Travel Planning

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How To Book The Cheapest Flights

How To Book The Cheapest Flights

Traveling is so exciting once all of the planning is finally done. The costs can quickly add up in the process, leaving you with little to spend while you’re actually there exploring! Unlike rental cars or museums that have generally consistent costs, flights are a huge way to save if you navigate it well and do the research. This article will help you book the cheapest flights so you can save where you can, and explore more!

Check out the following resources to help you surf the web and find the best deals for you!

View out of a plane

Table of Contents

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1. Check your Points

2. Discount Flights

3. Flight Search Engines

4. Airline Direct

5. Check again within 24 hours

Be ready to take these offers with the flexibility of destination and date, pack light to save on luggage costs, and travel in the shoulder seasons!

Flight Search Engine

Myth or Fact?

1. Flights are Cheaper on Tuesdays

Myth. However, it is in fact cheaper to fly on a Tuesday, as well as on Wednesday and Saturday. The day of the week a flight is booked is irrelevant, however, there is a difference in flight cost depending on the length of time until the scheduled flight! It’s typically best to book early (2-3 months), however, there are some unbeatable last-minute flight deals!

2. Search in Incognito Mode

Myth. While flight prices do fluctuate on the market and demand for a particular flight, your search patterns will not influence this! Flight prices are constantly changing, but your cookies have nothing to do with it! However, if you don’t search in incognito mode, be prepared for endless ads!!

3. Flying a Budget Flight is Always Less Enjoyable

Myth. While there definitely are a lot of cheap flights out there that have some pretty significant drawbacks, there are some gems you can find for a good price. Often, flights are reduced in price due to a long layover, a self-transfer between airports, limited baggage, and a lower-quality experience. Check below for the discounted flight sites where you can find insane deals without all of the extra negatives!

Before You Start

Be Flexible

The key to cheap flights is flexibility. You may find flights that have crazy long layovers in another city or better options on a different day. Maybe, you aren’t super attached to any specific destination, so you can be flexible there too!

Another big consideration is your luggage – many budget airlines have baggage limitations. Keep your options open and ready to grab by traveling light and being flexible. 

The more flexible your plans are, the more options you can take advantage of!

Start With What You Know

Start with what you know and search from there – there are a lot of variables to consider and some may be necessary for you to keep consistent. For example, you want to go to South America but don’t care when or which specific country. Or, maybe you have 2 weeks off in the spring and want to go anywhere during those dates. These are 2 completely different situations that require different approaches


So, do you know the dates you want to travel? Do you know where you want to go? The cheapest flights can be purchased with the most flexible plans! Do yourself a favor and see if you can get a bit of wiggle room with both the destination and the dates. 

The 24-hour Rule

Once your flight is booked, you have 24 hours to cancel (this is a federal law in the US). Since flight prices fluctuate daily, you may find that the flight you purchased went down in price just hours later! If you’re a real bargain hunter, go ahead and cancel your flight to purchase the better option. 

This is also a good thing to know when you come across a good deal. Found a flight you can’t pass up? Book now and sort out the rest after, you never know how long the prices will last!

Let’s Go Through an Example of the Process:

1 Passenger with 0 bags traveling from San Francisco (SFO) to Costa Rica on October 18, 2023. The dates are slightly flexible +/- 7 days, and the airport in Costa Rica does not matter.  

*These figures are researched on August 29, 2023 – <2 months before the trip. 

Step 1. Fly Free With Points

For any budget traveler, getting the right credit card and cashing in on those points is essential. Not only will they help cover travel costs if things don’t go to plan, but with the right card you can accrue points that you can cash in for flights!

Especially if you’re not a frequent flyer, you’ll want to use those points whenever you can, so start here! Check your credit card’s points value, and see how much that translates to in-flight miles. Typically the points can only be used when the flight is purchased through the credit card’s website, and these aren’t typically the cheapest options. So that’s up to you to decide if the points are worth using this time around. 

Find the best deal you can with your credit card points, and then continue to Step 1 and beyond to see what you’re comparing it to! You may find an awesome deal within the steps below that makes you want to save your points for something else. 

Chase Sapphire Preferred

This is the best travel card for its travel benefits. Earn 5x points booked on travel through Chase, earn 60,000 points when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months, get comprehensive travel insurance, and more!

Example: Chase Sapphire Preferred

I use the Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card – Through the Chase app, I found a flight for $205 on October 17 – a great option to compare to after the final steps!

By booking through Chase, I can use my Rewards points to pay for the flight, making it essentially free!

Step 2. Discount Flight Sites

You have probably heard of these discount flight websites – they offer insanely low prices for select flights. This is a great place to start, especially if your plans are flexible. Let’s break down some of the most popular discount flight sites!

