The Long Term Travelers Toolkit

“Traveling outgrows its motives. It soon proves sufficient in itself. You think you are making a trip, but soon it is making you – or unmaking you.” – Nicolas Bouvier

I am excited to announce that next year me and my beautiful wife will be embarking on a longterm traveling adventure together. I have always travelled solo for the most part, so this will be a whole new type of adventure for me.

Make sure to follow us along as we will be documenting our adventure and will try to provide the best tips for couples traveling together. Sign up for our newsletter or like us on Facebook.

In this post I will list some of the best resources I have found that can help you plan your next great adventure. Hope you enjoy. Please let me know if I am missing anything worthwhile. Happy travels.

Explore.Dream. Discover.

(for future reference bookmark the page I will be regularly updating found here in the resource guides)

TRAVEL HACKING

  • FlyerTalk.com Forums: This is the place where fellow travel junkies go to discuss all things travel. The forums offer a wealth of valuable information. You can find out about the best travel deals and mileage rewards programs.
  • FareCompare.com: This is one the great airline search engines. Use it to search cheap flights and compare it with other popular search engines.
  • ThePointsGuy.com: Another great site filled with tons of useful information on planning your trip and maximizing your rewards points.
  • Award Wallet: A very useful tool to keep track of all of your miles and points balances. Get notified when your balances change and before your points expire.
  • ev’reward: Love to shop? Then you need to use this site to search the internet’s top rewards programs to help you save money and earn rewards every time you shop.
  • TripIt: This site helps you get all your travel confirmation emails organized by creating one tidy itinerary.

 INSURANCE and SAFETY

  • WorldNomads: Things happen out on the road, make sure your covered. This is one of the most popular sites for nomads looking to travel safely.
  • Squaremouth: Another great site worth checking out for great insurance deals.
  • CDC Travelers’ Health: Being sick in a foreign country is no fun. Go here to find up to date immunization and health information of your desired destination.
  • State Department Travel Warnings: For the latest travel warnings and advisories from the United States State Department.
  • VisaHQ: has developed a unique system that enables travelers to apply online for visas to almost any country that has a Consulate in the United States, simply by filling out one universal, 100% paperless electronic form. They can also renew, replace or add pages to passports for US Citizens.
  • CIA World Factbook: This site provides information on the history, people, government, economy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for 267 world entities. Very useful indeed.

BANKING and CREDIT CARDS

  • NerdWallet: helps consumers save money and make smarter decisions about their personal finances, travel plans, health bills, or higher education.
  • Schwab: Free ATM transactions (via ATM fee refunds) anywhere in the world. No international exchange fees. Pretty awesome if you are an international traveler.
  • The Chase Sapphire Preferred: This is the card I am going to sign up for next year. Great benefits for travelers.
  • Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card: No foreign transaction fees.
  • The Bank of America Travel Rewards® Credit Card: No foreign transaction fees. Smart chip technology provides greater acceptance and added security, so you can make purchases with ease and confidence outside of the U.S.
  • American Express Platinum: Free airline lounge access, free Regus business lounge access at over 1,000 office buildings (500 cities; 85 countries) around the world, and $200 refund on airline fees per year. It’s also a rewards card which you can use through Amex or transfer to various airlines and hotels. $450 annual fee, but well worth it for someone who travels regularly.
  • Currency conversion: Check out XE for all the latest rates, download their app for a quick handy way to stay up to date with the daily currency fluctuations.

FINDING CHEAP FLIGHTS

  • indie: This is an awesome search engine brought to you by the popular “BootsnAll” designed for planning your RTW (round-the-world) flights, complete with prices and suggested stops.
  • ITA Software: Matrix Airfare Search: This site can really help you find the cheapest flight, but it is going to a little more work. The reason is you can’t actually book the flight directly through the site, but can then use the info. to call up the airline directly to book it. Matrix showcases some of the freshest travel search ideas from ITA Software.Here are just a few of our innovative shopping features:
    Geo Search – search by airport code, city, or nearby airport selector
    Interactive Calendar – explore date ranges and find the lowest fares
    Real-time Filters – focus on flights that suit your preferences
    Color-coded Time Bars – compare flights at a glance
    Get the phone app: android here apple here
  • Hipmunk: This site is easy to use and I like the way it visually displays the search results.
  • Vayama: Another search engine worth checking out. Have found that it sometimes finds international flights that don’t show up on other search engines.
  • CheapOair: Great site worth checking out when you are hunting for a good deal.
  • Airfare Watchdog: If you have time, you can use this service to monitor your desired route and it will send you an email if the price drops.
  • Skypicker: This site is great  if you live in the UK or can find a cheap flight to London, it will then show you where else you can go for very little money.

