You know what? You really don't need a huge amount of money to explore the world. To prove it I am going to update you guys monthly on my current trip and how I have done it on about $6,000.
Countries visited: Canada, Peru, New Zealand, Argentina.
Length of travel: 9-10 months
Type of travel: Backpacking/working holiday including a Contiki Tour.
Working VISAs: Canada
Vaccinations: Hep A, Yellow Fever, Typhoid, Cholera - check for Malaria areas (Sth America)
THE FREE STUFF
So to travel this long on such a small amount of cash you need to be very aware of everything you spend. You need to be willing to work and be able to adapt to various situations, be able to negotiate and you need be a very quick learner when it comes to networking!
Volunteer work (usually farm stays) in exchange for free accommodation and food are a great way to immerse yourself in the culture, create lifelong friends and extend your network. If you have any friends or contacts that live in the country you are visiting, go visit them and learn about their way of life. I find it's the local experiences I have that are usually the best, as they know the best places to see or go that are often not in any guidebooks!
Keeping an eye out on www.helpx.net is the other major factor that has allowed me to travel on a budget. I have worked with horses all my life and have used this skill to work on a ranch to obtain 5 months of free accommodation, free food, free internet and free education about the Western culture of horse riding and natural horsemanship - something that is very costly to learn and fairly scarce in Australia. So use your current skills to your advantage, or try something totally different, the opportunities on this website are endless, as long as you do your homework.
I am lucky enough to work for a company that is branching out worldwide. So why wouldn't I want to make the most of this situation?! I am only a casual at this particular workplace, and haven't required any kind of degree or qualifications to work there, but I have been an honest, experienced and hard worker over the few years I have been with them - and trust me, it pays off when you can ask a favour of your managers and obtain guaranteed work overseas!
Picking up a bit of work in the hostels you are staying in is also a great way to cut accommodation costs. Depending on the length of time you are in the one place (you have a better chance of getting some work if you are staying longer), you should be able to organise something if you are determined enough. Like I always say, make the most of free food. If a hostel puts on a free breakfast every morning - make your lunch there too! Buy a bottle of water and keep that one bottle as a re-filler. Every little saving helps.
Do research on what discounts you are able to get as a backpacker in the particular area you are visiting. Hosteling International has a discount card that I purchased in Canada which gets me 25% off the Greyhound bus service, and it has saved me soooo much money.
THE KEY TO TRAVELLING CHEAPLY?
Do lots of it, work out the costs for everything, and make sure you can cover them with money to spare. I like to keep an eye on www.skyscanner.net and www.expedia.com regularly for the cheapest flights, as I keep my travel as unplanned as possible, and sometimes a flight that is $200 cheaper on a particular day will determine when I make my next move.
THE COSTS SO FAR
One way ticket from Melbourne to Vancouver
$870 AU (Student Flights)
The following costs include food, accommodation, phone costs and transport.
May 20 to June 20, 2012
$650 CA (4 nights in a hostel, food, sky-bus, hosteling membership, 2 sim cards and phone credit, 2000km's of bus travel, 4 items of clothing, bike hire in Vancouver, and a few other little things)
Any questions or something worth mentioning?? Comment below!!