Going through 3rd party groups can create a complicated customer service network. Be sure all info is accurate before booking to avoid unnecessary headaches!

Going (formerly "Scott's Cheap Flights")

Going is a subscription-based search engine connecting you with discounted flight deals departing from your home airport. You choose the destination, and Going will provide alerts of insane deals that can get you there for cheaper.

Subscription tiers are either Limited ($0/year), Premium ($49/year), or Elite ($199/year), each offering increased benefits to get the best deals. The deals are found by a team of people who search for the best options. However, there are limited features showing only round-trip tickets!

Example: Going

In Going, I found 1 deal that matches a flight from SFO > Costa Rica. A round-trip Avianca flight for $350 in September-November, with more options available by changing the date!

*This is round-trip, however, the link directed me to Google Flights where the price was $150

Travel Pirates

Travel Pirates uses a tried and trusted search engine to guarantee quality flight options – KAYAK. However, what distinguished Travel Pirates from KAYAK, is not the search feature, but the deals lists. Travel Pirates uses a team of deal hunters to put together the best deals for flight, transport, and accommodation while considering the overall value of the option (for your money & time)!

Example: Travel Pirates

In Travel Pirates, using the ‘Plan Your Own Trip’ feature, I found a flight for $135 on October 18! Within the deals section, there was a discount for $133 across LATAM – with further inspection, the $135 flight found through the specific search was the best option!

The Dollar Flight Club

The Dollar Flight Club works similarly to Going – where you input your home airport, ideal destinations, and date range and the platform will provide alerts when there is a low price. There is a free option, with the upgraded subscription available for $ /year. 

One major drawback is you cannot specify whether it is a one-way or round trip, providing skewed results. The results direct you back to either Skyscanner or Google Flights to further investigate. So if you know where you want to go, just go straight to Skyscanner / Google Flights and skip this step, however this is a great place to take advantage of deals found for random destinations around the world!


In The Dollar Flight Club, I found the applicable flight through Avianca listed online for $135, however, with further inspection the price was actually $150 as I was directed to Skyscanner and Google Flights. 

Step 3. Flight Search Engines

If you didn’t find any killer deals from step 1, then we move to a broader search with these flight search engines. These are technically an Online Travel Agency (OTA), which have their own added fees and discounts applicable. So, even if all of the search engines you use pull up the same flight options, you may see different prices! That’s why it is best to use them all and compare!


Protect your flight costs with the best Travel Insurance.

Google Flights

Google Flights is many travelers’ starting point when looking for flights. This is a user-friendly platform that provides a great baseline for what to expect in regard to price. Google Flights considers both major & budget airlines, offering a wide range of options! It also has some helpful features including: 

  • ‘Explore Everywhere’ feature
  •  Low price alert
  • Calendar price view to show cheaper dates
  • Extensive filters

Example: Google Flights

Using Google Flights, I found the same $150 flight with Avianca that many of the Discount Flights found. However, it also showed that if I changed the date from Oct. 18 to Oct. 20, the price would go down to $81

Since that’s only 2 days and a very reasonable flight schedule, that is the best option so far!

Google Flights is the best place to start to find the cheapest flights
See the "Travel on October 20 for $81" pop-up!


While no flight-searching platform is consistently the cheapest, Skyscanner would definitely be a top contender. This platform is reliable and has a well-supportive customer service department. 

  • Often has the best prices!
  • Explore Everywhere Feature
  •  Low Price Alert

Example: Skyscanner

Using Skyscanner, the best flight is $150 through Avianca. This is the same search result as the Dollar Flight Club above!

ITA Matrix

Owned by Google, the ITA Matrix is a common tool amongst travelers, that compares the prices of major airlines. This is another great way to get a baseline, but it often doesn’t boast the best prices. ITA Matrix has a unique UX compared to many of the other sites, which, is preferred by many users due to its expansive filter options. 

  • Low price alert
  • Calendar Price View
  • Does not include budget airlines
  • You must use the exact destination airport code

Example: ITA Matrix

Considering the ideal date of October 18, ITA Matrix provided a JetBlue flight option for $205. However, their calendar view showed a cheaper option for only $81 on October 20. 

Since 2 days is worth a $124 savings, the $86 flight with Frontier is a better option. 


Momondo is a part of the Booking Holdings Corporation, which owns KAYAK, Expedia,, and more. However, this site has a fun style and quality options! One of the best features is the Flight Insights view to see historical changes and the best times to go!
  • ‘Search Anywhere’ feature
  • Low price alerts

Example: Momondo

Using Momondo, the cheapest flight on October 18 is $150 with Avianca, as reported above by other sources.


