Where to get the Cheapest Flights and Best Travel Deals

I travel a lot. I’ve been to over 25 countries and lived on 4 continents. That means, a lot of flights have been booked in the past few years, and I don’t even want to think about how much money I’ve spent…

Luckily, these websites, newsletters, and email lists help me find the cheapest flights and best travel deals every time I’m planning to book (oh, and did I mention they’re all free to use?) If you’re starting to think about your next vacation, give these a try and save some big bucks on your trip!

 

1. TravelZoo

This is pretty much the ONLY email I subscribe to that I open regularly. The TravelZoo newsletter and website is great for three reasons. First, you can customize your departure airports, so you only get deals nearby that you’ll actually use. And second, you never buy from a third party. Every deal you see is purchased straight through the company that offers it, so no scams or bamboozles here. And finally, the deals they find are insane!

For Example: Just yesterday I got an email listing an 8 night tour of China, with hotels, food, and flights from the US, for $399! W H A T?! If I was more organized and ready to book travel plans for next year, I would have been all over that.

The Catch: The only catch with this site is that sometimes the best deals are offered out of season, or only leave on certain days, like a Tuesday or Thursday. If you’re a flexible traveler, somewhat spontaneous, and open to booking great deals when you find them (rather than being set on a certain vacation plan every year) then this website will help you get some of the cheapest flights and best travel deals I’ve ever seen.

 

2. Scott’s Cheap Flights

Scott’s Cheap Flights is a mailing list you can sign up for to receive awesome deals straight in your inbox. I love it because it is super simple, and helps you discover some destinations that may not have even been on your radar before.

Basically, what this guy does is find fares and deals that are either mistakes, or just super low for some reason, and send out an email letting you know where they’re from, where they’re going to, and where to book the flights.

For Example: One of his recent deals was Mexico City to New Delhi for $555. It might sound like a lot, but the normal price is $1200! You can also sign up for Premium Service for $39/year to get more that free users miss out on.

The Catch: The only catch with this list is that the fares are usually only available for a short time, so if you’re going to book them, you gotta book ’em fast. Because of this, once you choose your vacation days and budget, I suggest keeping an eye on this email newsletter for a couple weeks to see if anything pops up as a perfect fit.

 

3. Skyscanner

Ah, ol’ reliable. Skyscanner has been with me from the start.  I booked my very first international flight (to Egypt, Israel, and Italy) through this site, and have been going back ever since.

Skyscanner is great for a few reasons. First, you can compare prices on flights with Skyscanner super easily. Just put in your departure airport and dates then set the destination to “everywhere,” to search through the cheapest options available without choosing a specific destination. That’s usually how I get started planning almost all of my trips. I’ve also found that Skyscanner consistently shows me some of the cheapest flight fares for every destination. I just love it because it makes it so easy to compare countries and airlines, and find the cheapest flights and best travel deals.

For Example: For my trip to Germany in 2015, I found round trip flights from Dubai to Berlin for only $250 per person. A great deal I snapped up immediately, and never would have seen if not for their “search everywhere” option.

The Catch: The only catch is that Skyscanner shows a lot of offers from third party vendors like edreams, Expedia, etc. I personally avoid these and ONLY ever book directly from the airlines. If you find the flights you want and they’re all through one airline, it’s easy to just click and continue booking through them. Otherwise, just head straight to the airline website, search, and purchase it there. Easy.

 

These three websites and email newsletters are my go-to places to get the cheapest flights and best travel deals online. If you’re just in the starting stages of planning your next trip and open to anything, check these out today to get some huge savings.

Good luck, and happy travels! If you find some amazing deals on these sites, comment below and let me know (so I can buy them too!)

All my love,
Di

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How to Fly on a One Way Ticket to South America

This is an interesting problem, and one I encountered when I first began planning our trip to South America. Like many backpackers, I had a lot of time to spend on the continent and had done almost zero planning. That meant the best course of action was to buy a one way ticket into Medellin, and then gradually figure out our travel plans from there.

