Over the years, I have come across many people that believe they need to be wealthy to explore the world. Although some form of capital is necessary for going on a trip, you don’t have to be a millionaire to do so. One of the most frequent questions I receive is: "how do you get to travel the world? Do you have a travel related job? Did you win the lottery? Do companies sponsor you to travel? Is your family rich?"
Unfortunately, the answer to all those questions is no for the time being, but I will keep you posted if anything changes. When I was in school, I took part in exploration seminars and study abroad programs that allowed me to cover my travel expenses through scholarships. After graduating college, I got a job in Corporate America and now use my hard earned money and PTO to see the world.
Contrary to popular belief, traveling can be very affordable and reasonably priced, especially if you do your research(DYR). I am probably stating the obvious here since everyone does some kind of research before going on a trip, but below are some of the ways I do my research before going somewhere.
Where to Go
Since I was young, I have kept a list of places I want to visit and I assume most people do the same. Most of my must see destinations include 80 degree weather so I have normally traveled in the summer, unless the place I want to visit has amazing weather all year round. I am a sucker for the “Must see destinations” most travel sites feature so I regularly read up on those. Below are a few of my favorite articles,
Brace yourself because this is the most overwhelming and tiresome part of your research. Below are the ways I keep myself sane during these trying parts of life.
Book early: If you have decided on a place and time to go somewhere, don’t wait to buy your tickets thinking tickets can get cheaper. They usually don’t!
Search for flights in private browsing mode – Once they know you’re looking the cost inflation is beyond real!
Search for flights on Tuesdays & Wednesdays (they are sometimes a little cheaper)
Where to Stay
This is probably another area that I do the most research. Where you stay is vital to your experience. It will allow you to save time exploring and choose between a tourist or a local experience. After deciding the top places I want to visit in a city, I pick a neighborhood that allows me to be as central to the experience I want. It is also extremely important to pick a hotel/apartment that has an easy access to public transportation.
Although I frequently use Trip Advisor and Yelp to make a list of sites to see, I read a lot of travel blogs to get a feel of how people have personalized their experiences at different places. A few of my favorites are:
I also suggest utilizing the tags and places search options on social media to see the spots most frequented (or picturesque) at the place you are visiting.
Since most countries have easy to understand train and subway systems, using public transportation is the quickest and cheapest way to get around. Uber, now being in over 70 countries and more than 500 cities, is also very dependable way of getting around. Renting a car is also an option in some places but can be a bit more complicated. You can find tips on renting a car abroad here.
I hope you found this post to be insightful. I am working on tips for visas, most useful Apps, and packing to share with you in the coming months.