traveling the world on a tight budget
Wouldn’t or not it’s nice to journey anyplace in the world for $1,000 or much less? And I don’t imply simply the value of getting there. I imply your complete trip from the time you step out your door to the time you get again. How nice would it not be to take a one- or two-week journey anyplace for that?

Decades upon many years of selling by costly accommodations, cruises, and resorts has left us with the cultural notion that journey is dear. Despite all the blogs, apps, web sites, and Instagram accounts on the market, too many individuals nonetheless don’t consider that journey may be low cost.

I get that. We’ve been conditioned by large manufacturers and firms for ages to consider this repeated message, and it takes awhile to shed that perception.

But we’re at present in a golden age of journey, thanks to low cost flights, journey hacking, and the sharing financial system. We are seeing a revolution in journey that’s permitting folks to bypass the conventional journey gatekeepers of outdated — the ones who stored costs excessive — and journey frugally with out sacrificing consolation.

It’s not a stark alternative between low cost backpacker hostels and fancy resorts.

In truth, it’s really very easy to journey effectively on a finances today.

Today, I would like to introduce the idea of the $1K journey. A thousand can get you far — regardless of the place you need to go.

While there are a lot of methods to journey cheaply, thanks to touring hacking or excessive budgeting, this idea is about one thing extra middle-of-the-road. It’s not about going away with no cash or touring on $10 or $20 a day. It’s for these of us in the center, who’ve day-to-day jobs and need to journey extra however at all times really feel like we lack the sources to achieve this.

A thousand is some huge cash, but it surely’s not an unattainable sum of money for most of us. It’s saving $2.74 per day for a yr. Most of us can save $2.74 a day.

So how do you start?

First, flip the script. I do know I’ve stated this earlier than, however when you get up right now and inform your self, “I can’t travel because of X,” you’ll by no means look for methods to begin touring. You will solely see roadblocks: payments, flight prices, automobile funds, different obligations, or no matter your “But…” is. I’m not attempting to be patronizing — and I positively acknowledge not everybody has the means or need to journey — however you will have to ask your self in earnest, “How do I make travel a reality?”

You want to get up tomorrow and say, “Yes, I can travel, too — and I am going to make it happen!”

Once you begin believing it’s doable, you begin wanting for methods to make it doable. I’m not speaking about that BS from The Secret, the place you manifest a successful lottery ticket. I’m speaking about considering of the sensible steps you’ll be able to take from day one that may carry you nearer to your journey objectives.

Look at your day-to-day spending and the spending decisions you make.

How a lot would you save when you purchased a Brita filter as a substitute of a day by day bottle of water? Or gave up Starbucks, cooked extra of your personal meals, and drank much less alcohol? What when you gave up cable? Downgraded your cellphone plan? Walked to work? Sold your unneeded stuff on eBay?

Even if it takes you a yr to save, it’s higher to begin right now than tomorrow.

I at all times have a look at bills and go, “I can have these new jeans or another fancy dinner — or I could have another week on the road.” I’ve associates who complain about not having the ability to journey then go purchase $300 sun shades. Not everybody can save a ton of cash and even has the means to journey all the time, however with sufficient time and dedication, the majority of us can get someplace. When I labored with Dianne throughout our case examine program, she was a giant informal spender however prioritizing journey in her thoughts helped her dramatically enhance her financial savings.

Second, it’s essential to do not forget that touring on a restricted finances requires planning.

For instance, a number of years in the past I took a visit to London for $700. I knew I had ten days, didn’t care the place I slept, and was content material with consuming solely just a little, taking public transportation, and sticking to the free sights. I solely cared about consuming and having enjoyable with associates. Everything else was secondary. Knowing myself allowed me to make the most of my restricted funds — and work out how a lot I wanted in the first place. I may plan the actual quantity I wanted to save as a result of I had a tough thought of how a lot I’d spend.

Break your journey down into small manageable objectives. Don’t take into consideration the 1,000 steps it takes to get to the place you need to go. Think about the step proper in entrance of you. What is ONE factor you are able to do right now to get nearer to your journey? What about the ONE factor you are able to do tomorrow?

