Live A Nomad Life On A Budget – 10 Tips

You want to live the Nomad Life? You don’t have much money? Don’t worry. I got some tips for you!

With a couple little tricks it has probably never been more easy than today to travel the world on a budget. With this article I want to encourage all Dreamers out there to go for a big trip. Read this article, have a cold shower, get your stuff packed and hit the road! 10 advices, here we go. Number one: 

 

1. Accommodation: Couchsurfing / Warmshowers / BeWelcome

Yes, we do need a place to sleep when we are on our big trip. There are a couple of helpful host communities in the world wide web. I will introduce three of them:

Couchsurfing(CS) was made for travelers who wants to get in contact with local people and to provide a place to stay. One night, two nights or more. I even have met Couchsurfers who told me that they stayed at a Couchsurfing host for a couple of weeks. Without spending a single Cent. In my opinion it’s the greatest Website in the world wide web. Couchsurfing has always been my best fella on a trip. Here are the advantages.

Couches – they come in all shapes and forms on Couchsurfing; not all of them are as pretty as this one // photo by Pixabay.com CC0

1st: You meet locals, you meet their friends, Couchsurfing members tend to be open minded, warm hearted and generous. It’s authentic, no money involved. Sure, in my CouchSurfing career I had 1-2 awkward hosts, but there always will be awkward people in life. Even on the greatest website in the world wide web. (;

2nd: You travel as an adventurer, you take part at the locals’ life, you get exquisite information, underground advices which adventurer dream of. One could call CouchSurfing as a reverse program of a hostel night. If you crash a CS couch you dig deeper in terms of culture, stories, food & underground life.

3rd: It’s an support community. Everybody gives, everybody receives. Often you turn CS host into friends. It’s a great network to make friends, find a place to sleep and make extraordinary experiences.

I like to cook a delicious Pasta for my Couchsurfing hosts – they always appreciate it! // photo by Pixabay.com CC0

But unfortunately there is a downside of Couchsurfing: CS did the transition from a non profit Organisation to a company. So they sell your precious data. Very sad. That’s the price one has to pay if one wants to participate in this network.

Warmshowers is a cyclist community. It works pretty similar like CouchSurfing. The advantages: Warmshowers is not a company, so they won’t sell your data.  Disadvantages of Warmshowers: The network only got 102.000 members. CouchSurfing got more than 10 million members worldwide. Sometime it’s difficult to find a host.

BeWelcome is another host network which got 80.000 members. Same story here. It’s a a non profit Organisation, the whole work is done by volunteers but in the end it lacks members. But by being part of it and being an active member we can change that!

2. Exchange Platforms:  Wwoofing / HelpX / Workaway

The most important things when we are on a trip (in my opinion): A save, cozy place to stay, great people around & delicious, healthy food. To succeed those goals communities as Wwoofing, HelpX or Workaway are a great tool.

Via these networks you can find nice hosts who give you a place to stay. They even give you some food. It is a trade: You work a couple of hours per day (often 4-6 hours) and receive food and accommodation. But what kind of work I have to do?

Everything is possible. Plant trees, help to construct an eco house, work in a garden, paint walls etc. I was involved in a couple of Wwoofing projects. I had mostly great experiences. Why? You meet people with a similar way of living, do creative work with your hands which is appreciated – and on top of it you live without money for that time being in a Wwoofing/HelpX/Workaway project.

3. Hitchhiking / blablacar / local lift community

As I said the most important things are a place to sleep, great people around you, food and some work. But sometimes you want to leave a certain place immediately. The most pragmatic way to swing your body to another place is the good ol’ hitchhiking one man show.

..just be patient, you will get paid for it // photo by Pixabay.com CC0

I am sure: You’ll always find somebody who will stop his/her car and take you for a couple of miles. The question is always: ‘how many minutes/hours I have to wait?’. Most of the time hitchhiking is great but from time to time one may does not feel that social or it’s raining. Then it’s better to take a bus. But this way you won’t get the adrenaline and endorphin flash when a car stops & the driver open the door & says ‘get it. hurry up’.

…in the beginning there is just a backpack and a pair of shoes..

Blablacar: The french lift platform went global and works fine. Good prices, decent alternative in case the bus is too expensive.

Local lift community: In almost each country of the world there is another online lift community. Talk to locals or use google to get more information about the certain country’s lift websites.

4. Making Money While Being On A Trip 

By these introduced networks you’ll be able to spend very little money on your trip. Basically when you make use of these networks almost all the money you spend will be on food. If you stick to Wwoofing, CS and hitchhiking you almost spend no money at all. But it’s always helpful to have some extra bucks on your credit card. You never know what might gonna happen.

The Joker! Save some money in advance, then make your money while moving constantly // photo by Pixabay.com CC0

If you plan to be on one year trip or even longer it would be a wise decision to save ca. 4,000-6,000 Bucks before leaving. This way you will not need to work for money during your big trip. How much money you should save depends on the intensity of using networks like Wwofing, CS etc..

If you want to sleep in hostels and take the bus more often, if you focus on organic, healthy food, then you will spend more money. But I’ve already met people traveling without a single buck(!). How much money you will spend is really up to your adventure lust and your intentions.

keep up the nomad lifestyle by getting an online job // photo by Pixabay.com CC0

One additional advice: If you don’t want to save money right before your trip then just try to get a job online. You could work as a Social media manager, translator, start a travel blog(or any other blog, be creative), start a project etc. I recently started to work as a translator. I like it, with a couple of texts I am able to pay my bills which means pay my food. The great advantages: You can work anywhere where’s WiFi. You get to know nice cafés, get in contact with locals.

