Where Should I Go?
After deciding on a destination, you need to work on how to get there. Whether you have to fly to your destination or are lucky to be close enough for train travel (which is usually cheaper), we use 3 main websites for researching and buying cheap travel tickets:
Before reaching Asia and deciding to start this blog, Eliana & I traveled all around the United States and a bunch of exotic destinations in South America and throughout the Caribbean. One thing that we learned on our travels was how to find interesting and beautiful places that wouldn't punish our bank account. The world is filled with them! Having trouble deciding where you can travel without breaking the bank? We've interviewed fellow travelers and scoured the internet finding some of the cheapest travel destinations in the world, all coming in at less than $40/€36 a day!
Choosing a Destination
Momondo is our go-to in finding cheap airline tickets. It has a very appealing and easy to use interface that offers tons of features. Their Price Calender allows you look at flight costs over a 2 week period simultaneously. They offer airport suggestions at your destination country so you have options and let you choose whether saving time or money is more important to you and presents the result accordingly. Momondo is a flyer's best friend!
Skyscanner is our "let's check to make sure we're getting the cheapest tickets" site. It's a good practice to check at least 2 sites to compare your flight prices and Skyscanner serves that purpose pretty well. On the downside, it's a little more technical in apperance and doesn't offer as many options on one screen without changing flight info. Many travelers still use Skyscanner as their #1 so its worth having bookmarked for sure.
The Man in Seat 61 is by far my single favorite person on the world wide web. We're not sure how he did it, but he has mapped out train, bus, and ferry travel pretty much across the entire globe. Need to travel from India to Japan? No problem, this man has done all the leg work for you already. He's our first stop whenever we need to do any cross country or cross continent travel over land or sea and don't want to be in the sky.
Getting Travel Visas (for U.S. passport holders)
Probably the most important piece of the traveling puzzle is ensuring that you are traveling in your destination country legally. Fortunately, the United States Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs makes it extremely easy to apply for a visa with just about every country in the world. They literally provide every bit of information you need about traveling abroad in any country, including embassy messages and locations, entry and exit requirements, local laws, and country specific crime safety tips.
- The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a program you enroll in, free of charge, and allows the US Embassy to get in touch with you and your family in case of emergency. They also provide information regarding the safety conditions in your given destination allowing you to make informed travel decisions, including civil unrest or natural disaster. Traveling safely is one of the smartest things you can do while on the road and this program is like having a whistle blower in your back pocket, just in case.
- The Travelers Checklist is just that, a complete checklist of important pre-trip travel requirements. Necessary documents, money handling, medical insurance and prescriptions, it's all in the list and easy to check off as you get ready for your trip.
Unfortunately, we can't provide this same information for passport holders of every country without writing an entire book as some countries do have travel restrictions. Please refer to your government's website for similar information regarding visiting foreign countries.
Vaccines & Immunizations
No one likes getting shots and we are probably at the top of the "get away from me with that needle" list. That being said, not getting your shots before traveling to a foriegn country is not an option. It's expense for sure, but one that can prevent you from having some really uncomfortable weeks on the road. Fortunately for us, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has done all the work for you in deciding which shots are necessary and which are optional for you given destination.
General vaccines and medicines for the majority of world travelers include:
- Hepatitis A, protecting you from becoming ill from contaminated food and water
- Hepatitis B, protecting you from being infected through sexual contact and contaminated needles, ie. tattoos/piercing
-Typhoid, which you can also contract from contaminated food or water, especially in small cities or rural areas
Other vaccinations, depending on where you are traveling, include those for Yellow Fever, Rabies, Meningitis, Polio, and Malaria. Just select your destination from the CDC's dropdown menu and they will provide a list of vaccinations in order of most to least important.
The CDC also takes out the leg work of having to Find a Local Travel Clinic where you can get these shots administered. In the states, these shots will cost you a couple hundred dollars and generally are not covered by your health insurance policy so it's smart to work them into your travel budget. Some shots can be substituted for oral pills and your doctor may also prescribe medication for Travelers Diarrhea which is a common issue among travelers and very easy to treat.
Just about the last thing you need to do before it's time to pack your bags, is to make sure that you are covered in case of an emergency on the road. Most health insurance policies do not cover you while traveling, so a separate travelers insurance is a must, especially for long trips. Along with many fellow travelers, we use and recommend World Nomads Travel Insurance.
World Nomads offers insurance in two competitive packages for individuals, couples, and families that are residents in over 150 countries around the world. They allow you to buy a policy before your trip and extend it if necessary while you are away. It's a very extensive coverage and may include activities you dont plan on partaking in.
However, if you want a policy that grants you the freedom of not having to worry while on the road, World Nomads is definitely the way to go. Their customer service is also very responsive and will check in on you randomly just to make sure you're still doing well while on your trip, letting you know that they've got your back.
If you want to do a little shopping around for different policies, Insure My Trip is a really good travel insurance search engine that will give you tons of options to choose from.
Now that you've chosen a beautiful destination, found your tickets, and taken care of all the health precautions,
LET'S GET PACKING!