September12014

How I Afford Travel

travelpaintrepeat:

Badass trips on a not-so-badass budget. 

image

Many travel blogs are written by people who’ve sold all their possessions and have taken a huge plunge into the world of long-term travel. This can sound expensive at first, but when you consider that you don’t have rent or a car payment in this lifestyle (or much room to carry any possessions), it can actually be very cheap to live this way, provided you can work a little along the way, or do some kind of virtual freelancing or contract work.

I’m not one of those people.

I do have rent to pay, and a car payment, and bills, and the trappings of a fairly typical middle class young urban professional life. I have a cat. I work in a cubicle. I like some amount of routine, and sleeping in my own bed. I have a ladder to climb, that I want to climb. 

I also don’t have a ton of free income to spend on travel.

Despite all this, in the past 2 years I’ve managed to visit 9 cities in 4 countries (Colombia, Jordan, Egypt, Spain) and very soon I’ll be off to visit 7 more cities in 3 countries (Italy, Croatia, and Spain again — I love Spain), a 17 day trip; a few weeks after I return, I’m off again on a small trip to Mexico for a wedding. When I’m done, that’s 16 cities, 7 countries, in just 2 years. Not much for the permanent nomad, but a lot for someone who’s expected to be at work by 9am every weekday.

When people find out how much I travel, some imagine I must have a lot of spare income or be a trust fund baby. I keep encountering this perception — especially among Americans — that travel is this huge undertaking that is incredibly expensive. Well, it sure can be, if you choose to make it that way. But if you step outside this perception, and do some research, you’ll find that it really doesn’t have to be that way. Travel can be affordable, if you plan for it and prioritize it in your life.

Here’s how I do it:

1. Flights. By far, this can be the single most expensive purchase of your trip. A coach round trip ticket from the US to Europe usually runs anywhere from $700-1200 on average, depending on the season. The trick is: don’t buy your ticket with actual money. Buy it with fake money called points or miles. A few years ago, I strategically opened 2 different credit cards (one an AmEx, one a British Airways Visa) with unusually crazy high enrollment bonuses. Within just a few months’ time I went from 0 miles to 50,000 AmEx points (redeemable for airline miles on at least a 1:1 basis) and 100,000 British Airways miles. Keep in mind, BA is part of the OneWorld alliance, so I can book with other airlines using these miles. In just a few months’ time, with 2 credit cards (that didn’t hurt my credit, by the way) I earned enough miles to take 3 international round trip flights — without ever stepping on an airplane. I got the AmEx points simply for opening the card, and I earned the BA miles after spending $2500 in 3 months, which wasn’t that hard for me because I strategically put ALL my expenses on the card for 3 months. 

The trick is knowing which cards to open. These cards usually aren’t well advertised, so you’ll have to do your research. A few good resources to get you started: 

Unconventional Guides: Frequent Flyer Master by Chris Guillebeau. This is actually the first resource I used to learn more about travel hacking. If you’re a total newb, as I was, this is the best introduction to the world of frequent flyer miles that exists. But it’s not overly simplistic; there are a ton of insider tricks and tools in here that I haven’t even taken advantage of yet. This guide is the reason I earned 150,000 miles without stepping foot on an airplane.

FrugalTravelGuy.com This is a great blog for those interested in staying up to date on the latest frequent flyer news and credit card offers.

FlyerTalk.com This is a forum for the serious hardcore travel hackers — the credit card “churners” who sometimes earn up to 1 million miles a year doing this. FlyerTalk can be intimidating at first if you’re new to all this, so I’d recommend starting from the top and working your way down.

2. Rooms. Very rarely do I stay in what most Americans think of as a “hotel” when I travel abroad. Many travel hackers and frequent business travelers are loyal to a certain brand of hotel, especially those with their own reward points systems, which earn them free stays (and yes, there are credit cards for this too). These can be a great value and I do participate in a few programs like Hilton HHonors for stateside bookings. For my international trips, however, I prefer everyday price flexibility, so I book a variety of inexpensive, off the beaten path accommodation types — and none of them involve splitting a room with strangers, camping (not counting the bedouin camp I stayed with in Petra, which I did for the experience and not the savings), or couchsurfing. A lot of people associate budget travel with roughing it, but it is possible to be comfortable. In fact, by avoiding the beaten path, I usually have a less expensive, equally as comfortable, and more interesting cultural experience.

