My now boyfriend and I met at that corporate job and immediately realized we’re meant for something more. We shouldn’t be confined by the norms of society; we’re meant to live limitless. We started our own business that would allow us to work from anywhere in the world. Below are ten of my favorite travel hacks that I’ve learned while traveling to a total of 23 countries. – Writes Sarah Dunn.
Sarah Dunn is the co-founder of We Live Limitless and the co-host of the No Limit Podcast, where she and her boyfriend Prince interview successful entrepreneurs about how they’ve obtained success and continue to live limitless. Sarah is a California-raised, free-spirited xenophile. She’s been to 23 countries and 23 of the 50 states!
This post is written by a guest contributor. Opinions her/his own.
Imagine receiving the reward of a lifetime: free flights with United Airlines for a year.
That’s what happened to me in 2013.
I didn’t know it was coming — it came as a complete surprise. I didn’t win a contest, I didn’t win the lottery, and my dad’s not a pilot.
My friend’s mom however had worked for United for many years and has the gift (and curse, I’m sure) of being able to delegate free flights to any one person for the entire year. (I only say curse because many friends and family members tried to bribe or beg her for the free flights. Making the decision who would get the flights isn’t something I’d want to do.)
To take it back a moment — my childhood friend and I had been traveling in Thailand the year before when she walked herself into a disastrous and dangerous situation (I’ll spare the details here). Our summer vacation turned into a living nightmare and we spent weeks navigating the medical and court system in a developing country.
As a gift for my assistance, the year after helping my friend out of distress, I was given this unique opportunity to travel for free!
Knowing that for most people opportunities like this don’t even happen once in a lifetime, I acted fast. Within two weeks of receiving the news, I had quit my job, sublet my room, packed my bags and was on the first flight to Argentina.
Over the next nine months, I traveled from Argentina to Chile, to Taiwan, to eleven other countries in between before wistfully wrapping up my RTW (“round-the-world” for you novice travelers) trip in Mexico that December.
Come January 2014, I returned to–what many of my envious friends called–“the real world” without skipping a beat. I jumped right back into work, fifty hours a week as if that year of travel never happened.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that I was never meant for the “real world”; I was destined for something more.
I never again wanted to be tied to a cubicle, one job, or the same location for the rest of my life.
My now boyfriend and I met at that corporate job and immediately realized we’re meant for something more. We shouldn’t be confined by the norms of society; we’re meant to live limitless.
We started our own business that would allow us to work from anywhere in the world. The lifestyle I lived while traveling wasn’t something I wanted to give up for this “real world” everyone talked about.
Below are a few of my favorite travel hacks that I’ve learned while traveling to a total of 23 countries… and counting. 🙂
The best two things to pack
A raincoat: It doesn’t matter if you’re going to Hawaii in the middle of summer or the desert, a raincoat is always one of the best things to pack. Aside from the obvious (rain), it can shield you from harsh winds, add an extra layer of warm, or double as a pillow.
Earplugs: I spent the majority of the year sleeping on friends’ couches or in hostels. I traded in my privacy, but I saved upwards of fifty dollars a night or more on accommodation. Earplugs and an eye mask (if that’s your thing) will help you sleep better, allowing you to rest up for your next day of travel or exploration.
Traveling doesn’t have to be expensive
Although you likely won’t be flying free like I did, that doesn’t mean you have to pay a fortune for your flight.
Booking one-way tickets, flights with layovers, or flying mid-week are easy ways to save on flights. Fareness is a new service that makes is super easy to find the cheapest ticket options by allowing you to compare prices across multiple dates and different locations.
Invest in credit card that’ll give you mileage rewards in exchange for signing up with them. Over the past year, my boyfriend and I have flown to ten cities for free thanks to our Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.
“An investment in travel in an investment in yourself” –Matthew Karsten
Rent a bike
Skip the hassle of renting a car or adhering to the train’s timetable… see the city by a bike! Biking is the easiest way to cover a lot of ground, especially if you’re strapped for time. I love that you can cruise on the road like a car or on the sidewalk like a pedestrian.
Hop on a bike, get some exercise and explore!
Avoid guidebooks; travel with a local
Most tourists are traveling with a guidebook, meaning most of the sites listed in that book are going to be packed with…. tourists. That’s not to say that the sites listed in the books aren’t worth visiting, but a local will tell you when the best times are to visit those landmarks.
Furthermore, you’re more likely to remember the experiences you have with the locals than the famous museum you saw by yourself.
Leave expectations behind
Expectations are surefire way to set yourself up for failure. No place you go will look exactly like the images you Googled beforehand and no trip will be exactly as your friend experienced it.
Lose the expectations and learn to live in the present while traveling. Your trip will unfold just as it’s supposed to.
If you don’t expect anything, you don’t get disappointed. -Unknown
Keep an online journal or start a blog
Try to write every single day. If you’re not a writer (or even if you are) it may feel tedious at first. Don’t give up.
Writing even a few sentences a day will leave you with something that you can return to and relive for years to come. Friends and family will also enjoy being able to follow along with your journey. Read through your travel writing when you want to be transported back to that warm breeze watching the sunset in Mexico.
Want to blog and make some money? Listen to our podcast with Sumo Hacks founder Matthew Capala to learn how!
Don’t ask, just eat
Image via: @acheon
Pictured above is raw, bloody liver, or 생간 in Korean, and pronounced “saeng-gahn” – a delicacy I tried while traveling to South Korea.
We nick-named “f*ck your feelings” because biting into this will have you regretting that you brought it anywhere near your lips.
Try everything, but don’t feel the need to know what it is before you try. Some things are better left unknown.
Travel alone at least once
The benefits of traveling alone?
Your trips will be easier to plan. You get to craft your perfect itinerary. You’ll make new friends. You’ll gain confidence and become a better traveler. You can stay within your budget. And you may even find the answer you’ve been searching for for a while.
Need more convincing? Tweet me: @welivelimitless.
A genuine smile transforms nearly every awkward encounter
Maybe you’ve heard the quote “everyone smiles in the same language”. This couldn’t be more true. You won’t be able to speak with everyone you meet, but you can still communicate.
In my travels through South America, Europe, Southeast Asia and beyond I’ve found that people are generally nice and willing to help, even if there’s a language barrier.
There’s a saying that the only constant in life is change. This is particularly true while traveling.
One of the best things about traveling is that it’ll open you up to new opportunities, new friendships, new perspectives on life. As soon as you can accept that the way you view the world is likely to transform while traveling, the less friction you’ll feel towards change.
Adventure is worthwhile
Ready to pack your backpack? Where do you travel next? What’s YOUR favorite travel hack?
Share in the comments!
Here are a couple of recommended travel hacking guides and resources from the Sumo Hacks team:
Related travel hacking guides:
Related travel hacking resources: