Traveling on a shoestring doesn’t have to mean living like a pauper. Jeremy Helligar divulges how he’s been country-hopping during the last year on just $20,000 in savings. He started out by deciding to concentrate on some of the least expensive countries with the most beautiful scenery and he found these in South Asia and Eastern Europe. Here are some of his tips.
Airfare to Eastern Europe and Asia is much cheaper than flying to London or Paris, and travel within these countries can be much cheaper too. Helligar remembers air-conditioned Uber rides around New Delhi and Mumbai that cost just a handful of dollars.
Even though a four-star hotel in Thailand may cost only $30 or $40, there are cheaper alternatives that can be found for less than $5. The same holds true in Eastern Europe, he says. Helligar reveals he paid around $250 a week for one-bedroom flats in Belgrade and Sarajevo that equaled those in Sydney’s trendiest neighborhoods.
And if the apartment has a kitchen, the money-saving traveler can further cut down on expenses by shopping at local markets, cooking at home and avoid eating every meal in restaurants. But Helligar says tourists can splurge and spend $1.50 on wine in Albania and baked goods in the Balkans.
Leave your phone’s roaming option off to avoid high charges whenever you conduct an internet search overseas, he recommends. Just buy a SIM card when you reach your destination. Helligar said he found the best pre-paid plans were Telenor in Montenegro and Vodafone Albania. Those plans would cost 5 euros a week for 10GB, 100 texts and 500 local and 10 international minutes.
He recommends walking instead of taking the inexpensive cabs and trains in Asia and Europe. These cities are designed for pedestrians, and shopping centers and restaurants are located near tourist accommodations and main attractions for the convenience of visitors.