Most of my international trips have involved staying at a combination of private rooms at hostels, small independently owned hotels, bed & breakfasts, and private apartments.

Hostelworld.com This room search and booking site will expand your idea of what a hostel can be. Often you’ll find that smaller, inexpensive and independent hotels will list rooms on Hostelworld even if they have a website and brand themselves as a hotel or bed & breakfast. You can search for rooms nearly anywhere in the world, filter by room type (most hostels have private bedrooms, some with private bathrooms and some with shared bathrooms), location (there’s a handy map view), price and more. It’s also low risk - you just pay a small 10% down payment when you book and the rest when you check in. I’ve stayed in some very nice hostels for a fraction of the cost of an equal quality hotel and it’s one of the first places I look when I start planning a trip.

Booking.com This is a rising star in the online travel booking world for hotels. Based in Amsterdam, they are one of my top sources for rooms in Europe (though they offer rooms in several other parts of the world too). Booking.com’s strength is their breadth of rooms available; you can find a variety of low-cost, tiny, independently owned hotels that will be difficult or impossible to find elsewhere. They even offer free cancellation on many rooms. Their pricing also cannot be beat — sometimes I even find rooms that are less expensive than hostels!

Airbnb.com I am a huge fan of this service. A major disruptor to the online travel booking industry, Airbnb offers you the ability to reserve a room in a private apartment directly through someone who lives and is local to the place you’re going. You can book entire apartments or just spare bedrooms, allowing you the choice between having a cozy place all to yourself or staying with — and getting to know— a local, something that may not have happened otherwise (and my most memorable trips have been those in which I connected with locals while I was there). A few other perks can involve more amenities than a budget hostel or hotel may offer, such as the ability to wash your own laundry or cook your own food if you need to (it is an apartment, after all). I travel for 2 weeks at a time when possible (more on that later), and I pack only a carry-on. After a week like that, a washing machine is an unexpectedly welcome blessing. You’ll also get to feel more like a local, even if you never meet your host. You’re staying in a neighborhood, not a commercial, touristy zone. There’s a lot to be said for that. Finally, I love their website. Not only very easy to use and socially integrated, the design is beautiful. I love flipping through the home slideshow of gorgeous apartments on offer. It’s interior design porn at its most authentic — these are real peoples’ homes!

3. Timing and trip length. I would be remiss to say that the above 2 factors are the only methods I use to travel to so many places affordably. The fact is, I can say I fit in 16 cities and 7 countries in 2 years because of how many of those cities and countries I manage to pack into a single trip. In 2011, I did only a 1-week trip to Colombia. In 2012, I did a 17-day trip to Jordan, Egypt, and Spain. This year, I’ll do another 17-day trip (that’s essentially 12 vacation days) to Italy, Croatia, and Spain. Considering all the places within those countries I travel to in each trip, I typically pack up and move on every 2-3 days. That’s not a lot of time in each place! Just enough to visit the major sites, take in the atmosphere, and decide if I’m intrigued enough to return someday to make a longer trip of it.

This pace is not for everyone, but it works for me. I’m restless, and like squeezing every drop out of my precious vacation days. Plus, nothing’s worse than booking 5 days in a place you’ve never been, only to arrive and find out you’re bored after 1 day and it’s too late to make any changes. I intend to see the world, and I have to do it in 2 weeks per year. So, I compromise. It can be a little tiring, but I don’t take these trips necessarily to relax — I take them to recharge in other ways. Travel is my passion and I crave new cultural experiences. My worldview has expanded a little more each time I set foot on US soil again; this is creative fuel to the fire of everything I do, from painting to marketing strategy. That’s why I’m determined to prioritize it, even with a limited budget. For those who’ve also been bitten by the travel bug, you get it. The rest of the world will go on thinking that we’re rich, and I suppose that’s fine.

image

At the Hotel Oriental Rivoli in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt. Somewhat fancy, resort-style digs. About $60/night.

