Best things in travel are free
--- our collection of moments and memories---
The true cliché says that the best things in life are free. Is it the same with travel? Sure, you need some money to get there and survive, but that’s it. You can buy expensive hotel rooms, but will you really remember peeing in a fancy bathroom? What are the experiences that really create your memories?
We will never forget the freedom we feel when we travel independently. The possibility to explore any place on earth you wish. The excitement and happiness of visiting a country, you have never been to, can’t really compare to anything we have ever bought. It is like being a kid again and discovering a new world. New people, language, food, religion. It is also the time when you realize that every single second of the day is yours. You decide if you stay or when you move further. Or just let everything go its way and observe. It is one of the best feelings in the world that makes you feel free...and it is for free.
It is amazing, of course, to see all the beautiful sights that cost money, but maybe you won’t remember all the temples and museums you visited. What you will remember are the moments, because they are connected to your emotions. And these small moments are triggered by quite simple things.
So here is a list of our small moments and memories that didn’t cost us any extra money, but we can’t put price on them.
Having a ten minute chat with a stranger in a language you don’t understand
Use your feet
Yes, those two things hanging down from you body have been made for walking. If you use them often, you are gonna be healthy and fit, plus you save some money. Isn’t it great? There is no need to take taxis all the time. Go explore the destinations on foot. Just take your time, slow down and walk the streets, maybe you will see more than you think.
What we love most about traveling is the freedom and independence. Try to avoid the organized trips if possible. Don’t be lazy or scared to plan your own holiday. You know best what suits you and what you like the most. You can save up so much money and you will probably enjoy it better than with other 20 people with different needs. We had our best times in Southeast Asia by renting a motorbike and exploring everything ourselves. Recommended!
Eat & travel with locals
Remember that street food is the cheapest and very often the best food you can get.
Try to avoid touristy restaurants. They are overpriced and you never know if the quality will be good enough.
The street food has an advantage that you can look into the kitchen and check if the food looks fresh.
If you are looking for a restaurant, choose those where many locals eat, it is a guarantee of delicious food and low prices.
Travel with locals and take public transport instead of private taxis. It is so much fun and you get to interact with people. In most of the countries people are very helpful and friendly. It is fun also for them to observe you, a confused tourist who doesn’t know the way and the rules. Our typical ride is to be tucked in a minibus with our backpacks among smiling locals who are trying to help and show you the way. When we get off, everyone is usually waving good bye :) So much better than taking a taxi!
Find cheap accommodation
If you book your accommodation in advance, you can end up with higher price. Sure, it seems super cheap from home, but you can get the room cheaper on spot. Not everyone is on Booking.com. Especially not an old grandma renting couple of cheap rooms. If you end up somewhere, go and explore the place first, you don’t need to say yes at the first hotel. Bargain. Checking the hotel booking sites could be smart with last minute deals. Keep in mind that the pictures may seem nice, but the reality could be quite different. Shit happens.
Either you love it or hate it, you just got to do it! In Europe and US we are not used to bargaining anymore, but in many countries it is still part of the culture. If you don’t want to bargain, it could be considered impolite. There are many tricks people use to make you pay a high touristy price, but don’t worry, you will learn them soon. It could be actually quite a fun game and you can only get better in your negotiation skills. So think about the maximum price you would pay and let’s do it. They will start a lot higher, you should start a bit lower and eventually you end up somewhere in the middle, so both of you are satisified. Be patient and smile. It always helps!
Don’t get ripped off
The most common mistake that tourists make is that they get ripped off. Some do it unaware, some do it voluntarily. Yes, it is cheap paying ten dollars for the transport to the hotel, when it costs twice as much in your home country, but what if the normal price is three dollars? This just encourages overcharging the tourists. People in those countries are poor, sure, but if you want to help them, do it other ways. Don’t be stupid. There are many people who are trying to take an advantage of you. If you want to give the people something extra, try to tip them for being honest and giving you the fair price and tell them. Or just come again and buy what they sell or eat at their restaurant.
Control your budget
We use to write down all the expenses in a small notebook every day. It gives you an overview how much you spend each day and you can control the budget better in long term. Plus it is nice to have it and help others that will go there in the future. It is smart to know the prices before you go anywhere. You can avoid beeing overcharged.
Invest time and energy
If you want to save some cash, you are not gonna book the first train tickets you google. You are not gonna end up in first hotel they will bring you too. Nothing comes easy. You need to work a little to get everything cheaper. Spend some time, do the research, compare the prices. It is worth the time! And you won’t end up feeling stupid when other travelers got it five times cheaper.
Don’t get too mean
There are certain things that cost a lot and you can’t do anything about it. Usually it is the entrance fees. In many countries there is a special price for tourists which is often like 10 times higher than the price for local people. We will not discuss here if it is good or bad. It is what it is. You travel to see the sights and attractions, so you are probably not gonna turn if you find out how much is the entrance fee even if it would exceed your daily budget. Let’s take Machu Picchu. We had been quite disgused by the prices and how touristy this place had been, before we traveled to Peru, but it doesn’t stop us to go there. Despite all that, it is still an amazing place. Don’t let it ruin your holiday. Save money on things that make sense.