How NOT to Plan
by Elena Levon
… Yes, I actually just got a visa, bought a ticket and left …
Moved to a different continent, alone, as a teenager, with no plans, no help, no family and no friends waiting for me in US… but managed to survive & succeed.
If I could do that, trust me, so can you! Age, time and money should never be an excuse.
For me, “Planning” takes life out of living …
No matter how long you have been planning for or how “perfect” your planned trip is in your head…. Life will happen to it …
Why stand in the way of LIFE with it’s stunning beauty & glorious imperfections and suffocate it with our own FEAR ? …
I travel independently, meaning, I buy all my plane tickets, hotels, adventures myself, use public transport and spend 99% of my time with locals.
Have never used any agencies or bought pre-packaged “fast food” type of travel!
Let’s just say, that you will never see me in one of those Overland Truck tours ! ( well, Almost Never .. )
The cons of an organized tour always outweigh all the pros… at least for me.
Some of you might say, “oh, but you can’t travel independently and do as much in a day as in those pre-booked tours and see as many countries in short period of time”…
Didn’t spend more money doing it solo either… maybe even less…
Of course, if your goal is to hop on a truck with other tourists and do a multi-day borders crossing, so you can check countries off of your bucket list, then check away!
I try to not only visit a country, but actually LIVE there, be it for a few years, a month or for several days…
The fact that you have no freedom and must do what they tell you, when you book a tour, is more than enough for me to say…
Wouldn’t trade my time in a crowded Kenyan Matatu, even for a ride in a limo or on a private jet!
There’s nothing wrong with choosing to travel with a tour, every person and journey is different…
it’s just not my cup of coffee ..
Below you can find a lot of great tips from my good friend,
I have tested almost all of them and can confidently say that they DO work and not just that…
By following those steps, you actually get to experience the REAL country, it’s culture and people …
Instead of the one “tourist businesses” sell to uninformed public, while making a bank with the help of their wallets, insecurities and fear …
– CHOOSE DESTINATION WISELY. For example; as a budget traveler you can live in India & China for $15 a day, S.E. Asia $20, S. America $25, Africa $30, Australia $40, etc.
– CHOOSE DESTINATIONS CLOSE TOGETHER. International flights are expensive! Instead of flying between countries, why not choose an area of the world you would like to visit and cross borders overland. E.g. A one way flight from Ethiopia to Sudan $300 while an overland bus from Ethiopia to Sudan $15
- FLIGHTS: Get a flight to the cheapest destination and cross boarders overland. Don’t buy flights leaving on Friday to Monday or you will pay a premium.
- DONT TAKE TOURS. Tours are designed for speed and comfort. You can’t experience a country sat in a fish bowl. Get out and walk, wonder, explore. It’s free. Jump on a local bus, get a shared taxi, hitch a lift and get lost, meeting people as you go!
- STAY IN BUDGET HOTEL/HOSTEL. Stay where locals stay, you don’t think the average person pays $100 a night in a developing country do you? Alternatively stay at a hostel with like minded travelers.
- CAMPING. Carry a tent and use it when you can, they are tiny, weighing 1.5Kg (ideal for Oz, NZ or Africa). In South America you can sleep in a hammock under the stars at hotels for a couple of dollars
– AVOID PEAK SEASON. Need I say more?
– EAT AT LOCAL RESTAURANTS. Don’t just see the world, taste it too. It’s less than $2 in developing countries.
– DONT PRE-BOOK. Get last minute flights, last minute seat on bus, barter for bed in an empty hotel. The internet is a smart cookie, they know where you are from and charge accordingly. Always turn up & barter. Always be prepared to walk away.
– BARTER. Always barter for everything but remember people must earn a living.
– SHARE ROOM/TRANSPORT. It is the only time in your life when you will meet a traveler one evening and share a room with them the next. Most are on the same wave length and happy to share.
– STAY WITH LOCALS. Hang out with the locals and accept an invitation to stay. This is common in Africa and Asia.
– COUCH SURF. I have never done this but it is becoming popular – look into it.
– HITCH HIKE. Forget western pre-conceptions of Hitch-hiking. I hitched 60% of my way across the African continent, the rest by public transport. It leads to some amazing stories and is socially acceptable in most non-western countries. The locals do it, so why not?
NOTE: Just remember if an average local person in a country can live on $?? a day then why can’t you?
Here’s a couple other great articles on how to save a lot of money While Traveling The World –
And remember, Travel is only as expensive as you make it…