I’m writing this in response to few posts I have seen on this site and in response to Cypher Avenue Podcast #53. There seems to be a notion that travelling, domestically and internationally in not affordable. That is not always true, especially if you plan accordingly. A recent TIME article How Black Millennials Are Changing the Face of Travel offered some insight that much to be learned from this.
For starters, obtaining a passport is time consuming and cost some money, so I would recommend starting the passport process early. 65% of Americans do not have a passport. That means even if they had the ability to leave or if they had an all expense paid trip somewhere they wouldn’t be able to immediately get up and go. That’s insane. Contrasting that to Europe, 71% of Europeans have a passport (particularly those in the European Union). That may be a little unfair because Europe is geographically connected. The United States is only connected to Canada and Mexico (which you now need passports to travel to).
Do your Research. There are thousands of cheap locations you can travel to around the world. I always look at exchange rates. It is an awesome driver of affordability. For example, the exchange rate (right now) between the US and Turkey is $1 = $3 Turkish Lira or $1 = $18.51 Mexican Pesos or $1 = $14.15 Argentine Pesos. The dollar goes a long way in Mexico and Argentina and to some extent Turkey. Find a place where the dollar goes a long way. For example, a $100 USD hotel stay in Argentina could land you at a 5 star hotel or if you staying for two weeks could land you in a really nice rental house. Doing your research is essential to international travel. Go to places where your hard earned dollars can take you far. (See South America, See Thailand, See Vietnam).
Often the most expensive part of traveling is securing that round trip plane ticket. There is no getting around this but with proper research and securing a good time of year to travel, this cost can be low as well. Travelling internationally is good when you leave on a Tuesday. Sometimes this is where I begin. Finding a cheap flight determines where I go. Therefore a good start would be searching for flights to locations with a good exchange rates. With that being said, I would look for locations that have robust public transit systems (see Europe) or are extremely walkable and search for locations where security safety are not an issue. The US State Department and the CIA websites both offer travel status report and guidance to Americans. Alerts and Warnings and The World Factbook
Set a budget. If you only can afford to spend $1500 dollars find an area that $1500 can take you far. This is where most people have to make hard choices. Should you go out and have $60 worth of drinks tonight or should you stay home have a beer and call it a night. It is about priorities. But imagine eating a grass-feed steak and drinking perfect Argentine wine in Argentina overlooking mountains versus getting faded in the same gay bar you go to every week and spend $60.
Just some other notes. Travelling in groups can significantly bring down costs for everyone. If you have close friends that could make good travel companions y’all should start early and plan an international trip a year out. That gives everyone plenty of time to get all of their affairs in order.
These are a just a few ideas I have used in the past before I became a professional traveller. And in that unfortunate instances that you get too crazy abroad and get locked up or if shyt goes down, it will be foreign service officers who come to your rescue. So read up on how diplomats change the world. Fill those passports with STAMPS!!