TRAVEL tips:

The tips and resources below make it possible for me to travel easily and affordably. I really hope this page helps others who are looking for solid travel support, too. And if you have travel tips to share, please do! XO


Online Mailbox

As soon as I no longer had a home (residential mailbox), I learned that having a PO Box through the USPS meant that the USPS would automatically sell my name/address to a loop of endless marketers. Then the USPS would be mandated to deliver all junk mail to me (even anonymously addressed junk mail flyers) plus charge me to receive all of the junk mail they’d then generate/forward to me. So I set out to find a protected mailbox solution.

I’m so grateful for Traveling Mailbox. I was able to choose the address I desired, they don’t sell my address, and I was careful who I gave my new address to (to stay off junk mail lists). Traveling Mailbox scans all of the envelopes that I receive (which are few, as most of my accounts are set up to be paperless). I view them online and choose whether contents should be scanned, forwarded, shredded, etc. Checks can even be deposited.

TIP: I don’t pay Traveling Mailbox to deposit my checks. Instead, I use the scanned image of my checks to electronically deposit my checks online. I do this by uploading the scanned check to Photoshop (where I electronically sign and crop it), then I upload it to my deposit app. It’s rare that I ever have a check to deposit, but this has always worked for me.


Excellent Travel Credit Card

I wanted the best travel credit card I could find, but I almost didn’t get it (the Chase Sapphire Reserve) because of its annual fee. Then I calculated the math and saw that it pays for itself by reimbursing travel and the rest via extensive travel benefits (which means I no longer need to pay someone else to provide those travel benefits). Thus, for me, the fee is a wash.

Then there are the exceptional points. So I charge everything to this card and pay it off monthly. This is, literally, the one thing I take everywhere.

TIP: I’ve found that the wisest way to book hotels is through the Chase Sapphire Reserve reward portal. It has given me better hotel rates than any other portal/card/point method I’ve tried. And even when I have no points to use, I can pay their same low rate with my credit card instead.

 


Verify Visa Requirements

When I’m trying to determine where to travel, I first…

  • go to VisaHQ and look up each country I want to travel to (to see the visa requirements for each country)

  • then I plot out my travel routes based on how long I can stay in each country (without having to apply for a visa)

  • If I can only stay somewhere for 90 days, I think it’s wise to keep it closer to 88, just in case there are travel delays (so I don’t overstay)

This makes planning so much easier for me...and even a bit more fun.


Trip Specific Travel Insurance | Why

Right now, I have two travel insurance policies:

  • Allianz annual travel insurance policy to cover all shorter trips (very affordable, but benefits do not cover as much as World Nomads), so I never have to remember to buy trip insurance for all the shorter trips

  • World Nomads trip specific insurance policy to cover longer trips (more expensive than Allianz, but the benefits are excellent), as the Allianz annual policy cannot cover trips over a certain number of days

Right now, since I also spend time in the States, these are the options I’m using. However, I would love, love, love to know what others are using for health/travel insurance, as I’m always researching this. =)


Pomelo Travel Discounted Flights

Pomelo Travel finds extremely cheap flights and alerts me to them. The week after I subscribed to Pomelo Travel, I saved $1200 (50%) on tickets I'd previously not been able to find anywhere at a decent rate.  Hands down, I’ve found it invaluable to utilize this fare finder site.

  • there is a free email list

  • there is a paid email list (I find it well worth the annual rate)

  • even though the discounted rates are often announced for a particular date range, I’ve found the rates are often good for even more dates, so I look at as many dates as desired, to get the best rate

  • I then book directly with the airline

I keep an eye out for Pomelo’s emails each day, and review them all, as this teaches me what the great rates really are, so I can grab the best rate when it shows up.

 


Scott’s Cheap Flights Discounted Flights

Scott’s Cheap Flights also alerts me to extremely cheap flights (from my experience, it seems like Pomelo finds the best deals and Scott’s Cheap Flights finds a higher number of deals).

  • there is a free email list

  • there is a paid email list (I find it well worth the annual rate)

  • I set up my SCF account so all the airports I want to fly in/out of are on my notify list

  • even though the discounted rates are often announced for a particular date range, I’ve found the rates are often good for even more dates, so I look at as many dates as desired, to get the best rate

  • I then book directly with the airline

I keep an eye out for Scott’s emails each day, and review them all, as this teaches me what the great rates really are, so I can grab the best rate when it shows up.


