Wish that you could afford to travel more?
According to Patrick Martin Schroeder, you can.
For the past eight years, he’s travelled around the world and spent approximately $US45,000 in the process, which averages out to just $US15 per day.
To date, he’s visited 125 countries, including all of North America, South America, and Europe.
Recently, he shared his tips and tricks in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” discussion.
Here are his tips for aspiring budget travellers:
1. Expensive countries make it easier to spend less.
As counterintuitive as it sounds, being in a country with a high cost of living forces travellers to seek out the most affordable options.
“In Europe I’d go camping and couchsurfing all the time out of necessity, but here in Asia I’d happily pay for accommodation, because it’s cheaper,” he writes. “But of course that adds up and in the end I pay more.”
2. Couchsurfing is your friend.
Over the course of the six months he spent in the US and Canada, Schroeder didn’t spend a single dollar on accommodations.
3. Use a little-known search engine for flights.
Using ITA Software’s Matrix Airfare Search can help you find the cheapest flights.
Some flexibility in your travel plans also helps. “Search by month, it will give you all prices for 30 days in a row. Pick the cheapest,” he recommends.
If you’re looking for more insight on how to save money on airfare, read 23 secrets to booking cheap flights.
4. You don’t need to save a lot of money to get started.
Schroeder admits that he’s lucky — after saving up money to travel around the world for a year, he ended up inheriting a house, and renting it out is his main source of income.
But even if that hadn’t happened, he says, he’d still be out exploring the world.
Travelling costs him under $US6,000 a year, and he estimates that he could work for just three months to save that amount.
If you’re looking for a similar adventure, he recommends getting started with a small savings goal. “Start saving $US20 a week. If you do that for a year, you have $US1,000, which is enough for 2-3 months.”
5. Look for out-of-the way destinations.
Anyone looking to travel on a budget should look for places that have little to no tourism, Schroeder told Business Insider.
“It’s not so much about the destination itself, but that the people living there will perceive you differently,” he explains. “If the locals are used to rich westerners that spend a lot of money, they see you as a business opportunity. But if they barely come in contact with foreigners, then their curiosity wins and you will get a much more personal contact. You will be a guest, not a walking ATM.”
Destinations that he recommends include the Andaman Islands, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Djibouti, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana.
6. Get worldwide health insurance.
Schroeder doesn’t count insurance when calculating his $US15-a-day budget.
He told Business Insider that he pays 300 euros (approximately $US334 USD) per year for a worldwide plan that allows him to visit a doctor in any country that he’s visiting, just in case something goes wrong.
7. Carry enough cash for a month.
Once you get off the beaten tourist track, you probably won’t be able to use your credit card.
Schroeder makes sure to enough enough cash on hand to cover a month’s worth of expenses — which, on his $US15-a-day budget, comes to $US450. Although carrying large amounts of cash can be risky, he writes, “The world is far safer than most people assume.”
8. Try touring the world by bike.
Often, the most expensive part of any trip is transportation.
Schroeder takes flights only when absolutely necessary, and travels from country to country on his bike.
He told Business Insider that he’s gone through six bikes in the past eight years while travelling and paid 800 euros (~$US892 USD) for the first, 100 euros (~$US111 USD) for the second, and 400 euros (~$US446 USD) for the third.
Since then, he’s attracted sponsors, and got his last three bikes for free.
And since bicycling doesn’t cost anything, he can spend most of his daily budget on food.
9. The hardest part is leaving your comfort zone.
Once you’re on the road, living without familiar luxuries becomes easy, Schroeder says. But getting out of your routine to start travelling can be a challenge, particularly when it mean giving up creature comforts. “As a huge nerd, the hardest thing to give up was my gaming PC and fast internet connection,” he told Business Insider, adding that he also misses having access to western supermarkets and a refrigerator. He wrote on Reddit that he periodically returns home to Germany, but tries to keep those visits short. “When I start treating luxuries like a kitchen, running hot water, fast internet, etc as standard, THEN I LEAVE.”