Home > Travel > 60 countries on a plump shoestring hacking global travel

60 countries on a plump shoestring hacking global travel

Date post: 19-Aug-2015
Category:
Author: mahesh-murthy
View: 251,272 times
Download: 4 times
Share this document with a friend
Embed Size (px)
Popular Tags:
of 115 /115
Transcript
  1. 1. 60 countries on a plump shoestring. @maheshmurthy
  2. 2. 60 countries on a plump shoestring.How I hacked travel. And how you can, too. @maheshmurthy
  3. 3. cameras et al when to buywhen to go accessoriesphone & SMS there buying air travelwhere to gopassport, visas internetwhat starts me flexibility buying surface travel shopping packing what stops you buying stay my kind of travelwhy travel inspirationme Todays travel plan.
  4. 4. This is going to be fact-packed. And yet not comprehensive.I can talk all day about it.But will manage what I can in 40 minutes
  5. 5. me
  6. 6. Antarctica, 2006Me
  7. 7. When I wear a cape, I become
  8. 8. A million miles and counting In India till 24. Dad had a roaming job. On my 6th passport book now. Most travel is recreational, not work. Or recreational, appended to work. Not a backpacker any more. Try live a 5-star life at 2-star prices. Not because its unaffordable though often it is. But the near-sadistic joy in hacking it. And the true joy in a mentally freer life.
  9. 9. why travelme
  10. 10. Ushuaia, 2006Why travel?
  11. 11. Whats your reason? To see the world. Literally. To escape the world. To bond with a loved one. To do the places that have to be done To party. ________________________
  12. 12. my kind of travelwhy travelme
  13. 13. Iguazu, 2006My kind of travel.
  14. 14. Everybody has their own style This many not be yours. Too old and lazy for extreme backpacking. Been there, done that. I like the luxurious life. But I like to not pay luxurious prices for it. Figured out a way that works for my wallet, back & heart Happy to share!
  15. 15. what stops you my kind of travelwhy travelme
  16. 16. Rio de Janeiro, 2006What stopsyou?
  17. 17. The things Ive heard Youre so lucky! Not really. Ive had average luck. I dont have time off Yes you do. You just havent asked for it, or gotten it. If I ask for time off, Ill get fired. No one of any value gets fired asking for LWOP And if you dont have value there, why need the job anyway? My passports expired. Go renew it. TCS handles it now. I need to save up lots of money Not really Maybe Ill take one of those packaged tours Dont, man! Youre missing out on the best part of travel!
  18. 18. what starts mewhat stops you my kind of travelwhy travelme
  19. 19. Aruba, 2002What startsme?
  20. 20. My inspiration Need to escape ~ once a month Desire to see once-thought-inaccessible things Antarctica Northern Lights Cherry Blossoms Inexhaustible bucket list Whenever theres a cheap fare, jump on it Whenever theres a long weekend, escape Negotiate more leave, not salary Re-design life to working 4 days a week
  21. 21. passport, visaswhat starts me what stops you my kind of travelwhy travelme
  22. 22. Puerto Rico, 2002Passports andvisas.
  23. 23. http://oh.pn/visa shows 100+ easy ones
  24. 24. Averaging 150 views a day
  25. 25. What I keep ready Passport with 1+ empty pages always big book 10-year US visa 10-year UK visa 2-year+ Schengen visa 1-year+ Malaysian visa Current Yellow fever etc certificates YHAI membership Every possible airline/hotel loyalty program membership Including those Ill never use again because who knows?
  26. 26. where to gopassport, visaswhat starts me what stops you my kind of travelwhy travelme
  27. 27. Oregon Coast, 1995Where to go.
  28. 28. 3 days4 days5 - 7 days1 week2 weeks
  29. 29. How much time do you have? Weekend 2 4 hour drive away 3-day weekend 2 - 3 hour flight + short drive away Gulmarg, Pondicherry, Maldives, Dubai, Bangkok 4 days 3 5 hour flight Istanbul, Kenya, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Mauritius, Kiruna 1 week E. Europe, South Africa, China, Myanmar, Russia, Japan 2 weeks W. Europe, N. Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Oceania 2 weeks+ N America, S America, C America Micro-holidays vs mega-holidays
  30. 30. when to gowhere to gopassport, visaswhat starts me what stops you my kind of travelwhy travelme
  31. 31. Olympic National Park, 1996When to go.