If you open KAYAK after Momondo, you’ll notice they are extremely similar, and so far I can’t see any difference! 

  • Flight price alerts
  • ‘Explore Everywhere’ feature
  • Date Range filter

Example: KAYAK

KAYAK shows a $150 flight from Avianca 

Step 3. Straight To The Source

Once you find the best flight at the lowest price, you may want to check out and be done. However, it’s worth it to go straight to the airline site and see if they offer the flight any cheaper. Sometimes, they even have discounts and deals on their website to encourage you to purchase through them rather than a 3rd party agency. Call customer service and see if you can lock in anything cheaper!

Example Decision: San Francisco to Costa Rica

So far, the cheapest flight from San Francisco > Costa Rica is $81 from Frontier as seen on Google Flights & the ITA Matrix. 

However, this flight is for October 13 or October 20, and if flying on a Friday doesn’t work, then the best option is $150 through Avianca on the 18th. 

Let’s move forward with Frontier!

The website does have a discount offer for members of the ‘Den’, however, this is a membership service costing $60/year and $40 enrollment. Definitely not worth buying into that unless you fly Frontier often!

So with some time and research, you found a flight for only $81 to Costa Rica using Google Flights.. time to pack your bags and get to planning!

Now that your flight is booked, get ready with everything you need to know about an International Phone Plan!

Summary - How To Book The Cheapest Flights

There are dozens if not hundreds of flight-searching options out there. You could spend your life finding deals and saving the most, but your time should also be valued in this process! 

The more flexibility you can have in your travel plans, the easier it is to find flight prices you feel good about. Some major ways to save include traveling with only a carry-on, traveling mid-week, and going during the shoulder seasons.

There is no perfect answer when it comes to finding the best flight, so start with some ideas about what you want to prioritize so your primary needs are met, and the rest will fall into place!

Posted by Taylor Mallaber in Budget, Transportation, Travel Planning, 0 comments
Ultimate Guide To Travel Insurance

Ultimate Guide To Travel Insurance

Traveling is filled with new experiences and exciting opportunities, but it definitely doesn’t always go to plan! There are a lot of things that could go wrong while on the other side of the world. Be prepared for the worst with travel insurance coverage to protect yourself and your belongings with this ultimate guide to travel insurance.

There are so many things to cover, including your personal health, belongings, new camera, and the travel plan itself! But how do you know what insurance you need to cover everything? Keep reading to break down the available insurance options designed for travelers so that you can explore without worry!

Planning materials laid out on a map

Table of Contents

What insurance Do You Need

Types of Insurance

Travel Insurance: Insurance plan that covers trip interruptions or other costs related to travel including baggage delay, flight delay or cancellation, and hotel and rental car costs. Travel insurance is offered through many credit cards, covered in many travel medical & health plans, or can be purchased as a stand-alone plan. 

Travel Medical Insurance: Insurance plan that covers emergency medical needs while abroad. This is an excellent option for short and long-term travelers who don’t stay in the same country and don’t have underlying medical conditions.

Travel Health Insurance: Insurance while abroad to cover routine health needs & emergency medical needs. This is an excellent option for an expat or long-term digital nomad who needs regular doctor and dental visits.

Renter’s Insurance: Insurance plan that covers theft or damage to property. This will cover your personal assets both at home and while abroad!

Device Insurance: Insurance plan that covers electronic equipment and accessories. This is important for digital nomads and explorers that rely on their electronic devices such as a camera or laptops. While Renter’s Insurance does cover electronics, the limit may be lower than the value of the electronics property. 


Where Are you Insured

Since insurance is provided through contracted policies, there are limits and parameters that dictate where coverage is applied (and where it’s not)! And since insurance is a business, they get really good at slipping out of paying for you, so be sure that you understand the 

Be sure to read the policy to be sure of the coverage limitations, including your state of residence, country of residence, global, or any other restrictions. 

Insurance should be your best adventure buddy, not a limitation. Get a plan that allows you to live and travel to the fullest!

Be sure to check location limits for insurance policies to ensure you're covered everywhere you plan to travel!

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is the most basic and available insurance applicable to travelers, and many people don’t even know they’re already covered! Travel insurance is anything ranging from lost or delayed luggage, delayed or canceled flights, cancellations due to sickness or terrorism, rental car insurance, and more! Travel insurance can be obtained in many ways, including through Credit Card Benefits or bundled with a Medical Insurance plan

1. Credit Cards

Many credit cards are created with benefits and rewards for travelers when you use your card to book! There are so many options for credit cards designed for travelers. Check out the benefits of your credit card to see your benefits, you may already have travel insurance!

