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 if I used a USPS PO Box, the USPS would automatically sell my name to a loop of endless marketers. Then the USPS would be mandated to deliver all the junk mail they generated (even anonymously addressed junk mail flyers), which I would then have to pay to receive each time the USPS forwarded me my mail. I needed to find a more protected mailbox.

After much research, I was grateful to find Traveling Mailbox. I was allowed to choose the address I desired, they don’t sell my name, 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 then view them online and choose whether the contents should then 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 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 receive a paper check, but this has always worked for me when I do.


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 actually pays for itself by reimbursing me $300 in travel expenses every year plus providing me with travel services and benefits that I need (so I no longer have to pay someone else to provide those travel services and benefits). Thus, for me, the annual fee is a wash.

Then there are the exceptional points. So I charge everything possible 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 travel 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.

 


International Chip-and-PIN Credit Card

When overseas, there are times that I need to use an unmanned/after hours kiosk to make (ferry ticket, subway ticket, train ticket, etc.) purchases. To do this, I need a true chip-and-PIN credit card that works overseas (as a PIN is required and American chip-and-signature cards can fail in these scenarios).

I chose this international chip and PIN credit card because it:

  • is a true PIN credit card

  • has no annual fee

  • has no foreign transaction fees

  • pays me points

  • is a Mastercard (American Express and lesser known cards are not always accepted everywhere)

  • comes from an international bank (allowing me to also more easily have an international bank account)


HealthInsurance200.jpg

Health Insurance

Right now, because I still have legal residency in a State (have a mailbox address there, have a driver’s license from there, registered to vote there, file taxes there, previously lived in homes there, use a boat there, and still spend some time there), I have to buy health insurance that will cover me in that State. For me, a cheap option has been to purchase health insurance through the government portal, where I pay an affordable rate (insurance agents have not offered better rates).

However, if this health insurance ever becomes more expensive or if I wasn’t able to come to the States, I’d need to find an international health insurance plan to cover me wherever I roam (those rates are very affordable as long as I don't get medical care in the States, but expensive if I need medical care in the States, so it just doesn’t make sense at this time). I’d also consider options such as these:

If you know of a great health insurance plan for travelers that you’d like to share, please share! I regularly research all possibilities, so the more info, the better.


Travel Insurance | Why

Right now, I have two travel insurance policies:

  • An annual travel insurance policy through Allianz, which covers all shorter trips (45 days or less). Not only is this far more affordable than buying separate travel insurance policies for each short trip, but this means I never have to remember to buy travel insurance for each short trip. The only downside I’ve found: its benefits do not cover quite as much as what World Nomads covers.

  • A trip specific travel insurance policy through World Nomads, which I get for each longer trip (more than 45 days). Most people do not realize that their travel insurance sets limits on the length of a trip that they will cover, so that is vital to verify. World Nomads is more expensive than the Allianz annual plan, but it’s a policy that is necessary due to the longer trip length. And, of course, World Nomads coverage is much better.

TIP: Before buying travel insurance, I first verify what my credit card benefits already cover, so I don’t pay for those benefits again (on the travel insurance policy). This has definitely saved me money when choosing travel insurance.

If you know of a great travel insurance plan for travelers that you’d like to share, please share! I regularly research all possibilities, so the more info, the better.


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.


Discover How to Get Anywhere by Plane, Train, Bus, Ferry, and Car

When I’m still in the planning stages of determining where I should travel, but I’m not sure of the wisest fort of transportation to use between two locations, I find it wise to go to Rome2Rio.com and…

  • enter my destinations

  • view all the possible ways of transporting myself between the two locations

  • then compare the time/ave. cost of each form of transportation (provided on Rome2Rio)

In these situations, Rome2Rio has helped me make my route decision more quickly than any other search method I’ve tried.


Pomelo Travel Discounted Flights

Before booking any flights, I first watch the (extremely cheap) flight alerts that Pomelo Travel has been sending to my email inbox. This is because 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.  So, hands down, I’ve found it invaluable to utilize this fare finder site.

  • they offer a free flight alert email list

  • they also offer a paid flight alert email list (to receive alerts sooner)

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

  • Then I always book my flights directly with the airlines

To ensure I’m prepared when the time comes to book, 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).

  • they offer a free flight alert email list

  • they also offer a paid flight alert email list (to receive alerts sooner)

  • I set up my Scott’s account so that 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 far more dates, so I look at as many dates as desired, to ensure I’m getting the best rate

  • Then I always book my flights directly with the airlines

To ensure I’m prepared when the time comes to book, 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 prefer 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‘m interested in…

  • 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 (I handle that for them)

  • this allows me to truly settle into one location

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 Airbnb reviews (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 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

  • understanding some things are out of the control of the Airbnb owner

  • not wanting to hurt the Airbnb owner’s feelings

There is no perfection, so this is the challenge I find with using Airbnbs. I work with this as kindly and respectfully as possible (I also contact Airbnb to share ideas on how they might change their process). 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 appearing 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 investigate ahead of time, to ensure 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 inside + outside photos)

  • 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 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 classes while traveling, especially reasonably priced classes (because I’m not buying long-term memberships). So I searched for quite a long time before I found these online classes that are…

  • 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)

 


Exploring Where My Ancestors Are From

One of the meaningful things I’ve enjoyed is having my DNA tested so I can more accurately travel to the locations it appears my ancestors have lived. Even though I knew much of my history, there were surprises (I’m hoping to discover who my grandmother’s father was). I chose 23andMe as my first DNA testing stop because they also provide a whole lot of (raw) health data I also really wanted. Worst case scenario: this has been fun. Best case scenario: I have valuable answers to some meaningful questions.


Veg Jaunts and Journeys

There are some places I want to visit, where I’d love to be with those seeking the same kind of food. 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.


Veg Voyages

Here are even more travel opportunities for those times when you want to be with others who are focused on mindful adventures and veg eating. Again, I’ve not yet tried them, but I’m keeping this here as my reminder to do so.


Vegan Travel

Last, but not least, one can even cruise with mindful others/vegan food. Not normally a cruiser, this would make it special for me. So I’ll have to check into this, too.


What Should I Do?

Trip Advisor | Vegan Festivals | Veg Fests

 


om: a mantra...used in contemplation...

venture: to go somewhere that is unknown...