The idea of traveling internationally is often intimidating and filled with misconceptions. “Traveling is too expensive”, “learning another language is too hard”, and “I’ve heard some bad stories” are all too common objections for would be adventurers. Fortunately the internet has put an end to all of these issues. With a little bit of research and planning you can safely immerse yourself in a new culture and sight-see to your hearts content without the hefty price tag. Below I dispel these 3 common misconceptions:
1) “Travel is too expensive” – here is how to save big:
Starting with the plane ticket – use a service like Google Flights or Skyscanner to find the best times of the year to fly. Typically booking on Wednesday for a weekday flight will give you the cheapest fares. Also pack light; I’ve gotten my 45L bag (not completely full) on the plane as a personal item. No additional charges.
Sometimes airports will have these guides next to the check in counter to see if your bag is the right size.
Then look for alternative housing to expensive hotels. Couchsurfing.org has hosts listed from all over the world wanting to host you, free of charge. No luck? Then check out airbnb.com for listings as low as one fourth the price you’d pay for a hotel. Another benefit of these services is meeting a local who can give you tips and will often volunteer to show you around!
My friend and I in Colombia with our new friend Jose from Airbnb.
The next place you can save big is eating in. By staying in an house or an apartment, you can buy food from the grocery store and cook it yourself! Does this mean you can’t go out and enjoy the local cuisine? Of course not! But the option is available if you want to stretch your budget.
Big Bargain stores are everywhere!
If you’re interested in traveling to a lot of places, try looking for countries with favorable conversion rates. You would be surprised at how many high quality, safe, interesting places you could spend as low as $30 a day to live in and explore (http://elitedaily.com/envision/10-of-the-worlds-cheapest-countries-to-travel-to/663497/).
2) “Learning another language is too hard” – it’s easier than you might think:
The easiest way to avoid learning a language would be to buy a translator or an international data plan for $60 a month and use Google Translate. If you just want to learn the basics, check out this great post by Tim Ferris (http://fourhourworkweek.com/2009/01/20/learning-language/), where he shows how anyone can learn any new language in just 3 months. Basically you learn the 100 most commonly used words, and use them in conversations as much as possible. Bringing an X to English pocket dictionary helps in a pinch if you do not have access to the internet.
Don’t be shy, converse with locals whenever you get the chance!
3) “I’ve heard some bad stories” – I’m sure we all have:
Doing a little research on your travel destination goes a long way. Often people will assume negative things about another country because of a random isolated incident they heard about 10 years ago at an office mixer. Countries are big places and a lot of “major stories” cover a small specific location. For example: Not traveling to New York City because there was a shooting that happened in Chicago would be foolish. Before assuming that the entire country is represented by a single occurrence, try reaching out to a local expat and or read a local blog post about the town of interest. The story told by the locals is often much different than the story featured in the headlines. There are of course exceptions to this rule, which will become evident if you do your due diligence. However most of the time this is not the case, accordingly thinking “what if something bad happens to me” should not deter you from your dream of traveling!
Do your research and take a leap of faith!
The water is fine =)
Where would you like to travel to? Do you have any tips for budget traveling?