Ask Jules and Christine: How to Travel Long Term and Save Money

 

Welcome to the latest and greatest segment in the ongoing developments of Don’t Forget to Move called “Ask Jules and Christine”. A new backpacking questions and answers section where you can ask us absolutely anything about our travels, and we’ll answer it! From the informative or the intrusive, to the wacky and the weird! Get in contact with us through the CONTACT US form and we’ll give you our best expert advice on the matter.

 

how to travel long term and save money

{Enjoying a night out in Havana}

 

Recently we were contacted by an old volunteer buddy who had a question about our travels. It’s a question we’ve encountered many times on the road, which has always had a different response, but this time we’re going to try and sit down to answer it properly. After semi-nomadic traveling for four of the last six years around the Americas, Australia and Asia, on minimal funds, here’s how we responded to the question;

 

“How have you guys been able to afford to travel for so long, and how can I do it?”

 

Great to hear from you, and what a great question! The fact that you’re asking these types of questions with such passion and intrigue means you’re already on the right track. As cliché as it sounds, the will to make it happen is your strongest advocate in long term traveling.

The question shouldn’t be how we’ve been able to afford to travel for so long, but more so, how we’ve traveled for so long on what we have. We’re not about to disclose our personal savings accounts on the net, but let’s just say they aren’t anything to boast about. Our trip has been about conserving funds and traveling modestly and slowly, rather than traveling quickly and spending more.

Yes it is true that we both saved up a bit of money before going on this latest trip, but it takes a lot more than savings to stay on the road long term. It definitely doesn’t come without its sacrifices. If you take our Budget Breakdown article for San Cristobal de las Casas you’ll see we were on a fairly modest $350 a month each, which included absolutely everything (fully furnished room, utilities, food, activities, travel, tequila, etc). When you start moving around or doing more activities you start to accumulate more costs and have to cut back on other things. It wasn’t uncommon for us to eat plain cold oats for breakfast with powdered milk or simply bread with mustard for lunch…. for days on end.

 

how to travel long term and save money

{Nothing but mustard on these rolls}

 

Christine always says that people usually have one of two things when traveling, time or money! And as we’ve found throughout our travels, this is mostly true. Generally speaking, you’re either on a short blast through South America, doing all the tourist activities and smashing your way through the bars… or you’re casually drifting from town to town, conserving funds and basically living like a local. Very rarely will you have the time and the money to do both, so you need to choose what’s right for you.

We turned 28 and 26 this year (update – now we’re 30 and 28). Probably a time that society expects us to start settling down, but the older we get the more restless we become. As of last week we just finished up 21 months of traveling without working. While we’ve spent time at low-cost volunteer organisations, that helped slow down some spending, we haven’t had an income for the last 2 years. But we get by because our aim is to stretch the money and increase the time we get to spend learning about travel and the communities we meet.

Take Latin America for example. Life on the road is cheap, but it still doesn’t come without sacrifices if you plan to extend your stay. Sometimes we’ve slept in airports to save money, spent hours waiting for a free hitchhike ride, CouchSurfed with complete strangers, forfeited the fun hostels to secure a place with a kitchen to cook, had numerous parasites from always eating like a local in the markets, smuggled rum into bars, exchanged work for lodging and taken 8 chicken buses instead of a nice direct shuttle. We’ve done pretty much everything but prostituted ourselves along the way. (Although Jules did a sexy dance on a table one time for a few free beers, but he felt dirty after it.)

There are as many different travel styles as there are travelers. It really is up to you to find a style that works for you. Our biggest tip for traveling cheap is to live as much like a local as possible. Eat where the locals eat, take public transportation and drink at the local bars. Not only will you get a richer cultural experience, but you’ll be able to stay on the road for longer.

Hope this helps you work out your next plans, and see you on the road soon!

Got any other questions about how to travel long term and save money?? Contact us with a comment below, or find us on Facebook and Twitter

how to travel long term and save money

{Sweaty at the Tikal ruins in Guatemala – this entrance fee cost us a week of mustard rolls}

6 thoughts on “Ask Jules and Christine: How to Travel Long Term and Save Money”

  1. Excellent, I fucking love mustard, sorted. When me and Simon had all our money stolen at the border in Equador, all we had was a few sweets, a jar of mustard and a bottle of pisco. All you need really! I miss it. I hid on buses when we arrived somewhere in the early hours of the morning so that they’d lock it and I’d have a warm place to stay. By the time they realised I was still on the bus, it was light enough to find an actual hostel 🙂 The parasites make me laugh, the little buggers befriended me for most of my journey, some of the most loyal companions 🙂

    • Hiding on buses… that’s hardcore. Seems like you’ve got it all sorted haha. Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do 😀 Also, you can never go wrong with a bottle of Pisco 🙂

  2. You guys are great. Thanks for communicating so much about your experience! I am 40 and planning a shoestring trip to South America soon. I find your insight more than handy, even though I am also accustomed to unexpensive travel. Keep chasing your hapiness!

  3. If you want to travel cheaply and experience deeply, go to India. Beautiful, friendly, trains are cheap and (reasonably) efficient, food is fantastic.
    We (a family of four) spent two weeks in Gokarna on the west coast, and it cost us around $25 a day. Some days maybe $30. Always restaurant food, and every day spent at a beautiful beach.
    You certainly would not starve on $350 a month.

    • That is awesome! India is definitely on our list of places to see in the next couple of years. After a small break from our current travels we could be there really soon 🙂 We keep hearing such amazing things about it!

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