Pinching pennies on travel does not mean you have to give up on seeing the world or enjoying life-changing experiences; as plenty of seasoned adventurers will tell you, it can actually enrich your adventure and change your perspective.
"With such limited cash, we focus on interactions with locals and we visit places ordinary holidaymakers or tourists don't go, which makes our travel more interesting and challenging," says Agness Walewinder, co-founder of budget travel blog eTramping.
On eTramping, Agness and her partner Cez Krol offer tips and tricks on traveling the world slowly on less than $25 a day. And the pair know what they're talking about; since 2011, they've visited six continents sharing anecdotes, photos and advice about visiting destinations from Havana to Dubai to Prague.
Agness checked in with us recently to tell us about the ups and downs of long-term travel and how you can do it yourself on a tight budget. Read on:
Tell us the story behind eTramping...what made you start the site?
eTramping is a travel blog Cez and I created in 2011 as a result of our travel passion, which we wanted to share with others. It aims to provide valuable information to our readers about budget traveling, which will definitely appeal to anyone who doesn't have many financial resources to travel. We are sending the message via our blog to everyone saying, "Hey! Traveling does not need to be expensive. You can travel the world for less than $25 a day!"
So what's it like living as a nomad? What have been your favorite parts? What about your least favorite parts?
Best part of nomad life is definitely meeting new people, experiencing different things for the first time (foreign language, culture, traditions, locals and food) and falling in love with beautiful sceneries.
What we don't enjoy is the sickness. Being ill on the road is not much fun, especially when you're in a country where you don't speak the local language. We have a few thrilling stories to share; for example, I was bitten by a spider during my stay in China. My whole neck and face were infected, and it took me a long time to recover (about two months, as far as I remember). I was pretty scared and looked like a monster.
How do you pack for a life of constant travel? What have you learned you can do without? What can't you do without?
We try to pack in seven simple steps when heading to a new place. Essentials such as a smile, passport and money go obviously first, then important items such as camera and phone go second, and then some clothes and toiletries (not too much, though). We try to pack as light as possible, as we like to feel comfortable when moving.
Your tagline is "Traveling like tramps around the world for less than $25 a day" - at what destinations was it easiest to keep this budget? Where was it the hardest?
The cheapest countries we've been to were Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Thailand and Laos. It's so extremely easy to spend a day for less than $25 in Bangkok or dine out in local restaurants in Colombo. The most expensive places were Oslo and Amsterdam, where I am currently living and studying.
What ways have you found to earn money while on the road?
We were kindergarten teachers in China, which allowed us to save up to $18,000 a year still traveling around China and Asia, web designers in Cambodia and social media consultants in Thailand. Thanks to traveling, we discovered we could easily turn our teaching and photography passions into our source of income!
What are your tricks for traveling cheap day to day?
Talking to locals (who know everything), exploring cities and towns on foot, avoiding restaurants and sticking to street food. Moreover, we don't spend much money on souvenirs or clothes.
What things do you always try to look for cheap options?
Definitely flights. We often spend hours online to hunt cheapest flights!
Where do you tend to splurge?
When we celebrate a new eBook publication, someone's birthday or any other big or small family events such as Christmas or Easter.
What destinations do you think you could return to over and over again without getting bored? What sets them apart?
One of these places is Holland. I love people's mentality and lifestyle. Everyone is so kind, friendly and chilled out. When I visited Amsterdam for the first time, I was able to explore its canals again, walk through the bridges, see locals riding their bikes and experience its modernity with a solid historical background. That is the main reason why I am living here and studying at the moment.
At some point, after living and working in China for over two years, I was getting bored, so I felt like it was the high time to leave. I had a feeling like nothing could surprise me in Dongguan anymore, but I miss that place a lot these days!