Merely 28 years of age and Henrik Jeppesen has already ticked every country in the world off his bucket list. The avid globetrotter whose blog documents his escapades, is an epitome of hope for those who think the idea of travel has to be backed by a mammoth bank account and shares his budget travel tips.
India Today recently chatted up Henrik and delved deeper into his tricks of travelling within a shoestring budget. Here are some excerpts:
How exactly did you manage finances for your very first trip?
I went to Egypt alone when I was 17 with a tour operator, followed by a trip by myself to South East Asia. I tried to stay at cheap places. Early on I learned two important things–1. Staying with local people can eliminate the number one expense when travelling and 2. Low-cost airlines and the importance of booking as soon as they have promotions out.
I flew from Denmark to Africa for a total price of around 6 dollars with a stop in Italy. I flew for just a few cents within Europe and in South East Asia I used Air Asia a lot to cover those countries. I also remember booking at ticket from India to Kuala Lumpur for around 50 dollars. I knew when the sale of their promotional tickets would be begin so it was a great feeling when I managed to get my hands on them by being online at the correct time.
Just completed my journey to every country in the world. Here I am at Mamba Point Hotel in Monrovia, Liberia on a very stressful day in 2013. If it wasn’t for people like, Eloi Ndabahagamye (left) I would not have been able to do it. He went out of his way to solve my problems in Liberia and I managed to get a flight last minute to Sierra Leone.
Later in my travels, I started a blog and began to get sponsorships with hotels and airlines. It helped me keep my expenses down to a great extent. The key to get your first sponsorships and thereby important references, is by starting small. My first airline sponsorship was a small airline in Africa. If you want to copy me, it’s highly recommended to not start by contacting companies that receive a lot of requests, but by starting with the smaller ones where you stand bigger chances of approval.
Your tips on low budget travel
1. Accommodation and transport are the biggest expenses while travelling–but there are many ways to keep your cost down. To alter commuting expenses, try avoiding taxis, especially in expensive countries. Use public transport for everyday commute and for long distance, you can opt for cheap bus services like Megabus in USA where you can travel between some states for as little as one dollar. I have also hitchhiked with more than 1,000 cars around the world and it has saved a lot of money–especially in the places where an expensive taxi would be the only alternative.
First Day on South Georgia Island. – One of the most amazing places I have ever been. I have travelled a lot. More than 3,000 days and 291 countries and territories as of today. South Georgia stands out as one of the best experiences I’ve had. I look forward to experience more of this amazing place. I don’t like sailing but @silverseacruises is doing an excellent job, and I am enjoying exploring some of the most remote parts of our planet. I hope to complete the list of visiting every country and territory next year, but I need luck with British Indian Ocean Territory and Wake Island. Can anyone help? 🙂 South Georgia is one of my new favourite places in the world. Add it to your bucket list?
2. In expensive countries, visit supermarket for cheap meals, instead of eating at high-end restaurants.
3. Travelling light is of course very important as low-cost airlines charge for check-in baggage. People generally carry way too much luggage which is not what travelling should be about. You should travel for experience and not for the things you can easily do in your home. Several travellers carry only a handbag, and I wouldn’t want it any other way! It makes travel a lot easier, more comfortable and way cheaper! You can use sinks or bathtubs to do your laundry and save money in the bargain.
4.Being creative with visas is a hack not many resort to. Indians unfortunately, need visas for many countries. The trick here is to get the visas elsewhere if you travel around the world. And how exactly do you do it? A. Arrive in a country that doesn’t require a visa. B. Apply for your next visa there instead, as long as it’s a neighbouring country. In most cases, in my experience, this has been a lot easier, especially in Africa. Plus, the visas in your neighbouring countries are often a lot cheaper than in your home country.