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Episode summary

Tune in and get ready to transform the way you plan your travels. We, Sara and Chris, promise to equip you with practical tips and insights that will make your travel experiences less daunting and far more enjoyable. We launch this episode by discussing how to budget intelligently for your trip, emphasizing the importance of having an overall budget and breaking it down into different categories. We share our experiences on how to select cost-effective destinations and reveal secrets on how cooking at home can be a fun and money-saving part of your adventure!

As seasoned explorers, we understand the importance of safety while traveling. The second part of our episode is dedicated to providing you with invaluable advice on how to research safety levels before setting off on your journey. We guide you on the use of the US State Department's website for safety ratings and discuss the benefits of travel insurance and staying in American chain hotels. Furthermore, we delve into the importance of always being aware of your surroundings and respecting local advice.

We wrap up our episode with a detailed look at driving internationally, explaining why having an International driver's license is crucial. We also delve into the differences between primary and secondary auto insurance. And don't miss out on our practical guide to SIM cards for staying connected while you're globetrotting – we'll tell you where to get them, which providers to consider, and what you can expect to pay. Whether you're planning your first trip or your hundredth, join us as we journey together, sprinkling in wisdom and insights from our own experiences along the way. Let's turn your travel dreams into reality!

Mentioned in this episode

The Best Travel Insurance: https://safetywing.com/?referenceID=chrisandsara&utm_source=chrisandsara&utm_medium=Ambassador

Follow Chris and Sara

Youtube: ⁠⁠⁠⁠https://www.youtube.com/chrisandsara

⁠⁠⁠⁠Instagram: ⁠⁠⁠⁠https://www.instagram.com/chrisandsara_⁠⁠⁠⁠ | @chrisandsara_

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🎙What No One Tells You

Get inspired by world travelers Chris and Sara with "What No One Tells You," their conversational podcast. Each episode is a fun chat with friends sharing personal experiences, insider tips, and riveting stories. The show is elevated by amazing guests from Youtubers, ultra marathoners, bloggers, and adventurers who bring their unique energy and perspectives to the table. With Chris and Sara, you're sure to feel a part of the group, ready to embark on a new adventure. Explore the world one story at a time and join the conversation today.


👫🏼 Who are Chris and Sara?

Hey y'all! We're Chris + Sara (or as you know us, Let’s Be Us), a husband and wife digital nomad travel duo currently working and traveling full time with our pup, Kramer. We've always dreamed of traveling full time, and in May of 2018 we took the leap and made it happen! Today we're balancing work and fun everywhere between the Pacific and Atlantic. From hiking and cycling to tacos and coffee, we're trying to see and experience as much of this world as we can! While our home is currently on wheels in our DIY Sprinter van, our travels take us all around the world.Be sure to hit subscribe here on Youtube and follow along on Instagram for more daily fun! Oh, and be sure to say hi while you're here. :)


📝 Transcript

NOTE: There were 2 speakers identified in this transcript. Speaker separation errors can arise when multiple speakers speak simultaneously.

0:00:00 - Sara

Today we are starting something new, and that is a mini series within our podcast series. So if you don't know who we are yet, I'm Sara. 

0:00:09 - Chris

I'm Chris. 

0:00:10 - Sara

And we are most time. And we who are we? I don't know where I was going with that. We are a husband and wife duo who travel for long periods of time. We used to be full time, but I feel like that's misleading now because we do have a home base. 

0:00:24 - Chris

But we travel for months at a time and we travel in our truck, and so if you're watching the video format of this, you'll be like, well, you're not in your truck right now. 

0:00:32 - Sara

Our last few episodes have been from our truck camper, but today we're in a hotel because it is having some work done to it, and so we have been displaced for a few days. 

0:00:40 - Chris

So join us in this Hyatt hotel as we start our brand new series. 

0:00:46 - Sara

It's a little five part series and it's called WonderLosage 101. And the idea is that this is gonna be practical information to either. The idea is that this is gonna be practical information for beginner travels. But even if you've traveled a little bit, you're still gonna have little nuggets in here, I think, because if you're like us, there's always something to learn from another traveler. There's another website, another resource, another little tip that you've never thought of before. 

So hopefully if you're an experienced traveler, maybe we have something for you. But specifically, this is for those who are a little nervous of taking that first step, of whether it's domestic or international. This is gonna be practical advice, of helping you navigate what you need to do, what you need to consider to get to your first place. 

0:01:29 - Chris

There's a lot to consider there and we have a lot of people ask us all the time and we have a lot of people who are just kind of overwhelmed by choosing a location. Or even I feel like the further you travel away from your home base, the harder it becomes. It's more daunting, I think, More daunting. 

0:01:47 - Sara

Maybe the language barrier is greater or the culture is more different. Yeah for sure. So this is gonna be not just for international travels. We'll probably lean a lot in an international, just because I feel like that's where a lot of the nerves exist. But, it also has to do with domestic, because a lot of people, for their budget or for their first step, they're comfortable with a domestic vacation. So we're just gonna go ahead and jump right in. 

0:02:10 - Chris

["The First Step of the Day"], First thing to consider when you're picking a place to travel what do you think it is? 

0:02:20 - Sara

Budget, At least for us. Maybe you're not like us and budget is not an object to consider, and if that's the case, take us with you. We'd love to come. 

0:02:29 - Chris

Our email is down below. 

