Must-Have Travel Products – Prime Day Edition

Planning a holiday (I say “holiday” because I’m apparently British now) this summer?! Check out some of these items that we simply can’t live without. Each of these have been Josh tested and Jen approved!

Hey, did you know that Amazon Prime Days are just around the corner? Maybe you should buy something for yourself, or for a friend, or for me! Whoever you’re buying for (because you definitely should get something), allow my somewhat shameless advertising of must-have travel products to help you decide. Not everything on this list will be discounted for Prime Day, but that doesn’t mean we can’t indulge, right?! And since it is peak vacation season, you can use the “holiday” as an excuse to buy everything your traveling heart desires. Behold, advertisements that look like news!

[In case I didn’t make it obvious enough. This post includes affiliate links and marketing. I am only writing about things I like and personally own or want (wink wink), but it’s still, technically, advertising. By clicking on any of the links below, you’ll be transported to amazing products and services without any service fees or any shady email collections. It is just like clicking on a Google search link, but the difference is that I will get the commission instead of Google. So even if you aren’t buying something for me, you’ll still be saying “Jen, you’re awesome and I love you!” every time you buy something. Don’t you want to say that?! I thought so!]


20190501_132147
Aren’t we cute?! Use our links to buy stuff you were going to buy anyway. We’re using the commission to continue our travels and collect more kissy-face photos around the world.

Must Have Travel Products: Accessories

Planning a holiday (apparently I’m British now) this summer?! Check out these must-have travel products that we simply can’t live without. Each of these have been Josh tested and Jen approved!

AmazonBasics Carry-On Backpack & Packing Cubes Set 

We purchased three different bags to take with us on this journey. We needed something that was durable, cheap, and large enough for two weeks worth of clothes, but also small enough to fit RyanAir’s carry-on luggage policy. Out of the three, this bag was our favorite and is now the one Josh takes with him everywhere we go (I got stuck with the less than desirable bag).



Packing cubes are another of our must-have travel products. I had never used them before, but now I am 100% sold! These make life so much easier! Josh sorts his by outfit and I sort mine by style. I have one for socks and undies, one for bottoms, and another for tops. Now, everywhere I go, I simply put the entire cube in the drawer and I am immediately unpacked and organized. I also suggest folding the clothing per the KonMari Method. It has brought me joy and a lot more space.

Amazon Kindle & Other Bits

With limited space to carry all of my belongings, I need to be choosy. One thing we both choose to lug around the world is a Kindle. I know there are other reading devices out there, but the Kindle is the only one I have personally tried. When we are constantly in-and-out of WIFI, there is nothing like knowing that all of our books are safe and sound, ready to be read whenever we want.

I also carry a few other bits and bobs. One surprisingly useful item is my key chain bottle opener. It is crazy how much I actually use that thing! We also each have a microfiber towel. They’re lightweight, easy to pack, dry fast, and are super absorbent. Finally, we can’t leave our accommodations without double checking that we have our European adapter with USB outlets.


Micro-Fiber Towels. Must Have Travel Product
I was at this London hostel only two days ago. Out of our 24 room mates (?!), nearly half of them had these colorful, microfiber towels.

Must Have Travel Products: Subscriptions

We can keep our travels cheap because we have very few bills. We don’t have a mortgage, phone plans, or car insurance. Josh and I carefully considered each subscription we had and narrowed them down to only a few essentials. Over time, we have added and subtracted, but I feel like we now have the perfect collection of travel subscriptions.

Trusted House Sitters

I don’t mean to sound like a broken record, but Trusted House Sitters has been a game changer for us. We stay at people’s homes around the world for free in exchange for watching their home and pet. Our hosts get to go on vacation with the peace of mind that their pets are loved and their home is being watched for free. It is a win, win! Please use my link to sign up AND use my promo code to get an extra discount (RAF156424)!



DuoLingo Plus!

