This is not a manual for saving money for a long trip. This is not one of those eat at your parents’ place and forget about going to the movies. Nor we have a killer tip on how to find a cheap last minute air plane ticket.
This is a short but proven list of travel tips on how to survive on the road without having to sell your emotionally significant golden chain, write SEO articles or call your parents to western union your ass out of there.
The key to this is in ancient Egypt. Barter economy or exchanging some skills that you probably already have for a warm bed, a forkful of delicious curry or even a motorbike.
This is how we did it. And the only piece of advice that you MUST follow is to be friendly and chatty with your hosts as they will then be more inclined to bargain.
Watch your language
If your reading this your English is good enough to become an editor in Asia. In Asia you can eat a BERGER or a BLT with grilled chicken TITS or sleep in a BRIVATE room. Because of this they are usually unable to respond to praise or negative feedback on booking.com or Facebook. They have badly written menus and horrible venue descriptions.
You don’t need to be E.E. Cummings to write a decent property description. Just look at a couple of great ones online copy and paste and there you got it. We did the same for one Cambodian bungalow resort by pimping their Booking.com and Facebook profile and we got more days for free.
Look for “ugly” ACCOMMODATION
When searching for a place to stay make sure you book somewhere that looks nice but has photos that look like your grandmother took them when she first got a smartphone.
Also you should be looking for a place that has an outdated website, shitty descriptions in broken English or maybe even a couple of bad reviews. This is your opportunity. These people will need your help and they don’t even know it yet. Which leads us to the creative travel tip number two.
Take a shot
You can almost bet that any restaurant in Asia will have delicious food and vomit inducing photos of it. When you see this kind of pics in the menu, you immediately think I could do better than this. So do it!
You need to invest in maybe 2 meals, have a decent smartphone and know the basic of framing. Once you’re happy how the photos look, show them to the whoever you think looks most official, and offer to do the whole menu in exchange for some free food.
We did this with an old 100$ Canon camera and redesigned their menu with basic Photoshop skills and this got us a WHOLE MONTH OF FLAT RATE FOOD AND DRINKS.
If you have some basic video editing skills (or if you have a friend who has and owes you a favour) you can go a step further and make a promo video for your guesthouse owner. This will guarantee you a Martin Scorsese like status and this is something you could even get some money for.
We did this with a good smartphone, a 3$ tripod and a pillow instead of a slider.
Many resorts in Asia probably either don’t have a working website or if they do it looks like something a 1st year programming student in 1995 would do. Don’t say something like: “It’s easy for you you’re a designer”. Cos we’re not! We too had to Google the hell out of it at first and we still do. Here’s a great tutorial on website building that will take you through it step by step. And here‘s what we did.
We did the whole package and got ourselves a sweet deal – free food, accommodation and our very own scooter for the whole time we were in Cambodia. Try with baby steps and believe us you’ll be doing the whole shebang soon.