What’s this all about?

Have you ever wished you could travel the world, but perhaps are a bit lost about where to start, how to handle the logistics of it, or how to save enough money to make it happen?

Guess what. You are not alone.

I am Jackie, the founder of this blog, and for nearly half my life, I have been traveling independently overseas. I have done it all with my own savings and resources, and I am forever changed from immersing myself in other cultures, learning multiple languages, tasting foreign foods, and collecting friends all over the world. My love for travel has completely shaped the course of my life.

I can list all the life-changing things it has taught me and tell you about all the beautiful people, cultures, and countries around the world, OR…

I can invite you to go experience it for yourself.

My mission is to make travel as easy and accessible for you as possible, and that is why The Budget-Minded Traveler exists. Learn from my mistakes, catch on to my budget tricks, live vicariously through the photos and stories on this site until you just can’t take it anymore.

Then, go for yourself. Life is too short to live vicariously.

This blog is an invitation for YOU.

Nomadic Female Traveler

Jackie Nourse, founder & editor

In 2003, I moved to Costa Rica to study abroad for a year, and my life changed forever. Not only did I fall in love with everything Latin (I’m often convinced I was born in the wrong culture), but I became addicted to travel.

In 2005 I moved to Italy to study abroad for another year to learn (and consequently fall in love with) everything Italian.

After finally graduating from college in 2007, I began my vagabond life, sometimes constantly on the go, sometimes living in one place overseas, always fueled by the mighty and endless power of wanderlust.

I am currently nomadic, and my favorite style of travel is finding new places to call home all over the world. In the last decade, I have roasted marshmallows in the lava of a volcano in Guatemala, studied Portuguese in Brazil, hiked (and lived) in the mountains of Patagonia, sailed with dolphins in Nicaragua, swam with sharks in Mexico, cave kayaked in Thailand, and skied the Swiss Alps, among many, many other adventures.

I have mastered the art of traveling and living on a budget, which is what allows me to continue on this path of constant travel. What bothers me, however, is the lack of US citizens traveling abroad.

I strongly believe that our society’s priorities are backwards, consequently leading many to perceive their travel dreams as too expensive, time-consuming, or otherwise impossible. Yet travel – seeing the world and being exposed to other cultures – is a fast-track to tolerance, understanding, and education that this world, particularly the US, desperately needs.

This website, the BMT Communitymy podcast, and my online course represent my efforts to encourage and equip others, particularly US citizens, to get out and meet the world in a realistic, affordable, sustainable, and rewarding way. It IS possible, and YOU can make it happen in your own life. All you have to do is say yes.

Want More About Me? Read more about my story on my personal blog at TravelingJackie.com or see where I am now on Instagram.

Jackie Laulainen in Rome
Snorkeling Key West

Meet our team

The Budget-Minded Traveler audience is continuing to grow, and projects and opportunities abound. In an attempt to keep up, I have carefully selected other travelers and content creators with diverse experiences to share their talents with you. I’m honored to have these inspiring people on the BMT team:

Brittany Quaglieri

Brittany Quaglieri, Blog & Social Media Manager

Brittany intended to be a travel writer by earning a degree in Geography and Journalism. However, she graduated during the recession, which led her to spend the next 8 years in the public service sector with AmeriCorps. Now she aspires to be location independent in order to pursue a life of slow, intentional travel, and to finally put her degree to work the way she always envisioned. Through her writing, she hopes to shine a light on how travel and mental health and wellness overlap to create personal growth and transformation. Brittany also loves maps, kayaking, photography, adorable kids, and Shia LaBeouf.

Favorite style of travel: budget, independent, cultural immersion, road trips
Website: She Goes With Purpose
Favorite travel quote: “Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” – Confucius

Hayden Lee

Hayden Lee, Podcast Magician

Hayden Lee is the traveling son of a hippie and a biker. Originally from the UK, he is a punk rock musician and award-nominated Sound Designer who found that the answers to his questions lie in the hostels of South America, the floors of Vietnamese villagers’ kitchens, and elsewhere on the road. In hopes of inspiring more people to ‘go within by heading out’, he is also the producer of Travel Stories Podcast, where guests bring in inspiring stories from their travels.

Favorite style of travel: Unplanned, solo, rural
Website: Travel Stories Podcast (Jackie has been a guest on his show twice, look for her name to check out those episodes! Or get to know Hayden through a game show on the BMT podcast or that time he and Jackie talked about riding a Harley around Europe)
Favorite travel quote: “No such thing as spare time. No such thing as free time. No such thing as down time. All you got is lifetime. Go.” – Henry Rollins

Casie Frederick, Blog Contributor

Casie first got bit by the travel bug when she was a high school senior and ventured to Italy on a school trip. Since then, she has been finding the balance between work and play, seeking travel in all shapes, whether it’s weekend-warrioring or world-wandering. Australia, Iceland, Mexico, and Southeast Asia are a couple places crossed off so far on her ever-growing “places to see” list. In 2016, she thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail, where she blogged about her experience on The Trek. Casie currently lives in Maine, where she works as an Ed Tech and continues to write about adventuring on budgeted time and money. When she’s not there, you can find her exploring out of her backpack or RAV4, wandering where the wild things are.