I have a Chase Sapphire Preferred card that covers everything I could want for travel coverage! This includes rental car insurance up to the value of the car and trip cancellation coverage for myself and direct family/travel companions. and baggage delay reimbursements! As a bonus, I get a $50 credit annually to apply toward any hotel booking!

2. Part of Medical Insurance

Most Medical Insurance policies created for travelers offer some travel insurance in their plan. It’s definitely a good idea to get emergency medical coverage while abroad to avoid any unforeseen costs due to an accident or injury. Many of these plans offer a variety of other benefits to help you out during your travels. Keep reading below for some of the best travel medical insurance to find out more about travel insurance coverage and your considerations and options!

Be sure to get the most value from your insurance policies by comparing the costs of different options. Even if a medical insurance option may bundle in travel insurance for an extra fee, you could be getting those benefits for free with a particular credit card. It's a puzzle to get all the right pieces together for full coverage and savings!

Medical Insurance

Medical Insurance vs. Health Insurance

Travel Medical Insurance covers unforeseen circumstances and emergency services while traveling abroad. This includes anything from illnesses, injuries, accidents, evacuation, and more! Basically, anything that doesn’t happen regularly and isn’t a result of a pre-existing condition. Medical Insurance does not cover health care for pre-existing conditions, routine health care office visits (dental cleanings, physicals, check-ups for anything), and anything found in the policies exclusions.

This article is only highlighting travel medical insurance; emergency medical needs while abroad. If you want access to routine doctor’s office visits and preventative medical attention, or you’re moving abroad long-term, look into travel Health Insurance.

Things To Look For in a plan

  • Emergency evacuation coverage
  • Support finding doctors abroad
  • Prescription medication coverage
  • Duration of coverage
  • Location of coverage & location specific considerations
  • List of exclusions to consider
  • Physical activities that are excluded
  • Primary insurance requirements

Depending on the duration of your travels, you may still want a medical health insurance plan in your home country of residence! If you’re a long-term traveler, that’s a cost you’re probably looking to cut. Be sure to look at the policy requirements of all of the medical insurance plans below to see if Primary Insurance is required and needs to be included in your budget.

Having health insurance in your home country may be overkill, and it also will likely not be needed. However, accidents happen, and if something happens and you have to come home for medical treatment, you better hope to have some essential coverage!

1. SafetyWing - *Nomad Insurance

SafetyWing is the best generic travel medical insurance plan that is affordable and covers the basic needs of every traveler. This includes emergency evacuation coverage, repatriation to the home country due to life-threatening injury or illness, and more. Although it does have its drawbacks – like its cookie cutter plan options and limited coverage for some things, it is definitely a great option for most travelers!

Plans & Prices

  1. *Nomad Insurance ($45.08/month) – Travel Medical Insurance
    Great standard coverage for the basics abroad. Nothing too fancy, nothing too skimpy, just right in the middle for your average traveler, usable indefinitely!
  2. Nomad Health ($123/month) – Travel Health Insurance
    In-encompassing health insurance with coverage for routine medical needs and coverage for pre-existing conditions. 
  3. Remote Health ($80/month/member) – Travel Health Insurance For Digital Nomad teams
Pros Cons
  • Affordable
  • Includes Travel Insurance
  • Ease of Use
  • Coverage provided at home every 3 months abroad
  • Plan can be started from anywhere and stay active until 70 years of age!
  • A lot of exclusions for activities
  • Vague language in policy
  • Added expense for coverage in the US (not applicable to US residents)
  • Travel insurance is limited
  • No customized policy options
  • Prescription limited to 60 days

2. World Nomads

World Nomads is an insurance provider that is designed for true explorers. Unlike SafetyWing, World Nomads offers packages based on your residency, destinations, and travel duration so you get exactly what you need for your adventure. Check out their website for a quote for your plan options based on your info! The plan prices listed below are an estimate and will change based on your age, location, and travel plans!

Plans & Prices

  1. Standard Plan ($100/month)*

    Great for travelers who aren’t afraid to push the limits and want to feel comfortable doing it. Includes some extreme sports and comprehensive medical coverage. 

  2. Explorer Plan ($150/month)*
    The Explorer Plan is for the most extreme adventurers who like to live on the edge. This is the best Medical Insurance plan out there for thrill seekers around the world!

