How to Book the Cheapest Flight like an Expert

My own personal cheapness and desire to travel has made me go to extreme lengths to find the best methods of booking a flight while spending the least. This is a list of every tip and trick I know, from the obvious (#1) to the ridiculously time-consuming (#23). Go down the list and see if you can find a new way to save money like a pro. For your convenience, I have also listed drawbacks if any. Read more

My One Year Experiment with ‘Churning’

Note: The terms ‘points’ and ‘miles’ are used interchangeably in this article.

If you are like me, you might have read these incredible stories online about people “flying for free” using airline points, known as ‘miles’. The stories are usually fantastic recounts, maybe with a picture or two of themselves in an exotic beach asking “wouldn’t you want to be here FOR FREE!” This post will cut the crap and give you the real deal on how it works, the pros, the cons, the boring math stuff, and the nitty gritty things that don’t make click bait titles. Read more

Is the foreign price fair?

While I wrote this post in Myanmar, the internet was too slow to post, so sorry for the delay!

I am more than half -way through my South East Asia trip and having an absolute blast. So far, it has been a month in Thailand, two weeks in Cambodia, and am two weeks into the Myanmar leg of the trip as I write. A common ‘obstacle’ or reality is that in these countries, no matter what, foreigners can expect to pay more (sometimes considerably so) than a local would to do the same things. One particular tourist I met, upon finding out the he had grossly overpaid for food in Vietnam brushed it off by saying: “Well, I expect to pay the foreigner price anyways, so that’s okay.”

While the palace is fantastic, it is 500 Baht for foreigners ($18 usd) and a tiny fraction of that for locals.
While the palace is fantastic, it is 500 Baht for foreigners ($18 usd) and a tiny fraction of that for locals.

To be honest, I like that guy’s attitude. In many ways, I try not to let it bother me by thinking that is “just the way things are.” Lately though, I have been wondering: Is it fair?  As tourists (local and foreign), should we not pay the same price for the same goods and services? As easy as it would be to make a stand one way or the other, I think the question is a lot harder to answer if you really think about it. Read more

When NOT to be THAT Cheap

Coming back from a trip is the perfect time to reflect on what has been learned. Travel, like pretty much anything in life, is something you refine the more you do it and (hopefully) become better at it. This last adventure abroad came with one of the most important lessons to date: There are times when you don’t have to be THAT cheap.

I spent the last 2 weeks in the Kansai region of my favorite country thus far, Japan. We got around to see Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Koyasan, and Ise. Having visited this region two years ago, I kind of knew how much money would be needed. I purposefully brought less cash than required in a bid to use my travel credit card a bit more to accumulate points and limit how much cash I had left over. Nothing sucks more than knowing you are losing money by exchanging into a foreign currency, and then changing the unused cash back.

And hey, I had to buy something at the pokemon center anyways.
And hey, I had to buy something at the pokemon center anyways.

The first snag was upon realizing that many places in Japan simply don’t accept credit cards. Shocking for one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world. I am not talking about ice cream stands or mom and pop shops. Many convenience stores, shops, and even the train stations (Nankai) were cash only. Read more

The Cost of NOT Traveling

The #1 question I get when I am about to set off on a new adventure is: “How can you afford to travel so much?” My typical answers of: “It is not as expensive as you think” and “I don’t really shop” seems to go in one ear and out the other. It wasn’t until a few hours ago that I considered another response: “How much does it cost you NOT to travel?”

50,000 Won Note

WTF Does That Even Mean?

On one of my previous posts where I explained step by step how I saved $55,000 as an English teacher in South Korea, I revealed my passion for the nitty-gritty number crunching that comes with travel planning. One of the things I always consider is the cost of travel minus the cost NOT to travel. Read more