As we near the middle of 2015, our travel minds start to wander. We’ve likely already taken our winter vacation and now is time to start thinking of some great world experiences to have in the spring. But after those expensive Christmas and May Long Weekend parties, it’s time to think of some cheap experiences that can be had overseas (or in our own backyards). Of course the flights may be a bit pricey but once you arrive, these are 5 great travel experiences that you can have without breaking the bank!
1. Staying in an Ashram in India:
Even if you weren’t planning to visit India, you may be able to enjoy this soul-calming experience for just the cost of the flight (often under $1,000 return at this time of year). That is because, if you stay in an Ashram in India and fully immerse yourself in the Ashram experience (i.e: cleaning, helping out and doing Yoga daily), you can enjoy it all for free. That’s right. If you take part in a true meditation and yoga experience, you will be given housing and food for no cost (although donations are always appreciated). What better vacation from the hustle and bustle of working in Canada, than to head to a silence retreat on the banks of the Ganges River?
2. Hiking Kananaskis Country in Alberta:
That’s right, you really don’t have to leave our own beautiful backyard to have a great vacation on the cheap. We highly recommend heading to Kananaskis Country in western Alberta, and camp out for a few days. There are mirror-like glacier lakes around here and too many hiking trails to count. Camping will only cost you a few bucks per night and you can cook your own food on the fire. Better yet, bring a fishing rod and try your hand at the delicious trout that can be found in these lakes (remember to purchase an Alberta Fishing Licence).
3. Trekking the Annapurna Circuit – Nepal:
If there was ever a cheap experience that was worth the flight halfway around the world, then the Annapurna Circuit is it. You really can’t go wrong with this trek, the views are fantastic, the people are friendly and the accommodation is often FREE! Your biggest expense of course will be the flight, but if you’re planning to head to Nepal anyways, then don’t miss this trek. You’ll need to be in shape and you’ll have to pay to procure the appropriate permits (can be done in Katmandu), but once you’re trekking it is very affordable. Most of the tea houses along the way will offer you a comfy room for free, so long as you buy dinner and breakfast while you’re there. You can live off of just $10 / day while trekking and you can take up to 2 weeks to finish the trek if you do lots of side trips and really take your time. That’s $140 for two weeks of walking through some of our planet’s most breathtaking scenery… now that’s a cheap experience!
4. Nile Falucca Sailing Tour:
Perhaps you’ve been on a cruise before. You had multiple decks, a restaurant, a room with two queen-sized beds and A/C, an arcade and a ballroom right? Well how about ditching all of those amenities and experiencing one of the most beautiful sailing trips that you can do anywhere in the world. For around just $12 / night, you and a couple of friends or loved ones, can hop aboard an Egyptian Falucca (sailboat) and let the wind take you down the Nile River. Attractions along the way include swimming spots, 3,000 year-old temples and witnessing village life of the Egyptian people.
Most Faluccas only have thin mattresses set out on the deck for sleeping with a few blankets and no mosquito nets, but what the experience lacks in comfort, it makes up for in extreme beauty. Imagine lying on your back and looking up at a sky full of stars with the nothing but the sound of the Nile waters lapping on the bow of the boat below you. A Falucca tour in Egypt is something that you will never forget… and it’s very inexpensive.
5. WOOFing (Almost Anywhere):
If you’re looking for a new and unique experience to have abroad, or in Canada, then consider WOOFing. By volunteering your time, working on an eco-farm, you’ll be able to enjoy new friends, learn new skills and gain access to free room and board almost anywhere on Earth. This is definitely one of the best ways to have an excellent travel experience with very little money and the experience is priceless. Head to www.wwoof.org and look for opportunities in Canada, or on the other side of the planet. WOOFing is probably the best thing you can do for a free holiday.
Travel Doesn’t Have To Be Expensive!
With so many amazing experiences around the world that can be enjoyed with little or no money, there’s really no excuse not to travel. Check for seat sales to your favourite destinations, or just enjoy travel in Canada. Not all of us can afford to head on luxury vacations two or three times in a year, but most Canadians can afford a cheap flight and a free travel memory any time of the year. Just get out there and explore and know that travel can be as cheap as staying at home.