. Other opportunities are teaching English. There's a huge demand. Find out about obtaining qualifications through tefl.com.
As a guide, you could expect average costs in the likes of Central America and Spain around $95USD a day for accommodation, meals, tours and transport. South East Asia expect to pay 30% less. This is not intended as financial advice, but based on actual experience. If you have expensive tastes, forget this budget. If you're very frugal you could probably take two gap years for the price of one!
The bottom line is, per day costs for an extended trip can be far less than a shorter more indulgent getaway. What you miss out on gold plated bathroom taps and French Champagne, you gain through the exhilarating experience of connecting with people of other cultures, and other global travelers.
And finally, there's another popular way where you can experience living overseas that will cost you next to nothing. Services like workaway.info and wwoof.net are services that list organisations who will exchange, typically a half days work, for board and lodgings. These offer an excellent opportunity to connect with local people. Opportunities are all around the world. As with most of these services, you need to check the reviews and do your homework. Realistically you could pre plan a series of these opportunities for an around the world experience for very little cost. The big advantage is the opportunity to connect with local people. That's what travel is all about.