Thursday, June 16, 2016

My Top 50 Travel Tips!


      So after seeing 6 of the 7 continents, there's a lot I know about travel, and I lot I wish I knew!!! In no particular order here are 50 tips to travel and see the world!
  1. Plan! Sure I've gone last minute with no plan, but generally Plans go a lot smoother
  2. You will no doubt at some point need to get a Visa, try to get it on your own for free, or thru the mail, before paying a Visa service. If you don't live by a consulate maybe you frequently visit a city with one and can do it then. For instance I know next time I go to NYC to visit my family I can double down and stop by the consulate for India to get my Visa since the Visa is a 10 year re entry Visa with plenty of years to make the trip.
  3. Also when you get your first Visa you will need passport style photos, you might as well print about 20 copies and leave them at home wherever you leave your passport so that for the next Visa you will already have photos lying around, assuming you don't change your look too much.
  4. WiFi is you best friend on international travel. Don't spend tons of money on international calling fees, use Skype or whats-app as soon as you are in a restaurant or lodging with WiFi and save some money.
  5. As you exit the plane for an international trip, don't be a jerk and knock people over, but you may want to walk a little faster than the crowd, as being in the back of the customs line can seem like an eternity when you are anxious to step foot into a new country.
  6. The golden rule when you are not sure if you packed everything, your passport, your wallet, and your camera or phone camera. Everything else you can buy when you get there... Except!
  7. Prescription medication, don't get caught without it if you take it! Remember to pack it! 
  8. Non prescription: Anti diarrhea pills, nuff said
  9. Know your European/Asian/USA etc clothing or shoe size for the place you are going in case you wanna buy while there.
  10. Go when you can go, not when you have 3 months off to go. Most of the people viewing this web page are American according to my stats, so am I. The typical American may only have 2 weeks vacation a year and holidays, after family visits, stay-cations, and whatever else you needed to take off for, if you only have 5 or 6 days to go somewhere, go. People will wait till they have a month off to backpack across Europe and end up blowing $2,000 at a casino in Vegas over a weekend, but never seeing Europe. It sucks we don't have much vacation/holiday, but use what you got, it also sucks that you lose a day flying, but I promise I've had amazing short trips, from 1 day to 5 days in other countries that blow all my domestic holidays away.
  11. Learn a bit of the language! I cannot emphasize enough how much language will help in international travels. You don't need to be fluent (though it would help more!), learn foods you don't eat or are allergic to, also learning some basic phrases can get you so far and the people will appreciate it too!

    Espanol in one of my many trips to South America
  12. If you are going to a 3rd world country, pack and carry an emergency roll of toilet paper. Nuff said.
  13. Think beyond the box of an expensive hotel, with options like airbnb, couch surfing, hostels, and vrbo there are so many other options to save you money!
  14. Bring gifts, something cheap from your country that they don't have where you are going, you can even email a hostel or guest house before you go and ask if they'd like anything, a little $20 gift or even cheaper will go a long way when you arrive.
  15. Know what you need in your carry on, and what you don't.
  16. Speaking of which, anytime possible, consider traveling with just a carry on! 
  17. When you must check a bag, I always like to leave room for souvenirs, you can also bring clothes you no longer like and just leave them there or donate them to have plenty of free space for the way home.
  18. Not so much an option with international travel, but with domestic I have also shipped my dirty clothes home to make more room in my bag.
  19. Traveling with friends is great, but don't always bank on it, Travel Alone when you have to, in some cases there are even some more fun aspects about solo travel!
  20. Layovers are thought of as a boring inconvenience, nothing can be further from the truth if you utilize them to your advantage! Make the lay over longer and add another city or even country to your itinerary.

