Do you want to travel the world? Unless you have an endless bankroll to sponsor your journey, don’t expect to wake up in boutique hotels on Polynesian islands or eat steak tartar in the river-side restaurants of Paris. Still, having little to no money doesn’t mean you should give up your aspirations to one day make it around the globe. In a lecture given at the Thiel Building Wednesday, Croatian travel writer and TEDx speaker Tomislav Perko revealed that there are many more tricks in the book for travelling the world than simple hitchhiking and couchsurfing.
1) Hitchhiking isn’t your only option for free-travel
Waiting beside the road with a thumb in the air will bring you to many unexpected places. Using hitchhiking, Perko journeyed across Europe, through the desert in Australia, and even up the coast of Africa. So how did Perko get from Australia to Africa? With the website Findacrew.net , Perko made contact with a captain who was getting set to sail across the Indian Ocean from Australia to Mozambique. The captain accepted his request to join the crew, and soon after he embarked on a voyage of more than 45 days on a 13-meter yacht. In later travels, Perko came across car-relocation programs where car rental companies like Hertz allow you to use their car for free as long as you bring it from one branch of the company to another. And if you don’t like any of those options, well, then you can always walk.
2) Couchsurfing isn’t your only option for free-accommodation
Perko swears by couchsurfing as it not only connected him with hosts in different places who gave him a place to rest his head for free, but also brought him in contact with unique people that he remains friends with to this day. He knows, however, that the idea of staying with a random stranger may not be ideal for everyone. For those who are a bit more timid, Perko offered sites like Homeexchange.com where people can stay in your home while you stay in theirs. If that’s not appealing, you can try a different variety of house-sitting websites where people offer their home for free as long as you take care of their pets or garden or whatever it may be. And lastly, don’t forget the option of camping in the wilderness.
3) Change your style of travel as you move from place to place
While in Bangladesh, every dime Perko had went a long way. He could afford to take a rickshaw from point A to point B, eat like a king for just a few cents, and find a clean hotel for only a few euros. In Australia, things were different. He found a couple different hosts with whom he could stay with, hitchhiked everywhere, and even found one job as a traffic director and another as an assistant-chef to help him pay for the expenses of Australian living. To eat, Perko would sometimes dive into the dumpsters behind supermarkets that would toss massive amounts of edible food away at the end of the day. That may sound extreme, but the point is that you can go anywhere you want with little money, on the condition that you change up your style of travel.
4) Turn your travel into a project
Is there anything more cliché than someone saying they want to be a ‘travel writer’? Even Perko admits its true, but he also says its true for a reason. Writing a travel blog brought purpose to his journey, and eventually, companies like Mastercard started to sponsor his travels as his blogs got more known. The idea is that by turning your travel into a project, you will be inspired to keep moving forward and may even find an extra source of income along the way. Whether its taking photographs or teaching yoga in villages, Perko believes this tip will take you a long way.
5) Know your role as a traveler
Realize as a traveler that you are not there to tell someone how to live their life. Instead, you must recognize that you are a guest that is there to learn, to observe, and especially, not to judge. Internalize this, and the people you come across will help you greatly along the way.