This is a post from my own blog, you can find it here!

We all like to find cheap ways to travel, don’t we?

Many people have asked me how I could afford getting back to Jamaica as fast as I did. I travelled there for a month in November to December last year, where I also visited Fort Lauderdale and New York on the same trip. And I got back to Jamaica by the end of April this year.

The first time I travelled I was more or less financially stable for it. I did loose my job, but here in Norway we get a salary some time after depending on how long we worked for. I got three months of salary, plus a prepayment of my vacation money so I didn’t really need to worry too much about it.
I got home, hustled and bustled to get a new job. And that is not easy when you say you want to travel again within the next months, no one really wants to hire you. The curse of having the wanderlust. However, I was lucky enough to get a job as a substitute in a daycare where I got a decent amount of work, and then bartending during the weekends.

Because I lost my job I also moved back home to my mother. Desirable when you’re 27 years old and used to have your own? Nope. But with my heart and mind set on travelling again I needed to save up some money. And me, mom and my brother get along just fine so there is no problems in living back home at all.

It helped me save up some money, plus I already had some savings I wasn’t sure what to use on, so might as well use them for travelling! This way I could afford the tickets and had somewhat a budget, but I could not have afforded my three months if it wasn’t for how I travelled when I was there.
Now. There are more experienced travellers out and about that I’m sure has heaps of hacks on how to travel cheap worldwide. But I want to share how I make my money go further on my travels!

Somewhere to live.

This is probably the one thing that costs the most, also depending on where you travel. Jamaica can be pretty expensive in comparisation to different Asian countries to draw an example, so here I had to get somewhat creative as I travelled without a plan. As the first time I arrived in Montego Bay I couchsurfed with the same host. Couchsurfing is an excellent way to travel cheap as you practically live for free. However, never look at it as just a free place to stay! Someone opens their home to complete strangers, and gives you a place to stay and trust you in their home. Always show some gratitude, even if it’s cooking dinner, buy food or some beers out on the town or bring a small gift as a token of appreciation. I brought some Norwegian milk chocolate to my host in Fort Lauderdale, and he loved it!

Then there is Airbnb. If you know you’re gonna stay somewhere for a decent amount of time you can look into Airbnb, as many gives a good discount if you’re staying for a month or so. Just contact the host with your request, many are very flexible and helpful.
As I did this time I also asked if there was any help needed in the home (painting, cleaning, gardening, etc.) for a further discount in the price. I got an awesome deal with a cool lady in Kingston and if it wasn’t for her I could not have been around for so long!
Also I have an amazing karma when I am out travelling. This time in Kingston I was contacted by the owner of Reggae Hostel that asked if I could come in and volunteer, and of course I said yes. Then I had a bed and food for five weeks, and worked 24 hours a week. Reggae Hostel is so to say my second home anyways…
There are sites as Worldpackers and Workaway (29$ for one person for a year) where you can find places to volunteer and for cultural exchange, and I usually find relevant groups on Facebook where I ask around.

When I was in Australia I WWOOFed my way up the coast. This was such an awesome way to travel, because I got to be a part of the family I stayed with and take part in whatever is going on. I got to do so many weird things I would never even think about doing if it wasn’t for WWOOFing! I had such a blast and to this day these are memories that make me smile, and I would love to go back!

I love to stay with locals as much as possible when I travel. I want to absorb everything a country has to offer me, and to be with locals is a golden opportunity to do so.
I have met so many amazing people this way, and I come to care about them deeply. Even if I stayed a place for a month, two weeks or several days even… some people just get to you, and I’ve been so lucky to always end up with the right people!

jam_mobay3

Food.

One of the best things (and most important) about travelling to other countries is most def the food! I love food, and always joke around about having a food baby as I imagine I put on a lot of weight when travelling, especially after backpacking in Australia. Our menus at the hostels was often pasta and tuna, maybe even accompanied by some cheese and greens if we felt we could spend some extra money! Haha!

I found Jamaica to be rather cheap when it comes to food. Especially the streetfood, and for me there are no better food as long as it’s done right. But Jamaicans know their cooking, so I never really had any concerns.

When travelling I always try to find those small restaurants and/or kitchens that are kind of hidden from the public, and where you can find mostly locals. Those places where the locals go are bound to have some pretty awesome food for a good price.

jamaicafood

And a keyword to save money on food in the supermarkets are buy local! Local items are so much cheaper, and most times even better, than the big brands we are used to.
For my fruits and veggies I always went to the streetvendors, and most of the times the same ones. Some people try to overcharge because they see a tourist, so I just scoped out the ones giving me the local prices and sticked with them.

Transportation.

There’s usually a cheaper way to get around in most countries you visit than the regular scheduled buses or other transportations. In Jamaica I got around with the public transportations such as the coasterbuses and the routetaxis. It’s a fun way to travel because most locals travel this way, so you can pick up on the language between the conversations going on, even sometimes the conductors would joke around with the passengers giving everyone a good laugh wich always came in handy to lighten up the mood going from a place you thrive to the next one.

I love the transportation in Jamaica, because you can go whenever you feel like it, there’s always a bus ready to go to Port Antonio, Montego Bay or wherever you want to go. You might have to wait a bit for the bus to fill up, but I always use this time to relax and just observe my surroundings and talking to others. However, it can get really crowded and hot. But it’s a part of the charm and when you want to do your share of travelling this is surely the best way to make your money go a long way rather than taking the Knutsford Express. But it’s always nice with a comfortable option as well when you don’t want your intimate space to be violated….

jamaicatransport

Shopping.

Eventhough you’re backpacking and might have a budget to follow, there is nothing wrong with wanting to treat yo’self from time to time. One can get sick of wearing the same clothes over and over, and after a while they will show signs of being used fairly regularly as well, so a new clothing item, shoes or anything else you desire you can find cheap if you know where to go.

In Kingston I always went to Downtown to get my stuff if I wanted to go shopping for something. I found some awesome skirts only costing 100 JMD, cool tops and whatever else for a fairly cheap price. And I don’t lie when I tell you that you can get anything out in the streets in Jamaica. One of my faves was the guy selling razors and advertising this by yelling “Shave yuh pum pum!” Jamaican bluntness for ya….
Everytime someone asked me where I had bought something the answer were more than likely “Oh, somewhere in the streets in Half Way Tree/Downtown” or wherever I had been getting my stuff.

 

So… this is some of my ways to try and make my money go further when travelling! If there’s anyone that has some extra advice feel free to add them as a comment!😀

Published by Therese Normann Orkelbog