How to Travel More
Make a Bucket List
There is a reason that the idea of a bucket list has caught on: if you make one, and actually intend to start checking them off the list, it works.
Write down the top 10 places you want to travel to – dream locations, closer to home weekend trips, etc. Think realistically about how you can start making these things happen. Next, set flight alerts on AirfareWatchdog and track the prices of flights to these places. When you see the price of a flight plummet, book it.
Find a Travel-Friendly Job
If travel is a priority to you, you can find a way to make space in your current job for more travel – actually take all your vacation days or personal days in a year, request remote work options, or seek out opportunities to travel for work if your job allows it.
If you’re looking for even more freedom to travel, there are more ways that ever in the age of the internet to make money from anywhere in the world. Seek out these opportunities – they are there if you look out for them!
Having a home base somewhere makes it much easier to visit nearby places. Say you desperately want to travel more extensively in Europe – what about making a temporary move to Germany? There are plenty of ways to spend an extended period of time abroad – in today’s day and age it is more possible for most people than ever before. Setting up a home base nearby will decrease later cost of travel.
Want to learn more about the other benefits of living abroad? Check out our article, The Best Parts of Being an Expat.
It is easier than ever to find jobs abroad, or find remote jobs with companies closer to home that allow you the flexibility to work from a distance – take advantage of those opportunities and actively seek them out! In the past when looking for international employment
I’ve used Idealist.org or searches on LinkedIn. Another option is searching for international organizations in the countries I’m interested in working with, and looking for their employment pages on their websites.
Studying abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina made it easy for me to visit almost every country in South America in just a few short months. More than ever, many colleges and universities are building this in to their curriculums – take advantage of this if you can! College is often the perfect time for more extended travel.
Become a Digital Nomad
Did you know that there are people that work entirely from their laptop and travel full time? Yes, working from a distance full-time, living out of a suitcase is becoming even more common, whether for those who are self-employed or those with flexible and remote work opportunities.
Many countries are trying to attract these digital nomads to visit with special “working holiday” visa opportunities. Countries with these visa types include Estonia, Czech Republic, Barbados, Portugal, Bermuda, with more countries adding programs all the time.
Looking for tips on traveling with family? Check out this ultimate guide to family travel for the best tried and tested tips.
How to Travel for Cheap
If you’re trying to save money and stretch your travel budget further, save destinations in Western Europe, the United States, Canada, and Scandinavia for another time. There are plenty of equally if not more impressive destinations where your budget will go worlds further. Wanting to visit Europe without paying Paris or London prices? Try Poland, Hungary, or the Balkan countries.
Some of the coolest destinations to stretch your budget include Central & South America and Southeast Asia. Here are some of the budget-friendly places we’re planning to travel to next: Guatemala, Bolivia, Albania, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
Money-Saving Flight Booking Tips
Use a VPN
Did you know that using a VPN (a Virtual Private Network) can help you save up to hundreds of dollars on plane tickets? That’s right, certain airlines and booking websites will show you different prices for the same plane ticket based on where you’re browsing from. Using a VPN, you can trick these websites into thinking you’re somewhere else.
We use NordVPN and highly recommend it – it encrypts our data when using public wifi, helps us skirt internet blocks and censorship abroad, AND get cheaper flights.
Breaking Up Flights And Embrace Layovers
If you’re looking at flights to a specific location and notice most flights seem to have a layover in another city, look at prices for each of these two flights individually. Sometimes this can save you a lot of money!
Similarly, sometimes a long layover can save you money and give you another location to explore. You’ve probably heard people raving about travel in Iceland recently? Iceland became such a famous travel destination because of long layovers been Europe and Canada / the United States.
Travel in the Off-Season or Shoulder Season
Make every effort to plan your trips for the off-season or shoulder season if you can: visiting Europe in late March, or the Caribbean in May or October may be a fantastic way to save money, and also experience some of the major attractions more to yourself. You will save significantly.
Money Saving Accommodations
We’ve used Booking.com for years now and have consistently found great prices on accommodations. Recently I’ve also seen more type of accommodations listed at lower prices than on other platforms, including private home or apartment rentals.
