I remember trying to write a blog post in Buenos Aires in 2008. Wifi as we know it was not widely available, but internet cafes were everywhere, and they worked pretty well if you could get around the non-US keyboards and the impossibility of finding the ‘@’ symbol.
The ease of modern travel with a local SIM card powered smart-phone with broadband internet access is borderline ridiculous. Nothing is impossible when you can get on the internet, and wandering around looking for accommodation has been replaced by some quick tactical research. Continue reading >>
More specifically–after nearly 5 years on the road–what time-tested equipment am I still willing to lug around in a backpack?
In late 2013 I left the US for a second trip around the world. That trip never really ended, and my original SE Asia Pack List had to survive a number countries, seasons, and activities that I’d never anticipated.Continue reading >>
In a particularly frenzied bout of travel in July of 2012 I jumped on and off 6 flights in 6 weeks, crisscrossing the entire continent several times (Barcelona to Berlin, Paris to Budapest, etc).
Total Cost for 6 flights: Less than $200
In rare form I didn’t keep track of these expenses because it was too cheap to worry about (my flights averaged $18 US total). I even bought flights I didn’t use just in case I was in a particular city a few weeks down the road.
The average price of rent here in San Francisco is $1200+ per month for a shared apartment, but I found a place to stay indefinitely, last minute, for $25 a night ($750 a month).
This basic process can be used to find a place to crash just about anywhere, but in general this much effort is only required in big cities. Outside the city I’ve never failed to find something by asking people on the street.Continue reading >>
Note: This post was partially inspired by reading my new #1 favorite book on money: I will teach you to be rich by Ramit Sethi. It’s the 4-Hour Workweek for your personal finances and highly recommended!
A friend of mine once used an ATM in Honduras, and 24 hours later found her entire travel savings had evaporated. That’s right, $15,000 disappeared from her checking account. She was stranded with a credit card, $200 cash, and a promise from her bank that they would ‘look into it in the next 45 days’.*
This post outlines a simple way to make sure that never happens to you.
Back in the day, airline tickets were really expensive and inflexible. Not anymore.
Welcome to the world of low-cost, flexible world travel.
While visiting family in February I decided not to get on my flight home. I wanted to spend some additional quality time there so I just didn’t show up for my flight.
Mom was flabbergasted: “You can do that?!”
Yep. You’d be amazed by what airlines let me get away with last year.
This conversation led me to the realization that in the last 19 months, every single flight I pre-booked more than a few weeks in advance I either didn’t get on or had to change for a lot of $$$.
If I no longer have pre-defined location constraints, and if pre-booking flights is both “a major turnoff” and expensive, why would I still do it?Continue reading >>
Last Update (2/6/15):
Also check out my FAQ on the best frequent flyer credit card. It’s a quick read and will give the main points + show you where you can get one of these cards today.
Can you do the same thing? Absolutely, read on:
Budapest, Hungary—It’s a question I got more than once: “So, are you rich?” And, more specifically: “How can you afford to travel so much?”
These questions are upsetting because they highlight the dominant perception that travel is a luxury restricted to the wealthy. And I don’t like people thinking I can only afford to do this because I’m rich (far from it).
In fact, for the last 15 months I’ve been living on a stipend that most people would associate with the poverty line in the United States, or about $1200 a month (see 20 things I Learned While Traveling around the World).
But international flights are expensive, no matter how cheaply you decide to live once you get to your destination. I thought trans-oceanic flights would be the death of my RTW travel budget.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
And here’s the punchline: the only reason these flights cost me anything at all is that I opted to pay for the really cheap ones. That’s correct, I decided to pay actual money for them. You’ll understand why below.Continue reading >>
Over one year ago I quit my job and decided to travel around the world. This was both a dream 10 years in the making and one of the best decisions I’ve ever made [photo: night train from Belgrade to Sofia].
In the last 12 months I learned a lot about long-term travel, what I need to be happy, and how to survive outside of the US. Many of these things can’t be learned at home or in a book, and while reading about them on the internet can only get you so far, a lot of people have asked me to explain how I’ve done it.
Well, here’s part of the answer.
“There’s no substitute for just going there.”
My trip hasn’t been about sightseeing (although I’ve done that) as much as just being somewhere. The simple challenges of daily routine can be overwhelming: trying to eat, drink, and sleep in a place where nothing makes sense, you don’t speak the language, and where none of the basic comforts of home are available. It’s not easy, but if you want a fast-track to personal development, get on a plane.Continue reading >>