If you are looking to travel for cheap, South America is your place! A little cash can get you a long way once you’ve crossed the equator. Take note of these budget travel suggestions to maximize your moola…
By far the cheapest way of getting around South America is the backpacking option. While it may not sound glamorous, truth be told, backpacking is not just for the unbathed hippies. You get out of it what you put into it.
So now that you’ve got your bag packed, before you leave make sure to get a Capital One debit and credit card. This simple banking maneuver will save you a fat stack of cash on your trip as Capital One doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees on their credit cards and they reimburse ATM fees when you pull cash out with your debit card.
It is much more affordable to fly into one of the countries in the northern part of the continent such as Columbia, Ecuador, or Peru. A round trip ticket can be had for $1000 or less depending on your commitment to finding a deal.
You’ve successfully made it to South America. Now what? Let’s start with lodging. Hostels are definitely the way to go. You can get a good bed for the night costing only $5-$10 in most countries. If you plan on staying in one place for a week or longer, speak with the hostel to possibly negotiate a cheaper rate.
Hostels are also a great place to meet other people who are traveling just like you. They will have even more ideas on how to keep costs low, as well as thoughts on what activities to do in the area.
Alright, I won’t keep you waiting. Let’s talk food. There are actually a couple ways to eat for cheap and both are great options. One is to make sure your hostel has a kitchen, go to the market, buy your ingredients, and cook your own food.
The other way is to eat at restaurants that have what is called a “menu” option. These are very cheap, set meals that usually consist of soup, main dish, small dessert, and beverage. Menus are a fantastic way to sample local cuisine while saving money.
I would highly recommend using a combination of the above suggestions for eating. For instance, you eat the free breakfast at your hostel, a menu restaurant for lunch, and you cook your own dinner. You’re now spending less than $10 on food every day.
Finally, we get to transportation. The most economical way to get from city to city is by bus. Prices vary depending on the distance and how nice the bus is. You could easily pay three times as much for a direct bus that serves food, has movies, and the seats recline a bit farther. These are tourist buses.
Your other option is to go local. These buses are a bit more cramped and uncomfortable, but they are by far the cheapest. Plus it’s a great opportunity to practice your Spanish with the locals.
So there it is, the basics for traveling in South America cheaply. It’s not difficult to spend $20 or less per day on food, lodging, and activities to keep you occupied. If you want to travel for cheap while having an amazing experience, South America is calling.