READ FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://www.athleticcapital.com/2011/09/traveling-on-a-budget-14-valuable-lessons/
“As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.” -Henry David Thoreau
Over the past 9 months, I have become very efficient at living out of a suit case, learning valuable lessons from direct experiences that have made my travel experiences much more enjoyable. If you’re willing to be patient and adapt to your environment during explorations that the majority of society deems “stressful”, you will be amazed where the journey may take you. Will you be part of the minority that utilizes the current, collapsing system to create your own path? The time is now… Be Your Own Hero
9 Months Living Out Of A Suitcase: 18 Valuable Lessons
Prior to Departure:
1. Purchase Flights 21 Days Before Departure Using ITA Software: ITA Software (www.itasoftware.com) is a great search engine to find the cheapest flights while avoiding all the non-sense that you find on popular travel platforms. The process is simple: choose your destination, find your desired flight, and go to the website of the airline that is the cheapest and most convenient. There are no hidden fees and the website gives you a price breakout by month! *Please keep in mind that 21 days is not a requirement, however, I found through my own experiences analyzing prices that ticket costs tend to rise as you get inside the 21 day window.
2. Purchase Healthy, Non-Perishable Food Items At The Grocery Store: Depends on your travel preference, however, I like to eat healthy while I am on the road. Unfortunately, eating healthy at most airports can be costly. To remedy this problem, I purchase non-perishable food items that I can pack and eat while traveling. This usually includes Tuna, Peanuts/Almonds/Walnuts, Canned Wild Salmon (that can be opened without can opener), Whey Protein Powder, Oatmeal (in bags), and Grapefruit (Last A Few Days And Make Your Bag Smell Good),
3. Search for Friends In Destination Cities Via Facebook To Reconnect: If you’re going to be visiting a city, be sure to reach out to friends that you may have lost touch with over the years. This is one of my favorite parts of traveling because I get to reconnect with those who have an impact on some part of my life. This often means a lot to people so please be sure to search locations on Facebook before departing. You are often surprised with what you find!
4. Pack Item That Helps You Alleviate Stress (Tea for me): I enjoy tea and it helps to reduce stress and anxiety associated with prolonged travel. I usually pack 50-60 tea packets and utilize free hot water, rather than paying $3.00 for coffee or tea while on the road. This saves a substantial amount of money in coffee shops that can be put towards other travel expenses.
5. Pack Light And Bring Materials That Will Further You On Your Trip (Audio Books, Kindle, Nook, etc): I see travel as an opportunity to learn so I try to download audio books that I have been meaning to read. The time spent traveling usually allows me to get through 2-3 books while I am in the airport. There are several great e-readers, however, I prefer my IPAD that provides tremendous value in all aspects of life while I am on he road (Bill Pay, E-Reader, Email, Social Media, Website Updates, Marketing Launches, etc)
6. Avoid Additional Charges By Taking Advantage of “Carry-On Bags”: You can avoid having to pay a $25 Bag fee while flying Delta, United, Frontier, USAirways, and AirTran by properly utilizing carry on bags. For me, this often means an oversized back pack and a carry on suitcase. However, I have gotten away with carrying on an oversized back pack, computer bag, and carry on suitcase several times. You obviously have to be careful with this as it is not considerate of other passengers, however, if you want to avoid the fee, you know a way to do it. If you’re a medallion member, this obviously doesn’t apply.
*Please be advised that I do not recommend traveling with more than a carry on bag because it limits mobility. Minimize the number of things you “need” and be resourceful while you’re on the road. You can make anything work with a simple tweak in mind set.
7. Pack A Tent And Sleeping Bag If You’re Unsure About Travel Itinerary: Sounds ridiculous, however, if you have enough room for a small tent and sleeping bag, it can go a long way if you have no other option. Hotels are expensive and I don’t get why people are so afraid to sleep outside. You’re not a “bum”, you’re just learning to embrace nature. My view is this: If I am going to spend $200, I want to do it on something that I won’t sleep through. Find local camp grounds you can utilize upon arriving at your destination if housing could be a potential issue.
8. Utilize BiddingTraveler.com to negotiate cheap hotel rates on Priceline.com: BiddingTraveler.com is a wonderful resource that provides the winning bids of different hotel properties on Priceline.com that is withheld from the consumer (competitive advantage). This enables a traveler to save hundreds of dollars by leveling the playing field.
9. Don’t want to pay for a hotel room domestically or internationally? Utilize Couchsurfing.org, Hostels.com, Hostelbookers.com, Hostelsworld.com, and Google “University Dorm Accommodations” in the Summer: All of these resources are very safe and will provide you with comfortable living accommodations for little to no cost.
10. Rent A Car With Seats That Fold All The Way Down: Car Rentals have become excessively cheap these days and if you’re on a tight budget, sleeping in your rental car can be comfortable and convenient. Select a car with seats that fold close to 180 degrees or negotiate a decreased rate for an oversized vehicle. Please keep in mind that rental cars can be as low as $9.99 on the weekends, so be sure to haggle as much as possible. Car rental companies make no money if there cars sit on the lot while their preferred clients (corporate employees) are at home. Priceline.com is also a great resource for cheap car rentals. I recommend parking the car at churches, safe neighborhoods with ample street parking, hospitals (can tell security that your just trying to get some sleep while waiting), Truck Stops (if they’re safe), and corporate parking lots that allow overnight parking (Walmart for example). *Please be advised that purchasing additional car insurance, upgrading your rental, and pre-paying gas provides the car rental company with the competitive advantage. They are taking your money!
11, Subscribe to Travelhacking.org for $15/mo to receive helpful information on properly utilizing airline and hotel reward programs: I have found Art of Non Conformity Founder, Chris Guilabeau, to be a great resource when it comes to traveling as he has succeeded in traveling to every country in the world creatively utilizing airline reward programs. The best piece of advice I received from the website was efficient utilization of reward miles which is projected at $.04 or $.05 a mile. Don’t utilize reward miles for domestic flights it is a waste of money!
@athleticcapital, Great man! Thanks for sharing! I started travelling 8 months ago, and these kind of tips are always useful for newbies in the field! Although it is fun to learn a long the line, I have been greatly appreciating all the tips and advise I got from more experienced travelers! It can save you so much money when you know how to handle, how to act, where to search, how to search etc.!
@adamm0ss, I agree! Plans are always changing during your travels, but that does not mean that you cannot be prepared in any way at all. I mean, if you have a limited budget, you need to have certain fixed prepared and/or you need to think about certain things upfront.