How I Used Travel Rewards Credit Cards, Debt Free, To Get 3 Free Flights, $150 Cash, and A Round Trip Ticket for My Girlfriend to Florida.

Want to start traveling but don’t have the money for a ticket? Learn how I used rewards programs to get myself 3 free flights and $150 bucks cash!

To date I’ve been able to use the points I’ve gained from my freedom card, and my southwest cards to get my airfare paid for to Costa Rica and Florida twice.

I did this all without carrying a balance. I prefer to save for large purchases and simply funnel the money through a credit card when I’m ready to make the purchase so as to take advantage of the cards rewards program benefits and to also keep the money in savings for as long as possible before required payback. If an opportunity comes along to invest the cash for higher rewards then I prefer to use that, however I always keep enough cash in the bank to pay off any balance I have.

If you’re like me, you want to enjoy traveling as much as possible all while maintaining a certain level of comfort. Some folks are ok with “roughing it” to save money, and I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to refill plastic water bottles to save money while traveling. You can have your cake and eat it too…

Folks that understand what rewards travel is understand that with rewards you can buy things like free food onboard airlines, free nights stays, and free airline tickets.

Yes you heard me right, free whole airline tickets can be had when using credit cards with rewards programs. This is merely only the tip of the iceberg but I’ve included some of my personal cards that I’ve used to get free flights, free points, money back and more.

The Chase Freedom Card

Chase Freedom Card

I’ve mostly only used this card for it’s cash-back for spending, which has more than paid for itself, and it’s not hard to meet the minimum $500 in the first 3 months to get the bonus. 

This is a great card for anyone just starting out and is perfect for someone trying to rebuild their credit. You can use it as a cash lending program to yourself to afford expenses and then take the added savings you’d have to pay down debt faster. 

To date I’ve gotten nearly 30,000 rapid rewards points on it, but the real advantage Is the cash-back and the 0% interest they charge for the first 15 months. 

Here’s what the card offers: 

  • $150 when you spend $500, free money basically for buying groceries. 
  • Up to 15 months 0% interest; low interest loan.
  • 5% cash back on select purchases quarterly, get money for spending on your normal expenses.

Save it, spend it, invest it, doesn’t matter what you do with the cash but it’s yours to keep. I used it to pay off part of my $33,555 in student loan debt in less than 3 years.

In my humble opinion this card is a great way for a new traveler to earn enough cash back in a year to fully offset the cost of an airline ticket to somewhere domestic or even as far reaching as the Caribbean (if you are US based) without having to go into any debt so long as you pay off the card each billing cycle.

I never recommend going into debt for travel, but strategically spending money you would have spent and just funneling it through a rewards card first is a great way to earn yourself a little bonus each year.

So to summarize:

With a minimum spending of $500 to earn the first $150 this is a great way to earn a little extra change towards travel in your first year, and without any fees or 0% interest for the first 15 months I think it’s a no brainer.

Click Here to Apply for the Card and if you are approved for the card you can earn a $150 bonus for spending normally on things like groceries, household items and other necessary expenses.

NEW: The Freedom Unlimited Card By Chase

Chase Freedom Unlimited Card

If you are planning to make a larger purchase for a needed expense, like say buying a new ac unit for a rental property, or doing a full overhaul of your transmission on that clunker that you have because in the long run that car will pay for itself if you resist the urge to upgrade and simply have it paid cash, then you can probably use this card.

What it offers:

  • $150 when you spend $500, free money basically for buying things like groceries, phone bill, internet, and gas.
  • Up to 15 months 0% interest; low interest loan.
  • 1.5% cash back on all purchases, which means you get money for spending on your normal expenses.

So to summarize:

Same perks as the chase Freedom, only a little better, you get 1.5% cash back on all purchases regardless of category. So whether your just using it for groceries, or you put all your expenses on it like phone, internet, groceries, and the occasional big purchase, you can expect to get some whopping points back if you do.

If you’ve already been approved for the chase freedom you might want to check out the freedom unlimited card.

Click Here to Apply for the Card and if you are approved for the card you can earn a $150 bonus for spending normally on things like groceries, household items and other necessary expenses.

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Card

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When I signed up for the southwest Rapid rewards credit card I got the card when they were offering 40,000 points when you spend $1000 in the first 3 months. Shortly there after they changed the offer to 60,000 points when you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months.

