The Best Travel Advice on This Blog, According to a Reader

My name is Brittany, I’m now a contributing writer for BMT after being a long-time fan, and I just moved to New Zealand. I thought it would be fun and useful to recap some of the best travel advice I’ve learned from Jackie and this blog, especially that which helped me prepare for my big move overseas.

Jackie provides truly helpful travel advice. I’ve read her book and all of her blog posts and listened to all the podcast episodes. I’ve even picked her brain in person. Anyone else in this boat with me? I know I’m not the only one!

She has a wealth of travel knowledge, as she’s been traveling and living internationally for 14 years. If you’re new to international travel like I was just a few years ago, much of the advice on this blog can help! Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start, so perhaps this list of my personal favorites will help:

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© Agus Dietrich

Visas & Travel Vaccinations

Full disclosure. I didn’t really know what a visa actually was until I read The Aspiring Traveler’s Handbook. What little I knew about vaccines was narrow-minded, as well. I thought they were only required when traveling to countries in Africa.

I had only traveled to Italy and Canada before 2015 and never personally dealt with visas. If there were any required fees to enter or exit Italy, they were taken care of ahead of time, as I was there for a college travel seminar. Truthfully, I thought the stamp I got in Milan upon arrival was a collector’s item. And I didn’t even need a passport when I crossed into Canada on weekends as a teenager living in upstate New York.

Jackie straightened me right up and pointed to exactly the sites I needed to investigate all my future travels.

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Flights

Finding cheap flights is an art form, and somehow also a science. There are ideal days and times to buy when discount prices are released, and websites, email lists, and apps to notify you of price drops and sales. That’s all the science of it. When everything lines up just right and you score a great flight deal – that is the art, and it’s beautiful.

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Everything for 12 months of traveling New Zealand fit in three bags, including the Osprey Farpoint 55. © Brittany Quaglieri

Choosing a Backpack

I’m currently traveling in New Zealand using the Osprey Farpoint 55, as advised by Jackie’s backpack review and comparison posts. First, I thought long and hard about whether or not I wanted to go the backpack route, to begin with. I’ve been a loyal carry-on suitcase girl for many years now. I trust Jackie, so I drove (an hour) to the nearest REI to try on some packs.

After about three hours of comparing, contrasting, and filling packs with weight and walking around I decided on the Osprey Farpoint. I’ve traveled for about 3 months so far, across the US, Fiji, and New Zealand, and I give the backpack two thumbs up!

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Packing Tips

While I don’t intend to be fully nomadic like Jackie has been, her packing tips have been helpful. After reading through some of her posts, I bought packing cubes, packed my various pills in plastic bags, and ensured (most of) the items I packed had multiple uses. These three things I have never really done before, and it has made a big difference.

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Easily keep track of your Charles Schwab account online. © Brittany Quaglieri

Opening a Charles Schwab Bank Account

Opening a second bank account sounded like a daunting task at first. It would certainly cause confusion, right?

I am so glad I went through the process to open this account, though! I now realize and appreciate all the benefits. It’s a Visa debit card so you can use it anywhere Visa is accepted. You get automatically reimbursed for all ATM fees, no extra steps required. Plus, easily keep track of all your spending online.

It took me a few weeks to get my Charles Schwab account up and running, so make sure to get the ball rolling well in advance of any trips you plan to use the account for. See how to set up a Charles Schwab account in this post here.

Money-Saving Tips

Of course, I have to mention all the money-saving tips on this site. This is the Budget-Minded Traveler, after all! So, when you travel long term you have to follow a pretty strict budget. Once you’re out there, you figure out quickly where the best places are to save money. For me, it is accommodations, food, and activities.

We have lots of posts on ways to save money before and during your travels. Start with these ones here:

© Marten Bjork

Using My iPhone Abroad

Being able to use my iPhone abroad was crucial to me. I love using my map to get around, sharing photos and updates on social media, and looking up blog posts about the destination I’m visiting. I don’t always travel with my laptop, so Jackie’s posts on unlocking and using iPhones abroad really helped me.

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And all of this is just a sample! There is much more where this came from, and much more to come, I hope it helps you as much as it has helped me. Happy travels!

By Brittany Quaglieri