How I Can Afford To Travel!

My most REVEALING post to date! If you've been wondering how the hell I've been able to last traveling this long, well here it is! All secrets are out in the open! This post tells you how I do it, and how YOU can do it too!

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Working On A Cruise Ship

I somehow managed to get myself a job working at a Cruise Ship. This post is an inside look on what it's really like to live and work below deck. You never know... You might be enticed to work for one too, and travel the whole world like me! Read on to find out more...

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Scotland: My Favorite Country In The World

I've been to many places in several different continents, and have seen spectacular beauty... But every time I visit Scotland, every other country pales in comparison. Read this post to find out why at this point, Scotland was and still is, in my opinion, the most beautiful place on Earth...

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On Finding My Bliss In Italy

When you go on big trips like this, however cheesy it sounds, you always do end up 'finding yourself'. And there are moments... difinitive moments when you achieve clarity, contentment, and pure happiness. This all happened to me in Italy. Read my most soulful post to date, inspired by the full moon in Italia...

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On Being Featured In A Documentary

I somehow managed to get myself featured in an upcoming documentary about "Voluntourism". This may be the big break I've been waiting for! The trailer is out - and I'm in it! It looks so good, I'm so excited! See for yourself... watch it here!

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An Epiphany At Cinque Terre

The Cinque Terre is one of my favorite places in Italy. We hiked 5 villages in one day, and it was breathtaking! But something completely unexpected happened on the hike... An encounter with a complete stranger made me realize possibly one of the most important things I need to do with my life...

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My Ayahuasca Experience

Ayahuasca, is by far, the most INTENSE thing I have ever experienced in my life. I died and was reborn. It is both horrific and beautiful at the same time... I can't explain it in a few words. You HAVE to read my story to believe... I promise it will be worth your while...

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Thursday, November 2, 2017

Earth2Eartha's Travel Hacks: Nifty Tips for the Practical Traveler

While I was still working for the ship, I held a series of talks for the crew, called, "Travel Talks with Eartha". It was a mini event arranged by our Crew Enrichment Director, open to anyone who's ever wanted to learn about how to travel smart, and on a budget, straight from a professional cheapskate like me.

I didn't expect the turnout to be as great as they were, that I actually had to do the events a few times to accommodate everyone that wanted to participate and learn. 

It was also really great to be able to share my story with everyone... Letting them know about alternative ways to travel, and getting out of their comfort zones.

I figured, since people were interested in the little tips and tricks I had to share, as well as the things I did on my travels that helped me stretch my dollar, I may as well write a post about it!

So to those of you on the ship who missed my talk, and to anyone else who's interested in the knowledge I've gained over the years of traveling, I bring you:

Earth2Eartha's Travel Hacks! Nifty Tips For The Practical Traveler!


Google Flights a revelation. It is my go-to website for looking at the cheapest flights available. It gives you a snapshot of the cheapest days to fly in a month, therefore giving you the best option, money-wise! I don't know about you - but I almost ALWAYS base my travel plans around the cheapest days.

For instance - above is a snapshot of the monthly/daily price comparisons of a one way flight out of LAX going to London (my usual destination). If you look at the month of December - it already highlights the cheapest days to fly out of the month. You may not see it, but December 5 and 6 are the cheapest at $180.

If, for instance, like me, you don't usually have a solid destination yet, but are flexible enough depending on the cost of the ticket to get there, Google also has this "Explore" feature that gives you an idea of price comparison per country/destination, coming from your home airport.

For example - On December 5, if I'm not satisfied with a $180 one way ticket to London, I can just type "Europe" as my destination, and this is what Google will show me:

It has all of the cheapest flights to all of those countries on the day that you pick, to give you an idea of cost.

Which brings me to my next point.

If You Want to Fly To Europe - Fly to London!

Not a lot of people know this, but flights to London from the US are usually very cheap (if you live in a big city). It is, in fact - the cheapest flight you can take to get out of the country to get to Europe (As I have illustrated in my previous example, prices start at $180 for December... And the flight I booked earlier this year only cost me $160 coming out of LAX)

Norwegian Airlines and Wow Air are two of the most affordable airlines at the moment. They are both International budget airlines, the latter of which came out more recently and is cheaper, but always has a stopover in Iceland. I, for one, am a very big fan of Norwegian Airlines because of their direct flights to London, and I've been flying with them for years! But on my upcoming trip this November, out of sheer curiosity (and blogging purposes), I decided to test out Wow Air to experience it for myself. (Watch this space for a review!)