ACCOMMODATION

  • Couchsurfing: I have never tried it, as I prefer to have my own private space and don’t mind spending money for a decent place. It is a great way to meet people and travel as cheap as possible. When I lived in Prague my roommate would often let fellow travelers crash on our couch. Many times he would not let me know we would have company over, and I would get a lovely surprise when I would go grab a glass a milk in the middle of the night and see a half-naked guy talking in his sleep. Yeah, we had a couch in our kitchen, a little weird I guess.
  • HostelWorld: This is the first site I used when I started traveling. This is still my go to with finding the cheapest accommodation anywhere in the world.
  • Hostelbookers: This site claims to be 7.9% cheaper than hostel world, but will also return a smaller list of options. Use both sites to compare and find your best option.
  • Agoda: Another great site that finds great accommodation especially in Asia.
  • Airbnb: You can use this site to rent anything from a room in an apartment to an entire house anywhere in the world.
  • Wimdu: Another site very similar to Airbnb.
  • Trusted Housesitters and Mind My House: I have never tried house sitting, but it definitely could be a great way to save some cash and stay in a really nice place.
  •  Hotels.com: One of the grand daddy’s of online booking, worth checking out especially if you are not a budget traveler.

TRANSPORTATION

  • Sleeping in Airports: I have had to do this many times, and I most of the time I had no say in the matter. Whether you sleep in an airport overnight by choice or you just get stuck in the airport due to a layover, let The Guide to Sleeping in Airports help make your travel experience more tolerable.
  • Seat Guru: SeatGuru is the go-to resource for savvy flyers.  From seatmaps to flight search, they do their best to make sure your journey a smooth one.  And with the new G-Factor,they rate itineraries using a proprietary algorithm, so you know in advance if you’ll like, love or just live with your flight experience.
  • The Man in Seat 61: If flying is not your thing, then you need to check out Mark’s site for great information on train travel worldwide.
  • Rail Europe: If you plan on going all over Europe, traveling by train may be the easiest and cheapest way to go. You can purchase country-specific or regional passes that are either unlimited or offer a certain amount of travel days within a period of time.
  • Fly or Drive Calculator: To fly,  or not to fly, that is the question.  If you’re wondering what’s better check this handy calculator. Only available in the continental US.
  • AutoSlash: Need to rent a car for your adventure? If so try Autoslash, is a website dedicated to saving people money on car rentals. Autoslash applies the best coupons and discounts, tracks rental price changes right up until the pickup date, and re-books users into these savings automatically.

RESEARCH AND TRIP PLANNING

  • Travelfish: A go to resource for anyone traveling SE Asia.
  • Trip Advisor: One of my go to sites. They provide user reviews of hotels, restaurants, and attractions in locations around the globe. I used them to find the place we stayed in Bohol, Philippines.
  • Lonely Planet: Another go to resource for independent travelers. Most of the guide books I have purchased have been from lonely planet.
  • Let’s Go Guides: Another great series of guidebooks for the independent and money conscious traveler.
  • Bootsnall: One of the biggest online resources for independent travelers. Provides a great amount of helpful information on planning a round the world trip.
  • Travel Independent:  A great website full of info. for the independent backpacker. Learn what to pack, where to go, what to do, etc.

FOOD & STUFF TO DO

  • Meetup: New in town? This is a great way of meeting new people quickly in your area.
  • Migrationalogy: Heading to Thailand? Then you need to check out my buddy Mark’s site. He has a passion for street food and is enthusiastic about sharing his knowledge. Your mouth and stomach will thank you later.
  • Chowhound: This is where food lovers unite. Check out their message boards and find the destination you are going to visit so that you have a good idea of all the foods you want to try out.
  • Happy Cow: Being a vegeterian can sometimes be a little tough when your traveling through certain countries. Use this site to find all the awesome healthy vegetarian food restaurants across the world.
  • Get Your Guide: This site collects and categorizes all the world’s things to do so you research less and do more.
  • Guided by a Local and Guidehop: These are fast-growing online communities serving as a platform to connect travelers and locals from around the world. Locals become the tour guides and leave tips for travelers about the best things to see and do in the places they know the best. Travelers get to see beyond the tourist traps and learn about the local culture.

