10 Ways to Champagne Travel on a Beer Budget

Pagoda climbing in Bagan, Myanmar

Pagoda climbing in Bagan, Myanmar

In just under two weeks, I'll be taking my first trip to Scandinavia! Thanks to Norwegian, I’ll be flying a direct flight from New York to Bergen, Norway for only $195. No actually – a round-trip, nonstop flight to Norway for under $200!

If you’re thinking, only crazy people who travel all the time can find deals like that, you’re very wrong. Norwegian is not only a budget airline already, but the airline has deals on top of their already discounted fares all the time. I recommend signing up for their email newsletter. I also recommend taking flights from the non-traditional airports. For instance, I’ll be flying out of Stewart Newburgh airport, about an hour’s drive from NYC. Norwegian has been increasing the amount of flights flown from STW and in doing so, has also paired up with a bus service to get you straight from Penn Station to the airport (almost every half hour). Find that here for only $40 round-trip. Also, I’ll be flying into Bergen, versus a big hub such as Norway.

I’ve been told Bergen is a cozy little Scandi town, but you could’ve told me there was only pickled herring there and I still would’ve gone for $200. I spend more on my subway fares going less than two miles every two months.

From Bergen, I'm flying to Copenhagen with Norwegian again. That round-trip flight costs $105 and will take only an hour. Patrick is meeting me in CPH, and we’ll stay there for 6 days, 5 nights. We’ll return to Bergen for a 2-night stay, and I fly out that Friday, one week later.

Though we’ve heard from multiple sources that both Norway and Denmark are very expensive, we’ve used our own resources to figure out the cheapest way to go.

Havana, Cuba (flown for free in September using Delta miles transferred from Chase card!)

Havana, Cuba (flown for free in September using Delta miles transferred from Chase card!)

When people ask me how I travel all the time, live in NYC and am not an investment banker:

1.     Fly budget airlines. It’s only a few hours of your life but will save you a few hundred Benjamins

2.     Fly out of non-traditional airports. You’ll also probably save hours of your life here (not as many people will be commuting there, going through security, checking in at the same time, etc)

3.     If your schedule allows, take the odd-timed flights. Red-eyes, or overnight flights, are my favorite. There are usually less people, and I feel like I’m multitasking by sleeping while traveling (and sometimes, no crying babies!)

4.     Stay in low cost accommodation (hostels, Airbnb, use hotel points)

4b. Keep in mind that most large hotel chains will allow you to convert your points with them into airline miles with certain partners. I.e. Marriott points can be converted into United Miles (8,000 Marriott = 2,000 United). Not recommended at the exchange rate, but still doable!

5.     If you stay in Airbnbs, take advantage of having a full kitchen at your hands. Use local ingredients for meals and feel like a true city native!

6.    Free Tours.

Google "Best free walking tours in" whichever city you're visiting - they are everywhere, usually run by locals, and integrate you into the city with other curious travelers. Sandemans is one of the most reliable, and can be found all over Europe!

7.     Budget ID cards (If you still have a student ID or email, you can still get student discounts!)

Or if you're simply a young traveler, there are ID cards that give you access to a range of discounts abroad. International Student Identity Card (ISIC) or International Youth Travel Card (IYTC)

8.    Save up for your trip with apps like Qapital, Acorns, or Stash

Get $5 towards your Acorns account with the link above! You can contribute a monthly debit, round up everyday purchases, and receive "found money" to put towards an investment account.

9.    Use a travel rewards credit card (!!!)

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is how I’ve gotten the majority of my flights for free. (In December I booked my Air France NYC – London flight for free! Peak travel time and still managed a flight that cost a whopping $Free.99). 

a. Chase pairs with the following airlines for 1:1 point transfer: United, Southwest, Air France/KLM (which lets you book Delta and Alaska), British Airways (lets you book American Airlines)

10.   Carry-on your luggage. Most airlines (especially budget) will charge you to check your bag. I promise, you can fit all your stuff in a carry-on, and it will save you time and money

The essentials I keep close when traveling:

St. John, USVI

St. John, USVI

Traveling, Fur Sure.