  32. 32. There is no wrong time for a place The off season is often the best season Winter in Scandinavia or N. America Monsoon in Goa Our summer in New Zealand winter Look for opportunities around Indian holidays globally Jan 26: Aurora Borealis? April:Sakura / Cherry Blossom viewing? July: Running of the bulls, Pamplona? Aug 15: Serengeti migration? Diwali: Yi Peng in Chiang Mai? Xmas: Frozen Yellowstone? Gulmarg / Auli? New Yr: Times Square? London? Dont be afraid of the cold / the heat Welcome it. It brings out a different side to a place. And people Offers are rife, hotels are cheap.
  33. 33. Alternatively, do it the other way Decide you want to be somewhere at a particular time Plan a set of micro-holidays Or maybe combine them for a mega-trip EDM and other concerts in Europes summer 28 bands in 18 days Add features around it: Bilbao / Pamplona / Oxford / Stonehenge Meetings on the East Coast Add musicals in New York Add stay at Culinary Institute of America Winter in the US Add 5 national parks Add East Coast cities Do stuff close-by. Dont spread far and wide. Dont try do five unconnected countries in one trip Go deeper into one or two. Youll always come back for more.
  34. 34. when to buywhen to gowhere to gopassport, visaswhat starts me what stops you my kind of travelwhy travelme
  35. 35. Nether Wallop, 2009When to buy.
  36. 36. Tuesday 3 pm & other myths FareCompare says Wednesday is the cheapest day to fly And Tue @3 is the best time to buy These are self-defeating prophesies And it assumes directed travel Beat it: be ready to go anywhere, any time at all At the drop of a hat Dropping 1 or 2 days work at the last moment never hurt anyone. Personal experience: Intl: Buy between 7 days and 3 days before a trip Domestic: Buy between 5 days and 1 day before trip If theres a sale, jump on it Buy the ticket, then figure out a way Flights are the biggest cost. Once thats discounted, rest a steal.
  37. 37. Personal experience of air prices. Unscientific. Reward for extreme planners, last minuters T-60T-28 T-21 T-14 T-7 T-3 T-2 T-1 0
  38. 38. when to buywhen to go buying air travelwhere to gopassport, visaswhat starts me what stops you my kind of travelwhy travelme
  39. 39. Andorra, 2012Buying air travel.
  40. 40. Ixigo:Almostalways thebest fareswithin India:better thanthe OTAs
  41. 41. And tryAkbartoo.BeatsOTAsmost ofthe time.DiscounterEsp. on intl
  42. 42. SkyScanner: The drop-of-a-hat travel planner
  43. 43. SkyScanner: Always good, occasionally unbelievable faresOn your mobile phone too.
  44. 44. SkyScanner also tells you all airlines who fly to anairport. As does WikiTravel. Check separately.
  45. 45. Many LCCs are not on OTAs, meta-searches. Go look them up separately. Ive found better prices often direct on them than elsewhere.
  46. 46. AirAsia: Go subscribe, visit often.Ridiculous fares: especially Cochin out.