*Costs based above are based on: age 26 American citizen traveling to Guatemala and Argentina for 6 months.
Pros Cons
  • Personalized cost based on travel needs and duration
  • Includes Travel Insurance
  • Ease of Use
  • Extensive coverage, limited exclusions
  • Includes loss, theft and damage of personal assets and gear
  • Covered domestically >100 miles from home
  • Cost
  • Limited to 180-day coverage
  • Not as reasonable for non-extremists

3. GeoBlue / HTH Worldwide - (US Residents Only)

GeoBlue (owned by Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield) has recently partnered with HTH Travel Insurance to offer additional options for coverage! This is a great option for anyone who doesn’t want their insurance set up to change a lot from home. Geoblue has many options for short-term travel, frequent explorers, and digital nomads and expats abroad! *Be sure to check if primary health insurance is required or not. If you’re a US resident traveling abroad, look for low-cost options covering basic emergency needs at home.

Plans & Prices

  1. Voyager ($25/month)* – Single Trip Insurance
    The Voyager plan is for single-trip travelers and is limited to 180 days. 
    (Hint: If you call before the expiration date you can extend your coverage!)
  2. Trekker ($175/month)* – Multi-Trip Insurance
    The Trekker Plan is for multi-trip travelers in a 12-month period. Travel cannot last longer than 70 days and requires that the insured has a primary health insurance policy.
  3. Xplorer Plan – Long-Term / Expat
    The Xplorer plan is for long-term travelers or expats that need a more permanent and full-coverage plan. Plan options are dependent on your destination, family, age, and more, so plan pricing differs situationally.
Pros Cons
  • Personalized cost based on travel needs and duration
  • Includes Travel Insurance
  • Expands to HTH Worldwide for additional options
  • Great coverage options in the US (necessary)
  • Great for people who need Rx abroad
  • Great travel insurance
  • Cost
  • Limited to 180-day coverage
  • 12-hour delay required for baggage reimbursements
  • Some plans require primary health insurance
  • Limited by State
  • Requires in-network providers abroad

Personal Property Insurance

For every traveler, the things you carry on your back are essential to your nomadic life! The extra movement puts wear and tear on your things and increases the chances of a major incident happening, potentially putting you out thousands. Renter’s Insurance is a great option for anyone with expensive gear they plan to bring on their adventures, including sporting equipment, gear, electronics, or jewelry! While some travel and medical insurance offers some coverage on tech gadgets and gear, chances are it’s not enough to cover the cost of some of these more expensive items.

As a digital nomad, I rely on my laptop and camera equipment to travel the world. That’s on top of my technical gear and personal items that I simply like to have. I feel safe and covered against the worst situations knowing Renter’s Insurance will cover my items.

Renter's Insurance vs Device Insurance

Renter’s insurance is a great option to insure your personal belongings and property! There are many options available with different exclusions and coverages based on your location and assets. However, the renter’s insurance may have a cost limitation in coverage.  

If you have high-tech devices you use and travel with, they could be valued at greater than $10,000. If that’s you, then you may want to find an insurance plan specifically designed for electrical gadgets to cover the cost of potential damage, especially considering the added movement that could impact your gear!

Summary - The Traveler's Guide To Insurance

Life doesn’t always go to plan, especially when you’re constantly on the go and living a world away! Making sure you have the coverage you need to save on unforeseen costs is the best way to move freely and easily knowing that you got your back. Thinking about travel insurance while setting up a credit card is a must, these often have the best travel insurance! When selecting medical insurance, be realistic about what you see yourself doing, and work around that to make sure your top needs are met.  

Posted by Taylor Mallaber in Insurance, Travel Planning, 0 comments
Best VPN for Travel & Digital Nomads

Best VPN for Travel & Digital Nomads

In today’s interconnected world, where your digital data is your most valued asset and privacy and security are paramount, having a Virtual Private Network (VPN) has become an essential tool for everyone. Whether you’re jet-setting across the globe or working remotely from a tropical paradise, a VPN can safeguard your online activities, protect sensitive information, and even help you save money. In this guide, we’ll dive into the world of VPNs and explore the top options for young budget-conscious travelers, to help you stay protected online! Keep reading to find out the best VPN for travel!

Woman sitting and working at a cafe, protected online with a VPN

Table of Contents

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Summary & Recommendation

1. SurfsharkOverall Best Travel VPN. #1 choice for No Trace Travel due to its low cost, high speeds, the most countries with server locations, and added features for a better experience. Stay protected online with Surfshark today!

2. NordVPNFastest Speeds Travel VPN. is a quality-assured option, a favorite of many due to its long-term success as a VPN service.

3. ExpressVPNMost Consistent Travel VPN. Reliable and affordable VPN with consistent speeds and reliability.

4. CyberGhostMost User-Friendly Travel VPN. Simple to use and consistent performance.

What Is a VPN?

A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a service that encrypts your internet connection and routes it through a secure server, masking your online identity and activities. This encryption shields your data from potential hackers, cybercriminals, and even nosy advertisers.

