How I travel the world on $16.50 a day
A FRUGAL traveller has lifted the lid on how she travels the world for less than $17 a day - and how you can do it too.
Travel blogger Imogen Blow 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 on top of Greek ruins and watching a sunset in Marseilles, her trademark ginger curls blowing in the wind.
Ms Blow told The Sun while it might look like a dream lifestyle, anyone could do the same as all it took was planning and a smile.
"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," she said.
"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. She makes her own vegetarian meals - mainly pasta in bulk - and hitchhikes and walks.
She has also managed to save on travel thanks to a Eurail sponsorship that gives her free train rides.
"I don't really need a lot to be happy when travelling," Ms Blow said.
"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.
"I break my budget into three sections: accommodation, food and transport," she said.
"Accommodation is free through couch surfing, I cook most of my own meals so they end up being €3 to €4 total ($4.90 to $6.50) - making bulk pasta and being vego, it's cheap. And I was sponsored by Eurail so got free trains but also hitchhike and find cheap buses.
"I've gone days of spending zero 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 to €10 ($9.80 to $16.30) across four days when I run out of money. That means a little fasting and free activities for a bit."
Surprisingly, Ms Blow said she rarely went over budget.
The one thing she is willing to occasionally break the bank for is a restaurant meal.
"Sometimes I crave a nice table service meal, and you can't eat out for less than €10," she said.
The priciest place she has been is Australia, where the 23-year-old set off 10 months ago after finishing university with only a backpack and $15,000 in the bank.
"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," she said.
After touring her homeland, she headed to the UK where she visited Kensington Palace and climbed Snowdonia.
She has made it around 19 countries so far, 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.
"Mostly, the people make or break a place," she said. "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, getting infected bed bug bites in Athens and painting shells next to a homeless man for 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 said it shattered her "everyone is lovely" delusion.
"If I didn't handle it the way I did I genuinely think I may not be here today," she said.
But 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.
"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," she said.
So far the wannabe influencer, who has over 5000 Instagram followers, is blogging about her experiences just for fun at 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," she said.
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission