If you don’t travel, it’s because you don’t want to, not because you can’t. If you still have any doubts, I hope to solve them with this article. Get ready, it’s gonna be 10 intense minutes!
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Before you think I’m a provoker or simply an idiot, I want to state that this article is aimed to people similar to me: University students and young workers, obviously, I understand that when you have serious responsibilities or a family, traveling is more complicated. I also want to point that NOT EVERYBODY LIKES TRAVELING, or that others just like typical touristic places (which I respect), but this article is also not aimed to them.
So, this article is aimed towards all of those who want to travel and discover the world, but, one way or another they can’t escape from their routine or comfort zone. This is not because you can’t travel, but it’s because you are not really trying it by all your means. But instead of criticizing, I will be constructive and I’m going to explain you different ways of traveling so there is no possible excuse.
What is traveling? Traveling is not just going to Paris or London, it’s also cooperating in a foreign NGO or knowing better the place where you live, if you are looking here for the way to go to a All-included resort in the Caribbean for a few pennies, I’m sorry to tell you that this article is not the right one.
First of all, it is thinking about realistic possible destinations, without losing your dream: If now you don’t have a lot of money but your dream is a cruise in the Caribbean islands (About 2.500€ minimum), better take advantage at the bigger amount of free time you have when you are young discovering cheaper lands like Eastern Europe or the Balkans… and you will go on Cruise once you earn more money working, anyway, those islands won’t change a lot during this time (same as Australia, New Zealand or Japan).
Second and the most important is to organize it yourself, some time ago I wrote a guide to travel cheap that you need to read if you want to save a lot of money traveling (therefore traveling more often), this is the key, don’t continue without reading it (or open it in a new tab for later).
Third and obvious is to learn how to travel, know on which websites you need to search for flights and hotels… I also wrote a guide about that, but for sure you can find thousands more in the Internet.
Well, until now I didn’t write anything that you may haven’t read on any of those thousand viral sites that populate FB, but wait, If I’m known for something it is not for bland and “trendy” articles but for good advices.
The forth and hardest point to face is: YOURSELF
Consciously or unconsciously you are placing many restrictions to yourself related to traveling, I’ve met hundreds of people who want to be like Willy Fog, but they are unable to sleep in a gym with other 30 people, spend some days alone or travel 17 hours by bus. I didn’t travel to 46 countries with my 24 years being demanding, I had shower in spider-crowded toilets, spent 58h on a train, solved awkward situations with police and authorities on my own and much more… but don’t let this discourage you, as everything in this life, you learn from it: there are situations that I lived being 21 that would have scared me forever being 18.
So… What’s your excuse?
Accomodation? Think that a shared room in a hostel or sleeping on a sofa is always better (bed and bug wise) than a tent in the woods, as you problably did in your childhood. Now, it’s even possible to spend the night for free thanks to Couchsurfing!
But, never set the level too low, due to that, sometimes, cheap becomes expensive and also consider the area where you are going to sleep related to your safety (Always read previous guest comments before booking).
Transportation? There is people who have a real bus alergy, but except in the case that you have a physical condition that prevents you from siting for a long time, this is one of the first things you need to overcome, due to the fact that since recent years, bus prices in Europe have become ridicoulously cheap (Barcelona-Paris for 15€ or Bratislava-Riga 25€) thanks to companies like Megabus, Flixbus or Polskibus.
I won’t accept any complain against Ryanair or Wizzair, thanks to them thousands of young people can discover Europe and beyond for almost nothing (Copenhagen g/b 12€, Morocco g/b 20€ or Israel 60€ g/b). Ok, I know it can improve (You can’t sleep due to the in-flight advertisements, little space for legs and small suitcase…). If our parents would have had this opportunity when they were young, when a flight to London was about 300€ there wouldn’t be complains today.
Friends? Not everybody likes traveling, or many can’t do it when we have the time for it, but this has not to be a problem. Of course a trip is always better when you are with the people that makes you happy but you can also enjoy a lot traveling alone (meeting new people on the way) or visiting old friends.
Safety? Unless you crave for a holiday in Somalia or you are attracted by the favelas in Brazil, traveling is safe if you don’t do stupid thinks or, basically, you use your common sense. You can read all my advices in this article. If you think that Ukraine (except Donetsk) or Turkey are very dangerous places, you need to travel more.
And now let’s face the two classical problems: Time and Money
The first thing is time, logically, without time it is impossible to travel, but except the extreme cases it is always possible to organise yourself (again I encourage you to read my travel guide). For example, I study 10h every day and I have a class all Saturday, this way, only on Sunday I have time to escape from routine.
While you are young you have a lot of time, students usually have 3 free months every year of studies, so it is not your main problem.
Money, this is the main reason which stops people from traveling and it is reasonable. If you want to travel the world, you have to set up your goals if travelling is your priority. Of course, if you smoke, you prefer spending money on tobacco and not a trip (moreover, as a doctor, I advise you to quit it). This means to begin control your expenses, for example, saving money from some drinks a couple of nights would let you to save up enough money to pay for one or two nights in a hostel. It is the same with everything. BUT! This doesn’t mean that you need become crazy, always save with common sense.