For travelers, this means added protection when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks in airports, cafes, and hotels. Additionally, a VPN can grant you access to geo-restricted content, allowing you to stream your favorite shows and access websites as if you were in your home country, or any country of your choice (hello unlimited Netflix options)!

Who Needs a VPN?

Anyone who values their online privacy and security can benefit from a VPN, not just the IT nerds who actually know about the breadcrumbs you leave with every click. The advantages are especially pronounced for young budget-conscious travelers and digital nomads:

  1. Secure Public Wi-Fi Usage: When you’re on the go, you’re likely to connect to various public Wi-Fi networks. A VPN ensures that your data remains encrypted and safe, preventing potential cyberattacks.

  2. Bypass Geo-Restrictions: If you’re traveling abroad and want to access content from your home country, a VPN can make it seem as though you’re still there, granting you access to your favorite websites and streaming services. Every country has different online restrictions, a VPN can help skirt around those (in a legal way).

  3. Cost Savings: Many online services, including flight booking websites and hotel reservation platforms, often display different prices based on your location. By using a VPN to appear as if you’re browsing from a different country, you might unlock better deals.

  4. Remote Work Security: For digital nomads, a VPN adds an extra layer of security when accessing company networks or sensitive work materials from various locations.

Cost - Many companies offer their goods and services at a rate consistent with your location, meaning there are deals out there waiting for you in other countries! Use a VPN to see your savings potential.

Considerations To Choose The Best VPN For You

All VPN’s are not created equally – each offers a different combination of features and quality for a competitive advantage. Before looking into VPNs to purchase, it is important to consider what factors are the most important to you! 

By carefully evaluating these factors and assessing how well each VPN meets your specific needs, you can confidently choose a VPN that enhances your online security, supports your digital lifestyle, and aligns with your budget.


While budget is a key concern for many travelers, remember that a slightly higher investment can often lead to better security and performance. Consider the value you’re getting for the price, including features like security protocols, server options, and customer support.

Security & Reliability

The primary purpose of a VPN is to enhance your online security and privacy. Look for a VPN with strong encryption protocols, a strict no-logs policy, and additional security features like a kill switch. Prioritize reliability and a solid reputation in the industry.

Number of Devices & Compatibility

If you have multiple devices or are traveling with others, a VPN that allows multiple simultaneous connections can be a significant advantage. Similarly, consider the devices you’ll be using during your travels. Ensure the VPN supports all the devices you plan to connect, such as laptops, smartphones, and tablets.

Server Speed & Locations

VPNs can sometimes result in slower internet speeds due to the encryption and rerouting of traffic. Look for VPNs that prioritize maintaining high speeds, especially if you intend to stream content, video call, or work remotely.

The more server locations a VPN offers, the more versatility you have in accessing geo-restricted content and maintaining optimal browsing speeds. If you have specific regions in mind for your travels, ensure the VPN has servers in those areas.

Read More - Once you establish how you will protect your data online, check out everything you need to know about International Phone Plans!

Option 1 - SurfShark

Surfshark is a versatile VPN option that offers a well-rounded set of features suitable for budget-conscious travelers and digital nomads, making it our #1 Choice for Travelers. It stands out with its unlimited simultaneous connections, allowing you to secure all your devices under one subscription. With a quickly growing network of over 3200 servers in 100 countries, Surfshark provides an amazing range of server locations for accessing geo-restricted content and maintaining good speeds.

Cost – $2.49/month for 2 years
Speed – 100+ Mbps
Servers – 3,200+ servers in 100 countries

Tip - Unlimited devices mean you can share the plan with your travel companions to save!

Option 2 - NordVPN

NordVPN is renowned for its strong emphasis on security and privacy. With a vast network of over 5000 servers in 60 countries, it offers a wide range of server options for accessing global content. NordVPN is a solid choice for users seeking advanced security features while maintaining good connection speeds. It also provides specialized servers for activities like streaming and torrenting.

Cost – $5.49 / month for 2 years
Speed – 100+ Mbps
Servers – 5,608 servers in 60 countries

Option 3 - Express VPN

ExpressVPN is a high-performance VPN option with a focus on speed and reliable connections. With 3000+ servers in 94 countries, it offers a broad server network for accessing content from around the world. ExpressVPN is particularly popular among users who prioritize streaming, as it provides consistent speeds and reliable access to geo-blocked content.

Cost – $6.67/month for 1 year (+3 months free)
Speed – 100+ Mbps
Servers – 3,000+ servers in 94 countries

Option 4 - CyberGhost

CyberGhost is known for its user-friendly interface and is a great option for beginners. With over 7300 servers in 91 countries, it offers an extensive server network. CyberGhost places a strong focus on streaming optimization, making it a preferred choice for users who want seamless access to geo-restricted content.