When you get to London, the flights out of there to mostly anywhere in Europe is very cheap!

For instance, last year, I knew I wanted to go to Croatia. Instead of flying straight from LAX to Zadar and spend a little over $1000, I flew to London first, then took a flight out of there instead, thereby saving me about $500! Hurrah!

Set Up Price Alerts

Websites like Hopper and Airfare Watchdog notify you when the prices for the flights you are watching out for, drop! You can give them an estimated time - perhaps the week you'd like to travel, and where... And they will send you alerts when the prices go low!

Hopper in particular lets you know whether or not the prices are expected to rise after a certain date, and will give you solid advice by saying - "This is probably the lowest it will be, and so I'd book this now."

Airline Email Feeds and Frequent Flyer

A lot of airlines send you emails regarding "Flash Sales" or Promo's that Google Flights won't be able to show you (JetBlue, Southwest and United are examples). Signing up for ALL of the frequent flyer programs of any airline that you fly with is a good idea, too! Any trip that you take without accumulating some sort of miles is money wasted. 

Using Websites For Multi-Destination Travel

If you are planning to travel to a lot of destinations for a significant amount of time (6 weeks to a few months, maybe?) and you already know the countries/cities/places you'd like to visit - it may be worth it to use websites like AirTreks or BootsnAll. They make round the world or multi destination travel easier and simpler.

I used AirTreks on the first leg of my Round The World Trip where I traveled to about 7 or 8 cities in the span of 7 weeks. I find that it is best to call them to talk to an agent. They work with you regarding your dates and your destinations, and they give you all of the cheapest/practical options - considering not only price factors, but flight times and layovers as well.

I saved a LOT of money using their service, and they saved me a lot of time and effort figuring all of that stuff out myself.

DELETE Cookies!

A lot of the travel websites use your search history against you, and when booking flights - sometimes raise the prices based on your flight searches. "Cookie Tracking" is for realz. This has happened to me several times, (my laptop showed a significantly higher price on a flight than my friend's mobile device --- I did an experiment!) and so I have often made it a habit to delete cookies (or go on incognito mode!)and delete history on my phone and laptop!

Stopover Programs

There are several airlines that offer free stopovers - so that instead of waiting for a connecting flight, you are able to explore that city for a few days at no extra charge!

For instance, if you booked a flight to go to London via Icelandair or Wow, they will always have a layover in Reykjavik. Since you're already there - they will give you the option to "stopover" to explore Iceland for a few days, free of charge! And you can just hop on the flight over to London a few days later. 

The Airlines that I know of who offer Free Stopovers are:

Icelandair, Wow, Etihad, Hawaiian Air, Thai Air, Copa, Turkish Air, KLM, Air Canada, TAP Portugal and Finnair.


Rather than staying at a hotel (which I am notoriously known to avoid), I have explored all other options, including the following:

  • Staying with Friends and Family

    • It really pays to know people all over the world! Be nice to everyone and you will be rewarded tenfold! :)

    • This is the option that raises a LOT of eyebrows, but I have had some amazing experiences (and one bad one) and met SO many interesting people through this website. The house or couch that you'll be staying in may be a hit or miss - so you'll have to be prepared for this, but the experience itself (because of the people you meet) is rewarding. Plus - it's absolutely free!
This is the home of one of my Couchsurfing hosts in New Zealand!

    • When I was traveling by myself - I LOVED staying at Hostels. It's a great way to meet people, it's cheap, and it's always so much fun. I always made friends, staying at hostels... and some of my most exciting adventures while traveling happened with people that I've met at a hostel! Could be a roommate, or the staff, or just random people that I've met at the common area! There's a common misconception about hostels being really nasty --- but that's where your researching efforts come in! I myself only book hostels with raving reviews on Tripadvisor or Hostelworld... All you need to do is make a little effort.
One of the best hostels I've stayed in - Home in Lisbon, Portugal

