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Blog Words : Alastair Humphreys | 01 October

Tips on travelling cheaply

People who dream of winning the lottery often say that they would go travelling if they won. But you don’t need to win the lottery. You just need to go

Besides, if you really want to go travelling you should be saving your £1 rather than buying a lottery ticket: £1 will pay for some of the “hotels” I’ve stayed in on my travels!

I fear that at times I sound a bit like a broken record on this theme, so today I won’t mention some of my favourite rants such as travelling by bike or on foot and sleeping in a tent. Here are a few tips though, which hopefully will encourage anyone who is sad that they can’t afford to go on the trip of their dreams and is consoling themselves by buying a lottery ticket...

1. Pick your destination by price

I really believe that it doesn’t particularly matter where you go. What matters is just that you go somewhere new and travel with an open mind and curiosity. Sign up for the Travelzoo top 20 newsletter and keep an eye on the Opodo top deals. Unleash your spontaneous side! Get a cheap flight to somewhere then hitch-hike home.

2. Be clear on your priorities

When I travelled round-the-world for four years on a total budget of £7,000, I was very clear in my mind that I did not have enough money for great things like climbing Kilimanjaro or going scuba diving. In fact, I was clear that I didn’t have enough money for luxuries like chocolate or Pepsi either! I consoled myself though by knowing that instead of treating myself to something, I had saved myself enough money to keep travelling for a few more months.

3. It felt a fair exchange

Factor in ‘hidden costs’: if you hold a British passport and travel round South America for six months you’ll spend very little on visas. Travel for the same amount of time round Central Asia and you’ll rack up a small fortune on visas. So remember to factor in things like this when deciding your destination.

4. Take a book

Get into the habit of spending evenings in with a book and your diary rather than out clubbing and boozing. You’ll save a fortune (A caveat on this though: you are travelling because it’s fun, not as a punishment. Some travellers are so fixated on saving money that they forget to ever have any fun!).

5. Do you really need to fly?

It might be cheaper (as well as vastly more fun and environmentally friendly) to go by bus. Slow down, you don’t have to dash everywhere.

6. Compromise

You don’t have to see everywhere on this trip. Concentrate instead on really exploring one area rather than trying to fit everything in. China will still be there in a few years time!

7. Eat at street stalls...

8. Or, cook your own food

Plus, you can shop in supermarkets near to closing time when they have lots of reduced price food. Or, even shop in markets rather than supermarkets.

9. Stay at home...

Don’t forget that your own country is interesting. If you don’t have the money for a round-the-world trip perhaps you should explore parts of your own country that you have never visited before. I have been doing that this year and it has been fascinating.

Did I mention travelling by bicycle? Or taking a tent? What about you? What tips do you have?

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