“Do you speak English?”
If I had a dollar for every time I asked that, I’d probably have a roundtrip flight to Thailand by now.
Apps control the world; there is an app for everything! I am a real geek when it comes to travel gadgets, and it goes the same for travel apps. If it can make my life easier while on the road, help me get from point A-Z, tell me where the nearest café is (chai latte I see you) and maybe meet some travelers along the way, then say no more! Here is an updated, but not exhaustive list of my favorite travel apps. You can check out my post Top 12 best travel apps for more.
Money savings techniques: How to visit 21 countries on a budget
Traveling to Europe doesn’t have to be as expensive as you might expect it to be. In fact, there are a number of ways that you can save money without missing out. As you may know, London it is a bloody expensive place to live! We found using some money saving techniques were able to afford us to live in this amazing city while being able to explore so much of Europe and Africa. During these two years we were able to visit 21 countries whilst living in London. Here are some of our top money saving techniques.
I’m 20 years old and I live in PARIS. I’ve been to 18 countries in 12 months, with more in the near future. Many of you have asked me, “How do you afford all this, Paul?” Well, I’m right there wondering with you I’m here to spill the beans.
1. I’m fanatical about saving money
Ask my friends what we did together between my return from Russia and my departure to Paris. Whatever it was, it was probably free. Usually it was watching a movie, walking the dog, baking brownies (ingredients courtesy of mom), going on a hike, etc. You don’t need to spend money to make memories.
2. Limited my driving
I stuck firmly to the goal of 1 tank of gas a month. I ran errands with my mom so I wouldn’t have to drive. I had a carpool for church. And I honestly would put my car in neutral going down hills. Gas is SUCH a money sucker – don’t let it take more than it needs to.
3. Cut back my shopping
Yes, as a guy I don’t do much shopping. (Jokes, I love it just as much as you do!) But you should have seen the shoes I left back home. They were literally falling apart. I made my clothes last as long as I could before buying new ones. I only bought items on sale. And lastly, I tried to only buy something new when it was with extra unexpected cash (birthday money, babysitting money, found $10 in my pocket, etc).
4. “Where do I want to spend this money?”
Every time I was tempted to spend money, I asked myself “Would you rather spend $5 at *insert favorite store here* or in Paris?” I think we all know which one won. For about 9 months, I raked in average of 55 hours per week. Thankfully my employers were champs and I always had Sundays off to attend church. But every Monday through Saturday, I was grinding away to make every day count towards my goals.
5. Worked round the clock
For about 9 months, I raked in average of 55 hours per week. Thankfully my employers were champs and I always had Sundays off to attend church. But every Monday through Saturday, I was grinding away to make every day count towards my goals.
6. Budget travel upon arrival
Although it seems quite glamorous on Snapchat (@beyondutah), I usually eat meals from grocery stores, stay in a hostels, and walk over taking the bus. These are all the “typical” budget travel suggestions, so I would also recommend these tips!
Research beforehand how much certain attractions cost. In Amsterdam, the “most visited/famous” church had an entrance fee. But a mere 5 minute walk brought us to another church of similar size and equally as gorgeous, open to the public, free of charge.
Couchsurfing goes along with #7, because you don’t HAVE to pay for accommodations. As of today (November 25, 2015), I have yet to try it. However I have an account and plan to use it in upcoming trips.
Order currency before arrival. I’ve done this every time I left the US. Most banks will charge a small fee but it will be less than the commission-based exchange booths found at your destination. Don’t pre-order your whole budget, since you don’t want to be a walking ATM. Bring enough for at least the first 2-3 days.
Invest in a filtered water bottle. It eliminates the need to pay for bottled water which is usually overpriced and quickly consumed.
Download free language apps before arrival instead of purchasing “phrasebooks” in-country. In all honesty, you probably won’t use that phrasebook after your trip. Hence, you can conveniently delete the app once you touch back down in the good ole’ US of A (or wherever you call home). Here’s my complete list of essential travel apps!
7. Host Families
Both in Moscow, Russia and now here in France. I don’t pay rent while discovering first hand the culture of the country I’m in.
I’m also working here in Paris so I have a little pocket money for exploring the city. Whereas Russia was strictly savings since I was a volunteer.
During my recent trips to Italy and Switzerland, I stayed with friends in both places! (shout out to Ludo and Marti!) I will be in Denmark next month, staying with another close friend of mine. (SEBASTIAN, YOU BETTER BE READING THIS BECAUSE I AM SO EXCITED).
8. Street Food
You eat to live, but I live to eat. Okay not really. Sampling the local cuisine is such an essential part to understanding a region. This does not require…
9.Flexibility when planning
Travel becomes most expensive when it’s as convenient as possible. I book the cheapest days, I DON’T chose my seat (usually costs extra with budget airlines), and I try to keep my luggage minimal (just my carry on’s).
10. It’s my passion, therefore my priority
Not that having a fancy car wouldn’t be nice, but I yearn for experiences. I want nothing more then to be a citizen of the world by immersing myself firsthand. I do everything I can to save and sacrifice in order to afford these adventures. If it wasn’t my passion, I probably wouldn’t be in Paris right now.
If travel is your passion, then I encourage you with every fiber in my being to take that leap of faith. Book that trip. There is never a more perfect time than now.
At least, that’s what I’ve discovered.
