How We Travel the World on a Small Budget

Cheap World Travel

At the top of our favorite hike in the mountains of Chile, January 2014.

If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile you may know that my husband and I love to travel. For many of the last 12 years, we’ve spent 4-6 weeks of the Wisconsin winter in another country. (I reviewed our trips in this post.)

Traveling is a great way to meet interesting and adventurous people. I’ve always been fascinated by people who live unconventional lifestyles. In fact, many of them have influenced the ways in which I’ve constructed my own life over the years. Several years ago, I discovered the author and blogger Chris Guillebeau.  He spearheads an online community, called the Art of Non-Conformity, devoted to “unconventional people doing remarkable things”.

The purpose of AONC is “to share the story of how to change the world by achieving personal goals while helping others at the same time.” When I first discovered his website he was in the midst of an incredible quest – to travel to every country in the world before his 35th birthday.

I’ve read all of his books, attended one of his conferences in Portland, and follow his blog.  Through him, I’ve read about many amazing people, met fellow business owners, and learned many new things. But, the biggest gift I received from him was travel hacking.

On a long day hike through the moonscape that is Haleakala National Park in Maui.

In short, travel hacking is the art of collecting free and discounted frequent flier miles in order to travel as cheaply as possible. (If you get me talking at a party, I’ll give you the long version and what I’ve learned. Many of my family members and friends are currently travel hacking after hearing my spiel!)

Since I started travel hacking we’ve traveled to Chile, San Francisco, Vancouver, New Zealand, and Washington for extremely low prices. (Two tickets to New  Zealand = $500. Two tickets to Thailand = $100.)

Chris’ website highlights travelers in the AONC community who are using travel hacking to see the world. I was featured last week!

A Traveler Who Loves Coming Home: On the Road with Megan Cain

I love finding people who are able to incorporate travel into their lives without making it their whole life. Here’s how Megan Cain has done just that.

Introduce yourself!

After college, I lived in San Francisco before packing up and moving to a rural, 100-person town in Missouri to live at an eco-village and learn how to garden. I felt a pull towards growing my own food.

My move was a leap of faith that changed my life forever. I lived in a 90-square-foot cabin, met my future husband, and started the basis of a career in sustainable living. Mark and I now have jobs, enjoy owning a home and being rooted in Madison, Wisconsin, while incorporating longer travel adventures into our lives.

What we see and do is secondary when we hit the road. The real rewards of traveling are deeper than sightseeing. Everything falls away when we’re away: grocery shopping, cleaning, paying bills, calling family members, planning the week and weekend ahead. All of the “shoulds” and “have-tos” and “I better’s…” are gone. It’s just Mark and me with our backpacks, and the days unfolding before us like a chain of crisp, white, blank pieces of paper ready to be filled in with whatever we desire.

Continue reading the article over on AONC…


More travel reading:

Photos of 12 Years of Winter Travel Adventures

Chicago Area Travel Destinations for Gardeners

California Garden Tour




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