  47. 47. AirAsia screws you on everything else. Luggage If carry-on >7kg, youre screwed Pay for it online, not at counter Check-in luggage = charged Seating The right to pick a seat = charged Leave it to randomness short flight, no big deal Water, food, everything charged RyanAir proposes to charge for loo use in air Still worth it If you travel super-light much better lifestyle Extraordinary flexibility The Myanmar story
  48. 48. On seats. Take the less popular airline One with low load factor Go late to the airport Ask for last / second last row to be blocked for you Sleep the entire journey Or if theyre two of you Book aisles across the middle Rarely do centers get allocated then Failing which emergency exit reclining aisle Or bulkhead reclining aisle SeatGuru.com can help
  49. 49. On children. Till the age of 7, pointless to take them along They wont remember a damn thing Especially Disneyland etc (which I personally detest) Unless YOU want to spend time with them You can be severe cause for irritation If your kid hollers the entire way Shut him / her up its your job Use as rationale to get row of 4 Take a leash, seriously. Let kid carry own luggage a little strolley/backpack Buy diapers locally. Milk locally. But a great ice breaker socially overseas. Everyone loves kids, except often their parents
  50. 50. HipMunk great simplifier
  51. 51. Global meta-search
  52. 52. And one of many sites owned by IAC
  53. 53. The zen of booking air travel This is the make-or-break part of travel It doesnt happen first shot. It is the flow over days, even weeks. Till you sense flow of prices. What will give, what wont. The flow You do the meta-searches You do the standard OTAs You check out the LCCs You see if there are any airline deals You pounce Dont have buyers remorse. The process is fun. And, even if youre not up for anything, always be looking
  54. 54. Some air travel wins BOM JFK BOM for Rs. 27,000 roundtrip Over Christmas and New Year BOM MLE BOM for Rs. 12,000 roundtrip BOM BKK BOM for Rs. 12,700 roundtrip BOM GAU BOM for Rs. 8,000 roundtrip KUL LGK KUL for Rs. 3,400 roundtrip IBZ LON for Rs. 2,800 one-way Some is luck, some is skill Work hard, you get luckier! Numerous comp upgrades to business / first Just get your frequent flyer membership everywhere
  55. 55. when to buywhen to go buying air travelwhere to gopassport, visaswhat starts me buying surface travel what stops you my kind of travelwhy travelme
  56. 56. Congo, 2009Buying surfacetravel.
  57. 57. This works everywhere.
  58. 58. Please, rent a car. See the difference. If you can drive in India, you can drive anywhere else. Yes, you need a credit card. Get one. Pay $5 or $10 more a day, rent a GPS Trust automatics. Plug your music into the system. Cars cost $20 to $50 a day Say no to all insurance except CDW. Great experience. See the landside you never otherwise would Take random detours. Buy an atlas for $5 You can easily do 500km a day. Or 1500 km a day in a pinch. Rent a convertible if the weathers good. Worth the extra $20 Use OTAs & Priceline. And go beyond, to local renting houses Take a one-way. Pay $50 extra for the pleasure. Take a road trip Plan ~300 500 km a day. Stay at $40 motels. Drive the US West Coast in a week. Route 66 in two. Lake District or Bilbao Biarritz Andorra - Barcelona in 3 days.
  59. 59. Bus: I havent done this. But seems a steal.12 to 15 per day for any bus, anywhere.
  60. 60. There is almost nobad Rail Pass:Get the bible.
  61. 61. You be on rails! Eurail can be a steal Especially if you spend nights on the train And jump from platform to platform. Learn to read the timetable. Amtrak is extraordinarily under-estimated Coast to coast in 3 days Stopovers at will, a month for $300 A side of America no one else sees. First-class airline-level comfort in economy Now free wi-fi JR makes a lot of sense Get the Shinkansen. And lovely stops in the mountains too Hiroshima for tea, Kyoto for dinner Eurail also works on ferries, ships
  62. 62. when to buywhen to go buying air travelwhere to gopassport, visaswhat starts me buying surface travel what stops youbuying stay my kind of travelwhy travelme
  63. 63. Serengeti, 2008Buying stay.
  64. 64. Begin with TripAdvisorBut go further, deeper. Go by ratings, not recommendations. Go beyond hotels to B&Bs. To Specialty lodging Read through to see if theyre gamed. (>15 reviews) Create a mental shortlist. Then visit their websites. Call the owner. Remember all hotels look the same when youre asleep
  65. 65. Learn to bid.
  66. 66. Hack the blind bid.
  67. 67. Go to coupon sites. Look for promo codes.
  68. 68. Look wider, look deeper, be shameless. Doesnt have to be a chain hotel. Though chains use yield management, so theyre eager Infest ThornTree on Lonely Planet Do a bid-off between travel agents Saved Rs. 5,00,000 on luxury African holiday. Googled to shortlist. $800-a-night places for $150 Do research, then use local agent Ask for the price you want. They can always say no. If all fails, youth hostels 10 a night HostelWorld, HostelBookers And Airbnb With HomeStayDOS / TripVillas
  69. 69. Some lodging wins. Morjim hotel penthouse for Rs. 1,250 a day Langkawi cottage for $25 a day JW Marriott London for 55 a day. JW Marriott Singapore for 50 a day. Hyatt SFO for $40 a day. Various ryokan in Japan for $80 a day Best Western Times Square NYC for $70 a day Russian scientific vessel to Antarctica for $1,000/5 days All these are rates for 2 or more Not just the money saved. The thrill of hacking it
  70. 70. when to buywhen to go buying air travelwhere to gopassport, visaswhat starts me buying surface travel packing what stops youbuying stay my kind of travelwhy travelme
  71. 71. Seychelles, 2010Packing.
