Spot: No need to spend thousands of dollars for a world tour. One can have a journey around the world by spending only a few hundred dollars. But a good plan is what will make that dream come true. Buket Güler-TEMPO Thanks to free international Internet-based hospitality services and hospitality exchange networks, accommodation is no longer a big financial problem for those who travel internationally. These online services have thousands of members from all around the world who offer to host travelers in their houses. All a traveler needs to do is to sign up for an online hospitality service, join the club, create a profile, choose a destination and a find host who is ready to open his or her door to someone from another country.
Timur Özkan is the Ankara representative of the Istanbul-based Gezginler Kulübü, or Travelers Club. Özkan, who has traveled to more than 100 countries so far, said traveling is fun but travellers should also be careful. Although travel agencies set a certain price for a tour, the price is often doubled during the tour, he said, adding people should re-check on the Internet the hotels they plan to stay at before setting off.
For those who would like to spend some time abroad for the first time, Özkan recommends Italy in Europe, and India or Nepal in Asia. “Italy resembles Turkey in many aspects, but everything is different in the East. People, food, music…Moreover, it is cheaper to go the East than going to Europe,” he said. Travellers can start their journey in Iran and travel through Pakistan, India, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos with a $15-20 daily budget.
One can tour all these countries in two months with the annual amount of money most people spend on cigarettes, said Özkan. Those who smoke a package of cigarettes a day spend $500 on smoking during a year. With that money, one can find accommodation and food for a two-month tour in the region of countries like India and Pakistan. Flight costs are, however, definitely not included in this estimate.
Servas: Switzerland-based community network Servas gathers travelers and hosts from different cultures, religions and ethnicities, and is managed by volunteers who work for world peace. Servas has 180 members from Turkey and a total of 16,000 members from all around the world. A Servas traveler is provided accommodation and guidance services free of charge. One can stay at the house of a Servas host for a maximum of two days. For more information: visit Servas Turkiye.
Couchsurfing: Couchsurfing is a worldwide network for making connections between travelers and the communities they visit. It has 500,000 active members from all around the world. All one needs to do is first to sign up on the Web site, whıch offers accommodation and guidance services, and than create a profile. Thanks to active profiles on the Web site, Conchsurfing members can learn about each other and meet. The Web site has 4,677 Turkish members. For more information visit CouchSurfing.
Hospitality Club: The Hospitality Club also aims to bring people together, hosts and guests, travelers and locals. Thousands of Hospitality Club members help each other when they are traveling. Joining the Web site is free. Members can look at other profiles, send messages and post comments. For more information visit Free Accommodation world wide through Hospitality Exchange - Hospitality Club.
A cheap Europe tour by train
For those who would like to enjoy unlimited travel around Europe without spending huge amounts of money, InterRail, a branch of the Eurorail.Com company, offers a good alternative thanks to its pass ticket system. One can travel in 30 European countries, including Spain, Italy, Belgium and Poland, with the Global Pass, or explore one European country by train with the One Country Pass. A traveler who starts from the Sirkeci Train Station in Istanbul can get off at any spot in all countries for which he or she has obtained a visa beforehand. For further information, please visit TCDD-TÜRKİYE CUMHURİYETİ DEVLET DEMİRYOLLARI, InterRail - Free To explore Europe or Gençtur Anasayfas?.
Hitchhiking on the Net
Although Turkey might not seem like a safe country for hitchhiking, especially considering the murder of Italian artist Pippa Bacca in recent months, hitchhiking is still a cheap way to travel, especially for those who would not say “no” to some adventure. Modern travelers now come together on Internet forums to disprove the claim that traveling with people one does not know is a bad thing. For those who would like to take a tour of Europe by hitchhiking, The worldwide hitchhikers agency: go hitchhike for a cheap or free holiday is one of the Web sites to visit.
Tips for cheap travel
-Taking night trains or buses during a journey can save spending high amounts for hotels when accommodation is a significant financial obstacle.
-Renting a caravan can work if the travel destination is not very far. In this way, a traveler can also have his or her meals in the caravan rather than paying money to restaurants.
-For food shopping, local bazaars or covered markets are cheap alternatives. Products are sold at half their normal price in bazaars, especially in the afternoon.
-Hostels with four to six bed rooms are more economical than hotels. There are numerous Web sites providing free reservations for hostels. Early reservation is always cheaper.
Top 10 chart for holiday destinations abroad
Sharm Al Sheikh (sea-sun-culture)
Mykonos (entertainment-night life)
Central Europe (culture)
Greek islands (sea-sun-entertainment)
New York-Miami-Orlando (culture-entertainment-shopping)
Palma de Mallorca (sea-sun-culture)
The Maldives (honeymoon)