We have been using DuoLingo for years and absolutely love it! We’ve studied Chinese, Spanish, Italian, and a little taster of each of the other languages we’ve needed along the way. The free version is absolutely amazing, but that only pushes me more toward the Plus! version. These creators 100% deserve to get paid for their work. It is an excellent app that has truly benefited our lives.

Amazon Prime

Amazon is nearly everywhere. Unfortunately, having an American Amazon Prime membership is not the same as having an Italian Prime Membership. However, if your holidays keeps you in the USA, make sure you have Prime to get all of your must-have travel products. The Amazon Lockers located throughout the country are amazing! We have used them numerous times and loved the convenience.


House Sitting on Lake Zurich - The Places We Live
Josh at our beautiful house sit on Lake Zurich in Switzerland. Most of our sits come with either bikes or cars, some food, and complete use of the house.

Buy All of the Things

Thank you for making it to the bottom of the page. You are awesome! You are so awesome that I think you deserve a little something for yourself. That’s right, you awesome person you. Treat yo’ self and get something nice. You deserve it!

TREAT YOURSELF!


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10 Must Have Travel Products - The Places We Live


Free Things to Do in Karlsruhe, Germany

Here is my surprisingly long list of free things to do in Karlsruhe, Germany.

Because Karlsruhe was our first stop in Europe we ended up being a little tighter with our money than usual. Mostly, we were nervous about all of the upcoming unknowns, like travel costs, booking more house sits, that sort of thing. Thankfully, we found a ton to do in Karlsruhe and all of it was FREE!!! Here is my surprisingly long list of free things to do in Karlsruhe, Germany.

Free Things to Do in Karlsruhe:



Explore by Bicycle

Bicycling in Karlsruhe - The Places We Live

Bicycling is very popular in Karlsruhe, so bike lanes are prevalent and well-maintained. Even better, the entire city is quite flat, making it easy to go for a nice, relaxing ride. We were lucky enough to have bikes provided for us at our house sit in Karlsruhe and at our AirBnB on the other side of town. If free access isn’t an option, bikes are available to rent throughout the city for around €15 per day. There are miles and miles of paths outside of the city, winding through beautiful farmland, villages, and forested reserves. For more info, check out the suggested Karlsruhe Cycling Routes on MapMyRide.

Biking was one of our favorite free things to do in Karlsruhe. One particularly good ride was along the Rhine River, ending at the border with France. Starting at the Maxau Train Station and turning around at Rheinkiosk Seyfert beer garden, we rode for 14 miles (23km) round-trip. The ride included views of the Rhine River, one of the most efficient steam power plants in the world, an outdoor swimming area, and wooded reserves packed with singing birds.

Other Useful Cycling Links:



Innenstadt (Downtown)

Free in Karlsruhe - Exploring Karlsruhe Palace

The area near the palace also held a bunch of free things to do in Karlsruhe. When looking at a map of of the city, there is an obvious ring road called Adenauaerring. Within that there is a smaller, less obvious ring, that encircles Karlsruhe Palace. It was inside this smaller loop that we found enough free things to see and do to keep us busy for an entire sunny afternoon.

Schlossplatz

Karlsruhe Palace, Germany - The Places We Live

Schlossplatz square hosts an amazing frontal view of Karlsruhe Palace, an 18th century beauty that sits in the center of downtown. In front of the palace is a grassy area decorated with running water features and lined with white Grecian statues. The grassy was so beautifully designed and maintained, and was packed with people picnicking, lounging, and children playing the running water. I wish we’d had the foresight to come with a bit of cheese and bread for a picnic of our own!

Tickets for the palace tour cost €12. Or, you could tour Karlsruhe Palace for FREE on Fridays between 2PM and 6PMHowever, we opted to wander the square and look at the statues, admire the palace, and do a bit of discreet people-watching. Simply walking around the palace made for an enjoyable afternoon.

