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How to travel across the world for under $2000
Home / How to Travel Cheap / How to Travel across the world on less than $2000

How to Travel across the world on less than $2000

Me getting bombarded with food-gifts in Armenia.
Me getting bombarded with food-gifts in Armenia.

Last year I traveled around the world on just $2000. I hitchiked, Village hopped, couchsurfed through more then 20 countries. It took me 12 months and by the end of the year I arrived near where I started.

Before I explain how I did it, let me first thank those who helped me during the year. So to everyone who gave me ideas, rides, housing, food, entertainment, friendship and so much more. If you are reading this, thank you.

I spent 1 year traveling, visited 21 countries, and I did it on less than the average wage that the median American earns in one month (before taxes). How much exactly did I spend? I will never know, but let me give you the blurry details.

I finished my last contract in February 2012 and because of all the stories I had heard from couch surfers, I decided to travel the world. Because of their advice I knew how to save and I knew hitchhiking was safe. (If you want to read about my awesome couchsurfers Click Here ) I was already in Phnom Penh Cambodia so the next natural stop was Bangkok.

In Bangkok I bought the first of my necessities, a backpack. I think for most people, you should expect to pay around $150 for your backpack. I mean a real heavy duty backpack, one that works for all climates and will hold up after at least a year of abuse. Make sure you have clothes to put in the backpack and to travel with later, if you need more clothes you can get them at thrift/second hand stores along the way. That is if people just don’t outright give cloths to you. They did to me.

Backpack $150. Check, where next.

Great backpacks will go anywhere with you. So will great people.
Great backpacks will go anywhere with you. So will great people.

Food in Thailand is cheap, and here is another one of my great strategies. By traveling in lesser developed countries, which I did most of the time, food was always cheap. In Thailand a good meal at a restraint would be $1. While that was good in a culture where everyone eats out, it doesn’t always work like that. To really survive cheaply it is important to find what foods are cheap in each country that you are in. You can do that best by visiting and asking people “what foods are cheap here” ( I am not patronizing you, people just don’t seem to get that this is an option). In Turkey a HUGE watermelon, one of the biggest I’ve ever seen, and defiantly the biggest I’ve carried up a steep hill cost me only 2$. In Armenia, organic goat cheese was 50 cents to the pound. In Transnistria big, thick, juicy, violate grapes and endless pears were rotting off the trees, so of course everyone gave me as many as I could fit into my belly.  In Europe, bell peppers, were only 1$ for a pack of three (all different colors too) – in Europe I had lots of stir fried peppers and rice. In Georgia (the country) I could stuff myself with delicious cheese bread for a dollar and a half. In India all food is cheap, delicious, oily, spicy but cheap cheap cheap. In Bulgaria, HUGE slices of pizza are only 60 cents, and they are good!  My monthly food budget was $100. I almost never went over this, and sometimes stayed way under.

So let’s say last year I spent $1000 on food.

She made us a delicious traditional Netherlands meal.
She made us a delicious traditional Netherlands meal.

Inexpensive food saved me a lot of money. Yes my diet changed in every country. When I could I ate the local fruit when it was in season, as the fruit was always super cheap (or free) then.  But I had another huge bonus to my food cost. People kept giving me food. When they saw me on the street, when they picked me up hitchhiking, when I slept in their homes or visited their buildings, they kept feeding me. I loved it and it did save me a bit of money.

I started hitchhiking around Thailand, exploring the area and then I went to India and did the same. In India, My brother and I traveled through India, to small villages, to big cities, through sand storms and jungles. It was easy to get a ride, but the weather was a killer, it hovered around 45C, 115F for most of the days we were hitchhiking. Lucky after hitchhiking through India in the middle of one of the hottest summers on record it could only get cooler. From Armenia to France I hitchhiked, for 5 months, zigzagging and crossing an entire continent. Hitchhiking was indescribably easy (sometimes the first car on a busy road stopped for me) this saved me money, lots of it. Oh and for you paranoid people, I never had a single bad person pick me up while hitchhiking,  or doing anything else in my trip. My only trouble was with the police in Pennsylvania, USA who refused to accept that Hitchhiking was legal and then drove me to the next county so I could hitch a ride there.

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Hey, I’m Eric, is my travel blog. I write this website to show you how easy it is to live, work and travel all around the world. I’ve been traveling almost 8 years now. I’m just about to publish my new book Where the Wind Blows: Traveling around the World on $5 a day

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  1. Great idea,Eric!l love it!I have never been able to understand people who don’t like traveling. It could be fear, it could be a lack of interest and curiosity, some people think it is a waste of time and money… Too bad! Experience is the best teacher and knowledge is power. When you travel you learn to trust in what you see rather than what you are told.And you learn that possibilities for yourself are endless. A new life and especially the new relationships you built, even if only for a short period of time, reveal opportunities and views you never would have thought of and had otherwise. I am sure your grandmother is proud of you and I believe you are proud of yourself as well. I am positive that you should be the one to spread the word about your wonderful experiences, no matter how unusual they might be. I enjoyed reading your story, thank you for sharing it with all of us!

  2. Hi Eric…. So glad you and Mikey stopped 2 see us ….u guys made the holidays so wonderful for me! good Blog!…..
    Thanks and lots of luv mom

  3. Travel around world is a dream to me. Reading your article is like feeling the enjoyment of traveling. It is a great experience in our life. I wish one day I will be on the road and do the same thing. 🙂

  4. Hey! really nice story! and inspiring too 🙂
    Totally agree on the entertainment part, i dont drink too and not miss it much! but when it comes to activities…or visiting the islands etc…how did u manage to save? is there a secret for that?
    I’m trying to save as much as i can in order to be able to spend a bit on nice activities..
    any suggestions about it?
    Thanks for sharing your amazing stories! even if i would have taken that cargo instead of the plane…really interesting adventure :))

  5. Eric, you should also look arround you 🙂
    What you have done is a very amazing trip, but don’t forget that you did not do something exceptionnaly rare, or impossible or whatever !
    Didn’t we talk about it ? Roxane and me traveled with 1400€ for the year, spending 600€ for plane tickets. So I guess there are people that know how you did 🙂 At least people that did it too !!
    See you sometime somewhere !

  6. Hey Eric… awesome job traveling for so cheap. It shows real dedication and commitment. You remind me of this guy: … have you ever heard of him? You should try to connect with him. You may make great travel partners at some point in life.
    Just wondering… where are you from? Couldn’t find it anywhere on your site.

    • Hey Colleen, thanks for the link, I am sure I would have much to learn from Francis. I am American (USA). Glad you liked my story, if you keep visiting I’ll keep posting different stories from my past and present. 🙂

  7. When someone writes an paragraph he/she retains the thought of a user in his/her mind that how a user can know it.
    Therefore that’s why this paragraph is outstdanding.

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