When I arrived in Guatemala in January 2010 I had little over £4000 in my account, but over 2 years later, in July 2012, I was still in Latin America, living, learning and traveling.
So how did I do it?
The answer is easy and it’s the winning formula I’ve tried and tested time and time again.
So if you really want to travel longer for less consider these steps and start living the life you love long-term.
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#1 Stay Somewhere for More than a Week
If you want to travel longer for less, then ideally you want to stay places longer than a fortnight, or longer than a month if you have the time.
Basically, the longer the better.
There are many reasons this slower mode of travel makes sense: you get to engage with a particular place more, giving you a greater feel for the culture, the character, the cuisine.
You also get to connect with people more, be it locals or other visitors.
After all, isn’t this what travel is really all about?
Combining both a greater knowledge of a place and its people however, is also the secret to saving money and the key if you want to travel longer for less.
You’ll quickly get to know the cheapest place to get a coffee, use the internet or hire a bike.
You’ll also be more likely to eat, shop and travel like a local as you grow more comfortable buying food at the market, snacking on the street and catching cheap buses about the place, all of which will inevitably save you cash.
But perhaps most crucially of all, staying in one place and repeatedly supporting certain businesses over this time will buy you discounts.
Whether it’s the stall you get fruit from everyday or the hostel accommodation you pay for every night, shopping or staying there more often will open you up to cost-cutting deals.
It could only be a free avocado or a free night, but in the end it all adds up and the conversations you strike up as a result of this could also lead to exciting and unexpected new possibilities.
#2 Try to Find Some Work
One of these possibilities could be the discovery of a work position and by that I also mean work exchange possibilities.
Just because you’re not getting paid for something doesn’t mean you’re not saving money and it’s easy to overlook this and not consider the fruitfulness of such opportunities.
Work could be anything from cleaning hostels for free accommodation, or painting houses for free food, to helping organise tours, providing translation services, or working on farms.
It all helps you travel longer for less, as well as allowing you to engage with local people in different and exciting ways.
If it’s solely paid work you’re interested in, then a great skill you can get in order to make money the world over is a TEFL qualification,which stands for Teaching English In A Foreign Language.
A simple online course can get you up to speed from the comfort of your own home, so you’ll be ready to teach and hopefully earn money wherever you’re next travels take you.
Find out more about getting a TEFL qualification with my useful guide.
If you’re lucky enough to come across paid work, and it does happen, don’t turn it down if you’ve converted the wage into that of your home currency and it seems like a bad deal.
Wages will normally be at local rates, tailored to the expenses of that country, so getting any money at all, should help you extend your time there.
Other popular places to find employment are normally in the tourist areas and services, so it could be in a bar, dive centre or guesthouse.
The best advice to finding anything is to keep your ear to the ground and to spread the word you are looking.
As with most things in life, regardless of where you are, it’s who you know, not what you know.
Spreading the word about yourself is also a great way to independently raise some revenue whilst traveling by using skills you’ve already have gained at home.
This could be anything from massage therapy, to hairdressing, to jewellery-making; anything that other travellers, and perhaps locals, would consider paying for.
Does the bar need a DJ?
Does the cafe need a sign made?
Can you give language lessons?
Just because you’re away from your “routine” life, doesn’t mean you haven’t got anything valuable to share from it, so get creative and see what you can come up with.
I assure you the thrill from getting your first customer and making money whilst traveling will inspire you no end!
#3 Sleep for Free
Accommodation is one of the biggest outlays when it come to budgeting your travel.
However there are various different ways you can score a free place to rest your head and this will certainly allow you to travel longer for less.
Some of these ways, like WWOOFing and HelpEx, have already covered earlier in this post and more details can be found on my Travel Resources page.
However there are a number of other ways to get free accommodation that don’t rely on any “official” form of work exchange.
The first is Couchsurfing, which is a fantastic global network of people kindly giving up their sofas, airbeds or spare rooms for others.
I’m a huge fan of this resource and you can discove why in my post Catching the Couch Waves.
The other increasingly popular form of gaining free accommodation whilst away from home is House Sitting.
I’m yet to test this way of sustaining long-term travel, but I know there are plenty people doing it with great success.
It’s certainly on my bucket list and I can’t wait to give it a go on the next long-term adventure.
If you own your home you might also want to try house swapping, which is becoming equally popular.
Check out Home Exchange for the biggest list of people sharing their homes across the world for free.
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Hopefully these top 3 budgeting tips on how to travel longer for less have given you plenty of advice and confidence so that you understand funding long-term travel isn’t only a dream for the wealthy.
What are your top long term travel tips?