Karlsruhe Botanical Garden

Karlsruhe Botanical Gardens - The Places We Live

Located in the Southwest quadrant of the circle, Karlsruhe Botanical Gardens in one of the gems of the city. It costs €3 to enter the glass houses, but the outdoor area is free. The outdoor garden isn’t as impressive, but definitely worth a visit. We were lucky enough to come in the spring when everything was in bloom. Like the grassy area in the square, the outdoor garden seemed to be a popular place for locals to hang out and relax.

Schlossgarten Park

Free Things to Do in Karlsruhe, Germany

The majority of the remaining area within the inner loop is the downtown park. There are expansive lawns, a pond, tree lined walkways, and hidden sculpture gardens. We walked nearly all of the paths and watched the birds that hung out near the pond. I even spotted my first Mandarin Duck!



ZKM – Center for Art and Media

ZKM Karlsruhe - The Places We Live

Started in 1989 and housed inside of a retired arms and ammunition factory, the ZKM is a modern art museum dedicated to bringing classical art into the digital age. I would have never expected this amazing museum to be on the list of free things to do in Karlsruhe, but here it is! On most days, the adult admission to the ZKM is €7. However, the ZKM exhibitions are free every Friday after 2:00PM. We visited during one such Friday afternoon and could have easily spent the entire day exploring the unique museum.

Closed Mondays and Tuesdays

Open Wednesday through Friday from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM 

Open Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM

ZKM Website

Negative Space

Free Things to do in Karlsruhe - The Places We Live

The exhibitions change regularly, but I wanted to share the ones we were lucky enough to see. My favorite was Negative Space, a sculpture exhibition that will be running until November 2019. “The aim of the exhibition is to rethink the relationship between sculpture and space in a decidedly spatial way,” says the ZKM website.

zkm_gamplay. the next level

ZKM - Gameplay

As fans of video games, this was another highlight of the museum. Running until December 2021, zkm_gameplay. the next level is a multi level exhibition focusing on a few themes. The first level encompassed retro games and gaming culture. There were retro arcade games available to play and old memorable consoles on display. Second was all about the possibilities of modern narratives in gaming. Third were aesthetic and creative games. These were all lovely works of art in their own right.

The fourth level was our particular favorite. This section included political games. One such game was The Democracy Machine that pit two players against each other and asked them to vote on a “yes” or “no” topic. If the two people disagreed, the goal of the game was then to debate until the players came to an agreement.

Open Codes

I know I’ve already listed two favorites, but would be OK if I listed this one too? We found this exhibition particularly moving due less to the art on display and more because of the message: “We live in a world created, controlled[sic] and controlled by data. Digital codes shape our present and have a profound impact on all areas of our lives, economy and society, politics and justice.” – ZKM Open Codes. Each display was fairly high tech and demonstrated the power of data. Upon entry, for example, we walked past several monitors that reflected us in different ways. One of the spookiest was the screen that estimated information about us simply by capturing us on video.



With only a short time in this amazing city, we only scratched the surface of all the free things to do in Karlsruhe. Still, we had an great time, and can’t wait to come back and explore even more.

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Free things to do in Karlsruhe, Germany - The Places We Live


Working on a Vineyard in Iowa

In our last two posts, we talked about our HipCamp stay at 99 Bottles Winery and Vineyard in Hayfield, Iowa. In the description, the host offered campers an opportunity to work in exchange for a free night. We’ve visited plenty of wineries, but never worked on one before. It seemed like a great way to save a little cash and try something new, so I paid for one night and requested to work in exchange for an additional night. Our hosts seemed happy to have a couple extra hands around and asked us to swing by the house some time after 9AM to get started on our first task.

♦ Save $20 on your first HipCamp stay. Click HERE! ♦

Picking Grapes

The first item of business was to collect our supplies. We would be needing scissors (I found the kid size gave me more maneuverability, while Josh liked the cutting power of the adult scissors) and a bucket. Next, we needed grapes. Due to a picking party that was hosted at the vineyard the weekend before, there weren’t many grapes left, but there were a few patches of unpicked areas among the various grape varieties.

