How I Afford Traveling the World By Myself at 21

I don’t travel through any type of program. My parents do not give me money to travel. I don’t have a sugar daddy. There are no travel agents or booking companies that are on standby. I just travel by myself. 🙂

 (Edit: any way of travel is good travel).

Ahhhhh, yes. The question I receive numerous times on the daily.

“How do you do all of this?”

First and foremost, I have learned and still continue to learn “how to travel” every time I step foot somewhere rather than my home state Michigan.

  • $$$: So basically….I work at a restaurant. Aaaaaaand I work there a lot. I save my money. This is the most important thing I can tell you, folks. Spending your money on NEEDS not WANTS. You won’t see me in the Starbucks drive-thru every morning waiting on a Java Chip Frappe to wake me up. You won’t catch me at Applebees for half-off appetizers every Friday night. I don’t go shopping all of the time. I. Am. Cheap. As. Hell. Don’t get me wrong – I go out and have fun sometimes. Just do it wisely. If I do that – I’ll probably pick up an extra shift that week or next. Learning to be a minimalist and learning how to save money is the first step to traveling. Because if you don’t have money… you can’t buy that first plane ticket.

—– How my mind works: “$32 for a cute shirt? Do I need that? No. $32 is a week of accommodation in Thailand. I’m fine.” Self-control….holla!

  • Flights: Speaking of plane tickets…..those can be expensive. My secret weapon for flights is using Skyscanner. There CAN be some tricks to booking your flight – which I have found to be true quite often. Booking your ticket on a Tuesday afternoon around 7 weeks before your trip can typically give you the best price. Of course this isn’t always the case….but it does work a lot. Sign up for e-mail alerts and check your flights daily. Sometimes you’ll find the prices drop dramatically one day – juuuuuuust book it. I’m someone who does a lot of things last minute and I never really have issues with it, either. Meh.
  • Accomodation: This. This. This. This is my #1 money saver, okay? How do I afford traveling? I never stay in a hotel. You heard it here first. I either…

1. Couchsurf, which is free and life-changing. I love staying with locals because they are always INCREDIBLE people/families and I LOVE being able to live day-to-day like a local. There’s nothing quite like it. I still talk to all of my Couchsurfing hosts except like… Good people, good people.

2. Stay in a hostel , which is so disgustingly cheap in so many countries. I typically lean towards using HostelWorld for booking my hostels because it’s easy to use, has all the information you need, and it’s safe/reliable. Example: The photo below is a hostel that I stayed at in Indonesia for almost $6 a night. Yeah…..SIX DOLLARS. I usually stay in the largest mixed room because it’s cheapest. They have female/male only dorms, mixed dorms, or you can rent out your own room. The more people in the room – the cheaper. I’ve stayed in hostel rooms with 20+ people but most tend to have 6-10 beds on average.

Puji Hostel in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
3.  Volunteering is another super awesome way to travel. The two websites I use are WWOOF or typically I like to use WorkAway. In most cases, you will work for ___ hours a week doing some odd job wherever you find yourself – and instead of getting paid, you receive free accommodation and SOMETIMES free meals. You can do some really cool jobs and learn how to live a more sustainable lifestyle doing this. Highly recommend.

4. AirBnB is an option that I sometimes use if I want to be alone or have a “luxurious” night somewhere. I rarely use AirBnB because I’d rather stay with people – and I’ll never book a room that is more than like $25-$30 a night. That’s too much for a night, haha.

