I’m sure many of us have already been in a difficult financial situation while traveling and this could have happened without expecting it. From sleeping in hostels, partying in bars and traveling with buses, you end up sleeping in bushes, drinking out from liquor stores and hitching around.
Traveling becomes more and more exciting as your budget goes down and that’s how mind-blowing stories are born. Here’s a short list of five exciting payoffs of a low melting budget…
1) You will meet the most amazing people in this world
I often repeat to people how traveling with almost no money creates the best encounters. You meet locals that have the generosity and warm welcoming like you never imagined before.
While you are hitchhiking, you will have the opportunity to meet people that have already been in the same intense situation as you are and understand what it’s all about. You might end up in an incredibly rich house with things you never thought still existed like a washing machine, a shower, and a bed; or diving into the Indian Ocean with a local fisherman looking for crayfish; or who knows, these people that just picked you up hitching might bring you into their local burger house and offer you what they call “the best burger in the world” (which I always agree after my instant noodle diet).
These situations will happen in different circumstances whether you are sitting behind a petrol station brushing your teeth or setting up your tent in back of a container on a cold rainy night. These unique citizens have something usually very helpful to offer from a warm cup of tea to a couch for the night, every single action they take towards you will make you 10 times more thankful to them!
2) You will visit the most picturesque places
Having an empty wallet means you will probably need to avoid most of the famous touristic locations. Your dream of diving into the most beautiful reefs of Australia or taking a helicopter tour over New Zealand mountains and glaciers might have to wait for a bit. This probably seems like bad news for you, but it’s not! There is an undeniable way of coming out of that in a positive manner.
These incredible locals you will meet along your travels will often have a very good knowledge of the area they live in. They will regularly be thrilled to show you their favorite secret spot and that’s great for your traveling experience! You will have the opportunity to see amazing things most of the other fellow travelers have never had the chance to see.
Have you ever thought of hitching a ride on a school bus, and ending up in one of the secret natural hot waterfalls, or getting a boat ride from a local Canadian fishermen to a desert island off the pacific coast where you find out the “paradise beach” you’ve always dreamed of? These are stories that may happen to you too.
You might get lost, even more lost, maybe totally lost, but you’ll maybe end up to one of these fantastic places.
3) You will experience 1062 different types of bedrooms
Without asking any questions, this is definitely one of the aspects you’ll always have to manage even though you are not predicting it. Hotels, hostels, and even campgrounds can be quite expensive and occupy a good part of your budget. The comfort of your bed might become a memory of the past, but that’s something you get used to quite quickly.
There is a whole bunch of tools to help you avoid these pricey accommodations going from free beach showers, barbecues, public toilets to service stations where you can do pretty much all your basic hygiene stuff.
Through months of extraordinary travel, your bedroom might become a hammock hooked between two palm trees on an unbelievably stunning Costa Rican beach, or on top of an Icelandic volcano in a little abandoned shack due to late eruptions (very very exciting…!). This is just a tiny example of what you can expect.
4) You will discover different transportation modes
After a while traveling in this exciting way, hitchhiking will probably have become your favorite way of moving around. It’s probably the most popular way of traveling for people on a low budget when it comes to moving inland. However, you’ll discover that it’s not always possible to hitch depending on where you’re going and what are the different possibilities to get there.
Your imagination will start rolling off and you will develop the wish to travel in a new way.
Using a boat instead of an airplane and discovering what oceans are all about is one of these insane adventures you desire to pull out of your bucket list (but don’t forget your seasickness pills). Train hopping is also a different exciting way of traveling (something I’ve actually never done but it’s part of the things I want to try!). Walking, running, cycling, and longboarding through a country are all other alternatives of reaching your travel objectives that I would consider as even crazier!
My friend even told me once about horse riding across South America! Possible without money? At least you would save fuel costs.
5) You will notice great opportunities coming up to you
Have you ever believed in magic? To be honest with you guys, from my point of view, I didn’t before I started traveling. When you are traveling with the very basic needs, you will get anchored in this unnormal nomadic way of living and develop a balance in your mindset.
You will most likely keep a very ecstatic and positive attitude which will bring all these great opportunities to you.
Two months ago in Taranaki, NZ, an old guy picked me up hitching in the early hours of the morning and we started to talk about beer and brewing (I kind of like beer…this is always my main topic of conversation during mornings!). Believe it or not, he decided to turn around and drop me at the local brewery nearby. I met the owners and got the chance to stay there for free and learn how to brew at the same time… This is what I call a magic moment and it would of probably not happened if I was traveling by bus.
These opportunities can vary enormously from getting a ride on a sailboat to Madagascar, to meeting a local family and working in their coffee farm, to getting the job of your dream without searching for it.
At the end, all of these 5 reasons will blend together and create an unforgettable experience.
– Donavan. This piece was originally appeared on Vagabond Moments.