10 tips for budget travel from the man who’s been to every country in the world

10 tips for budget travel from the man who’s been to every country in the world
Picture: Sean Gallup/Getty

Henrik Jeppesen has taken the Internet by storm with his brilliant nuggets of knowledge on seeing the world.

In April he became the youngest person to have travelled to all 196 countries, and the Danish 28-year-old continues to share his tips and tricks to get out there and see the planet.

With 2017 on the horizon, many people will be dusting off backpacks and heading to the airport, so here are ten tips for cheap travel, from the man who’s explored the world:

1. Use Couch surfing

The first piece of advice is to couchsurf – this is an initiative that sets up travellers with people who have a spare room – or indeed couch, free of charge.

While Henrik has only ever had positive experiences, he recommends checking feedback from other travellers before deciding on a place.

Don't select places with no reviews. The key thing is to plan ahead of time, but sometimes things don't go according to plan.

An alternative, for those more inclined towards a ‘hotel’ experience, is Airbnb. Though not free, they are significantly cheaper than hotels, and will typically respond to you quicker than those on couchsurfing.

2. Low-cost airlines

Book a lot of tickets when low-cost airlines have promotions, and you can get to many countries on a low budget.

In fact, creating an email address just for this purpose is best; this way, you can sign up to a variety of airline newsletters, containing promotions.

The best example is probably Air Asia – where Henrik has purchased plane tickets between Malaysia and Australia for as little as £35, and two pounds for domestic flights in Malaysia.

Keep an eye on promotions from the following airlines: Ryanair, Easyjet, AirArabia, Spirit Airlines, AirAsia, Tiger Airways, Jetstar, JetBlue in the US and Fastjet in Africa.

3. Low-cost buses

There’s no easy way around this – if you want to travel on a shoestring budget, you’ll have to get intimately acquainted with bus interiors.

If you book ahead of time you can get tickets between major American cities for only a dollar. Look for Megabus, Bolthus and Greyhound Express.

Planes and trains might generally be more comfortable, but some bus companies are attempting offset the difference by offering free Wi-Fi and power connectors on board.

4. Travel light

Checking in bags can add an additional £60 to your ticket! Travel with a check-in bag instead.

Wash the clothes where you are staying or buy new clothes while travelling instead of bringing a lot to start with.

5. Have a great idea and start a blog

This tip can be very time-consuming, but if you have a great idea for travel project, the hard work can really pay off. Henrik's idea about visiting every country under 30 made it possible to get sponsorship with more than 100 airlines which made a big difference in being able to visit every country.

You can use your blog to start small - for example getting discounts on hotels with tour operators.

6. Avoid restaurants

Sitting down for a bite to eat at a five-star restaurant is for the holidaymaker, not the traveller on a budget.

In many countries, it's possible to have a proper meal at the supermarket for less than a dollar. It will be boring to do every day, but often locals invite you for dinner so it isn't that hard to do if you travel full-time.

7. Follow actively on Twitter

More and more travel companies are using social media to encourage travellers to use their services.

This means lots of discounts. There are a number of other Twitter accounts you can follow to get the cheapest option for you:

The Points Guy, InsideflyerUK, Million Miles Secrets, Deals We Like, Frugal Travel Guy, Onemileatatime.

8. Hitchhike in safe places

This point requires a caveat: Hitchhiking can be dangerous, and you must ensure your safety before getting into a vehicle with a stranger.

Saying that, Henrik has hitchhiked successfully with more than 1,000 cars around the world without issue.

In the many Caribbean and Pacific Islands, it is normal and easy to get a ride - completely free of charge. That's a great way to save money instead of taking expensive taxis. New Zealand is one of the only Western countries where it is considered normal, and it's a great place to start if you are sceptical about it.

9. Be creative when it comes to visas

Acquiring a visa on the road, as opposed to your home country, is generally the cheapest route.

In Europe, embassies often have a long check list of things like a hard-to-get invitation letter and several other papers to get to visit their country. Instead, you can in many cases get the visa in the neighbouring country in Africa with no requirements.

If you plan on embarking on a tour of Africa, Henrik recommends starting with Morocco: in Rabat, you can "easily" get visas for a number of African countries.

10. Points and miles

Loyalty programmes for Star Alliance and One World tend to provide bonuses.

Even if you do not fly as much, you can still earn a lot of money on online shopping, car rentals and of course hotel stays. Americans should have an eye on the lucrative sign-up bonuses airlines and hotels have for their branded credit cards.

You can follow Henrik's travels on Facebook, Instagram and his blog. He continues to travel a lot and is hoping to visit all the territories of the world.

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