Travel Hacks For The Budget Traveler

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I vaguely remember hearing this quote and this has somehow struck with me. It loosely translates as 'when you are young, you have all the energy in the world and all hopes and aspirations, but what you lack is monetary resources; as you grow older you may have all the resources in the world, but your energy and enthusiasm dwindles down.'

In a way, I do believe it is true. Here I am, a twenty something with a bucketlist that runs into several pages, however, the money in my bank account makes me think before taking that random trip. This post is basically busting the myth that travel is an expensive idea and provides some hacks which not only make your travel cheaper but also enrich your experience.

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1. Join AIESEC :

'AIESEC is a global platform for young people to explore and develop their leadership potential. We are a non-political, independent, not-for-profit organisation run by students and recent graduates of institutions of higher education. Its members are interested in world issues, leadership and management. AIESEC does not discriminate on the basis of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion or national / social origin.' Please check their website here http://www.aiesec.in/about-aiesec/

AIESEC is one of the best things that has happened to me. It is a global youth run organisation which offers exchange programmes. There are a variety of opportunities in God knows how many countries. And there is something for everyone. You get paid internships to non-paid ones; long term - short term; free food, free accommodation; technical internships to marketing internships...everything. No two AIESEC experiences are same. Looking for internship on AIESEC is like finding a job, you choose what suits your requirements the best.

My AIESEC internship was a teaching project to China, across 3 cities with free food, free accommodation and paid travel within China. All I had to pay for was my air tickets.

You can have a special skill like teaching football or a particular language or be not so specially skilled like me you are bound to find something for yourself. A friend of mine got a paid internship to Egypt. All he had to do was go around Egypt taking photographs. the project was called 'For the Love of Egypt'. And guess what all was covered: free food, free accommodation, half of the air fares reimbursed and a cruise in the river Nile. This is like the perfect deal.

So, I highly highly recommend all the youngsters to find an AIESEC Chapter nearby ASAP.

ZOSTELS:

Photo of Beijing, China by Noor

The trend of backpacker's hostels has finally come to India. And who's complaining. Zostels are like the travel hostels we have all seen in the movie Queen. Clean, cheap, centrally located and secure.In addition you get to meet loads of new people waiting to be your friends. Zostel is expanding rapidly by the day. Presently, there are around 20 Zostels in India and one in Nepal.

Currently, Zostel is offering a volunteer Programme where you can be at their front desk. In return they offer you free accommodation. Cool, Isn't it.

Volunteer to Travel :

I have been a huge fan of long trips. I barely plan 2 day trips. Short trips are for tourists, vacations are for travelers. Don't get me wrong here. But how can you capture the essence of a place, visit the offbeat places, do what the locals do in 3 days. You barely have time to rush to all the touristy places. Isliye, I volunteer. This provides you a change to contribute in your own little way during traveling and gives you an immense sense of satisfaction.

Here are few of my favorite volunteer organisations:

Photo of Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India by Noor

SECMOL, Leh : The Students’ Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL) was founded in 1988 by a group of young Ladakhis with the aim to reform the educational system of Ladakh. SECMOL Alternative School which is an eco-friendly campus near Leh, that organises residential activities for Ladakhi youth and students attending college in town.

Volunteers need to pay Rupees 550 for boarding and lodging. Additionally, they offer short term courses on sustainable building. I urge you to check out their website. It offers a tiny insight into their amazing world.

Auroville, Pondicherry :

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Auroville, an 'intentional' township, which sits between rural villages in the Villipuram district of Tamil Nadu, along the scenic Coromandel Coast of southern India, some 150 km south of Chennai (Madras) and about 10 km north of Pondicherry town, capital of Puducherry Union Territory. Intern or volunteer in one of the Auroville farms or study here. This is a perfect place to take initiative.

Missionaries of Charity, Kolkata:

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Volunteering is a very humbling experience. Mother's House especially is a very special place. It is often said one cries twice here: once on their first day and second on the day they leave. There is no minimum duration here. A week, fortnight, a month: anything is acceptable here. All you need as Mother Teresa says is "Hearts to love and Hand to serve." Mass in the mornings is followed by breakfast. A list of affordable accommodations is there on the website.

P.S. Don't forget to carry your journal. It's gonna be a life changing experience.

Diverbo, Spain

Diverbo offers free vacations for English speakers willing to spend a week mingling with foreigners in Spain or Germany to help them practice their language skills. If you’re willing to do a minuscule amount of work on your vacation, companies here will help you get a substantial amount of your travel costs covered. If you are lucky you might even get a stipend or a salary. This trend is off late becoming popular, especially among looking for affordable vacation options.

Couchsurfing

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The concept of Couchsurfing is pretty simple. have an extra bed, give it to a traveler. There are Safety tips and basics available on the website. The Couchsurfing network is growing by leaps and bounds, therefore you too should be a part of the bandwagon.

And lastly, never stop trying. There are several contests and competitions going on various sites. Who knows, when you'll get lucky.

Photograph courtesy: Google

#zostel #secmol #AIESEC #budgettricks #couchsurfing

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