Happy Hump Day

Happy Hump Day

Taking a break from the food posts and more glamorous side of travel to bring up a less glamorous subject: travel insurance.

As a twenty-something, I know for me it’s really not top of mind, even with all the traveling I do. I figure, hey I’ve got a travel credit card (Chase Sapphire Preferred), and it has some benefits. But truthfully, I didn’t even know how much it would actually cover me should something happen, until I recently read a comprehensive review.

After extensive research, the team behind Reviews.com found that the following companies offered the best travel insurance by category:

The Best Travel Insurance: Summed Up

Travelex: Best for Families

John Hancock: Best for Solo Travelers

IMG: Best for Adventurers

Allianz: Best for Long Trips

When I left in 2014 to travel through Southeast Asia, with an unknown end date, I used Allianz Global Assistance. They were easily accessible online, well-known, and insured trips up to one year in length (compared to the normal limit of 3 months at most other companies). Luckily, I had no real issues while abroad (I lost my phone but that was not exactly “travel-related”), so I didn’t need to file any claims through them.

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However, I do remember Allianz wouldn’t cover me in any scuba-related accidents, so if you are more on the adventurist side, definitely look into greater detail when it comes to your overall coverage.

For example, John Hancock offers three comprehensive tiers (Bronze, Silver, and Gold) with add-on options for each to include extreme sports/activities as well as cancelling for any reason. Additionally- and this is huge for those long backpacking trips, or really any sort of family vacation- the Silver and Gold tiers offer trip delay coverage up to $150/day for meals and other expenses if your flight is delayed by 3 hours! Most companies only offer that sort of coverage after 5 to 12 hours. It just makes me think of all the times I could’ve been cashing checks while sitting on tarmacs….

Which leads me to another topic: Claiming compensation for your flight delays/cancellation through the app AirHelp.

For more information on Travel Insurance check out this comprehensive guide!

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Fight or Flight

it' s thai-m to get out there

it' s thai-m to get out there

How to find ANY flight for cheap

1. Hopper

Hopper is my favorite app when it comes to figuring out flight deals. It keeps a watch on the ups and downs of current flight prices and lets me know, based on history, if I should wait or buy at the time of search. It also sends notifications when the price changes (like the typical price alert from a website, but on your phone so you see it immediately versus having to check email).

2. Skyscanner - set price alerts

Skyscanner feeds my inner gypsy with it's Everywhere feature. You can literally just type in your home city/airport for departure and "Everywhere" for destination. For dates, I've been known to use the "Cheapest Month" feature as well. GYPSYHEAVEN.

Another favorite part of the tool is the ability to see whole months at a time, as well as selecting "Nearby Airports". The larger airports get the most traffic, and therefore, sometimes give the highest prices.

3. Google.com/flights - set price alerts

The advantage of setting both Google AND Skyscanner alerts is that certain airlines (i.e. JetBlue) actually aren't covered on the SkyScanner searches. Google covers them all in real time. I set multiple dates around the time I'd like to travel, and let 'em work their magic over the next few weeks or months. 

4. Choose new airports

In NYC we all know we have the normal options of Newark, JFK or LaGuardia, however, most do not know that Stewart (up north in Newburgh, NY) now has super cheap flight options because of Norwegian Air. 

Just last month I flew Stewart to Edinburgh, Scotland for $385 round-trip nonstop. Norwegian is a low budget airline, and I did choose the most economic option, meaning no seat reservations or checked bags. But I also flew to the United Kingdom for less than a flight to California!!!! It was a new plane, there were no frills like personal TVs, but I popped a melatonin and took a sleep in the sky. I woke up in Scotland before you could say WEE LAD!