0:02:31 - Sara

But for most people like ourselves, budget's always been something we've considered. It affects the time of year we go, where we go, when we go, everything. So budget is very, very important, but budget is affected by a lot of different things. 

I think our number one tip is to say start with a big number or not, it doesn't have to be big. Or start with the final total number that you are comfortable spending on a trip, the all-inclusive price for airfare, for accommodations, for food, for activities, all that. Figure out that number and then break it down into categories of how much it's gonna cost to get to where you wanna go. 

0:03:03 - Chris

What do you think the most expensive part about a trip is? 

0:03:06 - Sara

It depends. For us it's accommodations, because we typically go for longer periods of time, so we typically go for going to a different country. It's at least two weeks, so accommodation adds up. Usually airfare's a little bit less expensive because we can be flexible on airlines, even airports that we fly out of. But for a lot of people they're limited by time so they will be going for less time and they have to fly out of a certain place, so airfare will be the most expensive or fuel will be the most expensive. But accommodation does. It adds up pretty quickly and it can vary a lot. We don't necessarily state the cheapest is the cheaper. We definitely don't say luxury, we usually do somewhere in the middle of the line and typically dog-friendly. 

0:03:43 - Chris

So is there any way that we could cut cost immediately, like if you're like, all right, I'm going to travel on a budget, what is the quickest way to cut the cost down? 

0:03:53 - Sara

I think the cheapest would probably be to cut your beer out for most people. Maybe consider something domestic that you can drive to within a couple of hour radius. 

So it also take a lot of stress off. If you're traveling solo especially, consider doing something a little closer home, like dip your feet in and then go back home, figure out what you do and don't like. Maybe you really love the city aspect of it or the outdoor aspect of it, but if you're really determined to go international, I'd say choose somewhere that's relatively affordable and I would say go somewhere that has a lot of free activities. Maybe you're not going to do every single museum. 

I wouldn't probably start with something like Paris, where there's a million museums to go to and everything's relatively expensive. I'd say, start with something like Mexico or Costa Rica, or I'm not even Costa Rica. Costa Rica's got an expensive, but Panama, you know something that's relatively affordable. They speak Spanish, which a lot of Americans are at least somewhat familiar with. It's not as daunting as something like Korean. But I'd say figure out a less expensive destination if you really want to have that international experience. That, yeah, you can afford most things. 

0:05:00 - Chris

And I know if I mean any money that you can save on a trip is great, and I think one of the tips that we do quite a bit is that whenever we go somewhere, we'll go to the grocery store and we'll buy food and we'll try to cook in, because, no matter what, if you're eating out, typically it adds up over time. 

0:05:18 - Sara

I don't think I don't agree with that, though, because a lot of countries it's cheaper to eat out, Like in Asia a lot of times in Asia. It is so much cheaper to eat out, as long as you're eating like the locals, like. That is the number one budget saving tip if you're traveling internationally. Do like the locals do, and that means you are eating the food of the locals. 

You are traveling like the locals on the ground, like the transportation that they use. That is gonna be so much cheaper than you know always hiring an Uber or eating at American or European-style restaurants. If you're in South America or Asia, eating like the locals or traveling like the locals is a great way to save a lot of money. So there's a lot of different ways to cut corners, but a lot of how you cut corners is gonna depend on the type of trip you're taking, which is our next point. 

0:06:00 - Chris

Yeah, because you could spend forever on a budget. But what type of trip is this? And I think it always comes back to your why. Why are you taking this trip? Is it for, is it because you wanna relax? Is it because you want some adventure? Is it because you want some culture? Is it because you're seeing family? Or is it a work trip? Like, why are you doing this trip? 

0:06:19 - Sara

Yeah, I mean there's definitely some categories that are instantly gonna be more expensive, like a spa trip for a honeymoon or something like that. So but even within that, you can definitely go to less expensive places than, say, you don't wanna go to Monaco, probably for a spa trip, unless you have unlimited money. But you could do something like Bangkok, where you could get an amazing hotel for a lot less than what you can get in Europe you know, and you can have amazing spa treatments for a fraction of the cost. 

There are different ways you can go about saving money, Like certain things are gonna be less expensive in other countries. If you wanna do outdoor adventure like hiking or climbing, maybe go somewhere where the terrain isn't as daunting. 

You can go somewhere where you don't necessarily have to have a guide, as long as you have a basic knowledge of what you're doing and you take the safety precautions. There are places that you can go that you don't have to pay as much for guides or that kind of thing. I'd say figure out your category. Whether it's a relaxation trip, whether you're going for adventure, whether you're going for cultural, whether you're going for food, figure that out and then figure out the hobbies that you want to. What are your hobbies? What are the things you want to do while you're doing that trip? So, whether it's a food trip, you wanna do a culinary kind of thing. You wanna do lots of food tours and you wanna experience as much of that food and that culture that you can. But you also really love photography and so you wanna capture it and you want the footage to be really cool and epic and beautiful and colorful. 

Maybe go somewhere that looks very different than where you're from, maybe somewhere like Morocco or Southeast Asia that's really vibrant. You've got the different street vendors and that kind of thing. Like consider what you're after. If you're looking for something that's very visual or very sensory overload, if that's something you're desiring, you probably don't want to. Necessarily. You probably don't want to do something like you're up. If you're from America, you probably want to do something that's a little bit more exotic feeling. So figure out your category and then figure out your hobbies along the way. What is it you want to do? What is it you love back home that you would love to do while traveling? 

