by Jill Robinson
After planning, sacrificing and saving, the gratifying moment of booking your trip is upon you. I always wish some sort of theme song was playing in the background when I hit “confirm” on my flight purchase, but it is a victory no less. The trip has become a reality and now it is time to think about a budget while traveling abroad.
There are plenty of ways to stretch a dollar while exploring a new country and culture without sacrificing the experience. Here are a few suggestions to help get you in the mindset of a traveler – not “tourist and to save on your expenses.
- A loaf of bread and peanut butter = lunch and dinner for days. Head to the local markets and not only get a first hand experience in interacting with the locals, but you can enjoy a delicious picnic fare for much less than that touristy restaurant down the street.
- Make friends and be open to hospitality. Lots of people offered meals and lodging to my friend during her travels. Just be safe and smart about accepting an invitation.
- Do your research! There is a wealth of information on the internet, and researching the local papers and event pages you can get a feel for what is going on around town without paying for an overpriced tourist show. I was lucky, in Spain I stumbled upon a tiny tavern that was featuring flamenco dancers. That evening, sharing a table with two gentlemen who continued to offer me cheese and jamon, the smell of sweat and damp cement floors and people clapping and stomping; the vibrations rumbling through my chest, only cost me a few euro. I had seen advertisements for flamenco dancing in a huge auditorium for exuberant amounts, but I doubt it would have made the same impact on me.
- Take public transportation while you are abroad and “do as the locals do” – this is a great way to travel cheap and really experience the local culture and people. My most eye opening and memorable experiences abroad happen while en route to your destination.
- Teaching English abroad is a great way to support yourself while you travel! If you are planning on staying for a longer time frame, this could provide a stipend to cover food expenses.