The World's 30 Most Impressive Ways to Travel

Getting from place to place in style.

Mode of transport, Nature, Transport, Daytime, Recreation, Hot air ballooning, Fun, Yellow, Balloon, Aerostat,

Once there was only walking—and the occasional running—to get us from place to place. But we've come a long way since then, haven't we? From super-fast elevators to gigantic cruise ships and from cable cars to ferries, let's explore the most amazing, most wondrous ways to get from point A to point B.

Each of these ways to travel is accessible without special certification (no military, no NASA, no special training) but that doesn't mean you don't have to have mountains of cash to make them happen.

Atlantis Submarines

Underwater, Marine biology, Ocean, Sea, Shipwreck, Submarine, Vehicle,

Located in some of the most beautiful ocean-focused tourist destinations, such as Hawaii, Guam, Cozumel, Aruba and the Grand Caymans, the Atlantis Submarines take visitors in a “real submarine” that dives more than 100 feet below the surface. Designed to carry 48 passengers, the submarine opens up the marine environment to a new set of tourists in the comfort of a submarine.

Horse Caravan, Ireland

Highland, Body of water, Mountainous landforms, Fjord, Nature, Mountain, Hill station, Natural landscape, Water resources, Reservoir,

Go a bit old-school with a horse caravan in Ireland. While riding a horse may not offer much in the way of impressiveness, how about learning to harness and yoke a horse to a four-berth carriage that includes cooking and sleeping areas? That sounds a bit more remarkable. Plus, the horse-drawn carriages allow a fresh perspective on the countryside and beaches.

SpaceShipTwo, California

It hasn’t arrived just yet, but thinking about Virgin Galactic’s plans for both space travel and then sped-up point-to-point space flights has the opportunity to change the way some folks—we’re talking the super-rich—travel. Flying anywhere from Mach 3 up to Mach 5, the space plane plans to enter suborbital space, which gives passengers the weightlessness experiences and a view of the curvature of Earth, and then head to a destination for a runway landing.

Extreme First Class

Maybe you aren’t chartering your own private jet, but when it comes to traveling in luxury just sign on for the most extreme first-class experiences around, whether the Emirates Boeing 777 40-square-feet of personal space designed by a Mercedes-Benz team for a full enclosure or the Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 that includes a private suite with a leather reclining swivel chair and a double bed. Either sounds extraordinary.

Terra Bus, Canada

Made in Calgary, only roughly 20 of these Terra Bus Ice Explorer all-terrain vehicles exist and they almost all serve the Icefields Parkway and the Athabasca Glacier in Jasper, Canada. Designed specifically for glacier travel, the six-wheel, 49-foot-long vehicle looks like the most robust tour bus on the plant. And it is. At about 13-feet tall and with Goodyear Terra tires five feet in diameter, the Terra Bus Ice Explorer can handle 56 passengers and nearly any sort of ice, mud, sand, snow and rock the Canadian Rocky Mountains have to offer.

The Tünel, Turkey

Opened in 1875 as the second-oldest underground urban rail line in the world, the Tünel in Istanbul, Turkey, still contains a funicular section, basically an inclined cable railway. The stretch of this brick-lined tunnel is 1,820 feet long with the upper station 202 feet higher than the one below it thanks to a slope that reaches 15 percent in places. This historical trip—now with updated rolling stock—takes under two minutes.

Shinkansen, Japan

The original high-speed bullet trains, the Shinkansen can reach over 200 mph as they send visitors to Japan from Tokyo to throughout the country. Now with over 1,700 miles of track since first opening in 1964, the most popular lines ferry users to and from Tokyo to Osaka and to and from Tokyo to Nagano. The busiest high-speed line in the world can run more than a dozen trainer per hour and seat over 1,300 passengers per train in the highest-speed train efficiency in the world.

Umeda Sky Building escalator, Japan

The two 40-story skyscrapers that make up the Umeda Sky Building in Osaka, Japan, contain the world’s highest escalators. Suspended 550 feet in the air, a pair of escalators cuts through the open space between the buildings and brings visitors to the top of the structure in an escalator experience unlike any other.

Ice Angel, Wisconsin

When the waters of Lake Superior freeze completely, the residents of Wisconsin’s Madeline Island can take an ice road to Bayfield. And when the waters remain clear of ice, a typical ferry offers transportation. But for those in between months when the ice can’t quite support a vehicle and ferries can’t run, the Ice Angel steps into action. These ice boats with a pair of air propellers can run on thin ice across the 2.5-mile stretch that turns from water to slush to ice in one trip. With three different styles of these wind sleds, one features room for six passengers and plenty of cargo, while another can carry up to 22 passengers.

Freighter Cruise

You don’t need to captain a freighter—or stowaway—for a chance to get a new sailing experience. Whether the U.S.-based Maris or others from across the globe, expect to ride in impressive size, yet without the style. With limited passengers, often as few as a handful, freighter cruises can take months of your time with no special amenities (don’t even expect Internet), but they do offer an industrial-sized experience and ports you may not otherwise frequent.

Alaskan Hovercraft

We can't pick out just one hovercraft, but we can pick our favorite state where civilians use them: Alaska. In 1998 the United States Postal Services brought in hovercraft to start handling mail. But mail isn't the only thing getting hauled around by hovercraft in Alaska, where multiple hovercrafts—from the British built Hoverwork AP1-88 from the USPS to the Hoverwork BHT130—also work as a ferry service for freight and passengers, although the high cost to operate the machines have led to their demise in some places (i.e. King Cove, Alaska). Either way, the unique way of handling transportation offers up a variety of impressive hovering.

Peak 2 Peak Gondola, Canada

With the longest free span between ropeway towers in the world, and the highest point above ground of any cable car in the world, this British Columbia cable car takes visitors across a 2.7-mile journey from the peak of Whistler to the peak of Blackcomb. Dubbed B.C.'s "rooftop," the Peak 2 Peak Gondola on Whistler Blackcomb Mountain includes 360-degree views of the mountain terrain below, used for snow sports in the winter and hiking and biking in the summer.

World is Not Enough

Symphony of the seas.

At 1,181 feet in length and a gross tonnage of 228,000, the Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas is the largest cruise ship in the world. The steel ship features seven distinct on-board neighborhoods, surfing, ziplining, ice-skating, 3D movies and pools. Symphony also has a 21,500-square-foot solar array to power all these amenities while cruising throughout the Caribbean.

The Central-Mid-Levels Escalator, Hong Kong

If this Colossal Hong Kong escalator system didn't exist, you'd have all sorts of stairs to deal with to climb between the western and central Hong Kong districts. This system of 20 escalators, built in 1993, combines to become the longest outdoor covered escalator in the world, running a total length of 2,624 feet and rising 442 feet in the process. From end to end it's a ride lasting 20 minutes. That's a hearty "no thank you" on the stair option.

The London Eye, London

The world's largest cantilevered observation wheel won't take you to a new city, but it will offer you a new perspective. The 443-foot-tall London Eye, designed by Marks Barfield Architects, opened in 2000 as a temporary structure meant for a five-year run on the River Thames. The wheel's popularity skyrocketed, though, and it became a permanent, unique icon and an unmistakable piece of the London skyline.

Shanghai Maglev, China

The fastest train in the world travels whisks travelers between Pudong International Airport and Shanghai in a cool eight minutes. The magnetic levitation (Maglev) train, also know as the Shanghai Transrapid, has a maximum operational speed of 223 miles per hour. Manufactured by CSR Qingdao Sifang Locomotive & Rolling Stock in 2004, the rapid train system has taken modern train travel to new speeds.

Airlander 10

The world's largest aircraft prepares for a return to flight after a few trial flight mishaps. It first flew in 2012 as part of a U.S. Army contract, but was returned to Britain in 2013. The Hybrid Air Vehicles Airlander 10, a helium-filled craft powered by turbocharged diesel engines, went through a series of test flights from 2016 and 2017, which included a couple minor mishaps that will require repairs. Once airbone, it can fly for five days non-stop. The four engines include vectored thrusts for takeoff and landing, and the makeup of the 301-foot airship allows it to land in a variety of locations, such as the tops of buildings.

Icy Strait Point Zipline, Alaska

Traveling at an average speed of 60 miles per hour, people flying down the mile-long Icy Strait Point Zipline in Alaska finish the course in just 90 seconds. This isn't the longest zipline in the world, but if you find yourself zooming down its 1,300-foot, 24-degree vertical drop, you'll have a hard time saying it's not impressive. One fun thing to do while you're here: Six riders can strap in and take off simultaneously on parallel lines, allowing for a race to the bottom against five of your friends. The longest ride in North America offers views of the mountains, trees, and ocean—if you can see all that scenery while you're moving so fast, that is.

Stanserhorn Cabrio, Switzerland

Stanserhorn Cabrio can carry 60 people at a time near the top of Switzerland's 6,233-foot-tall Mount Stanserhorn. But what really gives visitors the "wow" factor is that this is world's first cable car with a roofless upper deck (it moves on side-mounted support cables), letting people on the top of the double-decker cable car bask in 360-degree panorama views. The lower level has wall-to-wall windows, but a staircase leads to the sun deck, with room for an additional 30 visitors.

Headshot of Tim Newcomb

Tim Newcomb is a journalist based in the Pacific Northwest. He covers stadiums, sneakers, gear, infrastructure, and more for a variety of publications, including Popular Mechanics. His favorite interviews have included sit-downs with Roger Federer in Switzerland, Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles, and Tinker Hatfield in Portland. 

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49 Things You Need to Do to Plan Your Best Trip (Free Travel Research & Planning Checklist)

  • Updated: 04/06/2024

Before you jet off on your next adventure, ensure you have all your travel research and planning in order. To help, use this ultimate travel research checklist  to guide you through the necessary steps for more enjoyable planning and a stress-minimized trip.

I love to travel, though I do not necessarily enjoy all the tedious steps required to get out the door and start having fun. So, I rely heavily on checklists like this planning list , a packing list , and a prep and close-the-house list  to streamline my departure. Leaning on these saves me time and money and helps to avoid unexpected situations, making for worry-free trips. I hope they can do the same for you.

So, whether you are a seasoned traveler or a first-time adventurer, I have designed this travel research and planning guide to cover the things you must cross off your to-do list before leaving for a trip. 

From the fun stuff like flights, accommodation, and local attractions—to the necessary details, especially for more complicated international travel, like getting visas , knowing about local customs, and purchasing travel insurance , use this list to explore the world confident you have things covered. 

Table Of Contents

Download your free travel planning checklist here.

Prefer not to print? Jump to my explanation of the 14 stages of trip planning  with 49 separate things you should do below. Otherwise, click the image beneath to access and print my free Travel Planning Checklist .

The Importance of Travel Research

Before setting off on any adventure, it is crucial to do your research. Travel research helps you gather information about your destination, allowing you to make informed decision s and avoid unnecessary stress. By taking the time to research and plan, you can uncover hidden gems, know about local events, find the best deals, and arrange your itinerary to maximize your trip enjoyment. 

Plus, conducting research helps travelers be more thoughtful and respectful visitors by being aware of local customs.

Sign up for my monthly Discovery Newsletter & get a free Trip Budget Calculator !

Learn how to further simplify your trip research, planning, and organization for every stage of your trip in “ 5 Proven Ways to Simplify and Organize Your Travel Research .”

When to Start Planning a Trip

When is the ideal time to start planning a trip? Whenever you decide to go! Though—several months, or at least six months in advance , is generally best. However, some destinations, like high-demand national parks with limited visitor and lodging capacity, may require planning up to 12 months or more in advance. 

Plus, it depends who is traveling . Solo or couple travelers can more easily plan last-minute trips as they tend to have more schedule flexibility (i.e., not following family school break schedules) and can choose from more affordable double or single-room lodging options, which tend to be more abundant.

Because families usually require more of everything , from plane tickets to more spacious lodging and even bigger rental cars, planning further in advance becomes more necessary, especially as it allows them to secure the best of these resources at the best pricing. If you are a family traveler or part of a big multi-generational group, you will want to begin planning further in advance—six months to a year is ideal.

14 Stages of Trip Planning & 49 Tips

How you follow these 14 stages of travel planning depends on how long you have before you depart for your trip and your comfort level with leaving things to the last minute. 

Because I do not enjoy the feeling of big to-dos being undone or last-minute scrambles, I aim to complete all 14 stages of travel planning anywhere from one to several months in advance. Alternatively, you may feel more comfortable playing your timeframes looser. 

Step 1: Decide on Your Destination (7 Questions)

Step 2: International Travel: Understand Visa & Vaccination Requirements & Travel Restrictions/Warnings (4 Tips)

Step 3: On Budgeting, Know What You Can Spend (Budget Template)

Step 4: Set a High-Level Itinerary (Get Shortcuts)

Step 5: getting there, find the best deals on airfare (3 resources).

Step 6: Getting Around, Rental Cars & Local Transportation Options (6 Tips)

Step 7: Choose Where to Stay (Shortcuts & Resources)

Step 8: Decide, Save & Book the Things You Want to Do (4 Tips)

Step 9: Focus on Food, Reserve Restaurants & Learn About Local Dishes (2 Recommendations)

Step 10: Create, Update & Finalize a Detailed Trip Itinerary (Resources)

Step 11: Plan for Emergencies & Unexpected Situations (3 Tips)

Step 12: Packing & Prepping Your Home Before Your Trip (Resources)

Step 13: Make Your Finances Accessible on Domestic & International Trips (13 Tips)

Step 14: Stay Connected While You Travel (Resources)

You may have several destinations in mind for an upcoming trip—or none at all. To get assistance narrowing down your options, consider your travel wants, needs, and limitations by answering the seven questions below to help you figure this out.

How long do you have to travel?

Your work and school schedules or family obligations may dictate the duration of your travel. Or perhaps budget  constraints cap the number of your away-from-home vacation days.

So, before you choose where to go, know how long you can spend there. If your holiday break is limited, you will want to minimize the time or expense of transportation, guiding you to pick closer destinations or places with direct flights.

What do you want to do?

Do you want a warm week lounging on the beach within reach of an easy and affordable nonstop flight? Or are you looking for a city trip with cultural activities? Perhaps the pull of nature is strong, and you want a hiking adventure? Or a bit of all of the above? Know what experiences you or your group would like to have during your time away and pick a place that meets it best.

This question is linked to the one above but digs deeper. Confirm your potential destination offers the right breadth and depth of activities and cultural or culinary highlights. Are there enough things to do and experience to last your trip and meet your wants and needs? Determine whether these options will make for an ideal visit. 

How to get there?

Explore how to get to your potential destination. Does getting there require a multi-day drive? Or a flight with a long layover? Gain a high-level idea of the time and cost involved with the “getting there” part of travel and confirm your time off can easily accommodate long transit times if required. Then, further dive into this step by learning your best options for getting around  once you arrive, here .

When is the best time to go?

To avoid destinations during their rainy seasons and less ideal temperature times, look up historical weather averages for your potential vacation spot before you commit. Use a helpful site like SunHeron  to look at month-by-month temperatures and rainfall for nearly any destination. Doing this will give you a better chance of having the weather be a helper for a great experience instead of a hindrance

What do you want to pay?

It is never fun to start digging into a trip to an incredible place only to realize a few steps in that you cannot afford it. This exact situation happened to us. Several summers ago, we did not plan far enough in advance for a family summer trip to pricey Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Limited availability and expensive lodging options forced us to backtrack and find a more budget-friendly alternative destination—surprisingly, Vail, Colorado.

So, before committing to a spot, set your budget , then do quick hit searches on the costs of available transportation, lodging, activities, and dining to confirm they fit what you can afford.

Is it safe?

Ensuring your health and safety during your trip should be a top priority, especially when visiting an international destination and you are unfamiliar with the customs and language. Before you go, look up travel warnings , read recent traveler accounts on blogs or social media channels, and even message the account owners with your safety questions. Then, check the local news sites. Gathering information about recent on-the-ground experiences will help you decide if this destination is right for you.

Step 2: International Travel: Understand Visa & Vaccination Requirements & Travel Restrictions/Warnings (4 Tips)

This step is for international travel. Before buying your plane tickets, understand entry requirements related to passports and visas, if applicable. 

Ensure you have an up-to-date passport & learn about visa requirements.

For international travel, always ensure your passport will not expire soon and it will be valid for your dates of entry. A good rule of thumb is your passport should be valid for six months after entry . However, sometimes it is less. Confirm exact entry requirements by researching this with the official government customs and tourism organization for the country you plan to visit.

A quick online search should get you the answers you need. For US travelers, check and confirm destination requirements on the helpful “ Learn About Your Destination” page of the US State Department website.

If your passport is expired or set to expire within a validity window, like six months, take immediate steps to renew it. In the US, obtaining a new one can take weeks, if not several months. Get all the details you need about obtaining and renewing US Passports here .

Review travel advisories, security alerts, vaccination & other health requirements.

For US citizens planning to travel abroad, search for your destination on the US State Department website , look for travel advisories, security alerts, and detailed information about health matters, including links to vaccination requirements. Or go directly to the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) Destinations page for extensive health recommendations.

Additionally, maintain your safety by booking lodging  in busier and well-known areas and following the tips I recommend here  to prepare for unexpected emergencies .

If traveling to Europe, know about EITAS, a coming-soon travel permit requirement.

Also, if you plan to travel to Europe, learn about the new electronic travel authorization (ETIAS) for visiting Europe. This coming-soon authorization is not a visa. It is a travel permit. As non-EU Schengen members, US travelers must eventually apply for this new travel authorization before entering Europe.

US travelers, enroll in STEP.

For US travelers for an extra measure of security and safety, consider enrolling your trip with the US State Department as part of their Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, or STEP . Doing this will share your travel status with the US government which will allow you to receive important safety information about your destination country and help the US Embassy contact you in an emergency. Enroll here. 

Step 3: On Budgeting, Know What You Can Spend

Does your budget determine where you can go? Or does your destination determine your budget?  An essential part of your travel planning is being realistic about what you can afford . There are few better ways to ruin the effect of a top-notch vacation than to return home after it, realizing you overspent, and then having to contend with the pain of outsize credit card debt and the regret that comes with it.  Instead, book a trip to a place that meets you where your money is. Memorable travel experiences do not have to cost a fortune.

Use a budget calculator like the one I provide for free with signups to my monthly Discovery travel newsletter , shown above. Or create your own budget that includes the major expense items like transportation, lodging, activities, meals, and incidentals that cover anything from souvenirs to travel insurance to pet sitting.

Once you decide on your destination , determine if you will stay in one place or move around and make multiple stops. Will your path of travel be circular—where you end up in the original place you began so that you are flying into and out of the same airport? Or will it be linear? A linear path means you will fly to one destination and return home from another—requiring plane tickets commonly referred to in the travel industry as open jaw tickets. 

Your budget and available vacation time may dictate staying in one place. Or it will allow you to include several different stops in one trip.  Get shortcuts to quickly determine a high-level itinerary for any destination in this article .

Flights and related on-the-ground transportation costs can often be the most significant expenses of any trip.  To find the best airfare deals, compare prices across multiple airlines. Consider flexible travel dates to take advantage of cheaper fares and rates. Additionally, look to redeem frequent flier miles or sign up for travel credit cards that give you miles bonuses.

Maximize your savings by learning to find the best fare deals using Google Flights Explore and Google Flights price tracker . Or read this overview of how to track down the best airfare deals .

Step 6: Getting Around, Rental Cars & Local Transportation Options (6 Tips)

Familiarize yourself with these six transportation tips for taxis, public transit, rental cars, and safe walking routes applicable to any new destination.

Plan for how to get around.

Knowing in advance how you plan to get around your vacation spot will impact where you decide to book your lodging . If you plan to rent a car and drive, you will want vacation accommodation that provides easy vehicle access—and ideally nearby and free parking. Or, if you plan to rely on ride shares and public transportation, you may want to ensure close lodging proximity to taxi stands or train or bus stops. 

Familiarize yourself with local transportation options.

Before you arrive at your destination, familiarize yourself with the local transportation . Research different options, such as public buses, trains, ride shares, and taxis, to determine the most convenient and cost-effective ways to get around. These alternatives can be very different in international destinations. 

For example, the most recommended rideshare in Malta, which we visited for a spring break trip , was Bolt, followed by a few others I was unfamiliar with, like eCabs and Ryde.

If you learn about these things in advance, you can pre-download the apps , set up an account, and link payment methods before you arrive. Additionally, consider purchasing local transportation cards or passes, as these often offer discounted rates for multiple journeys.

Get rental car tips & gather resources.

If you plan to rent a car, review these 15 rental car tips which will save you money, reduce potential hassles, and explain how to get complimentary upgrades. Then, understand whether you need to buy rental car insurance —something that even the most experienced travelers get confused by—with this thorough overview .

When traveling internationally, research to find out if you need an international driving permit for your destination. If you do, get this permit in advance, as sometimes the paperwork may take a few weeks. Check to see if you need an international driving permit via this helpful article . 

Learn the (local) rules of the road.

For any international travelers, you will want to familiarize yourself with the local driving rules in the country you plan to drive in advance. Doing so can help you avoid unintentional penalties and minimize the chance of on-the-road incidents. 

US travelers can understand driver safety abroad by referencing this State Department page . This page provides helpful country links and outlines local driving rules—from default speed limits to signaling requirements to where to park.

Consider pre-booking an airport pickup.

Especially for international trips, if you do not feel confident about your understanding of local transportation options, make things easy for yourself upon arrival. Consider requesting your lodging to arrange a pickup for you . This reserved ride will likely be more expensive, though it will give you peace of mind that you will not get things “wrong” when you arrive.

Then, when at your destination, ask for assistance from your accommodation manager or concierge to help better explain your on-the-ground transportation options .

After an international overnight flight, our family sometimes pre-books airport taxis, as we did on a visit to Rome . When exhausted and running on empty from a long and likely sleepless flight, it is a relief to know our in-town transportation is reliably taken care of. 

Know safe walking routes.

If you plan to explore a new destination on foot, familiarize yourself with safe walking paths . Research this ahead of time. Or ask once at your accommodation. The front desk staff and management, who generally live locally, are a valuable resource for sharing the best routes, areas, and times for moving around safely.

Step 7: Choose Where to Stay (Shortcuts & Resources)

Pinpointing the right location for lodging is never easy. To figure it out fast—my first stop is to use the “ Where to stay ” button on Google Hotels , which will show neighborhood-by-neighborhood descriptions and ratings for all major destinations, allowing you to quickly zero in on the right neighborhood for you to stay in. See where to find it in the quick clip below.

Alternatively, run an AI or online search on “ best places to stay in [your destination] ” and review the results. Or, reference up-to-date travel guidebooks , which generally provide a helpful point of view on the best areas to stay. 

Additionally, since I find great lodging in top locations has an outsize positive impact on our travel experiences, I put a lot of effort into finding the best places to stay.  Get tips on how to do this for your lodging searches in this article .

Step 8: Decide, Save & Book the Things You Want to Do (4 Tips)

Now that you have the framework of your trip set, it is time for the most fun part—figuring out things you want to do once you get there.

Search for things to do online.

If your best trip experience includes seeing top attractions and activities, you will want to research the top things to do in a destination that best fits your interests. Run AI searches or look online for “things to do in [your destination].”

Travel blogs, social media, and sites like Pinterest or Reddit are helpful for this. Or read a guidebook  or visit Google Travel , searching your destination to get an idea about the top attractions and get recommendations for more things to see or do.

To determine what you want to do most, read reviews from fellow travelers to understand what to expect. Then, consider purchasing tickets or making reservations for the most popular attractions to avoid long queues and secure your spot.

Save your favorites.

My preferred way to keep track of things I want to do in a destination is to save them to a custom list in Google Maps . Doing this gives me quick access to my favorites on my mobile phone via my Google Maps app while traveling. I share why and how to create similar custom lists in this article . 

Check out the guided activity and tour options.

Another good way to round out your research for what to do in any area is by checking out tour booking sites like Viator , Get Your Guide or Airbnb Experiences . Use them to look at the top-rated experiences for your destination. You might discover a cooking class, photo tour, guided hike, history walk, and so much more—activities that could be one of the more memorable parts of your vacation.

Ask for recommendations.

Before your trip, ask your friends, family, and acquaintances for suggestions for what to do in your planned destination if they have already been there.  T hen, when your trip is here, and you finally and excitingly arrive— connect and chat with your lodging managers, taxi drivers, tour guides, servers, and any other locals you can befriend to ask for their recommendations. 

By doing this, we have learned about many things we would have missed if we did not connect with locals, like off-the-radar restaurants, event-related parades, holiday processionals, or the best spots to catch sunsets. While traveling, we value these local recommendations so highly that we often will reshape our entire plan for how we spend a day to accommodate them. 

Step 9: Focus on Food - Reserve Restaurants & Learn About Local Dishes (2 Recommendations)

Does your culinary experience matter to you on vacation? I have a food blogger and cookbook author friend who makes researching places to eat and reserving restaurants her immediate third activity after booking airfare and lodging for any trip. So, if incorporating an epicurean experience into your travel is important, include the two steps below in your pre-trip planning.

Make restaurant reservations.

Search online to get a list of top eateries in your destination. Reference Google Maps, articles, blog posts, or run AI inquiries. Or ask other travelers who have been to the area recently, as they are always happy to share their favorites. Prioritize the places you want to eat and make reservations. If you cannot do this in advance online, do not sweat it. Do it in person when you arrive. Or ask your lodging for dining recommendations and assistance with booking reservations.

Learn about the food before you go.

Although international trips provide ample opportunities for new food experiences, you do not have to go far from home to indulge in regional food specialties while on vacation. For example, on a fall getaway to Door County, Wisconsin , near our hometown of Chicago, we were sure to order cheese curds, a Badger State specialty, paired with local brews. 

Before your trip, search online for “best food to eat in [your destination]” to see what tops the list. On a spring trip to Rome , it was Jerusalem artichokes. When in Malta , it was a rabbit dish and many other unfamiliar foods.

Eating at different places and trying new dishes, drinks, and snacks can be one of the most memorable aspects of your travel. To get a head start, take a global tour from these food guide and cookbook recommendations .

Step 10: Create, Update & Finalize a Detailed Trip Itinerary (Resources)

Now that you have your transportation, lodging, activities, and possibly even your dining planned or loosely set, it is time to put it all down to paper.  Use an online app like TripIt to keep track of your bookings and day-to-day plans. Or go semi-old school like I do and put it in an Excel document . Since I have yet to find an app that functions exactly how I want, I created my own itinerary framework that includes all the elements I prefer.

I share this free framework  downloadable in four file types in this article . In it, I also link to more places to find free or affordable trip itinerary templates. 

Then, for safety purposes , share your itinerary with family and friends so they know where you will be when you are away from home.

Step 11: Plan for Emergencies & Unexpected Situations (3 Tips)

Follow these three recommendations to help you avoid or quickly recover from emergencies and unexpected situations while traveling.

Conduct practical safety prep.

Before each trip, familiarize yourself with local emergency service numbers and healthcare facilities in your planned destination. When traveling internationally—particularly to an area at risk for conflict, know where to find your local embassy or consulate.  Additionally, ensure your family and friends know where you are going and how to reach you. If you created a detailed itinerary  share it with them. Then, continue to check in throughout the trip.

Buy travel insurance.

It is an extra expense every traveler would love to skip. However, given the cost of your vacation and what is at risk—your trip budget, your health, and your property—the cost of travel insurance should be considered an essential and non-negotiable expense, especially for international trips. Read about why to get travel insurance and where to find it in this article .

My preferred resource for buying travel insurance is InsureMyTrip.com , an online travel insurance agent and search engine that I use to shop policies from different insurers, buying from the ones with the highest user ratings.

Know what to do in case of theft.

Do you have a plan for what to do in case your wallet, phone, computer, or passport is taken or goes missing? Do you know how to protect your sensitive data? Or how to quickly replace credit cards or a phone? Or get a replacement passport so you can get home?

If not, familiarize yourself with these steps in case your phone goes missing , or read this account of a traveler who had to navigate getting her phone stolen out of her hand in Cartagena, Colombia.

Then, make front-and-back print and digital copies of all IDs, passports, credit cards, and travel insurance policies, keeping copies easily accessible in case of emergency, theft, or loss. Share copies of all items with a trusted friend or family member who can quickly send them back to you if needed.

Step 12: Packing & Prepping Your Home Before Your Trip (Resources)

Taking care to pack efficiently will make your trip a more comfortable one. Before you go, research weather conditions at your destination and plan accordingly. Make a checklist of essential items, such as toiletries, medication, electronics, and travel adapters. Pack versatile clothing items that can be mixed and matched for different occasions and temperatures. And remember a travel first aid kit with essential medical supplies.

Because I bring many repeat items every time we travel, I spent a year carefully crafting, updating, and tweaking a universal and printable packing list to reuse for every trip. Using this helps me avoid “recreating the (packing) wheel” every time I leave home, which helps save time and minimizes prep. 

Access, download, and print this universal packing list , which includes a comprehensive medical kit, here . 

Additionally, since I am a fan of checklists and streamlining tasks, I created a second checklist to close the house and prep for packing—that includes to-do items like buying trip-specific gear or picking up medical prescriptions in advance to avoid last-minute scrambles. Check out the list here. 

If you are new to traveling and packing, get 25 of my best packing tips that I follow for every trip.

Step 13: Make Your Finances Accessible on Domestic & International Trips (13 Tips)

Before you go on any trip, be sure to have a plan for how to pay for all expenses, access your cash, and use your credit cards.

On domestic trips: two tips on spending and cash.

If your getaway is domestic, this step should be relatively easy, as how you spend will be similar to what you do at home. However, there are two things you may want to consider before you leave. Getting extra cash from a local no-fee ATM and ensuring you have up-to-date logins with mobile pay apps like Zelle or Venmo. 

Even in this age of high connectivity, it is still relatively easy to encounter a market vendor, fair, or pop-up snack shop that does not accept credit cards. So, you will want a cash supply handy . Doing this will help you avoid unnecessary and out-of-the-way stops at high-fee and out-of-network ATMs. Sometimes, vendors will also accept mobile payments from apps like Venmo or Zelle. 

For example, during a recent domestic trip to New Orleans, our family enjoyed listening to musicians who accepted tips via Venmo, allowing us to scan their QR code and drop some cash—in appreciation of their talent and time. So, before you leave for your trip, if you use these apps, ensure you are actively logged in and can access your accounts.

On international trips: 11 tips for spending, credit cards, cash, and safety.

Prearranging and maintaining comprehensive and secure financial access requires a few more steps when traveling internationally. Here is a list of 10 things you will want to plan for: 

1. Determine which credit card(s) you plan to use . Ideally, choose the one(s) that offers the lowest, or zero, foreign transaction fees.

2. If you use a mobile hands-free payment like Apple Pay, ensure your default credit card linked to your mobile payment account is the card with the lowest foreign transaction fees. 

3. For travelers who do not already use a hands-free payment method like Apple Pay, consider setting it up, as it is a convenient wallet-free way to pay when traveling. Keeping your wallet tucked away may also make you less of a target for potential pickpockets who tend to mark international travelers.

4. If you plan to use a credit card while traveling internationally, process your transactions in the local currency . At the point-of-sale, avoid converting the transaction to your home currency since this often translates into a less advantageous exchange rate. 

5. Know the currency exchange rate between your home and destination country before you leave home—this will help you better manage your spending and budget. Download a currency converter app like XE , to easily translate local prices to your home currency.

6. Plan to take out the local country currency from an ATM when you arrive. Some travelers prefer to pre-buy foreign currency at their local hometown bank before they leave for their trip. However, we are always comfortable doing this at the airport upon arrival.

Know which local ATMs offer the lowest fees for international visitors for cash withdrawals and which charge the highest—and should be avoided. Visit traveler forums and social media groups , or read guidebooks  to learn this information.

7. Bring back up cash in your own currency , which you can exchange in an emergency. Include small bills if you can. You can often use these in a pinch for tips and when you run short on small denominations of local cash. However, local currency—depending on the country—is generally preferred.

8. Remove all unnecessary credit , identity, membership, and banking cards from your wallet that you do not plan to use while traveling and store them safely at home. Doing this is preventative in case of wallet loss or theft. Keeping so many cards at home means you will have fewer to cancel or replace.

9. Make copies of both sides of your banking and credit cards . Keep print or digital copies accessible. For a backup— share them with a friend or family member who will be staying home and can send them to you in the event of loss or theft. 

10. Have a plan for keeping your wallet and valuables safe while on your trip. Assume on an international trip, you may be a target for pickpockets. Make it difficult for would-be thieves by using secure carrying bags and backpacks with zippered pockets.

Practice never leaving your personal items unattended or on the back of chairs. If you need to set a bag down, wrap a strap securely around a leg or arm. Also, ensure all openings are fully zipped and face inward toward your body. Depending on your destination, consider sewing hidden interior pockets to pants or using money belts under clothes to keep cash and IDs secure.

Another helpful step you can take includes being aware of your surroundings and avoiding being distracted in public by your phone while traveling. It is relatively easy for a cyclist or motorcycle rider to whip by and grab an unlocked phone from unsuspecting hands.

11. Finally, before you go, move ample cash into your checking or ATM-linked account to fund your trip and to fully process automatic bill withdrawals to eliminate the possibility of overdrafts or other unpleasant financial surprises that could happen while you are away. If you do not have auto bill payments set up, pre-pay all upcoming bills before you leave.

Note: Many credit cards and banks no longer require you to alert them when you plan to leave the country as they track trip-related purchases like plane tickets, taxis, and hotel bookings. 

However, check with your banking and credit card companies before you go to understand their travel recommendations and to avoid possible suspicious-activity freezes on your accounts.

This step is easy for domestic journeys, as depending on your data plan, you can ideally use your mobile phone to text and call to stay in touch like you would at home.  However, constant connectivity gets more complicated for international trips. When traveling abroad, you want to determine how you plan to use your mobile phone .

Will you stay off-network and use it only when connected to Wi-Fi? Or pay a daily network international roaming fee—up to a pricey $10 per day with networks like Verizon? Or, instead, buy a data plan from a local network using e-sim technology?

Does this feel complicated? Even to me, a regular international traveler, and others—it does also. Based on your budget and connectivity needs, you will want to figure out which way of staying connected is right for you. To decide, price out international plans from your mobile carrier and then learn more about going the eSIM route with info in this helpful article .

Once you know how you plan to stay in touch, download apps you anticipate you may need to use. When traveling internationally, this may include downloading What’sApp , a global messaging app and voice-over-IP service heavily used outside of the United States.  When abroad, I frequently use this app to communicate with lodging contacts and tour guides and to confirm reservations.

Additionally, be sure to have all lodging or tour booking apps downloaded and updated on your phone. You will want to access the messaging functionality within apps like Airbnb, Booking.com, or other hotel apps, which you may need to use to send and receive communications. 

Hands-down, thorough travel research is the key to a stress-free adventure. By taking time to gather destination information so you can make informed planning decisions, you can ensure a smooth and memory-making journey. 

From researching your destination and finding the best deals to understanding local customs and preparing essential travel documents, each step plays a vital role in creating your best travel experience.

So, before you embark on your next adventure, check off the items on this ultimate travel research checklist. With research and planning complete, you can explore the world with confidence and peace of mind. The more you know, the better prepared you will be for any unexpected challenges or opportunities that come your way. Happy travels!

Related Reading

If you are searching for more travel planning assistance to help you save time and money and to stay organized, check out the related articles below.

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Additional Trip Planning Resources

To further help you with travel planning, I share my go-to resources for every trip below. 

Google Flights. My first research stop for affordable flights for every trip. Learn why here . 

Google Hotels . Use its “ Where to stay ” button to discover the best neighborhoods to base your visit.

Booking.com. For hotel and rental bookings, I appreciate its flexible cancellation, candid user reviews, discounts, loyalty program, and easy-to-use interface.

Viator , Get Your Guide , & Airbnb Experiences . Quickly find and book highly-rated tours and activities on these sites.

Google Travel Things to Do & Google Maps . Find more things to do in your destination on Google Travel, then record where you want to visit on a custom Google Maps list. 

AllTrails . Love to hike? Me too. I religiously use AllTrails to discover hiking and biking trails and download its offline maps to manage my hikes.

Guide Along . 5-star self-guided audio tours that are GPS-compatible for US road trips and national parks. We loved the Glacier National Park tour .

Insure My Trip. I never travel internationally without trip insurance. Learn why here . My preferred place to shop and compare policies is InsureMyTrip.com . 

Plus, check out the 15 travel apps I use on trips, my preferred guidebooks , and my free customizable travel itinerary template , downloadable in four file formats.

Janice Moskoff in front of doorway in Valletta, Malta. (Credit: Danielle Cassar)

About the author:  Janice Moskoff is a travel writer and blogger who loves hiking, exploring the world, and reading. She writes to inspire travel-loving families, adult friends, and couples on her blog,  Gather and Go Travel . Check out  her bio , learn how she became  a blogger , and discover how to  work with her . Sign up for her monthly  Discovery Newsletter  to get her latest travel recommendations and  how-to’s .

Love to travel? Sign up for m y monthly Gather & Go Travel Discovery Newsletter and get a free trip budget calculator .

Affiliate Disclosure: Some of the links on this page may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. I only recommend products and companies I use. And the income goes to keeping the site community-supported and ads minimal.

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  • Adventure Travel

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[VIDEO] 7 Unique & Different Ways to Travel The World

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The GoAbroad Writing Team is a collection of international travel writers with decades of experie...

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The usual leisurely stroll down a cobble-stoned street isn’t quite what you’re looking for. Everyone loves a nice museum every once in awhile to restore your resting heart-rate, but you’d much rather keep your blood pumping, heart racing, ears ringing, and sweat dripping. You’re all about conquering fears and getting as far out of your comfort zone as you can. You’re an adventure traveler wanting more unique ways to travel and experience the outdoors abroad. Whether it’s climbing the next mountain top or catching the next wave, your pursuit of the adventurous never ends. 

Since space travel isn’t really commercial yet (we’re keeping our fingers crossed), check out these unique and different ways to travel adventurously this year. Video & transcript below! 

Ok Bear Grylls. Before you get your sock out to start filtering foot-water from a mountain stream, let’s actually talk about adventure travel.

If you’ve been feeling the call of the wild, you’re gonna want to keep watching because we break it all down for you— BY EXPERIENCE. Because we all know destination is secondary so long as you’re having a badass experience.

That’s right, these are the top seven adventure travel activities and the best ways to get your adrenaline pumping . Honestly, if this doesn’t inspire you to sign up for adventure travel, nothing will and you should just get back under the covers and accept that you aren’t YOLO-ing to the fullest. 

The most unique ways to travel this year

BUT, if you’re already organizing your gear, here are the most adventurous and unique ways to travel this year. 

1. Photography Trips

Because just like us, you’re all about looking at the world through a new lens. No matter your preferred glass, aperture, or subject—you get the picture—there are more than enough adventure travel programs to make your heart shutter. 

You can be like myself and trek across the Judaean Desert in Israel and you’ll be on a camel, snapping photos, it’s a lot of fun! And, I must admit, all the lighting in the desert is just beautiful.

2. Backpacking & Hiking

Pack on your back and everything’s just fine. You knew backpacking was cool wayyyy before Reese Witherspoon got “Wild.” Your boots are all laced up and you’ve already made your infamous trail mix. 

My trail mix just consists of M&Ms, but, I mean, that’s ok. 

You can embark on a long thru-hike in the Swiss Alps, walk the Camino de Santiago, or just take a nice out-and-back day hike wherever and chase trails—but don’t go chasing waterfalls. Ok, ok, maybe a FEW waterfalls, but remember what TLC said! Happy trails!

unique ways to travel

Backpacking and hiking trips top our list of unique ways to travel this year.

3. Rock Climbing

Bouldering, sport climbing, on belay or off. We’re not just talking about the gym here! You want it all—the chalked up hands (and clothes), the feeling of solving a problem and conquering a long pitch. 

With so much choice rock climbing worldwide, the real question is where will you go first. Wherever you go, just don’t forget crash pads! Climb on!

4. Surfing  

Catch those gnarly morning waves and warm rays around the world. I’m sure you can feel the mist of the ocean against your face already. The planet is mostly water, so there’s no wave you can’t ride! Wetsuit up and get going! That pipeline isn’t going to surf itself after all. Grab your passport—and a dry bag—and get on that board! 

5. Water Sports

Surfing’s not your game, but life on land has you feeling like… well… a fish out of water! All your favorite aquatic activities are here. You can sail off into the sunset, hop in a kayak and see where it takes you, or introduce yourself to some friendly sea critters when you scuba dive abroad. 

There’s nothing stopping you from hitting the high seas! Especially once you’ve got your sea legs and the Moana soundtrack handy. Oh, I LOVE Moana. She is so cool. 

unique ways to travel

One of the most unique ways to travel this year? With your yoga mat!

6. Yoga  

Not every adventurer has to be an adrenaline junkie. You can search for calm, balance, and breath all around the world. You’re with yourself, you’re thinking, you’re calm, you’re cool.  

You don’t want to savasana on the opportunity to take your yoga practice international for the adventure of a lifetime. Nama-don’t stay home!

Whether you’re going cross-country on a road bike in France or popping wheelies down a mountainside in New Zealand, this isn’t your SoulCycle class anymore! Wherever your two wheels can take you is where you will go. 

See how fast you can go through each country; set a goal! Or, see how many miles you can do within a day or a week. Get that heart rate pumping and feel the wind blowing through your hair, but always remember your helmet, though. Safety first, people!

More advice on these different methods of traveling

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You don't have to go alone

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry, there are programs out there than can help you plan your adventure from start to finish. They’ll be with you every heart-racing step of the way! 

It’s all about stepping outside your comfort zone. The key is to be prepared. Be sure to pack your cam and plenty of memory cards. Adventure travel is going to blow your mind and be the experience of a lifetime.

Next steps to adventure travel abroad

You have to walk before you can run. Here’s how to best prepare for your own adventures abroad and leave no stone unturned! 

  • Our badass Online Advisors can match you with the perfect adventure
  • #NoDudsAllowed: The world's most adventurous places to visit in 2018
  • How to find & book adventure travel abroad programs (work smarter, not harder)
  • Adventure travel abroad programs vs. solo adventure travel —which will YOU choose?
  • Travel bucket list ideas for a true adventure traveler

Next stop? The highest peaks and the deepest valleys! Your adventure begins today. 

Look no further for unique ways to travel!

When you’re on your way home and haven’t showered so no one wants to sit next to you on the plane.

You don’t have to be Indy Jones to have an adventure abroad. In fact, you should leave that whip at home because that is definitely not going to make it through customs. All you really need to bring is a sense of adventure, an eagerness to try new things, and maybe some sunscreen—no...definitely bring sunscreen. 

Find the best adventure travel programs right here, right now

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Different ways of travelling to your destination: popular and unexpected

When you’ve chosen a place you want to go to, maybe you’ve even checked out some things to do there and where you’d like to stay. But now it’s time to figure out a way of travelling to your destination.

There are so many different ways to travel that you can get confused about which one is the best.

Of course, if the place is on the other side of the world there are really not too many choices – most probably you’ll have to fly.

But what if it’s closer by and you have a choice of driving or flying? Or maybe even taking a train? A bus?

See? Confusing!

So let’s explore the pros and cons of some of them here.

a flight attendant on the stairs of an airplane in the airport

I’m pretty sure this is one of the most popular ways of travelling, especially if you don’t have tons of time available. An airplane will take you places fast and it will often get you to destinations that would be hard to reach otherwise. And it’s probably the first way of getting to the destination you check when starting to plan your vacation !

Like, when we travelled around Chile (and South America), we mostly flew everywhere. For example, we went from Santiago to Easter Island, back to Santiago, then to Atacama, back to Santiago, and then on to Patagonia. The flights let us enjoy the destinations for longer, as they are quite far from one another.

Of course, flying gets inconvenient when you’d like to take a lot of stuff with you. Luggage space is almost always limited, and it can rack up the price of the ticket as well.

And in some places, there are no airports available at all or they are still rather far from your destination. In the same Patagonia, we had to fly to Punta Arenas and then drive for some 5 hours to Torres del Paine. But still, it was faster to fly and then drive than just drive.

  • It’s the fastest way to get from point A to the point B
  • A versatile mode of transportation that can take you almost anywhere
  • You will need a different kind of transport to get around at your destination
  • Sometimes there are no airports available, or the airport is rather far from the city
  • There’s limited luggage space

#2 Driving a car

a car from a tour company which was our way of getting aroun on vacation on Salar de Uyuni

One of my favourite ways to travel, honestly, is just driving the car to the destination. This way, you can pretty much just pack what you’d like and don’t have to worry about things like lithium-ion batteries and liquids.

Plus, you have quite a lot of control over how the journey goes. For example, there’s no problem just stopping somewhere and enjoying the views on the way. And you can just leave earlier or later if you wish.

Of course, there are some minuses to using a car as your means of travel. First of all, it usually takes longer than flying and can end up being more expensive than flying. Second, it is not exactly comfortable to sit in the car for long periods of time.

  • Pack what you want
  • Almost complete control of the journey
  •  Probably will take longer than flying
  • Can end up more expensive
  • Not too comfortable

rv in a scenic location

One of the different ways of travelling that is a bucket list item for me is to RV in Iceland so that we could see all of the incredible views at different times of the day.

It gives you the almost comfort of home on the road and lets you stop almost anywhere for a night. Of course, though, you need to go to RV parks as well to clean things like toilets and stuff out and fill up water. But still, much more freedom than needing to stay in a hotel.

Another good thing is that you don’t have to rely on places like restaurants being open in these weird times. RVing is similar to camping, with the exception that you actually can cook inside when the weather is not good. Plus, you always have a toilet available which is definitely a huge thing.

On the other hand, it can become quite costly to rent an RV . Among other things, they consume more fuel, many use propane for things like fridges, hot water, and stoves which you then have to refill. Many companies add different extra fees, such as environmental, sewage dumping, and generator use. And the camping sites pretty often cost close to budget hotel rooms.

Speaking of parking and driving, it takes longer to drive an RV than a normal car as it’s slower and quite often you have to pay higher tolls. Plus, many parking lots don’t allow you to park RVs, so it might become a problem as well. Depending on the size of your RV, it might even be troublesome to park near shopping centres.

  • A house on wheels
  • Toilet and kitchen available always
  • Good for road trips
  • More freedom to change travel plans
  • Can get expensive – more expensive than a road trip in a small car
  • Limitations on parking and driving
  • Dealing with sewage
  • Small space means clutter and less privacy

Bus in Torres del Paine by DreamArtist

Taking a bus is a convenient way of getting from one spot to the other if you don’t want to drive by yourself.

Honestly, I prefer different ways of travelling than a bus. The one time I travelled a long distance by bus – from Latvia to Tatry – it was an incredibly bad experience. To be completely fair, though, we were travelling through the night on a not-night bus, so it pretty much wasn’t possible to sleep there.

I know that there are buses in which the seats can be made into actual beds! My cousin took one such from Latvia to France and was completely satisfied.

Anyways, buses, especially night buses, are quite a good way to travel long distances rather cheaply. Quite a few people use different types of buses all over the world, including Patagonia . So, to each their own.

  • You don’t have to drive by yourself
  • Available all around the world
  • Can save time by travelling at night
  • Compared to other different ways of travelling, cheap
  • Can take longer to travel long distances
  • Can be quite uncomfortable
  • Not the best if you suffer from motion sickness
  • No overseas travel on a bus

Michal pointing at shinkansen in Osaka station Japan - one of the different ways of traveling around Japan

Trains are another great way of travelling. They are quite similar to buses but offer more comfort.

The seats are generally bigger with larger gaps between rows, there are quite often tables available, and you can even have private rooms and sleeper rooms for travelling at night.

We travelled all around Japan by Shinkansen and let me tell you, it was amazing. Of course, Shinkansens are a bit different than “normal” trains, but even the “normal” ones offer more comfort than buses.

On trains, it’s even possible to reach incredible remote places. A journey on the Trans-Siberian Railway is definitely on my bucket list.

  • Comfortable
  • More space than buses
  • Can be very fast
  • No need to drive by yourself
  • Generally doesn’t create motion sickness since there’s less movement
  • Only land travel is possible
  • Doesn’t go everywhere
  • Occasionally, can get quite expensive

Magellanic penguins roaming freely on Isla Magdalena.

One of the different ways of travelling for those of you who don’t suffer from motion sickness (like yours truly here) is by ship. And it’s not just cruises, although I must admit travelling around the world on a luxury cruise ship sounds amazing.  

There are ferries that connect different countries. For example, in Europe, you can go from Germany to Italy or Latvia, Latvia to Sweden, and I’m not even going to start naming all of the different routes through the Mediterranean Sea…

And it’s not just close distances (which even I might be able to endure). If you have 2 weeks to spare on travelling, you can even go across the Atlantic.

And one of the best ways to get to Antarctica? Boat.

Pretty much, if you don’t feel like flying, world travel by ship is possible.

  • Can go pretty much anywhere
  • Travel in comfort and luxury if you wish
  • On many ships, you can take your car with you
  • Not the best option if you have motion sickness
  • A slow way to travel
  • Can be expensive

Different ways of travelling that you probably haven’t thought of

Now that we’ve covered the usual different ways of travelling, let’s check out some more unusual ones.

#7 A freighter (cargo) boat

Yes, it’s not just the usual ferries and cruises that you can take. It’s actually possible to travel by cargo ships. There are not a lot of passengers aboard and even fewer amenities available, but it’s a very different way of travelling that is rather affordable.

a bicycle as on of the different ways of travelling

If you have the energy and physical shape for it, why not just bike through the country or even the continent? Go where it’s not possible to go by car, see what few other people see.

Of course, it would take a loooot of time to travel extensively, but if you’re up to it, it would definitely make an amazing story and it would be an amazing memory.

#9 Private jet

Do you have a bunch of dispensable money available? Why not rent a private jet to where you want to go?

Get the ultimate VIP experience and control every aspect of your journey, from when to depart to what you want to eat and drink!

Of course, it will cost you a pretty buck, but it’s definitely a special way to travel.

#10 Terra bus

a snow coach on a glacier in canada

If you’re going to Canada, you might want to consider taking a snow coach deep in the Canadian wild. Specifically designed to withstand the climate and go on ice and snow, these beasts will let you explore the Icefields Parkway and Athabasca Glacier. Could be quite a cool experience, especially if you’re an adventure traveller !

#11 Hitchhiking

If you’re an adventurous person who doesn’t mind a bit of risk, why not try hitchhiking? Travelling this way allows you to meet a lot of people and learn some things only the locals know about the place.

My classmate from university actually joined a hitchhiking competition once! That’s awesome, right?

In conclusion about different ways of travelling to your destination

Travelling by itself is an amazing thing to do. You get to see new places, meet new people, and experience new cultures.

Why not make it even more interesting by trying out different ways of travelling to your destination?

How many of these types of transport have you tried? Which one is your favourite? Let me know in the comments!

Like it? Share it!

Different ways to travel | When you've chosen the place to go, it's time to figure out how to get there! So we've collected some popular and some not popular ways of getting to your destination. Enjoy! | modes of transportation in travel | travel transport | how to travel

Guest author

Kristine Eksteine-Nizka is a guest author of Wanderlust Designers. She has lived in 4 countries and has visited over 200 places in 30 countries, all while holding a full-time job or studying, and is determined to inspire and teach others to do the same.

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12 Unconventional Ways to Save on Travel

Points and miles are major, but there are other cheap ways to travel too.

Hands put money coin in the glass jar with passport and model plane for saving money and travel.

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Consider setting up airfare alerts, housesitting and traveling midweek to help stay in budget.

Traveling can be expensive, and even when you rely on widely known savings tactics – such as traveling in off-peak seasons or staying at a hostel or a rental with a kitchen – the costs inevitably add up. If you're looking for ways to save on your next trip, add these unconventional tips provided by travel industry experts to your hat of travel tricks.

Get a set of packing cubes

Traveling with just a carry-on bag is a cost-effective option since it's typically free on most major airlines, but it's often easier said than done. That's why packing cubes are a good investment. They don't cost much – you can get a quality set like this one by Bagail for less than $25 – and they inevitably allow you to save space and fit more in your carry-on (or checked luggage ).

[Read: Guide: Carry-on Luggage Sizes by Airline .]

Choose the flight, then the destination

Scott Keyes, flight expert and founder of Scott's Cheap Flights , recommends changing the way you search for flights to save on airfare . Instead of looking for flights to a specific destination, use a flight comparison tool like Google Flights , Momondo or Skyscanner to browse a variety of airfares from your preferred airport(s). Maybe a trip to Barcelona wasn't what you originally had in mind, but if the price is right, why not head there instead?

Consider alternate airports

While flying from the airport closest to home is always the most convenient option, Keyes also suggests comparing fares from other airports, even those that are a few hours away. You may find prices are hundreds of dollars less to get to the same location, making the combined cost of gas, parking and driving time an excellent investment.

If you can drive a few hours to a larger airport with more flight options in general, that may be even better. Not only do you have the potential to save money, but you're more likely to find a direct flight or a route with fewer layovers.

[Read: What to Do If Your Flight Is Canceled or Delayed .]

Set up airfare alerts

If you're eager to travel far and want to save big on airfare, keep an eye out for short-term airfare offers on websites like Hopper and Trip.com . These sites offer deals that usually last a short time, meaning you have to strike while the iron is hot. "I do this every time I book a flight and I usually save at least 10%, but sometimes up to 75%," says Josh Band of A Backpacker's World . "I once got a flight that should have been $200-plus for just over $50 by setting up an alert."

Go to Europe for Thanksgiving

Many Americans opt to head to Grandma's house or another domestic destination for turkey dinner. However, not as many escape to the Caribbean and Mexico, and even less go to Europe – which means you're more likely to find flight deals to Paris , London and other European vacations you've been wanting to cross off your bucket list.

Travel midweek

There's no set day of the week to book the cheapest airfare, but there are less expensive days to travel, says Keyes. He recommends flying on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays since most business travelers fly on Sundays and Mondays (and consequently drive up the cost of airfare on those days).

Consider a 'bleisure' trip

If you have an upcoming business trip in a unique or new-to-you destination, consider tacking on a few personal days to the journey. This way, you can enjoy a mini-vacation sans airfare (assuming your company will cover that portion).

[Read: The Best Garment Bags for Travel, According to Reviews .]

Buy travel insurance

It may sound counterintuitive, but purchasing travel insurance can save your bank account (and your sanity) in the event that you or a family member falls ill or has another emergency that forces you to change your vacation plans before or during the trip. A basic and cheap travel insurance policy will suffice, though there are coverage options for a wide variety of needs – including cancel for any reason travel insurance (which is exactly what it sounds like).

Housesit for free accommodations

Did you know you can enjoy free accommodations in exchange for housesitting? Sites like House Sitters America and Mind My House offer housesitting opportunities for a small annual fee (less than $50). Many of the homeowners have pets who need TLC while they're gone, too, making this a fun and budget-friendly alternative to traditional rentals like Airbnb. No matter where you travel, it doesn't get much better than living like a local and playing with pups.

Similarly, you can try couch surfing, which allows you to stay with a local for free. Services like the site Couchsurfing charge a negligible monthly or annual fee to sign up and get verified for safety purposes, while others such as BeWelcome are free. These services also provide exclusive meetups with other travelers.

Read: The Best Vacation Rental Travel Insurance Plans

Sign up for a family loyalty program

Did you know there are loyalty programs that allow family members or groups to pool rewards or freely transfer rewards to others?

"This can be a great option for infrequent travelers who may not rack up enough points or miles for a free flight or hotel room individually – but can reach those rewards when combined," says Nick Ewen, director of content for The Points Guy . "In some cases, it's a single, pooled account that automatically combines points (like JetBlue). In other cases, you can simply transfer points from one account to another (like Hilton Honors, World of Hyatt, or Marriott Bonvoy)." He recommends reading the full terms and conditions of these programs, as some impose time limits, maximum transfer amounts and other restrictions.

Use travel rewards on experiences

Don't forget that both airline credit cards and airline rewards programs can be used to cover more than flights and hotels. Programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards make it easy to redeem points for sporting events, dining (including reservations, exclusive culinary experiences and takeout orders) and more.

You can also use points earned on hotel credit cards as well as hotel rewards programs to pay for fun experiences in hundreds of destinations around the world. Options range from cooking classes and concerts to outdoor activities and spa experiences .

Book a refundable car rental

While some companies offer discounts for prepaid car rentals, many travelers say they've had better luck with booking refundable car rentals , allowing them to secure a reasonable rate while keeping a watchful eye for price drops. If a better price pops up, simply cancel your original reservation and book at the lower rate. Frequent traveler Pamela Howard, who writes about her experiences on Our Adventure Is Everywhere , says she's consistently able to save anywhere from $25 to $100 using this tactic on Costco Travel car rentals. "It's simple and that little bit of time rechecking rates pays substantially in savings."

Ewen says you can do the same when you book a flight or hotel using points since many loyalty programs have flexible cancellation policies. "If you lock in a flight at 35,000 miles and see that your same ticket is 30,000 miles just a week later, you should be able to rebook and get those 5,000 miles back into your account," he explains.

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5 Simple Ways to Make Travel Easier in 2024

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Caroline Morse Teel

Caroline Morse Teel is the Managing Editor for SmarterTravel Media. Follow her on Instagram @TravelWithCaroline .

Caroline joined Boston-based SmarterTravel in 2011 after living in Ireland, London, and Manhattan. She's traveled to all seven continents, jumped out of planes, and bungeed off bridges in the pursuit of a good story. She loves exploring off-the-beaten path destinations, anything outdoorsy, and all things adventure.

Her stories have also appeared online at USA Today, Business Insider, Huffington Post, Yahoo, Boston.com, TripAdvisor, Buzzfeed, Jetsetter, Oyster, Airfarewatchdog, and others.

The Handy Item I Always Pack : "Earplugs. A good pair has saved my sleep and sanity many times!"

Ultimate Bucket List Experience : Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro.

Travel Motto : "Don't be boring."

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat : "Aisle (when the first class private suite isn't available)."

E-mail her at [email protected] .

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Whether you’re a seasoned globetrotter or a first-time traveler, you can follow a few simple tips to make your next trip go significantly smoother. These free and easy hacks will take just a few minutes to do but will have a big impact on your travel experience.

Make a Tiered Packing List

Woman sitting on bed writing packing list in a notebook

If you’re like us, you can drive yourself crazy by double-checking everything you’ve packed to ensure you didn’t forget your cell phone charger or passport. Give yourself peace of mind by creating a tiered packing list in your notes app on your phone.

Divide everything you need to pack into two categories: essentials (anything that would ruin your trip if you forgot it, like your passport or credit card) and everything else (things that would be an inconvenience but not a trip-ender if you left it behind because you can go without it or buy it at your destination, like sweaters or toothpaste.)

Use the checkbox feature in the notes app to check off each item as you pack it. Tell yourself you’re only allowed to double-check the items in the “essentials” category, as you can easily see at a glance that you checked off and packed everything else. 

The Only Packing List You’ll Ever Need

Create a Critical Info Document for Your Trip

Close up of person holding passport and boarding pass at an airport

Create a Google doc containing a detailed itinerary for your trip and share it with all your travel companions. This document should contain all the critical information that you will need so that you can access everything quickly. Be sure to save this doc offline in case you don’t have WiFi or cell service when you need it.

This doc should include:

  • Flight numbers, flight times, airports, and confirmation codes
  • Hotel check-in and check-out dates, confirmation numbers, reservation information, and payment information
  • Rental car reservation details and phone number of rental car agency
  • Confirmation numbers and contact details for any tours booked
  • Directions to and from the airport to your hotel

Keep Your Toiletry Kit Ready

Person holding packed toiletry kit up to camera with a packed suitcase in the background

Make packing go much faster for your next trip by always keeping your toiletry kit packed and ready. Unlike your regular suitcase, your toiletry kit is likely stocked with mini items you only use for travel. After each trip, refresh your travel-sized toothpaste, shampoo, etc., so that your kit is ready to go and simply be thrown in your carry-on the next time you travel. You’ll have one less thing to worry about packing for your next trip.

Download Key Apps Before You Leave

Close up of person holding phone and using rideshare app

Before your next trip, research which apps you’ll need while traveling and download them beforehand. This way, you’ll have them preloaded and logged into and don’t need to worry about data usage or finding WiFi on the road.

We recommend downloading the following: 

  • The apps of any airlines you’re flying on
  • Local rideshare apps, like FREENOW in Europe or Alto in Dallas 
  • WhatsApp for international trips

5 Smartphone Essentials You Should Never Travel Without

Screenshot All Your Important Documents 

Man checking his phone in an airport

If you’ve ever stood at the gate to your flight frantically swiping through your phone for a screenshot of your mobile ticket, this tip is for you. Screenshot any important documents or QR codes that you need (like tickets, confirmations, or directions), and save them to an easily accessible photo folder on your phone.

Now, crucial travel information that you need will be organized and easily accessible at a moment’s notice.

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Southeast Asia Travel Guide

Last Updated: November 27, 2023

A lone person standing on lush, green rice terraces in Southeast Asia on a bright sunny day

Backpackers have been traveling through Southeast Asia since the late 1960s and early 1970s, leaving a well-worn trail around the region.

Starting in beautiful Thailand, the trail makes its way to up-and-coming Laos, through Vietnam, and to the temples of Angkor Wat. It then winds back into Thailand, where people head south to party in the Thai islands before moving down to Malaysia and Singapore.

There are a few variations to the trail, but this is what it mostly covers.

I’ve been visiting this region since 2004 and spent years living in Thailand . I love backpacking Southeast Asia and have written extensively about it as I know it like the back of my hand.

It’s an especially great region for new travelers because it’s easy to travel around, it’s safe, and there are lots of other travelers you can meet. But it’s also perfect for veteran travelers too as there are tons of off-the-beaten-path destinations that the standard backpacker trail doesn’t cover.

In short, Southeast Asia has something for every traveler — and every budget.

This Southeast Asia travel guide will help you travel the region like a pro, ensuring you save money and make the most of your time in this fun, gorgeous, and lively corner of the world.

Table of Contents

  • Things to See and Do
  • Typical Costs
  • Suggested Budget
  • Money-Saving Tips
  • Where to Stay
  • How to Get Around
  • How to Stay Safe
  • Best Places to Book Your Trip
  • Related Blogs on Southeast Asia

Click Here for Country Guides

Top 5 things to see and do in southeast asia.

A lone person standing on lush, green rice terraces in Southeast Asia on a bright sunny day

1. Admire Angkor Wat

One of the greatest human creations in history, the Angkor Wat temple complex is best explored over the course of a few days. The area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site created by the Khmer Empire and absolutely enormous. Temples to visit include Angkor Wat, Bayon Temple which has 216 gigantic stone face carvings, and Ta Prohm. I spent three days here and that simply wasn’t enough. A one-day pass is $37 USD, while a 1-week pass is $72 USD. If you’re here for multiple days, be sure to hire a driver and see some of the more out of the way ruins away from the main temple complex (and the crowds).

2. Explore Bangkok

Bangkok is the hub of travel activity in Southeast Asia. You can get anywhere you want from here. Though I hated it at first, the more I’ve spent time here the more I love it. Bangkok is like an onion whose many layers need to be peeled back. Some things not to miss include the spectacular Bangkok Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Chatuchak Market and Asiatique, and a canal trip on the Chao Phraya River. This is a city for foodies and wild nightlife.

3. Relax on some tropical islands

No visit to Southeast Asia would be complete without a visit to at least one of the thousands of tropical islands in the region. My top five include the Perhentian Islands (Malaysia), Rabbit Island (Cambodia), Ko Lanta (Thailand), and Boracay (Philippines). Lombok Island (Indonesia) has a chill vibe with unspoiled, perfect “desert island” beaches. There’s so many islands to visit. Be sure to add at least one to your trip. The country guides will have more information for you.

4. See Ha Long Bay

Sailing trips to this island-filled bay with stunning emerald waters, limestone formations, and marine life give you an appreciation for the natural beauty in Vietnam. Tours from Hanoi start at around $110 USD for two-day trips and increase from there. I love the colorful grottoes, hanging stalactites, and stalagmites of Surprise Cave (Sung Sot), Fairy Cave (Tien Ong), and Heaven Palace (Thien Cung). Make sure you go with a reputable company though as some of the cheaper boats are less than ideal. If you’d rather just visit for one day, day trips from Hanoi cost $55 USD.

5. Wander Kuala Lumpur

Other things to see and do in southeast asia, 1. go jungle trekking.

This region of the world is covered in amazing jungles with diverse wildlife, plentiful camping opportunities, and cool waterfalls. The best jungle treks are found in northern Thailand, Western Laos, and Malaysian Borneo (the latter are also the hardest and most intense). Some of my favorites include Danum Valley (Borneo) for its incredible wildlife; Ratanakiri (Cambodia) for its pristine wilderness and thousand-year-old trees; and Pu Luong Nature Reserve (Vietnam). Costs vary but jungle trekking generally costs $30-50 USD per day.

2. Attend the Full Moon Party

The biggest one-night party in the world welcomes up to 30,000 people with a party that stretches until dawn. Cover yourself in glow paint, grab a bucket of booze, and dance the night away with new friends on the island of Ko Phangan in Thailand. As the name would suggest, the party is on the night of the full moon. If you miss it, there’s always the half-moon party, quarter-moon party, and black-moon party. Really, every night is a party on Ko Phangan . Just avoid the flaming jump rope that occurs — I’ve seen people get burned badly!

3. Learn to dive

There are many great dive sites around the region for those interested in underwater exploration. You can learn to dive here at a fraction of what it would cost back home too. Some of the best places are Ko Tao (Thailand), Sipadan (Malaysia), as well as Gili Islands (Indonesia) and Coron, Palawan (The Philippines). A typical diving course is completed in three days. A PADI course typically runs $275 USD in Thailand, including three nights’ accommodation, though at smaller schools you can often negotiate down to $250 USD. Day trips for certified divers start at $165 USD. For information on Ko Tao, check out this blog post .

4. Eat street food in Singapore

Singapore is a foodie’s heaven. Try the hawker stalls of Singapore as well as Little India and Chinatown for some of the best and cheapest food in Asia. If you’re looking for a nice place to sit down and eat, eat at Singapore’s famed restaurants during lunch when restaurants offer discounts, making them a great deal. You’ll also find the most affordable Michelin-starred restaurants here (Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice and Hawker Chan), offering world-class meals for just a couple of bucks!

5. Overload on temples

You can’t turn a corner without seeing a Buddhist temple in this part of the world. You’ll get temple overload at some point but visit as many as you can as each is unique to the country and region of the temple. There are so many places with high concentrations of ornate and beautiful temples. Check out Chiang Mai’s Wat Doi Suthep Temple and hike up the 300 steps to the golden Chedi that’s 600 years old!; Bagan’s Shwesandaw Pagoda from the 11th century with its stunning golden dome; Angkor Wat’s Ta Prohm is covered in iconic vines and enveloped in ancient jungle roots; Hue’s colorful Thien Mu Pagoda is perched atop a lush green embankment; Hoi An’s Quan Cong Temple with incredible Chinese architecture with hand-carved beauty and skill, and Luang Prabang’s Vat Xieng Thong with its golden, canopied roof. Most are free to enter, however, dress codes are enforced (you need to have your shoulders and legs covered).

6. Dive Sipadan

Located off Malaysian Borneo, Sipadan is one of the best dive sites in the world. If you have your dive certificate, make sure you venture out here. I absolutely love this area because it’s teeming with live turtles, diverse cave systems, sharks, dolphins, colorful coral, bright fish, and everything in between. Not a lot of people make it to this part of Malaysia, but it’s worth it to go the extra mile and make your way off the tourist trail a bit. Don’t miss Barracuda Point and The Drop-Off. Keep in mind that only 176 permits to dive at the island are issued each day, costing 140 MYR per person. The resorts on the neighboring islands each get a specific number of permits per day and require divers to stay with them for a few days. So you’ll need to stay at those resorts and dive into the surrounding areas before they can get you a Sipadan permit.

7. Fall in love with Bali

Bali is the most popular destination in Indonesia, and its famous Kuta beach is known for its wild parties and surfing ( though I think it’s overrated ). However, there is much more to Bali than just wild nights and sun-soaked days. If you’re a thrill seeker, hike up to the top of Mount Batur, an active volcano, for a breathtaking sunrise. Paragliding and white water rafting are also super popular here, as is surfing (it’s an affordable place to learn if you’ve never done it). There are also lots of hot springs to enjoy, the Ubud Monkey Forest (a popular temple and nature reserve home to hundreds of monkeys), and numerous places to scuba dive, including the Liberty wreck and Manta Point.

8. Take in Ho Chi Minh City

Frantic, chaotic, and crazy, Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam is the embodiment of the controlled chaos that rules Southeast Asia. You can’t quite figure out how this teeming mass of people and cars work together, but it does. Highlights here include touring the tunnels used by the Viet Cong in the 1960s, taking in the view from the Saigon Skydeck, eating your way through the street food scene, and seeing the city’s numerous temples.

9. Admire the sunrise over an Indonesian Volcano

One of the most popular tourist attractions on Java is Mount Bromo and its National Park. Don’t miss out on getting a photo of the smoldering Bromo volcano as it lies surrounded by the almost lunar landscape of the Sea of Sand. Get up early to catch one of the most memorable sunrises of your life. If you’re there in mid-August, you’ll be just in time to see Upacara Kasada, the traditional Hindu ritual of the Tenggerese, a Javanese tribe of the region.

10. Hike in Khao Sok National Park

Located in southern Thailand, Khao Sok National Park is constantly rated as one of the best parks in Thailand, with incredible trekking, camping, limestone karsts, cooling rivers, and a glistening lake. Visit for semi-challenging hikes, tons of wildlife, walking paths, and breathtaking sunsets. Park entrance costs around $6 USD while full-day guided tours are $95 USD. I highly recommend spending at least one night here to get the full experience.

11. Visit Kampot

Most people come to Kampot to enjoy the scenic riverside views, as well as the rolling hills that surround the city. Since you can explore easily enough on foot or by bicycle, Kampot is a great place to slow down and relax. There’s not much to do here but have lazy days by the river, chill, and eat (don’t miss the famous Rusty Keyhole for BBQ!). Don’t miss the pepper farms, as this region of Cambodia is filled with pepper farms where you can learn about the history of the spice, see how it is grown, and pick up what is considered some of the finest pepper in the world. Tours are usually free.

12. Take a cooking class

Food from this region is as varied as the countries themselves and learning how to cook a few dishes is a great souvenir of your time here. Even if you don’t plan to cook back home, you can still spend a day making and eating scrumptious food. Most big cities have cooking schools offering classes of 2-6 hours, often including a trip to the local market beforehand to select ingredients. I absolutely love cooking classes and urge you to take one at least once. They are a fun experience!

13. Take a food tour

If you’d rather eat instead of cook, taking a food tour is a fun way to gain insight into the region’s amazing noodle dishes, fresh seafood, sweets, and street food while learning about the history and culture behind the cuisine. Most major cities in Southeast Asia offer food tours. These include tours around local markets, street stalls, and tours to locally-owned restaurants and cafes where you can sample the local cuisine and connect with a local chef. If you’re nervous about street food, this is a great way to try some in a controlled setting. Tours usually last 2-4 hours and include multiple stops and several different dishes, with prices costing $40-75 USD per person.

14. Visit an elephant sanctuary

While riding an elephant is on many a Southeast Asia bucket list, once you know how much the animals suffer from abuse in order to provide these rides, you might think twice about taking one. An even better way to interact with elephants is to volunteer at or visit the Elephant Nature Park near Chiang Mai in Thailand. It’s a phenomenal place, allowing you to give back to the community and these magnificent animals all at once. After coming here, you will understand why you should NEVER ride an elephant. A one-day visit costs $70 USD.

15. See The Killing Fields

A visit to Choeung Ek, also known as the Killing Fields, may not be the most cheerful way to spend an afternoon, but it makes for an educational and memorable experience. Over 3 million people were killed by Pol Pot’s regime, including countless women and children. I recommend getting a guide so you can really understand what you’re seeing as you explore the area. Also, this horrific tragedy took place less than 50 years ago and is still very present so please be respectful as a visitor.  The site is located 10 miles from Phnom Penh. Half-day guided tours start at $66 USD.

16. Swim with Whale Sharks in Donsol

If you’re in the Philippines, check out the Donsol Whale Shark Interactive Ecosystem Project because there are not many experiences quite as adrenaline-inducing as swimming with a whale shark for the first time in crystal waters. These incredible creatures are around 45 feet (14 meters) long and yet incredibly gentle and curious. I loved floating at the surface being able to look below and see them slowly swim below me. Get some people together and rent a boat for a half day, explore the area, and go ‘shark-seeing’ for a good cause.  

  For a ton more information, visit my country specific travel guides for more detailed information on each place:

  • Cambodia Travel Guide
  • Indonesia Travel Guide
  • Laos Travel Guide
  • Malaysia Travel Guide
  • Singapore Travel Guide
  • Thailand Travel Guide
  • Vietnam Travel Guide

Southeast Asia Travel Costs

A lone person standing on lush, green rice terraces in Southeast Asia on a bright sunny day

Accommodation – Accommodation in Southeast Asia is really cheap, making it the perfect place to travel if you are on a budget. Hostels are plentiful, as are budget guesthouses and hotels. It’s also very cheap to splash out here if you’re in need of some luxury.

Generally, you can find hostel dorm rooms for as little as $6-8 USD in Cambodia and $3-6 USD in Laos. In Thailand, 4-6-bed dorm rooms are $8-12 USD, while in Vietnam you can expect to pay $5-7 USD. In Indonesia, prices range between $5-10 USD for a 4-6-bed dorm room. Expect to pay at least $15-20 per night for a private room with air conditioning. Free Wi-Fi is standard in most hostels, free breakfast is common, and many hostels even have pools. In more remote areas, hot water isn’t common so make sure to check in advance if that’s an issue for you.

Simple guesthouses or bungalows throughout Southeast Asia generally cost $12-20 USD per night for a basic room with a fan (sometimes air conditioning) and hot water. If you want something nicer that includes a more comfortable bed and a TV, expect to pay $25-35 USD per night.

For backpackers, budgeting around $10 USD per night for accommodation is pretty safe no matter where you go in Southeast Asia. If you’re looking for a higher-end hotel room with more amenities, expect to pay $20-50 USD per night for a room. Anything over that is luxury territory.

Camping is available in certain areas, usually for just a few dollars per night for a basic tent plot without electricity. However, this is about the same price as hostels so it’s not really any cheaper.

Food – While each country’s cuisine varies, overall, Southeast Asian food is aromatic, spicy, and flavorful. Typical spices and herbs include garlic, basil, galangal, cilantro, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, chilies, and fish sauce. No matter what region you’re in, you can expect to find a variety of curries, salads, soups, noodle dishes, and stir-fries.

Rice and noodles are central to Southeast Asian food, while the meat is usually pork, chicken, fish, or seafood, which is everywhere on the islands and coastal areas.

While traveling Southeast Asia, street food is the most popular food and cheapest option. On average, these meals cost $1-5 USD. You find these stalls throughout this region lining most streets and every market. They are ubiquitous in the region. In Singapore, street food (from “hawker stands” as they’re known there) costs around $4-5 USD for a meal. Even if you go into small local restaurants, the price doesn’t increase that much.

Food that costs $2 USD at a street stall generally only costs $4-6 USD at a local restaurant. If you went into a restaurant in Thailand, you’d pay around $3-4 USD for a pad Thai that would have cost $1-2 USD on the street.

In Cambodia, street food is around $1-2 USD, while restaurants charge around $3-5 USD for a dish like amok (a coconut milk dish) or luc lac (pepper gravy beef).

Western meals, including burgers, pizza, and sandwiches usually cost around $7-10 USD. But these generally aren’t that great. If you want something that actually tastes as it does back home, expect to spend at least $10-12 USD for your meal.

While cheap, alcohol can take a bite out of your budget if you’re not careful. Those $1-2 USD beers add up! Wine and cocktails are more expensive, generally around $3-5 USD. A cappuccino is typically around $2 USD. Bottled water is plentiful and costs less than $1 USD.

There’s a growing cutting-edge foodie scene in the region and, if you want to splurge, you can do so on some really good meals. Big cities like Bangkok, KL, and Singapore, all have world-class Michelin star restaurants as well some incredible fusion restaurants.

Since dining out is so cheap in the region, there’s no point in grocery shopping unless you’re looking to get some pre-made salads or fruits. Additionally, a general lack of kitchens in most hostels and hotels makes it difficult to cook even if you wanted to. If you do purchase your own groceries, expect to spend around $25 USD per week for basic groceries like local produce, rice, and some meat (while avoiding expensive imported items like cheese and wine).

Backpacking Southeast Asia Suggested Budgets

On a backpacker budget of $45 USD per day, you can stay in hostel dorms, eat out at local markets and street stalls, limit your drinking, do mostly free activities, minimize paid activities, and use public transportation to get around. You’re not going to be able to splash out but you’ll be able to live the typical backpacker experience without really stressing over expenses.

On a mid-range budget of $85 USD per day, you can stay in budget hotels or private hostel rooms, eat more restaurant meals, do more paid activities like cooking classes, take some taxis, and enjoy a few more drinks. You won’t live large, but you won’t be missing out either.

On an upscale budget of $150 USD or more per day, you can stay in nicer hotels with more amenities, eat out as much as you want, do more paid tours including private tours, hire a driver, fly between destinations, and basically do whatever you want. The sky is the limit with this kind of budget!

You can use the chart below to get some idea of how much you need to budget daily, depending on your travel style. Keep in mind these are daily averages — some days you’ll spend more, some days you’ll spend less (you might spend less every day). We just want to give you a general idea of how to make your budget. Prices are in USD.

Southeast Asia Travel Guide: Money-Saving Tips

Backpacking Southeast Asia is cheap. There’s little opportunity to spend a lot of money since everything is already so inexpensive unless you intentionally are trying to splash out on fancy meals and high end hotels. The two reasons why most travelers end up overspending is that they eat a lot of Western food and drink way too much. If you want to save money while traveling in this part of the world, cut down on your drinking and skip the Western food. While country guides have more specific ways to save money, here are some general ways to save money in Southeast Asia:

  • Stay with a local – Accommodation is cheap in Southeast Asia but nothing’s cheaper than free! Use Couchsurfing to stay with locals who have extra beds and couches for free. You’ll also meet great people who can show you around and share their insider tips and advice.
  • Book tours and day trips as a group – You have more negotiation power when you’re with a group of people buying multiple spots or tickets. Traveling alone? Meet a friend at a hostel and see if they want to join the same tour as you. I’ve met some great friends over the years doing this and highly recommend it.
  • Don’t book in advance – Don’t book any tours or activities before you get to your destination. They’ll be much cheaper when you arrive as you’ll be able to negotiate a lower price as you’ll find companies are often offering the same tour and competing. Anything you see online is more expensive than you need to pay!
  • Eat on the street – The street food is the best food. The food is the best and cheapest you’ll find. It’s a great way to try new foods and get to chat with locals as well. This is where locals eat so if you want insight into local culture, good food, and savings, eat the street food. Look for where locals are eating to ensure that it’s safe to eat.
  • Bargain hard – Nothing is ever at face value here. Bargain with sellers as most of the time, the price they’ve quoted is way higher. There’s a haggling culture in the region so play the game and save some money. It’s important not to convert it in your head to your own currency because it will usually sound cheap even though you might still be getting ripped off. You’ll never get the local price, but you might come close!
  • Minimize your drinking – Drinks really add up. Even with cheap drinks, if you’re not aware, you’ll end up spending more money on beer than on food and accommodation. If you want to drink, head to the supermarkets, drink at the hostel, or check out the local happy hours.
  • Pack a water bottle – A water bottle with a purifier comes particularly in handy in Southeast Asia since you can’t usually drink the tap water. Save money and thousands of plastic bottles and get a bottle that can purify the tap water for you. My preferred bottle is LifeStraw as it has a built-in filter that ensures your water is always safe and clean.

Where to Stay in Southeast Asia

I’ve been traveling Southeast Asia since 2005 and have stayed in hundreds of places. Here are some of my favorite places to stay in Southeast Asia:

  • The Siem Reap Pub Hostel (Siem Reap)
  • Onederz Siem Reap (Siem Reap)
  • Mad Monkey Siem Reap (Siem Reap)
  • Onederz Sihanoukville (Sihanoukville)
  • Monkey Republic (Sihanoukville)
  • Onederz Phnom Penh (Phnom Penh)
  • Sla Boutique Hostel (Phnom Penh)
  • The Magic Sponge (Kampot)
  • Indigo House Hotel (Luang Prabang)
  • Sa Sa Lao (Luang Prabang)
  • Sanga Hostel (Pakse)
  • Nana Backpackers Hostel (Vang Vieng)
  • Dream Home Hostel (Vientiane)
  • Traveller Bunker Hostel (Cameron Highlands)
  • De’Native Guest House (Cameron Highlands)
  • Kitez Hotel & Bunks (Kuala Lumpur)
  • Sunshine Bedz Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur)
  • Ryokan Muntri Boutique Hostel (Penang)
  • Mad Monkey Hostel (Bangkok)
  • D&D Inn (Bangkok)
  • Kodchasri B&B (Chiang Mai)
  • The Royal Guest House (Chiang Mai)
  • Green Leaf (Khao Yai)
  • Lonely Beach Resort (Ko Chang)
  • The Sanctuary (Koh Phangan)
  • Na-Tub Hostel (Koh Phangan)
  • Pineapple Guesthouse (Phuket)
  • Dream Lodge
  • The Pod Capsule Hostel
  • The Scarlet
  • Under the Coconut Tree Guesthouse (Hoi An)
  • Fuse Beachside (Hoi An)
  • Pretty Backpackers House (Da Lat)
  • Hanoi Old Quarter Hostel (Hanoi)
  • Luxury Backpackers Hostel (Hanoi)
  • The Hideout (HCMC)
  • City Backpackers Hostel (HCMC)

How to Get Around Southeast Asia

A lone person standing on lush, green rice terraces in Southeast Asia on a bright sunny day

Public transportation – Public transportation costs from a few pennies to a few dollars, with Singapore and Malaysia offering the most comprehensive public transportation systems. In Thailand, local buses cost around $0.25 USD per trip, while the Metro and Skytrain in Bangkok cost $0.50-1.50 USD per trip. In Cambodia, a bus ticket in Phnom Penh costs just $0.40 USD per ride.

Major cities generally have subway systems but mostly you’ll be using the bus or shared taxis to get around.

Tuk-tuks (small, shared taxis with no meter) are available around much of the region and require a bit of haggling. They usually have 3-6 seats and generally cost more than public transportation but are faster. To find a reputable driver, ask your accommodation as they usually know someone. Tuk-tuk drivers can often be hired for the day for a discounted rate (this is what a lot of people do to visit the Killing Fields and Angkor Wat in Cambodia, for example).

Taxi – Taxis in the region are generally safe, though it’s not uncommon to have to haggle. Scams to rip you off aren’t uncommon either, so always ask your accommodation to call you a taxi whenever possible so you know you’ll get a reputable company.

In Singapore and Indonesia, taxi drivers do put on the meter. In Bangkok, you can get taxi drivers to use the meter, but if you’re hailing one in a tourist area, he might try to avoid using it. In Vietnam, the meter is sometimes rigged, but if you can get a reputable company like Mai Linh, you won’t have any problems.

Ridesharing – Grab, DiDi, and Gojek are Asia’s answer to Uber. They work the same way: you hire a driver to take you somewhere via the app, and you can pay via the app or in cash. It’s often more affordable than a regular taxi, though drivers are a bit unreliable as the practice is not as widespread here as in other parts of the world.

Just keep in mind that some drivers are driving motorcycles so be sure to double check what kind of vehicle is picking you up if you don’t want to ride on the back of one.

Bus – The easiest and cheapest way to travel around Southeast Asia is by bus. The backpacker trail is so worn that there is a very well-established tourist bus system to take you anywhere. Buses costs vary between $5-25 USD for a 5-6 hour journey. Overnight buses cost $20-35 USD depending on distance (they often have reclining seats so you can get a decent sleep).

You can check ticket prices and book tickets for all the different bus companies across Southeast Asia at 12go.asia.

Train – Train service is limited in the region and not something to really consider when you travel Southeast Asia. You can take a train up and down the coast of Vietnam and there’s some limited scenic rails in Malaysia. Thailand is the only country that has an extensive train system that lets you travel all its regions (and onward to Singapore) from Bangkok.

The train prices in Southeast Asia are determined by distance and class. Night trains with sleeper cars are more expensive than day trains. The night train to Chiang Mai from Bangkok takes twelve hours and costs $27 USD for a sleeper seat. However, that same train during the day is $8-9 USD. In Vietnam, trains run up and down the coast and cost $60 USD from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City.

Flying – The cost of flying around Southeast Asia has come down in recent years due to the rise of low-cost airlines. Scoot, Jetstar, and AirAsia are the biggest. Nok Air has a lot of flights within Thailand , and VietJet Air is popular in Vietnam . Lion Air serves Indonesia , but its safety record is really spotty and I personally would not fly them. If you book early, you can save on fares, as most of the airlines offer deeply discounted fare sales all the time, especially Air Asia.

Just make sure that the airport these budget airlines fly into isn’t too far out of your way (transportation from the secondary airport sometimes negates the savings from using the budget airline itself).

Also, keep in mind that you usually must pay to check your baggage on these cheap flights. If you wait to pay for your luggage at the gate, you end up paying almost double. Travel carry-on only to avoid this added cost.

All in all, I only recommend flying if you are pressed for time or find a super cheap deal. Otherwise, stick to the bus.

Hitchhiking – Hitchhiking in Southeast Asia is safe, though popularity of the practice varies by country (it’s more common in Malaysia, but not so much in Cambodia). Dress respectably, smile while making eye contact with drivers, and use a cardboard sign to tell people where you’re headed. Be prepared for long bouts of no pick-ups, especially if you’re traveling through more rural areas. Pack plenty of water and food. Also, make sure the people picking you up understand you’re hitchhiking and not flagging down a taxi.

Hitchwiki is a great resource for hitchhiking tips.

Car rental I don’t recommend renting a car in Southeast Asia. Rental cars are expensive ($40 USD per day or more) and the roads here are in poor shape. I would never drive around the region.

When to Go to Southeast Asia

The best time of year to visit Southeast Asia is from November to April when temperatures are milder (though temperatures vary drastically by region). It may be mild in Thailand in January and hot in Malaysia but in Northern Vietnam, it’s cold! Also, one of the biggest mistakes people make is not taking into account the rainy season. In some cases it won’t make a big difference but definitely does if it’s a beach trip.

In Indonesia, the best time to visit is April to October. Temperatures average 24-30ºC (75-86ºF), and the weather is mostly dry. July to September is the peak holiday season and when you can expect to pay the highest rates. December to February is the rainy season.

In Malaysia, January-March and June-September are the best time to visit, as these months have the lowest average rainfall. It is still hot and humid during this time though. The rainy season is from October to December. Singapore’s climate/weather is much like Malaysia’s.

In Vietnam, the weather varies by region. In Central Vietnam (including Hoi An and Nha Trang), January-May is the best time to visit because it is dry and the temperatures average 21-30°C (70-86°F). June to August is also a decent time to visit. If you want to stick around Hanoi, March to April is great, or October to December (for mildest temperatures). The rainy season is May-September.

Thailand has three seasons: hot, hotter, and hottest. It’s always warm, though the weather is nicest between November and February (which is also peak tourist season). Bangkok is “coolest” and driest during this time (but still averaging a hot 29°C/85°F each day). April and May are the hottest months, and the rainy season is June-October. The gulf islands get pretty rainy from August to December.

The dry season in Cambodia is from November-May and the cool season is from November-February (and when most people visit). Temperatures during this time are still high, but humidity is lower. Laos has the same cool season as Cambodia, with the dry season running from November-April.

In the Philippines, it’s mostly warm all year long with an average daily high of 26°C (80°F). There are rainy and dry seasons and temperatures are hot and dry from March-May and cooler December-February. The best time to visit is between January-April when it’s less humid. Monsoon Season is July-October.

For more information on when to go to places, visit the specific country guides.

How to Stay Safe in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia is an incredibly safe place to backpack and travel — even if you’re traveling solo and even as a solo female traveler. Violent crime is super, duper rare. Petty theft (including bag snatching) is the most common type of crime in Southeast Asia, especially around popular tourist landmarks. Always keep your valuables out of reach on public transportation and in crowds just to be safe. Never leave your valuables unattended while at the beach and always keep a hold of your purse/bag when out and about as bag snatching is common.

That said, outside touristy areas, theft is really rare. Heck, it’s pretty rare in touristy areas too! But a little vigilance goes a long way and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

There are some common scams around that you’ll want to be aware of, such as the motorbike scam. This involves a bike rental company trying to charge you for damage to the bike that you didn’t cause. To avoid this, always take photos of your rental before you leave so you can protect yourself from baseless claims.

Another common scam involves a tuk-tuk driver taking you somewhere you didn’t want to go in hopes you’ll buy something from the shop/restaurant he dropped you off at (he gets a commission if you do). Simply refuse to buy anything and demand to go back to where you were — or find another driver.

For other common travel scams, read this post about major travel scams to avoid in the region .

Solo female travelers should feel safe here, though it’s generally a good idea to avoid walking around alone at night just to be safe. It’s always a good idea to carry some extra cash to get home in a taxi if you need to. Additionally, always keep an eye on your drink at the bar and never accept drinks from strangers. Be sensible when it comes to dating while traveling and meeting people in public places. As I’m not a woman, please check out some solo female travel blogs to get the best insight.

Overall, the people who get in trouble here tend to be involved with drugs or sex tourism. Avoid those two things and you should be fine. Keep in mind that it’s not always obvious how old someone is or if they’re a sex worker so be mindful when getting involved in romantic interactions. Also, penalties for drug use in this region are stiff so even if you’re here to party, skip the drugs.

Always trust your gut instinct. Make copies of your personal documents, including your passport and ID. Forward your itinerary along to loved ones so they’ll know where you are.

For more in-depth coverage of how to stay safe in Southeast Asia, check out this post that answers some frequently asked questions and concerns.

The most important piece of advice I can offer is to purchase good travel insurance. Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. You can use the widget below to find the policy right for you:

Southeast Asia Travel Guide: The Best Booking Resources

These are my favorite companies to use when I travel. They consistently have the best deals, offer world-class customer service and great value, and overall, are better than their competitors. They are the companies I use the most and are always the starting point in my search for travel deals.

  • Skyscanner – Skyscanner is my favorite flight search engine. They search small websites and budget airlines that larger search sites tend to miss. They are hands down the number one place to start.
  • Hostelworld – This is the best hostel accommodation site out there with the largest inventory, best search interface, and widest availability.
  • Agoda – Other than Hostelworld, Agoda is the best hotel accommodation site for Asia.
  • Booking.com – The best all around booking site that constantly provides the cheapest and lowest rates. They have the widest selection of budget accommodation. In all my tests, they’ve always had the cheapest rates out of all the booking websites.
  • Get Your Guide – Get Your Guide is a huge online marketplace for tours and excursions. They have tons of tour options available in cities all around the world, including everything from cooking classes, walking tours, street art lessons, and more!
  • SafetyWing – Safety Wing offers convenient and affordable plans tailored to digital nomads and long-term travelers. They have cheap monthly plans, great customer service, and an easy-to-use claims process that makes it perfect for those on the road.
  • LifeStraw – My go-to company for reusable water bottles with built-in filters so you can ensure your drinking water is always clean and safe.
  • Unbound Merino – They make lightweight, durable, easy-to-clean travel clothing.

Get the In-Depth Budget Guide to Thailand!

Get the In-Depth Budget Guide to Thailand!

My detailed 350+ page guidebook is made for budget travelers like you! It cuts out the fluff found in other guidebooks and gets straight to the practical information you need to travel around Thailand. You’ll find suggested itineraries, budgets, ways to save money, on and off-the-beaten-path things to see and do, non-touristy restaurants, markets, bars, safety tips, and much more! Click here to learn more and get your copy today.

Southeast Asia Travel Guide: Related Articles

Want more info? Check out all the articles I’ve written on Southeast Asia travel and continue planning your trip:

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5 Cheap Ways to Travel Around the US

Gina Hagler

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When you’re considering travel within the United States, walking, cycling, driving, or taking a bus, train, commercial airliner, or private jet comes to mind. Which one you choose comes down to how far you want to go, how quickly you want to get there and how much you’re willing to spend.

Here are 5 inexpensive methods of travel within the United States:

  • Use smaller regional airports over national ones. These domestic airports tend to have cheaper airfares. They are still relatively accessible to major cities such as Long Island MacArthur Airport in Islip, New York or Hollywood Burbank outside Los Angeles. You can also save money on flights from May to June and August to September by traveling on days with lower traffic, like Monday to Wednesday. Try also to book your flight a month or two in advance.
  • If you’re going a long distance, trains tend to be cheaper than flights. Consider something like  Amtrak’s USA Rail Passes , which offer a great way to explore the country. It has a multi-segment (10 rides, one board-disembark cycle = one segment) 30-day trip to your choice of over 500 destinations. You can “hop from town to town across the country.” This option will help you if you want to visit several places throughout a long-distance trip.
  • Use credit cards for more daily transactions. If you still prefer the quicker journey of flying, Delta SkyMiles American Express Card or Chase Sapphire offer ways to slowly but surely earn your next trip; they reward cardholders with discounted tickets, hotel bookings, dining and car rentals.
  • Take a bus.   Greyhound  offers an affordable way to get to nearly 2,300 destinations. You can reserve your seat and take advantage of real-time tracking to help you plan. You can get lower fares by booking in advance and/or during the mid-week when there is less demand. There are also travel deals during the Winter. If you’re traveling in the Northeast to and from states like Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New York or New Jersey,  Peter Pan Bus Lines  offers low fares.
  • Rent a car rather than drive your own. Depending on the car you own, you may benefit from renting a more fuel-efficient vehicle, which will save you money on a nice, long road trip. Another option is to relocate someone else’s vehicle for them through a company like  Transfercar , which will have you assist a rental car company. You could plan a trip around driving one vehicle from point A to point B, then returning the way you came with another vehicle.

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Table of Contents

1. Puerto Rico

2. solvang, california, 3. san francisco, california, 4. san diego, california, 5. u.s. virgin islands, 6. epcot at walt disney world in florida, 7. key west, florida, 8. oahu, hawaii, 9. new orleans, 10. washington, d.c., can you fly to other u.s. territories without a passport, do you need a passport to fly in the u.s..

International travel is booming. But if you want to take a trip soon and you don't have a passport, it might be too late to join the international travel palooza.

The State Department estimates standard passport processing times at eight to 11 weeks. And expedited processing can take five to seven weeks. Even if you have a passport, check the expiration date because some countries require passports to be valid at least six months beyond your trip dates .

Whether it’s too late or too costly to consider international travel, there are still plenty of places to travel without a passport.

Here are 10 places to go without a passport in 2024:

5 ways to travel

San Juan, Puerto Rico. (Getty Images)

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Puerto Rico took off in popularity for both leisure travel and remote work . 2022 was its strongest year in tourism history, generating roughly $8.9 billion in tourism revenue, a 39% increase over the previous 2019 high, according to Discover Puerto Rico, the territory's tourism board.

Visitors can enjoy beautiful beaches, experience delicious culinary adventures and attend numerous summer festivals, such as El Festival de las Flores and Festival del Mojo Isleño.

As of January 2023, the number of events booked in Puerto Rico was 81% higher than at the same time last year, according to Discover Puerto Rico. This summer’s scheduled events include El Festival de las Flores, a multi-day festival of flowers in the town of Aibonito, and the culinary-focused Festival del Mojo Isleño, held in the town of Salinas and named for the slow-cooked tomato-based sauce served over seafood (you’ll likely get a taste of it if you visit).

5 ways to travel

Solvang, California. (Getty Images)

For a taste of Europe without a passport, head to Solvang, California. Also known as "The Danish Capital of America,” Solvang is famous for its thatched roofs, traditional windmills, Scandinavian handcrafts, museums, restaurants and shops.

Don’t miss the Scandinavian handcrafts sold at the Jule Hus Christmas Store — one of the more than 100 shops you'll find in Solvang — and grab an Aebleskiver (a puffy Danish pancake), available at many cafes around town.

Air travelers should fly into Santa Barbara Municipal Airport. Considered one of America’s most charming airports , Santa Barbara Municipal is increasing capacity on some existing American Airlines and United Airlines routes and adding new routes on United and Southwest Airlines this summer.

Solvang is an excellent stop if you're driving along California’s Highway 101 between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

5 ways to travel

San Francisco’s Chinatown. (Getty Images)

Speaking of San Francisco, you might head there next. San Francisco is home to the country’s oldest and largest Chinatown. Tourists can meander down Grant Street, framed by the iconic Dragons Gate, and visit the China Live marketplace or the Red Blossom Tea Company.

Getting to San Francisco’s Chinatown is easier than ever, as the city’s new Central Subway officially opened in January 2023, with a station in Chinatown.

While San Francisco claims to be the birthplace of tasty treats such as cioppino, the martini, the Irish coffee, and Boudin sourdough bread, it’s a great spot to sample dishes that originated elsewhere, too.

At Burma Love, don’t miss the tea leaf salad, a Burmese dish made with fermented tea leaves and a crispy mix of nuts and beans. For a taste of Guam, order any of the barbecue items from Prubechu. And the city does fusion too, like the Korean and Japanese-inspired Koja Kitchen. There, order the Original Koja, consisting of Korean BBQ short ribs served between lightly fried garlic rice buns.

5 ways to travel

Old Town in San Diego. (Getty Images)

San Francisco is in the northern half of the state, but don't skip the southern half either. In particular, head to San Diego, which is know for near perfect weather year-round. A highlight is Old Town San Diego, where you'll learn about the area's Mexican history, culture, and cuisine

5 ways to travel

Cruz Bay, St. John in U.S. Virgin Islands. (Getty Images)

The U.S. Virgin Islands have been an official U.S. territory since 1917, so a passport is not required for U.S. citizens arriving from Puerto Rico or the U.S. mainland.

This Caribbean destination consists of three islands — St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas. Each is among the best tropical places to visit, not just for its breathtaking beaches, but for its culture and history.

This summer marks the 69th year of the St. John Celebration — three weeks of food festivals, boat races, parades and more on the island of St. John. It begins on June 10 and encompasses Emancipation Day, a local holiday on July 3 commemorating the abolition of slavery.

Bonvoy members might redeem Marriott points at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas. The 30-acre resort underwent an $100 million renovation just before the COVID-19 pandemic, including a remodeled infinity pool.

5 ways to travel

The annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival typically starts just before spring and runs through the beginning of summer. (Photo courtesy of Disney)

Orlando, Florida hosted 74 million visitors in 2022, making it America’s most visited travel destination that year, according to Visit Orlando, the destination's official tourism association. Perhaps the fact that Disney World is cheaper than Disneyland has something to do with it.

While not a replacement for international travel, the World Showcase section of Walt Disney World’s Epcot theme park consists of 11 mini subsections themed to different countries. The food is among the best you’ll find on Disney World property. Don’t miss the Canadian ice wine at Le Cellier Steakhouse or the school bread (a sweet roll filled with custard and dipped in coconut) from the Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe in Epcot’s Norway pavilion.

Fans of France won't want to miss the French pavilion, which is home to a relatively new attraction called Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. The trackless ride opened in 2021, featuring vehicles shaped like rats. Plus, parts of the ride smell like fresh bread.

Regardless of where you go, a travel card can provide benefits that make your adventures less stressful.

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Key West, Florida. (Getty Images)

If you’re into a relaxed island vibe, consider Florida’s southernmost point, Key West. According to Hotels.com, average hotel prices in Key West between June and August were 15% lower in 2023 versus 2022.

When in Key West, don't miss Dry Tortugas National Park, which sits about 70 miles (113 km) west of Key West. This part is unique in that it's s mostly open water with seven small islands, and it's accessible only by boat or seaplane. But if you make the trek there, it's worth it for the magnificent Fort Jefferson, and postcard perfect blue waters, coral reefs and vast array of wildlife. While the entrance fee for Dry Tortugas National Park is $15 per person (good for seven consecutive days), you may qualify to get into this national park for free .

Iolani Palace served as the official royal residence until the overthrow of the monarchy in 1893. (Photo courtesy of Getty)

Iolani Palace served as the official royal residence until the overthrow of the monarchy in 1893. (Getty Images)

Hawaii tourism made a major comeback since the COVID-19, with the number of ​​visitors arriving to the Hawaiian Islands in March 2023 up 14.2% from March 2022, according to the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. But Hawaii got hit hard again after the Maui wildfires in August 2023 killed nearly 100 people and left many more without homes.

During that time, travel to Maui was discouraged so resources could be dedicated to the island's first responders and residents, rather than tourists. And while tourists listened — it's affected the entire state. Now tourism numbers are down throughout almost all of Hawaii, which has been challenging for the other islands that are still dependent on tourism dollars.

Given that, you might head to Oahu, which is home to the state capital of Honolulu.

Visit Oahu’s Polynesian Cultural Center, which offers cultural presentations including lauhala weaving, poi tasting and an evening luau that pays tribute to Hawaii's last ruling monarch, Queen Liliuokalani.

5 ways to travel

The 'Olelo Room at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa. (Photo courtesy of Disney)

For folks looking to experience a new culture, another reason to consider Hawaii is that it's the only U.S. state with two official languages. What's more is that the Hawaiian language is classified by the United Nations as a critically endangered language. Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa, has taken strides to preserve the language, particularly at its ‘Ōlelo Room Bar and Lounge. The walls are decorated with Hawaiian words, and every bartender who works there speaks Hawaiian.

5 ways to travel

Bourbon Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans. (Getty Images)

New Orleans is a city with a rich history and culture. The city's French, Spanish, African, and American heritage is reflected in its food, music, art, and architecture. In the French Quarter, you'll see historic buildings, jazz clubs and many of the city's most popular attractions, including Jackson Square, Bourbon Street, and the St. Louis Cathedral. Don't miss the Treme neighborhood's Afro-Caribbean culture.

The city's cuisine is a fusion of Creole, Cajun, and French influences, and it is renowned for its fresh seafood, gumbo, and jambalaya. New Orleans is also a major center for live music, and visitors can find jazz, blues, and zydeco performances in clubs and bars throughout the city.

While many tourists go during Mardi Gras, there are many other festivals and events held throughout the year. Visitors can enjoy everything from the French Quarter Festival to the Voodoo Music + Arts Experience.

5 ways to travel

The Greek embassy on Massachusetts Avenue in Washington, D.C. (Getty Images)

Embassy Row is a stretch of Massachusetts Avenue in Washington, D.C. that is home to the embassies of over 170 countries. Tourists can typically visit the embassies, many of which offer cultural events, such as film screenings, concerts, and art exhibitions.

The embassies are typically housed in grand buildings that represent the architectural styles of their respective countries. And while walking between embassies, it's easy to sample food from different countries at the many restaurants in the area.

Not all U.S. territories or Freely Associated States (which are a few Pacific Island nations that hold certain agreements with the U.S.) are necessarily places you can travel without a passport as a U.S. citizen.

According to USA.gov, U.S. citizens do need a passport to travel to these places:

American Samoa.

Guam (on a case-by-case basis, photo I.D. and proof of citizenship may be accepted instead.).

The Federated States of Micronesia.

The Republic of the Marshall Islands.

The Republic of Palau.

You don’t necessarily need to flash a passport at U.S. airport checkpoints in order to travel, but adults ages 18 or older do need some sort of valid identification. Other valid forms of identification include:

Border crossing card.

Department of Homeland Security trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, Nexus, Sentri, Fast).

Permanent resident card.

Driver's licenses or other state photo identity cards.

And as of May 7, 2025, state-issued IDs or licenses must be REAL ID compliant when used at airport checkpoints. If your license isn’t compliant by then, the Transportation Security Administration will accept other forms of valid identification — including passports.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2024 , including those best for:

Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

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Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express

Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

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Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card

1.5%-5% Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

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2x-5x Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options.

75,000 Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

5 ways to travel

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Time travel: five ways that we could do it

time travel_travel through time

Cathal O’Connell

Cathal O'Connell is a science writer based in Melbourne.

In 2009 the British physicist Stephen Hawking held a party for time travellers – the twist was he sent out the invites a year later (No guests showed up). Time travel is probably impossible. Even if it were possible, Hawking and others have argued that you could never travel back before the moment your time machine was built.

But travel to the future? That’s a different story.

Of course, we are all time travellers as we are swept along in the current of time, from past to future, at a rate of one hour per hour.

But, as with a river, the current flows at different speeds in different places. Science as we know it allows for several methods to take the fast-track into the future. Here’s a rundown.

050416 timetravel 1

1. Time travel via speed

This is the easiest and most practical way to time travel into the far future – go really fast.

According to Einstein’s theory of special relativity, when you travel at speeds approaching the speed of light, time slows down for you relative to the outside world.

This is not a just a conjecture or thought experiment – it’s been measured. Using twin atomic clocks (one flown in a jet aircraft, the other stationary on Earth) physicists have shown that a flying clock ticks slower, because of its speed.

In the case of the aircraft, the effect is minuscule. But If you were in a spaceship travelling at 90% of the speed of light, you’d experience time passing about 2.6 times slower than it was back on Earth.

And the closer you get to the speed of light, the more extreme the time-travel.

Computer solves a major time travel problem

The highest speeds achieved through any human technology are probably the protons whizzing around the Large Hadron Collider at 99.9999991% of the speed of light. Using special relativity we can calculate one second for the proton is equivalent to 27,777,778 seconds, or about 11 months , for us.

Amazingly, particle physicists have to take this time dilation into account when they are dealing with particles that decay. In the lab, muon particles typically decay in 2.2 microseconds. But fast moving muons, such as those created when cosmic rays strike the upper atmosphere, take 10 times longer to disintegrate.

2. Time travel via gravity

The next method of time travel is also inspired by Einstein. According to his theory of general relativity, the stronger the gravity you feel, the slower time moves.

As you get closer to the centre of the Earth, for example, the strength of gravity increases. Time runs slower for your feet than your head.

Again, this effect has been measured. In 2010, physicists at the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) placed two atomic clocks on shelves, one 33 centimetres above the other, and measured the difference in their rate of ticking. The lower one ticked slower because it feels a slightly stronger gravity.

To travel to the far future, all we need is a region of extremely strong gravity, such as a black hole. The closer you get to the event horizon, the slower time moves – but it’s risky business, cross the boundary and you can never escape.

050416 timetravel 2

And anyway, the effect is not that strong so it’s probably not worth the trip.

Assuming you had the technology to travel the vast distances to reach a black hole (the nearest is about 3,000 light years away), the time dilation through travelling would be far greater than any time dilation through orbiting the black hole itself.

(The situation described in the movie Interstellar , where one hour on a planet near a black hole is the equivalent of seven years back on Earth, is so extreme as to be impossible in our Universe, according to Kip Thorne, the movie’s scientific advisor.)

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The most mindblowing thing, perhaps, is that GPS systems have to account for time dilation effects (due to both the speed of the satellites and gravity they feel) in order to work. Without these corrections, your phones GPS capability wouldn’t be able to pinpoint your location on Earth to within even a few kilometres.

3. Time travel via suspended animation

Another way to time travel to the future may be to slow your perception of time by slowing down, or stopping, your bodily processes and then restarting them later.

Bacterial spores can live for millions of years in a state of suspended animation, until the right conditions of temperature, moisture, food kick start their metabolisms again. Some mammals, such as bears and squirrels, can slow down their metabolism during hibernation, dramatically reducing their cells’ requirement for food and oxygen.

Could humans ever do the same?

Though completely stopping your metabolism is probably far beyond our current technology, some scientists are working towards achieving inducing a short-term hibernation state lasting at least a few hours. This might be just enough time to get a person through a medical emergency, such as a cardiac arrest, before they can reach the hospital.

050416 timetravel 3

In 2005, American scientists demonstrated a way to slow the metabolism of mice (which do not hibernate) by exposing them to minute doses of hydrogen sulphide, which binds to the same cell receptors as oxygen. The core body temperature of the mice dropped to 13 °C and metabolism decreased 10-fold. After six hours the mice could be reanimated without ill effects.

Unfortunately, similar experiments on sheep and pigs were not successful, suggesting the method might not work for larger animals.

Another method, which induces a hypothermic hibernation by replacing the blood with a cold saline solution, has worked on pigs and is currently undergoing human clinical trials in Pittsburgh.

4. Time travel via wormholes

General relativity also allows for the possibility for shortcuts through spacetime, known as wormholes, which might be able to bridge distances of a billion light years or more, or different points in time.

Many physicists, including Stephen Hawking, believe wormholes are constantly popping in and out of existence at the quantum scale, far smaller than atoms. The trick would be to capture one, and inflate it to human scales – a feat that would require a huge amount of energy, but which might just be possible, in theory.

Attempts to prove this either way have failed, ultimately because of the incompatibility between general relativity and quantum mechanics.

5. Time travel using light

Another time travel idea, put forward by the American physicist Ron Mallet, is to use a rotating cylinder of light to twist spacetime. Anything dropped inside the swirling cylinder could theoretically be dragged around in space and in time, in a similar way to how a bubble runs around on top your coffee after you swirl it with a spoon.

According to Mallet, the right geometry could lead to time travel into either the past and the future.

Since publishing his theory in 2000, Mallet has been trying to raise the funds to pay for a proof of concept experiment, which involves dropping neutrons through a circular arrangement of spinning lasers.

His ideas have not grabbed the rest of the physics community however, with others arguing that one of the assumptions of his basic model is plagued by a singularity, which is physics-speak for “it’s impossible”.

The Royal Institution of Australia has an Education resource based on this article. You can access it here .

Related Reading: Computer solves a major time travel problem

5 ways to travel

Originally published by Cosmos as Time travel: five ways that we could do it

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5 ways to travel

Get Paid To Travel: 5 Ways To Travel While Making Money

G etting paid to travel might seem like some kind of idyllic fantasy, but it may be more within your reach than you realize. The line between working in travel and getting paid to vacation is a thin one, but there are a few creative ways to get paid to travel. While there’s still no such thing as a free lunch, these opportunities offer the best chance to see the world while earning some dough in the process.

Read: What To Do If You Owe Back Taxes to the IRS

Get Paid To Travel: 5 Best Ways

Sometimes daily work can be difficult, but when the globe is your office, you may feel like you never worked a day in your life. Here are five amazing ways to get paid to travel:

  • Work as a travel blogger
  • Teach English
  • Become a social media influencer
  • Work on a cruise ship
  • Organize a group trip

Whether you enlist in a full-time travel job or are just looking to do some traveling long-term, you can play to your strengths on the road and get paid to travel the world.

1. Work as a Travel Blogger

If you have skills with a camera or the written word, you can look into how to publish some of the blog posts you create as a digital nomad. Not only can you earn money by following your passion for travel blogging but you could also get access to some top-of-the-line VIP packages offered by hotels and resorts across the world. 

You can start by researching companies that align with the style of your content. Try to reach out in a personal way — generic contact forms are great but they don’t usually set you up for a payday success.

2. Teach English

Becoming an English teacher abroad is another way to earn a salary while immersed in a foreign culture. If you don’t mind public speaking and are confident in your communication skills, the fastest route to a teaching job is obtaining a certificate. Look for one of the following programs:

  • Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL)
  • Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL)

These certificates can be obtained by taking a short course. Here are some key takeaways to know:

  • Although you can teach with a basic certificate, to earn a professional accreditation, you’ll need to complete at least 100 hours of in-class instruction as well as 6-20 hours of live classroom practice. Getting an accreditation will help you get more opportunities and higher pay.
  • There are other teacher preparation certifications, but TESL/TEFL are the most universally recognized and accepted around the world.
  • You should also expect to invest anywhere from a few hundred dollars for a basic certificate to a few thousand for a complete certification.
  • For your time investment, a complete certificate can take up to a year to complete. 
  • When you’re considering what country to teach in, make sure to take into account the salary expectations. You should compare this to the local cost of living, which can vary widely by region. 

3. Become a Social Media Influencer

This one might be easier said than done. Influencers typically have thousands of social media followers, primarily on Instagram or YouTube. Tourist destinations and hotels often court them with free travel, with the expectation that they’ll share their experiences with their audience. Here are some things to consider:

  • For influencers with large followings , these brands will also pay for content creation on top of providing free travel. 
  • You can partake in affiliate marketing to post links to booking websites, hotels and more. Doing this will get you paid directly from companies for your experience and audience reach.
  • Individual rates for sponsored posts vary dramatically. If your favorite Instagrammer has 100,000 followers, you can expect they’re making in the neighborhood of $800 to $1,000 per sponsored photo. On the other hand, someone with fewer than 1,000 followers is likely to earn $100 or less. 
  • It may sound like easy money, but it can be hard work. Photographers and content creators can spend hours setting up and editing the perfect shot or video. There is also a lot of effort that goes into writing blogs and graphic design to further engage audiences.

4. Work on a Cruise Ship

What jobs will pay you to travel the world? Many jobs in the travel industry will have you constantly on the go, but cruise ships have one of the lowest barriers to entry. It’s a great job if your goal is to see the world for free.

Here are some key takeaways to know about working on a cruise ship:

  • Once hired, employees typically complete training courses for up to 13 weeks that cover various aspects of crew life, including safety and customer service.
  • Contracts generally last for up to nine months, with the option of taking a six- to eight-week break during that time.
  • Crew members also get time off between cruises, and often have the opportunity to visit different ports or enjoy crew-only amenities on the ship.
  • Pay starts at an average of $24 per hour, with many crew members earning significantly more when gratuities are factored in.

5. Organize a Group Trip

While travel agents have become an underappreciated profession, they’re still out there offering valuable travel tips and more. For anyone interested in a job in the field, a great way to dip your toes in the water is to plan a group trip for your circle of friends. Here’s how to start:

  • Some tour companies will discount your trip as the leader if you get a certain number of friends to register with you. 
  • The best of the bunch will actually comp your trip and pay you a commission on top of that. 
Get Paid To Transport Goods While on a Trip One way to travel while making cash that’s gaining in popularity is transporting items along the way. Grabr, a peer-to-peer marketplace, connects travelers with shoppers looking to acquire items abroad or items that are too expensive to ship. Users make requests for specific products they want and anyone traveling to that country can accept the job. Earnings will vary depending on what you’re transporting and how far, of course.

Final Take To GO 

There are many options if you want to travel but also want to get paid. If you are about to embark on a trip anyway make sure to research what part-time or full-time money-making opportunities are out there.

  • Virtual assistant for varying companies
  • House sitting abroad
  • Social media influencing
  • Working on a cruise ship
  • Yes, you can win trips to travel if you know where to look. For example, being a brand ambassador and enticing new users to opt into email lists are important for the travel industry, and trip giveaways are a popular way to do so. While there are usually different entry requirements and prizes, at the most basic level, there are two different types: sweepstakes and contests. Sweepstakes are random drawings, whereas contests are skill-based, often focused on writing, video or photography.
  • Though they technically don't pay, exchange programs are a great way to see the world without having to pay for airfare, room and board or local transportation.
  • If you are a travel blogger or social media influencer, certain hotels or tourist destinations will pay you to travel to visit them. In exchange for the trip, you will have to document your trip and promote the services to your followers.

Lauren Monitz  and Caitlyn Moorhead contributed to the reporting for this article.

Information is accurate as of Aug. 24, 2023. 

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com : Get Paid To Travel: 5 Ways To Travel While Making Money

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Air Travel Is Hell. Here Are 25 Little Ways to Make It Easier on Your Body

By Katie Way

25 Easy Ways to Make Air Travel Easier on Your Body

All products are independently selected by our editors. If you buy something, we may earn an affiliate commission.

It’s not a skill I brag about a lot, but I’m good at going to the airport and getting on a plane. I’ve flown multiple times a year ever since I moved from the East Coast to the Midwest for college in 2013, and in my not-so-humble opinion, I have it down to a bit of a science. I’m not saying I look forward to air travel, which has only gotten more fraught since 2020 , but I do have a grip on making the whole ordeal as painless as possible, even on eye-wateringly long, cramped international flights.

This isn’t to say that flying is easy on the brain and body. Quite the opposite! A plane ride is a gauntlet of punishing seating, loud strangers, gross toilets, timing that feels both extremely urgent and totally out of your control, and weird snack options. The experience can leave you sore, stressed out, and exhausted.

While so many aspects are out of your control when it comes to the actual flight itself, there are simple ways to make the whole thing more comfortable, dignified, and even…a teeny bit more fun. Here are some easy adjustments that, individually and cumulatively, can make traveling on a plane as breezy as possible.

1. Do your best to get a good night’s sleep the night before your flight—that means at least seven hours—even if you plan to doze on the plane, which can be a gamble. That bedrock of rest will help you deal with whatever curveballs are thrown at you: delayed flights, snoring aisle mates, wild turbulence—whatever. Every inconvenience will be more bearable if you’re not rolling up to the airport exhausted.

2. There are a few things you can pack that will make flying more physically comfortable. I preach the gospel of those foam pillows—I grabbed this compactible Cabeau pillow from a Hudson News a few years ago, and it’s been my constant companion ever since. Wearing mine makes me feel like a dog in a cone, but I never fail to throw it in my backpack anyway because it makes napping way easier on my neck. If you’re a light sleeper, pack an eye mask to block out the ever-shifting plane lighting.

3. While you’re at it: Don’t forget a pair of earplugs or noise-canceling headphones , so you can feel empathy instead of vitriol for parents flying with antsy, vocal kids. (And if you’re the person with those antsy, vocal kids? Here’s a Condé Nast Traveler guide to help.)

4. Store anything you can’t go a day without in your “personal item,” just in case you have to check your carry-on at the gate: Think medication, a toothbrush/toothpaste/floss kit, and the book you’re using to look mysterious at the airport Starbucks. Worried about whether your medicine is okay to bring aboard? Per TSA , you’re allowed to carry on more than 3.4 ounces of liquid medications, and unused syringes are fine if they accompany injectable meds—just know that, in both cases, you might have to go through additional screenings. All of this preparation downgrades a luggage-related mishap from a potentially trip-altering emergency to a big annoyance.

5. We’re so lucky to be alive during the golden age of athleisure . My tried and true uniform: A sweater or sweatshirt that can double as a blanket or pillow, slip-on shoes with gym socks so I can glide through TSA without bare feet touching the airport floor, leggings , and breathable cotton underwear . We’re going for function over form, but looking a little schlubby in public also makes me feel like I’m a celebrity hiding from the paparazzi. Delusional? Maybe. Comfortable? Absolutely.

6. Prep your body for hours of sitting with a gentle workout routine. Personal trainers shared 18 different moves with SELF to help minimize the aches and pains that come with sitting in the same place for hours at a time, including banded squats, glute bridges, a calf stretch, and a classic child’s pose. And if you’re feeling shoulder , back , and neck pain mid-flight? Stretch it all out. You might look a little goofy doing a quick spinal decompression thousands of feet up in the air, but that’s a small price to pay for comfort—and you’re probably never going to see these people again anyways!

7. Wear a pair of compression socks . If you’re flying for more than six hours, they can help reduce the risk of blood clots that comes with sitting for long periods of time for some folks. Though this risk is minimal for people who don’t have certain health conditions, it’s increased by high altitudes. Compression socks can also help combat any related swelling and discomfort—your ankles and calves will seriously thank you.

8. On the plane make an effort to get up from your seat and take a stroll down the aisle, especially if you have a higher risk of developing a blood clot. A little movement can also help ease any travel-induced bloating . A quick jaunt every two to three hours you’re in the air should do the trick—and if you’re drinking water and snacking away, that’s probably how often you’ll need to make a pit stop to the bathroom anyway.

9. If you have a disability, you probably know that airlines legally have to accommodate you in the US—but that doesn’t mean they’re good at it. To ensure your needs are met as best as possible, try to get to your gate at least 90 minutes before your flight is set to take off. That way you have time to request what you need before the airline staff has to deal with an entire flight’s worth of people boarding the plane. Arriving early also gives you time to call the airline’s complaints resolution official , the legally mandated expert on accessibility-related travel issues, if you run into any problems—their number should be available on your airline’s website, and it’s worth looking up and saving in your phone ahead of time just in case you need it.

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10. If you’re traveling with a mobility device like a manual wheelchair or power chair, things can get extra complicated. This is a great multipart guide to traveling with a wheelchair, and this is a really helpful Reddit thread about taking your manual wheelchair on a plane—or, if absolutely necessary, checking it at the gate. One user suggested bookmarking this page , which outlines the federal regulation that states airlines have to at least try and store your collapsible wheelchair in the plane’s cabin.

11. As unfair as it is, flying comfortably while fat requires some extra preparation. Some airlines have gotten with the times and established specific policies for “customers of size,” which is the terminology carriers typically use. Southwest, for example, offers complimentary additional seats if a passenger can’t fit into a single one, including by reimbursing extra seats bought in advance.

12. When you can’t book ahead of time but think you’ll need more space, you should ask the staff at the gate whether it’s possible for you to switch to a part of the plane with an extra empty seat or even to an entire free row if your flight isn’t full, as Katie, a Delta Airlines flight attendant, tells SELF. (Katie requested that SELF omit her last name for professional reasons.) “Try just going to the gate agent and saying, ‘Hey, if there’s anywhere with a middle seat open, I’d love to be there,’” she says.

13. Request a seatbelt extender as you board the plane—according to Katie, that’s the easiest time for flight attendants to accommodate your request. “We have all different planes, the seats are made differently sometimes,” she says, so even if you don’t always need an extender, it’s worth asking if you think there’s any chance you could be uncomfortable. (You can check SeatGuru to find the width of the seats on your plane.) Also, it might seem like a timesaver to bring your own extender from home, but you’ll need to ask the flight attendants in order to ensure the one you’re using is Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)–compliant, because not every at-home model conforms to the aviation safety administration’s safety regulations.

14. Mask up. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still recommend that you wear high-quality masks or respirators while traveling, especially in “crowded or tight spaces with poor ventilation like airport jetways,” on planes where the ventilation system is switched off, and on trains and buses—a.k.a. the way many airports require travelers to hop from terminal to terminal. For the best protection, grab a pack of disposable N95, KN95, or KF94 masks . Keep a few on you at all times so you can put on a new one if long-term wear is making the one you came to the airport with feel stale.

15. While you don’t need to use a Clorox wipe on every inch of your seat to protect yourself from germs, it’s good to be cautious about touching shared surfaces on the plane, especially if you’re immunocompromised or traveling to visit someone who is. One thing you do need to thoroughly sanitize: your hands! Make sure you wash them after using the bathroom, and don’t be afraid to get liberal with the hand sanitizer too. “Hand sanitizer is going to be a better investment than bringing a whole tub of wipes,” Peter Chin-Hong, MD , a medical professor who specializes in infectious diseases at University of California, San Francisco tells SELF. “And washing [or disinfecting] your hands before touching your face—that’s probably the most important thing.” Dr. Chin-Hong also says that because bathroom door handles tend to be particularly germy, it’s worth finding an alternate way to open the door after you’re done, like with a napkin or your elbow.

16. According to the World Health Organization , the low humidity levels on a plane that do a number on your skin, eyes, and lips don’t actually dehydrate you internally—but it’s still important to drink enough water to stay adequately hydrated and comfortable during your flight. Bring an empty reusable water bottle in your carry-on and fill it up before you get on the plane. You might need to have a few plastic cups of water on an especially long flight too—but avoid refilling your water bottle in the airplane bathroom, because studies have shown it can be particularly germy.

17. Because plane travel is notorious for giving you that gross chapped feeling, nasal spray, eye drops, lip balm, and moisturizing lotion can also help if you’re otherwise feeling parched.

18. If you have lots of flying-related anxiety, especially during takeoff and landing, you could find relief from deep breathing exercises or other quick physical destressors , like activating your “dive reflex” by placing a cold can of soda against your cheek or forehead or manually relaxing your muscles one by one. It’s also a good idea to download a meditation app if you think you might need a little extra guidance.

19. Take it easy if you’re drinking alcohol while flying . Booze is notoriously dehydrating and can lead to big sleep disruptions—the latter of which is not the vibe if you want to arrive at your destination well-rested or need to make a tight connecting flight. Still, as long as you’re drinking plenty of water, a glass of wine or a beer probably won’t hurt anything other than your wallet.

20. If you’re prone to motion sickness, plan accordingly. From there, stay hydrated, eat small amounts of food throughout your trip, and suck on hard candies or ginger lozenges for a little extra digestive help. (Skip the ginger ale—the sugar content could actually make you feel worse.)

21. If you end up hurling midair, either in a barf bag or the bathroom, try not to rinse your mouth out with water from the airplane sink—a 2019 study found that most running water on planes is unsanitary. Take your water bottle to the bathroom, or ask the flight attendants for a cup of water. On your way back to your seat, ask for a cup of ginger tea or club soda to ease any further stomach upset. Drink more water, too, since vomiting dehydrates you.

22. Airplane food… famously not the best , if it’s even on offer! If you want to feel satiated for the duration of your flight, prep an arsenal of snacks (so you don’t wind up paying $30 for a bag of Craisins and some red pepper hummus). Ideally you’d have something that’s easy to carry and eat, protein-forward to keep you full, and doesn’t generate a ton of trash. (Here are the official guidelines about specific foods you can bring on planes in the US.) Think mixed nuts, protein bars, or a banana. You can always just copy what a registered dietitian packs to eat on trips , including her signature “airport sandwich.”

23. Be lightly friendly to your neighbors. That doesn’t mean you have to listen to anyone’s life story, but a simple “hello” and a smile as you prepare for takeoff can go a long way. Don’t you want to be on good terms with the person whose lap you’re climbing across because you have to get to the bathroom? (Being cordial might also make it way easier to find common ground if someone is being really loud when you’re trying to sleep or otherwise encroaching on your already-spartan personal space.)

24. Do yourself a profound favor and let go of the illusion that you might “get some work done” during your flight. Why the charade? Save yourself the additional stress of forced productivity—the middle seat of a flight probably isn’t going to be the site of your finest work ever.

25. When you’ve safely landed, stretch and move your body again once you reach your destination for maximum cramp-banishing effect. Then put the tiny indignities of flying in your rearview mirror, where they belong—at least, until your flight home.

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5 ways to travel

SELF does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Any information published on this website or by this brand is not intended as a substitute for medical advice, and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional.

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Budget Travel Buff

25 Cheapest Ways to Travel in The USA on a Budget

Planning on a vacation is not as easy as it seems, especially when you know your budget is limited. If you have ever dreamed of driving along the cliffs overlooking the Pacific with the windows down or have always wanted to travel the historic Oregon Trail sitting in a car instead of your computer screen, congratulations; you are not alone.

The query on how to travel in the US on a budget remains constant. Provided, how extensive the stretches of the US are, and considering the fact that there are so many places to visit, it might actually be a bit hard to stay on budget if you don’t work out a plan. So, if you too are worried about the same, we are here to help.

cheapest ways to travel across the us

This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something through one of those links, you won’t pay any extra penny, but I’ll get a small commission that encourages me to deliver more helpful content for you.

This article is solely meant to help you out with the cheapest ways to travel in the USA . It will guide you with every detail you need to know if you want to stay on budget while traveling through the US. Therefore, in order to discover these budget-friendly deals, go ahead and give this article a read.

Best Ways to Travel Cheap in The US

If you think that planning out the cheapest way to travel in the USA is the next to impossible task, you are wrong. If you are on a strict budget, follow the below listed ways to travel for cheap across the US:

Table of Contents

1. consider renting a car instead of driving on your own or go for a driveway.

For traveling cheaply in the US, you can rent a car because that would cost you either the same or even less sometimes. Renting a car is much more fuel-efficient and it will also help you save money over the course of a long trip. You may rent a car with Rentalcars , an international car rental booking service that is present all over the world.

But if you don’t appreciate the idea of going for rental cars, you can try a driveway. For the driveways, they will give you a car and a designated route that is usually between two major cities and you can drive the car.

We rented a car during our Switzerland trip and truly renting a car was far cheaper than traveling with Swiss trains .

2.  Try investing in a train pass

Investing in a train pass is undoubtedly one of the cheapest ways of transportation. These train passes usually come for a trip of 30 or 45 days. The prices vary but it starts from $449. If you don’t want to use public transport at each stop on your tour, train passes will do right by you.

3.  Consider traveling by bus

If you are looking for the cheapest way to travel around the US, you might consider traveling by bus. If your trip around the US is primarily focused on city hopping and is around one region, traveling by bus might be the best option. It is a cheaper option and easier too.

Find and book bus tickets with Busbud , an online bus-booking platform that has compiled the world’s largest selection of bus tickets.

Traveling by bus

4.  Use obscure search methods if you are flying

Applying hacks to find budget airlines before booking your flight for traveling across the US is always a better option. Try using tools like Google Flights, Airfarewatchdog or WayAway for getting cheaper flight results. You can even go for various other foreign sites that have turned up cheaper rates in comparison to big booking names. There are a variety of travel apps available in the market which allows you to even pre-book your flights at cheaper rates.

5.  Try signing up for discounts

In order to make sure that your travel experience across the US is inexpensive, you can try signing up for discounts. We all know that America is not known to be the land of budget airlines. That is why you have to take advantage of the few that you can have.

You can either try signing up through coupon emails . Otherwise, if you are going to take multiple flights during your trip, you can even join fare clubs that offer huge savings to their members.

Also, subscribe for price alerts that will be sent directly to your email address – to do that click on “ create price alert ” on wayaway.io when searching for the tickets.

wayaway price alert

6.  Use a travel credit card

If you sign up for a travel credit card , you can enjoy a signup bonus in the form of airline miles. This will be enough to fund your cross-country expedition. These cards also come with added benefits such as welcome gifts, travel insurance, zero liabilities on lost cards, annual fee waiver,  complimentary airport lounge access , and much more.

You may also get a membership plan from WayAway with 10% off and enjoy cash back from Booking.com, GetYourGuide, BlueRibbonBags and 9 other brands.

7.  Consider dining downstairs

In order to be on a strict budget while traveling across the US, you have to save money on food. Dining downstairs is undoubtedly one of the best inclusions on the cheapest way to travel in the United States. If you feel like eating out, you can head down to the basement sections because entrees are much cheaper over there. If you have listed fancy eaters on your must-do list, try going to have lunch in the top-notch restaurants instead of dinner or go and sip a drink from the bar.

8.  Buy your own groceries

If you think that you can’t make your own meals just because you have not rented a condo, then you are having a misconception. Try going to a hotel that comes with a mini-fridge and visit the nearby grocery store. You can easily make soup in the hotel room with coffee makers or even try making paninis with the iron provided. If possible, you can bring your own mini rice cooker (even you can find it in some hotel kitchen) to the trip, and voila! You have won the trip.

9.  Get food to go

If you have chosen to eat in a place just because of its food and not because of enjoying the ambiance of the place, then go for ordering takeout to minimize the tipping. You can later enjoy your food in the midst of any free attractions that the US has to offer. Thereby, you can enjoy doubles at the same time. After all, who would not prefer having delicacies right in the middle of a pretty park or amidst nature in front of the waterfalls .

10.  Take advantage of the great American gas station

One of the cheapest ways to travel in the USA is to take advantage of the American gas station. You can make your own milkshake with the help of the machines provided.

Gas stations have steadily evolved into cultural centerpieces of the destinations they continue to serve. You can make a list of on-the-road recipe ideas that you can make from things available at the gas station. Therefore, if you are in the US, wondering how to save money on food , this has to be one of the topmost solutions.

11. Get a Federal Recreation pass

You can enjoy free entrees to National Parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests, and more for yourself and three of your friends on just a budget of $80 with a Federal Recreation Pass . It is undoubtedly one of the best deals in the entire country. Most of these spots are already some of the bucket list destinations of everyone on vacation. You can even go camping once you are inside.

12.  Go volunteering

There are several programs that allow you to volunteer in the outdoors in exchange for free lodging . Therefore, by being a volunteer you can easily save money on accommodation . You can do short-term species control in various forests and easily score a room in a rustic bunkhouse.

You can even join in one of the multiple forest services such as restoring an old water mill in the Ozarks in exchange for a tent space and three square meals a day. In this way, you can easily explore multiple corners in the US while saving money both on food and lodging.

13.  Road trip through several free attractions cities in the US

If you want to visit California on a budget , you might try going on a Pacific Coast Highway road trip with your partner and enjoy the scenic view of the sea and the beautiful landscape on the way. The equation suited for perfect sightseeing in several cities is pretty much equal to attractions along with the ambiance.

You can pick a city that is rich in both, such as D.C, Washington, New Orleans, where the memorials, monuments, Natural History Museum, National Zoo, shopping districts, etc., are always open to exploring and are also free of charge.

The Arts District, French Quarter, and live music around every corner in New Orleans, and San Antonio make up for some of the most beautiful attractions in the US that are free of cost. There are plenty of budget-friendly places to travel in the US . You just need to do research well in advance before visiting any city, hence you can travel across the US at cheap.

Road trip

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14.  Go for a bike tour

If you have already made up a list of the places to travel solo in the US , you can try going for a bike tour. Biking allows you to save on transportation and have an endless source of daytime entertainment which is a win-win situation. If you are conducive to exploring on wheels, try visiting Portland, Minneapolis, and Boulder. ou may rent a bike here .

15. Let an app plan for you

There are various travel apps that make traveling much cheaper these days. These apps help you plan a day on the basis of free happenings and deals. Some of them let you buy tickets to concerts and check in with the help of your phone itself. You can enjoy some of the best deals and ideas in the city of your choice with the help of these apps.

16. Visit during off-seasons to get cheaper deals

The best time to travel in the US is during spring (late March to late May) or autumn(late September to late October). These are the shoulder seasons before and after summer, for which the temperature remains mild. But in order to enjoy the best deals, it is recommended to visit during the off-seasons which means the months of December to February.

Since the temperatures fall in several parts of the country, the number of tourists falls. That is why it is better to visit during this season to get cheaper deals on lodging such as in hostels and hotels. I will highly recommend to check out Cozycozy which is basically a metasearch engine that offers you the best possible deal from 100+ sites like Airbnb, Booking, Vrbo, Expedia, Hotels.com, etc.

17. Choose your destination carefully

Before choosing a city to visit, you must check your options carefully. Prefer going to places which come with public transport and walking. If you can skip cities like LA, you will save money by avoiding expensive Uber and other taxi fares. Walking is undoubtedly one of the best ways to explore a city while saving a considerable amount. It will help you stumble on some of the best and most fantastic views that the place has to offer.

If you are a budget traveler, check out our ultimate list of the best and cheap travel backpacks .

Traveling often? 🤑

💲 Have a look at the WayAway membership if you’ve ever had FOMO when looking up places to go. Their maps emphasise hidden jewels in addition to covering all major tourist attractions. Additionally, the personal travel assistant included with the membership will answer any queries you may have. Additionally, WayAway offers rewards on any travel-related services you buy via the app.

18. Try joining the Couchsurfing movement

Couchsurfing has turned out to be the ultimate hipster movement nowadays. It allows you to scan couches, beds, and air mattresses, available in your preferred destinations, often for free once you have completed your profile. It also allows you to surf local pals who engage in giving you free tours of their hometowns.

Cheapest Ways to Travel in the USA

19. Get your own CityPASS

Getting a CityPASS comes with several benefits because it allows you to pay prices for all of the most popular attractions in a city in one go. These passes are available for several cities such as Chicago, New York City, Southern California, Atlanta, etc. These passes can save you at least 30-40% on the entry prices. I recommend booking your CityPASS in advance here .

20. Travel smartly

In order to travel cheaply, you should avoid flying on weekends and holidays because the fare is usually high for the tourist rush. Try traveling with just carry-on luggage since that can save you almost 30$-40$ each time you fly . Also, plan your travel mainly around the major cities and prefer using buses, planes, and trains.

21. Go and stay in the actual YMCA

Hostel culture is not as popular in the US as it is in European and Asian countries. Therefore, you can avoid those seedy side-alley spots by hosteling at YMCA. Choosing to stay in the YMCA is considered to be a smart option if you are in New York.

22. Try renting a room in a real house

Renting a room in someone’s apartment can save travelers up to 50% of their money in comparison to renting a room in a hotel. You will save on the base price of the room and also get additional access to a kitchen, washing machine, and bathroom . Also, seeing America through the eyes of the people who live there has to be the best possible option.

23. Make use of Priceline and Hotwire

These systems are known for saving up to 600$ for a two-week trip. The wheeling and dealing is also pretty fun in these systems. All you need to do is provide the site with your location, dates, desired hotel star rating, and price that you can afford. If the bid gets accepted, then the site sends your information to the assigned hotel room. You would not know the name of the hotel that you are going to stay in before the booking is completed but you can enjoy huge discounts through these systems.

24. Go camping with KOA

KOA runs around 500 privately-owned campgrounds in the U.S and Canada. Their app lets you find and book campgrounds right from your car. The campsites are not even that expensive. Yet you can save up to 10% if you use their value cards.

Enjoy Camping instead of Staying in a Hotel

25. Save money on transportation

Here are a few ways how to travel cheap in America and save money:

  • Try visiting fewer places
  • Go for off-peak travel
  • Ensure advance bookings
  • Try car rentals from non-airport locations
  • Go for public cycle hire programs
  • Use travel passes and travel cards

Final Words

If you were wondering about the cheapest way to travel in the USA, this article must have proved to be a boon for you. This article has successfully listed some of the most cost-effective methods to travel across famous destinations in the US. You can easily implement these methods if you are a budget travel buff or solo backpacker and want to visit the major cities in the US while being on a tight budget. So, what’s stopping you? Plan for your next vacation, apply these budget travel tips, and enjoy your trip without breaking your bank.

F requently Asked Questions

1. how to travel across the us for free.

A : You can easily travel across the US for free by driving across the country in someone else’s car. This is referred to as a driveway or an auto-delivery service. By the way, you might need to pay for things like gas and car delivery services, but the services offer a next-to-nothing alternative for renting.

2. What is the cheapest State to travel to in the United States?

A : In case you are looking for the cheapest state to visit in the United States, you must give New Orleans, Louisiana, and Boston, Massachusetts a try because they are known to be cheaper than the other places to visit in the US.

4. How much money do I need to travel across the US?

A : An average budget for traveling across the US is between $100 and $250 per day. However, the amount keeps varying based on your travel style, your locations and durations, and the places you visit or choose to visit.

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This article is a treasure trove of cost-saving tips for traveling within the USA. The author provides practical advice on finding budget-friendly transportation options, including tips on scoring cheap flights, utilizing affordable bus services, and exploring the country by train. Whether you’re planning a cross-country adventure or a city-hopping trip, these money-saving strategies will help you make the most of your travel budget while exploring the diverse wonders of the United States.

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10 Ways That You Can Travel Around Abroad For (Almost) Free

Many programs, organizations, and jobs offer opportunities to travel for free while providing accommodations as part of the job.

  • Traveling for free is possible through options like working on a cruise ship, teaching abroad, or house swapping, among other methods.
  • Each option has pros and cons, such as long work days on a cruise ship or the competitive application process for teach abroad programs.
  • House sitting, au pair programs, farm stays, travel hacking, and national park jobs are other ways to travel for free or at a minimal cost while saving money, but each comes with its own set of challenges and responsibilities.

If there's one thing travelers dream of, it's getting to travel the world for free. From flights and hotels to meals and unexpected bills, the financial realities of travel make it difficult to see the world. In recent years, it's become easier than ever to hold down remote work, allowing some to continue to earn an income while traveling the world. These types of workers are sometimes referred to as digital nomads .

There are several different types of digital nomad jobs available, and though this can be a rewarding and beautiful experience, there are some things to know about digital nomads , including that this lifestyle and way of travel isn't for everyone. Thankfully, for those who dream of this lifestyle without necessarily being a "remote worker", there are some ways to travel while earning and saving money that don't involve working remotely.

Many programs, organizations, and jobs offer opportunities to travel while providing accommodations as part of the job. Here are some of the best ways to travel abroad for free (or almost for free!).

Related: According To The Ship's Staff: Here's What It's Like To Work For Norwegian Cruises

1 Cruise Ship Jobs

Working on a cruise ship offers the unique opportunity to see the world while working. Cruise ship employees usually have their accommodations and meals covered. Most cruise ships also offer their employees medical insurance, plus additional benefits.

The working days are long, but cruise ship workers can expect to follow a roster system that gives them days off to explore popular and stunning port destinations. Though the hours are long and living at sea can be a difficult adjustment, this can also be a rewarding and exciting way to see the world.

  • Pros: Meals and accommodations are covered; meet people from around the world; visit popular port cities around the world
  • Cons: Long and demanding work days; adjusting to living full-time at sea

2 Teach Abroad Programs

Not only are teach-abroad programs superb for those pondering how to travel abroad for free, but they are genuinely a unique and enriching way to see the world while teaching English to students. People who commit to a teach abroad program, such as the Japan Exchange and Teach Program , the English Program in Korea , or Government TEFL programs , can expect to achieve cultural immersion, professional growth, and often, free accommodation and competitive salaries.

Teaching abroad allows travelers to build lasting connections with students and locals while also gaining a deep understanding of their host culture. However, it's important to consider the commitment, potential language barriers, and varying living conditions in each destination. The application process to be accepted in teach abroad programs can be competitive, and bachelor's degrees are often required.

  • Pros: Salaried positioned; accommodations are often included; learn deep understanding of host country; bond with students and locals
  • Cons: Competitive application process; potential language barriers; long-term commitment; living accommodations vary by destination

Related: 10 Great Countries To Teach English In (And 10 To Avoid)

3 House Swapping

Using a house swap agency to see the world for free (or at the very least at a reduced cost) is an exciting way to travel. Travelers who decide to house swap can select from an array of homes in diverse locations. Seeing how hotel and Airbnb costs are at an all-time high, house swappers can save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on accommodations.

House swapping allows travelers to see a destination through a local's perspective and the chance to live like a native resident. However, house swapping is not for everyone. It requires a great deal of trust, clear communication, and respect for house rules between swap partners. Not every home is going to draw the same interest as others.

It's important house swappers keep in mind factors like location preferences, their home's home conditions, and the security measures needed to ensure a successful and enjoyable exchange experience.

  • Pros: Save money on accommodations; live like a local
  • Cons: Have strangers stay in one's home; not every home will draw in offers for a swap; still have to pay for airfare and meals

4 House Sitting

House-sitting through an agency provides an affordable way to explore the world while staying in diverse homes. Websites like Trusted Housesitters and House Carers connect travelers with homeowners looking for someone to look after their properties and pets while they're away. In exchange, house sitters save money on lodgings.

That said, house-sitting requires a great deal of responsibility, adaptability, and adherence to a homeowner's expectations. Additionally, house sitters usually have to cover their travel costs to their house-sitting destination, and they might also have to pay for background checks. Nonetheless, house-sitting can be an immersive and affordable way to see the world while providing a service for someone else.

  • Cons: Responsible for taking care of a stranger's house and/or pets; Must cover travel expenses

5 The Peace Corps

For decades, the Peace Corps has served as a life-changing way for volunteers to promote peace, service, and friendship while also exploring the world. Peace Corps volunteers can expect a deep cultural immersion, rewarding community engagement, and a stipend that covers basic living costs. Additional pros include gaining unique skills, making lasting global connections, and contributing to meaningful development projects.

Those looking to join the Peace Corps should keep a few things in mind. The application process is competitive. Working on projects in remote areas of the world can be demanding and even isolating. It is a challenging mission, but it can also be a transformative experience. For those who are passionate about service and cross-cultural exchanges, the Peace Corps is a nearly cost-free way to discover new places in the world.

  • Pros: Cultural immersion; rewarding community engagement and service
  • Cons: Competitive application process; destinations can be remote and isolated; work can be demanding

6 Au Pair Programs

Becoming an au pair through an agency is a unique opportunity to explore the world with minimal expenses. Au pairs can expect to live with a host family and care for their children in exchange for room, board, and a stipend. Au pair listings can take employees across the globe and allow for cultural immersion, personal growth, and the chance to build strong bonds with host families.

However, working as an au pair also requires a tremendous amount of patience and adaptability when navigating potential language barriers and varying family dynamics. Potential au pairs should also keep in mind the challenges and responsibilities that come with taking care of children.

  • Pros: Travel expenses, accommodation costs, meals, and stipend included; cultural immersion; work with children
  • Cons: Family dynamics can be challenging; hours can be long

7 Farm Stays For Farm Work

Those wondering how to travel the world for free may find their answer with farm work; programs, such as World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF), connect travelers with organic farms that exchange work for free accommodation and sometimes meals in rural parts of the world. WWOOFing offers a unique way to explore the world nearly cost-free.

This experience offers hands-on learning, sustainable living experiences, and cultural immersion. However, it also involves physical labor and varying farm conditions, requiring volunteers to adapt to rural settings in remote parts of the world. Keeping these factors in mind, WWOOFing can be a low-cost adventure that rewards those seeking a deeper connection with nature, agriculture, and local communities.

  • Pros: Free accommodation; cultural immersion; learn farming practices from across the globe
  • Cons: Labor-intensive work; stationed in rural areas

8 Travel Hacking

Travel hacking involves collecting credit card rewards, hotel points, and airline miles in order to travel at a fraction of the price. Signing up for credit cards that give back the most travel perks or buying hotel points at a discount are just some of the ways travel hackers can save money towards their next trip abroad. Through these spending rewards, it's possible to redeem free flights, free hotel stays, and free travel upgrades.

Travel hacking, however, is not for the faint of heart. Travel hackers need to keep track of their spending to make sure they avoid heavy credit card fees or debt. They also have to track to see when rewards expire. Travel hackers should also keep in mind annual fees, blackout dates, and program limitations. When managed wisely, travel hacking can save travelers thousands of dollars.

  • Pros: Everyday spending can earn travel hackers free airline miles, hotel stays, and travel upgrades
  • Cons: Limitations to rewards that can be redeemed; travelers must stay on top of payments in order to avoid debt

Related: 10 Travel Hacking Tips For Beginners (Like How To Travel For Free)

9 Yacht And Sailing Crew Jobs

Working on a private yacht or joining a sailing crew is an exciting way to travel the world for almost free. Depending on the vessel, crew members can expect to assist in various onboard roles, including deckhand, steward, or even chef, in exchange for free accommodation, meals, and the chance to explore diverse destination ports. Throughout the journey, crew members can gain diverse cultural encounters and valuable sailing skills while also enjoying unparalleled.

It's important to remember, however, that the hours as a crew member can be long and demanding. And just as with working on a cruise ship, crew members have to adjust to living at sea. The job comes with adjusting to close quarters and sea sickness. For adventure seekers who love the sea, working on a sailing crew is a unique and unforgettable way to travel the world, nearly cost-free.

  • Pros: Free accommodations and meals; travel throughout port destinations; meet new people
  • Cons: Adjusting to being on a boat 24/7; long and demanding workdays

10 National And State Park Jobs

Working at a designated park is a smart and rewarding way to explore some of America's most beautiful national parks and state parks while also saving money to travel abroad. Many state and national parks hire seasonal workers for roles as park rangers, guides, and maintenance. Housing is often included with the job, allowing workers to save money.

During the time of year when this seasonal work is not available, travelers can go on their next big trip abroad. Seasonal work at one of these parks, however, can take employees to remote locations where they might face challenging weather conditions. Some tasks may also be physically demanding, but that aside, this experience lets travelers live for free at a national park for a few months while saving up money for their next big trip.

  • Pros: Free lodging; living in a beautiful national park; save money
  • Cons: Seasonal work schedule; face all types of weather conditions

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iPhone photography tips: How to take better travel photos on your phone

Capture your travel memories with these iphone photography tips.

Lake Tahoe, Emerald Bay

When I’m in a beautiful setting — like The Chin of Mount Mansfield —  I’ll get out my iPhone and begin snapping photos. Some places are too striking to ignore, and I’ll want to capture the moment to share on social media or reflect on later. Over time, it’s fun to build up a library and look back on those places.

A memorable photo brings a special satisfaction

5 tips for optimal iphone photography, now you can create next-level memories.

Though iPhones are technological marvels, capable of taking vivid pics, there are ways to take your photography even further. Whether adjusting phone settings or capturing pics at specific times, you can turn your travel photos into amazing images. Here’s how.

During your travels, you’ve probably snapped a memorable shot now and then. That might’ve been the result of careful planning or happened while randomly viewing the surroundings. Either way, it’s fun to create these works of art, share them with friends, and store them for later. 

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For me, it was capturing the total solar eclipse on the summit of Mount Mansfield, the highest point in Vermont. As the moon covered the sun, a shadow enveloped the surroundings, highlighting the peach horizon, and Lake Champlain shimmering in the distance. I felt like I was on another planet. 

The following tips are simple, effective ways to optimize iPhone photography. Each gives your snaps that extra edge, taking them from good to great, enhancing your social media posts, and preserving the moment. 

Take pictures during the Golden Hour

The Golden Hour — the first hour after sunrise and the last hour before sunset — creates ideal lighting for photos that glow. That’s because, during these times, the sun’s at a lower point in the sky, producing indirect light that enhances warmth, creates shadows, and optimizes exposures. 

Not only that, but with light changing minute by minute, every photo is different. Over an hour, you can play photographic artist, picking from a palette of lights and hues, for a library of shots.

Use Smart HDR for the perfect exposure

The right exposure — the amount of light that reaches the camera’s sensor — is key to producing vivid, clear photos. But when you’re hiking a mountain or exploring a city, you probably don’t want to fiddle with settings like shutter speed, ISO, or aperture. Your iPhone’s HDR (high dynamic range) feature does the work for you.

In HDR mode, your iPhone takes several pictures at varying exposures and then blends them into a single image, for an ideal exposure. Though you can manually turn on HDR, you can also configure it to automatically kick in. Just go to Settings > Camera, then switch on Smart HDR. 

Turn your phone upside-down for low-angle pics

Certain settings invite low-angle photos. Maybe you’re by a lake as the sun rises, and the still water shimmers just right. You could be in a bustling city and want to capture the street surface as cars and people fly by. But doing that with an iPhone presents a challenge, with the camera lenses positioned at the top.

An easy solution is flipping the phone, so the lenses skim the surface, letting you take low-angle shots with ease. With the phone mere inches above, you’ll take pictures that capture interesting perspectives and memorable moments.

Use Live Photos to create long exposure shots

Long exposure shots slow down the shutter speed to blur moving objects, while stationary subjects remain clear. Picture a heron floating under a waterfall, or a spectator watching race cars fly by. The technique adds life and energy to otherwise pedestrian shots.

On your iPhone — instead of fiddling with exposure settings — you can use the Live Photos features to create the same effect. After taking a photo in Live mode, then open it in the Photos app. At the top, open the drop-down menu, or swipe up to show “Effects”, then select “Long Exposure”.

Utilize grid lines for better composition

Just as important as a photo’s lighting and exposure are its composition. That refers to the positioning of elements within the frame, which helps create a shot’s unique feel. One type of composition uses the “rule of thirds”, which divides the frame into thirds, vertically and horizontally, and positions the central subject at the intersection of the grid lines.

Using that rule, the subject occupies about one-third of the picture, and the surroundings the other two-thirds, generally accepted to create a good-looking snap. To do that on your iPhone, click on Settings > Camera, then select Grid under Composition.

Sure, your iPhone can take good photos without any special techniques or settings. But that’s not what you’re after. When you visit Maui, Hawaii, or Lake Tahoe, you want pictures that capture the moment’s every detail. Not only that, but you want the mood to shine through. These techniques can help you achieve that and more, and better yet, don’t cost a thing. So pick a spot during the Golden Hour, dial in those settings, and create some memories.

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Mark Reif

Traveling by air doesn't come without its physical tolls. Hours spent in a pressurized cabin with limited movement and dry hydration levels can negatively impact our skin and immune system in ways we don't immediately notice. One of the simplest yet surprisingly effective ways to counteract these effects is by taking a cold shower after a flight. While it might not be the most appealing thing in the world to do after a flight, the cold exposure might just be worth it. Let's explore how this simple act can be a game-changer for frequent flyers. Benefits of cold showers after a flight

Revitalizing the skin One of the most notable changes that you may have experienced after air travel is how harsh it can be to the skin. The low humidity levels in airplane cabins can harm the natural moisture barrier on your skin and lead to dehydration or even breakouts. A cold shower can work wonders in this scenario.

The open road gives you opportunities to explore. Whether you embark on a set route or want to take it as you go, traveling by car puts you in the driver’s seat. But to ensure you stay on course, you’ll need a full-featured mapping app with accurate directions and useful features.

Apple Maps and Google Maps are popular navigation apps with particular nuances and visuals that may appeal to different users. While both offer trustworthy directions, their varying user experiences give consumers a unique choice either way.

If you're planning a trip to the Bahamas, one of the first things you'll need to sort out is your travel documentation. As a U.S. citizen, you generally need to have a valid passport book or passport card to enter the Bahamas by air or sea. While it's close to the United States, it's not part of the U.S. or a U.S. territory. As such, you'll need to meet the same entry requirements as you would for any other foreign country.

What you should know before traveling to the Bahamas There are some details to keep in mind when it comes to the required travel documents for entering the Bahamas. Can you use your driver's license to go to the Bahamas? No, a driver's license alone is not sufficient for entry into the Bahamas. Even though the Bahamas is a relatively short distance from the U.S., you'll still need to present a valid U.S. passport book or passport card when arriving by air or sea.

How to taste your way through Tuscany

Italy is known for its vibrant and varied cuisine. Discover it at its best in the region of Tuscany, where an assortment of inviting culinary experiences offer a true taste of the country.

5 ways to travel

Located in west-central Italy, the region of Tuscany is rich in natural beauty. Its striking landscapes vary from the chiselled Tuscan-Emilian Apennines in the north and the rugged Apuan Alps in the north-west, to the gentle green hills of Val d’Orcia in the south.

The region’s capital, Florence, is a destination renowned for its art and architecture. Its most iconic sight is the eminent Duomo, a stunning 400ft-tall masterpiece of the Renaissance. During its 100-year build, architect Filippo Brunelleschi is said to have introduced a pulley system to speed up lunch breaks, feeding the workers on the cathedral’s roof with peposo , a black pepper and beef stew.

Today, food remains an important part of Tuscany’s culture, and visitors are encouraged to slow down and savour the wide variety of culinary experiences on offer across the region — from truffle hunting and cheese tasting to sampling fine wine and sipping fresh coffee — here's how to get a taste.

1. Join a truffle hunt

Truffles are deeply rooted in Tuscan history, found throughout the region in all shapes and sizes and revered for their distinctive aromas and flavours. Learn about the timeworn traditions and distinct hunting practices of those seeking these subterranean delicacies at Italy’s first museum dedicated to truffles — the Museo del Tartufo e Centro di Documentazione — housed in an old castle in San Giovanni d’Asso. At Cucina Giuseppina , near the town of Certaldo, forage for your own truffles with the help of a guide and trained truffle-hunting dogs, before indulging in a truffle-based Tuscan lunch. In summer, you'll search for the elusive black truffle, while in the fall, the white truffle is the prize.

2. Try tasty cheeses

Tuscany is best known for pecorino, a sheep’s milk cheese — and especially treasured by Tuscans is the bold-flavoured pecorino cheese produced in Pienza, the aptly named pecorino di Pienza . Elsewhere in the region, the exuberant Palio dei Caci event draws crowds to the town of Volterra each October, where ‘runners’ compete to skilfully guide wheels of pecorino down a cobbled street. Many working farms in Tuscany are open to visitors, too, so you can learn how the cheese is made. Fattoria Corzano e Paterno just south-west of Florence produces cheese, wine and olive oil and also has guesthouses, a farm shop and a restaurant, with tasting sessions available year-round.

People rolling wheels of pecorino cheese down a hill at Palio dei Caci in Volterra, Tuscany

3. Make pasta from scratch

Handrolled pici is a popular pasta in Tuscany, often served with tomato, garlic and breadcrumbs. Pappardelle pasta is also a local favourite, generally served with rich and meaty sauces. Join a class to learn how to make your own pasta at wineries such as Magida in Brunello, which also offers accommodation packages. Private cooking lessons are also an option, where you can learn the art of the perfect pasta dish from professional chefs such as Antonella La Macchia .

4. Sample a variety of wines

Tuscany is well known for its geographically protected wines such as Chianti, Montepulciano and Brunello. Stop by the Enoteca la Fortezza wine bar inside the Fortezza di Montalcino and sample Montalcino's intense and complex Brunello wines. Enjoy tart and spicy Chianti wines at Pietraserena Azienda Agricola Arrigoni in San Gimignano, as you admire the impressive views across the hills and vineyards. Although Tuscany’s established viticulture scene is revered, there are also a growing number of organic, natural and biodynamic wines being developed, helping the region stay at the forefront of Italian wine production. Antinori nel Chianti Classico has been making wine since 1385 and now has an ultra-modern winery attached, which is open to visitors. Or find one of the unique buchette del vino (wine holes) hidden around Florence — at restaurants such as Babae , Belle Donne and Il Latini , to name a few — where wine is served through a tiny window, a tradition that dates back to 1559.

5 ways to travel

5. Experience a traditional trattoria

With charming hilltop towns seemingly around every bend, it’s easy to fall in love with a new local trattoria every evening in Tuscany. On the edge of Panzano-in-Chianti, head to the terrace at Il Vescovino to enjoy homemade ravioli stuffed with leeks and taleggio cheese, served in a simple tomato sauce. Along Tuscany’s western coastline, restaurants such as Il Romito in Livorno serve up a homely fish stew called cacciucco — a 500-year-old dish traditionally made using five or more types of fish in a red wine and tomato broth.

6. Sip freshly roasted coffee

Italy has an affinity for coffee and on almost every corner in Florence you’ll find coffee ‘bars’ in which you can quietly perch to people watch. The city is also home to the Accademia del Caffè Espresso , which features a coffee museum and an indoor coffee plantation, and also offers a selection of educational tasting sessions. Away from the city, learn more about Tuscan artisanal coffee and the finer details of the roasting and blending processes with a tour of Pienza Coffee in Val d’Orcia.

People browsing food stalls at Mercato Centrale in Florence, Tuscany, Italy

7. Peruse local markets

Intense and aromatic, Tuscany’s local food markets are sure to delight — piled high with humble but delicious ingredients, from bread and cheese to tomatoes and beans. While some markets such as Florence’s Mercato Centrale are open daily, smaller towns in the region host their weekly markets on varying days. In the city of Lucca, head to the MercoledìBio on Wednesdays — for organic fruit and vegetables, honey, olive oil, cold cuts, wine, bread and baked goods, as well as sheep’s, cow’s and goat’s cheese — or the Campagna Amica market on Thursdays — for fresh fish and seasonal vegetables, cheese, plants and flowers.

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  • FOOD TOURISM

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Cherishing Mom: Unique Ways to Celebrate Mother’s Day in Singapore

5 ways to travel

Mother's Day Celebration with Millennium Hotels in Singapore

Between fabulous food spots and treetop trails, Singapore is packed with activities to celebrate with your Mom during this upcoming weekend. Millennium Hotels in Singapore will help you show this appreciation, whether you're looking for a pampering city break or blissful relaxation. Get planning today and book a room to make your mummy feel extra special this year. 

1. Pamper Mom with a Mother's Day Spa in Singapore 

With Mother's Day around the corner, why not pamper your mom with a special wellness retreat? The most memorable gifts for a busy mom include relaxing experiences in the city. Choose the M Hotel Singapore City Centre for Mother's Day spa and hydrotherapy treatments or let your mom soak in the city views by the pool at the Grand Copthorne . 

2. Mother's Day Dining in Singapore 

Whether you enjoy fragrant hawker markets or luxury table service, you needn't go far to get a good meal. Millennium Hotels are home to spectacular restaurants for a lazy brunch or dinner reservation. Treat your mum to the Orchard Hotel 's renowned seafood platters or enjoy candle-lit courses at M Hotel Singapore's dim sum joint . Your mom can elevate the evening with luxury cocktails under the stars at M Social's Beast & Butterflies.  

3. Book Creative and Cultural Experiences

If your mum has a penchant for something creative, Millennium Hotels hosts a range of immersive experiences to let their imagination shine. Choices include a perfume-making workshop with the elegant Bottled Up Happiness at M Social. The wider Singapore area is also bursting with spectacular Mother's Day activities, from the floral scents and crafts of Gardens by the Bay to retail therapy on Orchard Road. 

4. Head Outdoors for Mother's Day Activities in Singapore 

Get outdoors for Mother's Day and walk among Singapore's vibrant green spaces. From the Botanical Gardens to Fort Canning and Jurong Lake Gardens, you can enjoy hikes and strolls of all lengths and paces in the city. For younger moms and grandmothers, enjoy the gentle pram-friendly trails of Southern Ridges or let your kids run off steam at the coastal Marine Cove. Park Connectors are spread all across Singapore, providing well-trodden trails that connect beauty spots.

5. Book a Mother's Day Staycation in Singapore

When it comes to the perfect staycation, Millennium Hotels are packed with luxurious rooms, attentive service and leisure facilities. Let your mum set the schedule as she meanders from brunch to poolside relaxation, a spa session and maybe some live music at the M Hotel's J Bar . The M Social Singapore is packed with plentiful all-in-one experiences tailor-made for your mom, from sparkling gin cocktails to rooftop pools and boutique room design. 

Create memorable experiences at Millennium Hotels in Singapore this Mother’s Day, whether through luxurious pampering, cultural engagements, or simply spending quality time together. Find all our special offers to enhance the day even further here .

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