TRAVEL PRODUCTS

  • Alpha Antenna: As a digital nomad working on the road, a good wi-fi connection is critical. Sometimes hostel, hotel, or cafe WiFi can be weak or spotty depending on how close you are to the source. The Alpha antenna can solve this problem by dramatically extending the range of your computers wi-fi card.
  • Sierra Trading Post: This site has an amazing selection of discounted outdoors and travel clothing and products.
  • REI: Another site worth checking out for all your traveling gear needs.
  • ExOfficio Underwear: This may turn out to be the best investment you can make. You can hand wash in the sink, squeeze dry, and they’re ready the next day. The best part is they are treated with Aegis Microbe Shield to control odor-causing bacteria, making it ideal to wear in hot, humid climates and on sweaty adventures.
  • Nikon DSLR Camera: I love photography and I have been incredibly happy with my Nikon camera. The D3200 makes for a great entry-level camera capable of taking stunning pictures and HD video. You’re going to be seeing amazing sights on your adventure, make sure to document the ride in style.

  • Amazon Kindle: This is simply by best friend. I love to read and this makes it easy to take my entire library wherever I go.

PACKING

  • Universal Packing List:  Fill out a simple form and this site will generate a packing list for you.
  • OneBag: Everything you wanted to know about packing efficiently for a life on the road

VOLUNTEERING AND WORKING ABROAD

  • For a good list on many opportunities to work and volunteer abroad check out my post:
  • Transitions Abroad: One of best sites for information about working, volunteering, and studying abroad.
  • Cool Works: Very cook site offering some of the best seasonal/adventure jobs out there. Offers tons of job listings and a great forum.
  • Workaway.info: This site features nice opportunities for you to exchange a few hours of work for room and board. This site is geared towards providing cultural or language exchange.
  • Escape the City: This site helps people find non-corporate jobs all around the world. Great for anyone who wants to transfer their corporate skills with an exciting start up in another country.
  • Job Monkey: Tons of info. for all types of seasonal jobs. Can help you find a gig on cruise line or beach resort.
  • Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF): WWOOF is an exchange - In return for volunteer help, WWOOF hosts offer food, accommodation and opportunities to learn about organic lifestyles. WWOOF organisations link people who want to volunteer on organic farms or smallholdings with people who are looking for volunteer help.
  • Workaway.info: A similar concept to WWOOF, this site features sweet opportunities for you to exchange a few hours of work for room and board. More focused on providing cultural or language exchange.
  • Backdoor Jobs: Are you looking for opportunities to work, travel, play, live, learn, help, create, experience and grow? Come explore, dream, discover, do and thrive with Backdoorjobs.com.

TEACHING ENGLISH ABROAD

Teaching English is one of the easiest ways to support your self while living in a new country, and helps to integrate you into the society. Teaching English will also help you meet new friends who will be happy to show you the ropes to your new city. Don’t expect to get rich from teaching English, however if you find a good program or school it will usually be enough to live very comfortably. Many teachers supplement their income for luxuries and travel by teaching private lessons.

You can find potential students in your city’s newspaper classified ads and online as well. If you do plan on teaching English, a good thing to get under your belt is to get certified to teach in a foreign country by getting your TEFL. You can complete most TEFL courses through intensive 4-8 week programs. Many teachers decide to get there TEFL through a language school in the country where they want to live. This is usually a good choice as most schools will help you find a job when you finish the program. You will also meet new people who you can potentially be roommates with.

  • Bridge Linguatec and i-to-i: In order to maximise your opportunities to teach english as second language you will need to get certified.
  • Dave’s ESL Cafe: One of the most popular destinations to find ESL teaching jobs around the world.
  • ESL Teachers Board: Another job board worth checking out.
  • Footprints Recruiting: This is a well-known company that recruits for paid ESL teaching jobs in many parts of the world.

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PS. What are your favorite resources? What am I missing?

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5 Responses to The Long Term Travelers Toolkit

  1. Hey Ivan, just stumbled upon your fantastic blog! Hubby and I have been living in Korea for the last 4 years and absolutely love it. Life in Seoul just seems to get better and better, more services for the public and more resources for english speaking foreigners all the time.

    We completed a year of world travel ourselves (though we are woefully behind on our blog) :( and it was absolutely unforgettable. Not sure if you’ve left yet, but I wanted to recommend that you travel with just a carry on size backpack if you can. I did, and I felt so light and free, it was the best decision. :) Enjoy your journey!
    Shelley´s last blog post ..Gaga for Gyeongpodae

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