How to travel the world on $11 a day
Most of us save up all year to go abroad but Imogen Blow is travelling the globe for just 10 Euros (£8.88) a day.
The frugal travel blogger has been to 65 cities in 10 months including Lisbon, Venice and Paris – which recently topped the world’s most expensive cities list.
Her drone and selfie stick go everywhere with her and Instagram feed @imogenblow shows the intrepid Australian diving off the coast of Santorini, leaping from sand dunes in the Sahara, balancing hundreds of feet up on top of Greek ruins and watching a sunset in Marseille, her trademark ginger curls blowing in the wind.
Imogen said while it may look like a dream lifestyle anyone can do the same as all it takes is planning and a smile.
She said: “If you want it enough, you can always get it. Money is just a commodity that allows you to buy material goods, but people also forget there are other commodities like kindness. If you’re kind, generous with the little you have, people will help you.”
She saves cash by sofa surfing – sleeping for free in homes found through an app, making her own vegetarian meals, mainly pasta in bulk, hitchhiking, walking and getting free train rides through a sponsorship with Eurail.
She said: “I don’t really need a lot to be happy when travelling. Give me a drone and an amazing coastline and I don’t need fancy restaurants or museums. Not that those things aren’t cool, they just don’t interest me.”
She relies on apps such as Skyscanner, Airbnb, Eurail and Google maps to help her plan and save and the only time she goes over budget is for bus travel but she is then even more frugal to make up for it.
She told Jam Press: “I break my budget into 3 sections; accommodation, food and transport’
“Accommodation is free through couch surfing, I cook most of my own meals so they end up being €3/4 total (making bulk pasta and being vego it’s cheap!), and I was sponsored by EU rail so got free trains, but also hitchhike and find cheap buses!!”
She added: “I’ve gone days of spending €0 consecutively. Sometimes my host is happy for me to use their ingredients to cook a feast for them.
“Sometimes I’ve had to stretch €6-10 across four days when I run out of money. That means a little fasting and free activities for a bit.”
Surprisingly she rarely goes over budget, but the one thing she is willing to occasionally break the bank for is a restaurant meal, explaining: “Sometimes I crave a nice table service meal and you can’t eat out for less than €10 haha!”
The priciest place she has been is her native Australia, which the 23-year-old set off 10 months ago after finishing university with only a backpack and $15,000 AUD (£8,161) in the bank.
She said: “I graduated and didn’t want to grow up and get a job just yet. Everyone in Australia travels post uni so I did that.”
After touring her homeland she headed to the UK where she visited Kensington Palace and climbed Snowdonia. She has so far made it around 19 countries including Cambodia, Ireland, Belgium, Morocco, Canada, Vietnam, Germany and China.
Skiing in Switzerland is her highlight while Amalfi, Santorini, Annecy and Granada also impressed. But she didn’t like the non-touristy parts of Pompeii and said Fez in Morocco was a little scary at times.
She said: “Mostly the people make or break a place. And it’s what you make of a place, you can’t expect to have a great experience if you don’t actively explore the place to find the good bits.”
It isn’t always plain sailing. Disasters include getting bitten by a spider in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, infected bed bug bites in Athens and painting shells next to a homeless man for the three days in Asia after having her account drained by a dodgy ATM.
She also had a scary hitchhiking experience in Sardinia and ended up dashing for safety after the male driver said he wanted to see her naked.
She revealed that it shattered her “everyone is lovely” delusion, adding: “If I didn’t handle it the way I did I genuinely think I may not be here today”.
However, she maintains solo travelling is an amazing experience as long as you are sensible.
Her top three tips for women to stay safe are to get a SIM card so you can always call for help, don’t go out alone at night and to walk with purpose.
She said: “Don’t wander around like a bimbo, and don’t stop walking when seedy guys start talking to you. As soon as you stop you’re a sitting duck.”
So far the wannabe influencer, who has over 5,000 Instagram followers, is blogging about her experiences just for fun at www.gingerglobe.org but would love to take it further.
“It’s going better than expected, so if I could make a career out of it that would be even cooler.”