Even if you’re a hostel newbie, I recommend taking a look at hostel options. I started using hostels by booking PRIVATE rooms, which most hostels have – it’s essentially the same as staying in a hotel, but usually at a much lower price. When traveling with someone sometimes splitting the cost of a private room can almost be as low as each getting a bunk in a dorm.
HostelWorld has been my favorite platform for finding the best hostels, and I highly recommend taking a look!
Staying at an Airbnb is almost always less expensive than at a hotel. Do your research, only book at places that have a long history of rentals with multiple positive reviews to prove it. Check out our article on top tips for finding the best Airbnb every time.
Standing for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, wwoofing is a fantastic option for low budget travelers and those looking for a cultural experience. It involves trading a few hours of work and chores on a farm for room and board. I’ve never wwoofed, but have had several friends who have had incredible, life-changing travel experience this way.
Stay with Friends
Do you have a friend – or a friend of a friend – with a place somewhere cool? Or a friend studying or living abroad? Ask if you can stay with them! Sometimes this can save you so much money on travel it is worth booking a trip just to take advantage of this.
It is always worth asking, and I know from experience that especially expats are generally so excited to show off their new home countries to friends from back home.
Another tip for finding cheap stays, especially in the United States, is booking weekly rates with unsold timeshares – you’ll often find up to 80% off deals if you’re able to book last minute!
More Booking Resources
In addition to using Booking.com to find some of the best prices for accommodations, Agoda is another platform we recommend highly for finding low-cost accommodations, especially when planning for travel to Asia.
Dream with us – where do you want to travel? Everywhere? US TOO. Some of the dream destinations that we have include seeing the northern lights in Scandanavia, visiting the markets of Morocco, and the Rocky Mountains in western Canada. If you’re looking for some inspiration, here are some of my top recommendations for every type of travel and every budget.
Bucket List Travel
North Italy – The Dolomites
Travel can sometimes get a bad rap for being unsafe or scary, especially in developing countries. However, the more you travel the more you’ll see that people are generally good, and willing to go out of their way to help you and show you around. The biggest mistake you can make when thinking about traveling is talking yourself out of if because you’re afraid of being in a new place – this is what makes travel great to begin with!
However, there are a few key things we’ve learned about keeping ourselves and our belonging safe during travel; stick to a few key tips and you’ll most likely have an uneventful (in the best way!) trip.
Keeping Travel Documents Safe
It is probably every travelers worst nightmare to lose their travel documents or wallet abroad, but there are a few things you can do to make this much less likely.
Don’t travel with more than you need.
If you have multiple credit cards or bank cards, take one with you when you go out for the day and keep the others safe in your accommodation (with a portable safe, or locked in your suitcase). Don’t travel with all your cash on you at once.
Print a copy of your passport, drivers license or ID card, and birth certificate and bring them with you on your trip. Also, send a scanned copy to yourself via email or keep one on the Cloud. Having these can make the process of replacement documents much easier.
Write down important phone numbers like credit cards and banks, and your embassy in case something were to happen. You don’t want to have to scramble to find this information at the last minute.
Travel Gear for Safe Travel
S-biners and Small Locks
I always use a lock on my suitcase or backpack in my room when I leave for the day, and lock my purse or backpack shut with an s-biner when I’m out and about. Having a few of these very inexpensive items can save you from pickpocketing – remember, staying safe isn’t about being impenetrable, but just not being the easiest target.
Lock your documents and electronics in a portable safe and keep it in your room tied around the bed post or the plumbing in the sink while you’re out and about for the day. These are genius and will give you peace of mind.
Doorstop With An Alarm
I was shocked at how INEXPENSIVE these doorstops are, and so tiny. They’ll give you peace of mind at night, and prevent anyone from trying to come in to your room.
Basic First Aid Kit
It’s probably overkill to buy a proper first aid kit with all the special items like gauze, etc. unless you plan on doing some adventure sports – having some aspirin, Neosporin, bandaids, alcohol wipes, and other basic items you already have at home in a pouch in your travel bag will be more than enough for most situations.
General Travel Safety Tips
In all of our travels, we’ve never had anything stolen, or been in a situation that we felt unsafe. I chalk this up mostly to my experience of living in New York City for four years and solo traveling early on – you learn quickly some serious street smarts. These are some of the tips we’ve learned and used over the years.
Keep your backpack clipped shut.