Once a visit is damaged down into smaller steps it turns into much more doable.

I would like to use two instance journeys — every week in French Polynesia and two weeks in Australia — to illustrate the idea of the $1K trip. (I’m selecting costly locations so nobody thinks I’m attempting to cop out by utilizing low cost locations!) The identical strategies I used to go to London for $700 are the identical ones that apply to the journeys under.

Example 1: French Polynesia

How to travel anywhere
OK, French Polynesia right here we come! Well, French Polynesia is an costly vacation spot that has many wealthy residents and caters to higher-end vacationers, and as such, even in order for you to be fundamental and dwell like a neighborhood, you’ll discover that costs for every little thing are at a premium.

But the place there’s a will, there’s a approach.

The cornerstone of finances journey is amassing factors and miles, i.e., journey hacking. Reducing the value of a flight to zero is the greatest approach to scale back the value of your journey. And, for any costly vacation spot, you’ll positively want to journey hack. With flights operating $1,600-1,950, French Polynesia beneath $1K is unattainable with out utilizing miles to cowl your bills.

(Note: I gained’t go into a lot element in this submit on how to get airline miles for your flight as a result of that’s a complete different lengthy submit, which may be discovered right here or right here or right here. I discuss lots about journey hacking on this web site, and whereas the thought of amassing miles may be intimidating, it’s fairly simple to do in comparatively few months — even when you don’t fly lots! For the objective of this text, I’m going to assume you will have or understand how to get miles.)

To get to French Polynesia from the US, you’ll be able to fly one in all two airways: Air France or Air Tahiti Nui (each have direct flights).

You can e-book Air France flights on any one in all the under carriers. Here’s what number of miles you’ll want:
award chart for tahiti flights

If you need to fly Air Tahiti Nui, you’d want this many miles:
award chart for tahiti flights

The solely draw back to utilizing miles: award availability isn’t plentiful on these flights. The above numbers are for “saver” awards (award tickets that want fewer miles) however typically solely common award tickets with larger mileage necessities can be found, so that you’ll want to hold that in thoughts.

Hotel award redemptions are sometimes costly in French Polynesia as a result of the resorts are so luxurious. Therefore, I’d counsel reducing your general lodging prices by mixing up your stick with accommodations, Airbnbs, or B&Bs. After all, you’re not going to French Polynesia with out a minimum of spending an evening or two at a flowery resort, so now we have to embody a minimum of a number of nights there! Here are the typical award costs (you earn these factors the identical approach you do as airline miles):

award chart for tahiti flights
(Note: Air Tahiti Nui affords a free ferry shuttle from the airport for anybody who isn’t staying at a flowery resort. Most guesthouses supply free transfers from the place the shuttle drops you off.)

After a few nights redeeming lodge factors for a flowery bungalow (when you’ve got tons of lodge factors, then by all means, hold staying for free!), I’d swap to an Airbnb. Airbnb non-public rooms value Four,000-6,000 XPF ($40-60 USD) per night time, whereas a whole condominium (most include pool entry) will solely value you 6,000-9,900 XPF ($60-100 USD) per night time. The solely factor is, the Airbnbs are just about all positioned in and round the capital, so that you’re not going to get too many luxurious beachfront locations.

How this is able to apply elsewhere: Use a mixture of factors, hostels, Airbnbs, Couchsurfing, and even home sitting to decrease your prices. More info may be discovered right here.

Food isn’t low cost in French Polynesia since most has to be expensively imported and those that go to have a tendency to have cash to burn. If you eat at the resorts and accommodations, you’ll pay a minimum of 2,500 XPF ($25) or extra for a meal. At an upscale restaurant, count on to pay round Four,500 XPF ($45). A meal in an off-the-cuff restaurant will value round 2,200 XPF ($22 USD). A quick-food meal is about 1,000 XPF ($10) whereas a beer is round 600 XPF ($6 USD). However, by consuming from the native snack bars on the street, you’ll solely pay round 1,000 XPF ($10 USD) per day for meals. If you intend on shopping for your personal groceries, count on to spend a minimum of Eight,000-10,000 XPF ($80-100 USD) per week on meals.