0:08:19 - Chris

Yeah, whatever experience it is, and make sure that it's the right time of the year to do those experiences. 

0:08:25 - Sara

You don't want to go skiing in July in Switzerland? 

0:08:28 - Chris

Yeah, I mean you could, but it won't be the same experience, Probably be very grassy. 

0:08:32 - Sara

So time of year is also one of our best ways to save money. Traveling on the shoulder season can allow you to save a lot of money. A lot of people don't travel on the shoulder season. In the shoulder season, summer typically ends up being the most expensive and that's just because that's when most will take their vacations. 

It's when school's out. It can get really pricey really fast. But if you are people like us who can afford the time to travel in the off season or the shoulder season, that's where you can save a lot of money and you also experience lighter crowds. Downside of that, weather can be unpredictable. You may have really sunny, really rainy, it may be hurricane season, so there's a certain level of risk that comes with it. But if you're prepared, you can still have a great trip. 

0:09:13 - Chris

Yeah, and even if the weather is awful, you can still have a great trip. 

0:09:17 - Sara

On top of weather. As a consideration for time of year, you also have to consider holidays and events so we've made the mistake and have been. We've made some really terrible timing mistakes in our past, both domestically and internationally. 

0:09:30 - Chris

I remember we were in our first van and we were right we were in New Orleans for Mardi Gras on accident. And then we got out of there and we went to Houston and Houston had a rodeo. We had a big rodeo every year and we got out of there we're like. And then we went to Austin and they had South by. It was like event after event, we were just kept messing. 

0:09:49 - Sara

We were bad. That was a rough month. It was a great month, but it was definitely like oh, that was the first time we really we need to look at events too. It's not just about the weather. So looking for events but looking for holidays. If you're American, you might not think about Ramadan. 

Say you're wanting to do a food tour in Morocco, you've got to consider Ramadan, because they do fast during that. So you've got to consider the local holidays and also events. So say you want to go to Germany Oktoberfest. Oktoberfest is going to be a more expensive time. But if you don't really care about Oktoberfest, don't go during Oktoberfest because that would be considered shoulder season for most of Europe but that's going to be really expensive in Germany. So you got to look and see what is big in the area that you want to go. 

0:10:34 - Chris

Yeah, go to the website of whatever country, whatever state, city that you are going to and just click on the calendar, Just. 

0:10:42 - Sara

Google. Yeah, google is a great way to find out what events are happening. Maybe you do want to be there for that and it's worth a little extra money, or maybe you just need to figure out when does it start snowing in Utah, like when is the? Best time to snow or best time to ski or whatever. Figuring that out will definitely be a great starting point if you are going for something pretty specific and that will also dictate how much you can spend and how long you can go for. 

0:11:07 - Chris

Yeah, speaking of snow and us being Southerners, we really don't know how to drive in the snow. 

0:11:11 - Sara

That can be a safety issue for us it can be a safety issue. 

0:11:14 - Chris

So are there any safety considerations that we should think about when booking our first trip? 

0:11:20 - Sara

For sure, both domestically and internationally. There are places you should always be aware of what's happening there, or have there been protests? Have there been a string of crimes lately, like I mean there are even domestic. I mean the US has just as much crime as any other place in the world, seems like, so you've got to be aware of what's been happening in that specific place. It's easier for me to talk about safety internationally because I'm just so familiar with safety in the US. I mean, aside from so, don't walk alone at night, don't wear flashy jewelry or carry expensive electronics stuff like that, like the basics. Aside from that, we like to go to the State Department's website. 

That stuff that's really helpful for international. The US State Department will rank safety in a country on a scale of one to four, one being the safest and four being the most dangerous. So one is this is generally a very safe place to be. Four is we do not recommend you going here. There are large sets of terrorists or whatever it may be, and it can change quickly. A lot of places in the world, including the US, things change very fast, but especially in developing countries where you're gonna wanna stay on top of it, for example, like Peru. Peru has been a pretty safe place to go the last couple years, but last year they had a lot of protests and stuff, so you have to stay on top of it. I think Peru's a great place to go again right now, but you do wanna be aware of things can change fast and you want to have travel. Insurance is very important. 

0:12:49 - Chris

Yeah, what is your travel insurance company that we should You're just beating me questions because we use, we know what we use. Well, I know what we use, but like I can link it down below but yeah, safety wing. 

0:12:58 - Sara

Yeah, we use safety wing that is gonna be an affiliate link, but yeah, safety wing, we've been very happy with them. They offer I can't remember how much it is a month, but it's really not that bad. You do month-to-month basis and cancel it. So if you're going for two weeks you only have to buy it for a month. You don't have to buy it for a whole year or something. But one of the things they offer is if there is a political you have to get out of the country, they will help you transport out, like it covers you. It also covers like medical expenses, that kind of thing. So having travel insurance can save your butt. 

0:13:28 - Chris

Thankfully we've never had to use it but it's there it's just nice to have. And I do wanna say that most places are safe to visit. You know, occasionally you will. What you see on the news is a lot of times 1% of that actual place. Now you still need to be smart and safe. 

0:13:45 - Sara

Yeah, there's definitely certain places you should avoid, even considering your passport, the passport that you carry. I mean, we carry American passports and Americans aren't the most beloved people in a lot of places, so you have to be aware of how you're gonna be potentially treated. What are the international relations with some of the places that you're going? But, yeah, like you said, most places are safer than what you're gonna see on the news, but that doesn't mean you need to bypass what you're seeing. There's always truth in there. So do your research and just always, always be aware of your surroundings. 

