Planning your adventure, are ya?
You’ve come to the right place.
On this page, you’ll find all the best resources to plan your trip, including:
- The best places to book accommodation
- Hacks for saving money on travel
- Essential gear to pack (and what to leave at home)
- Crucial tips for staying safe while traveling
- Tools for earning money while traveling
Let’s dive in!
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▶ REI – For high-quality gear from an ethical company
▶ Amazon – For pretty much anything
▶ Hostelworld – For hostels
▶ Booking.com – For any accommodation
▶ Trusted House Sitters – For free accommodation (and pet lovin’)
▶ SkyScanner – For flights
▶ SafetyWing – For cheap travel insurance
Where should you stay?
My three favorite booking sites are Hostelworld, Airbnb, and Booking.com—here’s why:
Hostels are my favorite places to stay when I don’t have to get work done (especially when traveling solo). They are usually the cheapest option for solo travelers. They allow you to easily make friends and organize fun activities instead of sitting in a boring hotel room by yourself. Hostelworld probably has the biggest selection of hostels, all in one handy app.
Airbnb is awesome for digital nomads or those traveling in groups. If you’re traveling as a couple, you can sometimes score an entire apartment for less than the cost of two individual hostel beds (in certain locations). This means more comfort, privacy, and quiet space to work…but it also means less social life and less convenience booking tours, finding activities, etc. It’s starting to become hit or miss though, and in some destinations, the fees make it unreasonably expensive.
Before reserving anywhere else, I always check to see if the property is listed on Booking.com. The reason is most listings on Booking.com do not require you to make a deposit (or even enter your credit card info) to make a reservation. That means if your plans change, you won’t lose money. Booking.com is also my go-to place to look for budget and boutique hotels. Since Airbnb prices have been rising, Booking.com has started offering apartments and private homes to compete.
If you are a slow traveler and want free accommodation, house sitting is one of the best ways to do it. Basically, you get to stay in people’s houses for free while they are on vacation. All you have to do is take care of their pets. Trusted House Sitters is the most popular and what we’ve used in the past, but there are others as well. Check out our full guide on how to land housesitter jobs for beginners.
How to travel cheaper
We’ve learned tons of clever tricks to cut down your travel expenses. Before leaving on your trip, make sure to read through the resources below. I guarantee they will save you money!
Step #1: If you haven’t already, make sure to grab our free cheap travel hacks cheat sheet below:
Step #2: Bookmark this post full of resources that explain every aspect of cheap travel in detail.
Step #3: Learn how to fly for free by following these travel hacking pages.
What gear do you need?
On a long-term trip, your most important piece of gear is your backpack. Think of it like your house. It stores your entire life, and you need it to be durable and comfortable.
If there’s one thing you invest in, it should be a quality backpack. The last thing you want is your “home” to rip when you’re in the middle of nowhere.
(Note: If you’re spending a long time in each location and traveling in developed countries, a suitcase could work as well. But if you plan to move around quickly or visit developing countries, a backpack is the way to go.)
I have used my Osprey backpack for over seven years now. Here is a similar version to what I use (the exact model, Waypoint 80 was discontinued).
Osprey bags are a little bit more expensive (unless you shop their clearance section), but they come with a LIFETIME GUARANTEE.
So you could literally buy one bag and use it for the rest of your life. They repaired my main backpack for free. I also sent in my four-year-old daypack, it was deemed “unrepairable” (a small rip near the zipper), so they sent me a brand-new backpack free of charge.
As far as size goes, some people like to travel extremely light as “carry-on only” travelers (usually ~40L bags). I personally don’t enjoy having to puzzle-piece everything into my bag every time I pack, so I prefer a bigger bag.
If it means I have to pay for a checked bag every now and then, so be it.
Remember, just because you have extra space doesn’t mean you need to cram it full!
Keep in mind, we are slow travelers, and our trips often last years. That means it’s nice to have space to carry around some extra “luxuries” (like my TRX for exercise, etc.).
That said, if I knew I was only going to be away from home for three months or less, I might consider squeezing into a carry-on.
Other than your backpack, here are the exact travel essentials we always carry.
I’ve listed the Amazon links below for convenience, but if you can find the same product and price at REI (click logo below to support the site), you’ll be supporting a truly awesome company that actually cares about this earth.