    Some airlines, I.E. Iceland Air give free layovers to increase tourism. 
  21. Currency, know how much you are spending, some idiot I know was in China the first day and forgot to pack a belt, he ended up going to a mall and spent ¥500 Yuan on a belt! It was about $70 and it didn't even fit me... oops.... I mean him... yeah know the currency. 
  22. Also for currency exchange  go to your bank before the trip to have at least the cost of a taxi in cash on hand, once there withdraw from safe ATM's in that country. There is no need to pay crazy exchange fees at the airport.
  23. Speaking of fees, make sure you have a credit card that does not charge foreign transaction fees.
  24. Don't forget to call your credit card and bank to make the travel notification so you can use the card abroad.
  25. Do what must be done to get thru an international flight, it is legalized human torture.
  26. Buy books on ebay, I actually wait a year after my favorite authors release so I don't have to buy the hardcover, way too expensive and as soon as I am done reading the book I give it to another traveler to free up room in my bag, I'm not into the kindle scene yet.
  27. Souvenirs: Don't buy something you can buy at home, unless it's dirt cheap! I always found it strange when I lived in NYC how people came there to shop at chain stores that are all over the world (Ie. Gap, Victoria Secret, etc). Buy things that are unique, that you can't buy at home. 
  28. Use the library to plan your trip. Yeah remember that place you went to as a kid? They have great travel sections that will save you a ton instead of buying the books.
  29. Keep a travel journal, on your lap top, or in your own writing, it will seem silly a week or two down the line when you get home, but will make you smile a lot when you read it after a few years.

    I wish I wrote it down, because too much Vodka to rememeber exactly everything from my New Year's trip to Russia
  30. Make a friend, at least one. Meet people, either fellow travelers or a native to that country, when I first began travel I thought I'd never see some of these people again, yet we've remained friends, they've helped me travel, and have become not only great resources, but great all around friends. 
  31. Use forums like tripadvisor.com or similar to talk to people about any questions, and then be a good TA guy and answer questions on your city or a city you are well versed in.
  32. Check the flight status on your phone as you are heading to the airport, last thing you want to do is find out there was a crazy delay you didn't know about and now have to sit there for 4 hours waiting.
  33. Consider a money belt or passport belt if you are going into a shady country, but keep your wallet in your pocket with  a few dollars and an expired credit card so God forbid you are robbed you give something as a tourist with no money would be a bit suspicious!
  34. Accept that you will get ripped off by a taxi, do as much research to prevent it, but when it happens don't let it ruin your trip.
  35. Know the Celsius basics if you are American, 0 - very cold, 21 - Perfect weather, 40 - dessert heat. You can sort of figure out the rest with that.
  36. Same for the metric system, have a general idea of how many meters tall you are, your weight in kilograms, and how many kilometers it is to get to work, also remember 100 kilometers an hour is about the speed limit on American Freeways, not foreign (80 ish depending).
  37. For a long flight throw an extra pair of socks and underwear in your carry on, you may find a lot of airports on a layover have showers somewhere that you can change and feel fresh and ready to hit the place you are visiting.
  38. If you can get to the airport earlier you can typically check in for better seats on the plane, maybe even the exclusive exit row! Although sadly most airlines are now charging extra.
  39. If you are from the United States and people ask where you are from (and it's safe to say), don't say America, say the United States, USA, Etc, remember America has a lot of countries and two continents. Some South Americans get annoyed when we say we are American, I've been found guilty of this all the time.
  40. Book your rental car insurance through orbitz or expedia when using them, it's a lot cheaper than the rental companies typically and of course...
  41. Fill it up with gas before you return it, those war criminals will charge you a lot more for it than the gas station.
  42. 4 is the magic number to travel with, if you go with 5 most likely you will need 2 taxis for everything booking rooms will also be harder.
  43. Unplug your car battery for trips longer than 3 weeks
  44. Leave a copy of your passport with friends or family at home
  45. Same thing with an itinerary
  46. Join frequent flier clubs for ANY airline you use and keep a list of all the numbers on a file in your email or somewhere you can access it easily. 
  47. Carry business cards, even if you don't normally, an easy way to make friends and pass on contact info.
  48. Technology is great, but nothing beats old school map reading for a skill. Your gps or smart phone may fail, always be ready to read a map.

    I could not have made it around Southern Italy without map skill and Italian, many places had no signs, or trains didn't always necessarily announce stops.
  49. Look into getting TSA precheck, or global entry, they are huge benefits right now that may be obsolete once everyone has them, but for now are well worth it!
  50. And of course, share your travel knowledge and stories with friends, what good is it seeing and exploring the world if you can't share the stories or help the next person that is looking to follow.



