Travelhack-List

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JennyH
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Travelhack-List

Post by JennyH » Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:24 am

Hi everyone,

let us talk about my most expensive hobby: travelling. :lol:
I love to spend time getting to know other cultures and explore new countries.
I prefer a style of travelling that is a mixture between Backpacking and stay at cool but cheap apartments or hotels.

I wonder if we could collect travel hacks that will help us save some money down the road. They do not have to be extremly sophisticated, but they should be actionable. :idea:


I share with you a few travel hacks that saved me money and headache (even though they are rather simple):

- Always try to find other travellers to share a taxi when on transport. Often one taxi drive from the airport or bus station to your accomodation can cost more than your entire accomodation for a week.
- Travel by buses if possible. Also always try to book ahead online because it is way cheaper.
- Do not buy medicine stuff like aspirin in your first world home country. Usually it is way cheaper in the country you go to
- Use couchsurfing in bigger cities.I like to use it quite often and if you stick to your gut feeling, you can avoid having bad experiences.
- Eat like the locals do. Local food is mostly cheaper and of better quality than western food abroad.

fips
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Re: Travelhack-List

Post by fips » Sat Feb 10, 2018 12:08 pm

Do geo-arbitrage: check what products and services are cheaper at your destination and plan for it (1.5 dollar haircuts in Thailand are not that shabby, actually). This includes the process from getting there to getting back, starting with, but not limited to, where to exchange your currency and ending with potentially bringing products back like clothes etc.

Do as the locals do and preferrably have a local at your side.

Some people also like to collect miles and other bonuses.

slowtraveler
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Re: Travelhack-List

Post by slowtraveler » Sat Feb 10, 2018 12:10 pm

Walk around the area you want to stay and contact every for rent sign you see to see if they are open to weekly or monthly rentals.

Compare Uber to taxis to walking to renting a bike or motorcycle, often one will be clearly cheaper and more convenient.

Get a room with a kitchen if you can. I haven't pulled this off due to the food being better than I can make and lack of staying one 1 home for long but it would save a huge amount. My food often costs more than accomodations.

Find a central home. Walking saves a lot of money.

Paula
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Re: Travelhack-List

Post by Paula » Sat Feb 10, 2018 3:52 pm

Scott's cheap flights list for airfare mistakes and deals. The free mail list has provided some amazing results so I have not needed to sign up for premium.

$357 round trip from JFK to Madrid for instance.

Https://scottscheapflights.com

jacob
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Re: Travelhack-List

Post by jacob » Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:01 pm

I've visited 14 countries (lived in 3 different ones) and 10+ US states (lived in 3) and I can count the number of plane/boat tickets I've ever paid for myself on one hand. My sister has similar numbers/states. Different means but same ends. Of course, it's not about quantity but quality. Lets just say both of us have spent a significant amount of our lives "abroad".

In my case, it's been a combination of academic conference travel and being willing and capable of relocating for new work. The job would typically pay both for the travel (+per diem) as well as the relocation. Relocation is also partially tax deductible. Relocating both saves the money from maintaining two homes; traveling as part of work whether it's for a 1 week conference, a 5 week research visit, or a 3 year posting makes it possible to embed yourself in the local culture compared to brief visits. You will know the names of your neighbors. You'll join a sportsclub or some other club. You'll make friends. You'll pay taxes. You'll understand the work-culture. Also the politics. And you'll get to see your own country with foreign eyes.

For my sister, it was volunteering or getting paid room/board/stipend for 6-12 month periods as a teacher, vineyard farmer (wwoof style), nanny, au pair, waitress, etc. Sometimes they'd pay for the travel too. Otherwise, same idea. Lots of places around the world who are eager to exploit cheap labor for lifetime experiences. She daisy-chained all this together and spent some 10-15 years (20s and early 30s) traveling almost full time depending on how you count (sometimes she returned home to take a university semester .. or to work for 3 months to replenish the travel purse to buy the ticket for the next adventure).

So,

Travel-hack #1: Making it a lifestyle costs much less than buying it as a product.

For something like short-term tourism, I would second the import-export idea above. The destination country might have a few things that are really cheap compared to the home country. In that case, buy stuff and sell it when you get home. Or if you really need/want something, you can buy it for yourself. The cash-flow analysis will be less convincing though; but you can always think of it as a souvenir.

Add: One of my (older) cousins was a flight attendant for several years. I remember her telling me the reason was that it was a way to see a lot of the world. I was too young to appreciate it at the time. (Maybe this whole travel-while-getting-paid gene runs in the family.)

