Lost in Transaction

One of the most startling travel epiphanies I've had in recent years came on a trip to Burma, when I was counting out small change so I could buy a packet of toilet tissues. The Burmese kyat had recently suffered a jag of devaluation, and when I'd tallied up my toilet-tissue money, I noticed that it consisted of twelve small denomination bills. Given that Burmese tissues came in packets of ten, it occurred to me that it would be more economical to just wipe my ass in kyat and pocket the difference. Though this Burma experience was an unusually vivid… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (0)  | February 7, 2015
Category: Asia, Money Management

5 Ways to finance your travel dreams

One of the most interesting aspects of traveling is meeting the fascinating array of people who manage to make their travel dreams a reality. We’ve met young people and retirees, couples, single parents and families of every sort you can imagine. One of the things that always strikes us is the resourcefulness of this community and the many ways that people find to create income and finance their dreams. The world economy is changing. The financial “security” that our parents generation enjoyed is not nearly as secure. The way people make money and work jobs is changing as fast as… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (2)  | October 7, 2014
Category: Money Management, Vagabonding Life

Why We Buy Dumb Souvenirs

Here's a curious trivia tidbit from U.S. history: In 1786, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams took leave from their Europe-based diplomatic duties and traveled to Stratford-upon-Avon to visit the home of William Shakespeare. Not much was recorded of the occasion, but one fact of their pilgrimage to the Bard's birthplace stands out: At some point during the tour, the two American statesmen brandished pocketknives, carved a few slivers from a wooden chair alleged to have been Shakespeare's, and spirited them home as souvenirs. In retrospect, it's easy to look back on this incident and conclude that -- in terms of… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (1)  | August 30, 2014
Category: Money Management, Travel Bargains, Travel Writing, Vagabonding Advice

How bank points can be the best for free flights.

Most people are somewhat familiar with the concept of collecting frequent flier miles. My husband and I have built our whole travel strategy around frequent flier miles in fact, but there's another travel reward currency with huge benefits once you understand how it works. Bank points.  Specifically I'm referring to "American Express Membership Rewards" and "Chase Ultimate Rewards." First lets go over what these points are and how to earn them.  Then, we'll take a look at why they're beneficial to have around. What are Amex points and Chase points? When you see an airline card that earns miles, you… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (0)  | May 22, 2014
Category: Air Travel, Money Management, Travel Bargains

Have you ever run out of money while travelling?

Recently, I had my first experience, and it was a humbling, scary experience that challenged my fortitude and my creativity on a new level. We could have given up, defeated, but we held strong, kept the struggle to ourselves (because my Grandma would have been worried sick!), and we pushed through it. I have only been broke once- right after my divorce. I made it out of that rut pretty quickly because A) My new business took off, and B) I had family and friends nearby who occasionally brought food or baked goods. I am cautious with my money, especially… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (2)  | January 6, 2014
Category: Money Management

Cash & Carry: What do you do about money on the road?

Dealing with money on the road can be a real pain in the ass.  You want to have enough on hand at all times, but not too much, because then you worry about it being stolen out of your bag or back pocket. If your journey is taking you along the trail well traveled, from city to city, and not far off of the hostel row, then the odds are good that you’ll have no problems. ATMs are plentiful and as long as you’ve got that ubiquitous four digit numeric code for your PIN, you’ll have constant access to your… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (3)  | June 25, 2013
Category: Money Management, On The Road, Vagabonding Life

How I travelled 3000 km in India on 110 US $

I sat down and tried to calculate how much money I spent visiting India last year, my way: the balance is ridiculously low. India is a cheap country, yes, but this would not have been possible without a few tricks. Here is a lowdown on how I managed to spend 110$ for 6 weeks travelling from Kolkata to Delhi in North India, taking it slow, and doing a  lot side trips. Hopefully the following suggestions may be useful for someone else! You are in India, PAY like and Indian This is a basic rule that applies to all of my… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (6)  | April 25, 2013
Category: Asia, Destinations, Money Management, On The Road, Simplicity, Vagabonding Life

It’s all about priorities

In the back of your mind you’re thinking you’d love to drop out of everything and take off to travel with your family for an extended period of time. C’mon – admit it. Maybe you aren’t interested in doing it on bicycles, but in a boat? Or on horseback? Or RV? Walking? Running maybe?  Or perhaps you'd prefer using public transport of every conceivable variety? You’d love to tell your boss you’re taking off – and actually do it. But then you come back to reality. You’ve got a house you need to pay for.  Car payments to make… Pay off… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (1)  | April 9, 2013
Category: Money Management

Bargaining in Asia: tips and tricks

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="A fabric vendor and traveler at a market in Luang Prabang, Laos. Photo: Joaquin Uy / Flickr"][/caption] It's a well-worn practice the world over: customers and vendors talking price. CNNGo tackled this issue in a post titled How to bargain: the ultimate guide to scoring a deal in the markets of Asia. Many of the tips will be familiar to experienced vagabonders: shop around, be polite, and be ready to walk away. What makes the article special is the little details about particular destinations. Some examples: The superstition over the first sale of the day and… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (0)  | November 19, 2012
Category: Money Management, Notes from the collective travel mind, Travel Bargains

Don’t wait for luck; make the decision and change your life

I recently got an email from Jen and Ted, a pair of Canadian Vagabonding readers who perfectly sum up how, sometimes, the most important thing one must do in order to travel the world long-term is to simply realize that it is possible. Here's their story, in Jen's words: I have been unsure for the past few months how to word this, as this is basically the biggest thank you of my life. Our story is as follows: My husband & I have been married just over 2 years and were (unknowingly) stuck going about the typical life pattern of… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (7)  | September 26, 2012
Category: Feedback, Money Management