Three Tips for traveling the world for a year under $10,000
** Update May 3rd: Even though we've run out the original budget, we're not going home yet. **
We came, we saw, we blew 10 G's in 7 months.
We failed to travel to all the places we wanted to under $10,000, but we learned that traveling under $10,000 is a completely obtainable objective.
1) Don't try to see the whole world all at once.
That was our first mistake. We planned to go to 17 countries which is a lot of travel expense for buses, trains, airplanes, taxis and old pickup trucks full of chickens.
Slow down - you've got your whole life to travel. Stay in once place for a few months and soak up the culture there.
2) Stick to "cheap" countries
When you're on a tight budget, traveling to Europe, New Zealand, Australia, the States and other "expensive" countries, your dollar doesn't go very far.
To get by on a $10,000 budget in these countries, you've got to cut down to the bare essentials. You'll eat rice and beans everyday, your bed will be a mat on the floor of some stingy apartment shared by 10 other people, and you'll do nothing all day long because whatever it is, it's too expensive.
Go to places like Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Costa Rica. Your dollar will go far in these countries.
Not only will you live "comfortably," but you'll have extra money to go on weekend excursions through the jungle for $30, or go for a one-hour oil massage for $6, or eat at the fanciest restaurant in town for $6.
In fact, if you chose about 4 "cheap countries" to live in for the year, you won't even need the whole $10,000. You could do that under $7,000 easily.
3) Couch Surf - it's way more than just free accommodation
If you don't have a profile set up on CouchSurfing.com yet, create one.
CouchSurfing.com is an online community of travelers who open up their house to you for free.
For example, if you're going to Rome for a week, instead of paying $130 per night for a hotel, you can search the Couch Surfing database for people in Rome who have an "available couch". The search will pull up a plethora of hosts in Rome. You can browse the host profiles with comments from previous surfers to ensure they are good people.
Once you find someone that you want to stay with, you just send them a "Couch Surfing request" and most of the time they get back with you soon.
Couch Surfing not only saves you loads of money on accommodation, but you also learn so much about the culture you're visiting and you get to befriend the locals.
Couch Surfing is the way to travel - whether you're on a budget or not.
Photo by The Consumerist.