(via dreamsofthings)

June132014

How I Afford Travel

travelpaintrepeat:

Badass trips on a not-so-badass budget. 

image

Many travel blogs are written by people who’ve sold all their possessions and have taken a huge plunge into the world of long-term travel. This can sound expensive at first, but when you consider that you don’t have rent or a car payment in this lifestyle (or much room to carry any possessions), it can actually be very cheap to live this way, provided you can work a little along the way, or do some kind of virtual freelancing or contract work.

I’m not one of those people.

I do have rent to pay, and a car payment, and bills, and the trappings of a fairly typical middle class young urban professional life. I have a cat. I work in a cubicle. I like some amount of routine, and sleeping in my own bed. I have a ladder to climb, that I want to climb. 

I also don’t have a ton of free income to spend on travel.

Despite all this, in the past 2 years I’ve managed to visit 9 cities in 4 countries (Colombia, Jordan, Egypt, Spain) and very soon I’ll be off to visit 7 more cities in 3 countries (Italy, Croatia, and Spain again — I love Spain), a 17 day trip; a few weeks after I return, I’m off again on a small trip to Mexico for a wedding. When I’m done, that’s 16 cities, 7 countries, in just 2 years. Not much for the permanent nomad, but a lot for someone who’s expected to be at work by 8:30am every weekday.

When people find out how much I travel, some imagine I must have a lot of spare income or be a trust fund baby. I keep encountering this perception — especially among Americans — that travel is this huge undertaking that is incredibly expensive. Well, it sure can be, if you choose to make it that way. But if you step outside this perception, and do some research, you’ll find that it really doesn’t have to be that way. Travel can be affordable, if you plan for it and prioritize it in your life.

Here’s how I do it:

1. Flights. By far, this can be the single most expensive purchase of your trip. A coach round trip ticket from the US to Europe usually runs anywhere from $700-1200 on average, depending on the season. The trick is: don’t buy your ticket with actual money. Buy it with fake money called points or miles. A few years ago, I strategically opened 2 different credit cards (one an AmEx, one a British Airways Visa) with unusually crazy high enrollment bonuses. Within just a few months’ time I went from 0 miles to 50,000 AmEx points (redeemable for airline miles on at least a 1:1 basis) and 100,000 British Airways miles. Keep in mind, BA is part of the OneWorld alliance, so I can book with other airlines using these miles. In just a few months’ time, with 2 credit cards (that didn’t hurt my credit, by the way) I earned enough miles to take 3 international round trip flights — without ever stepping on an airplane. I got the AmEx points simply for opening the card, and I earned the BA miles after spending $2500 in 3 months, which wasn’t that hard for me because I strategically put ALL my expenses on the card for 3 months. 

The trick is knowing which cards to open. These cards usually aren’t well advertised, so you’ll have to do your research. A few good resources to get you started: 

Unconventional Guides: Frequent Flyer Master by Chris Guillebeau. This is actually the first resource I used to learn more about travel hacking. If you’re a total newb, as I was, this is the best introduction to the world of frequent flyer miles that exists. But it’s not overly simplistic; there are a ton of insider tricks and tools in here that I haven’t even taken advantage of yet. This guide is the reason I earned 150,000 miles without stepping foot on an airplane.

FrugalTravelGuy.com This is a great blog for those interested in staying up to date on the latest frequent flyer news and credit card offers.

FlyerTalk.com This is a forum for the serious hardcore travel hackers — the credit card “churners” who sometimes earn up to 1 million miles a year doing this. FlyerTalk can be intimidating at first if you’re new to all this, so I’d recommend starting from the top and working your way down.

2. Rooms. Very rarely do I stay in what most Americans think of as a “hotel” when I travel abroad. Many travel hackers and frequent business travelers are loyal to a certain brand of hotel, especially those with their own reward points systems, which earn them free stays (and yes, there are credit cards for this too). These can be a great value and I do participate in a few programs like Hilton HHonors for stateside bookings. For my international trips, however, I prefer everyday price flexibility, so I book a variety of inexpensive, off the beaten path accommodation types — and none of them involve splitting a room with strangers, camping (not counting the bedouin camp I stayed with in Petra, which I did for the experience and not the savings), or couchsurfing. A lot of people associate budget travel with roughing it, but it is possible to be comfortable. In fact, by avoiding the beaten path, I usually have a less expensive, equally as comfortable, and more interesting cultural experience.

Most of my international trips have involved staying at a combination of private rooms at hostels, small independently owned hotels, bed & breakfasts, and private apartments.

Hostelworld.com This room search and booking site will expand your idea of what a hostel can be. Often you’ll find that smaller, inexpensive and independent hotels will list rooms on Hostelworld even if they have a website and brand themselves as a hotel or bed & breakfast. You can search for rooms nearly anywhere in the world, filter by room type (most hostels have private bedrooms, some with private bathrooms and some with shared bathrooms), location (there’s a handy map view), price and more. It’s also low risk - you just pay a small 10% down payment when you book and the rest when you check in. I’ve stayed in some very nice hostels for a fraction of the cost of an equal quality hotel and it’s one of the first places I look when I start planning a trip.

Booking.com This is a rising star in the online travel booking world for hotels. Based in Amsterdam, they are one of my top sources for rooms in Europe (though they offer rooms in several other parts of the world too). Booking.com’s strength is their breadth of rooms available; you can find a variety of low-cost, tiny, independently owned hotels that will be difficult or impossible to find elsewhere. They even offer free cancellation on many rooms. Their pricing also cannot be beat — sometimes I even find rooms that are less expensive than hostels!

Airbnb.com I am a huge fan of this service. A major disruptor to the online travel booking industry, Airbnb offers you the ability to reserve a room in a private apartment directly through someone who lives and is local to the place you’re going. You can book entire apartments or just spare bedrooms, allowing you the choice between having a cozy place all to yourself or staying with — and getting to know— a local, something that may not have happened otherwise (and my most memorable trips have been those in which I connected with locals while I was there). A few other perks can involve more amenities than a budget hostel or hotel may offer, such as the ability to wash your own laundry or cook your own food if you need to (it is an apartment, after all). I travel for 2 weeks at a time when possible (more on that later), and I pack only a carry-on. After a week like that, a washing machine is an unexpectedly welcome blessing. You’ll also get to feel more like a local, even if you never meet your host. You’re staying in a neighborhood, not a commercial, touristy zone. There’s a lot to be said for that. Finally, I love their website. Not only very easy to use and socially integrated, the design is beautiful. I love flipping through the home slideshow of gorgeous apartments on offer. It’s interior design porn at its most authentic — these are real peoples’ homes!

3. Timing and trip length. I would be remiss to say that the above 2 factors are the only methods I use to travel to so many places affordably. The fact is, I can say I fit in 16 cities and 7 countries in 2 years because of how many of those cities and countries I manage to pack into a single trip. In 2011, I did only a 1-week trip to Colombia. In 2012, I did a 17-day trip to Jordan, Egypt, and Spain. This year, I’ll do another 17-day trip (that’s essentially 12 vacation days) to Italy, Croatia, and Spain. Considering all the places within those countries I travel to in each trip, I typically pack up and move on every 2-3 days. That’s not a lot of time in each place! Just enough to visit the major sites, take in the atmosphere, and decide if I’m intrigued enough to return someday to make a longer trip of it.

This pace is not for everyone, but it works for me. I’m restless, and like squeezing every drop out of my precious vacation days. Plus, nothing’s worse than booking 5 days in a place you’ve never been, only to arrive and find out you’re bored after 1 day and it’s too late to make any changes. I intend to see the world, and I have to do it in 2 weeks per year. So, I compromise. It can be a little tiring, but I don’t take these trips necessarily to relax — I take them to recharge in other ways. Travel is my passion and I crave new cultural experiences. My worldview has expanded a little more each time I set foot on US soil again; this is creative fuel to the fire of everything I do, from painting to marketing strategy. That’s why I’m determined to prioritize it, even with a limited budget. For those who’ve also been bitten by the travel bug, you get it. The rest of the world will go on thinking that we’re rich, and I suppose that’s fine.

