• Luke

    Hi, loving your website…. I’m feeling like I really want to take off and travel. Just a question about money – how much money did you save prior to travelling? Did you have a lot behind you? Not much, etc?

  • matthew stanfill

    Im leaving for the australian work visa soon. I am an American so I think I need some kind of insurance. Suggestions? Ive check seven corners and think its best ive seen. I have no insurance in the states however.

    • I’ve been using MedEx and was happy with it. But it doesn’t cover any of the regular check-ups.

  • Brandegee Pierce

    Hi Michael,

    So this is a super vague question, but hell, here it goes. I am on a similar path in life as you were in 2009. My girlfriend and I are selling just about everything we own, with the exception of some sentimental stuff our parents will hold on (yay for being sentimental), quitting our career jobs in corporate America for just about the same reason as you and hitting the road. We are going to Italy, Malta, United Arab Emirates, India, and Thailand. We will be in Thailand for a few months then we don’t have any specific plans. I know you can’t write a ton, because this is a question you can spend a while answering, but I just want 2 of the biggest tips you have that you think might make our trip easier, better, more educational, cheaper, ect… Anything you tell will be very helpful.

    Thanks,
    Bran

    • Hi Bran,

      Great question! I could definitely write a ton and I’m not even sure these are my two biggest tips but they are certainly high on my list of tips.
      1. Try not to have any set dates that you need to be anywhere by. Feeling rushed while traveling is not great. Try to avoid having a predetermined date that you need to meet someone by. Not only do you get to take your time while you travel but you’ll allow yourself to change plans as you go much easier.
      2. Set a budget but expect that you might spend double. During the first few months of traveling, I was right on target with my budget but I found that the more I traveled, the more I started to spend. Sounds kind of backwards considering the more you travel the smarter you get about how to spend your money but I just found that I started to want things like private rooms. Sometimes you’ll want to eat fancier meals and sometimes you’ll get invited to a random amusement park. At least if you expect that you might spend more, it won’t be as heartbreaking when you look at your bank account.

      Have fun and safe travels!!

      • Brandegee Pierce

        Hey Michael,

        Thanks for the answers. Our trip leaves in 2 weeks and we have a relatively open schedule from here to Thailand, stopping in Italy, Malta, EAU, India. Other than our flights out of those countries, we don’t have any dates. We wanted to book in advance, and we knew we “wanted” to end up in Thailand, so thought it made sense. In the future, I think we might buy our tickets a week or 2 in advance once we know what we want to do.

        The budget thing… That scares me a little, but I think traveling is supposed to be a little scary. I have never done this type of traveling before, but funny you say you spent more money the longer you traveled. I have spent a good amount of our planning getting gear, which I know is not what trip is at all about, but… My thoughts were if we could have clothes and equipment that weren’t things that made us uncomfortable, that is one less thing to make us want to bail on a trip.

        Thanks again,
        Brandegee

        • Brandegee

          Hey Michael,

          Got a another quick question… My girlfriend and I were talking about bank accounts and we started to panic. What is the best way to access money in an account like Bank of America or Chase while abroad. We don’t mind changing banks, but just not sure who or what is our best option. Any thoughts would be awesome.

          Thanks,
          Brandegee

          • Hey Brandegee,

            Just use your ATM card at the ATM machines. They’re everywhere and they always offer the best exchange rates. You’re going to want to find out about the international fees though. I highly recommend getting a Schwab account. No ATM or international fees anywhere. It’s the only bank that does that. You’ll have to open an investor account which allows you to open a checking account. It’s all free. If you plan on traveling with a credit card, Capital One has no fees either.

            Let me know if that helps.
            Michael

  • Lorenzo

    Hi Michael,

    My wife and I are planning a trip to Tokyo on November 18 – December 2 and we were wondering what places you recommend we see in Nikko. You mentioned that 2 days was enough to breathe in the place. Could you please share with us your experience in those 2 days so we can map it out in our exploration of Japan?

    Any help would be most appreciated.

    THANKS!
    Lorenzo

  • Trevor

    Are there any areas in China where one should avoid travelling to ie the western side or northern side ect. (besides Tibet)

    • That’s a good question. I’m not entirely sure really of specific places. The west will definitely be more remote but not really any more dangerous. I’ve never felt any sort of danger anywhere in China on the mid to East side.

  • Frederick

    How much did you save before you started to travel? What would be a good ball park figure?

    • Hi Frederick. I saved around $15,000 and was able to travel for almost a year with that.