So I decided it was worth a shot to give them a call and see If I could get the same offer and low and behold ask and you shall receive. I got them to add an extra 20,000 points when I spent a measly $1000 on normal purchases, groceries, cell phone expense, auto insurance, and anything else I needed to buy. 

Pro tip: save a big purchase for when you open your account, i.e. if you are thinking about getting a new laptop for work or you need to buy some work clothes or you will be buying new tires for your car and getting other service work done on your car, why not just funnel the money you have saved through your card and get the points for using it? Just be sure to not carry a balance the next month.

Why do I love flying southwest?

  • The crew members love what they do, and they have a lot of fun at work. They are actually one of my favorite reasons to fly southwest…The crew make every flight a fun one.
  • Their rewards program is straight MON-AY!
  • Spend $1000 in first 3 months get $690 approx.
  • No Blackout dates, and points don’t expire as long as your account has activity.
  • 3,000 anniversary points each year
  • VIP status gets you even more goodies like free wifi and priority boarding.

When you spend $1,000 in your first 3 months you get 40,000 points you can use towards no black out date flights (there is about a .017 rewards point redemption rate so this is about $680 in flight redemption – pretty good).

Also you get 2x points on all SW tickets, money spent at partner hotels, and partner car rentals, as well as no foreign fees, chip protection and fraud alert.

Oh and you also get 6,000 anniversary points each year you stay with SouthWest. 

The only con to this card is the $69 yearly fee but I’ve had friends confirm that you can call and have them wave the fee, if you ask nicely, for the first year. Even after the fee, the $600+ in flight savings easily pays for itself.

Click here to apply for the card and if you are approved for the card you can earn a 40,000 point bonus for spending normally on things like groceries, household items and other necessary expenses, that’s over $500 in flight rewards on Southwest!

What is my next Travel Rewards Credit Card?

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The United Mileage Plus Explorer Card

This is another one of my favorite cards and the next one I will get.

Though sometimes a little more expensive, United is one of my favorite major airlines because of their extensive network of flights. They literally fly to every continent but Antarctica. See map below:

united-flight-map

Reasons to get it: 

  • 40,000 bonus points when you spend $2,000 in your first 3 months
  • Priority boarding
  • First bag flies for free (and they have an actual tracking system for the bag so it is located every step of the way).
  • Oh and another thingno pesky foreign transaction fees, damn near ate me alive in costa rica with this one…

I honestly have a love hate with United because of their merger with Continental and the changes that the employees have had to deal with (having personally known a few flight attendants for 20+ years).

If you’ve ever tried to track your bag using something like Lug Lock Luggage Tracker then you know it can be rather difficult. When an airline offers to check your bags they are assuming the risk should your bags get lost, and united uses a point to point tracking system to ensure that your effects are checked at every leg of your flight. 

Though customer service isn’t what they are known for, the 40,000 bonus points on $2,000 in the first 3 months is a good enough reason to get me back in their seats.

Beyond that, they also offer 20% off inflight purchases, 1st bag flies for free, no foreign transaction fees, and 2 united club tickets a year (lounge service!).

Go here to apply for the card: United Mileage Plus Rewards

Some final Thoughts…

I never recommend getting into debt; however, strategic spending on a travel rewards credit card for normal expenses (gas, groceries, car payment, rent) and then paying off your card balance each month is one of the best ways to earn free flights and rewards.

Keep in mind too, there is nothing wrong with having multiple cards open at the same time, if you are smart and don’t use them for petty purchases but instead use them to fund smart purchases that you’ve saved for, then you can reap some major rewards.

I wouldn’t recommend getting a travel credit card if I have a lot of outstanding debt; however, for those who pay off their cards each month and operate on a cash basis it’s nice to get a little reward for your spending every now and then such as free flights, hotels, car rentals and cash back.

Check out my other article on why I gave up using my rewards credit cards for everyday purchases here. Now I only put automated expenses on this card and I simply leave it at home. By automating your expenses and then automating the payments you never miss the money as you already budgeted for it and you don’t see it go.

So don’t think that spending $500 a year on coffee on these cards is going to be worth it, use it when you have a major purchase or expense for your business and then reap the rewards.

What about you, how do you use travel rewards programs (or don’t) to travel around the world? Let us know in the comments below.