Jen from The Places We Live is working on a vineyard. She clips purple grapes off a vine

The aim of the game was to collect as many grapes as possible. The hard part was the sorting. We had to check each cluster before throwing them in our buckets, checking for ripeness and bugs. Grapes that are too young are sour and will throw off the flavor of the final product, so we needed only the plumpest, juiciest grapes. The bugs (mostly ladybugs, but some ants and larger beetles too) loved those juicy grapes, and apparently burrow inside to lay their eggs, which are obviously not what you want in a delicious glass of wine. So we did our best to get rid of as many as possible, checking the grapes to make sure they hadn’t been nibbled on or infested. It was challenging at first, but I started to get the hang of it and ended up really enjoying the challenge of collecting the perfect cluster of grapes.

Sorting

After about an hour, we had collected several buckets of grapes, and our host announced the official end of that year’s grape harvest, prompting an audible sigh of relief. Next up was the sorting. This was a fairly easy process thanks to a nifty sorting machine and the small collection that we had collected. There were several different types of grapes, but if it was to produce any wine, they had to be put together as a single batch.

Josh from The Places We Live is working on a vineyard. He is dumping buckets of grapes into a machine that separates the grapes from the stems.

Josh helped the host hoist the buckets of grape clusters into the sorting machine. The small and simple looking machine separated the grapes from the vines. One side of the machine spit out leaves and twigs while the other side neatly collected individual grapes.

Our host said he liked to feed the leftover leaves and bits to the steers, who seemed to really enjoy the flavor, being covered in tasty grape juice. In addition, their behavior after eating the fermented snack gave our hosts and their neighbors a good laugh.

The Squish

I assisted in the squishing process (technically called “pressing”, but squishing sounds more fun). During the picking parties that the vineyard hosts each fall, the guests are invited to stomp the grapes with their feet. This year, there was even a contest that apparently got very competitive. We, however, squished the grapes in a more modern fashion.

A mesh cylinder sits on top of a red basin. Inside there is a black bladder and clumps of grapes. At the bottom of the basin, there is a lip that is pouring out green liquid.

We took Josh’s sorted buckets of grapes and dumped them into the open top of a mesh cylinder. At the center of the cylinder was a large bladder attached to a hose. The bottom was balanced on a grooved, round dish. Once the grapes were all in the cylinder, we gently pumped up the bladder. As the bladder got larger, it squished the grapes up against the sides of the mesh wall. The fresh and fragrant juice escaped out the holes in the mesh, where it was collected in the grooved dish and funneled into a new bucket. By the end of the squish, we had several gallons of grape juice.

From Juice to Almost Wine

Our barrel of grape juice was moved into the wine making room with the others. Our host had yet to decide what he was going to do with it, so it was covered and set aside for a while. However, we then got to help out with some of the other wines in progress. We checked a few of the fermenting barrels, and Josh helped add a little extra yeast to a few that needed a little extra encouragement. We also checked the settling tanks (the big steel ones in the picture), which are used for removing sediments from the wine once the fermentation is complete. The wine in these tanks undergoes several rounds of removing particulate matter and sterilization before bottling, which is one thing we didn’t get to do.

A room full of large white trash cans sit in the middle of a floor. The walls of the room are lined with plastic tubs and large steel tubs. Each trash can is covered with a white cloth. Inside one of the trash cans smashed, purple grapes are visible

Wine in Our Bellies

Once the wine was ready to rest, it was time for some tasting. 99 Bottles Winery and Vineyard has an adorable tasting room complete with a bar, both an indoor and outdoor seating area, and bathrooms. Each wine is made in small batches and is sold locally, either at the winery or at some of the nearby markets.

A flight of wine from 99 Bottles Winery and Vineyard. The Youngest Child is a white, The Middle Child is a red, and The Oldest Child is a white. The Oldest Child also shows the label: Semi-sweet white table wine. It's delicious! Get the keys from your little sister. Somebody has to be the responsible one.

