If you are following me you know I travel as low budget as it comes. If you are still not following me, what are you waiting for? I write about how I am traveling on a budget, spending my dollars only on basic needs and getting the most out of every cent.
I´ve been doing this for a while and I think I am getting the hold of it. Sometimes I struggle with this policy of spending only in the needs and not the wants but I think I am managing it as best as a wannabe nomad can.
So, to keep it simple I gathered some of the info I´ve learned in the past days to share it with you, thses tips are my opinion and are far for the rule, they just have worked very good for me.
This is the second part of a series of posts, to see the first click here.
5. Do not Date
I don´t know how to be more specific: DO NOT DATE.
It doesn´t matter your gender, dating on the road means at least spliting a check in a restaurant or going out for a beer or an ice cream. It is always better to keep it casual and just interact with people in the hostel and maybe cook together or drink a few cheap beers in the common area. I´ve tried it some times and I end up spending all of my budget in a “date”. Remember, traveling on a budget is about the needs not the wants and going out with a romantic agenda usually means at least dinner and a few beers in a place where you will pay 5 times what you would pay for hostel cooked dinner and beers bought around the corner. Or even better, cheap date: Go walking to the beach or do a hike with that person, you´ll get to know her and do not spend a dime.
Here I am having a date over breakfast, cheaper huh?
6. Use Couchsurfing
Thanks @lougher for this tip!
Personally I struggle with couchsurfing. Maybe it is my luck or maybe I search wrong but I have only stayed a few times with hosts of this platform. You see, CS is about getting to know the place with a local and to sleep in their spare bedroom or couch but it also means that you are not on your own. This is not a hostel and most hosts expect you to engage and interact with them, maybe cooking for them, bringing a small gift or going out for a few drinks while they show you the city/town, some not. But for me this implies some expenses I can´t afford, that is why I avoid CS but it is one of the best ways to know the city using the tips and expertise of a local.
7. Do you own laundry
Get out of your head the idea that you are too good to handwash your clothes in the hostel´s sink. It is nowhere near glamorous and exotic but you save a few bucks on every round. In Guatemala to wash 3 kilos of clothes is around 6 dollars, in Belize it was almost 10 USD. You can pay a night in a hostel or 3 cooked meals with that amount of money! So get your hands dirty (Or should I say clean?) and get up early, wash your clothes and then hang them out on the sun.
8. Take the chicken bus for short distances
Hitchhiking is a bit too hardcore for some people so I decided to include this one. Chicken buses are less than half the price that you will pay for a tourist shuttle. You will spend twice the time on the road but this one here saves a lot of money. I was mugged in a chicken bus and I learned a few things about riding this kind of transportation: Do not ride at night time or very early; avoid using them on a payday or weekend people got paid; find out if it is a National Holiday and if it is, wait a day or two but most important, pack your valuable stuff and electronics way deep in you backpack and only carry petty money on your pockets.
9. Exchange your money with people in hostels
There are many ways to aquire local currency. Exchanging at the border with local people that live off of this will get you a good deal but not the best as they need some profit out of the exchange. Going to an exchange house means that you will get the market price, and also this places need to pay rent and salaries so they also get a profit.
People in hostels are traveling to different places, maybe they come from where you are going or they are going where you just came from. Make some friends and exchange money with them! It is on both sides best interest to get the real exchange and both of you will get a better price, guaranteed (unless you meet a very selfish person who wants to take advantage of you).
Pretty girl is just a bonus of the transaction
But most important, enjoy the trip, it is not about getting places, it is about getting the most of every experience, to put it simple, just