However, we hit a little snag. You’re not allowed to enter the countries in South America on a one way ticket.

Why? Well the problem is due to the airlines. Most countries in South America “officially” have a rule in the books stating that if you have a one way ticket to South America, you also need to show a return ticket out of the country. However, in reality they rarely, if ever, enforce these rules (because they need that sweet sweet tourism money.) IF the country did decide to deny entry based on this rule, though, the airline who brought the tourist in would then be on the hook to deport them free of charge.

The airlines don’t want to take this risk however small it may be, and therefore they are actually the ones who strictly enforce this rule. I’ve flown on a one way ticket to Colombia, Peru, and Mexico, and all three times I was asked at checkin to pull up proof that I had flights leaving the country and returning to the United States before they let me through.

Going into Colombia, I had no idea what my future travel plans would hold, and didn’t want to lock myself into a destination or a departure date I would later regret. So, how do you successfully buy a one way ticket to South America? These are your options:

 

1. Fake It

While researching the various choices I had to be allowed to board my one way flight to South America, I came across this option surprisingly often and it kind of blows my mind. I’m no goody two-shoes, but creating fake flight tickets just seems incredibly risky and stupid to me.

Still though, it is an option that others have said work for them. They just create their own fake email receipt confirming flight reservations. If you do this (and you probably shouldn’t) they insist that it’s important to use real flight numbers and times for future routes.

 

2. Buy the Cheapest Bus Tickets You Can Find

This is another option, but I didn’t do it because it has one specific issue. When I was reading about airline and their rules, many stated that not only did we need proof that we were leaving Colombia, we actually needed proof that we were leaving the continent. Therefore, my plan to buy two $20 bus tickets from Medellin to Quito wasn’t going to work. I originally thought it was a great idea because I could use them in the future if my plans allowed, or just skip the ride and only be out 40 bucks. Not too bad.

Unfortunately, this rule requiring return flights to be off the entire continent threw me for a loop. I don’t really understand the reason behind why that would be required, but I also didn’t want to be stuck scrambling and trying to buy a flight back to the US in the airport at checkin either.

 

3. Buy A Refundable Return Flight

Ultimately this is the option we went with to use our one way ticket to South America, and it worked perfectly. First, I compared prices on flights with Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights from South America to the US. Even though I was flying into Colombia, a flight out of any country on the continent would do.

So, I chose the one way tickets from Quito to Miami for $250. Then when I was buying them, I made sure to upgrade to the extra expensive refundable fare. This doubled the fight prices, but because I wasn’t going to use them, it didn’t really matter. Now, we each had a $500 one way flight off of the continent.

Just as I expected, I was asked to show our reservation emails to JetBlue upon check in. They were ok’d and we flew to Colombia. Of course, immigration never asked to see anything, but either way we were in the clear.

The next day, I just hopped on the JetBlue website and cancelled out fares in two clicks (it was seriously so easy) and within a week or two the money was all returned into my account. This option only works if you’re not tight on cash and can handle having $1,000 tied up for a week or two. If you can, though, it’s definitely the easiest and most risk free choice for your one way ticket to South America.

 

If you’re planning on backpacking through the continent, buying a one way ticket to South America is a no brainer. However, it can also cause you some issues that you may not expect – like denied boarding at the airport! The best way to get around this is to purchase a refundable fare off the continent, and then cancel it after arrival. If you’ve tried the other two options, though, I would love to hear about your experiences!

All my love,
Di

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The Most Expensive Restaurants on Every Continent

I made it my mission this afternoon to find the most expensive restaurants on every continent. The results are in, and they’re pretty wild. If dropping thousands of dollars on one night out isn’t going to fit into your budget, these restaurants may not be for you…

 

6. South America

Central in Lima is being called one of the best restaurants in the world, and was listed as the number one restaurant in Latin America. At the head of the restaurant is Michelin Star Chef Virgilio Martinez, and their website states that Central’s 17 course tasting menu aims to take you through the “elevations of Peru’s biodiversity.”