Just know what to look for. Actually, our last episode with Bethany Taylor was a lot about safety, just in everyday life. She's an American living in Japan and Japan's like, notoriously safe. But if you go to her Instagram, she has all sorts of practical tips for how to park safely, what to look for if you're traveling alone or in a group. Just you can cut down on the amount of danger you put yourself in just by being aware, putting down the phone or anything. 

0:14:48 - Chris

All right, we're at the computer. We're about to book our first trip. 

0:14:53 - Sara

Yes, yeah all right. 

0:14:56 - Chris

Should we do like a city or should we do more like rural adventure? 

0:15:01 - Sara

That's up to you. That has to be up to. I. Can't tell them I know what I like and that changes from trip to trip. But I'd say, figure out what you're comfortable with. If you live in a city and you're comfortable with cities, maybe start with the city. Cities are oftentimes where you're gonna have the best. If language barrier is a concern if you're doing international major cities are gonna have the most English speaking people, typically not always. 

0:15:26 - Chris

I mean, there's certain countries that they don't speak much English, but you're gonna have better transportation, bigger airports. 

0:15:32 - Sara

You're gonna have probably more variety and accommodation. So if you're nervous about booking your first Airbnb, well, you can book a hotel, even an American chain hotel, if that makes you more comfortable. 

0:15:42 - Chris

And I think that's something that we don't really touch on too much, but we should mention that if we go internationally somewhere, sometimes we like to stay at an American chain hotel in whatever country. That is because you have a concierge. They're able to help. You always think about the office when he's like. 

0:16:03 - Sara

Yeah, the concierge, it's like the geisha. 

0:16:06 - Chris

It's like the geisha of Canada. I always think of that, but it is true, though it eliminates some risk. 

0:16:13 - Sara

Let's be clear we're not always staying in hotels. In fact, we rarely stay in hotels that are expensive enough to have a concierge. 

0:16:18 - Chris

It's true. 

0:16:19 - Sara

But what you can do, even in like. We love supporting local when we can, whether that's an Airbnb or a boutique hotel, but we do travel with Kramer and so a lot of the dog friendly hotels do typically be. Do typically be are typically American change, unfortunately. But with that comes a certain level of security and I do recommend American chains, maybe if you're a new traveler and you're American and going international only because there's gonna be a certain standard that's upheld. 

That is gonna be familiar. You know the rooms are gonna have certain standards. You're gonna have English speaking people working the front desk. It can help you navigate something. I mean even, for example, staying in Maritah, mexico, in February, march when were we there? 

0:17:02 - Chris

April, april. We were there in April. 

0:17:05 - Sara

Anyway, we stayed at just like a residence in or something. We were there for a week and, while we speak a very, very tiny bit of Spanish, having somebody at the front desk who spoke English is always really helpful, like we always try to do our best and communicate in their language. But we were able to ask him hey, we got these two places recommended to us. Which one would you choose? And he could tell us in our language or I would recommend taking this transportation, not this transportation. 

0:17:29 - Chris

So there is a certain luxury that comes with staying in a familiar hotel chain, even if it's not like a really expensive one and I will say that we've stayed in Airbnb's both stateside and internationally, and I do feel like staying in Airbnb's internationally typically is a lot better. 

0:17:47 - Sara

Can be after sure. 

0:17:48 - Chris

Can be. We have had some bad experiences both stateside and internationally, and stateside it is easier to communicate with the host. Obviously, internationally it's a little harder. 

0:18:03 - Sara

A little more difficult can be, but actually Airbnb tells you what language is the host speaks. So, I was looking at one in Thailand recently and the host spoke Thai, mandarin or in English. She spoke multiple languages. I was like, well, it's very advanced but, good for you. 

I love to support local when we can, but having a dog friendly hotel is essential for us, and with hotels versus Airbnb's, a lot of times you get a gym, and staying fit on the road is really important to us. We really do like to be able to work out. It helps us mentally, physically, it wakes us up. I mean everything about it. It allows us to eat more when we're traveling. Having a gym is really one of those things that we absolutely love. 

And sometimes you don't have it and that's when the stairwell and the apartment building comes in handy to go up and down the stairs. A gym is important, but also laundry, that's the perk of having an Airbnb, but some hotel chains have laundry. 

0:18:53 - Chris

Yeah, yeah, or laundry services, depending on where you're at in the world. 

0:18:57 - Sara

Have you ever paid for laundry service? 

0:18:59 - Chris

One time in Thailand. 

0:19:00 - Sara

Yeah, we did, and that's because they came and they took it, they did, they picked it up and everything that was awesome, that was awesome, so that was great. 

Yeah, but I'm gonna go back to the one in Merida. It was just a Marriott chain. We got a great price on it. I think it was the same price as staying local, because we got like a long term stay kind of thing, like it was a week deal, but they had laundry machines, they had a great gym, they had a laundry, they had a pool and they were dog friendly. They even had a free shuttle to go within like five miles or something. So that was a great find. 

Considering accommodations can really determine the experience you have and also where that accommodation is and the place that you are Like, oh man, accommodate. I love talking places to stay. That's one of my favorite things is just like finding these really cool hotels or Airbnb's. How do you find them? I think it's just a matter of looking. I think I like to do research on where do I wanna stay in that town, like what neighborhood? There's so many blog posts out there on like the best neighborhoods in Seoul or the best neighborhoods in London, and you can get their opinion on like what makes that one good? Maybe it's great for nightlife, maybe it's great for culture, maybe it's family friendly and has a lot of playgrounds. That's the kind of stuff Like figure out what neighborhood you wanna stay in and figure out what hotels or Airbnb's are in that area and try to get close to it. 