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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

What To Do At/For Home Before A Trip


    Well it's almost time to get on a plane again for my 2nd international trip this year, but this one is gonna be a big one, I am going to Italy for 6 weeks with layover trips to Iceland and Denmark. I thought this would be a good time to go over what to do for trips over one week. So, here's a rough check list:


  • Book all flights/lodging if applicable, this particular trip I've only booked the beginning and end to travel around more freely in the middle. 
  • Obtain all necessary Visa's if applicable
  • Medications if applicable 
  • Pack your bags, duh
  • Make travel notifications for you bank cards or credit cards you will use on the trip
  • Have a little bit of foreign currency before you leave in case you can't find an ATM right away at your destination
  • House keys, personally I don't like to travel with them, so I make arrangements to keep them with someone at home, it's also a good idea if you live solo to give a copy to a friend just in case.
  • Get a pool or yard guy to take care of pool/yard while gone.
  • Unplug car battery for extended trips, anything over 3 weeks I'd unplug the battery.
  • Verify with work before you leave that all days scheduled to be off have been approved
  • Leave photocopies of your passport with a friend or family member
  • Leave an itinerary with a friend or family member
  • Make arrangements if you are taking classes for the time off
  • Verify that your tickets have global entry and/or TSA Pre check if you have it
  • Secure transportation to the airport, and have a great trip! :)


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Friday, December 18, 2015

How To Use Only A Carry On For Trips

Japan, my first but not last carry on only trip
     Well it's that time again, my favorite holiday to travel, New Year's eve is around the corner and I will be celebrating the holiday in Colombia for 2016. I'm looking forward to exploring nature there, visiting some museums and historical sites, hiking, seeing some old friends in Bogota, and of course partying in Medellin for the turn to 2016. And now of course it's time to pack, also a good time to give my tips on how I travel with only a carry on. My last multiple continent/country trip, I used only a carry on and traveled for 30 days through 4 countries in Europe and Asia, and that was a winter trip which makes it even more challenging. I am a guy, not sure how this would work for a female... So....

  • Anytime during the year if I have clothes that are tweeners, I am not quite sure if I want to donate them or keep them, they become the travel clothes, these are shirts or whatever that you will be getting rid of soon, so pack them for your trip, and plan on leaving them in the country you visit. That will give you room in your bag for clothes you buy there or souvenirs.
  • Speaking of buying clothes, plan on it, maybe you don't need 3 dress shirts because you want to buy some when you are down there anyway.
  • Buy socks and underwear as you go. An option thats not always necessary, but if laundry is gonna be an issue as your under garments get dirty, toss them and buy new ones. Speaking of laundry..
  • Try to book your place to stay with laundry facilities there or near by, if not you can always go old school  bath tub wash and hang dry. Even when I am checking a back pack I never pack more than 7 days of clothes.
  • Two pairs of pants, one pair of shorts, that's the max you will need, one pair of nice pants, one pair not nice.
  • It is especially important to try to do this on trips where you will be flying a lot or doing a layover vacation, I can't begin to tell you the freedom you feel when you don't have to wait for bags and can just get off a plane and start touring a city. 
  • Don't bother bringing a laptop or ipad, you probably can do it with a smart phone, or find an internet cafe, and who wants to be on a computer while traveling anyway?
  • Shoes are my worst enemy, I have a big foot, so two options, one is stuffing things into the shoes so they are not taking up as much space, or two is buying a pair when I get to the country if that's an option. In Greece I actually did this, I went to Israel but was coming back to Greece and hid the shoes in an apartment stairwell for when I got back.
  • A summer carry on only is gonna be real easy, less layers, less clothes to pack, winter you need more clothes but your coat has pockets you can take advantage of.
  • I clip my flip flops (if applicable) in to my locker which hangs out on the strap of the bag, 1 inch more of space for the inside of the bag.
  • Don't forget you will be wearing an outfit on the plane. So one of your shorts, or one of the pants you don't need to pack.
  • Make sure your carry on is a backpack rather than a luggage or shoulder bag, much easier to carry, and easy to clip things onto.
   And that's it! Just choose a good carry on and practice makes perfect, my recommended bag for carry on only:

    Now it's time for me to continue packing my backpack for this trip, from USA right now, and Colombia in only a few days, Happy New Years!



