Tag Archives: NewZealand

Another area where you need money to travel is of course for living. One way or another we all need something to eat every day. And we usually want some money to buy nice things, do fun stuff and to get around once you’re in a new place.

Having dinner with new friends in New Zealand

Having dinner with new friends in New Zealand


As in our previous money to travel posts, there are also many alternatives when it comes to these expenses. It is possible to live on a small budget while you’re on the road. It is even possible to cut your cost of food down to zero which is probably cheaper than it is at home for most of us.

First of all it’s important to remember that no matter where you are, be it at home or out traveling the world, you will still have to cover the cost of living somehow. This is no extra cost that’s connected to you traveling and in that way not really money you need to travel. It is just money you need to live.

The most obvious way to keep the living costs down is of course to travel to low cost countries where your home currencies take you a longer way. And to really keep the expenses low – live like a local.

I remember when I was in my youth and spent 3 weeks in Thailand. This was long before it had become the huge tourist destination it is today. I ate at street food stalls and my cost for food was next to nothing. Then one day I passed a European restaurant and decided to try it for a change. It turned out that the prices were European too and I spent more money on that one meal than I otherwise did for probably a week.

If you come from a wealthier part of the world there’s always a risk that people will try and take advantage of it and charge you more than they would a fellow countryman who knows what things really should cost. Even so it is still possible to cut your food budget down to a level well below the one you have at home. And often it doesn’t bother me that I have to pay a little bit more than the locals since I choose to view it as free contribution and a way for me to share my welfare with them. I kind of prefer to support local business men than just giving to beggars.

But you don’t have to travel to low cost countries to keep your cost of living down, there are ways to live very inexpensively even in western countries.

When we for example traveled North America for 3 months using Network Travel and stayed in people’s homes, we not only had a low cost, or rather no cost, for accommodation but also for food since people wanted us to join them at meal time. We always offered to pay our part but were usually not allowed to. What we often did instead was to buy and cock some of the meals.

Organized network travel like WWOOF is another way to cut food costs. It is part of the whole deal with doing WWOOF-ing. In exchange for your work a number of hours a day you get food and accommodation. We have some friends who lived this way, WWOOF-ing around Europe for almost 5 years. They even become parents during this time and only decided when the kid was a couple of years old to settle down in one place.

So just like we write about in the other blog posts on money to travel, there are ways to keep the cost of living within very reasonable limits. It all comes back to what kind of journey you want. And this is a choice you have when you plan your trip.

Do you want to spend years before you’ll go on that journey to save money so you can have a lazy time spending it all? Or are you willing to travel in a way that keeps your expenses down and makes it possible for you to go much sooner?

Only you know which choice suites you the best.

Our experience is that when we travel in a more economic way, we have more social interaction and a better experience of the local culture and way of living than what we get when we just pay for everything. But then of course what we want out of a journey can be different from time to time.

Only you know what you need and what kind of travel experience you are looking for this time.

We’re homeschoolers. The world is our children’s school. And homeschooling families is a travel network we’ve used several times. But we also have other networks of course.

One time we were traveling to New Zealand and since it was the first time, we didn’t know anyone there. The first thing we did, when starting to plan the trip, was joining some different New Zealand Home Schooling groups on the internet. We told them we were a Swedish family planning to go to NZ and that we were looking for people to meet with and places to stay.

Soon, we had several invitations from these friendly Kiwis to come and visit. They lived all over both islands. From the furthest north to the most southern parts (whatever is north and south down there).

Some people invited us to come and visit for a day, others to stay for a longer time. Since we felt we wanted some “privacy”, as well as a way to transport ourselves around to all these places, we decided to rent a campervan. With our rolling home, we then went from family to family staying on their land, in their garden or yard and we didn’t spend one New Zealand Dollar on campsites or hotels or any other kind of accommodation.

Except having places to stay for free, we got many new friends and play mates, and also the opportunity to learn about both the local area we visited as well as the country in general.

We visited families living in many different surroundings and circumstances. One family had a vineyard where we could learn about the process of making wine (and do some tasting!). Another one lived in a place almost impossible to go to, but with the most amazing nature around. Check out this for example…

On our way to visit some friends through a travel network

On our way to visit some friends through a travel network

Suddenly the road just ended (well, almost)

Suddenly the road just ended (well, almost)

This was not the first, nor the last, time we used a travel network on our journeys. For us, it’s the most fantastic way to travel. It provides you with very cheap places to stay, often totally free. But it also gives you new friends who also can introduce you to this new place and the local customs. Read more about Network Travel here

Also, it’s not uncommon that people we have visited get inspired to travel and decide to come and visit us in return. So, now and then, we get a call or an e-mail saying something like: “We’re planning to go to Sweden, would it be possible to come and visit?” And this gives us the opportunity to give back what they once gave to us: a place to stay (with us or someone we know) and friendship in a foreign country.

So, what’s your travel network?

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