A few of our friends asked us for our top tips/lessons learned from our travels so we decided to throw together a list. I’m sure as we do more reflecting, we’ll have more things to share but hopefully this initial list will be helpful to those itching to do a RTW trip or about to go abroad. Also be sure to check out the Matt’s Stat’s tab for more information on our trip budgeting.
1.) Cash is king: Many countries, especially those in Asia, do not widely accept credit card. Get yourself a bank that has no foreign exchange fees and refunds ATM fees.
2.) International Data is a lifesaver: One of us switched to T-Mobile- a tip we learned from other bloggers. Almost every plan includes FREE DATA and texting in over 140 countries. This meant we could use Google Maps in places we didn’t think possible. At first it sounded too good to be true…but when I nervously opened my first month’s bill, I was delighted to find that I had no crazy fines or extra charges! I could write a whole post about this– but I won’t. If you have any questions/want to know the details, please feel free to ping us!
3.) Know how to drive manual transmission: Outside of the United States, manual transmission is still driven more than automatic. It is considerably more expensive to rent automatic vehicles. This meant that only one of us drove…
4.) Get yourself a travel card that earns for you: After much research, we ended up with the Chase Sapphire Reserve as our main card and got it when they had an amazing sign-up bonus offer. With all the benefits we got from the card, it definitely paid for itself.
5.) Maximize points: Whenever possible, we made sure we earned extra points. For example, we utilized Delta Airbnb which provided us 3 Delta points for every $1 spent on Airbnb. We also got 3 points per $1 from our CC, so it was like 6 points per $1 spent. Additionally, we made sure we got miles for all of our flights.
6.) Don’t let money hinder you from traveling: We traveled for 6 months for less than $20K per person. If you don’t mind staying in dorm hostels or doing less expensive excursions, you can do it for less.
7.) Be open to new food, experiences and adventures: Vincent van Gogh once said, “what would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?” This trip wouldn’t have been as rich if we closed ourselves off while traveling the world. We both tried and things we never thought we would and grown more because of it. Phi is legit afraid of worms (long story) but mustered up the courage to eat one…because when in Rome, right?
8.) What’s APP!!!! The rest of the world uses this App and it allowed us to call back to the US for free whenever we had access to WIFI.
9.) Airbnb: It was perfect for us because it allowed us access to a kitchen and washing machine. It’s also really affordable and provides a ton of flexibility on location. As a result, we almost always were able to stay in the area of town we preferred.
10.) Sleep outdoors: This really means spend as much time outdoors as you can.
11.) Priority Pass: The Priority Pass, which was a benefit of our Chase card was a sanity saver. Because we were on the road so much, it was so nice to be able to relax in a quite lounge in the flights and gave us a break from “roughing it.” Plus, we were often able to eat lunch or dinner for free before our flights, which saved us from buying expensive airport or airplane food.
12.) SIM Cards: In countries we didn’t have free international data, we were generally able to get SIM cards for really cheap that gave us access to Google maps and Trip Advisor.
13.) Trip Advisor: This isn’t a big secret or anything, but still wanted to mention it. It was a great tool to find places to eat/things to do. But sometimes we also used it as a gauge to see if something was “too touristy.”
14.) Things to pack: Quick drying clothes and a quick drying towel were a must since we didn’t always have the luxury of laundry. And in fact, many countries outside of the states don’t use drying machines!
There were also few things that were game-changers for Phi:
A. Travel Sleep Liner: Because sometimes you don’t trust the cleanliness of your hostel bed and all you want to do is literally cocoon yourself in something clean.
B. Sea-Bands: I tend to get bad motion sickness but wearing those puppies on my wrist somehow magically prevented it!
C. Patagonia Quandary Pants: They were light-weight and easy to dry. Not only did they cover my legs in more conservative settings but they also kept me cool in the heat. Plus, they had an option to roll up the legs to make them capris!
15.) If you enjoy traveling, always find ways to keep traveling. It’s a huge world and so many different experiences and adventures await.