Stay in hostels
They are cheap, organize events, you’ll meet a lot of people, and they are just tons of fun! Plus, hostel bars sell cheap beer. Here are some posts on how to pick a hostel (and some of my favorite ones):
Use Meetup, the sharing economy, and hospitality websites to meet locals
These websites will help you get an insider’s perspective on your destination by connecting you with locals in the places you visit. The sharing economy has changed the way people travel allowing you to meet locals, get off the tourist travel, and save mega money! It’s a triple win – and resources that I use all the time when I travel. Here’s an article on how to use the sharing economy (and what websites to use) when you travel
Here are some of my favorite sharing economy and hospitality websites:
- Couchsurfing – This website allows you to stay on people’s couches or spare rooms for free. It’s a great way to save money while meeting locals who can tell you much more about a city than you will find out in a hostel/hotel.
- Airbnb – Another good accommodation alternative, this site connects with homeowners who rent out their homes/apartments to you.
- EatWith – There is a fee (everyone sets their own price) but this is a great way to do something different, pick a local’s brain, and make a new friend.
- BlaBlaCar – BlaBlaCar is a ridesharing website that lets you share rides with vetted local drivers by pitching in for gas. You simply request a seat, they approve, and off you go!
- Gumtree – This Craiglist like site is an amazing resource for travelers. You can find travel partners, rideshares, jobs, second hand gear, homestays, and much more.
- Lyft – Get locals to pick you and drop you off where you need to go! It’s about 30% cheaper than a taxi.
- Getaround – Need a car for a few hours? Rent someone else’s. Getaround allows you to rent people’s unused cars by the hour.
Be open to strangers
Not everyone bites. Say hi to people on the road. Turn strangers into friends. Remember they are just like you! They want to live a happy, full life and have hopes and dreams too! You never know. You just might make some lifelong friends.
But keep your guard up.
Some people do bite, so keep a healthy level of suspicion. You don’t want to fall for any travel scams or get yourself into uncomfortable situations. Be open but cautious.
—> Here is a list of travel scams to av
Try new food.
Don’t ask what it is. Just put it in your mouth and see if you like it. If you put your guard up, you might miss out on some unusual and delicious local cuisine. Here are some articles on how to eat delicious — and cheap — food around the world:
- My 29 Favorite Restaurants in Europe
- 16 Delicious Places to Eat in NYC
- How to Eat Cheap Around the World
- 37 Places to Eat in Tokyo
- How to Eat Around the World on a Vegan Diet
They are always a budget buster. Never, ever take a taxi unless you absolutely have too!
Take an empty metal water bottle through airport security and fill it up at your gate.
Drink from the tap when you can — you’ll save money and help the environment. If you’re going somewhere where you can’t drink the water, be sure to get a water bottle with a filter. I love LifeStraw and Grayl as my two preferred ones.
Take free walking tours.
Besides being free, these tours will give you a good orientation and background of the city you are visiting. I love, love, love taking walking tours when I travel. You pass the time, you get to pepper the guide with questions, and you get to learn so much about where you are! Take a walking tour when you travel! Here are some lists of my favorite free walking tour companies in the world:
- The Best Walking Tours of New York City
- The 12 Best Walking Tour Companies in London
Get city attraction cards.
If you are going to visit a lot of museums and other attractions in a short period of time, a city pass is going to save you money on admission (plus most provide free public transportation too!).
Take pictures of your luggage and clothes.
If your bag gets lost, this will help identify it more easily and speed up the process of having your travel insurance reimburse you.
Carry emergency cash.
Because emergencies happen. Like that time in Romania when I couldn’t find an ATM and needed money for the bus to the hostel! I usually try to keep around a $200 USD in emergency cash in case something happens!
Get good shoes.
You walk a lot when you travel. Don’t beat up your feet. Love them as much as they love you, and they’ll take you to amazing places.
Because falling prey to an illness in a foreign country is not fun — and many countries require you to get vaccinated in order to visit them so, regardless of your opinion on the subject, you just might have to.
—> Here is an article on how to stay healthy on the road
Learn to haggle.
Haggling is a fun, playful way of not getting charged the foreigner price. It’s the art of negotiating and one that will help you throughout all of life, not just at the market.
Use points and miles for free travel.
You can go a lot further in the world when you don’t have to pay for it. Learn the art of travel hacking and collect points and miles through your everyday spending so you can get free flights, accommodation, train tickets, and other forms of travel! It’s what all expert travelers due to lower their travel costs and something you should do too! Here’s how I earn 1 million frequent flier miles every year!
Take a jacket.
Nights get chilly.
Eat street food!
If you skip the street food, you miss out on culture. Don’t be scared. If you’re nervous, look for places where kids are eating. If it’s safe for them, it’s safe for you.
Get travel insurance
Travel insurance is the most important thing you get that you never want to use. If something goes wrong, you don’t want to be out thousands of dollars in bills. It will be there if you get robbed, flights get cancelled, you get sick or injured, or have to be sent home. It’s comprehensive and, for just a few dollars a day, one of the best investments you can get for a trip. You may think you’re superman/woman but so did my friend who broke her arm, didn’t have insurance, and had to pay thousands out of pocket. Insurance was there when I had to replace my camera and when I popped an eardrum scuba diving! Get it! You can search for the best travel insurance through something like fintechnews.my, but here are some tips on how to find the best travel insurance.
My favorite companies are:
- World Nomads – I buy all my travel insurance from World Nomads. They have great customer service, competitive prices, and in-depth coverage. I’ve been using them since I started traveling in 2003.
- Insure My Trip – The best insurance for those over 70 years old.
Things will work out in the end. No need to rush. You’ll get to where you are going in due time. Travel is about the journey, not the destination.
Locals are willing to help you out, but there’s probably a language barrier, so keep your cool when something doesn’t go your way. If you don’t, you’ll end up just looking like an asshole tourist.