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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Israel



      So as I was spending 2015 in Greece, I realized that for very little money I could hop one continent over and not only see Israel, but also visit Turkey on a layover. Israel is not renown for being a budget destination, but like all things, the deals are there if you look for them. I had obvious safety concerns like any American going to Israel, but they way I explain it to people after going, if I had a choice to be stuck in downtown Phoenix at 3am where I live now, downtown NYC at 3am where I am from, or downtown Jerusalem at 3am, I would feel safest by far in downtown Jerusalem. That's not to say that things don't happen anywhere in the world, but I also could be hit by a bus as soon as I finish this blog post.

Here's how I spend my short stay in Israel and everything I did in only 4 or 5 days:


  • I found a room off airbnb and stayed with a Russian couple right outside the walled city of old Jerusalem for about $40 a night. The location was perfect to see everything Israel had to offer.
  • I find that you need to geographically measure countries, this isn't fool proof, but when people start telling you that you need to spend a month to see country you need to see just how big that country, Israel is about the size of New Jersey, I wouldn't dare tell someone that they need to spend a month in New Jersey to see it. That made the battle plan a lot easier, and my biggest travel tip for Israel...
  • RENT A CAR! I wouldn't deal with crossing the borders, but for travel within Israel, it will be a hell of a lot easier and cheaper to rent a car and do it on your own, of course make sure to have gps and paper maps if gps fails. The rental car is around $30 a day, I had an international driver's license but they didn't ask for it. Having the car gave me the chance to see a ton more than I would have with a tour company, and no tour companies went to one of my main interests in the trip, the Negev Dessert. I also had extra time to do the dead sea in the car, and the ancient mountain city of Masada.


                              
  • Ride a camel across the 4,000 year old trail in the Negev Dessert, nuff said.
  • I was told on trip advisor I needed at least two days to see the dead sea, I 'd correct this to say two hours max, float in it, take some pics, grab lunch, and leave.

The Dead Sea, trust me, it's dead.
  • Now although I self toured with my car, I loved the Midnight Biking In Jerusalem tour, such a great and different way to see and learn about the city. I also self toured old Jerusalem.
  • For the Palestinian Territories it was easier and safer to go with a tour company. I did a day in Jericho, & Bethlehem.
  • And of course at night enjoy some Jewish or really any cuisine and shopping at Mamilla in Jerusalem.
  • Tel Aviv is cool, but pretty much like any other big city.

         This was my first trip to the middle east. It was a short but sweet journey that I will never forget. It opened my eyes more to not only the Jewish history but the Palestinian history as well. My first trip to the middle east, and hopefully not my last.
                                            


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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Do This For Me If I Die.....


    Well first, I am not planning on dying anytime soon. Based on the way I eat, train, and lack of medical problems, some of these online calculators don't kick me off this Earth for another 50-70 years. I got two great grandparents that made it to the 100's, but I have others in my family that didn't make it past their thirties. So you never know when your card is going to be pulled.

    I have had the pleasure and the gift to have traveled to six of the seven continents on this Earth through many countries, many more cities, and countless villages. I've seen literally millions of people. I've seen the strength in humanity, and the weakness of humanity. At my job I've seen countless deaths, and unfortunately off duty I have seen countless deaths as well, including some of the people closest to me. So on a night like this as I write this and I look back, I wonder if I had any kids, or anyone really that wanted to know what I thought about life and what advice I would give on living in this wonderful world, what would I say?

     The thing I would say I think would surprise many people, and that is,

                                         WATCH LESS TV

     Most people probably think from my blogs I'd say to travel, see the world, workout, eat good, maybe more deep like spend time with your family or people you love. But I wouldn't say that. To me that's common sense, exploration is a birth instinct, so is health and love. And maybe for some people travel is not an option, or they don't enjoy the gym or whatever. In 2003 as I was set to enter the police academy in a few months, I quickly realized that I'd have to cut bills since at the time and unfortunately now as well the starting pay in the NYPD was so low. It was easy then to say, ok, I don't need cable. At the time it was definitely a minor hassle, but I was working so much it didn't matter terribly, I was bartending, working on an ambo, and working in the gym. During the academy I wouldn't have side jobs, and after cops are not allowed to bartend in NYC at all, so good bye cable. It was a minor hassle.... But little did I know how much it would change my life.