The food at the restaurant is sourced locally from Peru, and the menu features ingredients from the high-altitude Andes, to the ocean, and everything in between. The meal will set you back $156 per person, which actually isn’t too bad for a Michelin star restaurant. Keep reading though, it only gets crazier…

 

5. Africa

What kind of crazy expensive restaurants does Africa got going on these days? I’ll tell you. This list of the Top 10 Restaurants in Africa names The Test Kitchen in Cape Town as one of the best on the continent. So, how amazing is it, and more importantly, how expensive is it?

Well first of all, the full course menu involves multiple rooms. You begin in “the dark room” where (I assume) the lights are out so you can focus on the flavors of the meal without distraction. Later, you move into “the light room” (very creative) to finish the meal with a fine-dining experience. The menu with the iconic wine pairing will  run you $193 per person. If you’re thinking “What kind of peasant can’t afford a $200 meal,” then first of all, I’m jealous. And second, get ready because Australia’s about to kick it up a notch.

 

4. Australia

Attica in Melbourne is one of the most expensive restaurants in the country. A quick review in this recent article about the most expensive restaurants in Australia says the tasting menu alone costs $250 per person…  when I looked it up, the menu shows that cost has already gone up to $275. If you’re wealthy enough to add wine pairings, that will be another $185 per person.

So to enjoy a full dinner and a couple glasses of wine, a meal for two at Attica costs over $900! I checked out the menu to see what that would involve. Right now they’re offering a lot of options I’ve never heard of, like “Tulip and Jumbuck,” “Pearl Cooked in Paperbark,” and “An Imperfect History of Ripponlea.” Yum?

 

3. Asia

Asia, and especially Japan, are known for their world class fine dining experiences, so I knew this continent wouldn’t disappoint. While reading about the 5 Most Expensive Restaurants in Japan, I discovered Kyoto Kitcho. The restaurant was started in 1930 and passed down through the generations, so now the head chef is the founder’s grandson.

The 10 course tasting menu costs $480 per person, which means with drinks a meal for two here will probably run you over $1,000. Want to show off and order their most expensive bottle of wine to go with it? No problem, that will just be an extra $26,000…

 

2. Europe

Ok, this crazy restaurant in Ibiza has been making headlines lately and definitely has to be mentioned. Coming in hot on Food Network’s List of the World’s Most Expensive Restaurants is a small eatery called Sublimotion. Guys, this isn’t just a meal. The whole experience includes a custom soundtrack, drama, art, magic, and many more performances to accompany the meal. Does that justify the $2,000 per person price tag? Idk, but I’d really love to find out someday! By the way, the restaurant only seats 12 people per night, so if you have the money for the meal, make sure to book your reservations well in advance!

If you think $2,000 per person is absurd (because it is) then hold on to your horses because it’s not even the most expensive restaurant on the continent. That title for Europe goes to this $9,800 pizza for two from Renato Viola in Italy. It’s clearly the most expensive pizza in the world but what’s included in the cost? Some crazy expensive ingredients, obviously, as well as an entire team to fly to your home to cook and serve it onsite in your kitchen. Yeah.

 

1. North America

What is the most expensive dish you can get in North America (and possibly the world?) According to The Independent, it’s a $25,000 taco. Yes, you read that right. One taco. For the price of some Americans’ entire student debt. The taco is served at the Frida restaurant at the Grand Velas Los Cabos Resort in Mexico, but you gotta be in the know to get it. It’s not listed on the menu and is by guest request only according to my pal Imelda, who I chatted with on the resort’s website.

What makes this taco so special? The taco features Almas Beluga, the most expensive caviar in the world, along with Kobe beef, lobster, black truffles, and more. If you can afford ONE TACO for $25,000, please tell me what you do for a living because I really need to get in on that.