  72. 72. No check-in bags. Ever. Am a bit of a Hitler about it. Check-in slows you down. Need to go earlier, get out later And baggage gets lost / held/stolen etc. Or charged for. Only do it post-shopping on way back. With your carry-on bag. Never on way out. You really need much less than you think.
  73. 73. One carry-on per person. Plus one minibag. 55 x 40 x 20 (22 x 16 x 8) Smaller than allowed by regular carrier. Get used to this everywhere. Choose one with 4 wheels that spin. Light, rectangular. Not curved. Travel light not more than 10 kg (many want 7 but) Cheat by getting an expandable one. 1 pair of denim jeans = 0.5 kg! Dont wear/carry denim. Light material. Travel pants / zipoffs with lots of pockets = # of days of travel / 3 T-shirts/tops = # of days of travel Underthings = # of days of travel +1 Shorts / Swimwear. Light cap. Flipflops. If shoes needed, wear those, pack light ones If warmwear needed, wear it dont pack it. Non-bulky light tech wear. Minibag for the rest Laptop, Camera, Chargers, Toiletry kit, tickets, phone Dont bother with books etc. All WILL comfortably fit, if you take the effort. Big backpacks are passe.
  74. 74. Toiletries: thriving with the 100ml ruleIn one hang-able kit. Maybe keep a set aside.Guys Gals Toothpaste Toothpaste Shaving cream Shampoo Shampoo Toothbrush Toothbrush Moisturizer Razor Inexplicable cream 1 Insect cream Inexplicable cream 2 Sunscreen (50+) Inexplicable cream 3 Earbuds Insect cream Comb Sunscreen (50+) Earbuds Tissue kit Comb 1, Comb 2, hairbands Pads, Tampons
  75. 75. when to buywhen to goaccessories buying air travelwhere to gopassport, visaswhat starts me buying surface travel packing what stops youbuying stay my kind of travelwhy travelme
  76. 76. Auschwitz, 2012Accessories.
  77. 77. Some of the things I like.Your mileage may vary.
  78. 78. cameras et al when to buywhen to go accessories buying air travelwhere to gopassport, visaswhat starts me buying surface travelpacking what stops you buying stay my kind of travelwhy travelme
  79. 79. Abisko, 2012Cameras et al.
  80. 80. My journey as an amateur photographer Invested early-on in Canon Bought the lenses. Wides, Zoom. Macro. Fixed. The tripod. Camera bag. The works. Went all over Europe, US, S. America, Antarctica Figured it was way way too much. Cut down to a 18-270 optical zoom on small Sony body Adventure getting remote control via eBay for aurora shots Took a gamble on Samsung Galaxy Cam Quite positively surprised. Especially by on-deck image editing Huge screen it itself a display platform. Recently tried the sphere mode on stock Nexus 4. Blown away. Things are getting smaller, more integrated Welcome the trend Just need the extra battery power!
  81. 81. My gadget recommendations Take an ultra-light laptop with long battery life Take a 4.2+ Android phone with 32+ GB If you will do zooms/closeups, take Galaxy Cam Ditch the Kindle, Tab, iPad, iPad mini: not useful Load your music on the phone. Ditto maps. Take 2 pairs of headphones, splitter Switch on GPS now and then. Else do network nav Look for free wi-fi everywhere. Just ask for the password many oblige Take a 3g dongle around India Take a second phone more on that in a bit.
  82. 82. cameras et al when to buywhen to go accessories phone & SMS buying air travelwhere to gopassport, visaswhat starts me buying surface travelpacking what stops you buying stay my kind of travelwhy travelme
  83. 83. Gulmarg, 2007Phones & SMS.