5. Get Creative

Sometimes it's best NOT to fly directly into the desired destination. In the above example, I was flying in to Edinburgh to eventually get myself to London (normally $900+ for direct flights in the summer). I took a train- a sleek Virgin Train with WIFI and working outlets included - UK in 4 hours, for $45 each way. In Europe, you can sometimes get lucky and find budget airline flights for anywhere from $20 - $50. I once flew from Dusseldorf, Germany to London for 10 GBP (about $20 USD at the time!) on Ryanair.

I would recommend the same for Asia. While traveling through Southeast Asia we once took a $50, 14 hour overnight train, only to realize later we could've taken a $50 TWO HOUR flight!!!

To this day, the best deal I ever snagged was an $880 roundtrip flight back to the US from Australia on Virgin Australia. I left out of my home at the time, Melbourne, and stopped in Brisbane, finally landing at LAX. From LAX I used miles to fly for $Free.99 to NYC, giggling my way home. I was both delirious from the amount of flying and the feeling like somehow I had finally cheated the system. 

You live and you learn :)

And before/after/during your flight, be sure to treat yo' self!

And before/after/during your flight, be sure to treat yo' self!

*Updates*

6. Skiplagged

Skiplagged gives you the advantage of seeing hidden city flights (legs where the traveler exits before the final destination) faster than any other site. It's like a real-life cheat code. #rosebud

7. Scott's Cheap Flights

Scott is my platonic soulmate that I never met. He used to be a one-man-band (but has developed into a whole team of searchers!) that scan the web for the cheapest flights daily, and then email them out to you once you've subscribed. I found a $505 nonstop flight NYC - Madrid and then Barcelona - NYC last April through his alerts! 

Rocking a canadian tuxedo in espana After getting there for only $250

Rocking a canadian tuxedo in espana After getting there for only $250

8. Earning and Using Miles

One of my favorite ways to (attempt to) cheat the flight system is by using miles (IMO). I promote the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card like it's my job because I truly believe it is THE best. After you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months of opening the account, you receive 50,000 bonus points which are directly transferable to major airlines like Virgin, Delta, KLM, and Southwest. OR you can use those miles to book through Chase travel and it will equal $625. You constantly earn double points on travel and dining, so to me it's a win-win. (Oh and $0 annual fee the first year!). Just don't keep a balance and you'll be flying high. 

I've used my miles for free round-trip nonstop flights from NYC to Austin, Atlanta, LA, the Dominican Republic and even London (and at least 2 DC to Vegas flights :)). To put it into perspective, an average nonstop flight NYC - Atlanta (or similar domestic hubs) on Southwest is usually under 20,000 miles, so already you've amassed enough points by opening the account to fly twice. 

 

If you have other flight-finding tips, I'd love to hear them!! Drop a(n) (air)line below.

- Al

Scotland for the Weekend

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A wee bit of Scottish flare.

With a little less than 48 hours in Edinburgh, here are our top recommendations:

1. Coffee at Artisan Roast and Milkman

Milkman vibes

Milkman vibes

Artisan Roast is located on Broughton Street, one of the main, quaint strips of the New Town neighborhood of Edinburgh. I'm no coffee snob (that's Pat), but their coffee was tart and fruity, while Milkman was a bit more mild. Both are great for takeaway brews or as cozy spots to chill with your coffee or tea.

A unique quirk to Artisan is their lack of an actual counter dividing the baristas from the customers. We loved this about it, as it played off a more inviting vibe than the usual separation in a cafe. 

2. Brunch at the Educated Flea

What I believe was named after the Cole Porter song, Let's Do It (Let's Fall in Love) ("...even educated fleas do it..."), this adorable cafe located on Broughten Street serves up eclectic, "punchy global flavours" - and delicious - brunch/lunch and dinner. As the website notes, "Book a table and look forward to a warm welcome smile, maybe a cheeky giggle and a generally super time in a great neighbourhood".

Pat and I ordered off the specials menu, seen above. He got the duck hash with hollandaise and poached eggs, while I got the curried butter bean whip with dukkah (an Egyptian topping of herbs, nuts, and spices), soft boiled eggs and crispy flatbread.  IT WAS SUBLIME.

