If you have a passion for international travel that exists outside the “tourist” box, the possibilities are endless. You don’t need an excessive budget to travel the world nor do you need to do what is typical when on vacation. There are ways to not only see and experience a country, but a chance to immerse yourself to be a part of a place that is initially foreign to you.
Growing up in the United States has limited myself and fellow Americans from having the convenience of traveling abroad. First off, our country is diverse enough in climates and subcultures to keep domestic travel exciting. Secondly, we only border Canada and Mexico, which leaves little room to understand the extent of our world. And lastly, the thought of any overseas travel is just expensive, especially flights departing from the U.S.
The above are examples that hinder us to break out of our comfort zones and experience what the world has to offer. Traveling should be more than the destination, the photo of the famous landmark, and the overpriced souvenirs that we bring home. It should open our eyes to things we can’t understand by remaining in our comfortable lifestyles.
The following are three ways to explore a variation to the standard vacation:
Backpack: The most affordable way to visit other countries is to break out of the typical style of vacation and do things a little bit differently. An easy way to do that is to get a Lonely Planet book specific to your destination. Lonely Planet is a travel guidebook that offers information on everything that will help you enjoy your experience to the fullest while keeping money in your pocket. Instead of booking a hotel online, look under ‘Accommodations’ and read about some hostels or guesthouses that are much more affordable and a great way to meet other travelers to pick up even more tips. Find some great hole-in-the-wall cafes that offer authentic, cheap and usually the most delicious cuisines. There are even excellent maps to help you navigate the city and all different means of transportation to do so. The greatest way to really get a good feel for a place is to watch the locals, talk to the locals and make friends with the locals. Locals are a great insight to step away from being the tourist and truly experience the culture.
Volunteer: Volunteering in a third world country is an incredible opportunity to learn about a lifestyle we could never imagine by simply reading about. It is a chance to give back to the less fortunate and acquire immense personal growth. There are many online volunteer programs, although some of which are quite expensive. A more affordable way to volunteer is to look into a Lonely Planet book specific to your chosen country.
Work: Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) is one of the largest international industries available to Native English Speakers. Depending on which country you look for work in, the prerequisites will vary. Bachelor’s Degree, TESL Certificate, and teaching experience are a few things you may need to have in some countries, but others you will just need to be a Native English Speaker. Dave’s ESL Cafe is a large international job board that lists work opportunities all over the world. http://www.daveseslcafe.com
The world is a playground full of opportunities you never thought possible. Knowledge is extremely helpful in experiencing the world, but a passion for travel will take you anywhere you desire to go.