A while ago I posted a map of our trip on social network. Just after that I received a bunch of messages and questions, how do we make it. Do we really have so much money saved? The answer dissappoints everyone. For a long term travel you don't necessarily need a lot of money. To make it even more paradoxical, I claim that slower you travel, cheaper it can be.
In first two articles we already saw that it's possible to find free options about transport and accommodation. But how is it with food? It turns out this task requires more effort than first two.
I don't have any dietary requirements and this article is written in such spirit. But I hope I will be able to publish also information for people with narrower gastronomy habits in near future.
First advice is to be as flexible as possible. Eat local food, which is normally cheaper. It means our meals in Asia will be based on rice. Meat won't be so common because it's more expensive. But we won't be missing it in Mexico. If we'll go for a pizza in Hanoi, Vietnam, we'll probably have to pay for it more than in Italy. But if we'll visit a local cantine, we won't spend not even a whole Euro.
In general it's a good idea to choose restaurants where the local people go. Where they make enough money on account of locals, they will give a fair price to a tourist too. Where tourists are they way of earning money, be prepared to pay a double price.
In Asia a lot of food is sold on the streets. I recommend this food also from other reason. If they make it in front of us, we have an unobstructed view to the level of higiene used. Even though the street is dirty. The most important is just that the plate is clean and that cook is not touching ingredients and money with the same hand. In a restaurant with nice table sheets we won't see that.
But Asia is one thing, Australia is the other. You'll be looking for a cheap meal with a little success there. The solution is to prepare our own food. Just walk around the grocery stores, check the prices and soon we'll have a feeling what in this country is cheap.
While traveling across Russia and Mongolia I carried a gas stove with me. If we don't have it, there is always some kitchen in the hostels or at our host's place (read the article Finding accommodation.)
In USA we can find stores with all articles for 1 dollar, like 99 Only. Besides all other stupidities they have a surprisingly large sector with groceries.
Of course there is no point traveling in foreign lands, especially such with delicious cuisine and then buying food in stores. But if we want to save some money, I think we don't need to eat local specialities every day. I ate Borsch in Russia, young ram's genitals in Mongolia and deep fried cockroaches in Cambodia. Pad Thai in Thailand, kangaroo burgers in Australia and tacos, spicy as hell, in Mexico. But I didn't eat this every day. Probably I wouldn't even survive.
On the other hand we have to know that food in stores is not always cheaper. A good example is Vietnam.
If you're looking for fruits in Asia or Latin America, you have to visit local markets. Before buying anything, check prices on a couple of different stalls. Ask if you can try a little bit of the fruit. By doing so, here and there, it can happen, you'll be leaving the marketplace without the need to buy anything. In other case, bargain if convenient.
With all mentioned we can tremendously lower our expenses, but can't reach zero. To do so, we have another alternative to consider.
In the southwest of India lies a province Punjab. It's the origin of the fifth largest religion in the world - Sikhism. Sikhs has temples (Gurdwaras) in major cities all around the world. In most of them they give free meals regardless of nationality, social status or belief. We can check temple locations on heir encyclopedia SikhiWiki.org.
This is also an option that is probably not the best to practice all the time, but it's something to consider when the wallet gets thinner.
I visited Gurdwara only in Malacca, Malaysia. But with minimal effort, Google reveals us when and where we can join free meals also in other places.
Theory is one thing. But how much of mentioned in this and previous articles actually work in practice? What is the actual cost of this trip? Let's talk about this in the next article.