And then, if you're planning on taking public transit, make sure your near public transit stop like a subway. There's a lot of things to consider, but that depends on who you are and what you're wanting to do. But accommodation think of that as your home base, your hub when you're traveling. You want that to be somewhere that's safe, that's comfortable and that's convenient. 

0:20:28 - Chris

Yeah, and you brought up a good point about transportation. I mean, it's one thing if you are from the States and you're staying within the States, you have your driver's license, you can pretty much drive wherever or you're taking public transit within the city. But maybe you're going internationally and maybe, like for Iceland, you know, from Iceland, you can get from the airport and take a bus to Reykjavik, reykjavik. 

Reykjavik, reykjavik, I think that's right, you could either take the public bus around Iceland or, if you don't wanna do that, you have to drive. And so what do you need to drive? 

0:21:03 - Sara

An international driver's license. I wanna show you my yeah international driver's license that they're actually two different ones, but you can go to AAA in America and just pick up one and it's good for a year. 

0:21:14 - Chris

It was pretty inexpensive too. 

0:21:16 - Sara

Yeah, I can't remember. I wanna see. Maybe it was $50. 

0:21:18 - Chris

Yeah, something like that, but we just went in, got it real fast it's not too bad and we always are on the side of we want to have that we wanna be safe. 

0:21:26 - Sara

You have to in some ways. 

0:21:27 - Chris

We've never once, being international, been asked for it. 

0:21:31 - Sara

No, we haven't not even running the car, cause some places our driver's license is good, like in Iceland. They accepted American driver's license, but in Brazil they weren't supposed to, but I don't know if they ever asked for it. 

0:21:42 - Chris

They never asked us for it. 

0:21:43 - Sara

I did read that if we have run in one Korea, they do ask for it. 

So I would err on the side of always have it, Always have it especially if there's a wreck or something like your legal driving, and I don't think your insurance will cover you unless you have it Like there's certain insurances that will cover you when you're driving internationally One of the Chase credit cards. We don't have this, but this is our next. We'd love to get this credit card. I'm not a big credit card pusher, but I think the annual fee is like $100, but it gives you primary auto insurance coverage internationally and considering you're gonna pay $100 in auto insurance for a week on a car like that pays for the credit card. 

So if you're planning on running a car internationally? That might be worth checking into if you don't already have a policy that can cover you. And there's a difference between primary and secondary insurance. So look that up and you need primary. 

0:22:28 - Chris

Yeah. So all right, we've already talked about they're trying to pick their very first place. They're going or picking a trip. You know we've determined what type of trip it is, the why behind the trip, you've determined a little bit of the cost, a little bit of you know if it's safe at the time of year, all of that. So we have that. What are some practical resources that we can use? 

0:22:52 - Sara

Yeah, All right. I think number one tip would be using Google flights for booking your flight. 

0:22:58 - Chris

They actually just came out with an update too. 

0:23:00 - Sara

I did hear that like just sweet. So Google flights is how we book our flights we always have, because you can book them directly with the airline, which gives you so much more flexibility if you need to change a ticket. If you book through somebody like Expedia or Kayak or bookingcom, you're at the mercy of those vendors and they are not compassionate. 

I don't want to knock all of them, but you are going to be much better off if you book all of your reservations directly with the source, whether that's hotels or airlines, whatever it is, do it. I can't tell you how many times we've had to change a flight unexpectedly or a hotel, but because we booked directly with it, we were okay. 

0:23:41 - Chris

Yeah, we were fine and become a member of whatever company. It is Like you know, if it's for Delta, become a Sky member or whatever. If it's for Marriott, become a Marriott. It's free. 

0:23:51 - Sara

Yeah, it's free to join and the points really do add up. Like, we don't think we stay in hotels that often, but most places have their points roll over and we actually have gotten multiple nights free this year already. So points do add up and if that's something that you are looking at doing, just sign up for them. They're free. 

0:24:07 - Chris

Yeah, super free. They're gonna take your information anyways. Just go ahead and keep it down. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, like Sara said, we try to stay away from things like Expedia or hotels tonight. So occasionally we will use them, but for the most part the only thing we book through them is rental cars. That is true. 

0:24:23 - Sara

Because you book it but you don't pay in advance, and then you get there and you pay directly with the counter of the place. But the online things like Kayak will give better deals than directly with the vendor. So rental cars are okay to book in my opinion. Yeah, no, I 100% agree to that, as long as you don't pay in advance, otherwise you get right back into the same position. 

And let's be real loyalty to the rental car companies, completely useless yeah all right, I mean like we have how many cars have we had a rent this year driving, and Enterprise will not give us our points, Like we have to hound them for our points. 

0:24:55 - Chris

Yeah, it's always a headache. 

0:24:57 - Sara

I will get my free rental. 

0:24:58 - Chris

Yeah, so all right, maybe you're looking for flights right now, google flights. That's what we use primarily looking at different flights, but there are other resources to get cheaper flights, maybe if you have a little bit more flexibility. 