    • Probably my favorite thing ever! It's a cheaper alternative to a hotel, it's has a very homely touch, you can choose to either be in a private home all to yourself, or book a room in a house and interact (as much or as less as you want) with the hosts and or other guests, you get a local/inside scoop on the city you are visiting - from a local's perspective, I mean - it's everything. (Airbnb, if you're reading this... would you hire me?)
This is one of my favorite Airbnb houses - Location: Bruges, Belgium


First of all - do not over pack. Whatever you think you'll need, you'll most likely only use half of those... What I do is I lay out all the clothes and things I want to bring, and then once I think I have everything, I toss half of them back into my closet and stick to whatever I have. I've gotten so good at being an "underpacker", but even then, there are a few articles of clothing that I think I could have done without on previous trips!

  • Use a BACKPACK

    • It's easier than lugging a wheeled luggage around - especially in Europe.

  • Use Packing Cubes

    • They keep things nice and organized

  • Use Vacuum Sealed Packs

    • They really REALLY give you a lot more space. And if you don't have a vacuum cleaner, it's okay... you can roll the air out of it manually!

  • Use Compression Sacks

    • Similar to a vacuum pack, only round, and squishes everything into a small ball.

  • Roll. Don't Fold.

    • You save a lot more space this way

  • Dryer Sheets

    • I leave a few sheets in my backpack to keep things laundry fresh!


I call this my secret weapon. If you have at least a few weeks of vacation time and want to experience an alternative way of traveling, consider Volunteering via websites like WorkAway, HelpExchange, or WWOOFING.

You can work for a few hours a day in the location of your choosing, in exchange for board & lodging and food. I've written about my experiences on several of my blog posts. You can check them out here.

You don't get paid - but you're not shelling out any cash either. What you get in return is a wealth of experience and a big wad of fun! You get immersed in the culture, you learn first hand about their language, their food (my favorite bit!) and the way they live. Way more than what you would get from a random excursion, or from a guide book. My experiences voluntouring are some of the most memorable and unforgettable I have ever had. 


The key to making some money on the road (if you need it, or if you are traveling that long) is to USE YOUR SKILLS. Some of the things you can do - that I have seen other people do to earn a little bit of cash on the road are the following:

  • Street Performing

    • Are you a musician? Do you know how to play an instrument? Do you have rhythm? Use it! Throw down a hat and play for some cash on the streets. I have done this once myself, and in a country where no one knows who you are - It's a lot of fun!

  • Sell Handmade Goods

    • I've encountered a lot of people on the road who sell handmade jewelry, hair ornaments, etc! I have recently taken up knitting, and I fully intend to use my new found skills to use one day!

  • Bartend 

    • You'd be surprised, but a lot of hostels, and bars/restaurants hire skilled bartenders and pay them under the table.

  • Teach English

    • I have taught English (without a TOEFL certification) in Brazil, was paid cash, and was able to make a living and survive! I have a training background that helped me out - but honestly, what really got me hired was my American Accent. Brazil is not the only country that hires foreigners to teach English, either! And if you want to do it the legal way, well - I hear China, Japan, Korea and Prague are in need of English Teachers right now. It's a pretty good gig!

  • Seasonal Work

    • Check out websites like Cool Works to learn about seasonal employment. Get hired to work at a resort for 4 months, earn some cash, have fun, get some experience... and at the same time - explore the city/town/country that you're in on your days off! (This is exactly what I'm about to do this winter in Alaska!)

  • Cruise Ship Work

    • Ok - I know I just quit this job. But even if it's not for me anymore, doesn't mean it can't work out for you! Everything is paid for while you're working at the ship. You get to save all the money that you earn... And if you're lucky, you get assigned to a ship that goes to your dream destination, like Australia or The Baltics, or Western Europe! Then you go on vacation for months at a time --- and if you want to keep traveling, you can!

  • Work Online

    • Everyone is a digital nomad nowadays! Try to check out websites like Upwork or FlexJobs for online work! You can get a part time or full time gig, depending on the hours that you can give. There are also a lot of online English Classes that you can do (VIP Kid or 51Talk are a couple examples), and the hours are very flexible! The sky is the limit!

And there you have it! These are some of the things I've learned along the way that I thought maybe could help anyone who's interested in practical travel! I hope this helps get your foot out the door!

What are your own personal travel hacks? Please share by posting in the comments section below. :)