Cost – $2.19/month for 2 years (+2 months free)
Speed – 100+ Mbps
Servers – 9,438 servers in 91 countries

Summary - Best VPN for Travelers & Digital Nomads

Selecting the right VPN depends on your specific needs. Consider factors such as server locations (to access content from your preferred regions), speed (necessary for streaming and remote work), and ease of use. Each of these VPN options provides a range of features tailored to different requirements, ensuring that you can travel with peace of mind, knowing your online activities are secure.

In conclusion, a VPN is a valuable investment for any young budget-conscious traveler or digital nomad. Not only does it protect your sensitive information, but it also enhances your online freedom and opens up a world of possibilities. 

Choose a VPN that aligns with your travel needs, and embark on your adventures with the confidence that your digital footprint remains secure and untraceable.

Purchase an External Hard Drive before you go!
Posted by Taylor Mallaber in Technology, Travel Planning, 0 comments
8 Must-Have Zero Waste Travel Toiletries

8 Must-Have Zero Waste Travel Toiletries

Toiletries are a necessary thing to pack to maintain our hygiene and personal maintenance, but the number of things we pack can easily add up, especially when we pack unnecessary and wasteful products. Zero-waste travel toiletries are a great way to reduce your waste while traveling, and save money! This article will cover some of the best zero waste travel toiletries for you to consider for your next adventure. 

By choosing low-waste, reusable solutions you will not only reduce the waste you create but also save space in your bag and save money on future purchases! With this guide, you can save $150 annually with sustainable swaps in your toiletry bag alone!

These products are designed to minimize waste and reduce the environmental footprint of your travel, while also saving you money and hassle from shopping in foreign places. In this article, we’ll discuss some essential zero-waste toiletries that can help you maintain your hygiene and keep the planet clean. 

Arrangement of all zero waste travel toiletry options that I use

Table of Contents

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1. Makeup Palette

We are starting the list strong, with a game changer for your toiletries with a completely zero-waste makeup palette. Makeup has always been a source of waste in my cosmetics since they are so often made with plastic packaging, are non-refillable, and have a short lifetime.

Level up your low-waste lifestyle with this completely zero-waste palette by Elate. This is a 100% customizable palette, where you can pick and choose which capsules you want to complete your look. Choose from eye shadow, blush, eyebrow color, eyeliner, foundation, concealer, and more! You can mix and match to make your perfect set, without buying all the extra crap.

This palette comes in different sizes, so you can design it for your glam desires. The palette housing is made from Bamboo, and each tablet is set in 100% aluminum, so you can recycle them everywhere! When one is finished, simply order a new one and receive it in 100% recyclable packaging.

Open makeup palette, DIY makeup remover, reusable cotton rounds, and eco-brushes


If you don’t consider sunscreen in your daily makeup application, that should change. Your face is constantly taking on the sun’s harmful rays, which can increase the appearance of aging and create skin cancers. The catch is, not all sunscreens are created equal. In fact, popular brands like Banana Boat, Coppertone, and Neutrogena cause a lot of damage to our marine ecosystem.

The chemicals in these sunscreens cause reproduction issues, growth defects, and more (and you’re putting that on your body?!) Look out for these harmful chemicals in many name-brand sunscreens that lead to marine degradation and coral bleaching.

  • Oxybenzone
  • Octinoxate
  • Benzophenone-1
  • Benzophenone-8
  • 4-Methylbenzylidene camphor
  • 3-Benzylidene camphor
  • Octocrylene
Sun Bum Face Sunscreen is my go to daily protectant. It is vegan and reef friendly, which is so essential for environemntal conservation. While you're already on a roll saving the planet, get yourself some Sun Bum Body Sunscreen as well.

2. Makeup Remover

On the topic of makeup, makeup wipes are quickly filling our waterways and landfills, and for no reason at all. Not only are they a major source of waste, but also a major source of money spent. Save yourself the trouble while traveling, and swap to a zero-waste option that you can even make yourself!

For the past few years, I have been using reusable cotton pads and a DIY makeup remover which leaves my skin feeling clean and hydrated – yay no toxic chemicals on my skin!

DIY Makeup Remover

The makeup remover is a combination of almond oil and rose hip water, but any oil-based solution will work! It even takes off my waterproof mascara! Look around you for a ‘Refill Store’, and get a makeup remover created just for you.

This is a great chance to reuse any old bottle (make it under 3oz. so you can take it on a carry-on), and refill it to make your perfect remover. I wear some makeup daily and only need to refill my 3oz container 1x per year! The cost is about $4 to fill the bottle.

