Category Archives for "Travel Tips"

5 Things I’d do Differently if I Left the USA Today

Leaving on your first big trip? Congratulations.

I get a lot of emails from people who are gearing up for a big adventure, and the most common question is: how do you prepare for this?

While this isn’t the full checklist (I’ll post that at some point), here are a few big things I wish I’d done before I left in 2011.

If you’re only making a short trip this may not be worth the effort, but if you’re in this for the long-haul these 5 things are worth considering.

#1 Sell everything you can.


[Ahem. Ok, maybe not everything]

I did this in 2011: a massive Craigslist sale, re-gifting to friends, taking a few trips to Goodwill. But every time I visit the US I’m appalled by how much is still left. Thousands of dollars in vehicles, equipment, clothes–mostly useless, replaceable, and only losing more value or becoming completely worthless over time.Continue reading >>

What Living on $20 a Day Looks Like

kuta lombok beach bar

[Photo: Across the street from my Bungalow in Lombok]

One of the biggest surprises about long-term travel is just how cheap it can be.

In my second year of college I’ll never forget the price-sheet my dad brought back from Utila, Honduras. To this very day you can still get a room on the water for $5 a night and a meal for $2.

Before leaving home I’d heard things like this but it’s hard to believe until you see it first-hand:Continue reading >>

Discount Airlines: How to Fly Around Europe for Cheap


Forget rail-passes, the way to travel cheaply around Europe is via super-discount airlines, where tickets cost as little as €10.

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.

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How to Find Cheap Accommodation Almost Anywhere


This month I had to find a reasonably-priced place to stay in one of the most expensive cities on earth.

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 >>

The No ATM-Fee, Bulletproof Travel Financial System


Don’t let your checking account get cleaned out by ATM fraud, and don’t get robbed by the banks while traveling.

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.

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Why I Stopped Booking Airline Tickets in Advance


Or how I nearly blew $1500 booking tickets I didn’t need last year.

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 >>

The Top 10 Spartan Travel Adventures of 2012


It’s amazing what’s possible when you free up your time and the need to be in a single location.

My wildest dreams couldn’t have predicted the outcome of 2012. The original plan (launched in August 2011) was 15-18 months of travel, circling the globe while mixing in a bunch of adventure sports.

What actually happened was a frantic potpourri of world travel, randomly divergent adventures, and moderately successful online business shenanigans.

The adventure starts when everything goes wrong. -Yvon Chouinard

While the plan itself was fluid, the framework certainly wasn’t: back in 2011 I deliberately opened up my time (and bank account) to make these adventures possible. It turned out that everything was easier and less expensive than I thought it would be, and I’ve repeatedly tried to convince my friends that they too–if they choose–can do something like this.

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