3. Hike Arthur's Seat

This wasn't even from the top of the peak!

This wasn't even from the top of the peak!

About a 15 minute walk from the center of town, and visible from all throughout the city, is Arthur's Seat. This peak is not only an ancient volcano, but one of the area's oldest forts, dating back more than 2000 years ago. Like the rock on which Edinburgh Castle is built, it was formed by an extinct volcano system which became eroded by a glacier moving from west to east over the last 2 million years. Side note: It's really steep, but the views are well worth the hike!

4. Visit the Castle

The historical fortress on Castle Rock attracts many a tourist, though I don't actually recommend paying the 17 pounds to get in. On both of my quick stints in Edinburgh, I've navigated my way up to the top but never actually entered the castle, and I've been just fine without it. If you're a true history buff you may want to buy the ticket, but I'm more of a fan of views and ambiance than tourist attractions and queues. 

JK Rowling wrote some of the first HP books at The Elephant House in Edinburgh

JK Rowling wrote some of the first HP books at The Elephant House in Edinburgh

Embark on a journey through Edinburgh to witness sites that inspired characters and scenes in the series. From the cemetery where JK Rowling began creating character names, to the cafes she would sit in and write parts of the book, this is a free tour for any Potter fan. 

6. Dinner and Drinks at The Devil's Advocate

Pat and I have a thing for genuine bars with authentic feels/food/people. The Devil's Advocate, located in an old Victorian pump station, is just that. The structure is exposed brick and wood beams with touches of brass and steel. The decor accentuates the old with the new, and the food is vibrant without overdoing it. The drinks are in a separate ballgame altogether. 

Pat got the Capercaille (rum, Campari, pineapple Cocchi Americano, Cafe Borghetti, and apple acid) while I ordered the Red Sky in the Morning (Japanese whiskey, Cacao Campari, Fernet Branca, mochaccino stout and chili tincture). UNREAL.

 

7. Stay at Susie's in New Town

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Sometimes you find a really quaint Airbnb and you're over the moon. Other times you find a charming Airbnb WITH a gorgeous host who sees after you like a great old friend. Susie is that host! While her flat is not only centrally located, but still in a quiet, residential area, it also has all the comforts of home with added hospitable touches. Everything you forgot to pack or didn't plan to need, she has: hairdryers, converters, umbrellas, little chocolate treats and water on your bedside table, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, etc. The bed was comfy and the big windows made me feel like a Scottish princess! And although it is a 6th floor walk-up, the trek is worth it after the Scottish beers you'll be consuming every night! 

8. Live Jazz at the Jazz Bar

picture courtesy of theJazzbar.co.uk

picture courtesy of theJazzbar.co.uk

Another favorite pastime done while traveling is truly being spontaneous. After we finished our lovely meal at The Devil's Advocate (meaning after we transferred to a table outside on their deck for a bottle of wine - our version of dessert), we were wandering about the cobblestone streets when we stumbled upon The Jazz Bar. Easily persuaded, we couldn't see why we wouldn't want to go down the secretive steps into the underground venue. And it did not disappoint. The bar serves up local craft beers and THE best homemade ginger beer I've had the pleasure of tasting (with any sort of spirit to be added if you'd like!). 

9. Scottish craft beers/whiskies

Scotland has a plethora of great locally made beer, from ciders to ales to intense dark stouts. I love them all. I wanted to try them all. But I only had 48 hours so I believe I tried about 6. Go forth and prosper, hoppily.

Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.
— Mark Twain

P.S. Dishoom is now located in Edinburgh in St. Andrew Square.