UPDATE: Wow, this is officially my most popular blog post ever! Thank you all for reading and sharing with your friends. I received a ton of follow-up questions about specific credit cards and mileage reward programs, and I did my best to answer them in a new article, "How I Fly Around the World for Next to Nothing." Check it out!


New here? Let me come to you! Subscribe by email to get more articles like these (plus some extra fun stuff) delivered straight to your inbox: http://travelpaintrepeat.com/subscribe

image

At the Hotel Oriental Rivoli in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt. Somewhat fancy, resort-style digs. About $60/night.

(via michaelsauce)

April72014
expurgetvinceret:

jourdenpreston:

This is a link for my top surgery fund. Please donate if you can and spread the word. I’m almost 7 months on T and I’m hoping to get my top surgery this summer if I can raise enough money.

http://www.gofundme.com/84nxcc?forcedesktop=1

Pl0x signal boost my boyfriend! Small things I ask for, people!!!

expurgetvinceret:

jourdenpreston:

This is a link for my top surgery fund. Please donate if you can and spread the word. I’m almost 7 months on T and I’m hoping to get my top surgery this summer if I can raise enough money.

http://www.gofundme.com/84nxcc?forcedesktop=1

Pl0x signal boost my boyfriend! Small things I ask for, people!!!

March192014

A Brief List of Resources for Classical Studies:

c-aesarion:

TOSC-IN:

  • A database enabling you to search for keywords in article titles from c.160 Classics related journals. Provides a link to an abstract or full text version if one exists online.

Classical and Medieval History:

  • Annotated list of Reference Websites

Diotima: Women and Gender in the Ancient World

  • Online database and resources for studying Women and Gender in the ancient world.

Encyclopedia of the Hellenic World:

  • "Original electronic project aiming at collecting, recording, documenting, presenting and promoting the historical data that testify to the presence of Hellenic culture throughout time and space."

Perseus Digital Library:

  • A showcase of digital and print resources for Classical studies. 

World Archaeology:

  • Books, Magazines, Blogs, Travel. All Archaeology related.

Akropolis World News:

  • The news of the world in Ancient Greek- a great way to learn and practice the language. 

House of Ptolomy:

  • Portal website on the Ptolomatic (holla!) Empire. 

Star Myths and Constellation Lore:

  • Information website about the above. 

Virgil.com:

  • Basically a portal site and resource for information on all things Virgil. 

Homerica:

  • Portal and Resource. Link is in French, but you can have the website translated to any language. 

Exploring Ancient World Culture:

  • "On-line course supplement for students and teachers of the ancient and medieval worlds."

Subject Centre for History, Classics, and Archaeology:

The Iris Project:

  • "an educational charity introducing the languages and culture of the ancient world to UK state schools in order to enrich the curriculum."

Roman Law Resources

  • " information on Roman law sources and literature, the teaching of Roman law, and the persons who study Roman law."

Egyptology Resources

  • "World Wide Web resource for Egyptological information."

ABZU:

  • "guide to networked open access data relevant to the study and public presentation of the Ancient Near East and the Ancient Mediterranean world."

Resource Lists by School: All links are to Classics, or Antiquities portals for more resource lists. 

Text Databases [Via Oxford]:

Gateways:

NOTE: So I compiled a list of some of my favorite classics sites to use. I also put in links to other school’s departments and libraries. Almost all Universities which have Classics departments have resources lists. If you want to add to the list, please do!

All of the schools above have much more extensive lists for you to use! I made this list in little over half an hour, so there is much room to be expanded on. 

NEW ADDITIONS: 

Latin Library at Packard Humanities Institute - http://latin.packhum.org/ (PHI numbers standard way to refer to Latin texts, look at the ones Perseus uses - it’s PHI).

Brepolis - http://www.brepolis.net/ - may need to access this via your institution or its ezproxy (includes the Library of Latin Texts A and B LLT-A and LLT-B and many other interesting resources).

L’Annee Philologique - http://www.annee-philologique.com - another one in which you’ll have to use via your institution’s ezproxy or other online database (we use ebscohost). Many journals you submit articles to expect references to other journals use the abbreviations in APh.