  84. 84. Phones and SIM cards Get a 2nd phone. Buy a local SIM card after you land and pop it in Or study the difference with Matrix / Airtel / other solutions If you can get data as part of the deal, even better! Use it as an audio guide etc. Use the data monitoring in Android 4.0+ Forward all your calls to voicemail Get SMSes, missed call alerts on your main number Call back from local number Or try Roamfree.ly or other solutions Or even better, stay out of touch Log in once a day from a cyber caf Tell folks youre okay. Go forget the connection with the world you left behind
  85. 85. cameras et al when to buywhen to go accessories phone & SMS buying air travelwhere to gopassport, visasinternetwhat starts me buying surface travelpacking what stops you buying stay my kind of travelwhy travelme
  86. 86. Kaziranga, 2013Internet.
  87. 87. Wi-fi where you can. Local data elsewhere. Dont ever switch on your Indian phones data overseas. The cost alone would be more than your air ticket. Favourite telco ripoff. And 3G makes it worse See if you can get a local SIM with local high speed data Else, wait for whenever you get wi-fi Or go the cyber-caf route. Want to access files & docs while traveling? Put them on Google Docs or email them to yourself on Gmail Put them on a microSD card fits in yr phone & desktop USB Remember some places block Facebook and Twitter Learn to use VPNs.
  88. 88. cameras et al when to buywhen to go accessories phone & SMS buying air travelwhere to gopassport, visasinternetwhat starts meflexibility buying surface travelpacking what stops you buying stay my kind of travelwhy travelme
  89. 89. Myanmar, 2012Flexibility.
  90. 90. Accept it. Itll never go as planned.And thats good. Dont plan things down to the minute. Give some breathing room. Flights are late, cars break down, traffic jams happen Deliberately leave room for unplanned things to happen If flights have to be changed on the fly Penalties can be high try to sweet-talk people. Or junk the sector and buy another one You will have some safety or theft issue Understand the world is even more criminal than India Dont carry much cash. Live light, use cards. Get Prey or similar to remotely track / lock / wipe / phone & comp Welcome the chaos. Its why youre holidaying, really. Surprise yourself by seeing your own mettle.
  91. 91. cameras et al when to buywhen to go accessories phone & SMSthere buying air travelwhere to gopassport, visasinternetwhat starts meflexibility buying surface travelpacking what stops you buying stay my kind of travelwhy travelme
  92. 92. Kyoto, 2011What to do there.
  93. 93. Eat like a local.
  94. 94. Drink like a local
  95. 95. Work like a local.
  96. 96. Party like a local.
  97. 97. Live like a local.
  98. 98. Donts Eat Indian food. Settle for McDs or KFC or some global chain Talk only to other Indians while traveling Take only packaged tours Be afraid to ask questions Forget to smile Stay in at night
  99. 99. cameras et al when to buywhen to go accessories phone & SMS there buying air travelwhere to gopassport, visasinternetwhat starts meflexibility buying surface travelshoppingpacking what stops you buying stay my kind of travelwhy travelme
  100. 100. Langkawi, 2013Shopping.
  101. 101. You get virtually everything here itself And whatever I cant, I VPN + Borderlinx to get seamless delivery in India.
  102. 102. Not worthwhile shopping for: Electronics Books Anything from Amazon Foods
  103. 103. Maybe worthwhile shopping for: Obscure booze Clothes, to check fit Magazines Fridge magnets, souvenirs
  104. 104. cameras et al when to buywhen to go accessories phone & SMS there buying air travelwhere to gopassport, visasinternetwhat starts meflexibility buying surface travelshoppingpacking what stops you buying stay my kind of travelwhy travelinspirationme
  105. 105. Margaret River, 2006Inspiration.
  106. 106. So whats your inspiration? Lifestyle change? Osmosis Reading The slew of magazines around you Movies Destination choice? Your own trigger Dont follow the crowd If you DO want to start: try South East Asia Especially Thailand, Laos, Malaysia When? How much Now. Rs. 30,000 per head for a week? All included Just go!
  107. 107. cameras et al when to buywhen to go accessories phone & SMS there buying air travelwhere to gopassport, visasinternetwhat starts meflexibility buying surface travelshoppingpacking what stops you buying stay my kind of travelwhy travelinspirationme
  108. 108. packingpassport, visas what to see photographyplanningair travel roadwhen to gowhere to goI hope that was somewhat useful internetsavingsThank you!what starts youstaysafety what stops [email protected]+91 98922 49969foodkinds of travelwhy travelinspirationme

Recommended