0:25:11 - Sara

Yeah, going, which a lot of people will know it as Scott's cheap flights. They recently rebranded, but they have been around for years and they are by far the best service out there for finding good flight deals, I think. I think they're the best. We used a couple other ones, but I really like them. They've been around for a long time. It seems like their algorithms, the best Prices are good and they have a free version and a paid version of their service. We've actually never paid for it, but we bought flights on the free one. I like going. It's a great way to find affordable flights With that. You're gonna have to book in advance. Usually, these deals are for like six to 12 months in advance. That's harder for us because we can't usually schedule out our lives that far. We're usually pretty constrained by time, but if you have more time and you need to plan in advance, that's a really good option for you. 

0:26:03 - Chris

When is the best time to book a flight? 

0:26:06 - Sara

I have heard internationally it's best to buy about five weeks in advance. But if you're going during peak season or you're using your points and miles to book, you're gonna wanna book far in advance, Like if you're going peak season to Europe, like summer season, you do not wanna be booking five weeks before because everything's gonna be taken, every good deal's gonna be gone, so I would just start looking. 

Actually, Google Fights will let you track prices so you can say I'm tracking prices from Atlanta to Rome and you can put up alerts and it'll send you like hey, that flight that you've been watching just dropped. You wanna book now? But one of the new features Google just came out with is telling you when the best time is to book those flights I haven't used that, so that may just take all the guessing out of it. 

I have heard people say, using a VPN say you're buying a flight from the USA to Ireland you use a VPN from somewhere like Brazil. While you're doing that and booking that flight, even if you are in America at the moment you will get a better price. I have not found that to be true. I've tried that several times and the price has always ended up being exactly the same. They'll change the currency, but past that I'm like it's the exact same price. 

I don't know if those days are gone, now that people are getting trickier with their little VPNs and people are getting more savvy at those little hacks, if that's changing, but that used to be it's worth trying if you have the time in a VPN. 

0:27:29 - Chris

All right, so we've booked our flight. Yes, now we need to book our hotel. 

0:27:36 - Sara

Hotel I liked. Honestly, google is really sort of how I like to plan my trips. It really is. We don't use Google for everything but Google Maps. If you have done your research, like we talked about with the neighborhoods, and you know what neighborhood you wanna go to, you can go to Google Maps, find that neighborhood in that city or wherever you're going, and search hotels and then within that on Google Maps you can sort by amenities, which includes pet friendly, it can include how many stars, the price, maybe you want laundry and you can find hotels on that map. You've gotta be careful because they aren't always accurate. Sometimes they say doc friendly and they're not, or vice versa. They'll have laundry or they don't. But that's a great way to start at least finding the hotels and then go to those specific hotels that look interesting to you, that look like they might be within your budget, and look at their FAQs, look at their policies on those kinds of things that are important to you. Do you have a jump? Do you accept kids that kind? 

of stuff, but Google Maps is a great way just to see all your different options in an area. 

0:28:37 - Chris

Yeah, and what we use. It's not necessarily for. You, can use it for anything. It's one of our favorite apps that we use, but it's called Notion and we will put all of our information, all the hotels, all the flights, everything that we can, into Notion. Which it's like a project management system. 

0:28:57 - Sara

It is. A lot of people will still use Excel or Sheets by Google. Whatever you wanna do, whatever's free, but we like Notion because it has so many built in features. This is not sponsored. We just really like Notion you can create. We put all of our confirmation numbers, all of our check in and check out times and dates and how we're gonna get from point A to point B, all that kind of stuff. It's hi Kramer Kramer's here. We put all of our information in it and it just keeps it streamlined. And they have a phone app or the computer app where you can view it in the browser. So it makes it really handy. In fact, that's what we're using right now is we're looking at our notes. We organize our podcast that way too, and so we're just like pulling up our notes that we wrote earlier. Organizations, keith, you don't wanna, while you're planning and then, while you're on the road, you wanna make sure you have everything at your fingertips and you're not digging for information. 

0:29:42 - Chris

Yeah, and you wanna make sure too, especially if you're traveling internationally, that you have a way to get to the internet and maybe you're traveling, you have Verizon here in the States or AT&T. A lot of times they will have like boarding pass, they're like travel passes. They're expensive. 

0:30:02 - Sara

They can't yeah. 

0:30:03 - Chris

They're really expensive, like Verizon. I remember it was like $10 a day or $20. It was something crazy For minimal, for minimal, like half a gig. So a lot of times when we get into an airport we will look for a SIM card that we can change, or they have eSIMs now with the new iPhones. 

0:30:20 - Sara

But I've heard this are kind of unpredictable still. Those don't give you the full yeah. So we still like Data phone number kind of thing, yeah so we still like to change out our SIM cards. 

0:30:29 - Chris

It just makes it easier, especially if you're in a new place. 

0:30:32 - Sara

Yeah, I do some research on the destination of where you're going. Sometimes the SIM cards at the airport are more expensive, but sometimes you need that SIM card before you leave the airport to book that taxi or that Uber or whatever it is. 

Some countries will even allow you to reserve your SIM card before you even arrive, like Korea did that. We didn't do this in Korea because we have Google Fi, which allows us to. We have international coverage and domestic coverage, cause we're back and forth a lot. We just switched over from Verizon recently, but that's an option. If you travel a lot, that's a solid option. But SIM cards are great. They're really easy. In many countries you can go to a 7-Eleven or a mall it's to a kiosk and just buy more data as you need it. But some places you can order them and pick them up at the airport. So if you order a head, it's cheaper. That's how Korea was. So do a little research on finding the best providers, like what carrier is going to be best in that country and then how much it's going to cost you to get a ballpark and then where to pick it up, so you know that when you land, you know how to get there. 