The various flavors of wine are family-themed, with names like The Black Sheep, The Only Child, and Bird Dog Red, which was named after one of their retired family pets. One of the owner’s children designs all of the labeling and does an excellent job at it. Each description not only accurately describes the wine, but the member of the family it represents. A silver medal winner at the Iowa State Fair, The Youngest Child is a semi-sweet wine. With a  description like “adorable and sweet, and maybe a little whiny”, the wine is aptly named.

We had such a great time working on a vineyard! Picking grapes was the perfect way to spend a sunny morning, and what’s more, drinking the literal fruits of our labor was the perfect way to spend a quiet afternoon. I could not have asked for more from this excellent example of experience-based travel.


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RTW Travel Budget – May 2018

Around The World Travel Budget

There seem to be a bazillion travel bloggers out there talking about how cheap it is to travel, but very few are open about their finances. We’ve gotten quite a few questions about how we can afford to travel full-time, so we’ve decided to open up the books and do a monthly post with the details of our around the world travel budget. The hope is that these posts will help prepare others who are thinking about jumping into the nomad life, and help us re-assess our spending habits. Enjoy this Australia travel budget!

Check out our full-time travel budgets from a different month. ♥

In our preparations for this ’round the world (RTW) trip, we assumed that we would not actually make much money for at least a full year. So, the plan for this first year was to evenly spread out our savings. This left us with $200 USD per week on one year of RTW adventure for two.

May 2018 Travel Budget

For the most part, this has been a very suitable around the world travel budget. As our travel “careers” develop, we hope to keep the budget as is until we are able to break even in terms of money spent versus money made. We are slowly building up our income and our social reach. Week Three of this month marked the first official time we relied entirely on my blog income and Josh’s creative writing income.

Jen’s Travel Career: I’m a Travel Blogger! ♥

May Travel

May RTW Budget - The Places We Live.png

The majority of the month of May was spent in Victoria, Australia. As we were a little late in purchasing tickets, I opted to save money by purchasing two separate flights. We got two flights from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur for $137. Then we stayed in a hotel near the airport in the town of Sepang, Malaysia for $13 per night. Finally, we purchased two tickets to Melbourne, Australia for $368.

Cost of Living for Two

Malaysia

  • Average Daily Food Cost = 36 MYR = $9 USD
    • Brunch- two entrees and two milk teas at a restaurant
    • Snack – two ice cream cones from the convenience store
    • Dinner – two entrees and two sodas at a restaurant
  • Average Daily Accommodation Cost = 54 MYR = $13 USD
    • Basic hotel in a rural neighborhood
    • Included: wifi and air conditioning

Australia

  • Average Daily Food Cost = 10 AUD = $8 USD
    • Breakfast – cereal, milk, banana, and coffee from the grocery store
    • Lunch – PB&J sandwich, chips, and soda from the grocery store
    • Dinner – two entrees and two beers from grocery store
  • Average Daily Accommodation Cost = 0 AUD = $0 USD
    • Two House Sits – free

Get a better look at the cost of Malaysia travel from our month in Malaysia. ♥

Month-Ending Balances

Around the Word Travel Budget - The Places We Live

As we wrap up our fifth month of our RTW travel, we have pulled $4,614 from our savings account. This puts us $214 over budget for the year so far. Not too bad really, but we hope to knock that down by the end of next month.

Weekly Break Down

Our average withdraw was $200 per week, which is right on goal for our around the world travel budget. We hope to reduce this next month by continuing to focus on house sitting (a huge money saver) and building better routines around transition days (consistently our most expensive days).

Week One

RTW Budget May Week 1 - The Places We Live.png

Our week in Sepang, Malaysia was very quiet, but also very cheap. However, Week One overall was our most expensive week due to our plane tickets. We saved quite a bit of money ($302) by flying out of Malaysia instead of Thailand, and saved even more by taking a red-eye flight (saving us $13 on a hotel).

