Tuesday, January 25, 2011


If you haven't heard of couchsurfing then you are in for a treat! Couchsurfing is by far the best way find a place to sleep while also getting a personal tour guide all for FREE! That's right, free.

You see, couchsurfing is an online community where people with couches (or beds, air mattresses, or carpets) will let you sleep on said couches (or beds, air mattresses, or carpets) for a few days while you're visiting the area. In exchange, most will ask for your company in return while you explore the area.

I know what you're thinking. Sounds super sketchy, right? This sounds like a website for serial killers to trap in their victims! Well, not quite. You see, couchsurfing has a pretty great system for showing that you're not a serial killer. If you stay with them for a night, then you can rate them. Give them a positive rating if you at least got a good night's sleep and give them a negative rating if they kept sharpening their knife in front of you and kept asking you what color your underwear was. Then in return they give you a positive or negative rating. That way you're getting the thumbs up or not from other people as to how well this person was as a host.

This rating isn't perfect: Most of my hosts have been absolutely fantastic but a few have been nonexistent or unreliable. They were still good hosts since I had a couch to sleep on and I wasn't bothered with staying with them, but if I could give a “meh” rating, they would have earned it.

All in all, though, couchsurfing is a fantastic way to visit a new area without spending a dime on hotel costs and is even better at connecting you to a wonderful network of amazing people that live in the world. To this day I have never met a boring couchsurfer.

Books to Try: Sleeping Around: A Couch Surfing Tour of the Globe

Monday, January 24, 2011

Public Transportation: Cities

When I travel in cities I always ditch my car and take public transportation. If you park in the outskirts of the city you can almost always find park that's both safe and super cheap (or free!) for several days. If you park somewhere on the outskirts of the city you can usually find a safe spot to leave your car and it's almost always free.

Not all cities are alike, though. Every city has their own system of public transportation and method for paying for it. Whenever I think about visiting a city, the first thing I research is their public transportation system. It often reflects the quality of the city and how easy it can be to explore.

My Travel Partner and I had the best time in Chicago because of their amazing public transportation. Most cities usually don't have such widespread coverage within their city but we could always walk to anywhere we wanted to directly from the L-train without having to make a bus transfer. It was a lot cheaper than most cities since we were able to buy a weekly pass for a very reasonable price, although it definitely wasn't the cheapest city.

There are other cities out there that aren't so nice, though. San Francisco is by far the worst I've seen. They charge you based on the distance you travel on their BART system and everywhere else is 2 bucks per ride! That may be reasonable for people visiting for a few days but any longer than that and the costs add up, especially if you plan on exploring beyond their limited routes. I can tell you as a person that's lived in the Bay Area before, it's even worse if you live there.

Overall, though, cities have some pretty amazing public transportation systems. It's a great way to get a feel for the culture of the city and the overall outlook of the people. I've often found that the best way to see how friendly the people there are is to “accidentally” bump in to them and see how they react.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sleeping in the Car

I can't remember the amount of times that I've slept in my car. It's been a lot though, and I know I've saved several thousands of dollars by completely avoiding a hotel. I've done it so many times now that I often wake up in my bed and realize that I'm not in the car and get a little bummed out about it since it means I'm not on an adventure of some kind.

The first time I did, it was pretty difficult. It's scary to think that somebody might come up to your car and either try to steal from you or worse try to hurt you. Even cops feel like the enemy because many states have laws against sleeping in residential areas and the ones that don't still have a culture that looks down on that kind of behavior.

After a while, though, it gets pretty easy and second nature. Even though it's rare, you learn to avoid problem areas where trouble might actually come up. I've found it's best to avoid residential areas. I've heard from others that the cops get called around there because a nervous housewife thinks you're some kind of kidnapper waiting to strike. Unlit areas off the side of the road are generally a bad idea, too, because they're common areas of vehicle theft.

The best areas I've found are usually public parking lots, especially those that are near large department stores such as Walmart. They're often well lit with 24 hour security that doesn't care one bit if you sleep in your car. Some businesses are also open all night so you won't have to sneak off to the bushes when nature calls. Also, thanks to modern day capitalism they're just about everywhere! Of course, be sure to ask around and make sure that they won't tow your car while you're asleep. I know Walmart always allows people to sleep overnight and most other stores will, too. A good rule to keep is that if you're the only car in the parking lot then it probably means they haven't come for your car yet!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

An Introduction

This is a blog that will convince you to view traveling in a whole new light. I'm so sick of hearing people say that you need several thousands of dollars to travel for just a week or two. I'm tired of people always assuming that your only option for resting are hotels or that a plane is the only way to travel.

This is a blog that paints a different picture of traveling and adventure. One where you can spend an entire week exploring the world on just $100 with only the sheer necessities packed in your bags. This means that your trip won't be relaxing but it will certainly be much more fulfilling than any vacation you have ever had and I'll guarantee that you will come back from it refreshed and ready for life when you get back.

So far I've gone on five road trips. The first few cost much more than the others did as I learned how to conserve my money and resources. Each time I learned new techniques and got better and better at avoiding the cost of hotels, restaurants, gas, and other expenses by finding alternative methods for exploring. My final trip culminated in a two month road trip throughout the United States with my travel partner (who will be posting her own articles on occasion) all at a cost of about $2000 for the entire trip. That may seem like a lot but calculate the cost of your rent for two months alone and you'll consider becoming homeless.

Through this blog I hope to provide stories of my adventures as well as provide tips to anyone who wants to explore the world on just dimes a day.
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