 

Ok, there you have it. The most expensive restaurants (that I could find in a couple hours of research) on every continent. Pretty eye opening to see what people are willing to pay for a meal! If you can buy dinner at Central in Peru, you’re having a good year. If you buy dinner at Kyoto Kitcho in Japan, you’ve pretty much made it. If you buy a $25,000 taco, you’re out of your damn mind. But hit me up cause we should definitely hang out sometime 🙂

All my love,

Di

 

 

 

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My 5 Favorite Things About Traveling

I love traveling.

After I left the country and taught English for two months in Belize, I knew that I wanted to keep doing it after college. Since then, Di and I have found different ways to travel over the last three years.

We started by teaching English in Abu Dhabi for two years and were able to travel to several countries.  We then kept it going by working remotely as freelance writers. Over these three to four years of traveling, I’ve learned a lot about myself and the world.

Here are my five favorite things about traveling.

 

1. Trying New Food

Numero uno. Food. There’s a lot of downtime when you’re traveling full-time and working. The best thing to do in that time? Eat. Whether you’re traveling in your own country or abroad, there are always new restaurants, foods, and beers to try. Some of our favorites have been limonada de cocos in Medellin and ceviche in Lima (I didn’t even know what ceviche was before I moved here. Now, I love it.)

 

2. Making Myself Uncomfortable

It’s easy to fall into my same routine every day. Wake up, work a little bit, read for a bit, watch TV, go to sleep. One of the best things about traveling is that there is always something new to try. Something that takes me out of my comfort zone.

In Belize, it was that I was living and teaching in a village of people experiencing poverty that I had never seen before.

In Abu Dhabi, it was a lot of things. There was a new culture, a new (read: barren) landscape, blatant racism, and overindulgence at every turn.

In South America, it’s the absence of English. I’ve never lived somewhere where almost nobody spoke English. I’ve had to learn a lot of Spanish and get comfortable speaking in a different language.

At every turn, there’s something to learn about myself and the world around me. Which brings me to my next point…

Read: The Truth About Traveling Full Time

 

3. Everything is New

Traveling makes me feel like I’m a kid again. When you’re a kid, everything is new. You’ve never been to the park down the street, you’ve never been to your parent’s favorite restaurant, you’ve never seen your favorite band play live. Over time, that magic fades. You go to the same restaurant or bar every Friday, you go to the local park every Saturday, you go to the same breakfast spot on Sunday. Rinse, repeat.

For me, travel helps keep the spark alive.

I get lost in a new city, hear a different culture’s music, wonder why there’s fireworks and parades every single day (looking at you, Peru), and experience the world much in the way that I did as a kid.

 

4. I Appreciate Home More

Despite what I say about the magic fading when I fall into routine, one thing that traveling has done for me is that it’s helped me learn to appreciate everything that I have at home that much more. When I’ve been out of the country for eight or ten months, there comes a point where all that I can think about is home.

Skyline Chili, baseball games, football games, backyard cookouts, parties, ice cubes (and fresh, clean water) from a refrigerator, pasteurized milk in a jug, and everything else that makes home such a great place (like my family and friends, I guess).

There’s nothing like leaving the country for an extended period of time to help me appreciate the little things that I can only find at home.

 

5. Nothing Really Matters

 When you’re living out of a backpack, people come to have certain expectations about you.

Maybe they think that you’ve worn the same clothes for a few days or a week without washing them. Maybe they think that you don’t have a stable career path. Maybe they think that you’re flaky. Those expectations are what makes life traveling that much easier.

Since people already expect it, I go ahead and wear the same clothes without washing them for several days. Since people already think I’m flaky, I don’t have to have a cell phone plan. Since people don’t think I have a stable career path, I don’t really have to explain what I do.

In essence, I don’t have to worry about a lot of the small things that I would have to worry about if I were at home in a normal living situation.

 

As I travel more and am exposed to new cultures, foods, languages, and people around the world, I can’t imagine who I would be if I had never left home.

