FAQ what you need to know about traveling the world
What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Kris. I grew up in numerous states around the US and have made Hawaii my home since 2005.
What made you decide to travel the world?
For as long as I can remember I’ve had a wandering spirit, but what really opened up the possibility of traveling was my work in the hotel industry in Hawaii. Meeting and making friends with people from around the globe somehow made the world seem more accessible. I always felt drawn to foreign places, so it was only a matter of time before I decided to pursue the dream.
I don't have much money. Can I afford to travel long-term?
Yes, absolutely! I think most people greatly overestimate the costs associated with traveling. It all depends upon this one factor: how badly do you want it? I really believe that if a person wants it enough then they will find a way to make it happen. As a long-term backpacker, staying in hostels and utilizing networks such as Couchsurfing and Workaway are great ways to stretch your money and meet wonderful local people. There are also many opportunities for paid work abroad. Feel free to contact me for more details.
What are your daily expenses while overseas?
It varies depending upon the country and how I want to experience the place. There are days where I literally don’t spend any money, not a single dollar. A person can live comfortably in many countries for less than $500/month while fully supporting themselves. This can be drastically reduced for those willing to work or volunteer along the way.
How do you find cheap accommodations?
What about passport and visa requirements?
The first step to backpacking abroad is to get a passport. That’s your international travel identification. That will be acquired in your home country. Once you have an itinerary in mind, check with each country’s embassy or consulate (either online or in person) to find out about the entry requirements. Depending on your citizenship, you may or may not need a visa. This is just a stamp or piece of paper that is placed in your passport as a note that you are permitted to enter that particular country. Message me if you need help figuring it out.
How do you overcome the language barrier?
I often tell people that the ENGLISH LANGUAGE IS THE ONLY PASSPORT YOU NEED TO TRAVEL THE WORLD! If you can read these words right now, then you already have the necessary skills. Just keep in mind that you have the same basic needs as the locals. Be creative – use hand gestures, try sign language! You might be surprised at how effectively you can communicate.
How do you deal with foreign currency?
Currency exchange offices are abundant in places frequented by travelers. Banks, airports, train stations… even those within your home country are good places to start. Do your research to find out which ones offer the best rate. There are numerous mobile apps you can download so that you always have an idea of how much you should be getting. I like the XE Currency App. If you can’t find a fair deal, try to exchange with another traveler who is going to a country that you have already visited. That way both parties will get the best deal. Although the offers can be tempting, try to avoid exchange on the black market. The risk is often higher than the reward. Of course the easiest option to get cash overseas is at an ATM. Just make sure to inform your bank ahead of time that you will be using your card internationally.
How do you stay safe in a foreign country?
Do your homework ahead of time. Familiarize yourself with the location of your home country’s embassy or consulate. Identify local hospitals, tourist police offices, and assistance centers. Study the public transit map, learn a few words of the local language, use common sense while in public, and always present yourself modestly and respectfully. Google the current popular scams in your destination country so that you will recognize a danger when it presents itself. Keep your passport on you at all times, along with some emergency cash in a well-concealed location. Get a travel buddy, tell others where you’re going and when you expect to return, stay away from political demonstrations, and trust your intuition.
What should I bring with me as a backpacker?
Personally, I have a short list of essential items that I’ll have to write an article on someday. But really this all depends on your preference. I’d recommend a sturdy backpack that you are comfortable with carrying long distances, and trust to stand up to the rigors of extended time out on the road. A lightweight jacket (depending on the climate), day pack, poncho, and a compact first aid kit are all things to consider. Definitely do bring along some type of pouch that fits snug against your body to conceal money and ID cards. Lastly, if you plan to be away for a while I would strongly encourage you to look into getting some travel insurance! I recommend World Nomads.