Is it possible to travel the world on $10 a day? We asked The Broke Backpacker

Will Hatton has been traveling to far-flung lands on an extreme budget for nearly a decade. We asked Hatton how he travels so cheaply, and he shared his top 10 tips. Keep reading to learn how to have an unforgettable experience while traveling the world on $10 a day.

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Janaína

Apr 20, 2020

7min

ultra cheap travel

Meet 'The Broke Backpacker', also known as 29-year old Will Hatton, who has been traveling the world for nine years on a budget of around $10-$15 a day.

Passionate about all things travel and adventure, Will began his journey with a simple desire to explore the world. With little income at the time, he had to work out how to travel as cheaply and economically as possible.

Since then, he has started a number of online ventures and aims to teach others how to ditch their desks, hit the road, and achieve real freedom by earning money online.

Who Is The Broke Backpacker?

Since beginning his journey in 2008, Will has traveled to over 70 countries, discovering every hidden gem and local secret that each destination has to offer.

Will's travel stories are endless. Launched after living in India for a year, sleeping in caves in the Rastafarian Bedouins, working in bars in Vietnam, Will's blog offers insight into his exhilarating travel lifestyle.

However, one particular adventure that changed Will's life forever was his journey from the UK to Papua New Guinea in 2015. His aim was to travel without the use of flights, instead hitchhiking his way across Europe. After sleeping in the caves of Cappadocia, Turkey, Will made his way to Iran, where he met his wife, Nina.

Will revealed that falling in love with Nina was an unexpected development of his travels that changed the objective of his trip massively. Nina's Iranian passport made it extremely difficult for her to get into certain countries. Their combined bank balance of less than $1000 also made it extremely difficult for them to live sustainably.

Will decided to pour his heart into 'The Broke Backpacker' in hopes he'd scale his business to a point where it could sustain the travels of two people. After two years spent in Thailand working on his blog, Will reached a point where he was earning more in his life than he ever had before.

Currently, Will is living in Iran with his wife. Despite gaining a significant income, the couple choose to live a basic lifestyle while traveling to stay 'grounded' and 'humble.'

How much did Will spend in the past?

Having traveled all over the world, Hatton admits that prices and living standards vary greatly. While his travels in Europe were significantly more expensive, one of Hatton's biggest budget accomplishments was when he backpacked through Southeast Asia for almost a year on about $3,500 — roughly $10 a day.

He landed in Bangkok, Thailand with $3,500, and then went on to spend one month in Thailand, two months in Laos, two months in Vietnam, three months in Cambodia, two more weeks in Thailand, one month in Malaysia, and one month in Myanmar.

Unbelievably, Will left with about $100 in his wallet — and some of the best travel stories out there. While this level of austerity is not for everyone, Will's spirit and philosophy are still amazing and we wanted to share it with you. We asked Hatton how he traveled Asia so cheaply, and he shared his top tips.

Without further ado, here are Will's 10 ways to travel on $10 a day.

Will's top budget travel tips

Tip 1: Be a voluntourist and do a work exchange

Tip 2: Stay in cheap places for longer

Tip 3: Visit countries not everyone is going to

Tip 4: Eat street food

Tip 5: Haggling

Tip 6: Make friends

Tip 7: Couchsurf

Tip 8: Hitchhike

Tip 9: Pick up the odd-job

Tip 10: Do your research!

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Tip 1: Be a voluntourist and do a work exchange

Work exchanges are becoming a very popular way to travel these days. They're fun, immersive, and, crucially, often provide more gratification than a typical vacation.

Along his travels, Hatton used Worldpackers to work on a couple farms in exchange for accommodation and food. In Laos, Will recounts how he helped an organic farm and then helped a local family harvest rice so that they would allow him to sleep there and he could pay for his food.

Worldpackers is one of the best websites that travelers can use to connect with volunteer programs. It is a relative newcomer to the industry, at least compared to other sites, yet is already gaining a massive following.

As well as being an extremely cheap form of traveling, Will believes that experiences as a voluntourist are so much more authentic than traditional tourism options.

Tip 2: Stay in cheap places for longer

Hatton revealed that one of the best ways to travel cheaply is by spending more time in cheap places. According to him, pretty much all of Southeast Asia is relatively budget-friendly. 

