Category Archives for "Travel Tips"

2 How To: Pack Only Carry-On Luggage

Currently my husband and I are traveling in Ecuador for 2.5 months, and we came down without any checked luggage.  Each of us packed a small duffel bag that easily fits in the overhead compartment on the airplane, and a day pack. 

Day pack and small duffel bag: my only luggage for our 2.5 month Ecuador trip.

Day pack and small duffel bag: my only luggage for our 2.5 month Ecuador trip.

Packing light proved advantageous several times over even on the flight down. Continue reading

How To: Learn the Local Language

Berlitz Romanian

Being able to speak even a few basic phrases of the language of the country you plan to visit will pay off in more ways than one.  This is a strategy I use to not only help me save a little more money, but also to increase my safety and connect with the locals in a more fulfilling way.  By making the effort to speak the language of your destination, in most cases the locals will be far more likely to help you, give you better prices on their goods, and generally like and respect you much more than the next tourist who expects everyone to speak English to them.  Even in situations where the guides, shopkeepers, waiters and others speak English, if you speak to them in their own language it will put a smile on their faces and you’ll get a lot more positive attention from them.

A few nights ago my husband and I landed in Ecuador.  We spent our first day in Guayaquil.  As we walked along the Malecón Salado (boardwalk along the river), we found a man with a long pole reaching high into a mango tree and decided to interact with him.  “¿Qué está haciendo?” I asked him (What are you doing?).  Continue reading

1 How To: Use the Local Resources


Image credit: Shawn Ford

Image credit: Shawn Ford

Travel can become extremely affordable when you learn how to use the local resources.  Depending on where you travel to, it could make your trip even cheaper than just staying home!   In earlier posts I talked about how to overcome the biggest expenses of airfare and lodging by using frequent flyer miles and staying with couchsurfers or in hostels.  I’ll discuss other lodging options in future e-mails, but those are the main ways I save when I travel.  After those big expenses, the next big money pits are food and ground transportation.  However, if you learn to use the resources that the locals use, you may find you spend even less than you do on food and transportation at home, especially in some of the world’s cheaper destinations, such as many countries in Latin America and Southeast Asia.

Continue reading