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Guide to Navigating Austin City Limits: What to do, See, and Where to Eat

Guide to Navigating Austin City Limits: What to do, See, and Where to Eat

If you’re familiar with the Music scene in the US then you’re probably familiar with Austin City Limits, the city wide music festival that engulfs the whole city in a sea of strange people, delicious food, and savory beer. This month long music festival happens every year and will be kicking off this weekend with shows and musical fun all weekend long.

In order to help you hit the ground running, we put together a list of common places to stay, eat, how to travel, and other fun activities besides the festival. If you enjoyed this article or found it useful please feel free to share on facebook, pinterest, and with friends and family.

Where to stay

Map of Austin Districts
Map of Austin Districts

Hostels, hotels, apartments for rent, room shares, and free accommodation.

Whether you’re on a shoe string budget or you’re looking to ball out with a luxury apartment Austin has the right place for you.

Accommodation when traveling:

hostelworld.com – find cheap and affordable hostels, 2,4,8 bed dorms and privates.

hostelbookers.com – another good alternative for booking inexpensive accommodation.

airbnb.com – rooms, homes, luxury homes, apartments, and …other forms of accommodation are all for rent here.

Some good Airbnb alternatives include: 

homeaway.com and VBRO.com

P.s. If you’re ever in Europe checkout housetrip.com and avoid the Airbnb 3% fee.

Some free accommodation resources: 

couchsurfing.com – festivals are kind of the one time that couch surfers aren’t super excited to host. Outside of ACL though you will find a lively CS scene with folks meeting up weekly for various activities. You do need to create a detailed profile in order to get a decent response to messages.

Facebook – stay with friends and family and offer something in exchange for their hospitality.

Lots of times people will list their flat or whole apartment for the weekend and you can score a pretty sweet location near all the action.

Pro tip: The closer you are to Downtown (DT) the better because you don’t have to deal with traffic and everything is within walking distance.

Staying on the East Side or South of Congress will be lower cost and will afford you proximity to some really cool music venues and bars around town.

Where to Eat

Map of Austin Districts
Map of Austin Districts

Whether you’re here to work, train or just to enjoy the festival you’ll love these restaurants. All but one of them are good for your budget AND good for your belly.

Also, this is not a complete list of all the healthy spots in Austin just our favorite spots to grub out so if we missed your favorite restaurant then please know that we aren’t hating on them we just didn’t include them in this list. If you make it out to just a few of these then your belly and your taste buds will appreciate you.

The Beer Plant: Location – Terry Town

My favorite Vegan Gastropub, they serve whole food plant based fare with a wonderful lineup of 30+ delicious beers and several more wines and spirits to offer. Great for a lunch or evening spot, though they also serve brunch on Sundays. Make sure to call ahead to reserve a spot. $$ website: Thebeerplant.com

Citizen Eatery: Location – Allandale 

Contemporary Vegan and Vegetarian Food in an open and warm space. 10% off for ACL wrist band holders. Just show your wrist band and they will apply the 10% to your ticket final value (limit 1 per customer) $$ website: citizeneatery.com

Mother’s Cafe: Location – Hyde Park

Mother’s Cafe has been around Austin longer than I’ve been on the earth. This place has been serving up good vegetarian and vegan eats to the Austin community for over 30+ years. The food here is great and the setting is nice and quaint. You won’t regret coming here and trying their vegan enchiladas or getting some of their coconut ice cream. $$ website: Motherscafe.com

Counter Culture: Location – East Side

This is one of my primary staples in Austin. My girlfriend and I come here at least once a month and they are by far the most unique with their menu. Seasonal items and weekly specials decorate their menu often. This place is good for breakfast, lunch and dinner and they serve both kombucha and alcohol. You can expect them to be rather busy during Austin City Limits but it’s still worth a stop by to get your grub on. $$ Website: countercultureaustin.com

Mr. Natural: Location – East Side & South Lamar

Located right down the road from Counter Culture, this is the second location of Mr. Natural, the other being located in ‘Deep South’ Austin, off of South Lamar.

I love this place because if features healthy plant based food that has a Mexican flare and influence. The owners are originally from Mexico and when my girlfriend and I went to their buffet (definitely worth it if you are in Austin when they have one) we learned how the owners started the restaurant as a way of educating the local hispanic community on the benefits of a plant based diet and taking care of one’s health.

