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Cheap Ways to Travel the Worldby Dalene Ingham-Brown

You’re looking at the digits in your bank account, or lack thereof, and don’t know what to do about that nagging travel bug that won’t leave you alone. Great news! There are cheap ways to travel the world.


Photo by Ove Tøpfer

1. Overland trip

What is an overland trip? It’s one of the best ways to travel Africa on a budget. You book the route you want to take, e.g. Cape Town to Victoria Falls, then you hop on the overland truck with about 20 like-minded travellers and travel along a pre-determined route stopping to see all the great attractions along the way. These trips offer two main types: camping and accommodated. Camping is of course the cheaper option, and when you’re looking for cheap ways to travel the world, putting up and taking down a tent between destinations doesn’t seem so bad when you see just how much of the ‘mean green’ you save. A lot of the tours include your meals too. That means all your transport, food and accommodation expenses are all covered in the money you pay before the trip commences. Now that's Africa on a budget!

2. Last minute deals

Everyone seems to be finding these cheap ways to travel the world. What are you missing? Well, loads of companies release amazing last minute deals a few weeks before the cruise, a flight or a trip leaves because they’re trying to fill the last of the seats. Definitely one of the best ways to travel on a budget! Not everyone can just up-and-travel in such short notice, so to ready yourself,  make sure you’re ready to travel by picking a period of three months, in advance, of when you would like to travel. Then, get the OK from the company you work at that you can take leave within this three month period. Then, scour the internet for last minute deals. Your final step: book and go! Who’s finding cheap ways to travel the world now?

3. Couch surfing

The couch surfing concept is based on the concept of people around the world offering their homes as free accommodation for travellers. The host home doesn’t charge anything for the traveller staying with them, unless there are costs arranged for food. There is a corporation called CouchSurfing International Inc. where eager travellers and those offering accommodation register their details. From here you can check, via references, the credibility of a person offering accommodation. However, this is more than just a cheap way to travel, according to Time Magazine “Couch surfing isn't just a means of accommodation; it is an entirely new way to travel. You get to see the world through local residents, not hotel concierges or guidebooks.”

4. Volunteer

Mother Theresa wasn't a millionaire. Having a heart of gold doesn't mean you need a pocket full of it too. Volunteering is one of those cheap ways to travel the world. There are websites who pack on a fee to the tune of $2500 to have you give of your heart and time for a mere two weeks. However, if you’re keen on selflessly giving of your time, there are ways to travel the world for cheap as a volunteer. Help Exchange is an online organization with a database of organic farms, ranches, hostels, and even sailing boats that are looking for help from travelers who are looking to volunteer their time in exchange for food and lodging. Idealist is a project of Action Without Borders, that brings volunteers and organisations together who wish to help others and find solutions to social and environmental problems. Volunteer projects include organisations helping recovering addicts, working with orphanages and those lobbying for wildlife conservation issues.

5. Self-drive road trips

It’s just you and the open road. Your biggest expenses will probably be gas, food and accommodation. However, if you plan your trip well before you go, a self-drive road trip can work out to be an ultra cheap way to travel the world. How do you travel cheap on a road trip? It’s all about pre-planning. Get a map and plan the shortest, safest route possible to get you from each day’s point A to point B. Then research the cheapest hostels, camping spots or backpackers to in or near point B. Then your final step is to hire a car for your required travel dates. If you’re serious about travelling cheaply, then you’re going to have to be strict about only taking photograph souvenirs. Avoid eating out at restaurants all the time – this can really get expensive. Rather chat to locals and find out where the best places to eat cheaply (and safely) are. A self-drive road trip is a great way to discover the world independently, meeting great people, seeing amazing places and making your own decision. With so many great, cheap ways to travel the world, it kind of makes you wonder… what are you waiting for?

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