If you are still reading this and your answer is:
-Yes, traveling is my priority, but I don’t have money, what to do?
Let me cheer you up and offer you several solutions for your situation.
You have a lot of time but little money
This case is the most typical and there one where you have the most opportunities to travel. Instead of spending all the money you have for your holidays for a 7-day trip to an expensive destination, try to travel to a cheaper country, for example, last summer I was traveling 32 days in Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Serbia and Greece for 650€, there is people who spend this money on Interrail in a week, question of tastes.
If you are going on Erasmus it is also very important to plan what do you want to do. I chose Bratislava because it allowed me to study in English and travel a lot and cheap (I travelled to 19 countries that year), spending little money, one month during Erasmus cost me 436€ all included: accommodation, food, trips, parties, alcohol, shopping, etc…. There is people who pays more than this for a dormitory in Italy or France.
But if travelling Europe spending little money and getting to know incredible people is what you want, the best option is to enter an association from students or some youth project. For example, I have been a member of AEGEE (Association des Etats Généraux des Etudiants de l'Europe) for 5 years, and thanks to their Summer University program I could travel to more than 12 countries paying 180€ for 2 weeks every summer with all included (except one meal per day and transfer to the location). Depending on your career, possibly there are similar associations, although traveling with an association is not a tourism, probably you will need to cooperate in different projects, but definitely it is much better than classic tourism. Keep posted to the webpage! Soon I will publish an article about it.
Thanks to the Erasmus+ program there is a possibility to participate in Youth Exchanges. Different organisations from Europe and other counties are searching people for their projects and cover all the expenses, there should not be excuses in this case!
But if you would like to go for a long time, you can do an EVS (European Voluntary Service). Moreover, they pay for your basic needs and you can receive pocket money, but you would need to cooperate and work.
You have little time and money
This case is very popular as well. IT means that you need to limit your travel radius as well not to lose days for transportation. In the best situation let’s say that you have 1-3 days and 200€ (it is understood that in any place of the world you rest at least 1 day a week). With this money you can take a cheap light with some of the Ryanair offers and enjoy a long weekend in a cheap city (for example, I went to Fez in Morocco, 2 days, 2 people for less than this amount, the flight cost 9,99€ one way with a Ryanair offer) or if you want to travel more often you can do it in another way which I’m going to explain using my personal case:
Remember that traveling is not only going away or spending a night out. This year I need to study a competitive exam and I have only Sunday as a day to rest. No problem, I travelled more than 14 Sundays spending less than these 200€ in total. How? The first thing what you need to do is to know your surroundings better, unless you live in a place completely isolated from the rest of the world, being from Europe makes you being surrounded by natural and tourist attractions that foreigners a lot to visit. For example, I’m from Zaragoza, Spain, I went to a tourist information centre and read information leaflets and TripAdvisor to create an interactive map of Aragon, which in a moment allows you to see the number of interesting places which exist in less than 2h way from Zaragoza. The second thing which you need to do is to fill in your car fully with other people. In this way you are going to pay only about 6€ for gasoline. Also, prepare a sandwich to take with you at home. All of this will ensure that a full excursion day for you will cost less than 10€! Due to privacy I’m not going to post all the photos of my trips but you can see the examples of various of my tours seeing incredible places as Tower of Joy of GoT (Castillo de Zafra), Huesca, Tarazona and the zone of Moncayo, Alquezar, el Camí de Montfalcó or spending day in the ruins of Belchite and swimming in natural pools.
If your friends are not eager to travel, try to contact foreigners and offer them a place in your car. I understand that the Monegros desert may seem boing to locals but for an English or German person who lives surrounded by green nature it is going to be interesting!
You have almost no time and no money
Let’s put us in a situation where you don’t have more than 20-30€ and only one day to rest per week. OK! First of all, I want to tell you that traveling is not instantaneous, sometimes in order to make the trip you want, you have to wait and save for some time, in which you may find yourself right now. In this case the solution can be to organise a one-day trip as I have mentioned in the previous example (for example, in my case, full day in Huesca for 15€) or getting to know your city better, and, yes, you are going to tell me that this is not traveling!
To a certain extent it is if you are escaping from your daily routine, in this way you are going to discover totally different things which you don’t see in your everyday life. Returning to my personal example in Zaragoza, using public transport and walking around half an hour you can see so different things like Galachos de Juslibol, graffiti from Asalto festival or enjoy the sunset in desert in the ruins of Santa Barbara church. If you add a bike to all of this the possibilities are even bigger. Another example for you to see that you can do cool stuff if you are not Spanish. In Bratislava you can see the old Iron Curtain border with its respective bunkers or enjoy a sunset in Devin castle getting there by using only public transport.
Definitely, there are so many possibilities but what is the most difficult is to change your way of thinking about traveling, but… once you find out your preferred method, nothing will stop you!
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