  • Food: This depends on where I am, I suppose. But basically – I don’t go out to restaurants for every meal. I tend to lean towards accommodation that offers a free breakfast. That’s always nice. If I’m not receiving meals, depending on my location, I still tend to eat for super cheap. If I’m in Europe, for example, I’ll stop into a grocery store and pick up bread/meat/cheese/fruit/veggies for cheap and that’ll hold me over for a couple days. Cook your own food. Always look for hostels with kitchens! If I’m in Asia, it’s harder for me to find grocery stores and places to cook. What isn’t hard to find, however, is street food. And this isn’t nasty, unhealthy, street food. This is authentic rice, meat, and veggies that I can become full off of for less than $5. I also tend to eat a lot of fruit when I travel because fruit is primarily cheap everywhere and I could consume fruit for the rest of my life. I do go out to a restaurant every now and then, especially in cheap countries. I like to go out with people I meet in hostels and my couchsurfing hosts. Just be smart about it.
  • Shopping? Souvenirs? Yes, of course I do some shopping when I travel. Nothing extreme. I’ll pick up souvenirs for my parents and my closest friends. I don’t have a lot of room in my backpack and I don’t buy anything heavy because I have to carry that thing on my back for hours at a time sometimes….so not havin’ that. But clothes that I can fold up and little knick-knacks are always good options.
  • Activities: This is what I spend the most money on when traveling – but it’s always worth it. Things like skydiving, scuba diving, paragliding, riding on a gondola in Venice, swimming with sharks, etc….etc….etc….I have ideas on activities that I want to do in certain cities/countries and I always try to allow myself to do them. If that means I have to pick up extra shifts at work or maybe I don’t eat dinner for two days… be it. LOL.
Scuba diving in Hawaii
  • Misc: TREAT YOSELF……wisely. I’ll buy a dessert and I’ll go out and have drinks with people I meet along the way. If I go to Madrid, Spain….you KNOW I’m going to invest in some amazing churros and if I’m in Paris you KNOW I’m going to indulge on some Nutella/Strawberry crepes. And yeah, I’m going to throw back a couple 75¢ beers in Asia with people I meet at my hostel. Also: in some countries you can get full body massages for like $20 soooooooo. Whateva. Life’s too short. TREAT YOSELF. Just don’t be stupid.

Hopefully this blog post helped answer your questions – and hopefully it inspires you and made you realize that traveling the world is SO possible. If you want it – go get it.

Thanks for reading my blog post. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns: please feel free to e-mail me:

Also – follow me on instagram to see travel photos and inspiration almost daily – @waddupkim



How I Afford Traveling the World By Myself at 21

When it comes to traveling: Stop wishing, start doing. 

Don’t retweet a photo of the Eiffel Tower at night with a caption that reads “I want to go here so bad”. Do it. 

Now listen, I know it seems crazy….but it isn’t impossible. If you want to travel – you need to take the first step to do so. 

And that first step is the step out of your comfort zone. And a step away from excuses.

“I don’t have money”. – Simple. Pick up more shifts at work. Learn how to budget. Don’t spend your money on wants – only needs. If you’re crafty – make stuff and sell it. Sell things you don’t need that are just wasting away at home. Save. Save. Save. 

“Nobody will go with me”. – Cool. Then go alone! Traveling alone is soooo good for you. You learn about yourself and gain a whole ton of confidence. You’re running on your OWN schedule – and that is the bomb diggity. 

“I don’t know how to plan.” – It’s not as difficult as you think. Planning trips can be quite easy if you’re not picky. Pick your city – find a way to get there and a place to stay. Getting around and seeing your “must haves” is easy…..just worry about the arrival and your sleeping grounds. Let the rest come to ya.

“Hotels are expensive in ____”. – But you know what ISN’T expensive? Hostels. Couchsurfing. And tentin’ it. You heard me right. They’re way better routes than silly hotels, anyways. 😉

“_____ is dangerous.” So is the city you’re in right now. Everywhere in the world is pretty much dangerous, hate to break it to you. But you can’t let silly stories and scary movies push you away from traveling. The movie “Hostel” isn’t what all the hostels are like – it scares people away and it’s dumb. The movie “Taken” is definitely possible – just don’t be stupid and do what they did. If you’re smart and aware of your surroundings you’ll be fffiiiiinnnneeeee.

There’s so many excuses and reasons that everyone can come up with when it comes to booking that first trip. But come on, people. Instead of seeing photos of some incredible place over 1,000 times on Instagram…go see it in person! Traveling is a life-altering experience. It changes you forever if you do it right.

Stop wishing, start doing.

It’s a new year. Make it a good one.

