does travelling have to be a luxury that only the wealthy can afford? On the other hand, should travelling be something that should be done without spending an empty dollar?
Travelling, there’s no denying, can generally be very expensive and unaffordable. After bills, (and FOOD for goodness’ sake!) it can be tough to fund those flights to exotic Russia and classic Paris and stay in hotels when you’re there. (I live in Australia and so the Western side of Russia seems like outer space, but “ahem” I have thoughts of going there)
On the other hand, it is almost a 21st century trend to seek to travel as cheaply as possible, even to attempt to travel without spending a dollar. That is understandable, if you are burning desires to travel but are strapped for cash. However, let’s say that there are non negotiable expenses: travel insurance and, if going overseas, a passport. But taking that out of the equation, can travelling be ‘free’? And if so, does it have to be? Is free really perfect? Is it true that the cheaper, the better? You could save a lot on your travels, even do it dollar-less, (well let’s say low cost to be more realistic) if you take certain steps.
below, some photos of my 2013 travelling adventure in France and Switerland, …
*Back to the discussion.* Examples of relatively low cost ways to travel:
helpx: this is where you help out a host family with house/garden/farm/business etc. work in exchange for food and accommodation. Some families offer every meal, while others may only offer, say, dinner. You might have to pay a certain amount to stay with some families, but generally, helpx offers (economically) free accommodation. More information here: https://www.helpx.net/
Au Pair: baby sitting in exchange for food, accommodation and pocket money.
Cycling and Warm Showers: Warm Showers is basically where people welcome cyclists in their home.
Free camping: in Australia there are some free camping spots.
Travelling jobs: includes being a flight attendant, freelancer and working on a cruise. probably generally the most ‘reliable’ form, but like any job, it takes work, and there is no job security. You cannot serve both God and Money – Jesus Christ
(keep in mind that for those of you who are in Christ: if God wants you to travel, He will provide a way. If God does not want you to travel, He will gear you away from it)
Does travelling have to be ‘free’? Like I was saying before, you can save oodles by taking up cycling and staying with helpx, au pair and/or Warm Showers, but you can also prefer to spend more on accommodation. For example, I am choosing to go on a Top Deck couch tour in Europe next year, where the prices are set and it’s not terribly cheap. I could probably travel a lot cheaper taking the approaches I mentioned before. However, I chose to spend more on a guided tour, as then your accommodation, transport and some of your food had been paid for already.
If you don’t want to pay much for travelling, you need to find another way. Examples: Cycling is relatively economical, but it is physical labour for your body, plus you need to spend money on extra carbs. Helpx and Au pair hosts may offer accommodation and food, but that is in exchange for the work you do for them. So basically if you want to spend minimal money on travelling, you need to spend in another form., be it physical labour (cycling) or helping out your hosts (helpx and Au pair)
But what are the odds that there are no Warm Showers, helpx or Au pair hosts, or free camping spots where you are? You may then want to consider investing in a hostel or a campsite, which costs money. However, if you travel with, say, a coach tour like Contiki or Top Deck, yes it’s more expensive, but you are looked after and your expenses are paid for.
Basically, the price tag attached to travelling can really vary: first of all there’s the non-negotiable travel insurance and passports. However, travelling can be relatively low cost if you are a flight attendent, cyclist, helpx/au pair helper, free campsite camper.
But importantly, if God wants you to travel, He will, like I said before, provide a way, but if He doesn’t, it may be because it’s not what He wills for you to do. But seek God about where in the world He wants to take you; locally, nationally, globally. Ask Him if you should travel at all, and if you should stay with family, host families, friends, campsites, hostels or even hotels.