     On the money end, I've saved over $10,000, I don't know the exact number because since I haven't watch TV in over 12 years I don't know how much cable costs. I am not in a total tunnel, I have netflix and occasionally watch it while I eat lunch if I'm alone. But if lunch is done first the show can be watched later, I go to the movies as well, and definitely watch movies on any flight over 3 hours! But if I miss whatever is the hottest show now, I could care less. And it's beyond money, the joys and things I have gotten to do from not having TV is priceless.

    I think back to 2003, and I think the last popular TV show I watched was the Soprano's, rest in peace James Gandolfini. The Soprano's was a great show on HBO. And if on my next 10+ hour international flight it's an option to watch a season of it, I surely will. It'll pass the time. But when I remember 2003, if I could go back and to it all again, as great as the show was, I wouldn't watch a single episode. 2003 I was testing for the NYPD, I was working on an amublance and that was the first year that I did CPR and actually brought the patient back with the crew I was working on. 2003 was the first time I visited -at the time a foreign place to me- called Arizona, which to this day I now call my home. The fun times I had with friends who I'd never see again, taking the fire department test, training in my old gym, learning to flair bartend, the girls I dated, dinners or coffee with my Mother, places I explored even just in New York City where I lived that are no longer there. Of all those moments I had in 2003, if I could go back, I don't think I'd need to watch the Soprano's again. And I'm sure had I watched TV in the last 13 years I'd feel exactly the same about any show.

    So if I die, my small favor for the readers of this blog, friends, and family. Watch less TV.

***Bonus for direct family members, U2 Windows In The Sky played at my funeral or memorial, not my fav U2 song but it will be for my death.

                     


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Thursday, June 18, 2015

What To Do For One Day In Downtown Phoenix


*This is part of the Arizona section of my world travel blog, dedicated to my new home state! Be sure to check out the whole blog when you are done here!*

     So when I came to Phoenix 6 years ago, downtown had a few homeless guys pandering around, a few high rises, and a good pizzeria across the street from the diamond backs stadium. All of those are still there, but luckily downtown is growing, and continues to grow! It's really became a great part of the valley to hang out in (it's about time for a city of 4,000,000 people), and I hope it keeps it's artistic, unique, and diverse style, and doesn't get overcome by a ton of chain restaurants as it grows. So if you are visiting Phoenix, or maybe even live here and want to do a whole day downtown, here's my recommendation starting from bright and early:

From Sky Harbor if you are flying in:

Take the light rail to Roosevelt/Central Station, if you are coming by car there is ample parking in downtown,  the Arizona Center validates parking if you buy anything, a Starbucks, a souvenir, an ice cream cone, you get the point.

  • Start the day off at Matt's Big Breakfast on the northeast corner of 1st street and Garfield. Load up on some classic American breakfast or downtown Phoenix style dishes. Unknown if Matt will be there, actually I don't even know who Matt is, but the breakfast is good!
  • For your next stop decide between culture or science... To learn about the native Americans of the southwest and a bit more about the history of Phoenix head to the Heard Museum. If Science is more your taste check out the Arizona Science Center, with constant changing exhibitions, this is my preferred choice.
  • At some point you will cross N Central Avenue and Roosevelt and see the Release The Fear Sculpture. To my knowledge it is the only sculpture that size built out of used firearms. Take a quick pic and move on.
  • Decide next between literature or music, you can peek your head into the independent publish Lawn Gnome Publishing, you may even be lucky enough to catch an open mic or poetry reading. If music is more your edge head to Revolver Records, this has to be one of the last record stores in the state as vinyl dies a slow death, so hop in before it's too late! If you are lucky you may catch some local musicians practicing on the patio out front.
  • For lunch if you have time head to Heritage Square and get in line at Pizzeria Bianco. They make their own cheese, grow some of the vegetables, and it all at a very fair price for such a popular downtown restaurant, due to the wait, you will probably head to the wine bar next door which is converted from an old little house as a lot of places downtown are. The wait may only be 20 minutes but sometimes can be over two hours, so if it's too long don't worry, plenty of other dining options all around the area! Heritage Square also has some neat historic homes. It's only accessible on foot, so don't kill yourself looking for parking there.
  • At some point you are going to pass this, Her Secret is Patience sculpture. It's probably the biggest sculpture in the state, it cost a lot of money, so take a pic to make the tax payers happy.