I’d keep away from consuming, stick to as many native snack bars as doable, make picnic lunches, and eat out solely at dinner to hold prices down.

How this is able to apply elsewhere: Drink much less, eat native meals, grocery store, skip fancy eating places, and keep away from consuming in touristy areas. More info may be discovered right here.

Not surprisingly, actions in French Polynesia aren’t low cost both. Diving and different single-day water actions begin at 11,000 XPF ($110 USD), with a two-tank dive costing 14,900-18,900 XPF ($150-190 USD). Surfing classes, which usually final a number of hours, value round 13,000 XPF ($130 USD). Bike leases can be found nearly anyplace and can value 1,500-2,000 XPF ($15-20 USD) for a day. Whale-watching excursions will value round 11,500 XPF ($112 USD). I’d give attention to one or two actions whereas right here.

Sample Budget for French Polynesia
How to travel to tahiti budget

You may save extra factors, drink much less, and even add more cash to your meals finances. Point is: French Polynesia all of the sudden grew to become much more inexpensive! It’s fairly simple to go to French Polynesia for $1K. Using a mixture of journey hacking, native eating places, Airbnb, and doing only some actions, you’ll be able to go to right here with out sacrificing consolation.

Example 2: Australia

How to travel anywhere
Australia is usually a spot the place budgets go to die — but it surely doesn’t have to be that approach. You can nonetheless get you fairly far if you already know a number of ideas and tips. With your flight out of the approach (see under), you’ll have $71 USD (88 AUD) per day ($1,000 divided by 14 days). You have to be just a little bit extra frugal than in French Polynesia but it surely’s doable.

First, I’d use factors for the flight the approach I’d for French Polynesia. That takes care of your flight, and regardless that award flights aren’t plentiful, you’ll be able to nonetheless discover some availability. Here is a listing of airways — and the miles wanted — to fly instantly to Australia:

award chart for tahiti flights

In actuality, saver award tickets for direct flights to Australia are arduous to come by. They aren’t there usually. You is likely to be higher off going not directly. There are lots of methods to get to Australia when you have a look at having a connection than going direct. I linked by means of Abu Dhabi, whereas a good friend linked by means of Hong Kong, and one other by means of Japan. I even had a good friend fly by way of Chile as soon as to save on miles.

Accommodation in Australia is costly: even hostel dorms may be as excessive as 30-40 AUD ($24-32 USD) per night time. Luckily, when you get out of the large cities, costs drop, and there are lots of Couchsurfing hosts in the nation. If that’s not your jam and also you don’t need dorms, you will discover rooms on Airbnb for 44-75 AUD ($35-60 USD) per day.

To hold your lodging prices down, I’d use a mixture of hostels, Couchsurfing, and Airbnb. If you’re touring in a bunch, Airbnb will enable you to actually decrease your per particular person prices the most. You can discover complete flats for as little as 164 AUD ($132 USD), and when you can squeeze Three-Four folks into that, your per particular person worth is simply 41 AUD ($33 USD)! If you’re alone or a pair, then I’d strive to Couchsurf as a lot as doable (plus you get a kitchen too!)

How this is able to apply elsewhere: Use a mixture of factors, hostels, Airbnbs, Couchsurfing, and even home sitting to decrease your prices. More info may be discovered right here.

Food isn’t low cost in Australia, and holding this value down goes to be the hardest a part of your journey. However, when you decrease your meals (and drink) bills, you’ll be able to keep beneath $1K. Most respectable restaurant entrees value a minimum of 20 AUD ($16 USD). Grab-and-go locations value round Eight-10 AUD ($6.50-Eight USD) for sandwiches. Fast meals is round 15 AUD ($12 USD) for a meal (burger, fries, soda). The greatest worth meals are the Asian and Indian eating places, the place you may get a very filling meal for beneath 10 AUD ($Eight USD).

The greatest approach to scale back your prices is to cook dinner as many meals as doable. If you achieve this, count on to pay 100 AUD ($80 USD) per week for groceries (pasta, greens, hen, and different fundamental foodstuffs). Moreover, with drinks operating Eight-15 AUD ($6.50-12 USD) every, I’d keep away from consuming out if doable. Buy beer at the retailer.