Once in Australia, we moved into our new house sit in Melbourne, bought groceries and toiletries, and filled up our MYKI card for the bus. The rest of the week, we made and ate meals at home, went for hikes, and laid low. We made $20 and spent $583, putting our savings withdraw at $563 for Week One.

Read more about our week in Sepang, Malaysia. ♥

Week Two

RTW Budget Australia Week Two2 - The Places We Live.png

Week Two was a much better week for our around the world budget. We were able to do a lot of things while still not over spending. There was an amazing pastry shop down the road that we frequented and we were able to take a tour of downtown Melbourne. It was really nice to live a tourist life this week while we were living near the city center. We made $72 and spent $173, putting our savings withdraw at $101 for Week Two.

Week Three

RTW Budget Australia Week Three - The Places We Live.png

Week Three put us back to our routines. We were house sitting in a small suburb on the Mornington Peninsula and had a lot more opportunity to live the local lifestyle. We cooked at home, went on a lot of amazing hikes, and chatted with the neighbors at the parks. This was also our first week to stop freelance work and focus entirely on our new travel careers (scary!). We made $0 and spent $88, putting our savings withdraw at $88 for Week Three.

Check out our amazing house sit on the Mornington Peninsula. ♥

Week Four

RTW Budget Australia Week Four- The Places We Live.png

Our fourth week of our around the world budget for May was pretty good. We had a couple of more expensive days, enjoying a trip to a local brewery and celebrating the completion of Josh’s first draft of the novel with a date night. Even with all of that, we still came in $17 under budget. We made $0 and spent $183, putting our savings withdraw at $183 for Week Four.

Read more about our hike to Cape Schanck. ♥

Week Five

RTW Budget Australia Week Five - The Places We Live.png

Week Five proved to be another excellent savings week. The weather was great, so we went on a lot of hikes, made some delicious home-cooked meals, and visited a local bakery and breweries. We paid very close attention of our budget this week as we were determined to stay in budget this month… and we did! Josh made $29 from his short story publications on Medium and we spent $93, putting our savings withdraw at $55 for Week Five.

Wrap Up

I am so proud of us for this month. Even after purchasing tickets to Australia, we were still able to stick to our $200 per week around the world budget! We still had to pull our maximum goal amount from savings, but our travel career income is slowly increasing. Josh made $50 from his Medium publications. Although I didn’t make any money this month with my affiliate ads, the month went really well and I am expecting a decent check for next month. Thank you all so much for clicking on my affiliate ads!!

Around the Word Travel Budget - The Places We Live.png

We have been officially on the road for 22 weeks. At our budget goal of $200 per week, that would put our overall goal at $4,400. We have pulled $4,614 out of our savings account over the last five months of traveling, putting us at $214 over budget for the year.

We are now officially at the six month mark. This is the last month that we agreed to be comfortable with not making a lot of money. By July, our goal is to make enough money that we can start coming in under our max budget. In preparation for that, our goal for June is to put our spending at no more than the $800, regardless of income. I think this could be challenging considering our next destination, but we’re determined to reach our long-term goals. Wish us luck!

Read more about our Around the World Travel Budget here! ♥


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Budget – April 2018

Around The World Travel Budget

There seem to be a bazillion travel bloggers out there talking about how cheap it is to travel, but very few are open about their finances. We’ve gotten quite a few questions about how we can afford to travel full-time, so we’ve decided to open up the books and do a monthly post with the details of our around the world travel budget. The hope is that these posts will help prepare others who are thinking about jumping into the nomad life, and help us re-assess our spending habits. Enjoy this Thailand travel budget!

In our preparations for this ’round the world (RTW) trip, we assumed that we would not actually make much money for at least a full year. So, the plan for this first year was to evenly spread out our savings. This left us with $200 USD per week on one year of RTW adventure for two.

