Traveling around the world is probably not as expensive as most people think. Brian Peters of NoDebtWorldTravel.com has written the book on low cost world travel and he shares some of his experiences and advice in this interview.
Please tell us about your travels so far?
Thanks so much for the opportunity. I know someone will see themselves in my story and hopefully take the plunge.
Before I took off I was a Vice President for an international bank in New York. I was there for 8 1/2 years, until they called me in and said my services were no longer needed. They gave me plenty of lead time so I had time to adjust and make any arrangements.
I wasn’t upset by the decision. In fact I had been thinking about what to do with my life before this. I sold my house the year before ( before the housing market crash thankfully), freeing myself from the weight of a mortgage and instantly making me more mobile. It gave me options.
Everything happened at exactly the right time.
So I took off and hit Hawaii, Japan, Thailand, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Macau, South Africa and Ethiopia. Coming out of Ethiopia I bounced around Western Europe for a month, including Athens, Paris and Amsterdam. Then someone joined me and we hit London, Barcelona and Marrakesh. My final stop was Rome and Vatican City.
Excellent adventures all over the world including:
Before my round the world travels I had done travel group tours, I was lucky in that I had 4 weeks of vacation at my previous position. The extra time allowed me to do 12 day jaunts to Egypt and Ghana and 9 days in Brazil and other international trips. From these extended trips my appreciation for travel grew.
Now I am back in New York, working on releasing my e-book and spreading the world that long term travel is not impossible, especially in the period of a global recession. Where there is a will, there is a way. Easily accessible information allows us to do anything we want to do.
How much did you spend on your round the world tour?
I would say I spent about $8500. That included my round the world air ticket. I spent about $2200 for accommodations during my 4 month tour and $5K for my round the world ticket.
You can get a round the world ticket for much less, it all depends on the locations you select to visit. I’ve seen some as low as $2000US, taxes and fees included. Considering the amount of places I flew to, that RTW ticket was a tremendous bargain. If you look in the travel section of your local newspaper there are 10 day packages to ONE country that cost $3500 easily. In comparison round the world travel is a bargain that people don’t even investigate because they think it is expensive without researching the real numbers.
(There is more cost information in this post on Brian’s blog.)
How Much Can You Save Staying In Hostels? The REAL Numbers
I would have spent less money had I stayed in Southeast Asia longer. Western Europe, Tokyo and Hawaii were expensive, relatively speaking.
What have been the most expensive and least expensive countries you have been to?
Least expensive would have to be Southeast Asia in general. I had a “real” hotel room, not a hostel or guesthouse, for $7US a night in Cambodia. Thailand was $12 for a hostel bed and there are cheaper guest houses in the region.
Most expensive, was anywhere in Western Europe or Tokyo. Hostel beds cost $30US a night. Part of the reason I wrote the book was that I discovered cheaper ways to travel as I was traveling and after I came back home. Going the second time around, my money would stretch much farther.
Please tell us about your No Debt World Travel Ebook?
Glad you asked. The ebook is not just an ebook, but is multimedia project including audio and video files. It’s for the person who is looking to make a change in their lives, who thought that travel was not for them but for the rich and wealthy. The recently laid off who is conscious about money (that describes me). The college grad who does not want to necessarily go straight to the job market. The older folks who have the time now that their kids are grown and out of the house. Basically for ANYONE who is tired of watching the Travel Channel and wants to experience the adventure and rush of travel themselves.
The ebook covers the main things you should know about round the world travel. Round the world plane tickets, personal safety, what to take, in depth on hostels, etc. No one person knows everything so for the bonus material of audio I reached out to fellow bloggers and travel writers and interviewed them on various topics, including but not limited to:
- What exactly to look for in round the world tickets
- Female travelers on traveling solo as a woman and safety concerns
- In depth on Couchsurfing and other inexpensive accommodations
- Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL)
- Making money on the road and being location independent
The videos touch on two topics: buying backpacks and how to select a hostel online. Good solid information to get you started and take the FEAR away.
Do you think publishing ebooks like this is a good way for most people to fund their travels?
I think that e-books are a good way, but should not be the only way. There are multiple avenues to pursue, including affiliate marketing of other products, ESL, etc. That’s why the location independent interview was so important to have in the e-book package. If you decide to stay on the road, you have to eat and put a roof over your head somehow. There are many ways to do things that you may have never thought of.
Can you recommend some effective ways for travelers to earn money?
Teaching English as a second language seems to be a very popular way to get started and there is always a need for it all over the world. The rest of the world sees English as a way to escape harsh economic conditions within their own countries. You’ll be surprised how many people will just approach you in random places to practice their English.
Blogging is great but it takes time for things to ramp up. Internet marketing seems to be the way a lot of people are making money. Other methods include web design, copywriting, real estate management, basically anything that can be done over the Internet is fair game to fund yourself perpetually.
Can you share some secrets or insider tips from your ebook?
One tip: Get a hostel with a kitchen. In expensive cities like New York or Tokyo, this is a critical way to save money. As soon as you get settled in your room, find out where the closest grocery/supermarket is and get the basics for a meal.
Anything mass produced or prepared by someone else is going to cost more. Cook yourself and leave it in the hostel fridge. Hostel kitchens always have pots, pans and utensils.
Never eat in the shadow of a landmark or tourist attraction. You’ll be paying the “tourist tax” without knowing it. I love to find out where the locals eat and spend my money there. The food tastes better, costs less and you’ll get another “authentic” experience.
Have you worked anywhere while you have been traveling?
No, but next time out I might try to work at a hostel. It seems like a great place to work for a few months and meet interesting people every day.
What do you like most and least about being on road?
At times you can feel like you are in perpetual motion. It can feel like you’re just going to the next train stop, bus stop or airport terminal. Things just start to blur together. Next time I would like to travel slower and stay in countries for a month or two at a time. This is also cheaper than barnstorming through country after country. I think this strategy was good for me the first time around since there was so much I wanted to see. The next time I would slow down and try to soak it all in for a while longer.
I like everything else about travel. I love meeting new people, I love TRYING to speak the language, trying new foods. I even like airline food, so I can take pictures of it, good or bad! To me nothing simulates and activates the mind more then stepping into a new country and having everything around you being new to you. It’s a rush.
Do you think you would want to be a perpetual traveler?
I would. There are places that I would like to go back to, like Japan, Thailand and Brazil and new places I haven’t been to yet, like Argentina, Namibia, India and … Canada.
Yes. Canada. Never been.
Do you plan to settle down and have a more stationary life?
At some point. But I still have the travel bug. Still more to see and way more to explore. With that being said, a stationary life could be had in any country.
Do you have a favorite country that you would like to move to?
I thought about Japan. But I really hate cold weather. If I was going to move somewhere for an extended period, it would have to be near the equator. Southeast Asia, Central America or Brazil would be on my radar just for that one reason. Plenty of places to choose from. Warm and inexpensive.
A white Christmas is not a necessity for me. I would love to be on the beach for Christmas Day and New Year’s for a change.
What is your next destination?
Next destination would probably be domestic. I’m an East Coast USA guy who has been to California, but never to Los Angeles or San Francisco. Internationally I’m really interested in revisiting Brazil, particularly Salvador in the state of Bahia. Wonderful people and an easy vibe. Australia too. Met so many Aussies traveling I have to get there now.