They also have a natural supplements shop located right next door in a separate building on the East side location. $$  website: mrnatural-austin.com

Arlos: Location – They have 3 different food trucks

One is located at the Spider House Cafe, another on the East Side, and one on Red River Street near 6th Street. They serve one of the best vegan burgers in town and they are definitely great after bar / concert food. Treat yourself and your friends to one of their vegan cheese burgers and you won’t regret it. And everything on their menu is vegan but feel free to ask if you have any questions or concerns. $ website: www.arlostruck.com

The Clay Pot: Location – Downtown northwest of the Capital Grounds

If you are staying near or in the Downtown district, and you are hankering for some really good Indian food then stop by the Clay Pot for lunch or dinner. They have some amazing Channa Masala and Aloo Gobi. $$ website: clay-pot.com

Casa De Luz: Location – SoCo (south of Congress Ave.) Next to Zilker Park

An experimental kitchen / food and holistic education center, Casa De Luz is setup in a contemporary cafeteria setting. It’s a bit deceiving when you walk in. If you haven’t been there before you may think you’re wandering into a meditation center or a zen garden by mistake. Make not mistake you are in the right spot.

You pay for your drinks and the meal of the day when you walk in and then it is self serve from there. The smiling faces of the people in the kitchen and the delicious aromas lingering in the air while you’re waiting in line, are enough to make anyone have an appetite. $ website: casadeluz.org

Juice Land: Location – Various spots around town

If you’re in the mood for something tasty, healthy and easy on the budget then check out Juice Land. You can grab a smoothie, a juice, a sandwich, a wrap or tabouli all for around $20 bucks (mix or match). Most food trucks will cost around or more than eating at Juice Land. The benefit to coming to a Juice Land, is that you’re doing your body good and not deviating too much from your training. Remember there are multiple spots around town, so look out for one while you are out and about. $ website: juiceland.com

$ = under $15 (per person); $$ = 15 – 30 (per person); $$$ = 30 – 50 (per person)

Getting around the Live Music Capital

The city streets become congested with cars for the 2+ weeks of ACL, and driving becomes even more of a pain when you’re here in the thick of it. If you want some advice from a 25 year Austin native, I’d suggest you look at a few other forms of transit to get you around.

Take a ride share:  

Probably the most common and the most frequented option and the best alternative to taking a taxi.

Lyft is the ride share of choice in my book because they are the most reasonably priced, pay their drivers well, and they have plenty of drivers out on the roads.

Download the app here Lyft App and use Promo code Kristian51907 to get $5 bucks off your first ride.

You can also check out rideaustin.com; fasten.com ; Getme; and SoberMonkeys (they will drive your car home for you).

Take a Chariot: 

This is probably the best resource for ACLer’s this week and next. If you haven’t heard about Chariot yet then you need to check it out.

Chariot is a new app in town that offers shuttle service around the downtown scene. They came into Austin in 2017 for SXSW and I got a chance to speak with one of the reps about their service. A San Francisco based startup Chariot is focusing on solving the Austin and San Francisco Traffic Problem. They offer routs around town that cater to professional and working class folks but lends itself well to the music, food and bar scene as well. Checkout their rout options here: https://www.chariot.com/routes

Download Chariot on the App Store and use the coupon code: 3O6EO to get a free ride for a whole week.

Map of Chariot Routes in Austin
Map of Chariot Routes in Austin

Travel by foot: 

If you pick a spot closer to the east side or downtown sure you may pay more of a premium to get near the venues but you can also save yourself the $30+ dollars a day on the car rental, and the $40 + in gas you’ll be forking over for that vehicle. Not to mention the insurance claim that may come out of trying to drive in Austin traffic…

Rent a bicycle:

The most efficient and easy (in my opinion) way to get around Austin. You can rent a bike a a local shop, pick one up at walmart for cheap, or simply use Austin’s done for you service bicycle share Austin BCycle.

Austin BCycle – The popular system offers an easy and affordable way of getting around Austin and a healthy alternative to driving. And the best part, you don’t have to worry about locking your bike because of the easy return locations all across town. Find out more on their site at http://austinbcycle.com/

Map of Austin BCycle spots
Map of Austin BCycle spots

Take the Bus:

The least expensive method, second to walking, and when taken locally and combined with a bicycle can be a good mode of transport around ACL, probably even faster than travel by car.

