Yes, I know. You’ve probably read hundreds, if not thousands of articles on travel hacks and tips that aim to tell you where to travel and how to do it without falling on your ass.
So why another list of travel hacks, you ask? Well, this is not just another list. It’s a roundup of expert blogger advice in response to a single question we asked them, “What is the #1 travel hack you learned that opened up the world of travel for you?”
You see, for many people, like me, who were newly bitten by the travel bug, it happened because of something we read, or a talk we heard about someone’s travel experiences.
But it’s not just the idea of travel. It’s that moment in every successful travel blogger’s life when they realize, dang, I can actually do this for the rest of my life.
The moment when the world of travel truly opens up to you, because of a tip or hack you learned that makes it doable… for a lifetime. This brings us back to the question we asked our expert travel bloggers.
“What is the #1 travel hack you learned that opened up the world of travel for you?”
This is what they told us.
Discovering how to get free accommodation around the world was a game changer for me, ultimately helping me to make the lifestyle of full-time travel financially sustainable.
Accommodation is far and away from the most expensive aspect of traveling, and if you can eliminate that, you’ll not only stretch your travel dollars so much further, but I also found that it offers considerably more culturally rewarding experiences.
You can get free accommodation by volunteering, house-sitting, helping out on boats, and even doing hospitality and home exchanges.
Bonus: The second most expensive aspect of travel is transportation – specifically flights. I got a travel credit card that passively earned me points on every purchase, and after a while, I had enough points to fly to Hawaii! That was the first place I went after selling everything I owned to travel full-time.
- Ryan Biddulph, who blogs at Blogging From Paradise, also revealed that free accommodation opened up the world of travel, in particular:
House sitting. House sits pulled us to places like Cyprus and Qatar; countries we’d never think to visit until sitting jobs popped up in these areas. Sitting is rent-free living contingent on caring for pets and keeping homes tidy. Easy peasy and the ultimate travel hack for me and my wife, for experiencing exotic spots.
- Supriya Sehgal, who blogs at Supriya Sehgal, offered a rather unique travel hack that’s very useful for solo women travelers. She said:
I sit in the front seat while on long journeys in cabs (which I do a lot for the Lonely Planet guidebooks). It allows you to chat with the driver with ease, sharing more, learning more about him, and inadvertently becoming his friend and ‘responsibility’.
Over the years, so many of these drivers have taken it upon themselves to make sure that I’m safe, taken me home to meet my wife and kids, and appreciated that I didn’t sit at the back (creating some sort of hierarchy). Also, the view is better from the front seat.
[Note from Editor: I agree with Supriya 100%. I did this when I travelled on a rather poorly-planned 10-day trip to Kashmir, and had the same experience with a kind driver who took on the responsibility of keeping my child and me safe during a trip that almost never happened. Kindness is everywhere, if you just know how to look for it.]
Flexibility with flights. Using Skyscanner as is can be really helpful, but sometimes piecing together your own routes, with random stopovers, can allow you to find a cheaper route and see a second or third destination on the outward or return journey.
For example, in the past, I’ve booked separate flights from London to Bali return and Bali to Australia to return en route to Bali. I saved 100s of dollars on the overall flight cost and spent that money on a few days in Bali on either side of the trip. Open up a few Skyscanner windows, and search random flight costs from different airports on the route until you find two that lineup.
- Stefan Arestis and Sebastien Chaneac who blog at Nomadic Boys, also recommend saving money on flights and staying wherever you can. They say:
If you’re flexible with time, you can get some great deals on flights – we use Skyscanner to search. Also with hotels, go to them directly and ask for a discount if booked with them instead of booking.com or Agoda – as that way they don’t have to pay commission to them.
- Jarryd and Alesha, who blog at NOMADasaurus, offer a very useful travel hack to save money on flights. They recommend you:
Look at random, obscure flight routes to save money. Just looking for flights from ‘Sydney to London’ for example might be very expensive, but if you look for flights to major hubs along the way with different airline carriers you can save hundreds of dollars.
Flight comparison websites, so I can find cheap flights, and Airbnb to find great local places to stay.
- Charukesi Ramadurai, who blogs at, Itchy Feet, says this is the one thing that opened up the world of travel for her.
I learned to ignore my fear of the unknown and to push my boundaries – if there is one key lesson that I want to share from all my years of travel, it is that people all over the world (even in countries considered “unsafe”) are all the same, and you need to place a basic amount of trust and faith to really enjoy the travel experience.
That we are all humans at the end of the day, and nothing connects us better than sharing a meal together.
Free stay, cheap flights, and finding what connects us all as human beings – these are wonderful tips to inspire you to start planning your next trip, mateys.
Do you have any travel hacks of your own – the #1 hack that made you realize you could opt for traveling as a lifestyle choice? If you’d like your tip added to this list, email us at the avast (at) ahoymatey (dot) blog and let us know.