Recommended gear for “normal” travelers:
- Packing cubes
- Dry bag (with shoulder strap)
- Waterproof phone case
- Reusable water bottle
- Microfiber towel
- Fanny pack (AKA what the cool kids call a “sling bag”)
- Passport wallet
- Luggage locks (buy some extras for when you lose them)
- Power bank + Wall charger combo
- Universal adapter
- GoPro + extra batteries
- Selfie stick (or tripod)
- Xenvo lens kit (unless you have wide-angle mode on your phone)
- Rugged Bluetooth speaker
- HDMI cord (if you bring your laptop and want to watch movies on TVs)
- First aid kit
- 100% DEET bug spray (in some places it can be hard to find the strong stuff)
- Lots of earplugs
- Charles Schwab debit card (ATM fees reimbursed worldwide – U.S. citizens only)
- Fake return ticket (if traveling somewhere on a one-way ticket)
- prAna pants (every traveler should have a pair of prAnas. Best pants ever.)
- Stylish hat (if going somewhere sunny)
- Other clothes (exact clothes will depend on your destination, but quick-dry, anti-odor material is best)
Extra gear for digital nomads:
- Anti-theft day bag
- Pacsafe portable safe (Pacsafe / Amazon)
- Noise-canceling headphones
- Laptop (here are the best laptops for digital nomads)
- Nexstand laptop stand (cheaper than the Roost)
- Bluetooth mouse or trackpad (Apple/Windows) and keyboard (Apple/Windows)
- Hardshell keyboard sleeve (to protect keyboard and mouse)
- SSD external hard drive
- Big thumb drive
- Electronics organizer
- All adapters and dongles you may need
How to stay safe?
There are two parts to staying safe:
- Staying healthy and safe from accidents and medical issues
- Staying safe from dangerous situations.
Let’s start with the medical stuff—it’s super simple…
Never leave home without travel insurance.
My recommendation is Safetywing. This could also go in the “travel cheaper” section because Safetywing will save you LOADS of money.
Not only is it several times cheaper than other leading travel insurance brands, but it also protects you from financial disasters.
I should know.
I may actually be the most injury-prone traveler in existence, and Safetywing has always had my back.
Here is my complete Safetywing insurance review after working with the company through two delicate surgeries, 20+ doctor and physical therapy visits, and over $15,000 in claims.
That said, while Safetywing is perfect for my needs, your needs may be different. To help you make sure you choose the correct company, here is a detailed comparison of the top five travel insurance companies.
Staying Safe from Dangerous Situations
There are just four rules:
Rule #1: Never trust how the media portrays a country. They are liars.
Rule #2: Use experienced sources. Always get safety information from people who are actually living in (or have recently traveled to) the destination. The longer they were there, the better. Facebook groups are a good place to look.
Rule #3: No dar papaya. This is a Colombian saying that means “Don’t give papaya”—or basically, don’t give other people a reason to pay attention to you (wear expensive jewelry, flash wads of cash, walk around slums taking photos with your new iPhone 20, etc.).
Rule #4: Avoid walking in solitary places at night. See that dark alley with no street lights and two naked men sniffing glue, crawling on the ground, and barking like dogs? Yeah, probably should choose a new walking route.
Pretty much common sense, right?
The truth is—bad things happen all over the world. It’s a fact of life.
On the other hand, I have NEVER heard anyone ever say that they arrived at their destination and were surprised it was more dangerous than expected. Not once.
Chances are you’ll arrive and think, “Wow, I was so silly for being scared of this!”
Earning Money on the Road
Here is the internet’s most comprehensive guide on how to become a digital nomad.
And here are courses, tools, and resources I’ve used to set up digital nomad life on the road:
- Flexjobs – Great place to find remote jobs. Satisfaction guaranteed (so you really can’t lose).
- Skillshare – This link gets you a free trial to take as many courses as your heart desires. Cheapest way to learn all the online skills you need to get started as a nomad.
- Udemy – Another great platform to learn new skills.
- Solis – Convenient worldwide internet (see these digital nomad mobile hotspots for cheaper, but less convenient options)
- Anytime Mailbox – Popular virtual mailbox service (*I haven’t tested this personally yet)
- Copyhour – My favorite course to learn copywriting (I took it 3 times)
- CMC – My favorite course to become a highly paid freelance writer
- Virtual assistant trainings (free workshop) – There are actually several good ones I’ve taken, and the best one for you depends on the direction you want take things.
- Fat Stacks Bundle – My favorite course for learning to build blogs and niche sites
- Travel Blog Prosperity (free mini-course) – Awesome course specifically for travel blogging
- International TEFL Academy – TEFL course for people who are serious about becoming quality teachers
- Appsumo – Find cheap lifetime deals on useful software and tools to run your business
- Wise, Remitly, Payoneer, etc. – “Virtual banks” that are nomad-friendly (see the full list of best digital nomad banks and my Remitly vs Xoom vs Wise comparison to determine which is best for you). For first-time transfers, Remitly is usually cheapest because they offer a new customer discount through this link (up to $25 off).
There you have it, folks!
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And as always, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out!