Let us know what you love the most about traveling in the comments section below!

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5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Working Remotely

Working remotely is something that I wanted to do for a long time. I’m not someone who necessarily enjoys living in one place or going into the same office every day. Although I like having a daily routine to stay productive, I like to be able to do it from wherever I want without anyone looking over my shoulder. Now that I’ve done it for a little over a year now, I love it.

But there’s a few things that I wish I knew before I started working remotely.

If you’re thinking about making the leap into remote work, here are 5 things that you should know before you get started.

 

1. I Still Work 9-5

Before I started working remotely, I had this idea in my head that I would be able to work whatever hours I wanted. However, that didn’t last long. After working remotely for a little bit, I realized that I need to work the typical 9-5 hours for two reasons:

The first reason is that I need to be able to communicate with my clients. Since most of them are based out of the United States, the easiest schedule for me to be on is 9-5.

The second reason is that keeping a schedule keeps me in a routine. I wake up at 7:30, eat breakfast, mess around on the internet for a bit, and then I start working. Having this routine allows me to stay productive.

 

2. It Can Be Isolating

Working from home is great. I don’t have a commute, I have all the food I want right next to me, I have the gym to myself in the middle of the day, and there’s nobody around me telling me what to do.

But the social aspect is lacking.

When you work from home, you don’t have coworkers. You also can go days at a time without leaving your home during the day. Unless you have the money for a nice co-working space, you have to make an effort to get out of your home and socialize. If you aren’t living in your home country, that can be difficult sometimes.

 

3. If You’re Freelancing, Your Money Fluctuates A Lot

I got a little bit lucky when I first started freelancing and working remotely. A pretty reliable stream of work fell into my lap, and money wasn’t really an issue. A few months in, that client disappeared. Just completely ghosted.

That was around $1,000 per month that just stopped coming in one day.

Ever since then, it’s been difficult to find clients that pay well and stick around. I might make $400-$500 one week and then $100 the next. There’s just no real way to predict how much I’m going to make. If you’re planning on freelancing, you’ll need to get creative with your spending and smart with your budgeting.

 

4. You’ll Work With Some Frustrating People

 When you start working remotely, you don’t necessarily work with the best people or companies right away. Unless you’re an experienced developer or programmer, you’re going to find that the people who want to pay remote workers (especially freelancers) are trying to save as much money as possible.

That means, unless you have a lot of experience in your field, you’re going to be working with bottom of the barrel type stuff. They might be ass holes, they might be unreliable, and they might try to take your work for free. You just have to protect yourself as best as possible.

5. It’s a Ton of Fun

 In my head, I imagined a remote work life as being really fun, but it’s even more fun than I could have imagined. I don’t have to sit in traffic in a commute every morning, I can go out for lunch or coffee whenever I want, I take half days when I want, I take days off when I want, and I have time to work on other projects (like this) that interest me.

Best of all, I have the freedom to travel when I want.

Since I started working remotely, I’ve traveled through multiple cities and countries, and lived for 6 months in Colombia and 4 months in Peru. So, despite the drawbacks, working remotely is one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made. If you’re thinking of taking the leap into the remote work and freelancing fields, do it. You just might love it.

Read: How to Start a Digital Marketing Business While Traveling the World

 

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6 Insane Living Places We Can’t Believe People Actually Live

These people take insane living places to the next level…

 

The super weird deserted capital city in Burma

What do you know about Burma? The small country sits in Southeast Asia nestled snugly between China and Thailand. Like a lot of their neighbors, it has a low GDP and small population. However, in a questionable turn of events in 2005 Burma’s government decided to build a new capital city. And not just any capital city, a giant, massive, much too big city.

Naypyidaw is on the list of our insane living places because it’s four times larger than London, and six times larger than New York. The capital boasts 20 lane roads, high-speed wifi, and modern hotels and malls. Burma insists that one million people live there, but in reality it’s a ghost town. Seriously, check it out. There are NO cars on the roads, no people in the hotels, and the malls are absolutely deserted. Why was it built and why doesn’t anyone move there? I have no idea, but I’d love to visit someday to find out. So weird!

These children growing up in prison in Bolivia

The San Pedro prison in La Paz, Bolivia, was made famous when a British inmate began giving tours to travelers in the city. The prison drew visitors because it is so unique. Most notably, there are no cells. Instead, the prisoners here have to buy their own apartments. The prison is an entire self contained city, with restaurants, a real estate system, businesses, and even one of the most active cocaine plants in the country.

What happens when prisoners get sent to San Pedro but they are too poor to pay rent for their families on the outside and their apartment on the inside? They do the only thing they can do, and move their families in with them. What?? Grouping children in with inmates is definitely one of the most insane living places we’ve ever heard of. Kids and wives live together with their inmate fathers in the San Pedro prison, leaving during the day for school or work but returning every night to sleep in the “cells.”

 

The hottest place on earth in Ethiopia

Seriously, why do people live here? This super eerie wasteland is called the Danakil Depression, and it came about because not one, not two, but three tectonic plates combined to throw up some volcanoes and other weird unnatural stuff like boiling chemical lakes, hot springs, salt flats, and god knows what else. The depression only gets four to eight inches of rain a year and the average temperature year round here is 93 degrees F…. seriously, think about the for a minute.

Still, though, the Afar people of Ethiopia have made this inhospitable place their home. How? By walking weeks at a time to sell salt at “local” markets, and, oh yeah, by adapting over the centuries to need less food and water than other humans. You know, normal stuff.

 

 

The highest city on earth in Peru… where miners work for free

I currently live in Peru, and wondered why tourists weren’t visiting La Rinconada, let alone why I had never even heard of it. A quick google search told me why: because it’s depressing as hell. La Rinconada sits at over 15,000 ft. and has no running water or sewage. Oh, and the population of 30,000 people are all working their hands to the bone in the super dangerous mercury filled gold mines… children included.

Ok, it’s super high so what? The reason La Rinconada is on our list of insane living places is because none of the miners get paid! Yeah, the miners work for free all month long, and on the last day can carry out as much rocks as they can lift, hoping to strike it rich. The city is a dangerous outlaw town reminiscent of the wild west… if the wild west was super cold and high.

 

This futuristic city in the UAE

The United Arab Emirates is famous for Dubai, but did you also know they have a crazy futuristic city as well? Located in Abu Dhabi, Masdar City is what happens when you have a lot of money and nothing to do with it.

The goal of Masdar city is to be as eco-friendly as possible to become the first zero-carbon city, so it boasts self driving cars, solar powered everything, a wall around the city to regulate temperatures and even a giant wind tunnel in the center to cool it down.

Masdar City was supposed to have 40,000 residents and 50,000 more commuting in, but none of that happened. When the Abu Dhabi government realized they wouldn’t reach their zero-carbon goal, they pretty much abandoned it, teaching us along the way the important lesson to give up on our dreams when the going gets tough. It’s now a half finished ghost town in the desert, where a few sad college students still stick around studying sustainable industries. Weird.

 

The hidden underground town in Australia

The town of Coober Pedy is small (around 3,000 people,) remote (over 500 miles north of Adelaide,) and underground. Yep, it gets SO HOT in this tiny opal mining town that the people would rather dig holes into the ground and live without daylight than deal with the overbearing heat. These insane living places include an entire dugout town with homes, motels, and even a church.

The super strange thing about Coober Pedy is that some of the opal mining is done by individuals in their own homes. When they’re feeling inspired, they just take a hammer to the wall (or something, idk how it’s done) and see what they can find. Some have even struck it rich in the past, at least enough to keep the hopes up of the rest of the population.

 

So, there you have it. Our list of the top 6 most insane living places around the world. From prisons to peaks, we can’t believe people actually live here (but still would love to check them out some day). Some of them are definitely going on our bucket list!

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