How To Plan an Around the World Trip

Planning an around the world trip sounds slightly… intimidating. I’m not gonna lie, it’s a huge undertaking. It takes a lot of planning and preparation, especially if you are on a budget. You know it will be so worth it though – so here are my best tips for planning my around the world trip on a budget.

1. Pick your “must see” countries. My very very top countries to visit include Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, Spain, Italy, Greece, India, Indonesia, and Australia. I am trying to do this trip using the smallest possible amount of money though, so instead of buying a plane ticket from Greece to India, I am considering either land travel or skipping India. Which leads me to my next point…

2. Choose the most inexpensive forms of travel for a trip on a budget. Land travel is so much less expensive than flying in a plane. Choose land travel whenever possible to save the most money. To get from Costa Rica to Ecuador, I will be taking either a bus or train. Because there are some pretty awesome countries in between there, and I have time, I’ll most likely be spending a couple of weeks in Columbia before heading to Ecuador. I consider these little stopovers “bonus countries.” Plus, land travel can help you learn the country so much faster, and it’s a great way to meet locals.

3. Mix up expensive and inexpensive countries. Pay attention to conversion rates and plan accordingly. For example, let’s compare two of the places I am going – Costa Rica and Europe. The conversion rate between the US and Costa Rica is excellent – my dollar is much stronger in Costa Rica. It doesn’t work out quite so well in Europe though. To balance this out, I will be either couch surfing or WWOOFing in Europe, but staying in higher end places in Costa Rica. My mom and both sisters are meeting me in Costa Rica, so we are renting the coolest house in the world to stay at while they are there. This could turn out to be the most expensive accommodation that I pay for my entire trip, but to me it is well worth it, as we would not be able to afford a house like this in Europe (without spending an arm and a leg), and I will be staying with my family – it would be worth it to pay extra for privacy.

Back yard w/pool & BBQ Island

4. Plan the trip according to plane ticket prices. I originally wanted to go from Peru to Australia. But when I looked up pricing, I realized it’s about half the price to fly from Peru to Madrid than Peru to Sydney. This means that I am going from Peru to Madrid instead of to Sydney right away. Being flexible can save you tons of money when planning a trip. I’ll now be spending time in Australia toward the end of my trip, instead of the beginning.

5. Speaking of plane tickets, has anyone heard of the around the world ticket? There are some massive pros (and cons) to this ticket. The best part of this ticket is that you can plan it all out and not stress about plane tickets any more. I love knowing that things are finished and taken care of. You can change the dates with this lil gem also, so if you decide that you’d like to stay in Croatia for a bit longer, you can! It can also save you some money depending on your circumstance. However, you must use this ticket within one year, and you have to start and finish in the same place. I will not be purchasing this ticket, because I will be travelling for more than a year. If you decide not to use this ticket, check out my post on travel hacking for how to save major moolah on plane flights.

6. Plan time to plan your trip. I spend anywhere from 5-10 hours a week thinking about where I want to go, checking flights, checking couchsurfing.com, and dreaming. I have a very vague itinerary of things I want to see, but I am planning on buying a plane ticket and going exploring. Depending on your type of travel, you may want to spend more or less time on this portion.

What do you think of my tips? Have any of your own? Please let me know in the comments!

xo

Amanda

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How I Use Travel Hacking to Save Thousands

Since travel hacking is one of my biggest money saving tactics, I figured I could share it and help other people learn how to do it too! I am relatively new to travel hacking, but I have learned a lot in short period of time. Enough to save thousands of dollars on my around the world trip, anyway.

So what is travel hacking? Travel hacking is basically a way of saving tons of money on travelling by doing any or all of the following: utilizing rewards given by credit cards, using unconventional accommodations to save money, and basically just travelling for as inexpensively as possible. To see the ways that I have used travel hacking, read on, my friend:

1. Sign up for travel credit cards. I currently have Chase Sapphire and Chase Sapphire Preferred cards. By signing up for these cards that offer rewards (ex. Chase Sapphire Preferred offered me 40,000 miles if I spend $4000 in three months), I get significant discounts on flights. I accidentally stumbled into travel hacking a couple years ago after reading I Will Teach You To Be Rich, which is my favorite personal finance book of all time. Ramit taught me the benefits of using a credit card that gives you rewards. Why had I not done this sooner?! I wasted years of my life using my debit card for everything. By using a credit card instead of a debit card (and paying it off in full every month), you can rack up rewards and benefits. There is absolutely no difference to your life other than swiping a different card. I got a flight to Portland for free by doing this with my Chase Sapphire card. To see the best credit cards for travel hacking, check out this post.

plane landing

2. Couchsurfing. I am an avid couchsurfing creeper. I have yet to leave for my trip, so I haven’t tried it out yet, but I have definitely been searching for people to stay with. Couchsurfing is an amazing resource that connects travelers with people who live in the country that you are visiting. The hosts set up a profile on Couchsurfing and have reviews left of them by the travelers who stay with them. Although this did originally creep my mom out to the max, we have since realized that not only is it a totally legit thing, it’s a way to save thousands of dollars. Saving money = travelling for longer. Accommodations and airfare are usually the most expensive part of the trip. By cutting back on these two expenses, travelling becomes so much more possible.

