I am no globe-trotter. But I have had the privilege to visit a few countries and Kenyan towns that are not my own, without breaking the bank. I’ll share a few tips on how to experience this world hassle-free and especially on a tight budget. #StudentBudgetProblems. I can relate!
I think the most important thing is to have contacts around the world/ around your country. Make friends from different places, diversity is so enriching.
1. Take up part-time work
Travel does not finance itself. There are lots of costs associated with it: transport, accommodation, food, visa fees etc. If you’re lucky, your parents will lovingly finance it. If not, work for it, you’ll be proud.
I have been planning a trip and I have worked a number of different jobs to finance it. I have been a tutor for two different institutions, house-sitter, orientation leader, secretary, business/sales person, all to foot my travel costs. And while my parents will be chipping in, I cannot be prouder of myself for raising most of the funds!
2. Visit countries that don’t require a visa
All passports are not made equal. Some passports are better than others (fortunately or unfortunately). South Africans for example, do not require visas to most of South East Asia, but Kenyans do. I visited Namibia this way. It saves one a lot of trouble and money for visa fees.
3. Skip the flight
Airfare is expensive! If you can take a bus or train, take it. I took a sleep liner to Namibia and I can tell you that it was more comfortable than a plane’s economy class! I got to enjoy the scenery and saved money. It takes much longer and can be physically exhausting, but if you’ve got the time, DO IT!
PS: I will not be taking the bus from Nairobi to Tanzania again though! Unless a luxury liner.
4. Apply for cultural exchange programmes
Most universities offer semester-study-abroad/ exchange programmes that are sponsored. You will often live in university residence or get a host family. Either way, it is cultural immersion and the best way to experience a new place. I was privileged enough to go to Germany for an exchange programme when I was in high school and would advise that (if possible) everyone should have an exchange experience at least once in their lives.
5. Stay with friends
Do you have a friend that is not from your country? Or perhaps from a different town? Go visit them! Most friends will happily host you, feed you and show you around. That’s free accommodation, food and tour guide. That’s some major winning if you ask me! Just remember to take them gifts to show your appreciation and return the favour by inviting them to your home. (I’ve been hosted by a few friends and have hosted a few friends myself.)
Hope this helped give you some ideas on how you can travel without necessarily spending a lot of money. Or at least showed you how I try to do it.
Extra: Visit a travel agent
Travel agencies get a cut from any booking you make through them. But I reckon they are worth going through sometimes. If you are going traveling solo or going to a completely new place and are not sure about safety and other concerns, they can offer great advice and point you to the right places. They often have student discounts too!
Love and Light