How this is able to apply elsewhere: Drink much less, eat native meals, grocery store, skip fancy eating places, and keep away from consuming in touristy areas. More info may be discovered right here.

Traveling round the nation is hard given the lengthy distances. The easiest method to get round the nation in such a brief time frame is to fly. There are sometimes some last-minute flight offers on Tiger Airlines and Virgin. But even common fares are fairly good. For instance, Brisbane to Cairns is simply 107 AUD ($86 USD) and Melbourne to Sydney is simply 67 AUD ($54 USD).

Compare that to bus fares by way of Greyhound:

  • Brisbane – Cairns: 320-374 AUD ($258-300 USD)
  • Melbourne – Sydney: 120 AUD ($96 USD)
  • Sydney – Cairns Unlimited Pass (i.e., the entire jap coast, 44 stops): 429 AUD ($345 USD)

If you had extra time and will cease usually alongside the approach, the limitless cross could be higher — however you don’t have that point, so cramming that $429 USD into two weeks doesn’t make sense.

I’d additionally take into account ridesharing by way of web sites like Gumtree or Jayride, or hostel message boards. Lots of individuals lease vans and are at all times wanting for folks to cut up the value of gasoline. You can even drive your self. Campervan leases begin at 60 AUD ($48 USD) per day and can even double as locations to sleep (thus saving more cash). If you’re touring with associates, it’s sensible to purchase a used automobile or campervan (or lease a brand new one from one in all the many rental corporations) and cut up the value of gasoline.

I’d in all probability take a number of flights after which a number of rideshares. If I had been in a bunch or favored driving, I’d lease a van to decrease the value per particular person. That approach you save time on the lengthy distances and nonetheless get pleasure from the nation from the floor too! As a lot as I like driving throughout Australia, it’s higher suited when you’ll be able to break up the journey when you will have extra time.

Activities will actually break your finances in Australia. For instance, a one-day journey to the Great Barrier Reef can value 230 AUD ($185 USD), whereas a two-night crusing journey round the Whitsunday Islands can value upwards of 540 AUD ($435 USD). A 3-day journey to Uluru from Alice Springs is round 480 AUD ($386 USD). Luckily, there’s a bunch of free strolling excursions and actions in cities, however when you’re wanting for that once-in-a-lifetime journey, you’re going to pay for it!

To decrease prices, I’d do lots of solo climbing and journeys, free strolling excursions, and one or two big-ticket objects.

Sample Budget for Australia
How to travel to australia budget

Again, this can be a pattern finances and it takes just a little extra effort to watch the pennies in Australia, but it surely’s doable to journey there and never spend some huge cash. There are unimaginable free actions, low cost groceries, and methods to get round on a finances. I’m not saying it is going to be simple, however I’m saying it’s not unattainable.


When you journey such as you dwell, you’ll be able to go to anyplace. Taking a whole trip for lower than $1,000 is totally doable. Stop serious about journey as this large, costly factor and begin serious about it extra sensible phrases. Think about the steps to make your journey occur. A thousand isn’t nothing – and it might take a very long time to save that quantity – but it surely’s not the a number of hundreds the media makes journey out to be!

“I don’t have the money to go” is a limiting perception.

When you begin wanting for methods to say sure, if you begin breaking journey down step-by-step and look for methods to save, the world is actually your oyster.

Matt’s Addendum: After some suggestions, I would like to make clear one thing: Yes, this requires factors and miles which have to be earned prior to your journey. However, since these may be earned with out spending more money, I don’t view that as an added value because it doesn’t require to spend more cash than you’ll to get them. Additionally, I picked two costly locations that require factors and miles however when you had been to go nearer to house or to a less expensive place, the want for factors could be far much less. I lately noticed a $450 R/T flight from the US to Thailand. At $50 a day, you may nonetheless go for 12 days, use no factors, and never break the $1k barrier.

P.S. – Want to discover out how one can meet extra locals AND discover free lodging if you journey? Check out our Q&A with Couchsurfing on September 28th at 6pm EST!

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