0:31:23 - Chris

Yeah, yeah, and typically I mean especially coming from the States the SIM cards are pretty inexpensive. 

0:31:30 - Sara

Data. I think data is most affordable in the US and Canada or something like that. It's very expensive. 

0:31:35 - Chris

Yeah, very expensive in the US and Canada. So if we are, we've given some practical tips. We've talked about the who, what, when, where, why all of that good stuff. If somebody's listening right now and they have no idea where to go, like their first trip maybe not their first trip ever, but maybe like it's a big trip when should they go? Like what would be the easiest? Or a good first international trip and a good first domestic trip in the US? 

0:32:04 - Sara

It really depends on what you're after, but I think in the US, especially if you're going during like peak or shoulder season, I think Seattle's a great place and we're biased because we love Seattle, but Seattle is one of those places where you have major city and you have outdoor adventure right there you have everything. 

You can also have spa treatments, if that's your thing. You can have a lot of great food, if that's your thing. It can be on the price of your side, even by US standards. Another great one would be Miami, if you like major cities, because you can get really great Cuban food and you also have Biscayne Bay or Everglades or the Florida Keys or within like an hour or so. 

0:32:41 - Chris

And I will say Miami like when I first hear Miami, I think of flashy, I think of South, yeah, south Beach. That is not my vibe whatsoever, but there is a side of Miami that is beautiful and you don't have to necessarily do that. 

0:32:56 - Sara

Yeah, you can do Miami like Miami if that's your thing. But if you like quieter, you can find a great hotel and then, you know, book a sailing trip around Biscayne Bay National Park. You can book a sailing trip, and, whether it's a day long or multi-day, you can even get chartered flights from Miami to go to the Bahamas for the day, if you want to. 

I mean there's all sorts of things you can do. So I think those are my two major city recommendations. If you're looking at doing like outdoors great outdoor adventures and you're nervous about the outdoors, I'd say Colorado would probably be a great one. The conditions can be extreme. Really high elevations, you know, but I would be, you, don't worry about Grizzlies is what I was thinking. 

0:33:36 - Chris

Yeah, you could. I would say Utah. 

0:33:39 - Sara

Utah is great. Yeah, Utah would be a great one. 

0:33:41 - Chris

Yeah, Utah, you would fly into Salt Lake or drive to Utah. 

0:33:45 - Sara

Or Vegas. 

0:33:46 - Chris

Yeah, or Vegas and you could hit the Grand Canyon, you could hit Zion. 

0:33:49 - Sara

That's Arizona. 

0:33:49 - Chris

No, I know, I know, yeah, yeah yeah, I just thought of Vegas, so you could hit Zion. 

0:33:53 - Sara

That's Nevada. 

0:33:54 - Chris

Yeah, you could hit Zion. You can hit Arches you can hit. Utah has a lot. 

0:33:59 - Sara

Well, Utah has five national parks. I think that's a great one. 

0:34:02 - Chris

Yeah, a great for outdoor especially. It's a great place if you're first starting out and it's a great place for being advanced too. 

0:34:12 - Sara

Yeah, man, the US is so hard Cause I feel like US can all be pretty expensive. I mean it can be. Hotels in the US are just really expensive right now, and I'd say Europe too. I think everything's gone up, but the US really pricey. So if budget is a concern, I'd say either camp and have your camping gear or stick somewhere close to home so you can save on the transportation. Stick somewhere within like a four hour radius. Five hour radius something that you're not gonna break the bank on gas, pretty much anywhere in the US. You're gonna have something interesting within five hours. Even if you're within Kansas, parts of Kansas can be to the Colorado mountains in five hours. You know a few hours. So there are a lot of great places within a day's drive of pretty much anywhere in the US. 

0:34:56 - Chris

Okay, internationally. 

0:34:58 - Sara


0:34:59 - Chris

All right, I've never been because a lot of my family has never been international, like they haven't crossed the US border, and that's true for a lot of people. So where would you go? 

0:35:10 - Sara

If it's borders you're concerned about and you've never used passport and you're just nervous about the whole customs, like you're worried about being interrogated, that kind of thing. Start with Canada. 

0:35:18 - Chris

Canada is the way to go. 

0:35:19 - Sara

Canada is the way to go Our friendly neighbors to the North. 

0:35:21 - Chris

Everybody thinks they're friendly, but I will say that going through the borders to Canada sometimes they can be a little grumpy. 

0:35:27 - Sara

Not grumpy, they're intimidating. 

0:35:28 - Chris

I mean the US is no joke either, going back. 

0:35:30 - Sara

but yeah, canada man, they don't mess around, so they're not all so friendly. Friendly, but Canada's an awesome place to start. We love BC. Even the Yukon's amazing. But Alberta if you wanna do, banff and Jasper Calgary Buying a Calgary that's a great one. We love that area. There's a lot of really awesome places in Canada, places we haven't even been yet, like we've really never covered the east coast of Canada not much Nova Scotia. 

Nova Scotia looks awesome, so Canada would be a great easy start. Want a language barrier? Consider doing Mexico. Mexico's not as unsafe as what people say, especially if you stick to popular areas. So Mexico would be good, but I mean or Quebec, or Quebec, if you want those French. 

