Today I have the pleasure of chatting with the internet celebrity superstar Brian Peters from No Debt World Travel. It’s a fitting close to 2009, which has been a very eventful year indeed for Sharing Travel Experiences. I really enjoyed Brian’s perspective on things and I think you will to. Brian certainly lives the travel more lifestyle, and he does it on a dime and penny budget. So, Brian, I had it over to you…
Could we start with an introduction?
I was at my company for 8 1/2 years before they told me that job would merged into another division. I had been thinking for a few years prior about what to do with myself. I was looking for new challenges and the opportunity to leave came at the right time.
I sold my house a year prior to free myself of the burden of a home mortgage. Everything fell into place for me and I truly believe it was my time to go. I had been thinking about traveling long term for a while that I knew I could not waste this opportunity.
I had traveled before that, mostly in group trips. I caught the “bug” from these trips, which included Egypt and Brazil. I wanted to travel solo so that I could go on my own schedule and see what I wanted to see.
Tell us about “No Debt World Travel” – where you’re trying to travel as cheaply as possible? How did it get started?
I had no prior experience with blogging before this trip. I thought it would be a great way to keep in touch with family and friends.
I decided to name the blog No Debt World Travel because I didn’t want to come home with any debt. That is a big fear for most potential travelers and a reason while many want to do this, the vast majority do not.
As I started to do research on my trip and my blog became more popular I started to write more about the logistics of the trip and what I was doing to save money while traveling around the world. I was getting as many questions about that as I would about the food I was eating or what landmark was in my pictures.
When I got home, it was such a great experience meeting new people and sharing the knowledge that I continued to write about not just round the world travel, but travel in general.
Andy’s Note: At the end of the day, it’s all about great experiences, isn’t it?
If you could narrow it down to only five, what are your top five tips for travelling MORE but cheaply? (Besides regularly checking our monthly travel super specials, of course.)
1) Hostels are not the bane of the existence of the traveler. Use them and use them often. Hostels are often a good stepping stone to couchsurfing. Except for the Venetian in Macau for my birthday I stayed in hostels the entire trip.
2) Southeast Asia is your best bet to save money. Warm climate so you don’t need layers of clothing, inexpensive food and accommodations and wonderful friendly people.
3) Heavily use the Internet to compare shop and find the best prices. Use Facebook and Twitter to connect with airlines, hostels/hotels and more importantly fellow travelers. The savvy traveler is making connections online and taking in up to the minute info on how to save significant amounts of money. The Internet can make anyone feel like the best traveler in the world because you can find out about current deals and specials, especially from other travelers.
4) If you have frequent flyer miles use them to lop off as much as you can off the cost of plane travel. You can use overnight trains and buses to both get yourself to the next location and have someplace to sleep at night.
5) Hesitation makes traveling expensive – I had this problem, especially in Europe. Everything is so easily accessible that I would wait until the last minute to decide where to go. I ended up spending more than I
would have on transportation had I booked even a week earlier.
Bonus: Travel slower. That may not be feasible if you have a limited amount of time but the slower your travel (the longer you stay in one city or country) the less you’ll spend.
Andy’s Note: Great tips! We should mention Brian’s very popular book here which is full of cheap travel tips like these. Visit the book website to find out more.
Some people (myself included) would say that some of the best travel experiences are free, and others would point and say that by being too cheap you can miss out on must-see quality experiences. How do you balance the two and what’s your view on this?
Being “cheap” or spending alot makes NO difference in the quality of the trip. It is all up to the individual and what you take away from the experience. You can be in a penthouse overlooking a major city and
be miserable. Someone else can be in the same circumstances and have a magnificent time.
All travelers should just focus on the following:
Whatever amount you decide to spend you should and can enjoy yourself.
You can spend whatever amount you want. How much you spend will not determine the quality of your trip. Only you can determine that.
Personally, I had a budget in my mind and if I stayed on track I allowed the splurges that would make the trip more memorable. For instance I was in hostels the entire time, until I to Macau, where I stayed at the Venetian Hotel. The amount I spent for two days in Macau could pay for a 2-3 months in some of the other places I stayed.
Andy’s Note: WOW. That’s great advice. (I’ve tried to think of a witty remark to add, but have failed.)
What’s been your most inspirational travel experience?
For me seeing Nelson Mandela’s prison cell on Robben Island off of Cape Town was a truly moving experience. I felt inspired being next to the jail cell that physically held this man, but could not break his
spirit or beliefs. The prison cell is perfectly preserved and gives you an insight into the man I may never meet but read about and have seen on television.
Beyond that this round the world trip as whole made me really appreciate many things. I realized that all we REALLY need is a roof over head and food to put in our bellies. I went around for months with my entire life on my back in my backpack. I was fine and most everyone who takes on a RTW trip will be fine and better for the experience.
It made me realize that life is as not bad as we perceive it to be. People have less and get on with their lives, sometimes even happier than those of us in “developed countries”.
What’s next on your travel journey? How long will you be travelling?
Not sure at this point. I’ve been thinking about a return to Japan, Brazil, and Southeast Asia. For a first time visit Australia, India and Namibia. The world is such a wide open place that the possibilities are endless. When I’m ready to take off again I’ll just think about where I would go (but for not for too long), book the ticket and ride!
Andy’s Note: Brian, if you go to Australia, don’t miss Melbourne, one of my favourites! And as they say, you haven’t seen India until you travel India by rail.
To close, I must say Brian, that’s some pretty incredible stuff – from really great cheap travel tips to some brilliant insights on travel more. Thank you so much for joining us this week as we close out the year.
Readers, be sure to take a closer look at Brian’s No Debt World Travel Guide. You can also follow his travels at nodebtworldtravel.com and be sure to friend him up on Twitter.
Disclosure: We receive a commission for sales of Brian’s book to help keep the lights on here at STE. But we wouldn’t recommend it if we didn’t think it was awesome. So the financial relationship doesn’t in any way affect our recommendation.