  • If you are feeling it is time for a recharge head to Jobot Coffee on 5th Street. It's in an old house and has a nice piano there in what used to be the living room, you are welcome to play if you have the skills. The building is so old the bathroom still has a shower tub.
  • Ok since, I am big on fitness as well, it would be a sin, not to give credit to the best gym in downtown Phoenix, if you have time to lift, go to Gold's Gym by City Scape. Call for day pass pricing.
Now as it is getting later, this is when you can catch the real spirit of downtown Phoenix... This is just a short list of ideas....
  • You can try to catch an independent flick at Film Bar. Besides a great bar and the usual movie popcorn, they also allow you to bring your own food in too! You don't have to sneak it in your shirt or pocketbook like the other movie theaters you go to!
  • Catch a live music show or a beer at The Lost Leaf. They boast 150 beers available! Great date spot too. Great feel for the Seattle or San Fran types.
  • For more of the LA/NYC feel, head to the roof top pool bar of the Palomar Hotel by City Scape. Plush lounge chairs, great drink menu, and great sky line views.
  • Hopefully you are there on a first Friday and it's open at night, but if not earlier in the day make time for the Phoenix Art Museum, local and international artists, sometimes serving wine as well. Don't miss the fireflies exhibit on the top floor!
  • Sports are more your thing? Check out Alice Cooperstown. Owned by Alice Cooper himself, this place is desolate on non-game nights, but packed on local team and big sporting event nights. Alice Cooper himself is often there.
  • If you want a huge crowd and different styles of music, any weekend stop in The Crescent Ballroom. The food is okay, but the drinks and bands are great! They open the back patio which is huge on weekends, expect over 400 people on a big night here.
  • As you walk all around you will catch little art galleries or studios, some may be open to the public, some may not be, you may catch an artist at work on a new piece, or be one of the first to check out a new exhibit, these places are ALL OVER Roosevelt and the downtown area, too many to mention!
  • Or... you can make your own art at Brush Party. This new little spot is group art studio, paint with everyone or bring in your own idea and paint it, oh did I mention you get to BYOB too!!! 
  • Is it a boxing place? Is it a bar? Is it a club? Is it a gym? What the hell is The Duce? This place was once a busy warehouse that made crap, now it's a bit of everything. This is the only bar I know of in the world that sells antiques and has a boxing ring, which you are free to climb in on non boxing event nights! They have great food and an extremely unique drink menu. Some bigger name bands have played here and if you have any chance to catch one you like I highly recommend it!
"You want to fight on the first date?"
  • If performing arts are more your cup of tea, check the schedule at The Orpheum Theater. Ballet, plays, performing arts, etc. Let me know how it is, because I've never been there!
  • I have however been to the The Comerica Theater. Big bands play here, and it is a small venue! Great acoustics, probably my favorite place to catch a show in all of AZ, and all of the western USA really.
  • Finish the night off... if you are not a partier anyway, at the top of the city... well sort of... The Compass Grill on top of the Hyatt is a rotating restaurant. It's a bit expensive to eat here, but it has a great reverse happy hour nightly if you just want to enjoy a drink and sit down at the restaurant slowly turns giving you a birds eye view of the whole valley.
  • But... if it's a nice night, which it pretty much is every night here! You can also go to the outdoor roof deck at the Clarendon Hotel. They also do yoga classes here in the mornings, check for times!
     There are plenty of great hotels downtown to stay in, from Classic to Contemporary to high rise Modern. With enough requests I'll write about that, but for now that is just a bit of downtown, there are constantly events, art festivals, parades, etc going on depending on the time of year you are there. Hopefully you have more than one day here, but if not I hope this article helped! Feel free to leave a comment or check out the rest of my page! Thanks for reading!

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Should I Invest Or Travel?


