Travel expenses (transport, accommodation, food, activities)

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, 5 USD in Chile) or sometimes I am lucky and can use one of my Couchsurfing host.
  • Hitchhiking (free). My overall experience is very positive. My best and worst experience I had in Colombia together with my boyfriend. It was bad luck. In Europe we only had great experiences. Even when the driver turned out to be on parole. Hitchhiking alone in Europe and Asia I had good and less good (trying to kiss me or asking for sex) experiences. 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 give back), and do not hitchhike during the night.
  • Car sharing.
    • Europe: blablacar.com (app and website). It is like organized hitchhiking where you pay a little bit for the gas. Usually 5€ each per 100km.
    • Argentina: CarpooleAR (app and website). Similar to BlaBlaCar in Europe. It is not very known yet. It works better in the north of Argentina. We used it from Rosario to Buenos Aires (3.5h, 150 ARS each). It is double as fast than the bus.
  • Public transport: If possible, I take the train or bus. Often it is not the most comfortable way of transportation but I often 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 tickets. Busses are mostly the cheapest way but also the longest. Night busses can be dangerous since the drivers fall asleep sometimes (e.g. Asia). 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. 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. Read here about my My experience with Couchsurfing.
  • 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.
  • Volunteering.
    • www.workaway.info (36 USD for one year). It includes accommodation and usually food for 2-6 hours of work a day, with visits lasting from a few days to a few months. Read here about my experience Volunteering with Workaway in Central and South America.
    • 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.
  • Airbnb or Wimdu. Good for couples or groups. People who rent out an apartment or a house. Airbnb is a great way to find cheap accommodation with vegan hosts if preferred.
  • Hostel.
    • Booking. I like their easy to use interface, wide selection, and no money down policy.
    • Hostelworld.
  • 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.

Food

  • Most of my food I buy in a grocery (local, seasonal and preferably in small local organic food market) or if available at a big market with fresh vegetables, fruits, grains, and nuts (e.g. Central and South America) and cook it at my Couchsurfing host’s place (Healthy travel recipes). In Asia I ate out most of the time. Not many places do have a kitchen. Read here about my experiences in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica.
  • Happycow.net. Worldwide guide for vegetarian and plant-based restaurants.
  • 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.

Activities

I do not like to spend money on shopping and useless souvenirs but I enjoy spending it on activities (e.g. museums, national parks, cooking classes, boat tours). That is what I remember in the end. So I don’t have a budget. Some days I spend hundreds of dollars whereas others I do not spend any.

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