For databases of journals, first start at JSTOR - http://www.jstor.org - again, institutional access is required.

((Via: monumentum))

The Latin Library - A collection of Classical and Medieval texts in Latin, organized by author. 

The Internet Ancient History Sourcebook - A collection of mostly primary source texts translated into English.  Not comprehensive, but covers a broad range of topics.

((Via: hodie-scolastica))

 

(via punkwarren)

March172014

Tutorial: Overlay Gifs

paperlings:

image
A lot of people have been asking me how I make overlay gifs. I’ve tried to explain as best as I could but I am one to admit that i’m very shit at explaining and teaching things, so sorry if I completely mess this up. I have pictures though! 

Difficulty: Medium? You need to have some basic gif making skills for this. 
Program: Photoshop CS5
Feel free to ask questions if you don’t understand something. 

Read More

(via colingasm)

February272014
pscs5:


plaschka:

Texture pack!
10 textures;
grainy & grungy abstract textures;
download deviantArt or MediaFire;
like and/or reblog if you use;
Enjoy! :-)

pscs5:

plaschka:

Texture pack!

  • 10 textures;
  • grainy & grungy abstract textures;
  • download deviantArt or MediaFire;
  • like and/or reblog if you use;

Enjoy! :-)

8AM

pscs5:

unwrapping:

Tumblr Dashboard Image Sizes:

  • Photo post: 500 by 750 pixels for dashboard view; 1280 by 1920 pixels for high-res version (except for superwide panoramas).
  • Photoset: 500-pixel width for one image in a photoset row. 245-pixel width for two images in a photoset row. 160-pixel width for three images in a photoset row. Gutters are 10 pixels.
  • Audio Post: 169 by 169 pixels for album art.
  • Link Post: 130 by 130 pixels for the thumbnail image grabbed by Tumblr from web link (if available).
  • Text Post: 125-pixel width for images added to a text post, which expand when clicked.
  • Avatar: 64-by-64-pixel icon next to posts.
8AM
pscs5:


sleepbearsdreams:

Hello Guys! This is my 4. texture pack. I’m in love with the art of Ben & Sherman and I’m in love with these paintings as textures (tried them out myself here & there). I hope you like them! :) 
Download here.
contains 32 textures
Please don’t redistribute or claim as your own
Pretty pretty please like or reblog if you use this to let me know that you like it, this is all I ask for! ♥ 
THANK YOU! :)

pscs5:

sleepbearsdreams:

Hello Guys!
This is my 4. texture pack. I’m in love with the art of Ben & Sherman and I’m in love with these paintings as textures (tried them out myself here & there). I hope you like them! :)

Download here.

  • contains 32 textures
  • Please don’t redistribute or claim as your own
  • Pretty pretty please like or reblog if you use this to let me know that you like it, this is all I ask for! ♥
  • THANK YOU! :)
February202014
February142014
belle1229:

fitspowarrior:

sugar-velvet:

chubrubqueen:

cdnpgn:

Winter sore throat “tea”- In a jar combine lemon slices, organic honey and sliced ginger. Close jar and put it in the fridge, it will form into a “jelly”. To serve- spoon jelly into mug and pour boiling water over it. Store in fridge 2-3 months.

Reblogging this in case any of you little jelly beans get sick (◡‿◡✿)

THANK

HERE is an exact recipe for all of you perfectionist out there. :) 

I NEEDED THIS THANK YOU

belle1229:

fitspowarrior:

sugar-velvet:

chubrubqueen:

cdnpgn:

Winter sore throat “tea”- In a jar combine lemon slices, organic honey and sliced ginger. Close jar and put it in the fridge, it will form into a “jelly”. To serve- spoon jelly into mug and pour boiling water over it. Store in fridge 2-3 months.

Reblogging this in case any of you little jelly beans get sick (◡‿◡✿)

THANK

HERE is an exact recipe for all of you perfectionist out there. :) 

I NEEDED THIS THANK YOU

(Source: , via gaddesse)

← Older entries Page 1 of 26