How to Travel Abroad Cheap
With all the different travel companies nowadays all competing for business, traveling when you're on a budget has become much cheaper than it used to be. A hundred years ago, only the super rich and wealthy could travel across seas for vacation. But now, just about anybody can take a trip to a foreign land as long as they aren't afraid of flying. But there's still so many people who have never left their country before, mainly because they don't know how they can afford to take a vacation or because they don't know where to begin. Of course, joining the military, signing up for a stint in the Peace Corps, or volunteering for to work for various charities can land you a free ticket overseas as well as food and housing. But not everybody wants to feel restricted when they visit another country and some people simply don't want to do any work and would rather enjoy themselves by relaxing or having daily adventures or sight-seeing tours. So here's a few travel tips for those who may not realize how cheap it is or who need a little advice on how to get the most mileage for your money if you plan to travel abroad cheap and on your own.
The first thing you should do whenever you decide you want to travel is to compare airplane flight prices online and look for discounted airline tickets so your plane flight over doesn't suck up all your funds. There's a number of websites that sell tickets at a discount, you just have to do some research and try as many sites out as you can to make sure you get the best deal. Websites like Priceline, Orbitz, Kayak, and Expedia all sell airfare tickets for lower-than-normal prices usually. However, sometimes it's cheaper to just buy your tickets through the actual airline, such as Delta, United, Cathay Pacific, and American Airlines. In my experience, about 2 out of 3 times I've found cheaper tickets through the discount websites, so it's best to check every resource first before making your final purchase. If you're going to be travelling to multiple countries, then you should look at budget airlines that fly between those countries if you don't have any preferences as to which airlines you prefer to fly on, in addition to the main airline you'll initially use to leave your country. For example, if you want to fly from the United States to Thailand, and then the Philippines and back to the United States, it would probably be cheapest if you were to fly with major airlines such as Delta or EVA Air to Thailand, then fly a budget airline like Air Asia from Thailand to the Philippines. Then, for the trip back to the United States, you could fly the major airlines again. Flying Air Asia between Thailand and the Philippines would probably be much cheaper than flying Delta or EVA Air between those two countries, because discount airlines like Air Asia can afford to offer cheaper flights since they want to appeal to citizens in the nearby countries which have poorer economies. Just keep in mind that in some countries, such as Thailand, you may have to go to a different airport than the main one if you're flying with a discounted airline company. Some countries choose to do this to free up their air traffic and foot traffic inside the main airport.
After you have chosen what airline you'll be flying on and have planned to buy the cheapest tickets you can find, you will need to look at what your daily expenses will be while you're abroad. This is when it really helps to choose cheaper countries to travel to. Obviously visiting Italy or Germany would be much more expensive for you than if you were to visit Southeast Asia or some countries in Africa. But this doesn't mean you need to settle for a country that is involved in a civil war or where you're safety will be at risk. Many developing countries such as Thailand and India are relatively safe for your average tourist, as long as you use a little common sense and street smarts. In some of these countries your hotel, bungalow, or guesthouse could be cheaper than $12 a night. If you plan to stay a month or longer, than you should negotiate a price with the hotel manager or guesthouse owner or at least ask what their monthly rates are. In developing countries, monthly rates are very common and majority of places you stay will offer some type of discount. It may even be cheaper to get an apartment if you plan to stay longer than three months, but keep in mind that if you choose to do this then you may have to purchase furniture or other things such as bedding, as well as paying for electricity and water. Some hotels may also charge an additional rate for utilities if you are receiving a monthly discount, so always ask them details like this to make sure you won't get a surprise bill at the end of the month. You may even choose to stay in hostels, sleeping in a dorm room amongst other people in bunk beds, but this may be too uncomfortable for some people and after a few days you may want some privacy and time to yourself. But if you don't plan on spending much time in your room and don't need to worry about your possessions being left behind in the dorm, then this may be a better option as it's obviously much cheaper than staying alone in a hotel or private room.
When it comes to food, you should look into the various prices in grocery stores as compared to street vendors. Sometimes it's cheaper to purchase food that's locally grown or produced in the area and from vendors on the street, as opposed to purchasing it in the grocery stores. As an American, I've gotten used to things being cheaper in the large chain stores because they have so many customers that they can offer a discount. But in my travels to other countries, I've found that certain things like fruits and vegetables can be half the price of cheaper when purchased by vendors on the streets. So don't forget to work this into your equation. Also, when you decide on a place to stay such as a hotel, check to see if that comes with some type of fridge or mini-fridge, because this can often help cut food costs if you can store food for later, as long as the extra electricity won't cost you much more.
As far as your health, you should never travel anywhere without some type of health insurance. Many people who don't have regular medical insurance or a health insurance company that covers international trips choose to purchsae traveler's insurance instead. Sure, hospital bills can be very cheap in the developing world if you're paying with cash. But it's better to be safe than sorry and insure yourself because some people are really careful but still have bad things happen to them when unforeseen accidents occur. For example, you could be walking down the street and suddenly trip on a cracked sidewalk and injure yourself, since cheaper countries don't always have the best sidewalks. Alternatively, you could be in a rural area and get bitten by a mosquito and develop dengue fever or possibly even something worse such as west nile virus or malaria. The last thing you need when traveling abroad is to stay in a hospital, and some hospitals will not allow you to leave their building until you are able to pay your bill. So it's important for you to take this into consideration. Luckily, if you're traveling to a cheaper more undeveloped country, traveler's insurance in the area will most likely be very cheap, for less than $90 a month in many cases. This is why it's better to check out the insurers based in the country you're visiting, rather than your own country where prices may be more inflated and expensive. Just make sure that you sign-up with a reputable company and check out as many reviews as you can online before agreeing to anything or joining any programs.
So all in all, if you plan your trip accordingly and choose to travel to cheaper destinations, you can travel abroad for a month for less than $1,500, or 3 months for less than $2,100. I've done this before when I really had to scrape by and although I didn't really get to party or shop too much, it still allowed me to see new things and get away from my boring 9 to 5 life for a month and see the other side of the world. Traveling abroad cheaply and experiencing other cultures and ways of life can be a very exciting and rewarding feeling that you will never forget.
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