A question I’m asked quite often, is how can you afford to travel for months at a time? I could never do that. Well the answer is quite simple, know your options.
Housing- Yes, hotels are expensive, so don’t stay in one. Most hostels in Central America are around $10/night and most of them are clean and quite nice! For an even cheaper housing option, I always bring my ENO hammock with me. Locals will often let you set up your hammock on their land for $3-5. For an even cheaper (free) option I use Couch Surfing.
Food– Most restaurant meals in Central America are between $3-$8. They are vary between $6-20 in Europe and are around $6-15 in America. However, there are ways around all of this. For example, in Central America you can buy a pineapple and a papaya for about $3. Pop out your Leatherman and you have a meal! When I lived in France, I would just stop by a grocery store and buy some sun-dried tomatoes and a baguette and that would be a picnic lunch. Also, hostels usually have kitchens, so a good pasta meal is quite simple and cheap.
Alcohol– Obviously, drinks are more expensive at a bar than if you buy them at the grocery store…well not always. If you go out, the key is to find the right place to go. There is this amazing bar in David, Panama that has $0.75 beer. You can’t beat that anywhere. Otherwise, splitting a bottle of wine with a friend and heading down to the river or beach is kinda unbeatable.
Entertainment– Tours can be expensive wherever you go and to be honest they are usually worth the money. I’ve gone on some amazing zip-lining, horseback riding, and hiking tours. However, if paying for a tour somewhere is out of the option, I recommend making friends with the locals. They will know where to go and can either point you in the right direction or may even be so kind to take you.
Laundry- At some point you really will need to do laundry, but let me let you in on a little secret…you really don’t need to pay for this either. One of my friends, Caz, recently told me about how she just wears her dirty clothes into the shower with her and then just uses a bar of soap while she’s still wearing them! Works like a charm! After you’re done, just hang them up in a tree outside for a free dry cycle.
Anything I missed? Have you had a different experience? I’d love to hear from you. ~B