Don’t let your dreams and goals just be dreams and goals. Rather, work towards them.

And don’t be afraid to ask for help!

Happy Late New Year – and travel on! 👍🏼


When it comes to traveling: Stop wishing, start doing. 

FAQ – The questions asked frequently. 

I find myself receiving a lot of the same questions on a regular basis – whether it’s in person, over text, email, Facebook message, or if someone “slides in the DMs” on Twitter. 

So why not make my next post answering those questions? 

Maybe I’ll clear up some confusion? Answer questions that you wanted to ask but never did? I don’t know. Whatever. 

Q: What program do you go through? 

A: I actually do not go through any type of program. When I think of a trip, I do self-research. And a lot of it. I plan out all of my transportation, where I stay, how long I’ll stay there, and figure out what I’m going to do there. Yes, it’s a lot of work. But stressing out over dumb things and planning it makes it even more worthwhile. I get to do what I want, when I want, where I want. Could that get any more perfect?

Q: So…you travel alone? Like by yourself? Without anyone else?

A: Yes, yep, yeah, uhhhhuuuuh. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It doesn’t get lonely because you meet people everywhere you go. It forces you to step out of your comfort zone, reach out to someone, and say hi. You meet SO many people. And you truly, truly find yourself. I also love it because I’m on my own schedule – and only my own. I don’t have to worry about walking through museums for hours. I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to. It’s the bees knees.

Q: And backpacking…….what does that exactly mean? 

A: I live out of a backpack. I have a 65-liter backpack that I carry on my back. Yes, it’s heavy. Yes, it’s annoying. But it’s so convenient! You can’t carry much. But it’s cool because it assures that you won’t overpack. Which is definitely something I would do. You only really have room for your necessities…it’s niiiiiiiice. Real nice. 

Q: Do you stay in hotels? Or….?

A: Nope! Hotels aren’t my thing when I’m traveling. That’s no fun! How do I meet people? How do I get that firsthand cultural experience? By couchsurfing, of course! (Plus….hotels are expensive. And I am so cheap it’s disgusting.)

Q: Couchsurfing? You surf on couches? 

A: Uhhhh, kind of. Couchsurfing is an online community of travelers that open up their homes to other travelers. Some homes are just a single person, some are couples, some are roommates, some are families! Some homes offer you a couch, an open spot on the floor, an air mattress, or even a real bed. You search and find good matches for yourself and personality. Profiles are made and you read through them thoroughly. You send personal requests and they either accept or deny you. It’s simple….but so incredibly amazing. 

Q: Ahh, okay. So….isn’t that like…scary?

A: If you’re smart, it won’t be scary. Obviously you don’t request to stay with a single person who doesn’t have a profile picture or any information filled out. People leave references, and the more the merrier. Be smart about it, like you would with anything else while traveling. 

Q: What’s your favorite country?

A: I’m going to be honest…this is the worst question ever. And only because it’s so difficult. Germany will always hold a special place in my heart. But every country is so incredible, so different – it’s difficult to choose between them when they’re all so special in their very own way. Norway, Portugal, and Spain would definitely be up there though…..if I did have to choose 😉 

Q: What’s your favorite memory?

A: Also very difficult. The nights at the beer festival in Regensburg, Germany. Paragliding in Interlaken, Switzerland. Riding on a gondola by myself in Venice, Italy. Roaming the streets of Barcelona, Spain and mastering the public transportation, hiking Trolltunga in Odda, Norway. So many things. Help!

Q: How much did it cost?

A: This question is also hard to explain and answer with an exact number….if you’re very interested, please do contact me and I can try to explain and sort out the prices of things with you 🙂

Q: How do you get from country to country?

A: Depending on how far apart: I either ride a train, hop on a plane, or sometimes even hitchhike. All are fairly cheap if you know your ways 😉

Q: Would you do it again?

A: In a heartbeat. 

 “Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things: air, sleep, dreams, sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” – Cesare Pavese 

Looking down upon Würzburg, Germany. How majestic. 

FAQ – The questions asked frequently.