Last year that time I was tired, stressed and bored. Now I’m pumped with energy, grateful and full of happiness. What has changed in my life? I set out to explore the world. I decided I wanna go on a spiritual journey, be open to experiences and challenge my comfort-zone by spending as little money as possible. I left my save harbor Lisbon with little more than my small backpack and the plan to travel all countries in the world.
After 170 days, 8.000 km traveled, 14 countries and 60 cities I can tell you: it’s possible to travel with almost no money while enjoying each moment like a billionaire.
Traveling on a small budget makes you open to experiences, ready for anything, alert, ready to fight – FEELING ALIVE.
How to Move Around?
There are many ways to get from place to place: walking, hitchhiking, car pooling, cheap buses or trains. Personally, I prefer hitchhiking. It’s free, fun and you meet amazing people. I’m traveling solo and still I havent’t made a single bad experience while hitchhiking so far. I was invited to dinners, couches and people’s hearts.
I remember one special event. I was hitchhiking at the border of Italy on my way from Trieste to Ljubljana. It was snowing and I was freezing. After only 5 min. of waiting a car stopped and I got inside. It was a young Austrian with a big smile on his face. We started talking and he told me that he was on his way to Vienna, passing through Ljubljana so we became travel buddies. We spent a whole day together visiting the city having a great time. When he left Ljubljana, he invited me to come to Vienna and stay in his place for as long as I wanted. Of course, I accepted! A few weeks later we met again in Vienna and he kept his promise.
Amazing things happen when you’re open for new experiences, coincidences and the people you meet.
Where to Sleep?
The answer depends on the time of the year. It’s easier to find accomodation during the summer. I’ve got a tent with me. So whenever I can I sleep outside. I’ve camped in the mountains, slept on beaches, train stations and airports. Sometimes I couchsurf and I’ve even asked people in the street to host me for a night. It’s funny but people have been friendly and welcoming.
What to Eat?
It has turned out the best option was couchsurfing. I’ve been invited to cook and eat with my hosts all the time. Another thing I’m doing is ask around at supermarkets: they give out perfect food that is about to pass its expiration date for free. You can also eat with your hitchhike drivers. This is happening a lot to me. They are usually really happy if you share your travel stories and invite you for food or drinks in return. Also, I’ve used my blog and social media channels to get food for free. It worked for me in Venice. I asked for a free meal at a restaurant and wrote a nice reference on my blog in return.
How to earn Money while Traveling?
Although it’s possible to travel without any money, it’s definitely easier with a small budget. And it’s totally doable to earn money while you’re traveling. There’s no secret “hack”. Just be open to anything and ready to work. For example, if you know how to play guitar or some musical instrument, you can play in the streets. It’s easy to make money this way in big cities. However, inform yourself whether you need a license. Also, you can ask for jobs at farms. They always need workers. In South Europe it is common for travelers to assist as seasonal workers picking fruits or helping at vineyards. In Central and North Europe it is quite common to work in ski resorts in the mountains.
I’ve done it all. I’ve picked grapes in Spain and olives in Italy.
Is it possible to Travel with no Money?
To answer this question: YES! If you want take a gap year or some time traveling but you don’t do it because of money – think again. It’s possible. Dont be afraid, just start! I started this trip in my city, Lisbon. My plan is to visit all the countries in the world. Only 186 to go 🙂 I walked the Camino de Santiago (the Saint James Way) in the North of Spain, I found a job while I was hitchhiking (I worked at a vineyard, during the harvest season in Rioja, Spain), I hiked the Pyrenees in France, I picked olives in Umbria, Italy and fell into a frozen lake in Slovenia.
I don’t regret a single moment. I am grateful, in peace with myself and the world around me. Traveling changes you.
See you on the road!
Enjoy life and travel more!
Miguel, The European Hitchhiker