Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus a.k.a. The Minimalists define minimalism as a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.
Isn’t that what we really all want?
I would answer that question with a resounding “yes” statement – It matches the DI ethos to a “t”.
Our purpose at Digital Investor is to provide quality content and education so that you can build a passive income lifestyle.
Lifestyle freedom – That is what it’s all about.
So sit back and enjoy this article as we explore how to travel around the world in a minimalistic way.
Traveling Abroad Made Easy
When it comes to traveling to a foreign country many people haven’t the slightest clue on how to get started.
It’s really not that difficult – Let me show you.
Before you start searching flights, hotels, and the many awesome activities you desire to experience it all begins with obtaining a passport. I happen to be a U.S. citizen so for the purpose of this article we will discuss obtaining a U.S. passport.
The process is pretty straightforward in filling out the DS-11/ DS-82 application, providing evidence of U.S. citizenship, submitting a copy of your ID, having passport-sized photos taken (Be sure to get the correct size – Trust me), and paying a nominal fee of $140 for a passport book and card.
Don’t be intimidated – Visit the travel.state.gov website to get all of the details.
The process should take between 6 – 8 weeks before you receive your bonafide U.S. passport which makes you eligible to travel to just about any country in the world.
I like to say it’s similar to opening up that chocolate bar and finding the golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory – No doubt a game changer.
Unfortunately, this is not the end of the story – Your next step is to determine whether or not the country you wish to visit requires a visa. In some cases you can luck out with visa-free entry or a visa exemption.
Again, visit the travel.state.gov website and search for your country’s entry requirements. If a visa is necessary there will most likely be a link to that country’s website to apply for your visa.
The application process is really not that difficult – Just provide a few personal details, the reason for visiting the country, pay your fee, and you should have your visa emailed back to you shortly.
After you receive all of those documents you can begin researching the logistics of your trip.
Book a Flight For Less
There is an artform to finding a flight at a good price – You may have your own system or you may have heard of different strategies.
Airlines determine their prices through highly complicated supply and demand models. It is because of this reason there is often a better day of the week and time of the year to fly.
I like to look at Matrix Airfare Search before I book my flight to determine those exact dates. Within the site you can set your exact dates, locations, number of stops, currency of payment, etc. – There are many cool features you can play with to determine the best prices and exact dates in calendar format.
Now that you know exactly when you want to fly you can jump on your favorite travel website to book your flight – Google Flights, Priceline, and Expedia are my favorites.
Most of these platforms will even give you real-time updates on price changes for an upcoming flight.
When it comes time to pay I tend not to go for the extra bells and whistles such as insurance, upgrades, etc. If I book a flight I plan to make it. If something outside of my control prevents me from boarding that flight on behalf of the airline then I will receive compensation from the airline.
I know I’ve left out traveling via credit card points in which I could write a whole book about. So if you are super savvy about obtaining credit card points you can easily book an international flight for less than $100.
Many credit card companies will offer a sign-up bonus. For example, I recently obtained 80,000 points via Chase Sapphire which allowed me to book a round-trip ticket to Southeast Asia for less than $100.
Airfare will be your biggest expense for an international flight so be creative in finding the best deal.
Find the Perfect Flat or Bungalow
Before I move forward with booking a room I like to compare the price differences between hostels, short-term rentals, and hotels – It’s an easy way to get a feel for the local real estate market.
If you are on a tight budget you may be thinking a hostel is your only choice. I will say there certainly are some amazing hostels I’ve stayed at with all of the amenities.
Hostel life can be a cool experience if you are young or young at heart.
If you enjoy your space as a traveling professional your next bet would be to search on the short-term rental websites – a.k.a. Airbnb, VRBO, etc.
You may be able to find a modern flat or bungalow for the same price as a hostel. If that doesn’t work try searching a few miles away from where you plan to spend your time.
With the popularity of the short-term rental model these days you shouldn’t have any problems finding a nice place for a good price.
If you need a higher level of service, special types of amenities, or just want to spoil yourself with a resort style feel, a hotel will be your best bet.
Be sure to weigh the cost benefit analysis – As a digital nomad I like to stay in destination locations for a longer period of time.
Just be aware of the cost.
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I will also factor in air conditioning depending upon the location and the time of year, and I prefer to have a gym onsite for my daily exercise routine, if possible.
There are many different ways to hunker down – Take the time to research.
Local Transportation Around Your Destination Location
Finding local transportation can be an adventure!
When you travel abroad there are many transportation options.
I have sat on buses in the U.S., hailed a cab in Canada, piloted a topanga in Mexico, sailed on a sailboat in the Caribbean, flew in a helicopter in Cambodia, chartered a cessna in Nepal, buzzed on the back of dude’s motorcycle in Malaysia, ridden in trains in India, navigated the light rails in Singapore, chilled on the high speed rails in China, and traveled in the Baht buses in Thailand.
I could add more to the list.
Whenever I arrive in a new city, state, or country I always like to research the most cost-effective way to get around town.
You will be surprised that most of the time you can find a method to accommodate your transportation costs at a fraction of the cost of the U.S – I always look at the local public transportation resources first because it will give you a feel of the local culture.
If the public transportation system is a no go, just ask some locals what ride-sharing app to use in town – Uber, Lyft, Gojek, Didi, Grab, etc.
Pretty powerful deal how much can be done with a smartphone.
Negotiate. Negotiate. Negotiate.
It’s always fun to go walk the local markets – You can find many different products, services, or just about whatever your heart desires depending upon your geographic location.
I’m not a huge fan of buying swag unless it’s a staple that I need – I’ve seen it all.
Understandably, your adventure may be different.
Occasionally I will see an item that I want and this is where the fun begins.
Negotiate. Negotiate. Negotiate.
My general rule of thumb is the one-third rule – I always start the negotiation at one-third of the listed price. If I can settle at 50% – 60% of the listed price then I’ve accomplished a successful negotiation.
Before you call me a tyrant let me explain.
In terms of USD the listed price may seem reasonable, but what you don’t know is that there is a 100% chance that the item has been marked up by at least 300% or more.
Look I’m all about turning a profit, I’m a businessman myself.
I know I’m going to be paying more than the locals price – Just don’t make me look dumb.
In my travels all around the world I’ve experienced many different cultures, tasted the most amazing foods, and witnessed the most epic scenarios.
Travel, in my opinion, is the best education life has to offer. And, when you learn how to travel around the world in a minimalistic way you will be afforded the same experience.
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To your passive income lifestyle,
Justin Ash, Founder/ Member