3. WWOOFing. WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. This is a program where you can set yourself up with a host and work on their farm in exchange for room and board. It is a world wide program that tons of people have used. The details of how much you work/what kind of accommodations you stay in/what you eat varies widely depending on each situation. You will find these things out by utilizing the website and researching the hosts. Because I’m vegan, I am searching for vegan or vegan-friendly farms (which there are a ton of). I am planning to WWOOF in Europe and Hawaii.

4. Cut expenses before you leave. To see the ways that I am saving $20K in six months, see this postI have not always been the most budget-conscious person, but if I can do it, you can too. I used to be a shopaholic (no joke – I would spend an entire day at the mall every weekend, even when I was making minimum wage!). So really, seriously believe me when I say that you can do this too.

These tips will save you so much money if you use them. Please comment down below your money saving tips and what you do to save money while travelling!

xo

Amanda

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How to Save Money to Travel Around The World

Since I’ve decided to travel around the world, I’ve created a pretty intense savings plan. I had originally planned on giving myself a year and a half to save up the $20K that I wanted to use for this trip, but have since decided to go balls to the wall and leave in six months. Hence, the intense savings plan.

To save money, I have done the following (no shame):

1. Move back home. I know most people will not be excited to hear this one, but if you have the opportunity to eliminate your rent, utilities, and other costs associated with renting, you will be saving a massive amount of money per month. It makes it easier when you know that this is only for a set period of time. If you can do it, this will accelerate your savings plan faster than anything else.

2. If you have decided to move back home, SELL YOUR STUFF. You can make so much money just by selling your furniture, designer bags, and other random stuff that you don’t need. It’s just stuff, and if you won’t be using it when you travel, you don’t need it. I’ve sold books, movies, furniture, purses, clothes, etc online. I use craigslist, eBay, Facebook, and Half.com to do this.

3. No more eating out, no more Starbucks, no more Whole Foods salad bar, no more “treats”. This is a hard step for some, but so worth it. If you can eliminate eating out from your budget, that can save you tons of money. Try buying groceries and cooking meals in bulk. Find something you love. I love Mexican food, and I can live off rice and beans pretty easily. My parents usually cook veggies every night, so I just throw some of those on top and eat like a woman destined to travel. If you don’t like Mexican, try steamed veggies with potatoes, or maybe a vegetarian Indian curry. I am a vegan and I’ve found that cutting meat and dairy out of my diet has saved me so much money(among other benefits). Cutting coffee out of your life has actually helped me heaps. I don’t get caffeine headaches any more and I save money. I hope you recognize that “no more eating out” also means no more nights out at the bar. If you want to have a drink with some friends, invite them over and buy a cheap bottle of wine from the grocery store. I am lucky to work in the wine industry where I am able to get a couple bottles of wine for free monthly, so I drink that and that ONLY. I do not purchase alcohol. I rarely drink at all, actually. Cutting back on drinking (or going sober) is healthier and will save you money in the long run – the more to travel with, my dear.

4. Write down everything you plan to spend money on. Do not buy ANYTHING else. I made a list of my bills including gas, food, cell phone, etc. If I want to do something that is not on that list… I don’t. My sister loves to go shopping. I will go with her sometimes to spend time with her, but I don’t buy anything. Ideally I would not even bring my wallet. Sometimes I do splurge and use my change for an iced tea (only if I have enough change and I really want it).

5. Buy cheaper stuff. Use coupons. Do free activities. Quit your gym membership and hike outside. Sell your car and get a bike. Quit wearing expensive makeup. Stop coloring your hair (learn to cut it yourself too). Basically anything that you can cut out of your life, cut.

6. Travel hacking. Though this is technically a way to save money while travelling, you can save major money on flights by trying travel hacking. You need to start as early as possible to rack up points and rewards on your cards to do this. Start by trying out travel hacking while you are planning your trip. To see how I use travel hacking, see this post. 

7. Quit your cell phone plan. Some may think this is going a little too far. I don’t care. I have a plan and I’m determined to execute it. Quitting my cell phone plan 6 months before leaving will save me $80 a month, or $480 in 6 months. That pretty much pays off one of my flights. In your face, haters!

These steps are hard to implement. It’s hard to cut things out of your life that you’re used to. But this is why some of us are able to travel and some are not. Those who are willing to put their dreams before a life of luxury are those who will be able to travel and have their best life possible.

Some people tell me that I’m “sooo lucky” that I have the opportunity to travel. I have to explain that I am not any different than you or anyone else. I am just a regular person with a 9-5 that I felt trapped in, and I wanted out. I have gone to pretty drastic measures (giving up personal space, all my stuff, and going out to eat) in an effort to live my dreams. But I know once I get on that first plane, I will feel so amazing/alive/free/like a mystical unicorn.

xo

Amanda

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