Even the decor at Dishoom was impeccable

Even the decor at Dishoom was impeccable

Known for their procured attention to detail, this Bombay-inspired Indian restaurant is delightfully delicious and easy to share. We split the Sali Boti, "a first-rate Parsi classic, tender lamb is braised in a rich and flavoursome gravy then finished with crunchy sali crisp-chips. Served with buttered roomali roti", and the Black House Daal, "A Dishoom signature dish - dark, rich, deeply flavoured. It is prepared over 24 hours for extra harmony". They were both intensely flavorful and definitely satisfying. I'd also recommend the vegetable samosas (served with their three sauces - chili, coriander and a sweet date and tamarind) as well as the Bhang Lassi (Traditional Holi drink, but with fresh shredded mint in place of happy-go-lucky hemp. Ginger, grenadine, candied fennel sprinkles and almond syrup and yoghurt. Can be served with or without rum, and was just as lovely sans-spirits). 

Attica

In February of this year, I had the IMMENSE privilege of receiving a text. This was not just any text either, my friends. This was an automated text from a robot, informing me that a table was available at a restaurant in Melbourne where my name had been patiently ingrained in the waiting list for the last SIX MONTHS. This particular restaurant has been rated within the Top 50 Restaurants IN THE WORLD. It's name is Attica.

To be honest, I never thought I'd receive such a brilliant text. I had put my name on the waiting list hoping to eat at the #32nd best restaurant on the globe, after watching the Netflix episode of Chef's Table that featured both Attica and it's head chef, Ben Shewry. I was immediately engrossed in the idea. How would I ever be able to leave Australia, now that I knew of such a place right in my own backyard?

Happy to provide my credit card guarantee, I immediately signed myself, and three others, onto the highly desirable waiting list. The idea was to a) get the table and then b) surprise my roommate, Katie, for her birthday. Only a month before, Katie decided to travel to Thailand for two weeks as a present to herself. As a Travel Coordinator, obviously I had few objections against her choice. Plus, we were getting so close to the date of the dinner, I never thought we had a chance! When I told Katie about the potential surprise, she simply answered, "Knowing my luck, now that I'll be gone you'll get a table". In the end, I received the message just 6 days shy of the requested date. 

Enter - a foraging heaven

Attica is an experience. It's not a casual dinner, no matter if you have the $$$ to constantly book a table there and spend heaps. To truly appreciate the fare, you have to understand the chef's message. Not to get all sappy on you, but Ben creates an extraordinary event on each dish he serves. He brings to life what is normally overlooked and discarded. Leaves suddenly become the highlight, nests are assembled, vegetables are invented, seeds and pits are reintroduced in lieu of spices and garnishes.  And, yes, sometimes things were a bit over the top and too pinky-up for my plebeian status, but isn't that half the fun?

First Course

First off, I need to confess the reason I can retell all the courses I consumed that evening. It's not because I have some incredible memory, or that I've self-taught myself how to remember every dish detail in order to become the next New York Times restaurant critic. No - the truth is - I was writing it all down on my phone underneath the table. Yes, it's true. I took my commoner level in society one class lower, because I simply HAD to remember everything I was eating. I was the nerd taking photos (though I still tried to hide it and only brought my camera out when the servers weren't looking at our table), and I was the dweeb simultaneously taking notes.

Confessions aside (I feel much better), let's get to the food!

The first course for this Chef's Tasting Menu was a cured beef from Cape Green, Tasmania, aged for six weeks, and served underneath a bed of pine mushrooms, along with their leaves. (Again, please picture me rapidly typing this underneath the table, all the while concentrating on the waiter's face so I didn't give myself away). The dish was "served with an egg yolk emulsion, and the pine mushrooms were in their new season". The pictures I attempted of this plate do not - in any way shape or form - do it justice. The beef was smokey in flavor, the mushrooms (and their leaves!) added just the right hint of earthiness to the plate, and an emulsion of egg yolks never hurt nobody (meaning it complimented well overall).

The beef is hidden under the mushrooms, taking the "foraging" from Chef to Table

The beef is hidden under the mushrooms, taking the "foraging" from Chef to Table

Second Course

In our second dish of the night, we took witness to the first vegetable-fruit combination. Ben had created a prodigy of both the pineapple and the tomato: the Pineato. Or the Tomapple. Or if you're not into word combining, just call them Pineapple Tomatoes. These were served with Snow Crab from South Australia and topped with micro basil. It was light and refreshing; sweet yet buttery. 