Look: My friend Sam made it happen. He works only two hours a day and easily get enough money to keep up his digital nomad lifestyle.

For all creative content producer out there: Patreon is a way to fund your salary. I started a couple of months ago on Patreon and I slowly make progress. With the power of endurance it is still hard but possible to make a living from it!

Another way to make some bucks while you’re on your journey is to sell food, drinks, handmade artwork or come up with another idea. If you know how to play an instrument go for a live gig. If you’re a decent painter/drawer let’s go and create some pictures/cartoons/portraits. A few months ago I came up with the idea to collect plastic trash on the street and transform it into art. That way everybody is better off: Nature will appreciate it, you create art and get some bucks for you trip and the one who buys it will be happy as well.

The most important: Be creative.

5. Food/Alimentation

Bananas. Yes. Bananas are probably the best food you can get while traveling. I literally go bananas on bananas. This fruit is perfect, because your body instantly get fueled with energy(contains easy sugar), it’s a light food and on top of it it’s delicious and cheap to get. If you ever end up being in Ecuador/Colombia/Brasil/India you could eat delicious banana meals in all shapes and flavors.

look at this beauty // photo by Pixabay.com CC0

What’s always worth it is to have a little food storage in your backpack. Fill it with small aliments which could help you out when you are for example stuck on the road while hitchhiking. I have good experiences with peanuts, walnuts and other nuts. Nuts got a lot of fat and have the power to satisfy you with small amounts. Power bars and a piece a chocolate are always a good ally. And let’s do not forget about bananas and other fruits like mangos.

A useful advice: Anywhere you end up being a Nomad it’s always preferable to have your breakfast or lunch at a local market. Market meals are often way cheaper than meals in restaurants. Moreover the market meals are super tasty, the portions also tend to be bigger and the best argument: You eat local food. This way I discovered a lot of traditional meals one sometimes can not order in a restaurant. And the money you save by eating at markets is also decent.

6. How To Act In A Nomad Crisis: Lost & Found

We talked about the basic needs of a nomad: Where to sleep, how to exchange work into food and accommodation, Couchsurfing and how to earn some bucks while you live the nomad life. The nomad life sounds perfect in theory. Like a Dream? But it isn’t always as fragrant as a rose.

As one keeps on moving almost all the time everything’s shifting: The landscapes, your friends, the food, the languages and so on. And as everything changes over and over again you will find yourself in a situation where you can not plan your future at all. You may will feel like a particle fooled and kicked around by the universe.

First, you probably will feel that you are not in control of anything, it feels like losing control. It’s a feeling which a human being in our western culture does not like at all. This can leave you upset and make you feel lost. But after a while I promise you – after you learnt your life lesson – you get back to your inner balance.

…when the crisis is survived. Balance yourself again and keep walking like an … ostrich! // photo by Pixabay.com CC0

7. Connect With Other Nomads

When you are about to start your Nomad Life you may feel a bit lonely due to the fact you lack experience. But I tell you: Connect with other Nomads, exchange experience and help each other. There exist a great Facebook group called ‘NOMADS – a life for alternative travel‘. Join this group and you won’t feel lonely and learn a lot from other Nomads. Don’t fear to go for the trip, better share your experiences with friends and others.

I met Bryan in the coffee region, he invited me to his home, I stayed a couple of days and then we traveled one week together

8. Go Solo

It’s obvious that going alone make you the most independent person possible. You don’t have to make any compromises. You decide where to go, what to do, where and what to eat. For sure it’s hard to go solo if you never have done it before. But again, just another promise I give you: Once you did it you will become your best friend.

And: You are never really alone. If you let things happen and do what you feel to do you will attract similar persons. You never will be alone. Going Solo means that you have the power to be 100% independent and don’t need anybody traveling with you to be happy.

Go Solo does not mean that your are all the time alone

9. Download Google maps & Maps.me

My most used app (by far) is google maps. It helps you a lot by marking all the places you want to go. You get a decent overview of your favorite places. And you can create your travel route.

My route so far

Maps.Me is a good addition to Google maps. It’s great for hiking and bike trips. Even small trails exists and have the potential to save your life (if you get lost in a national park for example).

10. Make No Plans – You Would Regret It

If you make use of the given advices you live a very flexible life. For sure it’s useful to write to Couchsurfing hosts before arriving in that town and download an offline map of the the place you are going to. Moreover: I figured something out, if you plan your next couple days and month and buy bus tickets or flights in advance – it easily takes your freedom. That’s not what we want.

You never know what will happen the next day. May be you find people you want to spend much more time with or fall in love with a village or town or a guy/girl. I for example did a lot of plans at the beginning of my trip and nothing really turned out the way I wanted. I felt like I put myself into a jail, so I stopped making plans. I do much better since I started to make a list of things I want to do and places I want to go – without(!) any time schedule.

What are you waiting for? Get your stuff packed!

I hope that I could encourage you to go for this big trip you dream of. These 10 tips may will help you, but as there is no recipe for the ‘best way to travel’ you have to make your own experiences and adjust your life just the way you want to. Good luck and don’t fear anything!

 


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2 thoughts on “Live A Nomad Life On A Budget – 10 Tips

  1. Sebas

    Hey Leo!
    Great writing , I’m gonna save this for my trip.
    Take good care
    You brother,

    Sebas

    Reply

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