So you want to travel the world. You’ve binged watched too many of Anthony Bourdain’s Places Unknown and decide, “ What the hell! Why not!” . You too want a taste of authentic Mexican street tacos, to emerge yourself in the crazy and thrilling running of the bulls in Pamplona…the list can go on and on. But hold on world traveler, before you pick up that passport, drive to the airport and set off to the unknown on your version of , Around the World in 80 days, there’s a few things you ought to know.
Yes, the most important thing, yet for some, when the wanderlust hits, might be one of the things you might roll your eyes on. Yes, sometimes it's not the best to talk to strangers. Oh and don’t think just because you're in a “first world country" nothing that bad will happen to you. you might want to back up and reevalute your logic.
Look, its better be safe than sorry. A few things to keep in mind will keep yourself safe, your friends and family at ease and best of all, peace of mind! So keep scrolling for some solo travel safety tips
Whether you're a first time traveler or an infamous travel vet, we’ve all been in situations where we’ve wishedwe've had a travel apps for 'that'. Whether you are looking for “ currency conversion” or “ cheapest local eats". Here is a list of the top 12 travel apps for your next holiday .
Money and tipping
XE (Free) - Quickly enter conversion amounts and access live market rates for over 190 different currencies
Just the Tip ( $0.99)- Calculates tips and splits bills easily in many different currencies
Google Translate (Free)- Translate 59 languages in text and hear 23 languages worth of converted phrases. Simply type or speak to translate a phrase
Word Lens(Free)- Take printed words from one language to another with your smartphone’s camera
**Update: Google Glass also offers this same feature
WhatsApp Messenger (Free)- Exchange real-time “text” messages while abroad with a Wi-fi or 3G connection. You can also whatsapp call other whataspp users for free
Skype(Free)- Free video calling and cheap video or landline phone calls as low as $0.20 with a Wi-fi or 3G connection
mPassport ($34.99)- Get connected to healthcare with doctors, hospital, and resources anywhere in the world
ICE( $3.99)- Keep contact information and medical condition details readily available. It also translates stored information in 10 different languages in the event of a medical issue
Travel Advisor(Free)- Get the best tips from travelers on hotels to restaurants in the destination you are visiting
CityMaps2Go ( $2.99)- Access detailed offline maps, in-depth travel content, and inside tips worldwide
Airbnb(Free)-Airbnb is a website for people to rent out lodging. It has over 800,000 listings in 33,000 cities and 192 countries. It's a great alternative to a hotel, the variety of home listed can range from tree houses in Costa Rica to Penthouses in Miami.
Skyscanner(Free)- Skyscanner is a global search engine that enables people to find comparisons for flights, hotels and car hire. The service is free to users and directs you to the airline, hotel, car hire provider or travel agency to complete the booking process
Everyone usually forgets to bring something with them on their trip. Was it your charger for your phone? Tooth brush and tooth paste?
While we all travel fairly differently and have different travel needs, these following items should be on your next packing list. Why? They are mobile , compact and really do not take much room in your purse or carry on item. Here they are in no particular order.
Having your basic tooth brush, tooth paste, and deodorant / baby wipes and hygienic products for women of course. You never know when you next shower could be, especially if you are traveling to a less touristy travel destination. Or you could find yourself stuck with a delayed or cancelled flight.
Keep dramamine, ibuprofen, antacid, or whatever other prescription medication you might need. Illness is not discriminatory. Your body will need time to adjust to the different bacteria in the food of your host destination. If you are prone to overseas illnesses more easily, go visit your doctor before your trip to see if he/she can prescribe you some antibiotics to take with you on your trip.
This might not seem like a big deal, until you've experienced cabin pressure. Have you ever been on a plane with screaming baby? Plus who doesn't like fresh breath.
4. Sunscreen/Moisturizer/lip balm
You tend to lose more water as you travel. Protecting yourself from the sun is essentials to avoid any possible risk of skin cancer in the future. Regardless of overcast or snowy season, you could still find yourself sun burnt. So protect yourself!
A scarf keeps you warm and protects you from the sun and the cold. As an added bonus you can use this as a travel pillow. Depending on the season, you might want to bring a light scarf versus a thicker scarf for summer for example.
Protect your eyes and make sure you have a good pair with UV protection. They also make for a good "sleeping mask", you can put them on when you are on a long flight and get some sleep
You will want to keep record of all the sights, smells, and tastes while abroad. If you ever go back and visit, you will have a general idea of the city!
8. Guide book/ phrase book
This is especially important! Its good courtesy to know the basic phrases in any language you will be visiting. Not everyone speaks English, and people are more willing to help you if they see you are putting in the effort.
9. Cash/important documents/passport
This also might seem like common sense, but common sense is not so common. Make sure you make copies of all your important documents. Keep one for yourself and leave the other with someone you trust like family. Also make sure to call your bank ahead of time if you will be going abroad to make sure your credit/debit card will be authorized. Make sure to check the exchange rate , as a good rule of thumb, banks usually offer the best selling price. A good amount have on hand is between $100-150 . It could be less or more money, depending on you. Will you be close to a bank or in a more remote location? Remember there are still place that only accept cash. So its better to prepare.
10. Safety locks
Especially when you are traveling solo, having some travel locks are important. No one likes a thief and especially any of your good being stolen abroad. Ask your hotel/hostel if they have a safety deposit box. Most do nowadays but its always better to safe than sorry.