Third Course

Next up was another seafood dish, this one serving grilled squid from South Australia in a seaweed butter, topped with pumpkin seeds. Unfortunately, I ate this one so quickly that I forgot to take a picture...

Fourth Course

The highlight of the evening, my absolute favorite dish of the night, was the lamb. Lamb is by-far one of the most popular proteins in Australia, and I definitely never ate as much of it as I did when I lived in Melbourne. The main course was a confit shoulder of lamb in gum leaf oil, presented with a mint glaze and an apple cucumber (!!!). The lamb was roasted for 48 hours before being served, and the glaze featured "indigenous mint from Australia". Now, I don't have it written in my notes but I'm pretty sure most chefs don't usually cook with gum leaf, a leaf of the gum tree (related to the Eucalyptus tree) found all over Australia. And yes, the apple cucumber was another brilliant mad-scientist fruit-veggie miracle. The lamb melted in your mouth, the mint perfectly complimented it, and the apple cucumber was crisp and DELICIOUS.

BREAD & BUTTAH

All along this epic food journey, I should mention that Chenaye and I were consuming copious amounts of wine, but more so, absolutely devouring the bread and butter. The bread was a dark rye, but the butter. Oh, the butter. Chenaye repeatedly regarded it as the "best damn butter I've ever had in my entire life". It was hilarious- the servers were never allowed to take it away. If anything, they had to constantly replenish it. The butter was house-churned, and served alongside another dipping bowl of blended macadamia nuts dusted with ground Australian peach pits. I don't know that the pits added any flavor, but they did add a nice reddish-orange color (almost like sprinkling on cayenne pepper). Plus, in the middle of the table rested a small nest of emu feathers filled with the very unique-looking Australian peach pits- so it was intriguing to see them and say you had tasted them as well. Needless to say, our pleb-ness was showing...

Dessert

As dessert was served, I got one of those gut-wrenching feelings. No, I wasn't sick off the wine, I just didn't want the night to end! I knew I wouldn't be at such a highly regarded restaurant again for a long time, and I was savouring every moment. We were given a plate filled with sugar plums roasted in whiskey, topped with Macadamia nuts, and accented with "licorice leaf grown behind the restaurant and picked just as you walked in this evening". I giggled at this line. The entire night I had felt like I was pretending to be someone famous, but in this moment I felt like the server was pretending to be a bit too much.

I promise it looked nicer before I started eating - then stopped midway for the photo

I promise it looked nicer before I started eating - then stopped midway for the photo

The final dish, a now famous parting gift from Attica, was a Pukeko egg for each person at the table. Ben has recreated the egg of the bird indigenous to New Zealand (his home country), in chocolate form. With a perfectly decadent outer chocolate layer, and a creamy inside of salted caramel, these hand-painted eggs are absolutely to die for. I'm not embarrassed to say I was instantly in a state of sorrow when I finished mine. 

In the materials given with the eggs, Ben writes, “The New Zealand Pukeko is quite a character and has often provided my family with first class entertainment… Like me, Pukeko are often seen foraging for food beside roadside ditches, but unlike me they had been forced to adapt because their natural habit, the swamplands, have almost disappeared with human proliferation.”

Life take-away

Attica is one of those places where the restaurant's modest beginning are evident, but not overlooked. It sits on the outskirts of Melbourne, in a quiet suburb known as Ripponlea. It is not overly embellished, and the decor compliments the fare suitably. As soon as you are seated, you take witness to the small, but carefully thought out, tableware. The walls are dark, and dimly lit, but the staff are bright and enlivening. We were not the first guests in that evening, but we were absolutely the last to leave.

As I wrote in my notes circa 1:31 am that evening (/morning?), "We certainly weren't the regulars, but we certainly weren't treated any less regularly. The staff were gorgeous, the food was beautiful, the night was extraordinary".

