The art of journeying with little to no money isn’t as hard as it may seem and I will tell you how to do that from my experience. Before I go further into this subject, I just want to say that this kind of traveling carries a particular dose of risk if you aren’t resourceful.
You might end up on a street if you don’t find a place to sleep or you may be hungry if you can’t find a source of food. That is why you should always carry enough cash that will last you at least a week (it’s better to carry more than that). That money is the safety net for days when you simply can’t find any work in a city or a place to spend the night.
More about couch surfing
Crashing in someone’s living room is a weird thing at first. I found it strange to rock up to an apartment in Istanbul and sleep on some guys couch for a week when I tried it for the first time.
As weird as it might be at first, after that it’s an excellent way to immerse yourself in the culture and feel like a local in the location you’re visiting.
My first experience was quite amazing. After applying all over Istanbul for a host, a student from the Asian side offered to host me. He gave me brief directions to his house, and I rocked up to find two other Couch Surfers crashing in the living room. From that point, the three of us enjoyed a great week being guided around the hidden treats and delights of Istanbul’s ‘non-touristic’ side. We sat at nice and cheap cafés, ate at the local bakery every morning with the rest of the neighborhood and became locals at a few of the fast food joints. Not only did I not pay for the accommodation, but I made some great friends and saw a side of the city that I wouldn’t have even found otherwise.
Hitch-hiking – The best way to travel without expenses
After hitch-hiking half way across Europe – at the time of writing this I have easily hitch-hiked from Bulgaria to Slovenia, over 1000km – I can say that this is an awesome way of getting around. Not only do you end up saving some cash, but you’ll end up learning about the country and even seeing more of the countryside. I was astounded at just how generous people are when you’re stranded on the side of the road holding a cardboard sign with the name of a place written on it that you can’t even pronounce. My first hitchhiking experience ended up in a fancy dinner (which others paid) in Macedonia after a fascinating guided tour through the countryside.
Get free accommodation and food through volunteering/working
I was lucky enough to stumble into a volunteering position at a bar on the beautiful island of KohRong in Cambodia. I had a great lifestyle which included free food, drinks, and accommodation on this tropical paradise. I managed to live the dream while serving beers to my mates and setting up beer pong tournaments on the beach. All the while, I could have spent $0 and stayed for months on end.
Volunteering or working for your accommodation and food is probably the best way to make your money last while on the road. Hostels need staff; bars need bartenders and farms need farmers.
It’s no secret that if you can speak fluent English (which I can, sort of), there’re plenty of opportunities to volunteer like this. You might even find yourself making a few dollars here and there.