Airbnb Lodging Discount

I love staying in locations for a month or more, living like a local, so I search Airbnb for monthly discounts. If a monthly discount is not listed for an Airbnb I like…

  • I message the owner to ask if a monthly discount is ever offered

  • I let them know that I completely understand if not

  • (they have almost always offered a monthly discount)

  • this saves thousands of dollars each year

  • this gives Airbnb owners a break from having to clean/launder daily (I handle that for them)

I’ve also found that when the same emphatic words are left by many different reviewers (for instance, many people strongly emphasizing how sparkly clean an Airbnb is), those have been the most accurate details of an Airbnb (not the star rating, not the ordinary comments). This seems to be because people are worried about sharing honestly for a variety of valid reasons…

  • concerned an Airbnb host will then try to leave the guest a bad review (damaging that guest’s chances of renting future Airbnbs)

  • understanding the Airbnb owner might still be learning how to be an Airbnb host

  • not wanting to hurt the Airbnb owner’s feelings

There is no perfection, so this is the challenge I find with using Airbnbs. I try to work with this as kindly as possible. XO


Housesit for Free Lodging

I love belonging to Trusted Housesitters because of the security and support they provide, the amazing homes and estates available around the world, and the unlimited opportunities that keep popping up in my inbox. As someone who likes to be on the go and who also appreciates a beautiful home, here are the benefits I’ve already enjoyed:

  • simply helping another (I consider this volunteer work)

  • ensuring their privacy is protected (in every way that they require)

  • creating new friend/petships

  • living like a local

  • staying at a beautiful property (I verify ahead of time that it is)

  • enjoying a full-sized kitchen

  • enjoying personal laundry facilities

  • free lodging (no lodging financial costs)

Most importantly, I’ve learned that the following steps help ensure the experience is mutually beneficial (to avoid a bad sit):

  • carefully research the owners (via Trusted Housesitters)

  • closely inspect all photos (there should be many of inside + outside)

  • asking pre-sit questions

  • getting everything in writing (especially any pet challenges)

  • offering to meet first (in person, on video)

  • thinking about it before saying yes

  • trusting my gut


Volunteer for Free Lodging

This free resource helps travelers find sustainable volunteer opportunities, which can also provide free lodging. I’ve not yet used it myself, but I keep it at my fingertips for when I’m able to, as one of my interests is to volunteer on the road in ways that make a meaningful difference. Thank goodness resources like this help make it possible.


Sleeping in Airports

I love this resource because I often find it easier to sleep for a bit in airports than to find a hotel during a layover. Especially when one considers how long it takes to transport to/from the hotel and how early one must wake to catch the next flight.

ALERT: due to the homeless (thus, bedbug) issues in some airports (and since flight security is not always open 24/7), I find it critical to research airports ahead of time so I know where to not sit/sleep in airports. =)


Unlimited Online Yoga ( + meditation + pilates)

I do find that I need to keep a routine of some kind on the road, as it provides:

  • comfort

  • consistency

  • predictability

Yet it’s hard to find affordable classes while traveling, so I searched for quite a long time before I found these online classes that are what I value…

  • professional + kind

  • reasonably priced

  • available anytime + anywhere

While I can walk forever when I’m out and about, when I’m inside/at the computer I can literally sit forever. Yet I know it’s very important for my body not to do this, so I’m working on it. Just signing up for this online service makes me feel like I’m halfway over my biggest hurdle.


Affordable Text Therapy

As someone who has worked in crisis counseling, I share this resource in hopes that all humans (whether they are living conventional lives or traveling) are aware that it’s now possible for people to…

  • text/message a professional, whenever desired

  • talk/video chat with a professional, whenever desired

This allows one to receive short- or long-term support, no matter where they’re located. I think this support is something that all humans deserve to have access to, most especially in a time of need.

Love more self-care!


Free 24/7 Text Crisis Support:

  • Text 741741 in the USA

  • Text 686868 in Canada

  • Coming Soon to UK

Again, as someone who has worked in crisis counseling, I share this resource in hopes that all humans (whether they are living conventional lives or traveling) are aware that it’s now possible for people to text with someone who can provide immediate free crisis support.

I think this support is something that all humans deserve to have access to when dealing with a crisis, no matter where they’re located.

(Please share this far and wide. XO)

 


Veg Jaunts and Journeys

There are some places I want to visit, where I’d love to be with like-minded others when I do. This is one service I’m planning to use. I’m sharing it here, even though I’ve not yet used them, because I know how great this travel community can be.


Vegan Travel Club 

Again, sometimes group travel is a very special thing. Thus, this is another service I‘m excited to use in the future, because I know how great this travel community can be.


What Should I Do?

Trip Advisor | Vegan Festivals | Veg Fests