One of the most common reasons people give for not traveling is the lack of money. However, in most cases, it’s not the lack of money, but rather the fear of the unknown that keeps us from experiencing the wondrous sites of our green and blue marble.
To show how it’s possible to travel on less than 10 dollars a day, redditor and insatiable traveler, Tomislav Perko, took to reddit to answer some of the most burning questions fellow redditors had about what it’s like to travel on a low budget. Here are some highlights of Tom’s AMA.
[redditor] How did you get started?
[Tom] I had a pretty normal life back home – studying, working as a stockbroker, had a steady relationship. But then the financial crisis came, I started at that time to host couchsurfers (over 150 of them), and when I listened their stories, that was it – I had to try it out for myself. At first I traveled around Croatia and Balkans, a bit in Europe, and when I was done with my university, I took my backpack, and went on RTW trip.
[redditor] Where have you gone?
[Tom] Europe (half of the continent), Asia (Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia), Australia, Indian ocean (Christmas Island, Cocos Islands, Mauritius), Africa (RSA, Swaziland, Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya), South America (Peru, Chile, Ecuador)
[redditor] About how long did you stay in each place? How did you decide when it was time to go?
[Tom] From one day to couple of months. the rule is always – leave when you want to leave.
[redditor] Where did you get money to travel?
[Tom] I started with almost no money and worked on the way. I played the guitar on the streets, I had well paid jobs in Australia (for 20$ an hour), I drove a rickshaw, I painted one hotel, I diverted the pedestrians, was a hotel manager, once even a pot dealer (unsuccessful one). I also got some money from my sponsors, since I write about my travels online.
[redditor] How did you obtain the paid jobs like the one in Australia and rickshaw driving? Did you set them up ahead of time, or just meet people who offered them to you?
[Tom] Always randomly. I had no work visa in Australia, so I had to get a cash job, which I did by accident: one guy that picked me up when I was hitchhiking took me to his house, and gave me work. in 13 days working for him I paid off 8 months of traveling prior to that.
[redditor] How did you manage on so little?
[Tom] Its not that hard, there are 3 major expenses when you travel: transport, accommodation, food. you have hitchhiking (free), couchsurfing and camping (free), and there is only food left. you eat supermarket food, but you can also find some work where food is included.
[redditor] If you had 10$ a day. what percent of your money did you spend on what? like, if you had 10$, would you spend 5$ on food, 2$ on transportation, 3$ on something else?
[Tom] 40% went on food and drinks, 20% went on booze and weed, 15% on transportation (I flew and drove in buses/trains couple of times) 15% on accommodation (in some cheaper countries) 10% for the rest (some souvenirs, entrances to some cultural things).
[redditor] How did you get around the language barriers?
[Tom] most of the people around the world speak English, so that helped a lot. in South America I learned Spanish so that helped even more. But generally, body language is sufficient.
[redditor] What is your opinion on going luggage free versus backpacking? Also unusual bit of advice you’d would have for your younger self when you started this travelling thing back then? (Uncommon advice you wish you had )
Tom] I always had a 15kg backpack with me, and I don’t think I would ever travel luggage free. I need some clean clothes, tooth paste, deodorant, etc.
[redditor] What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
[Tom] Don’t follow my footsteps – make your own. The main thing is to set your priorities, and just do what you want to do. traveling the world is not the hardest thing. you have to sacrifice some things like friends, comfort, and adjust to all kind of situations like hunger, cold, etc. If you want to experience it, there is nothing but the decision preventing you to do so. But the main thing is not to spend too much money.
[redditor] Couchsurfing question: How do you find decent hosts? Seems like it would be difficult to trust going to some random people’s homes.
[Tom] Well, I have to tell the truth – lately its been much harder.. usually I send one or two requests, after reading profiles of people I want to surf with. but I hosted 150 people in my house, and I have no problem with trusting people.
[redditor] What did your friends and family think when you proposed your idea? Did they think you were crazy?
[Tom] They still do. First of all, I live in very conservative country, and my family is very traditional. so at the beginning I never had their support. but as time went by (I was sending emails to my mum almost every day!), they kinda grew accustomed to my life style. Now they are happy when I am home.
[redditor] How were you sending emails? Did you have a smart phone or laptop with you, or did you use public computers where ever you could find them?[Tom] I had a mobile phone, and a laptop. wifi can be accessed in most parts of the world, and I never had many issues with that.
[redditor] As a female who would love to try this, would you consider it dangerous considering the potential of encountering dangerous people?[Tom] It would definitely be more dangerous, but I know few girls that travel by themselves. I would probably suggest first traveling with someone, and then see how it goes.
[redditor] How did the trip change who you are/your personality? Views, beliefs etc.[Tom] My prejudices fell just down the drain. I dont trust media, and scary stories people tell – “I heard it from one guy”. I am much more grateful for food, shelter, friends. I believe in kindness of strangers, much more than before. Thus, I am nicer towards strangers myself.
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