Did
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Re: Travelhack-List

Post by Did » Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:05 am

Housesitting. Stay for free all over the world. We have done 25 sits in Ireland and Europe.

Quadalupe
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Re: Travelhack-List

Post by Quadalupe » Sun Feb 11, 2018 2:13 pm

@Did, what site/platform do you use for finding houses to housesit?

fips
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Re: Travelhack-List

Post by fips » Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:26 pm

Did wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:05 am
25 sits in Ireland and Europe
Pre 1973, that is?

And yes, I would also like to hear about how you found those housesitting opportunities and your experiences with it!

Did
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Re: Travelhack-List

Post by Did » Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:00 am

In this country if people talk of a holiday in Europe, they do not mean the south of Cork.

There are many sites that connect wanderers with house (really pet) sitting opportunities. You build up a reputation over time and get better gigs the more attractive you are.

We have enjoyed all of our experiences. If you can work remotely or live some other way it's a wonderful way to travel.

JennyH
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Re: Travelhack-List

Post by JennyH » Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:08 am

Thanks for your input guys!

My friend gave me this advice about backpacking:

Buy a smaller backpack (60l max.). This way you will only take with you what you really need and leave excess baggage at home. I guess this advice is especially valuable for girls because we like to take our entire bathroom with us ;-)

JennyH
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Re: Travelhack-List

Post by JennyH » Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:21 am

jacob wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:01 pm


So,

Travel-hack #1: Making it a lifestyle costs much less than buying it as a product.
You are absolutely right. However, it is not that easy. I do want to save money and achieve financial freedom. When I go, let us say to Bali, and work in marketing also as a freelancer for European or US companies, I will have a hard time making enough money to save as much as if working in my first world country. I am a marketer and you won't believe how many struggling marketing digital nomads I met on the road. Most spend money and cannot save money.

For me travelling, especially to other continents, is something I want to do while I am still young and do not have children nor a husband. So I disagree with the vacation advice of the Wheaton levels.

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7Wannabe5
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Re: Travelhack-List

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Tue Feb 13, 2018 5:20 am

For the ultimate in lifestyle travel, you might try marrying somebody from another culture; strange new world experience when you walk into a grocery store in your hometown wearing a pink hijab. Barring that, the United States and many other countries are full of recent immigrants, so you can gain many of the experiences of travel AND usually save money on housing if you simply relocate to an immigrant neighborhood and attempt to make friends. You can also make money and meet people from other cultures by doing something like tutoring English via Skype. As Jacob noted elsewhere, it is also the case that "lifestyle traveling" across class or rural/urban boundaries can be more informative or transformative than simply hopping across the planet to spots where the other people like you go or have gone before and written guide books. For instance, try spending your holiday in a by-the-month trailer park in downtown Tampa or working as a nanny for a very wealthy family at their summer home in Maine.

Another options for traveling without traveling would be to start researching the history, geography, wildlife and other factors of your own region in depth and at various scales. If you buy a used microscope, you can travel to the land of the bizarre microbial monsters who live in the soil in your backyard. You can take a canoe trip down a river within biking distance and gather wild rice and attempt to cook it in the manner of the original settlers of your region. Etc. etc. etc.

OTOH, if you just want to see the sites, Google Earth with some 3-D goggles on is your best deal.

jacob
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Re: Travelhack-List

Post by jacob » Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:30 am

@JennyH - I wouldn't recommend the "digital nomad" style anymore. That field is saturated now which is why people struggle. Great idea 15 years ago. Not now. What I'm referring to is pursuing a career/job/lifestyle that includes regular international travel. In my case, it was as a physicist in academia (later government), first as a graduate student and then later a postdoctoral researcher going to conferences and presenting and/or doing multi-week research visits. About 1-2 international visits per year for almost a decade. I know a CFA who traveled internationally as part of doing due diligence on obscure companies around the world. I know several [working for transnational companies] who relocated for positions to other parts of the world. All of us did this in our 20s [while getting paid to work and paid to travel] before settling down with spouses, children, dogs, and mortgages.

It's a lot easier [to get all expenses paid] as a "salaryman" (a job) than as an independent "workingman" (contracts). If you are one of the 5% who succeeds in creating a working business, you can also do it for business, but I suspect not that many small businesses actually require international travel, so by far the best shot is to create a web-of-goals that point in the direction of a salaried job with international travel requirements or options [ERE book for explanations.]

