How to travel for less then $100 a month

Unless you plan to sell your organs, or have a sustainable income while travelling, learning to travel cheap is a valuable skill that can help you extend your travel for far longer then you imagined.

The magic keyword here is volunteering. I volunteered in a hostel in South Taiwan for a month, spending less then $70, volunteering 20 hours per week and spending my free time surfing, and hitchhiking my way through Taiwan. See my articles “Top 5 tips for hitchhiking in Taiwan” and “Top 3 hitchhiking experiences in Taiwan“.

As you might imagine, you save allot of money when you don’t have to pay for accommodation. But it doesn’t stop there, as many volunteering jobs come with extra perks. For example, my hostel provided free surfboards, bicycles, all sorts of discounts on food and drinks, and some lunchmoney for every day you volunteer. Read more about volunteering in “Travel cheap, volunteer your way through the world“.

To gain a better understanding of your expected spending, please consider this expense chart from my favourite money tracker, Money Lover.

Screenshot_20170401-122500-01
Generated using money tracking application, Money Lover.

This chart displays spendings from my month of volunteering in Taiwan. After deducting lunchmoney, expenses came down to $67. Here’s a breakdown of my spendings:

  • Food, 86%: – $113
  • Travel, 9%: – $11
  • Medicine, 5%: – $8 

Does this mean volunteering is all you need to do? Of course not. You also need to be quick on your feet and explore your local surroundings to find the best cheap eats and develop a general mindset for sustainable travel.

Final note: If you pride yourself on consuming the most alcohol every night you won’t be able to reproduce these numbers, but there is plenty of room for fun and ample opportunity to apply this style of travel to fit your needs.

 

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Top 3 experiences while hitchhiking in Taiwan

As a follow up to “Top 5 tips for hitchhiking in Taiwan” I will share with you my top 3 favourite experiences while hitchhiking in Taiwan. Allot of things happened while being driven around, and these are just a few of the amazing adventures I had!

  • Being picked up by a millionaire in a sports car, and being driven around the country side to see all his estates. Followed by a lunch at his house, which had a shiny black Lamborghini on the drive way. See this Instagram post.
  • Hitchhiking 130 KM, when the last drivers offers you lunch at his favourite local restaurant, drives you to his friends farm to eat fresh bamboo shoots and chicken eggs, followed by a trip to his other friends garage and fruit farm, to eat various delicious fruits and have a bbq. After all that he drove us to a few sights and let us sleep in a spare room in his house.
  • My travel buddy lost her phone in one of the cars we were in while hitch hiking, luckily the driver added us on Facebook.  He contacted us the next day and asked us to meet him so he could return it. He drove out to meet us and invited us to join him for sea food at a local restaurant.

Had a good experience while hitchhiking? Tell us about it in the comment section below!

Top 5 tips for hitchhiking in Taiwan

The road stretched out, leaving the city, and into the country side. The stores around me were busy, it was around 12 PM that I found my self on the side of the road holding a sign where my hostel owner had written “Kaohsiung” on it in Chinese. A town a 130 KM away, I would get there by hitchhiking, and it took me a mere 4 hours.

Before Taiwan I had never hitchhiked in my life and the very thought of it made my stomach turn. But my fears melted away like snow on a sunny day. Let me tell you why, in my top 5 tips for hitchhiking. These tips will help you make your way around Taiwan, and can be applied to almost every country.

  • Don’t be afraid, some one will take you

The exact words my hostel manager said where “Some one will take you.“, and it’s true. If you follow these tips, then you are guaranteed to get picked up.

  • Pick a spot where cars have room to pull over, or frequently stop

Pick a road that drivers are likely to take when driving to your destination. Do some research, and find it before you head out. Extra points if you find a spot on your selected road near a place where people tend to stop, like parking lots, traffic lights, gas stations or convenience stores.

  • Look like someone you would pick up

Look friendly and smile, would you pick up a grouch? I wouldn’t and neither would you. I sometimes carry my travel guitar just to improve the likeability factor.

  • A sign is not mandatory, but it helps

A sign can be anything, as long as it conveys your message. I generally go for a simple cardboard sign the size of a A3 paper with my destination in the local language. If you don’t know how to write it, ask someone to do it for you.

Bonus tip: Far away destinations can scare of drivers, consider writing just the word “north”, “south”, “west” or “east”.

  • Learn the correct hitchhiking gesture, have patience and be humble

In Taiwan, the general gesture of stretching your arm in front of you, and pointing your thumb upwards, is all you need. Not all cultures recognise this gesture, so research in advance. Now that we have that covered, lets talk about attitude.

Sometimes it’s the first car that passes, other times it takes a while. This is in my opinion the hardest to master while hitchhiking. Learn to accept rejection and keep smiling. On of the best things for me personally, was to hitchhike with a friend, so you can share the rejection. You’ll usually end up laughing it off.

Whats your favorite way to hitchhike? Lets us know in the comment section!

Food entrepreneurs: Dulan, Cape Cafe

Cape Cafe, 959, Taiwan, Taitung County, Donghe Township, Closed at 7 PM.

It’s a sunny day in Dulan, the grass is green, there’s a secluded palm tree on a cliff, and I can hear the sea. My regular spot after surfing, not a bad start of the day. I’m sitting at a wooden table drinking tea with the owner of Cape Cafe, Frederik, who agreed to awnser a few questions about his cafe.

The cafe is located on a cliff looking out on the beach and used to be the private golf course of a successful business man. Founded a year ago, Cape Cafe started with 15 seats, and without any advertising quickly grew to 60 seats. Business could be worse.

Q: Why cooking?

A: Coming from a big family, I was always used to cooking for big groups and decided to settle in Taiwan after traveling the world as a sailing instructor. The food has its origins in Spain, much like myself.

Q: What would you say your specialty is?

A: The main dishes are seafood Paella (prawn, squid, mussels and shells), spaghetti, and the side dishes are seasonal tapas. The bar serves coffee, tea, fruit smoothies and very tasty cakes.

Q: Would you say Cape Cafe has a mission?

A: Cape Cafe’s mission is to be affordable and to make use of fresh local products. For example, herbs such as cilantro, basil and mint are grown in our own garden. We like to be hands on, and all the outdoor furniture is hand made. 

Cleaning the ocean, one flip flop at a time

Marine Debris Beach Clean Up Sat 12:00 UTC+08 · 439, Taichung City, Da’an District, 南莊海堤47 people interested · 33 people going

The rock is slippery, I try and get my hands around the edge and pull my self up. I can see the hot spring around the corner, I’m almost there. That’s when it happened, I broke my flip flop.

As unfortunate as this may be, the timing couldn’t be better as I meet with Andrew Lambie, owner of Subs. A New Zealand based company that organizes beach clean up events and turns recycled plastic that was fished out of the ocean into, you guessed it, flip flops! They aren’t for sale just yet but Andrew decided to give us a sneak peak.

Growing up in New Zealand, Andrew tells me that he noticed that the nature he loved started to get polluted with plastic rubbish. More and more trash appeared on the river shores, and dead animals started to wash ashore tangled in plastic.

Having experience in the flip flop business, Andrew decided to focus on creating awareness for cleaner beaches and turn the fished up plastic into flip flops. The flip flops last longer then their rubber counterpart and are fully recyclable. They’re available in one color, as recycled plastic only comes in black, but the straps come in a variate of colours. 

You can have any color you want, as long as its black Henry Ford

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