Travel Hacks Part 2.
Listen up! For those of you who still give lame excuses on why you can't go travel, here are some more reasons for you to go out and do so. If you have not already read the first travel hacks article, check it out here before you continue!
I love to travel! The problem is that every country is different in terms of what you can expect when staying there. That is part of the adventure though! The more and more I travel, the more I realize how easy it is to actually travel for an extended period of time. These are five more travel hacks I have recently discovered on my adventures all over the world.
1) When buying tickets delete your cookies and run your computer through a VPN
One of the biggest insights I have recently had is about how the airline ticket algorithms function. Essentially, every time you search to go and buy a flight, data (cookies) is collected about you and the algorithms know that you have expressed interest in purchasing a flight. The next time you search for a flight, you might find that the ticket has gone up in price. This is because the airline companies are playing on the human psychology of 'buy it now before it goes up'. If you delete the cookies before you purchase a flight, you will often find that the ticket price has gone down in price from before, or at the very least has remained the same.
Although I have not personally tried this myself, I have heard that if you purchase a flight using a VPN, it will save you money as well. For those of you who don't know, VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. Every time you use it, it switches your Internet Provider (IP) address. VPNs are mostly used if you are traveling to countries that have restricted internet. However, VPNs are great for those of us who like another layer of anonymity. The theory goes that if you run the VPN through an IP that is from a country that is not as developed (say Indonesia for example), the flight algorithms will read that you come from a less developed country and will quote you a cheaper price.
2) Use ride sharing companies or railroad to get around.
When I went to Spain with my girlfriend this summer, I was very concerned that the cost of inter-European travel was going to be exorbitant. That was when we came across an awesome app called "Blablacar" (yes, I know its a silly name). This is a great way to save money when you want to travel all over Europe. We were able to travel from Bordeaux, France to Bilbao, Spain (nearly a six hour drive) for only 30 Euros a person using this company!
We were also shocked to find out that traveling Europe is even cheaper than expected. You can purchase a European Inter-rail pass for an unbelievably low price. No more flying from country to country. All you have to do is get on a train and ride from country to country.
3) Work for an NGO or a Social Enterprise
For those of you who don't already know, Americans have incredibly powerful visas. The fact that you are American makes you able to travel to a very large portion of the worlds nations without much hassle at all. Most places offer visa free tourist travel for up to two months, if not longer. If you want to stay in a country for much longer than your tourist visa permits, you might consider working for an Non-Government Organization (NGO) or Social Enterprise. With just a quick google scan, you can get in contact with companies that are looking for help to run their operations. Most of the time they will be able to provide you with an extended residency visa no problem!
4) Use Companies like Ticket Onward if you plan to stay for a long time
If you are an extended traveler like myself and you want to stay in different countries for longer than a month, often times you just want to buy a one way plane ticket to your destination. The problem is that countries are wising up and sometimes expect people to show "proof of onward travel". This is essentially 'proof' that you will leave the country when you go to visit. Good thing there are companies like Ticket Onward that provide cheap "proof of onward' travel tickets.
5) MAKE FRIENDS
I cannot express this enough. When you travel, you meet other awesome like minded people from all over the world. I know when I lived in China, I met people from Spain, Iceland, Canada, Serbia, Ukraine, Russia and Argentina and that is just to name a few. Other than the fact that everyone likes friends, meeting friends can afford you a place to stay and a local guide when you travel. It is the best way to save money and have the best trip possible!
Do something awesome and go on the trip of your dreams! You are getting older and you will only regret not making moves.