Travelling Economically Can Be Fun and Safe.


Young people graduating from high school or university like to travel for extended period, to learn about other cultures, or to relax, or simply to observe daily life in distant countries. Generally, finances are limited since many parents are either unwilling or unable to support lavishly or not at all.

Yet, there are many ways to travel less expensively, and largely safely, if you take a few basic preventive measures. It is exciting and worrying for young and inexperienced people to face unknowns. In many developed countries, youth hostels offer very inexpensive accommodation, and often, also breakfast or dinner or both at discounted prices. Youth hostel accommodation is simple consisting often of dormitories (some large, others with four beds to a room) and in rare circumstances rooms with private bath for families. One that stands out in mind is the one in Stockholm where families are accepted. It is a decommissioned tall ship moored one of Stockholm’s  quays, very close to downtown.

In Germany, where there are literally thousands of youth hostels, there are curfews (10 p m) and wake up call at 6 am; elsewhere rules are less rigorously enforced.

Staying at youth hostels saves significant amounts and offers many opportunities to meet young like-minded people, and this occasionally results in long lasting friendships.

Youth hostels are mostly clean, and you do not have to worry about bedbugs.

Another way to save money is to buy street food rather than eating in fancy restaurants, or mid-priced establishments or even fast food outlets.

In southeastern Asian countries, street food stalls sell local food that you can witness being prepared. Stay away from prepared salads.

In Japan you can but grilled squid from street vendors, sushi in Thailand, roasted pigeon in Vietnam, and fried silkworms in Burma.

Budget travellers are not always poor. You are likely to meet interesting people who take long vacations to refresh themselves (mentally and physically). I have met young investment bankers, lawyers, and PhD students, even software engineers in a number of hostels.

There are also northeastern European craftsmen who work during summers in their home countries and travel during cold winter months to warm climes in the northern shores of the Mediterranean, or North African countries. Some even venture to Latin America, or South Africa, Australia, or New Zealand, as seasons are reversed. Many of these craftsmen stay in hostels or private houses or in bed and breakfast establishments when they away from home.

Generally, in developing countries and even in many European countries entrance fees to sights are kept low to encourage coals. Often students and retired people get discounts and in the United Kingdom most museums are free, but ask for donations (not always strictly enforced).

In southeastern Asian countries day trips or short excursion prices are much lower than hose that North American travel agents offer in packages.

Some people think budget travel requires a lot of planning. All you have to do is to buy your ticket in your home country, decide which countries you want to visit (cluster them) and go. You will find impromptu offerings and take advantage of them.

Use local transportation in cities, and even intercity travel in developing countries as buses offer an excellent opportunity to save.

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