Before you go raising objections, let's get this on the table: it needn't be wildly expensive to go to Mozambique, Morocco or Monte Carlo. Take for example Matt Knepes. He's carved out a niche for himself via his popular How to Travel the World on $50 a Day and the accompanying Nomadic Matt Travel Site.
What makes this budget travel guru unique is that instead of telling you to hoof it and find a hostel, he'll reveal how to use the established travel system to land yourself squarely in a posh hotel for a veritable bargain. Hint: you'll want to leverage sites like Airbnb and consider the art of house sitting to snag a chic abode while enjoying a city or location. While he does offer insights for solo travelers (those for whom hostels might be appealing), he dives in to seek solutions for families, couples and passport-wielding females.
What you spend in time learning a few insider tips you'll surely save in dollars (or Euros, as it were) once you take the plunge.
Another modern travel pioneer is Scott Keyes. Scott, 28, gained notoriety for leveraging the art of gaming the airline industry and maximizing those miles programs. How savvy is he, you ask? He has flown to Milan for $130, gone to the Galapagos Islands for $45, and visited Norway and Belgium for around $350 instead of the typical $1,000.
Thanks to mastering the ins-and-outs of numerous loyalty programs, he's been to 30 countries — this next trip will make that count 42 — and flown 354,000 miles or roughly 14.3 times around the earth. Why do we love him? Because he wants to share this information with all of us via his e-books and widely publicized tips. I've bookmarked his story (link above), and I suggest do too. Guy has figured out "the art of the spend" using his 25 credit cards. Note: he is NOT racking up debt and has actually improved his credit throughout this incredible process.
Taken one step further: San Francisco-based Jay Meistrich did the math (I mean that quite literally) and realized it was actually far more affordable to live elsewhere while he developed and launched his startup business. The Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur gave away everything I owned, and moved into a 40 liter backpack. He traveled to 45 cities in 20 countries, 3 Disneylands, and 1 "bunny island" all while working 50 hours a week building and launching his startup. His total costs were less than just the rent in San Francisco. Granted, he has no family, but there are many lessons to be learned from his travel-thirsty exercise. I have several times proposed this concept to my husband and once (oh, once) I had him almost convinced it was possible for us. Alas, he does not suffer from wanderlust at all and perceives viewing the world as "nice, but not necessary" to a fulfilling and healthy life. Yes, I cry a little inside every time I read these inspiring tales of those possessing globetrotting bravery that flies in the face of convention. Can you tell?
Need more motivation to get up and go? Travel+Leisure offers 40 excellent reasons to drop that nasty Facebook habit and start staring at the sunset in a new destination. There are cobblestone streets to be walked, windows to be shopped, lobbies to be lingered in, rooftop bars to be enjoyed, horizons to be seen, balconies to be discovered, people to be met, winding roads to be driven,languages to learn and museums to go see. GO DO THOSE THINGS.
May we all live long, bold lives that allow us to explore all that we thirst to discover.
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