S-Biners are probably some of my favorite travel essentials – they’re so cheap and so effective. They clip and lock zippers together on your purse or backpack, but if you only have one zipper even something as easy as a well-attached elastic band or baby pin can come in handy.
Thieves are looking for the easiest targets – even something as minor as an s-biner means that they might choose another target. Keep your purse in front of you and your hand over the zipper in crowded areas – always I recommend a crossbody when using a purse.
Ask for help and befriend locals.
Feeling like someone is too close for comfort? Duck into a store and make conversation with the shopkeeper. Step to the side of the sidewalk and turn your backpack around. Do something to draw attention to yourself. Showing you’re aware and attentive rather than a clueless tourist can be enough to dissuade something from happening. Trust your gut.
It is ALWAYS worth it to pay for a cab at night.
Looking back on some of our own experiences of being young having so little money to travel, we definitely did not want to spend a few dollars extra on an evening cab and ended up down some dark, empty streets… not very wise. Learn from our mistakes and stay safe!
Believe me, you don’t want to only start purchasing travel insurance once you’ve been hit with an experience in which you needed it. While we’ve been extremely blessed in travel, I’ve seen the inside of an emergency room in Ecuador (for the flu!) and our friends have had even worse, totally unplanned experiences on the road. Spending just a small amount for insurance can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars down the road.
I recommend World Nomads as the best option for inexpensive but very comprehensive travel insurance. Their policies are very flexible and can be planned to cover almost anything, even extreme sports.
Backpack vs. Suitcase
The age-old question. If you are planning on doing anything more than just getting in a cab and going from the airport to the hotel and back, I recommend considering a backpack. Potentially taking transportation you’re not used to? I remember how dumb we felt trying to fit hard-side luggage into a tuk-tuk in New Delhi – we bought a new backpack the second we got home.
Top Travel Essentials
Looking for the best travel gear for your trip? Check out our complete guide to the best travel gear – the stuff we’ve used and loved over the years!
These squishy toiletry tubes let you get every drop out of your shampoo, conditioner, and any other toiletries. Save on buying travel-sized toiletries for each trip – your wallet and the planet will thank you (with all the plastic you’ll be saving).
The SteriPen has been absolutely revolutionary for as traveling to places where we can’t drink the tap water – it uses a UV light to sterilize water and make it drinkable in just one minute. This has saved us hundred of dollars on having to buy bottled water over the years. One of our absolutely must-have travel products!
Filtered Water Bottle
While we always travel with a SteriPen, we also usually travel with a water bottle with a filter to drink tap water on the go. After trying several filtered bottles we’ve settled on this one from JTTVO, which can be used with the filter attached or taken out. Just like the SteriPen, this has saved us hundreds of dollars on bottled water over the years – plus, it has saved using a lot of plastic!
All-in-One Travel Adapter & Converter
We bought this all-in-one plug adapter and electrical converter before a trip to India and never looked back. This all in one solution takes you from trip to trip, and can charge everything at once.
S-biners and Small Locks
These will not only help keep all your things safe, but they’ll give you a lot of peace of mind as you travel. We use and love these small locks to lock backpacks and suitcases in our rooms while out. A simple s-biner clipping two zippers together on a backpack may be easy enough for a thief to realize you’re not so easy of a target.
You never know when you might need them. Not only are they perfect for the plane, you never know how much street noise your hotel might have. I always carry these simple reusable ones with me when I travel.
A pack of these reusable plastic baggies – normally marketed as a reusable food storage solution – are my favorite secret packing item. Wet swimsuit? Toiletries you need to take in a carryon? Separating jewelry from the rest of your clothes? These are infinitely useful.
Tips For Traveling Light
Pack Less than You’ll Need
Pull what you think you’ll need to bring out of your closet. Then, take out a quarter to a half of the clothes you have set aside. If you are planning a long trip, bring along some detergent sheets and wash do a quick sink wash of a few smelly t-shirts along the way.
Travel is easiest with neutral basics that can be combined into several different outfits. I also recommend packing a sarong or big scarf that can double as a blanket on a plane or coverup on the beach.
If you haven’t tried using packing cubes yet, I highly recommend giving them a try! Using packing cubes is an easy travel hack to save space and stay organized at once. We love these packing cubes that compress clothes and gear down, saving space in your luggage for whatever else you may need.