Reusable Cotton Pads

Cotton pads are the best way to remove makeup with your new DIY remover. They are soft, eco-friendly, and can be homemade! Once I am low on clean cotton pads to use, I simply soak them and wash them with non-toxic soap, and they’re good as new! No searching for makeup wipes in a small town in Vietnam, you got yourself covered for months (if not years). The cost is free or $5 if you purchase them!

If you're not handy with a sewing machine, purchase yourself some Reusable Cotton Rounds!
Makeup Wipes Annual Cost Re-usable Annual Cost Annual Cost Savings

$0.02 / wipe * 365 days = $73

Pads + DIY Remover = $9

$64 Saved Annually

3. Menstrual Cup

If you’re a person that has periods, you need to get on board with this one. Menstrual cups are a complete game-changer for your monthly cycle in terms of health, ease, comfort, and cost.

Not only do they reduce unnecessary waste, but they are also so much better for your health. Shoving cotton *up there* affects your pH, meanwhile, silicon has no adverse effect on your body. Once the cup is in, you don’t even feel it!

If that doesn’t convince you, the cost savings will. Let’s assume the average period requires 4 tampons/day and lasts 5 days, that is 20 tampons/month. A box of tampons containing 47 tampons = $10.47, or $0.22/tampon. Over 1 year (13 cycles), that is $57!

A menstrual cup lasts about 8 years... that's right, 8 years of no tampons or pads. They vary in cost, but my personal favorite is the Pixie Menstrual Cup. This cup has different sizes since all bodies are different, comes with the cutest carrying bag, and has a Buy-1, Give-1 promise. Your purchase will benefit you, and a woman in need to have menstrual stability for the rest of her pre-menopausal life!
Pink menstrual cup and tampons which are both zero waste travel toiletry options

I have been using a menstrual cup for over a decade, and I couldn’t imagine ever going back. I do keep a few ob-applicator free tampons in my purse and bag for emergencies, and mostly since I have had them for years and can’t just toss them!

Tampons Annual Cost Menstrual Cup Annual Cost Annual Cost Savings

$0.22 / tampon * 20 tampons * 13 cycles = $57

Menstrual cup = $23 / 8 years = $3

$55 Saved Annually

4. Reusable Cotton Swab

Cotton swabs serve such a simple purpose, and they can easily be swapped out for something that will save you money and waste. Not to mention how bulky they are to keep in your travel bag.

If you just can't go without the feeling of being completely clean in your ear canal (I get it), at least opt for a more sustainable option like these Bamboo Swabs!
I use The Last Swab, and absolutely love it. The silicone tips are covered in little dots to leave your ears feeling clean and fresh every time. It is easy to clean, and takes up no space at all while traveling!
Cotton Swab Annual Cost Last Swab Annual Cost Annual Cost Savings

$0.01 / swab * 365 days = $3.65

The Last Swab = $11 / 5 years = $2.2

$1.45 Saved Annually

*Okay, so not a major cost savings, but it is a major waste reduction. Not to mention you won’t have to go buy some while you’re traveling and make space in your bag!

5. Soap + Scrub Bag

Once you’re traveling, you realize anything in a bottle takes up so much space. And if it is any type of soap or product, you realize it is mostly water taking up all that space!

Going for a bar of soap will save you so much space, and you have more control of what you’re putting on your body! Not to mention it will last at least 2x as long as a bottle of body wash.

You’ll never see organic, natural body wash soap, but you definitely can get that in a bar of soap, while also supporting local artisans as you travel!

Black and White scrubber bag for soap

Scrubber Pouch

Some people can just use soap and not scrub their bodies, and still feel clean. That’s not me, and if it’s not you either then a scrubber pouch for your soap is the perfect solution. Simply slide your soap into this woven little bag and you have an upgraded loofah that will last a while!

They come in a variety of designs and materials, so you can get one that works well for you. You can even try out making one yourself!

If you're going to give crocheting a go and make your own, props to you! However if crafting isn't your thing, check this high quality MainBasics Scrubber Pouch. Now you can wash away all your dirty consumeristic ways and say goodbye to plastic loofahs for good.

6. Bamboo Toothbrush

The bamboo toothbrush is the icon of ‘sustainable living’, but hey it’s true! Toothbrushes have a relatively short lifespan and should be replaced every 3 months. That means 4 of these plastic sticks end up in the landfill, or more likely washed up on a beach somewhere, where they stay for the next 500 years.

Set of 10 bamboo toothbrushes, labeled as Climate Pledge Friendly on Amazon
Switching to a bamboo toothbrush costs you $0 extra, and offers the opportunity to reduce your plastic use! Get yourself a pack of Bamboo Toothbrushes to bring along on your travels. It's always nice to have a spare when you need it, and you may not find these sustianable solutions in every country you go to!