Where to find the schedule —>  https://www.aclfestival.com/ or you can check out the lineup poster right here: https://www.aclfestival.com/lineup/poster

Other Activities to do In Austin

I like to use the site ShowlistAustin.com to find free shows around Austin. Every year there are more paid shows and less free spots to find great live music, but if there are free shows happening or there are people under 21+ in your party then definitely check out this site.

It was put together by a local Austinite who was tired of not knowing what was playing in Austin each week.

The author of the site defines their strategy for finding shows as follows:

“I go by the information that I gather from websites, newspaper ads, flyers, etc. Therefore, some of the information might be inaccurate. I will try as best I can to make it accurate. Please don’t hang me if it’s not – just let me know.”

I expect this to be pretty full during Austin City Limits.

Barton Springs: This Natural Spring fed pool is a great place to cool off after a hot Texas summer day, or even a warm day at ACL. Barton springs in home to hippy yogis, corporate execs, and bristling bronzed lifeguards, along with pups, kids, families and grandparents. Go between 9 – 10 am and get in free. All pricing info is found at http://www.austintexas.gov/page/barton-springs-pool-schedule.

If you are looking for a little less crowded spot, check out deep eddy pool, also spring fed but lesser known. Parking could be a little tricky so riding a bike would definitely have it’s benefits.

LBJ Library: Check out this historic land mark which is one of 14 presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. Having more than 45 million pages, 650,000 photos and over 5,000 hours of recordings you could probably spend the rest of your life in this library.

Take a Duck tour: If you want to check out the river from a duck’s view and you want a scenic tour by land then you need to check out the Austin Duck Tours. According to their site it’s:

“An amphibious tour of downtown Austin, Texas and beautiful Lake Austin inside one of our Unsinkable, US coast guard inspected, Hydra Terra vehicles. Austin Duck Adventures is Austin’s best tour with 75 minutes of sightseeing that includes Historic Sixth Street, the State Capitol Building, Bob Bullock State History Museum, the Governor’s Mansion, and Lake Austin.”

Check out their site at http://austinducks.com/

Taking a Run Around Town Lake

Open to the public and free, this city designed trail lends itself to runners and walkers alike. You can come out to congress bridge and find parking down on the south end of the river. This time of year though, parking will be cramped so it may not be a bad idea to find a ride share, bus, or bike to the south side of town lake and start your run.

Renting a Standup Paddle Board or Kayak and getting out on the water

Year round, Austin is a great city to be able to get outdoors and have some good clean fun, and what better way then to go out and enjoy our lovely lake. You can rent a kayak or paddle board for the day, at a variety of locations, and paddle the days away while you are enjoying the sunny Austin weather. Paddle yourself near Zilker and maybe catch some free live music.

 

Whether you’re coming to Austin for the weekend or staying for good, there is plenty to do here and you won’t find yourself getting bored. There is literally live music every night of the week, you just have to know where to find it.

If you’re looking to hit up ACL fest but you don’t yet have tickets check out Facebook market place, the ACL site, or head over to showlistaustin.com and see about catching some free music shows around town.

P.s. want to see more of the great state of Texas? Get the travel guide here and never miss a thing while on your trip though Texas. http://amzn.to/2fZZUe2

Lonely Planet Texas Guide
Lonely Planet Texas Guide

 

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A Review of Pure Vegan, THE Vegan Restaurant in Tamarindo Costa Rica, Guanacaste

Do you find yourself craving a delicious and healthy meal that isn’t going to add weight to your waistline? Did you just finish crushing a gnarly set and have a huge appetite? Are you avoiding going to the dark side to get a good grub on? Well I happened to stumble upon just the place for you then my friend.

Do you find yourself craving a delicious and healthy meal that isn’t going to add weight to your waistline? Did you just finish crushing a gnarly set and have a huge appetite? Are you avoiding going to the dark side to get a good grub on? Well I happened to stumble upon just the place for you then my friend.

Whether you’re vegan or not, the food here is to die for. If you have ever been to Thai Land you know just how good pad Thai can get. And I’m not talking about Amy’s Pad Thai…

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Amy’s Pad Thai. Vegan Food Quickly.

