Have you said, for one reason or another, that you can’t travel? I’m guessing your number one excuse is money or that you don’t speak the language. Well, in this post I’m debunking myths of why you can’t travel to foreign countries. If you really want to know the truth: you can travel the world, just like I do. Most of my foreign adventures only cost a few hundred dollars.
Myth: Paris is the only place to see
Pick destinations that are not as touristy. You can find some great undiscovered places just by going away from the tourist areas or the more developed areas. Laos and Cambodia would be two of the cheapest places I have traveled to and they have some of the coolest things to see. Angkor Wat is pretty touristy but not quite as busy as some U.S. landmarks. In Laos I went to 4,000 Islands and saw some really amazing waterfalls and dolphins. It was a great place to chill out and disconnect from the world as there were no cars and Wi-Fi only “sometimes”.
Myth: I need to know the language
If you want to know more than just a couple key phrases, there are programs to learn another language in three months! Really? Yes, it’s true! These courses are designed for everyone and they work. If all else fails, English is the language spoken almost everywhere in the world. Smile and try your best, that’s all you can really do. Also, don’t be above charades, Pictionary, or saying every word you can think of for that one word they need to understand. I’ve done all of those things!
Myth: Airfare is expensive
If you think you can never afford the plane ticket, how about using airline miles? You don’t have enough miles, no problem! How do you feel about credit cards? There are several cards that offer initial sign on bonuses if you meet the minimum spend. Here’s an example of a card where you can get 40,000 miles in three months (limited time offer). 40,000 miles is one way to Asia or Africa for the price of taxes and fees — that’s almost nothing! Also consider traveling off-peak. Airfares can be half the price to a destination when the weather is a little colder or when school’s in session.
Myth: Foreign hotels run $100-$200 per night
If you have the language worries under control and your airfare booked, you start to worry that you can’t afford nice hotels. For me, I usually go somewhere when I am invited by a friend, then I have a free place to stay. If I don’t have a free place to stay, or as one does, they start planning other places to see from their original destination, I check out CouchSurfing.com. It’s not as good as it used to be but you can still connect with some really amazing people and stay on their couches or spare beds for free (although a thank you gift is a nice gesture). I enjoy Couchsurfing because I like to see destinations through the eyes of the locals and I like to meet new people. It’s not about the free couch so much as the shared experience, the connection and community you build, especially when you travel as a female alone.
Couchsurfing is a global community of 7 million people in more than 100,000 cities who share their life, their world, their journey. Couchsurfing connects travelers with a global network of people willing to share in profound and meaningful ways, making travel a truly social experience.
When I’m not Couchsurfing, I’ll check out hostels or other accommodations on Trip Advisor, AirBnB, Booking.com or Agoda. They usually have some really great options. Again, with AirBnB, you get to stay with locals. You can also check out what VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner) has to offer, they are similar but most of the time the host isn’t in residence. In Asian countries you can find hotels starting at about $7 a night. Heck, for about $40 a night I stayed in a super awesome boutique hotel in Cambodia, pictured below. And, because I stayed with two other friends the cost was split! You can’t beat that!