After a 17-hour flight, I was greeted by an immigration officer who inspected every page of my passport then asked, “who is financing your travels?” I was not prepared for such a question so my response was, “I don’t understand the question.” 🙂 This was just one of many encounters where I was forced to discredit the false perception that one must be wealthy or sponsored in order to travel the world. I find myself discussing affordability in travel quite often. In fact, even my friends’ parents have asked if I am a trust fund baby or a recipient of a large inheritance. I must say that I would have seen much more of the world by now if that were the case but contrary to popular beliefs, I am not. My mindset regarding travel and my ability to leverage my resources have allowed me to travel for very little money so I aim to share some tips with you.
In addition to not being an heiress, my trips are not sponsored and I do not have flight benefits (although I would be happy to put someone’s benefits to good use – so call me 🙂 ). I manage to travel economically by tapping into my network and by being flexible regarding accommodation. For example, I was hosted in 19 of the 20 countries that I visited during my 6-month trip across Africa. This made my cost of accommodation lower than that of being at home in Hong Kong. I started where I had contacts and was hosted by friends & family of friends and even random strangers who I now call family. I have always had the mindset that I would be happy to sleep on anyone’s floor but a sofa would be nice. 🙂 Being hosted also enabled me to eat at my host home or at restaurants where locals eat at reduced costs.