The stuff is good, but it’s nothing like fresh Pad Thai.

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Delicious Pad Thai food down in Tamarindo Costa Rica.

This Pad Thai was mad in the kitchen and was fresh, with peanuts and a squeeze of lime. Reminded me much of Thailand when I got to grub out.

At any point of the year you will find tourist wandering around, men hawking cigars and weed, and fire dancers dancing outside of your dinner spot randomly. There are surf board rental places scattered all over town and you find that many of the restaurants are run by foreigners.

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Even in paradise one needs a vacation!

If you are coming down to Tamarindo you can stay one of two places, on the beach or not. On the beach you will pay a premium, off the beach you will walk some distance to the beach but it is easily done by foot.

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Cost of food here at Pura Vegan is average for restaurants in the area. You are looking at $10-12 for a plate here. Tamarindo, before the huge boom in 2000 would have been much cheaper but since the inception of paved roads back before 2000 the place has been booming ever since.

Taxes are 13% for the country of Costa Rica, and most restaurants have a 10% service charge for tip to the waiters and waitresses. That will be factored into the cost.

If you’re looking for a chill place to eat some good healthy food be sure to check out Pura Vegan at puravegancr.com/ or on Facebook at @puravegantamarindo. Pura Vegan is located right near the center of Tamarindo.

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Delicious vegan cuisine in Tamarindo Costa Rica, Guanacaste.

In addition to the delicious Pad Thai (which took mere minutes to bring out) I got to sample some of the local KAmbucha.co kombucha and it was rockin’. 

Karita McLaughlin, a native to Vancouver Island Canada, moved down here to Guanacaste to heal her leaky gut and ended up starting a business with her sister and business partner. Now she is moving all across Costa Rica teaching the locals about the health benefits of probiotic drinks and fermented foods like Kombucha.

You can check out all her 11 flavors at kambucha.co and on Facebook at facebook.com/kambuchaco.

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6 Strategies to Fund Your Travel Lifestyle

If you’re like me you hate being stuck in one spot in life, whether that’s physically or mentally, it eats you up inside. You are constantly striving for change in the form of growth and one of the best ways I know of to grow and change is with environmental shift. Pick up and move to another country, heck why not another continent? The shift brings you pleasure and a sense of freedom where for others the thought of leaving everything behind gives them anxiety. Not you though.

But you may be left wondering, how can I do it? How will I actually fund a lifestyle abroad if I can’t take my job or career with me? The simple answer. Get a new job or career. It’s not rocket science (unless that is your field of research…) you just apply online for roles that meet your skills or you look for something new. Be a nanny and enlist teacher, work on a cruise ship, go teach English in China, Singapore, Korea, Japan or Taiwan, or even start a blog like this one. Whatever it is there is opportunity for work anywhere you go. But you first have to ask the question Why.

Most people talk a lot of smack about going off and traveling the world, but most never end up doing it. In this article I’m going to talk about a few of the strategies I’ve used to make long term travel a possibility. 

Method 1: Work Hard, Save Harder.

The easiest way to start with is to simply save more than you spend and work extra to make this happen. Cut back on excess spending by creating a budget and noting down everything that you spend money on. Become a miser and don’t spend a penny on something that is outside of your travel or Jiu Jitsu spending.

220px-Labor-Pearce-Highsmith-detail-1

This is probably the simplest and fastest way to fund your travels. Rolf Potts did it with teaching English in Korea and so can you. You can just move to Korea, teach English for 2 years and you too can save enough money to actually travel the world for 18 months. So long as you eat at local eateries, couch surf, and only eat rice and boloney sandwiches for 2 years prior to your trip. Oh, and no going out to parties or bars for that 2 years either.

You can read more about his adventures in his book Vagabonding if that sort of minimalist living tickles your fancy.

Vagabonding By Rolf Potts

Method 2: Sell Stuff Online

Just go out to a local garage sale or thrift shop and look for stuff selling well on ebay or etsy, with amazon look for stuff that is selling well in NEW condition.

MSOL_Ebay_AmazonBuy it cheap, take it home, create a free account with ebay or amazon, and then list it. Once it sells, do it again. Once you’ve sold your first thing do it again. Find stuff cheap on craigslist, thrift stores, and at garage sales and then flip it on ebay and amazon. Do this enough and you could pay for a trip to Costa Rica round trip with surf camp for a week. That’s what I’ve done to make over $5000 in my first year on the side. Once you have a good solid handle on that you can move to method 3, of starting your own business.