  • Tommy

    Hi,
    I’m 18 years old and just started college but I am not exactly motivated to do anything in college right now. I still do good in school because I know education can take you far. But all of my friends are traveling out of the country, my dream, the one thing that made me different from everybody at my school. My passion for traveling is beyond explanation but now that I see my friends go travel and see the world, I feel like everyone else is living the dream except me. I feel depressed and stuck and I’m trying every possible way to start traveling by saving money, working a minimum wage job (thinking about getting another one), and majoring in linguistics so it could help me overcome the language barriers everywhere I go. I guess I just need assurance that I am not going to be stuck. If you have ever felt like this before, how did you overcome it?

    • GweNdZ

      all the time. But there is still hope to go abroad after you studied and the amount of opportunities are even broader if you have a degree. hang in there. 🙂 you still have a very long life ahead of you and many opportunities can come by.

    • Stephanie

      Have you thought about studying abroad? That way you can work on your degree and travel at the same time.
      I would caution against majoring in linguistics as a means to travel. Language barriers really aren’t a huge issue when it comes to travel, unless you are planning on living in another country in which case you really just need to know that specific language. Major in something that interests you and that fits with the kind of career path you would like to pursue.

    • Ashleigh

      Dear Tommy,

      The best advice can give you is to study abroad.

      Chances are your university will have multiple programs where you can earn credit for your degree while studying in another country.

      You’re killing two birds with one stone: fulfilling your school requirements as well as seeing a bit of the world. Especially since you’re doing linguistics a study abroad program is essential.

      Now, study abroad is not just a vacation. You’re still going to be going to school. Everything won’t be exciting either, you’ll have boring and stressful days just like at home.

      However, your worldview and depth of knowledge will be drastically expanded.

      I’m currently studying abroad in Costa Rica doing a Latin American culture and Spanish language program. It’s been a challenge, but it’s worth it.

      I would advise you to see what your university has to offer. If they don’t have a plan, you can see if you can supplement another program for credit.

      Just make sure the credits will transfer.

      Good luck and don’t give up! It’s easier to travel than you think.

      • This is great advice!

        • Ashleigh

          Thanks!

    • Hi Tommy. I’ve posted your question on our Facebook group as well. See here: https://www.facebook.com/artofadventuring/posts/10152043230655310

      Personally I’d look into studying abroad. Best of both worlds. You’ll get to fuel your passion for travel while advancing your career that will bring you way more opportunities in the future.

      I’m not sure how useful linguistics is as a major for traveling though. You’d be far more likely to get a job and travel around the world with an English major than linguistics. While it’s helpful to know many languages, the international language is English which gives you a head start. You really don’t need to know any other language but English to get around in this world. Of course it’d help if you knew others but I wouldn’t give it much of a priority. By far the easiest way to learn another language is by being in that country too.

      If school is not your thing still, consider working or volunteering abroad. Where are you from? Can you get a work visa for Australia or New Zealand? And you’ll want to save quite a bit before leaving.

    • Travis

      Hi Tommy,

      This is a really great question! I was in your shoes a few years ago and decided to stick out school before traveling. It worked out as I was able to save up a good amount of money from working, in turn extending the period of time I could travel. However I know this isn’t right for everyone and my plan only worked because I was able to graduate without student debt (thanks to the education system in Canada and some scholarships). The fact that you are a) going to school b) working one job and thinking of getting another and c) posting questions on a travel blog tell me that you are going to be fine and will most definitely live your dream of traveling. Studying abroad, as others have suggested, is a great idea. You can also look into teaching English abroad (that could possibly provide some income too!). If long term travel isn’t an option financially yet, why not look into traveling in your home country? I don’t know where you are located, but there’s a good chance that tourists spend a lot of money to visit your neck of the woods. I didn’t start traveling until I was 25 so don’t worry about getting stuck! If travel is a passion you will make it happen!

    • Linguistics is a good degree if you want to pursue a career or jobs in the languages field, eg, translation, interpretation, teaching other languages (including English). It’ll teach you a lot about how the mouth muscles move when you’re speaking and how we learn languages and reproduce sounds. Interesting in some ways, boring in others. Just because you’ve studied linguistics doesn’t mean you’ll be any better at language acquisition if you don’t have the drive to do the work necessary to learn a new language or if it’s not relevant (ie, why learn Chinese if you’ll never, ever, ever, use it?) You’d be better off learning something that’s relevant to your interests. As for travel, I’m not sure if you’ll be living in a dorm on campus or at home, but the simple math of the situation is that a year of university (living at home) is around $3000-5000 for an arts degree per year. If you’re living on campus, add on $600-$900 per month for room and board (and that’s on the cheap end) for a total closer to $15,000 per year. On the other hand, as Mike has mentioned, $15,000 can literally take you around the world. There was an article about how much it costs to travel and the average cost per month travelling abroad was around $2000. Cheaper places include SE Asia, parts of South America, and Eastern Europe. More expensive places are Western Europe, Australia and even Africa.

