Your soul is ready to ride the world but your bank account wants to be different? It happens more often than you think – but don’t despair. Adventure travel doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavor as long as you are willing to compromise (a bit) and plan ahead (a lot). And no, adventure travel on a budget doesn’t mean sleeping in trenches and surviving on pot noodles – it just means a smarter way to travel the world.
1. Set your priorities
What comfort do you need? You can buy a $ 20,000 bike and ride around for a month, or you can buy a $ 5,000 bike and ride around the world for a year. It’s all about the level of luxury you need. Are you in desperate need of a big, comfortable bike, good restaurant meals, and decent hotels? Prepare to spend $ 100 and more a day. Are you satisfied with a smaller, perhaps used, bicycle, a simpler place to stay and occasionally cook for yourself? Your spending could drop to $ 50 or less per day.
Be honest with yourself and manage your expectations. Are you going on a fancy vacation or an adventure trip? These two things don’t have to be mutually exclusive, just consider whether you want to invest in things or in happiness and freedom.
2. Get creative
As mentioned above, compromises are important, but that doesn’t mean you have to sleep under a tarp and eat canned tuna all the time. There are ways to make adventure travel exciting and comfortable without depriving yourself.
• To deceive – Do you miss a stay in a nice hotel? See if you can request a discount or a free stay in exchange for great photos or a website upgrade for the owner, for example.
• DIY – Do you want a good steak for dinner? Instead of indulging in a restaurant meal, buy a nice piece of filet mignon from a local butcher and cook it yourself. This cuts costs a lot, but you still have a fantastic dinner!
• Break – Life on the road can be stressful at times – so plan a little break every now and then. Stay in a peaceful jungle lodge and read up, or grab an AirBnB in a lovely town and go for a drink if that’s your thing. Stopping every now and then and doing things you missed while traveling can be a big boost to morale – and finances, because the slower you travel, the less you spend.
3. Travel slowly
Speaking of decelerating: it is usually wiser to select a country, region or continent and explore it slowly than to race around the world. When you travel slowly, you spend less on gas and accommodation, see more, and have a much deeper experience of the places you travel through.
Adventure travel is not just about riding a motorcycle, it’s also about immersing yourself in the local culture and experiencing the world on a very human level. So hold on to your horses, spend less and see more!
4. Cheat currencies
If your budget is tight, think about where you are going. North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand will be very expensive to travel, so if you can’t already afford it, go to Asia or South America instead (Africa is on the list too, but the sheer paperwork cost – Visa and Carnet de Passage – could be more expensive).
However, if you plan to reach all six continents, see if you can take advantage of currencies. Indulge in good hotels, restaurants, and activities in places like Bolivia, Tajikistan, and Laos, but consider camping and cooking your own food in Norway and Canada as often as possible.
5. Be prepared
We make irrational decisions when we are under stress or compulsion – so plan ahead to avoid this as much as possible.
When you have great riding and camping gear, rather than giving in to bad weather and checking into hotels, go camping. If your bike is well maintained, the less likely you’ll be stuck somewhere and spend a fortune on DHL services to get your parts. Find out about political situations and borders in advance of your trip: Thousands of kilometers detours due to unrest or buying an expensive Carnet de Passage or a guided tour at the last minute can quickly become very expensive. Sure, you can’t be prepared for everything and unexpected things happen – but being aware and having a plan B just in case can save you a lot of headaches and costs.
So what’s the bottom line? Adventure travel is possible for as little as $ 15 a day and as much as … well, I guess there is no limit to how much you can spend if you want and can! The point is, a little creativity, compromise, and slow travel can be big factors in your budget decisions. So do your research, decide where you want to go and what you’re comfortable with, and get going!