Method 3: Start a Business:

There are more online businesses than you can count and each of them has their merits.

If you’re not living in the united states then it’s a bit different. You would need to register an LLC in the states and then do something like Drop shipping or Amazon Merch to make a location independent business.

Probably my favorite method is merch since you don’t even need a business registered (though it will certainly provide you more protection) you will really only need an internet connection, and a design background. Personally I only have one of these… but I’m still using this model. Just one of my internet income spokes.

Sign up for your free merch account here: merch.amazon.com

Method 4: Start a blog, like this one:

You may not make much money off it, but you can sure use it to report your travels back home to friends and family and help keep everyone in the loop. After some time if things really take off, you can hire a designer to build you a fully optimized website and run SEO on it to help pull in more traffic and lead ultimately to more sales.

For the best sites to checkout I like just using the free stuff while you’re getting setup and used to how they work, then you can always migrate your content or pay someone to do so for you later. WordPress.com, blogger.com, tumblr.com are just a few examples of free sites that you can use and require no startup cost. Now just like merch it’s easy to undervalue these services; however, if your focus is on providing great content and delivering it to a global audience then these are a great place to start.

You can of course get into paid hosting sites. Every blogger is going to have their own affiliate link (and thus be biased), but really they all do virtually the same thing. They all have dedicated customer service, and all cost money to host on their platform. I suggest that you start out free on one of the afore mentioned ones and then move to a paid for site once you have an audience.

Method 5: Start Creating Valuable Content

One of my other new favorites of the free startup space is amazon’s Create space website. You can create content (though good content will usually sell better), and upload it to create space. When it sells, Amazon writes you a check.

Again, I like this because it’s passive. Sure you aren’t making 100% of the sale, but do you really want to walk around and try and hand out your shitty book to people on the streets? No, of course not right? So why would you try and sell it on craigslist or Facebook or anything other than the largest market place in the world -> amazon. Again with this you can register an LLC and register for free even if you are not a US citizen. Seriously consider this one.

Method 6: Start a Youtube or Instagram Account

When it comes to youtube. You won’t make all your money there, you can use it to build a relationship much like what email is or Facebook messenger.

This is just a way of connecting with your audience and to help them with solving their problems and offering value to them. You of course can make money referring people to affiliate programs and selling other things like coaching, merch, and create space books and such. Or just simply the PDF through your email autoresponder like nomadicmatt.com does. 

Bonus Method: Learn Email and Affiliate Marketing

This one takes time and effort, so if you’re one of those get rich quick folks you should probably stop reading now. This isn’t for you.

You can take what you know about talking with people and find an area of explicit interest, such as travel, and then offer a solution to a problem you find in this space. Such as funds.

So when you hear someone talk about how they “can’t afford to travel” you can simply offer ‘6 ways to fund their travel’. Then when they are interested in learning more about what you mean you can direct them to your website where they can learn from your almost decade + years of travel experience and mistakes, feel as though they’ve received value and that they would like to continue receiving value and click “find out when there are updates” button on your site to stay in touch.

Over several months and years you can develop a relationship with them and then 6 or 12 months from now they will buy something that you offer on your site and in your emails to them.

The only problem that most people have with this method is that they are trying to sell something too early. They push and push and ask upfront and they fail to understand how this business works. You have to provide value, insight, wisdom, entertainment, and then people feel that they wish to reciprocate only once they feel they’ve been understood. Not when you wish them to buy.

To Wrap Things Up

So there you have it. 5 Strategies to go out and start funding your travels.

If you’re like me you probably get overwhelmed with too much information, so how’s this. Start today. Sign up for merch, look at your local garage sales, and start working a second job. If you do all three of those things today, and you really start learning ANY of these skills then you can start seeing your travel funds grow and your travel experiences with it.

What you need not do is worry about which one is right for you, pick any of them, but don’t get discouraged, just start. It took me almost 6 years to get from reading books like ‘The 4 Hour Work Week’ to actually sitting on a beach in Central America and enjoying surf lessons all week long.

Just go out and get started, even if you fall flat on your face with a couple of different strategies it’s ok because it cost you very little.

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