If there’s one thing that being a Facebook addict ensures, it’s that you’ll be in touch with a pretty varied cross-section of people and their zeitgeisty, social media sentiments. One of these sentiments that can often be found in your news feed, is a seemingly across-the-board desire to take off travelling…

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Travel is about the gorgeous feeling of teetering on the unknown.

Buy the ticket, take the ride.

Travel often; getting lost will help you find yourself.

Quit your job, buy a ticket, get a tan…

Most of us get the urge to travel at some point in our life… But, in reality, it’s not as easy for everyone to just up and go. Traveling costs a lot of money and sometimes it’s scary to think about how much money we will spend on the road.

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But, guess what? You don’t have to have heaps of money saved to take off traveling – it can be done on a shoestring budget. We’ve all heard the saying “the best things in life are free.” A lot of the time, however, people assume that this rule only applies to life’s small pleasures, like laughing with friends or smelling a flower. Not so! Bigger pleasures can be free, too… Well, if not for free, then very cheap!

So, if you want to make that travel dream a reality but never really knew how to, why not take a leaf out of Graham Hughes’ book? Graham is a British adventurer, filmmaker, television presenter and Guinness World Record holder. He completed his epic round-the-world journey on a relatively tiny budget. His four year trip – all overland, with no flights – took him to every UN member state and cost an estimated $40,000.

How did he afford it? Well, it’s true that Graham did manage his trip by receiving some funding through various loans and by making travel documentaries along the way. But, Graham also learned that traveling on the cheap is the best way to get around… So here are ten tips for traveling on a shoestring from the traveling pro himself!

1. Avoid Expensive Countries

Countries like Qatar, Angola and Norway are among the most expensive in the world. Sounds obvious but, before you set off, plan your trip and avoid the most expensive places there are. You can have just as much fun – if not more – in more affordable countries!

2. Travel Light

Don’t waste your money on equipment you think you might need before you set off. Most of the time you probably won’t use that underwater camera or that expensive tripod. And if you really need something while you’re traveling, you can probably borrow or buy it there!

3. Get A Decent Guidebook

Know the price of things! Educate yourself about your travel destinations by getting savvy about exchange rates, the prices of various excursions, and getting around (especially taxis!). This will make it easier to budget your trip and less likely for you to get ripped-off!


4. Unlock Your Cell Phone

Most phones are designed to work with any service provider and all you need to do is swap your SIM card! If you’re planning to have your phone with you when travelling, get it unlocked and buy a new SIM card in the country you visit – it’ll cost you so much less than roaming.

5. Buy Travel Insurance

Although it might seem like another drain on your money before you hit the road, travel insurance is essential for cheap travel. Why? Because if you’re not insured in a foreign country and you need medical help, it could end up costing you thousands!

6. Cheap Flights

Take a look at budget airlines and see if you can get a cheap deal. If you plan to take off traveling but you don’t have a set destination yet, why not have a look at which airfares are going cheap and let the deals decide for you? Go on, take a risk!

7. Eat Street Food

Street food can be cheap, delicious and safe – and often more so than the other restaurants you’ll find on your travels. If you’re worried about where you should eat, why not ask the locals for recommendations… They’re usually happy to help!

8. Couch-surfing

Couch-surfing is staying with people in their homes as a non-paying guest. Not only can it be a great, money-saving way to take up a place in people’s homes all over the world, it also means you can learn about other cultures and have a more genuine travel experience.

9. Barter Hard

Sometimes, the cost of things for travellers is massively more than the cost of things for locals. Learn how to bargain your way to a better price and have fun doing it! But if the vendor really won’t lower the price, then accept it – it’s them trying to make a living too, remember!

10. Don’t Buy Souvenirs

When your mind is set on finding the best souvenir at the best price, your eye often isn’t on the experience you’re having. Instead of focusing on what to take home, try to soak up being in the moment. The memories and photos of the place are usually enough, anyway!


Graham Hughes traveled alone on a shoestring budget of less than $100 a week and had an adventure of epic proportions… So, if you also suffer from wanderlust, you may want to take his advice. Watching what you spend is a good idea, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take your love of traveling to the limit! Just as Graham says: no matter where you’re going, there are plenty of simple ways to cut expenses.

To travel cheaply, you just need to be looking for opportunities and be willing to take them. Don’t let your empty wallet stop you from taking the trip of a lifetime. Just remember: with the right attitude, the best things in life – even traveling the globe – can come pretty cheap!

Lessons Learned:

  • Traveling can be done on a shoestring budget – it’s that easy!
  • Watching what you spend doesn’t mean less fun or fewer experiences. In fact, it’s often the opposite.
  • The best things in life are free… Or at least cheap!

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