Interview With Low-budget Traveler Tomislav Perko
How to travel the world with less than $10 a day
While many people only dream about traveling the world, others just do it. Is your excuse that you don’t have enough money? Well, Tomislav Perko, a travel writer from Croatia, didn’t have either when he set up to travel the world. The fact that he had no savings didn’t stop him and for almost 10 years he has been traveling the world with just a little bit of money in his pocket. After almost five years of traveling on five different continents, Tomislav settled in a village on the coast of Ecuador and started writing a book. The book 1000 Days of Spring: Travelogue of a hitchhiker tells about his student days, about the days when he had a well-paid job, about turning his life around and hitting the road with a backpack on his back.
Later, in 2015 he gave an inspiring speech for TEDxTUHH that reached more than 3 million views.
And very recently he published his second book on how he traveled the world for 1000 days – 1000 Days of Summer.
Tomislav is an inspiration to many and he has shared some knowledge with us as well.
What was the motivation and inspiration for you to start traveling?
Stories of other travelers, and realization that I can do the same if I wanted to. I was curious about the world, and wanted to question everything I know – and I knew traveling will bring me that.
For how many years have you been traveling and which countries have you visited?
I started traveling in 2009 and went through 40-50 countries so far on 5 continents. As it’s evident in your notes, during the first year of traveling, you visited 82 places in 12 countries.
You traveled 40.500km, of which 58% by hitchhiking, with 405 hours spent on the road, and 231 different forms of transportation and 114 different places to sleep. You’ve experienced a lot, but what is your most favorite place you have visited and why?
Varkala, India – many reasons, but mainly because I felt like at home. People, food, weather, place where I worked – everything was just perfect. Which doesn’t mean it would be the same if I go back, or if anyone else goes there.
How do you keep traveling, what is your traveling style?
I use alternative ways of traveling and in that way, I cut my costs dramatically. I hitchhike, I couchsurf, I volunteer, I dumpster dive, I sleep in my tent, I work while traveling, etc.
How do you plan your time, budget and places you will visit?
I don’t really plan, usually, I have only one or two destinations on my mind, and then think about the rest when I am on my way. Budget planning is pretty simple as well – I just try not to spend too much money.
How much money have you spent while traveling all this time?
On which categories did you spend the most, on which – the least? My average budget was under $10 a day. Most of it went to food, some on accommodation and transportation, and some on visas and similar stuff.
Did you use cash or a credit card?
At the start I carry 20% cash with me, 80% on debit card.
Did you experience any surprising spendings that you didn’t estimate before?
Not really. But since I haven’t estimated anything before actually going on my travels, all of the spendings were surprising and not surprising at the same time.
Do you use any mobile apps to help you during the travel?
I used only Google maps, but that’s because there were not many apps when I started traveling. I would probably use many these days, but some sort of GPS was always the most valuable.
What have been the major obstacles you have had on your way?
How did you deal with that? Being sick, being lonely, being hungry, getting a hold of some visas – there were all obstacles, and I always dealt with them day by day. When I encounter them, I think about how to deal with it, and I just do. Every obstacle had its own unique thing so it’s not possible to generalize how to deal with all of them.
What tips and tricks have you learned and would like to share about traveling to a different country on a shoe-string budget?
As mentioned before – use alternative ways of traveling: hitchhiking, couchsurfing, dumpster diving. If it works for you, just go ahead and explore more. There are countless tips and tricks, but sometimes the beauty of them is not knowing what they are.
Tell me shortly about your new book and what would you advise to those who don’t have a lot of money but would still like to travel the world?
My new book is called “1000 Days of Summer” and it tells a story of my trip around the world on less than $10 a day. I would advise to people to do what they want to do. If they want to travel – try it out, play with it a bit, and see is it something that works for you. Everyone should follow their dreams, no matter what.
What are your plans for the future?
I wish I knew.