But certain countries are cheaper than others. By staying in countries such as Cambodia, Myanmar, and Indonesia, Will found that his money stretched much further, and so he could stay for longer.

Additionally, Will recommends that by cutting out any rush of travel, and walking places instead of getting taxis, then a lot of money can be saved over an extended period of time.

Tip 3: Visit countries not everyone is going to

According to Hatton, the best way to travel cheaply is to get off the beaten track. With so many backpackers following the same route pattern, certain well-known spots become overpriced and unaffordable.

The best way of avoiding this is by visiting countries that travelers don't typically go to, such as India, Venezuela and Pakistan. Hatton revealed that not only are places like this so much cheaper, but they also satisfy one's appetite for adventure.

Tip 4: Eat street food

One of Will's most important (and delicious) budget tips is eating street food. When traveling Southeast Asia, Will basked in the everyday glories of the pad Thai vendors in Bangkok, to the opium pancakes of Myanmar. Such street foods taste like an enjoyable luxury, and are sold for such an affordable price.

Will recommends that the best way of choosing the tastiest (and safest) street food is to look around and find the stall that most locals are lining up to eat from too.

Tip 5: Haggling

Haggling, or 'the art of bargaining persistently', is apparently always worth a shot in Asia. Although in some countries haggling might not be part of the culture, when backpacking in places like Southeast Asia you can save at least 20% on pretty much anything if you do it right. 

When traveling around Southeast Asia, Hatton saved hundreds of dollars by haggling on everything from "fried insects to a kayak hire."

Tip 6: Make friends

Hatton believes that one way to make everything as cost-efficient as possible is by splitting costs between people. By traveling with at least one other person, your buying power practically doubles. This can come in handy when accommodation and other travel costs such as transportation are half as much as they would be traveling alone.

By opting to travel with a friend or stay at a popular hostel, Will claims you're bound to "meet loads of other cool people who will be heading in the same direction as you!"

Tip 7: Couch surf

Alternatively, instead of making friends with travelers, Hatton recommends making friends with locals. During his time in Southeast Asia, Hatton paid for accommodation roughly a dozen times. Instead, he tried to "surf" at least four or five nights a week. 

He adds that couch surfing is "a great way to make new friends, and to land on your feet with a social life somewhere totally new, because people always want to show you around." 

Will notes that couch surfing was easiest in countries where locals spoke good English, such as Thailand, because it made arranging hosts simple.

Tip 8: Hitchhike

In his travels around Southeast Asia, Hatton saved a ton of money on transport and was able to meet so many people by hitching rides to his various travel destinations.

If you plan to hitchhike while traveling, Hatton recommends making sure that drivers know that you don't have money to pay before they take you anywhere. He also suggests writing down your destination on a piece of cardboard for passing drivers to see, and trying to flag down cars rather than buses. This is because, as Will advised, "in Southeast Asia, car drivers are way less likely to ask you for money. Minibuses and buses are often full of fare-paying passengers, so you won't be able to get a ride for free."

Tip 9: Pick up the odd-job

While backpacking around Asia, Will performed various travel jobs in order to secure some extra income and potential free food and accommodation. After working for various bars and party beaches in Vietnam, Will noted that "you usually don't earn much — often just $5 a day — but you won't spend anything, either."

Tip 10: Do your research!

Will was adamant that while traveling, he would never go to a new destination without spending at least ten minutes surfing the web for ways to do it on a budget. The best way of doing this, he believes, is by consulting other travel blogs or couch surfing groups to ask people random questions and get up-to-date information.

For example, in Southeast Asia, taxi and tuk-tuk drivers often try to scam tourists. Hatton insists that it's important to research exactly how much it should cost to get from point A to point B before going there. That way, he avoids being scammed.


The Broke Backpacker

Whether it's a couple months, a couple years, or just a standard work vacation, travel doesn't need to cost a lot of money. Using out-of-the-box, nontraditional ways to travel like Will's can lead to huge savings.

With a little creativity and patience, you can travel the world for $10 a day (or even less). It's possible if you follow Will's travel tips!

Do you have any budget travel tips for your fellow Worldpackers? Let us know in the comments!



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