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Here at Life Out of the Box we encourage everyone of all ages to go see the world and we know from experience that you don’t have to have a lot of money to be able to do so. When we left California to move to Nicaragua, we knew we had to maximize and budget the money we saved in order to have the ability to travel and start our own business. The most common reason we hear from people as to why they don’t travel is because they don’t think they have enough money to do it. We’re here to tell you that you CAN afford it if you’re really smart with your dinero. Here are our own personal budget travel tips that we use to stretch our money as far as it can go, so that we can see as much of the world as possible!
1. Choose a country with a low cost of living
If you want to see a new part of the world for an extended period of time, choose one that will fit your budget, like Central America, India, South East Asia, South America… these are just some of the areas around the world where your money will stretch far. Some of the best meals we’ve ever had were under $2 and the best nights out with local friends didn’t cost a thing! These places will be the places that will most likely get you out of your comfort zone and to start seeing things very differently.
2. Buy Groceries. Ask the locals where they shop and shop there.
This is a typical budget tool no matter where you live, but it is especially true when you travel. Buying groceries instead of meals out will help your travel budget big time. Our advice is to ask a local family for a couple of local recipes that you can try out with them–the meals will most likely be inexpensive to make and you’ll have a couple of new recipes to bring back home to share with your friends!
Shopping where the locals shop is so important for your budget–the locals KNOW where to get the best deals. Not only the best deals, but the best quality food. You might not get the local prices right away, but from our experience the more you frequently shop at the same spot, the closer you’ll get to getting the local prices.
3. Take local public transportation
Take the chicken bus. Take the metro. Take the subway. Take the train. Take the mode of transportation that the locals ride–ask the locals what they use and what they pay.
4. Don’t have a phone overseas
Contrary to popular belief, there is wifi everywhere nowadays. If you need to make a call back home, you can do so via Skype, Whatsapp, Viber or Google Phone. There are a ton of apps that allow you to call via wifi, so don’t pay for a plan overseas. Disconnect and enjoy living in the moment.
If you must have a phone to make local calls, however, we suggest getting a local phone number and the cheapest phone you can get your hands on. We were always lucky enough to be able to borrow a local friend’s spare phone when we did need to call locally.
5. Cash is king, use local currency.
When we travel, we never use credit cards. We do have travel friendly credit cards, but when you travel cash is king. You’ll save a ton of money in transaction fees by just pulling out dollars, then heading to a local bank (with the best exchange rate) and getting your money exchanged for the local currency.
Keep it cheap and see the world. The only thing holding you back is yourself. Good luck and Happy Travels!