The question “how can you travel when you have little money at your disposal?” remains one of those that I am asked more often. Then I talk again here about low-cost travels, this time giving you a tip on how to stay overnight spending as less as possible.
The first remark to be made is simple, indeed, even obvious, yet it is the step from which to start for organising a do-it-yourself and low-cost travel: the more flexible we are, the less we will spend.
Too easy to say? Well, one of the abilities that serve the most to travel alone is self-awareness: it is important to know who we are at present, what are our limits, what we want from a travel, what we just do not bear and about what we are willing to come to terms.
The answers we give ourselves should not absolutely be taken as permanent definitions, but they provide us with an information from which to start, even if for trying to bring it into question deciding to live an experience other than our standards.
Next step is trying to be realist: what is our budget? What can we have with the money at our disposal?
It is true that, not having yet started any research, we do not know if we will receive pleasant surprises on low-cost beautiful places, however we can well say that, if we cannot spend more than 15 euros per night, it will be rather difficult to manage to go to a private room in a three-star hotel in the centre of Paris!
However, if money at our disposal is really too little? There is no hope? There is, indeed. It is sufficient to start considering options other than those to stay in a hostel or hotel!
For example, we may join communities that offer totally free accommodation by opening their homes to travellers. Or we may ask ourselves if we have something to offer, any skill or ability to be made available in a kind of barter: you host me and I teach you what you are trying to learn or I make maintenance works in your home or I work as an au pair in your shop.
At this point, we can start with the real researches, which, also thanks to the steps we have just talked about, will be targeted, so more effective. To do them, you will need three things only: an Internet connection, time and patience. The web is a prodigious tool, but you have to take the time to do accurate researches so that you manage to find the most convenient solution for you: do not feel discouraged if after only five minutes you have not yet found a place suitable for your pockets!
Another useful thing during the research phase is to ask for advices and even in this case the web offers a lot: there are many blogs, pages or Facebook groups and communities dedicated to low-cost travels.
Viaggio da sola perché, for example, is not only an Internet site and a blog, but it is first of all a Facebook group where women who travel or aim for travelling alone ask questions, give advices, share experiences and much more. It is also a network that brings together blogs of many travellers from which you can take many cues.
However, in practice, what are the options we have to stay overnight spending as little as possible? Actually, they are many and various and offer different solutions to travel: from accommodation exchange to work as an au pair in exchange for a room.
Here you are a list of useful sites to travel low cost:
- Airbnb, Only Apartments and Wimdu are portals connecting travellers to private persons who intend to lease an apartment or a room for short periods.
- Booking.com and Agoda are search engines to find hotels and hostels throughout the world.
- Hostelworld and Hostelbookers are engines specialised in the search for beds in hostels.
- Couchsurfing and Hospitality Club are worldwide accommodation exchange communities through which it is possible to stay for free at the homes of other members of the community and, in this way, to know new people and to plunge into local culture.
- ScambioCasa.com is a site of home and apartment exchange through which two individuals may go and stay one in the home of the other without paying anything.
- MindMyHouse is a site of home-sitting that offers the possibility to stay zero-cost at somebody’s home during his/her absence in exchange for light housekeeping.
- GoCambio is a network connecting guests who wish to learn or improve a foreign language or other with travellers who can offer these types of skills in exchange for accommodation.
- Talk Talk BnB is a portal putting into contact people who want to host with people who need to be hosted and who, in exchange for it, offer foreign language lessons to anyone who host them.
- Bed&Learn is another portal for people who offer accommodation in exchange for language, gardening, cooking or other kind of lessons.
- Workaway, Help Exchange are networks for au pair work offering many and different types of works all over the world.
- Wwoof is an organisation that connects biological farms to travellers interested in working in them in exchange for board and lodging.
Well, now you have many cues to travel spending little, but there is one thing that I believe is more important than all I have written until now: