How I Save Money While Traveling Abroad

Looking to travel the world, see the sights, live your best life, but don’t want your bank account to look at you sideways? Say less. I love traveling, but I'm not trying to have Mr. Wells Fargo, Mrs. Bank of America, Miss Capital One, and Mr. PNC on my back. They’re so annoying! They stay looming in the background. I hear them wherever I go. “Did you really need that?” “That was HOW MUCH?” “Ok, but you haven’t deposited enough money to buy that yet.”

The worst is when they talk to each other. “Y’all see what she did there? HA!” “Who does she think she is?” “Alright, someone needs to stop her.”


Basically, I’ve compiled a list of ways you can save on almost all aspects of your trip so that you don’t have to deal with those annoying banks. Incorporate some of these tips into your next trip and I promise Mr. Wells Fargo (my arch nemesis) will leave you alone.


Skip the hotel. You don’t have that kind of coin. Stay in a hostel, Airbnb, guesthouse, or go couchsurfing! Hostels are a great way to meet other travelers, they usually have great recommendations for places to check out in the area, and they are going to be your cheapest option. Downsides include sharing a room with about 6-12 other people, sleeping on a bunkbed, and possibly hearing your top-bunk neighbor have sex (true story). Most of you are familiar with Airbnb’s, and I love them if I’m staying somewhere for a while, but on a quick trip I find they can be isolating. Also, you never know what you’re going to get (check this out to see what I mean).

Guesthouses give you the chance to “live” with a local family (get that local experience) and they’re about as cheap as a hostel, but some guesthouses have rules that you must abide by (ex. no guests after 9pm; no loud noise after 10pm). Lastly, COUCHSURFING, my fave. If you don’t know what it is, click here. This is the cheapest option of all, because it’s usually free, but not all couches are created equally.


My favorite pasttime! Let’s cut this short. DO NOT EAT AT TOURIST LOCATIONS. Stay far away from those traps. Eat at local restaurants, go further away from the city, try street carts (stop being bougie sis, it’s clean, and be adventurous for once). A nice trick I have when abroad is to look for the restaurants that are packed with locals. If the locals are eating there, then so am I. I love to google translate “where do you like to eat?” and ask locals. If you just ask for recommendations, they’ll give you places they think you’ll like, which will more than likely lead you back into touristy locations. Ask about their preferences and follow their lead!


Sure, Uber is nice (although it’s not available everywhere) and taxis can be convenient, but we’re not talking convenience, we’re talking KEEP MR. WELLS FARGO OFF YOUR LINE, so listen up. Take public transit! In Milan, the above-ground trains are free. FREE, BISH…FREE! Get on that tuk-tuk (unless they’re only where the tourists are), hop on that bus and carry your tail to the metro. You’ll save a fortune. Also, if you find yourself absolutely dying and needing to hail a taxi, please make sure you are far, and I mean far from the touristy locations. If you’re pressed to get the taxi at least save some coin and walk a minute or two up the block so the prices aren’t jacked up!


Alright, this is the most difficult to try to save money on. I always flick off Mr. Wells Fargo when it comes to activities, but I’ve found some things to do in almost every city that didn’t break the bank. Most museums have at least one free day, or are free everyday (shoutout Smithsonian); find that free day and put it on your list of things to do! Also, if there is a popping museum, make sure you get there well ahead of time and plan for crowds…you’re not the only one trying to get this steal!

I also love to explore cities by going on walking tours! Get that exercise in, feel that breeze, explore the streets. I’ve also joined a walking tour that I haven’t paid for by lollygagging in the back, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that. Honestly I totally recommend it, I learned so much about the town lol but I felt bad for jipping the nice tour guide. Lastly, if/when you go shopping then make sure you haggle! Nothing is as it is listed. I don’t care where you go. Make a deal. Find a deal. Secure the deal and the bag, sis. Secure the MF’n bag.


Last on this list is how to save money with airlines. I want to start off by saying FLY BUDGET AIRLINES! I’m sick of y’all. You can’t be broke and bougie baby, pick one! I promise I wish I could be bougie too, but that’s not the case here. So, since we’ve all decided we’re flying budget airlines (shoutout WOW, RyanAir, Spirit * ooh that one hurt to give props to *) The key with these airlines is to pack light. If you do , there are rarely any fees attached, and you’ll be saving those coins you barely have (don’t mind me, I’m really dragging myself here). Also, when it comes to airlines, make sure that you’re flying to your destination during the offseason. You can’t expect to go to Carnival in Trinidad and find a $200 flight. It aint happening sis. Fly during the offseason and swerve on those price hikes!

I hope these helped y’all avoid Mr. Wells Fargo, Mrs. Bank of America, Miss Capital One, and Mr. PNC! You don’t need them on your back and I don’t want them on mine either. What tips do you have for saving money when you’re traveling? Let me know below! Hip me sis, HIP ME! I’m ready to save the coins!

Happy Wandering…

How to Beat Criminals at Their Own Game

My brother recently got robbed in Thailand. He wasn’t hurt or anything, but they took all his money so he was broke. I found a way to save him and all, but if he would have followed some of my advice, he could have saved himself. When you travel, how much money do you take? Is it in cash or card? Where do you store the cash? Where do you store the card? I’ve collected a few of my best tips and input them for you below!


If you missed the blog post mentioned above, CLICK HERE


When I travel, I always carry cash. I don’t mean just a couple twentys in my pocket, I mean I sit down and try to calculate how much money I will need for my whole trip, and I go retrieve that amount from my bank. This might sound risky to some of you, and it quite possibly could be if you’re not careful, but I’ve found this method to work best for me, and here’s why:


  1. When you travel, especially to third world countries, credit cards/debit cards are not as widely accepted as they are in places like America. You’ll be hard pressed trying to find someone in a souk with an available chip reader, or even card reader if we’re being honest. These money transfers are normal here, but most people in other countries use cold hard cash.

  2. Your next thought might be to simply head to an ATM machine while you’re traveling. This way you will not need to carry a large amount of cash, and you’ll still be able to buy things from the supermarkets, souks, and food carts without worrying about whether they have a card reader. Wrong. Most countries, specifically those in the third world, do not have easy access to ATMs. If you’re in a major city, you might have an easier time finding one, but if your location is rural, you might be out of luck. Now you’re stuck with a piece of plastic that isn’t worth more than materials used to create it.

  3. Cash is a universal language. You can never go wrong with it, and it is always accepted. America is one of the only countries where credit is a thing. Credit is not really a thing in a lot of other countries. If you want something, you’re paying cash. For my family members in Sudan that means paying cash for a car or even a house. These people get really good at saving/hiding/carrying large sums of money.

So now that you know that cash is the way to go, how do you protect yourself from things like theft and robbery? The painful truth is that you’re bound to get targeted as a tourist at some point and have something taken from you. Especially you loud Americans! You just draw attention to yourselves, don’t you? (Haha, I’m American too guys, calm down). It will become painstakingly clear in certain countries (China, for example) that you aren’t a native. This makes you more susceptible to robbery and theft because perpetrators know you didn’t travel halfway across the world broke. There are certain things that you can do to protect yourself though, so pay close attention!


The first thing you’ll need is a great hiding place. Consider this  ( hidden pocket underwear) or this (creating a secret pocket in your clothing). If neither appeal to you, as neither appealed to me, then you can try what’s worked well for me so far. I travel lightly, usually with just a carry-on or something like this. This will be considered by “big suitcase”. Inside my big suitcase, I always have a smaller bag for daytrips. I like to bring my trusted Jansport along, or any other bag with tons of zippers. This makes it easy for me to keep track of my things.


So, when I retrieve my big amount of cash from the bank, I usually divide it up into smaller portions. In my big suitcase I will take random pieces of clothing and wrap my money in them. These “money clothes” are scattered all throughout the suitcase. Whenever I’m leaving my hostel/housestay/hotel, I lock my “big suitcase”. My small day bag will have just enough money for that day. Nothing more, nothing less.


This way, if I was targeted for a robbery/theft while I was out, they would only get a small percentage of the money I brought. They would get something, but not everything. Now, if someone considers robbing my big suitcase, and actually figures out a way to break the lock to get in, their first glance will reveal nothing but clothing and toiletries. They would have to take the time to unroll each piece of clothing to find my money. The hope is that once they find a stash in a piece of clothing, they’ll think that’s all the money I’ve got and leave the rest alone. This is why you want to divide the money up. Their theft leaves me short, but not broke.


This is where my brother probably went wrong on his adventure. Traveling with just one backpack makes things lighter and seemingly easier, but it doesn’t allow for this sort of “security”. Now if someone just picks up my whole suitcase and dips then I’m sure I’d be shit out of luck, but I haven’t heard too many of those stories.


It’s all about minimizing the damage. We have to prepare for it, because there is a good chance it could happen to us. The hope is that when it happens, we are prepared. I’m out here trying to outsmart criminals. WHAT’S GOOD!


Let me know what your money security tips are in the comments below!


Happy Wandering...

I'm a Hero/Heroine: It's Really No Big Deal (But It Is)

I'm pretty much a heroine. No, not the drug you ignorant cracks... the female hero kindNot to brag or anything, but I'm a savior, some might call me a prophet of sorts. I'm humbled, really. My humbleness comes from my hero stature. Did you catch that though? I'M A HERO. Please, save your applause. Any of you would have done it if you were in my position. It was nothing really, I just did what I had to do. Just casually hero-ing out here. No big deal. 

So how exactly am I a hero? Well, as the courageous big sister that I am, I stopped a full-on robbery from happening right before my eyes. Ok, this might be a little dramatic (but not really). Here is how I saved a life on a casual Saturday....


Heroines Need Sleep

As the heroine that I am, I needed my beauty rest. If I wasn't rested, I might not have been able to save my brother, so this part is important. I guess it would also be important to mention that about a month ago, my brother went on a solo-trip to Thailand. I told him to go to Indonesia, but he didn't listen to me. You'll soon see what happens when y'all don't listen to me. So he's off in Thailand, and I'm gaining my beauty rest, unaware that I'm about to save the world. It's early Saturday morning, and I get a call from my brother. I see it and ignore it...heroines can do that. I just figured I would call him back once I was up, alert, and aware. I never get to sleep in anymore *whining* I hate adulting.

When this man called me again, my spidey-senses started to tingle. He never calls twice unless its an emergency. I arose from my slumber ready for action, "what's wrong?!" I worriedly asked. As the gracious brother that he is, he apologized for waking me up early, I assured him it's a heroine's job to be there, not on the first, but the second call. He agreed. Formalities aside, I came to understand that my brother had been robbed in Thailand. Concerned, I asked if he was alright to which he claimed he was fine, just broke.


Heroines are Understanding

To understand how exactly my brother was robbed, you'll need to understand my brother. He's a wanderer, just like me, so he's adventurous enough. I know I'm on here giving you all tips on how to travel lightly, but this man is the epitome of a minimalist when it comes to travel. I usually venture off with a carry-on, but this man will leave the country with a backpack. Think a Jansport, a NorthFace, you know, the thing you carried throughout your 12 years of schooling. Yeah that. He literally gives no F***s. Inside he might have a pair of shoes, a couple shirts, a couple undergarments, and possibly another pair of pants...possibly. He's just out here living his best life, and I love him for it. 

So I can't necessarily tell you the details of the robbery because it's still under investigation. I'm totally lying; I barely remember the details because I was half asleep when he told me. Here's what I do recall: He was about to go on an excursion of sorts where you leave your bags with an attendant (maybe it was a water sport?). When he came back to grab his backpack (you know, the one with his whole life in it), everything seemed in order. It wasn't until he took a ferry to another island and attempted to rent a motorbike that he realized he had no money. All of his money was gone, although all of his other possessions were still in tact.

The attendants at the excursion had rummaged through his bag and stolen his money. Where was this money? Two zipper pouches deep in the bookbag. You have to unzip two zippers once you open the bookbag to actually find the money. Homies weren't playing no games. Since my brother travels like I do, with a good amount of cash, so as not to use ATM's and endure those annoying fees: he was truly broke. Attempts to use his Credit/Debit cards proved worthless as he didn't inform his bank he was travelling. 


Heroines Save the Day

Sensing concern in his voice and sensing my own concern, I jumped into HeroineWad mode. We needed a solution. He wondered whether he should just fly back to the States. He'd honestly had an interesting run on this trip (getting sick upon his arrival, little rest, and now getting robbed). It was a legitimate question, but one only he could answer. He was hungry with about $5 in his pockets. Should he use it for food? How was he going to get money? How long would that take? Where does he go from here?

He was riddled with questions and I was riddled with answers. I would send money via Western Union. I'm not sure how long it'll take, but I'll check. He should go to the closest Western Union. While trying to figure out how to use Western Union, my brother told me that he considered selling his clothes for some money. Mind you...the two shirts and possible extra pair of pants that he has packed. I laughed. He was serious. My heart grew in love for him, he's such a soldier! I advised that if push came to shove, he can always ask the hotel for a temporary job...HE ALREADY HAD. I love this guy

Meanwhile I began on my journey to understanding the Western Union process. After an hour and a half online and on the phone with customer support, I decided to just go to a brick and mortar location. Walgreens provided Western Union services, so I left my comfy house to embark on this journey. Hero. After reaching the check-out counter, I was informed that I can only use debit or cash. I lost my debit card a week ago. Off to Wells Fargo I went to get a temporary debit card. Hero. An hour later, I walked out to the ATM. Hero. The ATM told me to see a representative inside for the withdrawal, so I walked back in and stood in line. Hero. Shortly after, I made my way back to Walgreens and paid at the check-out counter. Hero. Within minutes, the money was available to my brother. Hero

The applause really isn't necessary y'all...I appreciate it though. As we can see, I've saved the day yet again. I don't do this for the fame or the recognition, I just casually enjoy saving my brother when he's in danger. Like I said, any of you (or none) would do the same if you were in my situation. It's been a pleasure to be your HeroineWad. 


When did you save someone? Let me know in the comments below!


Happy Wandering...