Wine makes me the cheesiest person alive. Cheers to the universe delivering!!!!! Thanks Uni xx

Safe Solo Travel on A Super Slim Budget: 5 Tips to Get By On The Fly

As an American who has spent the last year living in Australia, and 3 months traveling through SE Asia prior, money was definitely an obstacle along the way- but never a complete roadblock. Before that I studied abroad in Europe in undergrad - so I was especially on a tight budget then. Here are 5 tips on my insights to traveling solo and on the cheap - 

1. Stay in hostels / Couchsurf / Airbnb

Our Airbnb flat in Hobart, Tasmania

Our Airbnb flat in Hobart, Tasmania

Stay with Locals and Make Travel Friends - Couchsurfing is NOT as sketchy as it sounds. Even as a solo female traveler you can safely stay on a fellow travelers couch for free and learn heaps more about the city than you would in a fancy hotel paying extortionate amounts.

If you're still a bit hesitant, hostels are cheap alternatives to hotels. You're surrounded by like-minded travelers (often on similar budgets), and some are actually quite accommodating. Check out the reviews before you book on Hostels Worldwide - Online Hostel Bookings, Ratings and Reviews and Hostels, Hotels & Youth Hostels at hostelbookers

And lastly, my new favorite, Airbnb! A cheap alternative to hotels, Airbnb allows you to stay in other people's homes (and usually meet the owner's as well - providing lots of insight and local advice on your current city). I've recently stayed at Airbnbs in Tasmania as well as London and couldn't be more satisfied with each experience!

2. Be a backpacker

Backpacking through the ancient city of Bagan, Myanmar

Backpacking through the ancient city of Bagan, Myanmar

There is a nomadic lifestyle associated with simply using a carry-on size backpack while traveling, in lieu of a rolly suitcase. You'll skip the airlines charges for checked luggage, you'll learn to prioritize when packing, and you'll skip the impulsive travel buys simply because you don't have the room in your bag.

3. Pack a water filter (and reusable bottle)

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When traveling through Asia, my friends and I saved heaps by simply packing a water filter. This way we were able to refill our water bottle wherever, and not have the worry of getting sick in the case that it was contaminated water. These days there are even water bottles with filters attached within them. However, I used a simple life straw and never once got sick. Amazon.com : LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

4. Set up your networks prior to leaving

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In this day and age of social networking, you're bound to know someone (or someone who knows someone) in the destination(s) you're headed. Reach out to friends and let them know your travel plans. Most likely they'll give you a connection in the area, and if not, they might just be able to give you some tricks of the trade for traveling solo there. There's nothing better than meeting a new friend in a new destination, and having them show you around. You get the perspective of a local but still have the feeling of an explorer.

Be sure to check out local groups on Facebook, Couchsurfing events & groups, or even just websites like Hommily, a social network specifically made for travelers.

5. Eat the street food!

Food stall vendors on the west coast of Krabi, Thailand

Food stall vendors on the west coast of Krabi, Thailand

Pad Thai off a cart anywhere and everywhere in Thailand is usually around $1 and equivalent in size to that of 3 dinners. And, as if that wasn't good enough, it's DELICIOUS. While you should always have your guard up regarding the cleanliness of street food, if you dismiss it altogether, you will truly be missing out on a good chunk of the best part of traveling - experiencing other cultures. My personal recommendation - just stick to the most popular street carts. If there is a line, it's legit (specifically if the line is made up of locals)!

5A. Find alternate forms of transportation (Less safe, more money-saving)

Depending on the mode of transportation, usually the cheaper the expense, the less safe the vehicle. I've ridden motorbikes in Thailand, electric bicycles in Myanmar, unstable TukTuks in Cambodia, highly unregulated buses in Northern Vietnam, non-airconditioned overnight trains in Southern Vietnam, uncomfortably packed vans in Laos, etc. If you can dream it, (and you have good coordination) you can most likely cheaply ride it. 

Riding (and photographing) through Koh Phangan island, Thailand

Riding (and photographing) through Koh Phangan island, Thailand