Alternatively, if you can't align your lifestyle/work-goals with your travel-goals, make your travel dollar-neutral by taking time off and volunteering internationally from time to time. This would work with the 1099-lifestyle. As in the example with my sister. Worst strategy possible is to pay for it as a tourist, because those two goals (earning and paying) are opposed and so self-destructive. Paying implies friction and friction implies a bad web-of-goals design.

The Wheaton levels describe what's possible ... not what people prefer to do. Most people prefer what's quick, easy, and convenient, so they never evolve very far up the scale. And that table was certainly not about vacation advice. The missing point was that after level 4 or so, travel is no longer viewed through the lens of vacation or tourism.

fips
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Re: Travelhack-List

Post by fips » Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:09 pm

Just to add to my last post:

I just stumbled upon this madfientist podcast with Brad and Alexi from Travel Miles 101.

It might be interesting to some with sufficient time and fun to work out travel hacks.
Travel Miles 101 also offers a free course.
I haven't tried it myself, just wanted to share as I had just mentioned it.

sarahen
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Re: Travelhack-List

Post by sarahen » Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:57 am

Currency arbitrage has been helpful. Plan trips where your home currency (USD for me) is strong relative to the local currency

JamesR
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Re: Travelhack-List

Post by JamesR » Tue Feb 27, 2018 12:00 am

Slow travel, aim to spend 1 month at each location. You save a shit load if you can rent a room for a month, instead of paying for hotels.

On average I spend $20-30/night for hotels in Asia, but usually $150-$350/mo for a room to rent depending on location.

Seppia
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Re: Travelhack-List

Post by Seppia » Tue Feb 27, 2018 3:06 am

If you are still accumulating, I would second Jacob's recommendation of trying to find a job that makes you travel (and pays for it).
I have worked in international sales since day 1 in my working life, and got moved to france (two cities) and the USA, now back in italy.
Now I'm in a higher role and I basically travel the whole world.
Additional benefit is you get to accumulate and keep a ton of miles/points that you can then use for personal travel if needed.
Booking via Hotels.com is amazing as after 10 nights you get 1 free night (valued at the average of the 10 nights).

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Bankai
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Re: Travelhack-List

Post by Bankai » Sat Mar 03, 2018 2:05 pm

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 5:20 am
For the ultimate in lifestyle travel, you might try marrying somebody from another culture; strange new world experience when you walk into a grocery store in your hometown wearing a pink hijab.
This reminds me of the advice we are given every now and then when we say that we don't want to have children: "But you should try, you might like it!".

Johnnyboi1337
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Re: Travelhack-List

Post by Johnnyboi1337 » Fri May 18, 2018 8:18 am

jacob wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:30 am
@JennyH - I wouldn't recommend the "digital nomad" style anymore. That field is saturated now which is why people struggle. Great idea 15 years ago. Not now. What I'm referring to is pursuing a career/job/lifestyle that includes regular international travel. In my case, it was as a physicist in academia (later government), first as a graduate student and then later a postdoctoral researcher going to conferences and presenting and/or doing multi-week research visits. About 1-2 international visits per year for almost a decade. I know a CFA who traveled internationally as part of doing due diligence on obscure companies around the world. I know several [working for transnational companies] who relocated for positions to other parts of the world. All of us did this in our 20s [while getting paid to work and paid to travel] before settling down with spouses, children, dogs, and mortgages.

It's a lot easier [to get all expenses paid] as a "salaryman" (a job) than as an independent "workingman" (contracts).
I disagree. I find that more and more people are getting comfortable with the idea of being a "digital nomad". Just take a look at all the co-working spaces that are opening up everywhere in the world. I find that many more people are attracted to the idea of working online or remotely. Here is an article that describes this rend as well: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/12/ ... -education More and more companies are popping up with their whole business model around working remotely. If we think about it, it makes a lot of sense. Working remotely is a win win for both the company and the employee. What I've found is that people move to a city with a lower cost of living and aim to work with a company that's located in a city with a high cost of living. Rather than forcing the company to pay according to their city's cost of living, they can pay less to someone operating from a cheaper city. These employees will be earning a wage much higher than most in their local economy and the company will be paying less.

Yes, being a digital nomad as a "workingman" is very difficult, I've tried it. But times have changed and I highly doubt that companies were willing to operate with remote teams 15 years ago as they do now. Now it's much easier to find a job to work remotely that has nothing to do with traveling, giving you more options to chose from.

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