    Well a money guy would say invest now, travel later. A travel guy would say the opposite... But it's not so simple... I have friends that have done Europe on student loans or credit card debt. My friends that own rental properties in New York City would say that's insane, and they definitely have more money than the guys who went to Europe. But it's not always a black and white answer, you need to decide for yourself what is best for you. But I will say that I always hear the investors say, I will travel later in life... In my travels to 6 of the 7 continents, I rarely meet a traveler over 40, and barely meet travelers in their 30's... It just doesn't happen. The longer you are on this Earth the more things that will come up that you can't travel, spouses, mortgages, children, etc. But on the flip side, you don't want to have a rocking trip to South East Asia only to return home and rent a crappy apartment for the rest of your life while your friends bought sweet houses... So lets take a look at things to consider:
  • Are you really going to travel later in life?
  • Do you really need to do the American dream of going somewhere for a whole month when all your friends will be off and it will be the greatest trip ever with an unlimited budget and nothing will go wrong? Are you waiting for Santa on Christmas and the Easter Bunny also? Could maybe a 5 day trip suffice just in case the latter never comes?
  • Do you need to save money for children?
  • Are your children old enough to travel? Although I don't have kids, my rule is > 14 international. < 14 domestic.
  • Why are you saving and investing now? Is it to build a home? A business? Or is it to have money to travel later in your 60's when you will be on medications and not able to enjoy it as much?
  • Are you really going to travel later in life?
  • What is the interest rate on your debt? 
  • What can you give up to travel? Cable, fancy car, dining out for awhile.
  • What's more valuable to you, money, or memories?
  • Is debt in the future worth travel now?
  • Are you really going to travel later in life?
    I will tell you personally, I have a decent mortgage payment now, but I am also paying PMI, I drive a shitty car, I have not had cable for 12 years, and only recently got a smart phone after years of verbal abuse for rocking the flip. Had I not traveled in the USA in my early 20's I would have bought a home by age 25 easily (ironically the market collapsed anyway and I would've foreclosed or been underwater). Had I not traveled internationally in the last 4 years my mortgage payment would be cheaper than some of my friends car payments. I'd probably be driving an Audi, Lexus, or at the very least a nicer sedan. I'd have a bigger savings account, and more financial security. But when I look back at the last decade of travel, if say I could've saved $30,000, maybe more with compounding interest, I wouldn't have given up the times I've had, the people I met, and the experiences I've had for double that number, even triple. We don't live to work. We work to live.


    If I hadn't traveled when I was younger I would have never came across this beautiful state Arizona and made it my home. I wouldn't have bungy jumped off the Auckland bridge in New Zealand into frozen waters. I wouldn't have toasted vodka in Red Square Moscow & St. Petersburg with Russian friends. I wouldn't have eaten bamboo in China, pet a cheetah in South Africa, swam with a whale shark in Mozambique, seen Machuu Pichu, surfed Bondi Beach, snorkeled the waters of Fiji, vomited tequilla shots in Mexico, got thrown off an elephant in Thailand into a lake after walking a tiger, road a camel through a sandstorm on a 4,000 year old trade route, watched the World Cup in Brazil, visited the birth place of Jesus Christ, seen the Parthenon with my morning coffee, drank wine in an electrical blacked out Santiago, got naked in earth's waters of a Japanese onsen, I wouldn't have tasted cheeses in Paris, touched the Berlin wall in Germany, rode a sleeper train thru Europe, pet a kangaroo, almost get my butt kicked in Colombia, scuba dived Ecuador... I wouldn't have climbed thru caves, climbed thru crowded subways, swam in waterfalls, rivers, every ocean (except the arctic), learned some Russian, Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, Italian, and even British! I wouldn't have met life long friends. I wouldn't have had experiences that no amount of money can buy. I wouldn't have learned so much about other people and other cultures. I wouldn't have had my breath taken away time and time again by too many things that I don't have enough space to write about here. Because just when you think you've seen it all, the world becomes so much of a bigger, and so much of a better place to see and appreciate. For even the bad places you travel to you learn about strength in the soul of the human being, seeing people in these 3rd worlds that are just as content if not more content than your friends that obsess over the mighty dollar. We have a lot of the world to see and experience, but we don't have a lot of time in our lives left on this Earth for it. Smell the flowers while you still can.

Tokyo Bay 2009

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