This is one of the main questions that I get asked over and over again. I even ask myself sometimes how did I do it? I still can’t believe I did 15 countries in less than 7 months but it was done. And of course it still very doable. In 2013, I never knew I was going to travel.. really I didn’t. I still pinch myself now thinking of the countries I have visited. I’ve now travelled to 28 countries and I still can’t believe it!! Soooo, how did I manage to travel so much you’re wondering? Well, there isn’t any secret method or anything like that and I am very happy to tell you!!
Sorry to burst your bubble, BUT there was never any sugar daddy involved. I can’t stand uncles – SORRY! I am also the BIGGEST prune! I paid for all my holidays, with my own money and as I’ve always been a big saver. The main rule is to be stingy when you are back home and then enjoy 3/4 times a year when you are on holiday!
Here’s how I travelled to 15 countries in only 7 months…
I vouched that I was going to see the world and that I did. In 2013, I took a big step and decided to do a study exchange. I had a few options to choose from France ( had to be fluent in French, so that was out), America (my dad lives there so didn’t seem the best option at the time) Hong Kong and Singapore.
At first, I actually chose Hong Kong, but then later realised that I wanted to go to Singapore to be closer to my friends. Although, that wasn’t the best reason to go to Singapore, I still don’t regret the decision I made. In that time I lived in Singapore I travelled to more than 15 countries, funded heavily by my savings.
You see as a kid my mother covered me in name brand clothing, so much so that by the time I became a young adult I grew to detest designer clothes. Don’t get me wrong, I will get/wear something nice here and there, but this detest allowed me to not be obsessed with designer and instead save so much money before I went to Singapore, which enabled me to travel so much.
My first stop was Singapore (durrh) and (reaches for the passport) then Indonesia. Indonesia was an extremely cheap trip. I can’t remember the figures exactly, but I do remember it wasn’t expensive for the following reasons…
- We stayed in what was called a ‘shady shake’ basically a wooden house (please see the picture below) , no flights involved (we took a ferry) and lastly, there was no wifi.
This at first was a horrible nightmare, but I plucked up the courage to think out the box and handle 3 days without wifi.
If I remember rightly, the next country I went to was Thailand and Cambodia and these again flying from Singapore where cheap flights. They must have been less than $100 Singaporean dollars, which at the time was like 55 pounds – dirt cheap right? I also stayed in hostels, which were really really cheap. I’m talking 8 pounds a night cheap and these hostels where extremely nice so please don’t judge me! I did a lot of things in both countries and I will save the specific detail for another post!
It was interesting because I was lucky to be in a group of friends that wanted to travel. I was literally going everywhere. I had caught the travel bug – literally. I organised my classes to be only held on Fridays, my advice – don’t do this! Be SMART like my friends and choose subjects that make you have classes during Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. That way you can do long breaks in different countries.
I then went to Australia, which was an expensive holiday. When I think about it, both Australia and Japan were both the only countries I visited that where more than 120 pounds. After that, the flights, bus routes and ferries just kept on coming. It was then Philippines, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, Laos, Saudi Arabia, America, Nigeria and the list just keeps going…
How did I budget…
Budgeting was difficult at first I won’t lie. I was behaving like I was still working and I wasn’t being on a student visa didn’t allow me to work :(. It was so bad that I barely had any control. After 3 months I realised that I wasn’t going anywhere if I didn’t manage my money properly. I started to budget myself to only 50 pounds a day on food, sometimes less depending where I was. I didn’t buy clothes and if I did buy anything I learned the art of haggling.
My tip would be to know what country you are going too. I never knew where I was going because my travelling was so spontaneous and therefore, I lost huge amount of money. For example, I remember when I travelled to Cambodia, who take American dollars for their currency, I then went to Thailand and had to exchange the currency from American dollars to Thai bat. So from Singaporean dollars to American dollars to Thai Bat was a terrible decision that I wouldn’t want any of you to do.
Save money where you can because it does make a difference and if you are good at holding cash do so because this can work to your advantage.
I also was very experimental with food and ate with the locals, this didn’t always go down well in terms of my stomach, but when it did the food was cheap and extremely tasty.
Why don’t I travel full time?
It’s funny you ask. I often sit at work daydream about quitting my job (ok not always) and just traveling the rest of the world, but I remember that I also have other dreams and aspirations. I believe I can still see the world and have a full-time job (I think another blog post in the coming haha).
That’s it really.
Oh Yes. I also jotted down some clear tips on how you can also travel a number of countries in a short space of time.
1. Study Exchange
I speak about this sooo much – a bit too much actually, but this is the MAIN reason why I was able to travel so much! I lived in Singapore for over half a year and was able to get return flights around South-East Asia for less than £100 (sometimes less). Why wouldn’t you move aboard for a semester? You get nice food and if you have a uni like mine you get a discount on your degree! It’s a win win!
If you want to know more about traveling abroad read my post on ‘8 Things you should know before traveling abroad’
I have always been good with my money (except when I am on holiday, which I think is a good excuse). I always have savings and even when I’m traveling and I always live on a budget when I am back home. My rule is to have money in the back, that way you know you aren’t doing anything wrong if you travel, go on holiday or even have a little splash-out. If you can help it don’t live paycheck to paycheck.
3. Stay in Hostels
I’ve stayed in very good hostels in Thailand and I’ve stayed in really horrible hostels in Australia. Every hostel was very different, don’t knock it until you try it! If you are a solo traveler you will have to stay in hostels unless you have endless money of course. Hostels are good if you want to meet new people – so give it a go.
Sorry I couldn’t take pictures of the hostel beds – people where sleeping! I shared a room with 8 people of mixed genders. My advice get flip flops people are dirty!
4. Travel with Work
Oh my gosh guys, I recently (like this week) went to Geneva to a United Nations conference to represent the United Kingdom.
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I hope you got a flavor of how I traveled. Trust me to save your money and you can do anything you want.
Gotta go now, see you sooon.