Hacking is a way of finding short cuts or clever tricks to solve common problems. Many know this in the form of Life Hacks. My hope is to use some practical knowledge that I have, to help solve many of the large and small issues that a traveler might run across.
Knowing how to travel cheaply to a country can be the difference of going on the trip of a lifetime or not, gaining experiences that you will hold in your heart forever. Knowing how to use a clothespin to prevent giardia can allow you to continue to travel happily and safely!
Many of my tips come from personal experience and many of them come from the wealth of knowledge out there among the various travel blogs, sites and personal friends. My hope is not to guard these secrets, but to get them out to as many people as possible so that they can innovate for themselves. Maybe giving me some tips in return.
my top five travel hacks
1. Learn To Ride A Scooter
It can be difficult to separate yourself from the rest of the crowd when traveling. In many countries you can find scooter/motorcycle rental shops. Clearly there are lots of concerns around this - but if you feel comfortable riding through what can be crazy traffic, renting a scooter can get you out into the areas that few other tourists (if any!) are able to reach.
2. Bring flash cards
You will be amazed at how hard Flashcards are to find in many cities around the world. Bring your own and start studying the language on the plane or bus ride. Pro-Tip, write it out in the actual language and the romanized version. This way, if you need to point to the word because your pronunciation is so off, at least they can read what you are trying to say.
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3. find informal work
Most people want to deal with established organizations when they work or volunteer abroad. This is great for security and consistency, however you may want to consider finding your own space to volunteer. Research (guidebooks, guidebooks, guidebooks!) the location you are going to go, look for a cool town you want to exist in, and seek out the org’s that are close by. Then just call them up and see if you can work for them. Most will exchange food and lodgings for work.
4. Find flights in the "where we fly" section
When people ask me the hardest part about traveling, I always refer to flight prices. Getting discounted flights can be very difficult, but there are a variety of tips you can use. One good one, if you aren’t picky about where you are headed, is to look at the “where do we fly” section of the airlines that fly out of the airport closest to you. These flights will often have special deals you can take advantage of throughout the year.
5. Housing through servas.org
In an era where AirBnB and CouchSurfing have consumed all the oxygen in the conversation about housing, it's amazing that an organization like Servas.org hasn’t become more popular. This is essentially a temporary homestay option that is sponsored by the government. With International Memberships at less than $50 a year, this is a great investment.