Favorite style of travel: long-term, weekend getaways, solo female
Website: Mostly Free Bird
Favorite travel quote: “I’m a big believer in winging it. I’m a big believer that you’re never going to find perfect city travel experience or the perfect meal without a constant willingness to experience a bad one.” – Anthony Bourdain

Chris Corbaz, Blog Contributor

Traveling is the funnest, most amazing, thrilling, challenging and most life-changing activity. Traveling has taught me so many life lessons, it has allowed me to meet the most amazing people from around the world, it has fulfilled me more than I could ever dream of. I love sharing the experiences and encourage others to be as fulfilled by travel as I have been. I am a Swiss/Portuguese/American lover of travel, dogs and tacos. I’ve been to 28 countries, and counting.

Favorite style of travel: solo backpacking, weekend getaways, couples travel
Website: Find Chris on Instagram
Favorite travel quote: “I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

Meghan Crawford

Meghan Crawford, Blog Contributor

Meghan spent two summers during college studying in Italy, sealing her fate as a serial traveler. She left school with an Italian and Spanish degree, a lifelong passion for writing, and a foggy plan to somehow parlay all of that into a career – something she’s still working on. In addition to Italy, Meghan has also traveled to Ireland, the U.K., Mexico, New Zealand, and around the U.S. These days her trips tend to be quick getaways that fit her work schedule, but she favors a slower itinerary and the chance to live like a local. To her, the best part about traveling has always been the human connection. She started writing about her travels to encourage others to seek out that connection, too. When she’s not traveling or writing, Meghan is most likely trail running, hiking, sailing, or enjoying the great outdoors in some other way.

Favorite style of travel: slow travel, weekend travel, independent, cultural immersion
Website: Expedition Limitless
Favorite travel quote: “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” – Helen Keller

Ruben Encalada, Blog Contributor

Ruben grew up in Cancun and went to Merida for college where he majored in Natural Resource Management. After working 4 years at a shrimp farm, he managed a small tour operator called All Oneday Tours where he led conventional tours and ground transportation services. Then he jumped into adventure travel for a company called Maya Amazing Adventures where he led mostly cycling, kayaking and hiking trips all over the Yucatan Peninsula. Most recently, he has been leading luxury/adventure tours all over Mexico for Dopamina Travel (formerly known as The Muddy Boot).

Favorite style of travel: When I travel, I like to self-guide myself, walking and walking, I barely ever take tours, unless it’s a requirement due to specialization. Since my day job is crafting and leading tours I will say my favorites to lead are: Multisport, cycling, hiking, foodie for small groups and families.
Website: Ruben Encalada – On The Road
Favorite travel quote: “Drink heavily with locals whenever possible.” – Anthony Bourdain

Kevin Martin, Blog Contributor

Kevin was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri and left home at 19 to join the Navy. During his 20-year military career, he lived in some amazing places including Hawaii and Gaeta, Italy and traveled to 17 other countries (mostly by boat). After retiring from the Navy, Kevin attended Georgetown Law and moved to New York City to practice law at a  corporate law firm. While he enjoyed being a lawyer, he missed the nomadic lifestyle he’d grown accustomed to in the Navy. In March of 2019, he quit his job as a corporate lawyer to travel full time as a travel vlogger. Kevin is currently traveling with a program called Remote Year and plans on traveling full time for the rest of his life.

Favorite style of travel: slow travel, group travel, solo travel
Website: 30 And A Wake Up on Youtube
Favorite travel quote: “I’m in love with cities I’ve never been and people I’ve never met.” – Melody Truong

Shalese Kocher, Blog Contributor

I’m Shalese, and I’m a writer, photographer, and a wedding venue operator. When I was 27, my perpetual wanderlust and affinity for all things British finally took me to London, proving that it’s never too late or too scary to take your first plane across an ocean! Since then, I’ve made it my goal to see as much of the world as I can with my soon to be husband, Robert. We’ve tackled Edinburgh, northern Italy (where we got engaged!), Nashville, and Palm Beach. Currently, I’m using my Google Docs, travel guides, and plenty of social media crowdsourcing to plan our next adventure: Ireland! When I’m not traveling or coordinating weddings, I’m photographing for fashion-focused brands, taking weekend hikes, and loving on our Australian Shepherd, Rory!

Favorite style of travel: Couple! Though I’m also a huge admirer of women who travel solo!
Website: Shalese Danielle
Favorite travel quote: “Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” – Mary Oliver