The whole “I don’t want money to restrict me from having the time of my life” stems from the ideology that you need money in order to have fun. Of course, this notion is a load of horse sh*t. Here are some of the ways you can hold back on your spending and maximise your experiences (and imo, have much cooler ones) when you’re supertramping foreign landscapes.
Want to go somewhere, can’t afford accommodation or after a ‘local’ experience? Browse through a list of users and their locations and send out some messages. You can do it in a group or by yourself. If you’re hesitant, stay with a long-term member. After each stay you leave a review on your host (and people are really bloody honest about it!) so stay with someone who has a list of references. The theory behind it is this: when travelling, jump around and stay at people’s houses. Have the time of your life. When you return to your motherland, open up your doors and host others.
There’s a huge couchsurfing community in Australia and you don’t need to be a ‘foreigner’ to do it. Driving to Byron for the weekend or hitting up the West coast? Hit up couchsurfing.
This is essentially organised hitchhiking. You create an account (free), type in where you are and where you want to go, scroll through and contact someone who is making the trip at a time that suits you.
It’s easier than a bus. It’s friendlier than a train. It’s cleaner, smoother, faster. The best part? It’s cheaper.
If you’re hesitant, pick someone who is a veteran driver and suss it out. Most of the time it’s a local making the trip, so it’s an opportunity to learn from someone about the country you’re driving through. Again, you can hit up this service in Australia!
If you’re stuck on an island or you want to find a cheap way to get to an island, check out Find a Crew. If you love boats and if you have experience, contact a sailor who needs help crossing from Vanuatu to Fiji or Melbourne to New Zealand. Work on board for free travel!
Go to Iceland for a couple of months and work in a family owned business for five hours a day. Get food and accommodation for your services. This is similar to WOOFing (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) in Australia, except it’s not restricted to farms. You can legitimately go anywhere in the world and do anything imaginable. Train snow dogs in Norway. Teach English to gorgeous French kids in the countryside. Help an old artist tend his garden in Finland.
5. Packing tips
Bring a lock from home – a lot of hostels will ask you to hire one for your locker – this will quickly add up. Bring a handful of laundry powder squares (not powder) from home so you don’t have to pay a few for soap. Girls, replace those high heels with socks. Seriously. Pack pain killers (hangovers) and bandaids (blisters). Bring a peg-less clothesline- not necessarily a money saver but crazy helpful.
A hotel service in people’s homes and apartments, what more could you want? These guys rent out their outhouses or granny flats, a room or an entire building for a fraction of the price of a hotel. You can find some crazy classy apartments overlooking cities or little cottages by the sea. This is an excellent option if you’re in a large group and want to escape the grottiness of hostel life. (You will legitimately look this stoked when you walk into a sick place)
If you’re daring, hitchhiking is a great way to get from place to place at no cost at all, and a way for you to meet the most interesting kind of people (guaranteed if they’re willing to pick up a hitchhiker they’re interesting!) As a female, I don’t do this solo. Unfortunately the risks are higher. If there are two of you go for it.
Write a status asking friends if they know anyone where you’re going. The kind of person to reply is the kind of person who would happily pass on contact details. If you’re going overseas for a long time these people can become beacons of hope, people you can talk to about home or that mutual friend. It’s good homesick medication.
Similarly, if you’re low on cash and you’re overseas for a while, join the local Buy and Sell page on Facebook. Say your native language is in English and you can edit thesis papers or essays or teach English to adults and children at a café. It’s not a long of money, but a euro is a euro, huh?
Nobody told me these things when I jumped on a plane. I learnt them on the road and they were invaluable! Get out there and jump on these services and be prepared to store a truck load of crazy memories.