Budget Travel Tips when Teaching ESL Abroad

budget-travel-tips

Teaching and Traveling? Here are the Top 5 Budget Travel Tips for You

If you’re an English teacher, I know you’re probably all about traveling the world in style. Here are some budget travel tips to help you do it well. Let’s be real, even with a high-salary ESL teaching job, you’re not going to get rich. You’ll need to travel cheaply!

These budget travel tips are an excerpt from my book, The Wealthy English Teacher: Teach, Travel, and Secure Your Financial Future. Check it out if you need some ESL teacher financial awesome in your life:

English Teachers Love Traveling

Most people go abroad to teach because they want to travel and see the world, eat new food and experience different cultures, languages and people. The first thing that most English teachers want to do when they get a bit of vacation time is take an exotic vacation somewhere out of the country you’re teaching in. After you’ve paid off your debts, filled your emergency fund and begun to invest in the stock market, it really is possible to do this (guilt free). I’ve been to 30+ during my ten years abroad and have done all my trips quite cheaply. Here are my favourite budget travel tips.

Budget Travel Tips #1: Be flexible

I usually know that I want to go somewhere on vacation, but I never really have a specific place in mind, or a specific time period (I get almost twenty weeks of vacation at my job so can go anytime really). I will open up a few tabs on my browser and go to the discount carriers such as Air Asia and Cebu Pacific and see what kind of deals I can find from my city to a few different destinations, using the search over a period of time instead of specific days function. When I find something cheap to a place I want to go to, I book it.

Budget Travel Tips #2: Stay with Friends or Family

When I went to graduate school in Vancouver, Canada, there were many international students and lots of them were from Europe. During my time in Korea, I also met many people from England who have returned home for work or school.

When I wanted to go to Europe, the obvious choice was to contact all these old friends and mention that I was coming. Most of them offered me a place to stay and generously even organized for me to stay at their friend or parent’s houses in different cities. I ended up traveling around Germany, France, England, the Netherlands and Belgium for almost ten weeks and only had to stay in a hotel for four nights during that period. Many of my meals were covered as well as people usually insisted on cooking for me, or taking me out (of course I returned the favor by buying a few groceries and cooking for them or buying a few drinks out).

In the end, I spent far less money than I would have ever thought possible in Europe and came home with a few hundred Euros still in my pocket. If you do not have friends or family members in interesting places, check out Couch Surfing, which is where you can stay with people for free.

Budget Travel Tips #3: Volunteer

Another way to stay cheaply for a long time in a place is to volunteer. While you often have to pay your own way there, you can sometimes find a place where you can get free accommodation and/or food and drinks.

One winter vacation, I volunteered at a cooking school/bar/restaurant/bungalow in Koh Lanta, Thailand for ten weeks, with all the profits supporting an animal shelter on the island. In return for working at the reception desk for forty hours per week, I got free accommodation and food, as well as half price (and many free thanks to the owner and generous tourists who found out I was a volunteer) drinks at the bar, along with meeting plenty of amazing people. It ended up being another extremely cheap vacation and I spent far less than I thought I would have.

During a summer vacation, I worked at a scuba diving shop in South Korea as a divemaster. I got paid a meagre salary that covered my accommodation, and I got a free lunch most days too. It was a fun summer of diving for very little money!

Budget Travel Tips #4: Do Not Book Ahead

When I travel somewhere, I will generally book the first couple nights in a hostel or hotel after I get off the plane because it is quite dangerous to be wandering around in the dark, alone in a new city and looking for a place to stay. After that, it really is much cheaper to find something once you have your boots on the ground because the cheapest stuff is often not advertised on sites like Agoda. This is especially true if you will be arriving in a new place during daylight hours. The same applies for any sort of tours or transportation, which are always a rip-off when booked online from abroad instead of on the ground at your destination.

Budget Travel Tips #5: Choose Only a Few Places

The most expensive way to travel is to always be on the road because you never learn where the best places to eat are, or where the cheapest laundry place is, or where the half price happy hour can be found. When you are always on the move, it can be extremely tiring and when you are in this state, it is so easy to make impulse purchases or break your budget with an expensive taxi ride simply because you are exhausted. Of course, the biggest expense that comes from moving around every couple of days is the transportation costs, which in some countries can end up being the biggest expense of the trip. I recommend staying in a place for at least four or five days to maximize your budget travel.

Budget Travel Tips #6: Food

If your hostel or hotel offers “free” breakfast, make sure you take full advantage of it, especially if it is a delicious buffet. If this is the case, I will eat a lot for breakfast, a small snack for lunch and then a nice dinner later. You can save a lot of money this way. Otherwise, if breakfast is not included in your accommodation, get out of the habit of eating three full meals a day. Just go with street food or a quick snack from a bakery/convenience/grocery store for at least one of the meals, and preferably two. Street food, especially in South-East Asia is really delicious and reasonably healthy.

Need some Financial Awesome in your Life?

If you’re looking to get your financial house in order, then the book you’ll need is The Wealthy English Teacher. There are 10 steps you can follow, including budgeting + frugal living, investing in the stock market, building passive income streams and more. Wherever you’re at in your journey towards financial freedom, this book will help you out.

You can get the book on Amazon in both digital and print formats. The (much cheaper!) digital version can be read on any device by downloading the free Kindle reading app. Smartphone, Tablet, Mac, PC, Kindle will all work.

You can check out The Wealthy English Teacher on Amazon today. Get ready to teach, travel and secure your financial future at the same time:

 

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