How do you travel without racking up some serious costs? We're taking a leaf from the books of travel bloggers. Let's face it, while they look like they're living the dream, it's because they're probably paid to do it. However, we can still learn something from the tips and tricks they've picked up along the way.
So, here's the inside track on how to travel the world on a budget, since you don't have a sponsorship deal and millions of followers on social media.
Planning for travelling
Planning can be nearly as fun as the trip itself, sadly budgeting rarely is. Change your perspective on budgeting by viewing it as a positive - if done right your budget will be the thing that ensures you can do all the things you want to while you're away.
The planning I put into a five-month trip around India was almost as enjoyable as the trip itself and definitely helped me travel on a budget as well as building the anticipation and excitement ahead of the actual trip.
I managed to travel around India for 147 days at a total cost of £2,300, not including flights, a shade over £15 a day and I didn't feel like I wanted for anything. Prices will have risen since then, but, in India, not by much, if you do your research and utilise local knowledge.
The same principle applies anywhere you go.
To begin with, you need; a vision, some dedication, a plan, the ability to budget and scrimp to save the funds needed for your first trip, the patience to see the bigger picture, and to keep your eyes on the prize.
Use forums to create your budget
To turn the vision into reality, you must cut your spending to build up your savings to fund the trip. Be realistic to enhance the chances of success. Don't cut back too much or you may lose motivation. Budgeting that's too restrictive usually isn't sustainable for long.
Use travel forums, websites and local information sources to set financial funding targets for your trip - then start use these as your savings goals.
Decide where, when and why you want to go. This helps set realistic costs and targets. You can break down budgeting and saving into manageable chunks with deadlines.
It used to be that Lonely Planet or Rough Guides were the source to research potential destinations in detail, to find bargain hotels, restaurants and how to see wonderful sights the cheapest way. These days, a quick Google search will bring up thousands of results, so you can research until your heart's content.
Most destinations have dedicated websites and forums where fellow travellers will answer any questions you have and share problems, local issues and solutions. This enables you to to plan costs in detail and discover current realistic costs, options for different budgets and which hotels, restaurants and businesses to avoid so you can live like a local.
Call direct and clear your cookies
There are ways to keep the costs down on flights and pre-booked accommodation. To get the best price on air fares, try calling the airline rather than booking online.
Flight carriers don't always promote their best deals online. They want to retain control and encourage customers to book the deals they add online. There can be better options if you call them direct.
Another tip is to clear your browsing history. If you search for a flight on a website but don't buy a ticket, then use a different browser or device next time you search again or clear the cookies on your device - otherwise you could be shown a more expensive fare.
Cookies will show the website that you are eager to buy a ticket and usually will only show you the higher-priced options.
Keeping costs down when you're there
When you're ready to go, plan to live like a local to keep costs down and to have an authentic experience where you travel.
You can do this by travelling on local buses and trains. Depending on the destination it can take longer, but it can be more fun and in contrast to driving yourself, you get to see the country you are travelling through.
Research the local travel networks and choose a country that suits your favourite mode of transport. Some countries, like the USA are geared towards driving; others may have better public transport networks. Decide if you want to drive yourself or be a passenger and enjoy the views.
Eating like a local can be a fantastic experience too, though many of the best options don't like to let tourists know about them, so you may have to get some insider local knowledge.
I avoided meat for three months in India but didn't find this difficult because of the huge variety available for vegetarians. Most destinations have their own unique food culture and exploring this can be a highlight.
At most destinations avoid expensive guides, advertised trips and obvious tourist traps. Instead take a day or so to settle into the local area. You'll likely be bombarded by touts and representatives from companies offering what they claim to be the most fantastic experiences. Most of these won't be, so don't rush into accepting and find a trusted local to help you separate the wheat from the chaff.
If you have a very limited time at a destination, do your research in advance both online and on forums to find out the best way to see what you want to see for the best value price.
Package holidays are fine for families, but independent travel is better if you are on your own or travelling with other adults on a budget.
As you travel more, gaining experience, it becomes easier to travel on a budget. You watch what local people do and become better at negotiating costs, living economically and travelling like you would at home.
Remember, how you travel determines what your trip will be like and how much it will cost. Focus on the most important aspect of your trip for you – the destination, food or accommodation – and be willing to make some sacrifices on other costs.
The more you do it, the more of an expert you become, opening up the possibility of even more future travel experiences.