Since the 1960s, young people have been traveling across the country and abroad in a bid to connect with other cultures and take in fresh sites. They’re usually the adventurous type, individuals that recently entered adulthood and are eager to take advantage of a free time in their lives before career and family concerns dominate.
If you’re planning to travel, you don’t need a lot of money to go where you want to go, although paying for your passport, visas, transportation, lodging and food can quickly add up. Here’s some ideas on how you can make the most of limited funds to enjoy a your extend time away from home.
1. Bring a backpack.
Yes, plan to backpack your way to wherever you are going. A backpack is ideal as it forces you to limit how much stuff you can bring along, while still providing enough room for a sleeping bag, your clothing, and essentials. Today’s back packs are designed for long trips especially when you choose one with a load bearing aluminum frame and an anatomically formed hip belt. Look for one that can also pass for airliner carry on luggage and has multiple compartments, zippered access, grab handles and straps for ease of use.
2. Buy your airline and train tickets.
If your trip takes you to Europe, you’ll need an airplane to get you there and rail access to connect you to where you’re going. For lowest fares, choose middle of the day departures on a Tuesday, Wednesday or a Thursday. You’ll also find rates lower at slower times of the year with fall being the idea time to travel. When booking your flight, be aware that airlines change their prices several times a day. You can typically find the lowest rates first thing in the morning. And as for rail, choose a Eurail pass, what gives you access to 24 countries. If not traveling to Europe, learn what local ways to get around are available and the discounts that are offered with them. Typically, your student ID can lead to significant savings.
3. Comfortable footwear.
Plan to walk while you’re away. No, check that: plan to walk like you’ve never walked before while you’re traveling. You’ll use some local transportation, but to take in the sites you’ll be on your feet. A lot. That means investing in a very comfortable pair of walking shoes/sneakers with sufficient padding. Break those new shoes in before you travel and then expect to just about wear them out as they hold up your weight and your gear’s weight. Your shoes should be comfortable, secure, and supportive across the instep and in the heel. You need ample wiggle room in the toes, however.
4. Eat right and affordably.
No matter where you travel in the world, you’ll want to sample an ample amount of local fare. Food, however, can be terribly expensive. You won’t need three big meals a day, but you’ll want food that is healthy and will sustain you. So, consider this: self serve restaurants are prolific all around the world and in places where food prices are typically very high, immigrant communities run delis and take-a-way stands that are affordable. You should also know that department stores thrive in many countries and also offer cafeterias. Indeed, when looking for a filling, wholesome meal, you can usually find what you want at most any cafeteria. And for familiarity at a price you can afford, a McDonalds meal, local style, can help out.
5. Stay in a hostel.
You know how expensive lodging can be, but the solution here is an easy and readily available one: hostels. A hostel provides a cheap night’s stay in cities across the world, and they are extremely popular in Europe where high-priced hotels are the order of the day. With a hostel, you’ll share a room with five or six other people, sleep bunk style, and share a bathroom. Hostels usually have wi-fi access and kitchens to cook your own meals. Also consider a bed and breakfast establishment when you absolutely desire some privacy.
If you’ll be gone for weeks, you’ll want to leave your itinerary behind with a family member or a trusted friend. You should also know that your cell phone might be usable abroad and roaming costs much lower than they’ve been in the past. The best thing here is to check with your carrier, explain how long you will be gone and where you are traveling, and get rate information before you depart. A number of companies have arrangements with foreign carriers or, in the case of T-Mobile USA is wholly owned by Deutsche Telekom, a German wireless company with service in the UK and the Netherlands as well.