“How Did You Get Money For 1 Year Traveling?”
This is perhaps the first question people ask me when I tell them that I am traveling for 1 year. Few possible scenarios people consider before listening to my answer, including that I won a lottery and that I come from a wealthy family. It is neither. I just saved my money for 1 year to travel for 1 year.
Before traveling I was living in Amsterdam, not really working in any big company, but instead I worked in a hostel reception. I had an option to work in a big office, but that did not make me happy. I, also, did try to start my business including writing a book, but this unfortunately does not yet bring enough money to finance a trip like this.
Still, I managed to save 10.000 euro which in Europe can disappear in an instance, but in South East Asia can last you for a very long time.
How I Saved 10.000 Euro
The first rule to reach 10.000 euro is saving. You can save it with almost any salary, as long as you spend less money than you earn. Indeed, I know many people who are always broke despite their high salaries. They envy me for traveling while they could saved much more money if they just chose to do so. Funny isn’t it?
Most people over spend on things like food, accommodation, transportation, and so on. They never make a plan to go traveling for 1 year and instead they save for things like new house and car, which will keep them stuck to one place. I guess what I’m trying to say is that you don’t need more money. You just need to spend it more wisely.
“How Do You Buy Cheapest Tickets”
The best advice I heard for buying cheap tickets is to:
– Start looking for good deals in advance; &
– Spend at least 1-2 hours doing so.
Indeed, there are so many different companies out and there are so many different options. You can get lost in all the possibilities, which is why you need to do some research. Specially, I suggest looking up at following websites:
– www.google.com/flight – I like the interface of this website, as it allows me to look at different dates for several month at time. It can also see at different geographical location at once, by looking at the map provided, which is 2 options I rarely see on other websites.
– www.skyscanner.com – You can find some cheap flights here.
There are many other websites that you can visit like www.cheaptickets.com, which is a competition to skyscanner and www.traveloka.com, which is like skyscanner for Asia. Often, individual companies have good deals such as www.airasia.com, which I specially suggest you to visit if you flying in Asia, because Air Asia often does not show in many search engines because they consider it a bad company, but my experience so far is only positive.
WARNING: Try to avoid websites like CheapTickets, SkyScanner, etc., which are intermediates. They are great to make research, but they ask you for a commission and you get extra trouble in the airports, such as when I had a connecting flight, but I had to go out from customs get new boarding ticket and come back even though I was flying same company.
On a point of “bad companies” I really dislike RyanAir, as it often has many extra hidden costs which people don’t realize, which can make the trip more expensive and stressful when compared to a next best deal.
Lastly, if you want to check some extra airlines before making a purchase try looking at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_low-cost_airlines or just googling where you want to go, such as “cheap flight to XXX”.
You can also subscribe to price alerts, newsletters, and Air Miles, but I don’t really like to go that far, as usually the research above will be enough.
“How to Book Cheap Accommodation”
Personally, I do back packing so I like to find the cheapest option possible. Thus, I check:
In this order. I have apps for all these 3 websites always installed on my phone. Specially, check map of the city to see where accommodation is located in relation to a price it offers. When you do so, don’t forget to put the price range you are willing to pay as to avoid unnecessarily scrolling through options you are not willing to consider. Use filter option to sort through different accommodation types and to see the cheapest options first. Compare all websites and chose the best option!
Pro Tips For Travelers
- Be Careful When Booking Planes and Accommodation – I worked 2,5 years in hospitality in Amsterdam, which is already an expensive city in terms of accommodation, and there are special dates when priced go through the roof. These are special days like New Years and Kings Day. Also, prices rise during the picks seasons, such as summers and weekends. Thus the best / cheapest time to travel is during the weeks, during a winter, and away from major holidays, essentially when other people are not traveling.
- Double bed accommodations are cheaper – Double beds are big beds for 2 people and they are usually much cheaper than to rent 2 separate beds in a hostel. So, it is always better to travel with a girlfriend, no mater of which gender you are.
- Preparation vs going where your eyes take you – I personally prefer the later option, not planning much, which I can do because I travel for long-term. For short-term travelers (1 week to 1 month) I suggest to know exactly where you will go and what you will do once you arrive.
- Just sit down and observe – Sometimes the best thing to get to know a city and its people is not to do anything. Indeed, most people run around and look at attractions, but you can also just sit down on an intersection and just observe the like of that interaction.
My Trip so Far
Originally, I was planning to travel for 1 year, during which time I would spend 6 months in South East Asia and 6 months in South America. I chose this trip because I would be traveling through warm countries, meaning that I would not need a lot of cloth and I would be able to have only a backpack that I can take into a airplane cabin not needing to pay more money for dropping off my beg. It is a lighter way to travel too. In reality my trip has gone completely different.
So far, I am 7 months into my trip, whereas I spent 6 month only in Thailand and now 1 month in Indonesia. I did also have to leave Thailand couple of times to do a “visa run”, during which time I spent 5 days in Kuala Lumpur, 5 days in Singapore, and 5 days in Honk Kong. Things change!
I mean why spend 5 days in a place you like and 5 days in a place that you don’t like, whereas you can spend 9 days in a place that you like and 1 day in a place you don’t like. Just spend more time in places that you like and you will be happier!
In Thailand I visited from top to the bottom. I felt in loved Pai and Koh Phi Phi. I hated Phuket and Pattaya. Everything else I liked. Specifically, Phuket and Pattaya are sex tourism cities in a very bad and awkward way. The party there is bad, there is nothing to see, and the beaches are much worst compared to the paradise cities just around the cornet. Pai and Koh Phi Phi are hard to describe. I have so many positive memories about these places. Many people don’t like Bangkok, but I liked it, maybe because it was the first my city in South East Asia visited.
In Indonesia I hated Jakarta. It is too polluted. Jogjackarta and Malang were alright as the cities, but they had awesome temples and volcano just outside the city. Bali is the best! It is a place where you can spend few months easily. Need to come back there.
Kuala Lumpur is an interesting place to visit for maximum 1 day. Singapore looks like an ant-nest, as it has a limited space, so the city is being build up and down, creating 5 level interconnected network where most people spend hidden far away from the sun. Hong Kong has too many people and I would not have liked as much if it was not for a local person who showed me around. There I also had difficulty finding food that I would like.
Looking forward into the future, I am going to Japan next. There I’m planning to stay for 1 month max. After, I will either go to Philippines, Mexico, or maybe back to Indonesia, Bali again. Who knows? Nothing is certain, but I would like to also find some traveling job in between, specially on some sort of a cruiser.
I find that most people who go traveling they do it because they want to:
- See new places;
- Have vocation; or
- Get away from a routine
I have a completely different reason.
Traveling around Europe I realized that different countries can be much different from each other. Sometimes we assume that when we live in a “developed world” and therefore we are somehow smarted than people who live in “underdeveloped” or “developing” countries. This is completely false. In some cases, we may be doing better than in other countries, but often we do insane things compared to other countries around the world. This is why I went traveling. I wanted to see what I am doing right and wrong so I can do better in my life.
In this way, traveling creates contrast which allows people to see their behavior through a different lance. It is therefore recommended for everyone to travel as much as possible, as every trip is making you into a better person.