Travel expenses

Transportation

  • Walking. I do walk a lot. Mostly there is one thing I want to see that day and just walk there. Sometimes I get distracted and do not end up where I was supposed to go…so I start again the next day 😉
  • Bicycle. Either I rent one (e.g. 1 Euro in Vienna) or I can use one of my host (Couchsurfing). Highly recommended!
  • Hitchhiking (free). I had good and less good (trying to kiss me or asking for sex) experiences hitchhiking alone but only great experiences with a friend. Even when the driver turned out to be on parole or a former drug addicted 😉 Try to look decent, make eye contact with the driver, fasten your seatbelt if you have one, talk with the driver (that is the way you can repay them), and do not hitchhike during the night.
  • Europe: blablacar.com (cheap). It is like organized hitchhiking where you pay a little bit for the gas. Usually 5€ per 100km.
  • Public transport: If possible, I take the train or bus. Often it is not the most comfortable way of transportation but I meet interesting local people, experience the distance, see more of a country and it is more environmentally friendly. I only fly if I am travelling far or if I do not have much time. In my experience it is mostly cheaper to book busses and trains online. Check for supersaver ticket. Busses are mostly the cheapest way but also the longest. Night busses can be dangerous since the drivers fall asleep sometimes. So make sure they have at least two drivers, good references or only travel in the daytime. If you have time I recommend trying to take the bus. So far I met many interesting people on the way and mostly we talked all night long. If you get along and you have the same destination you already have a friend there 😉
  • Flight: kiwi.com. It is similar to www.skyscanner.com, www.momondo.de, www.kayak.com or www.farecompare.com and compares different airline companies (not all!). But this website offers many great options. Important: Never book on one of those websites. Mostly they charge a fee since they want to earn a little bit as well. Go to the airline company, search for the found flight and book it there. Mostly 3 months ahead and low season is cheapest.

Accommodation

  • couchsurfing.com (free). You need a profile. After staying at somebody’s place (mostly on a couch) you leave a reference. Spending time with locals gives you a different perspective of the culture of your destination. I did things I would have never considered trying by myself (e.g. learning how to surf in the US, reiki in Thailand, having a presentation about Switzerland at a university in Japan). Also hosted new friends for a second time or visited them in their country or met up somewhere else…You never know who might be the next surprisingly amazing person! You do not have to offer a place to stay but I think it is a great experience.
  • warmshowers.com (free). Similar Couchsurfing but for cyclists. My parents love it.
  • trustedhousesitters.com ($60 annual fee). Taking care of an animal and the house when the owners are travelling.
  • If free camping is not allowed ask locals if you can set up your tent in their garden.
  • Working in hostels. It is always free accommodation and some places free breakfast as well. Very common in Central America. Most places prefer you to stay for 2-3 months. But the smaller hostels will usually let you stay for just one month.
  • wwoofinternational.org (pay a membership. different in each country). WWOOF hosts offer food, accommodation and opportunities to learn about organic lifestyles. Volunteers give hands on help in return. Visits last from one week to a few months.
  • E.g. www.workaway.info (29 USD for one year). It includes accommodation and food for usually 2-5 hours of work a day, with visits lasting from a few days to a few months.
  • airbnb.com / www.wimdu.com. People who rent out an apartment or a house. Good for groups.
  • booking.com. I like their easy to use interface, wide selection, and no money down policy.
  • HousingAnywhere.com. If you are going abroad but you do not want to give up your room or apartment then you can rent out your room to the incoming exchange students that are in need of Housing. You can post your room for free.
  • hostel

Food

  • In rich cities I buy food in a grocery (local, seasonal and preferably in small local organic food market) and eat it on the street or cook it at my host’s place. (Verlinkung: Easy, fast and healthy recipes)
  • eatwith.com. Locals post listings for dinner parties and specialty meals that you can sign up for. There is a fee (everyone sets their own price) but this is a great way to eat home cooked meal with locals and make new friends.
  • happycow.net. Worldwide guide for vegetarian and plant-based restaurants.

Activities

Even though I do not like to spend money on shopping, expensive restaurants and useless souvenirs I enjoy spending it on activities (e.g. museums, national parks, cooking classes, boat tours). That is what I remember in the end.

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