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One packet of instant noodles, a few slices of salami and cheese, a couple of jam sandwiches and some muesli. A total outlay of £3.85. A night on a campsite brings it to a little over £20. Add on a train ticket and you get the grand sum of £48.
This was the cost of an expedition. We climbed a hill, swam in the sea and explored new territories. It wasn’t that far from home, but it was new to us and made for a memorable weekend. More importantly, it was a total bargain.
Not everyone has a spare couple of grand sitting around to fund their trip to the South Pole, nor the time or inclination to go begging for corporate sponsorship for a row across the Pacific. The more an expedition costs, the more of a hassle it tends to be, due to complicated logistics or the need to keep sponsors happy.
Instead, we are encouraging you to rise up, embrace an austerity ethos and adopt a spirit of frugality.
For this month’s everyday adventure, set a budget of £50 and see what kind of Shoestring Expedition you can undertake. Some of the greatest adventures we’ve had have been the cheapest, and here are some ideas to get you started:
* See how far you can get from home
What’s the furthest place you can reach by train for £50? Buy a ticket and make your own way back.
* See how long you can make £50 last
It could be one night in a bed and breakfast, or ten days wild camping in Scotland, where your only expense is food.
* Use your contacts
Plot where your friends live on a map and plan a route between them, assuming they’re happy to feed you and/or put you up for a night. We cycled across the UK and managed to stay with friends roughly every third night, making it both much cheaper and a fun way to catch up with people.
* Walk across a national park
You could follow an official path (such as the Cumbria Way across the Lake District or the Two Moors Way across both Exmoor and Dartmoor), or find your own route. If you wild camp, you should spend nothing more than what is needed for your food.
* Exploit cheap airlines
The likes of Easyjet and Ryanair fly to many destinations across Europe, opening up the possibility of a Shoestring Expedition which starts and ends in different cities, or even countries. You could fly to Belfast and run to Dublin, fly to Barcelona and roller blade to Madrid, or fly to Geneva and hike over the mountains to Basel. Let the cheap flight search engine be your guide.
* Get creative…
…to win hearts, minds, beds for the night, lifts, cups of tea, or whatever else you need. Tim hitchhiked across the UK carrying a white board on which he wrote various messages to attract attention and tell his story. For a little over £50 (on a planned budget of £100), he made it from London to Ireland and back. In a similar vein, a friend of ours Tom Allen set himself the challenge of doing a bicycle tour for the price of a round of drinks, begging and borrowing a bicycle and enough equipment to set himself up.
Tell us about your Shoestring Expedition in the comments section below. The more creative the idea, the better.
This article was written by Laura Moss (Berghaus Everyday Adventurer November 2013)
Let us know what you get up to by commenting below, on the Berghaus Facebook page or replying to @TheRealBerghaus on Twitter using the hashtag #berghausadventure.
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