Episode 04 – Travel hack yourself to FI
Hello and welcome to the IV episode of FI Europe (yes that means four). In this episode we discuss different travel perspectives from 3 different people, some cool travel hacks and preparing for unexpected expenses. And this time, our guest is… me, the blogger!
Travel perspective 1: digital nomading
The first travel perspective we analyse is mine (Araminta); I’m currently doing a backpacking tour round South America and trying to balance it with online work and study.
How it started
About a year ago I started earning money online through freelance marketing clients. I also run a blog and do some odd jobs here and there. I then decided to quit university, enrol with an online university instead (Open University) and then do an experiment: travel, work and study.
This kind of traveling could be called digital nomading. I earn money online, which allows me to be location independent and therefore easier to travel. I travel as cheaply as possible (Couchsurfing, hostels, workaways) and can go backpacking or stay in one place for a long time. Great for flexibility.
For anyone who’s interested in this type of travel, here are some tips mentioned
- Balancing work and travel isn’t always easy – schedules are your friends
- The importance is finding the balance between being a tourist and living frugally. Not always easy
- What I had most difficulty with was eating healthily on a budget while cooking at hostels
- You don’t need to plan day by day, but having a vague direction helps
- Traveling alone is great if you want the freedom to go wherever you want
- Word of mouth is amazing; you can figure out where to go depending on what other people say
Travel perspective 2: business travel
We then go to analyse Mathias’ perspective: business travel. As a business consultant Mathias does a lot of traveling paid by his company. This means he travels mostly with bonus points, rewards and air miles. To save money he tries to visit friends along the way. He uses credit cards and payback to accumulate points. The negative side, he says, is that it’s way more complicated when calculating where to stay and how to travel – although, he does get to travel for practically free
Some tips for those interested:
- Do some research for bonus points and reward systems, **here is a good place to start
- Meriott and Hyatt have great reward systems. Check ‘em out **here
- Even if your company pays you a certain amount for travel, try to keep costs as low as possible, then you get to pocket the rest 😉
Travel perspective 3: A mix
We then head on to Alvar, who went on a world trip in 2016 with his girlfriend after graduating from university. The most pro of all of us, he managed to mix his travel between mine and Mathias’ travel methods; a mix of professional and student. This is because he knew where to find the discounts and where to get the best deals. He did 5 months with 6000€ and still managed to stay at luxury hotels in India. The true pro.
- Where to find some cool discounts:
- If you want the optimised mix, be prepared to plan, A LOT.
- Be prepared for unexpected expenses (bribes, camper van breaking down, you know how it goes)
1 min travel hacks
We then go on to cite some quick and cool travel hacks
Alvar: booking flights: start with Skyscanner, then google the company name and destination and look for promo codes. May get a sweet 10-20% discount.
Mathias: google flights is great for a good visualisation. Take advantage of bonus programs like award wallet. And don’t optimise too much, your time is also important.
Araminta: for quick weekend trips, check out Google Flights and then click Explore. You can immediately see prices and destinations. Couchsurfing** is an amazing way to get to know a culture by staying with locals and saving money. Workaway/HelpX** is another great way to live with locals, do some work and have free accommodation.
The FI in all this
We don’t much about FI in this episode, but there is a reason travel hacking is so closely linked to FI. First of all, if you’re on your path to FI and trying to live as cheaply as possible, travel hacks come in handy. Second of all, FI is about having the freedom to choose. Meaning having the freedom to travel or not. Wether it’s business travel or digital nomading, knowing those travel hacks will give you more freedom.
In this episode we cover three pretty different travel perspectives and some awesome travel hacks and tools.
The important stuff:
- We covered three travel perspectives: digital nomad, business travel and taking a sabbatical to travel the world
- Balancing cheap travel and touristing isn’t easy.
- Research and take advantage of bonus points and travel rewards
- You can find discounts everywhere if you look hard enough, but be prepared to plan a lot
- Skyscanner, Google Flights, Couchsurfing and Workaway/HelpX are your friends
- top 10 hotel bonus point programs
- Award Wallet
- Skyscanner/ Google Flights
What are your top travel hacks? Comment below!