Ever since I was a little boy, I was always the oddball. While my friends would spend their vacation playing games and attending camps, I used to do things most kids my age wouldn’t, like exploring the wonders of nature – from the creeks to the forests, and learning to navigate around my tiny little hometown of Abbott, Texas with a population of 321.

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I spent my formative years doing various outdoor activities such as camping, boating, hunting, and of course, fishing, largely because my family was very actively involved in these activities as well. In fact, fishing is one of the things everyone knows here, and they even consider it to be a necessary skill. So much so, that it is criminal not to know how to fish. If you didn’t, you’d be told things like “You ain’t no country boy if you can’t provide no food for yourself!” So it was in this way that I learnt fishing, and safe to say I am still very good at it.

When I used to explore the creeks and woods, the question of there being more of such beautiful places constantly popped up in my mind. I often used to think that there must be more of such wonderfully picturesque places waiting to be explored. And that, folks, I believe, is when the travelling bug bit me.

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This is a picture of the Caddo Lake – one of the most picturesque in all of East Texas and Northwest Louisiana

Among the various questions that I’m asked, there is one that is very frequent – How can you travel so extensively on a strict budget and still enjoy it?

Much to my surprise, people perceive travelling to be an expensive affair, which let me tell you IS NOT. If your idea of traveling involves a travel agent, hotel bookings made directly from the website, or a rental car service, then I’m afraid that THAT IS SIMPLY THE WRONG WAY TO TRAVEL, since it is bound to burn a nice, big hole in your pocket.

If you are one of those who want to get the best out of traveling without spending a fortune (or at least, all of your savings…), read this comprehensive of essential tips and websites that I compiled.

Ditch the hotels, opt for AirBNB

Booking hotel rooms on websites – and on hotwire are now totally passé. Moreover, they won’t give you the real experience of living in the place you’re going to. If you’re looking for some actual experience of living in your travel destination, you should definitely go for bookings on AirBNB. They cost far lesser than a fortune (which you would spend on a very basic hotel room) and are cleaner than many hotels. Believe it or not, I have actually lived in remote places such as villas in Puerto Rico, and on mountains in Ashville, among other places. Not only did they cost less, they were by themselves unforgettable experiences.

 

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Here are some of my favorite AirBNB listings.

Serene Marine Apartment – Fajardo, Puerto Rico

Serenity Bungalow of East Lake – Atlanta, Georgia

Beachfront  House – Kammala, Phuket, Thailand

Private Oasis – New Orleans, Louisiana

Artists Mango House – Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Relaxing French Provincial Condo – Atlanta, Georgia

Get acquainted with SkippedLagged & AirFareWatchDog

Believe it or not, nomads often pay lesser flight charges. If you are one of those who are fuming with jealousy from the frequent bookings made by your family and friends, you should know that even you can do the same thing! Frequent travelers are hooked to sites like AirFareWatchDog and SkippedLagged those Airlines would rather prefer you had no idea about, since they offer very profitable deals for flights all over the world. I have used these sites – particularly SkippedLagged for quite some time now. I book a flight to Seattle, but get off at the Denver stopover – at a very reasonable price. A tip though: If you’re using SkippedLagged, refrain from checking in bags, as they will land only in Seattle; simple bring a carry on and you are ready to go!

Get totally acquainted with MegaBus

In the sense, that you must make it your best friend. Literally. When you cannot afford the return flight back from your travel destination, the awesome deals on MegaBus will come to your rescue. I have actually seen deals on MegaBus that allow you to travel from Atlanta to New Orleans – at $14. And what’s more, I even travelled to DC once – FREE OF COST. Cool, right? What’s more, they also have a very prompt customer service. For instance, if your MegaBus is lagging behind by 2 hours or more, you can opt for a refund with the customer care service, who will do so within a few days, making your trip totally free. Make sure to visit MegaBus and use it liberally.

Forget Renting; Opt for TURO

Rental Car Companies are really a nightmare. Not only do they ask for (at least) a $250-$300 deposit, they add further, very hefty charges to it. Trust me; you’d be well-off without it. TURO, on the other hand, gives any person enormous freedom to rent a car from another person wherever they need it. What’s more, some TURO hosts even deliver the car to the airport or wherever it is that you need. I once rented a Range Rover in Upstate New York for 6 days at $250, and have stuck to TURO ever since. So forget expensive car rentals and check out TURO.

Always Use CouchSurf or a Hostel For Your Stayovers

If meeting new people and gaining new experiences is your thing, then CouchSurf and Hostels are just the thing for you. Moreover, you will often find yourself a stellar host for a much lesser price, or if you’re lucky – no price at all! While these are more popular in Europe, people from the Stateside are taking advantage due to the affordable prices.

You now have the power to travel without spending a fortune. So what are you waiting for? Stop whining about why you can’t travel and just go for your next trip!!!!

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