0:36:10 - Chris

Canadians, the friendly French. To the North, the friendly French, yeah, so you could do Quebec or Mexico. Mexico City is a great first international city to go to. 

0:36:20 - Sara

There are certain neighborhoods you can definitely stick in to keep you safer. It is a massive city. Yeah, taking known transportation like Uber or a taxi to your neighborhood and then go from there, you're not gonna. You can eliminate putting yourself in dangerous positions, but okay, let's say you want a little bit of culture shock. Okay, so say you wanna go farther than North America and you're nervous about a language barrier. Most people in Europe speak fluent English. 

Now it's not polite to rely on them to speak to you in English, but in a pinch most people can help you. There's gonna be signs in English in a lot of places. There's gonna be everything's gonna have. I shouldn't say everything, but a lot of things will be in English too. That's sort of a universal language. At this point, a lot of people speak English as a second language. So Europe is pretty easy and on top of that, europe has some English speaking countries. 

0:37:08 - Chris

I mean you've got Ireland England. 

0:37:13 - Sara

That could be a great option. Europe, I would say. Language barrier has never been a concern for me in Europe. So Europe is easy, but Europe comes with a price tag. So say, budget's a concern. You wanna go international and you want to stay safe. Where would you go, I'd say, for the risk takers? 

0:37:33 - Chris

I'm asking myself questions now, okay, yeah, okay, yeah, you leave this conversation, Sara. 

0:37:37 - Sara

For risk takers. No, I can't say I've been everywhere in the world. 

0:37:40 - Chris

I haven't been that many places, I feel like For risk takers, where. 

0:37:43 - Sara

No, I shouldn't say risk takers but say you want an extreme, but you wanna stay safe. I think Thailand's a great place. That was our first major international destination. I still love it. It's called the land of smiles for a reason. 

0:37:53 - Chris

It's funny to talk to Americans, because Asia, for whatever reason, is very intimidating. It's just very intimidating for Americans to go to Asia, and it is one of our favorite places to go, I think that's our yeah. 

0:38:08 - Sara

I think if we had to pick up and move to a continent right now, it'd be. 

0:38:10 - Chris

Asia, it'd be Asia. Most people over there are incredibly hospitable and nice and it's yes, it is culture shock. 

0:38:21 - Sara

It can be. I don't think I was culture shock, but I think I also live for the exciting. 

0:38:25 - Chris

Yeah. But that's it's but you know what, if you still need, no matter where you're at in the world, there will always be a tourist spot, they will. There will be a Starbucks, a KFC. 

0:38:39 - Sara

Most places in the world, for sure, there will be McDonald's. 

0:38:44 - Chris

If you were hankering for some good old US of A, there will be a little street with some of that you can find a lot of things. 

0:38:53 - Sara

I mean maybe not in every country, I guess, not for sure not in every country, you know but most of the countries you're gonna start with for your first travel to the station will have those things that are familiar. But I don't think we're traveling for the Starbucks and McDonald's. 

0:39:05 - Chris

No, no, but I think sometimes if you're just worried, if you're worried and for whatever reason, people are worried about Asia, about going there. But I would recommend-. 

0:39:13 - Sara

It's just so foreign. Yeah, it's so foreign so they're not. Yeah, it's just totally different. Asia's awesome. I think the people are so nice. It is a longer flight, but if you get a great flight until when you get there, it's affordable. But maybe you don't wanna go all the way to Asia. What would be another good one? 

0:39:30 - Chris

I think Central America is a really great starting point because Spanish is a relatively simple language for Americans to pick up on and I feel like we say this about the people anywhere in the world, but people in Central America, they're so nice. 

0:39:42 - Sara

We say they're very nice because they are most people in the world are very nice. 

0:39:45 - Chris

They're just so nice. And the food in Central America, I mean you can't go wrong with that style of food. You just can't. 

0:39:52 - Sara

So many spices and fresh produce in the tropical areas, yeah. So I'd say, if you have more money, costa Rica, and if you have less of a budget, then maybe something like Panama. 

It's a little bit more developing than Costa Rica, but it's definitely on the up and up and you can get a very similar climate for a fraction of the cost. So yeah, I'd say, start there. If you're wanting an intro to a really relaxing vacation, maybe something on a budget. Consider like the islands South America or not. Consider the islands in the Caribbean, south America. They can also vary a lot by cost, but if you book in advance, you can get a better deal. That's what I'd say. 

0:40:28 - Chris

Yeah, so I mean, this is kind of our first episode on the 101 of traveling, of picking a place, of picking your destination. There are a lot of variables when it comes to picking your perfect trip and if you are trying to pick one, hopefully you can narrow it down a little bit. 

0:40:48 - Sara

I feel like I just threw a lot of information. I feel like I have an even scratch the surface. We have four more episodes and we'll dive in deeper to some of these points where it helps you navigate. So stay tuned. But if you have a question, as always you can shoot us a message over on Instagram, you can email us. We will do our best to answer. But we will take all those questions and try to incorporate them into our future episodes. But this is just an intro. This is just a starting point of like. Let's dig into this, give us what you need to know, let us know. 

0:41:16 - Chris

Yeah, all right, we'll see you in the next episode. 

0:41:19 - Sara

See ya. Thanks for listening to what no one tells you with Chris and Sara. If you have a comment or question that you want answered on the air, be sure to send us a message to hello at christenSaracom, or you can call or text our phone number at 423-825-9572. Thanks for listening. 

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