      The problem becomes the challenge you want to take on. A year of academic studies will give you just that, a year towards a degree which, since it’s not a vocational degree, you’ll still need to look for a job (in or out of the country). While studying, you can still study other languages, stay in hostels during breaks, pick up a trade, paint a masterpiece, etc. It depends on your drive to get things done. On the other hand, you can get a working holiday visa for Australia (no degree needed), teach ESL abroad (ESL certificate is around $1800 and there are centres all over the world), or just go backpacking through one of the above places (which may teach you the art of being humble and international communication). The glory of travelling abroad is that you’re willing to work a minimum wage job because everything else around that job is an experience, whereas at home it can be mundane. But you’re still making minimum wage.

      The question you need to ask is what you want to invest $2000 in: a month in university or a month abroad? (Not including air fare which usually tops out at $1500 one way.)

      Hope that helps.

  • Alexandra

    Hi Tommy,
    the best advice I can give you is to follow your heart and go traveling now. You are so young and traveling will help u find your path as u will get to know yourself better.
    I would recommend to do work and travel which can travel your expenses. You can do it in a lot of countries and even travel to other countries and go back.
    And after 1 or 2 years of doing that u are still young enough to study the thing which is right for u maybe even do your whole degree abroad.
    I did work and travel with 20 for 1 year and I never regretted a single day that I started studying 1 year later. I needed that break to become clear about myself and what I want in life and also that I have a feeling of contentment cos I lived my dream. The only thing I would have done differently is to study my whole degree abroad. I finish my bachelor next year in my home country and also did an exchange semester. Planning on doing my masters abroad.
    Good luck for you. Listen to your heart

  • Mel

    I feel that way all the time. Studying abroad is an option, but if you feel you’d like to take a year off to travel that’s okay too. It’s not popular here in North America (which is a shame) but in Europe a lot of people take a gap year in between graduating from high school and going to university. You can always look into teaching English in Asia either for six months or a year. I taught in China for two years and my employers paid for everything ( flights, accommodation, health insurance, etc). Good Luck!

  • Marianne

    Hi there,

    I am searching for a short tour (1-1.5 weeks) within Indonesia/West Papua to visit the indigenous tribes.

    So far I have just come across very expensive packages . I understand that a tour like this is definitely a bit out there so it will be expensive, but just wondering if anyone has any good tips/advice/experience on visiting the tribes of Indonesia or even Malaysia (would also be interested in visiting there).

    Happy travels everyone 🙂

  • Sarah

    Hi Lindsee, I am in the process of planning a trip to Croatia and am hoping you might know the answers to a couple of my questions! I am going middle of May and am wondering just how cold the water will be at that time (I read where you went in June)? Also, I’m worried that things (i.e boats, sailing, kayaking) might not be up and running yet in May – have you heard anything on that note? I don’t want to go at the wrong time and not be able to do any of the fun water sports that are available!

  • Thomas

    Hi, I was wondering what the best way to get around europe is. I know trains are the best way but I’m having a hard time finding 2 month train pass within my budget. the cheapest I found was over $1000, do you know any other trains that are cheaper than that for 2 months? or do you have any other advice in regards to the transportation in europe?

  • Van

    Hi Michael,
    FYI – Is there an issue with your web page? If I link in to the above it is blank on any computer use, as well as any search. I need to go through a sub category to get to your page and it’s not an easy task to scroll around that way. Unable to read fully? Replied to you email and it was bounced back!
    Cheers Van

  • Michael Cotroneo
  • Michael Cotroneo

    Travis, I was in the same shoe. I didn’t even go in my first plane till I was 24, and that was two weeks after college straight to Bangkok by myself. Ended up meeting my wife in 6 months, married by the end of next year and worked as a Dive Instructor in Malaysia and Indonesia. Then decided to switch to teaching English, landed a job in China with no experience, and decided to pursue a MA in TESOL to be able to travel but still have an income for a family one day.

  • Kylen McClintock

    Hi Michael, I have been to Vietnam a few times and am planning on going back in June to Hoi An. I am working to create a platform that would allow vetted tailors who employ good working conditions to sell online. I would be interested in taking over the Hoi An Tailors Review website so we can better figure out which tailors are of quality and have fair working conditions. Thanks!