When we began planning our travels, we searched extensively for website and blogs of fellow travellers and bloggers who have gone before us. Fortunately there are many out there who have shared their experiences and built up lists of resources on their blogs or websites which has been inspiring to us, and made it a whole lot easier to plan our travels.
WEBSITES WORTH JOINING
One of the first things we did was join this cool volunteering website at a cost of around US$40/year for a couple:
This is our profile on the site to give you an idea of what is expected:
The advantage of volunteering is that you exchange 3-5hrs/day of work for a place to stay and at least 1 meal per day, sometimes more. If you work for 5 days, you get 7 days accommodation. We plan to try and volunteer for at least 6 months of each year to keep our travel costs down. Staying in one place for several weeks is the perfect way to connect with a community and learn new cultures, so it is perfect for us.
We have also been active on the Couchsurfing community for several years already, and have hosted over 80 people at our place. We have couchsurfed together in Mauritius, and I have surfed alone in Indonesia, Philippines and Reunion:
This is our Couchsurfing profile:
Couchsurfing also provides one with a place to sleep at no cost, but of course you need to provide your own meals. It is also generally very short term – maybe 2-3 days at most at a host unless you get very lucky. Hosts are generally located in larger towns and cities, and there a few hosts on islands and remote areas it seems. The advantage is that you have an opportunity to get to know your hosts very well, and are instantly immersed into the local culture. We love Couchsurfing, and whenever possible we’ll try to find a host for the first few days in a town.
Of course, when travelling extensively there are times when you are going to have to pay for your accommodation. The advantage of staying in paid accommodation is choice…You choose where you will be staying and for how long. You have privacy in rented accommodation which is often lacking in volunteers dormitories or the lounge of a Couchsurfing host. For couples, privacy every now and then is an absolute necessity. It’s also nice to stay in a more luxurious spot every now and then if you can afford it. We tend to use the following booking sites:
The trick is to check all three sites, as often you get a better last minute deal on one site than on the other two. Sometimes you can get up to 50% discount on accommodation, making the cost almost the same as a dorm room at a backpacker.
If all else fails and you can’t find accommodation within your budget using the above sites, then you may have to stay in a hostel. If we stay in a hostel we prefer booking a private room, which is often almost as pricey as a cheap hotel room, but sometimes options are limited, so then we use:
Another site worth checking out before you travel to specific destinations is:
You’ll find lots of up-to-date advice from other travellers on the community forum which can assist in saving money.
Before you use public transport in a town, check what the current rates are here:
That way you’ll avoid getting ripped off by unscrupulous taxi drivers…
There are simply thousands of travel bloggers out there, but the blogs below are the one’s we have gleaned very valuable tips from thus far:
If that is not enough for you, then check out this gigantic list of travel blogs put together by Joao Leitao. There is a lifetime of research and reading tied up in this single resource, so hats off to him for gathering it all in one place: