Show Me The Money: Stay With A Local To Make Travel Free

Show Me The Money!

Did you know Hanne lived on US$70 for 3 months in India? Hanne loves to combine travel with volunteer work and in the end it pays off usually with free food, accommodation and that great feeling of being something more then just another tourist.

How much money was in your pocket/wallet/bank account when you started on your travel adventure? And how did you decide that was enough to get started?

When I left Norway in 2010, I had around 6500 USD on my bank account that could be used for my travels. I had saved this money up during the years I had been working besides my studies. In the first round, I was leaving for 2 months to New York. I had carefully calculated how much I would need (including flight and accommodation), and what I had was more than enough. I used the rest for my trips around Asia and Africa afterwards.

I never bring cash with me on travels, but I always bring two credit cards. This in case that something happens with one of them. And it has happen, when I was robbed in Bolivia – not only one, but two times actually. So I do not regret bringing two, as just with one I would be in big troubles both times.

What methods do you currently use to make money while you travel (in order of most value)?

During my travels I have earned money by giving English classes. I was also the director of a foundation working with street kids here in Bolivia, and got some income from that. Now I am getting some income on my blog. However, it is still not much.

But I travel home to Norway, minimum one time per year. Then I always work, even if it is just for one month. And the money I earn goes far, due to that everywhere is cheaper than in Norway.

As you've travelled the world and met other travellers, what is the most unusual way you've heard of other people creating an income on the road?

I have met some people that play guitar or other instruments on the road for fund their travels. Or make circus-tricks in front of the cars when they are on red. Or they sell things that they made. I have also met people that work making tours or do translations wherever they go.

How much do you spend (on average) each month?

Flights/Transport: I usually travel slowly, so I do not take flights every month. So this varies from 0 USD to 1000 USD.

Accommodation/Utilities: Usually nothing. Because when I travel I normally stay for free with local people. But let us say 100 USD in case I have to stay at a hotel for a couple of nights.

Food: 100 USD to 500 USD. This depends a lot as well. When I live with local people they usually also invite me the food, so then I do not use too much money on that.

Tours & Entertainment: I usually do not go on tours. I get local people or friends to take me around. But with entry and transportation let us say that I use approximately 50 USD.

Mobile/Communication: 10 USD per month. I do not use the phone too much. Just for make a few local calls, and for connect to Wi-Fi.

Total Outgoing Expenses: Depends a lot. From $160 USD to $1660 USD per month. In India I used 70 USD on 3 months there, due to free accommodation and food. But in Bolivia I use around 500 USD per month (flight not included).

What have been the ways that you've saved the most amount of money? 

To stay with local people, have saved me for a lot of money when I have been out travelling. I often volunteered when I got to a new place, and then accommodation was included. If not friends often welcomed me to stay with them for free. People are so kind and often pay the food and transportation for you as well when you stay with them.

Also to travel slowly have saved me for a lot of expenses as well. As the flight tickets, and hotels are usually the most expensive, and these expenses you do not have. When you live like and with the locals for a longer period, you usually do not spend too much and not more than what the locals do. You can live cheaper and eat cheaper (even cook at home), and buy things cheaper, as you know where you find the most affordable things.

What things have been the biggest waste of money for you? 

The many visa application fees. I have no idea how many thousands of USD I have used for that. And I am Norwegian, and do not need visa to so many countries. Imagine that ones with a passport where they need visa to most countries! Just the visas for Bolivia I have used almost 2000 USD on so far!

What is the best money generation/management tip that you read/heard that impacted your life?

To make the right prioritisation. If you would like to save for a trip, do not spend that money on a new fancy cell phone, or a new pair of expensive pants. You cannot live in a big expensive apartment, or eat outside with your friends many times a week and go out to party every weekend. Skipping these things made me be able to travel. I have a cell-phone that have been used by two people before me. I have always lived in small cheap apartments, and cooked at home. Furthermore, I have always bought clothes on sale. These are all sacrifices and prioritisation I have need to do for be able to travel. But I have never regretted it, as it is proved using your money on travels makes you happier than if you use them on material things.

You can find Hanne Hellvik here -

Website: PlacesPeopleStories

Facebook: PlacesPeopleStories

Twitter: @HellvikHanne

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