April 2018 Travel Budget

For the most part, this has been a very suitable around the world travel budget. As our travel “careers” develop, we hope to keep the budget as is until we are able to break even in terms of money spent versus money made. So far, we are 10% of the way to our income goal, bringing in a little over $20 per week with our new careers.

April Travel

April Budget Calendar

We spent the majority of April in Hua Hin, Thailand for our house sit. The rest of the month was spent between Penang, Bangkok, and Kuala Lumpur for our travel days. It was difficult to get a direct flight into Hua Hin, so we had to travel through Bangkok to get there. In addition, flights to and from Kuala Lumpur were cheaper from everywhere else in the area, so KL worked as our travel hub for this portion of our RTW journey.

Cost of Living for Two

Malaysia

  • Average Daily Food Cost = 55 MYR = $14 USD
    • Breakfast – usually supplied by hotel for free
    • Snack – two ice cream cones
    • Dinner – two entrees and two sodas
  • Average Daily Accommodation Cost = 80 MYR = $20 USD
    • Either hostel or basic hotel outside of city-center
    • Included: wifi, breakfast, and air conditioning

Thailand

  • Average Daily Food Cost = 300 THB = $9 USD
    • Breakfast – cereal, milk, and coffee from the grocery store
    • Lunch – peanut butter and jelly sandwich from the grocery store
    • Dinner – two entrees and two beers
    • Snack – two ice cream cones
  • Average Daily Accommodation Cost = 230 THB = $7 USD
    • House Sit – free
    • Hostels in Bangkok = 700 THB per night = $22 USD per night

Month-Ending Balances

Current state of our Around the World Travel Budget - The Places We Live

As we wrap up our fourth month of our RTW travel, we have pulled $3,614 from our savings account. This puts us $214 over budget for the year so far. Not too bad really, but we hope to knock that down by the end of June (we expect May to be an expensive month).

Weekly Break Down

Our average withdraw is $212 per week, which is $12 over our goal around the world travel budget. We hope to reduce this by continuing to focus on house sitting (a huge money saver) and building better routines around transition days (consistently our most expensive days).

Week One

Around the World Travel Budget: April Week One - The Places We Live
The math isn’t perfect due to currency exchanges.

Obviously, Week One was a challenging one for us. We went over our $28 per day, around the world, travel budget nearly every day. This was due to some travel issues Sunday through Tuesday, then a “first day” grocery store trip on Sunday. We made $24 and spent $326, putting us at – $302 for Week One.

Week Two

Around the World Travel Budget: April Week Two - The Places We Live

Week two was an excellent week for our around the world budget. We had our lovely Hua Hin house sitting home (for free), we had a date night on Monday complete with dessert and cocktails, and a one hour Thai massage for me on Wednesday. The only day we went over budget was on Saturday for another grocery store trip. We made $12 and spent $110, putting us well under budget at – $98 for Week Two.

Week Three

Around the World Travel Budget: April Week Four - The Places We Live

Week three was another great week and would have been even better than Week Two had it not been for some unforeseen expenses. On Thursday, we received a 500 baht ticket for driving without a license and on Saturday we unexpectedly had to pay dues for the Hash Run. Otherwise, we felt like we had balanced Week Two’s grocery run to fulfill both week’s food needs, so our costs were quite low. We made $26 and spent $132, putting us under budget at – $106 for Week Three.

Week Four

Around the World Travel Budget: April Week Four - The Places We Live

Week Four killed our month. We moved out of our house sit on Sunday and moved up to Bangkok. We got two bunks in a hostel in Bangkok for 700 baht ($22) per night. On Wednesday, we got a flight for $70 each to Kuala Lumpur. There, we got a hotel in Sepang which is within ten minutes of the airport. Since the hotel wasn’t in KL proper, it was significantly cheaper at 47 MYR ($12) per night. We made $36 and spent $410, putting us over budget at – $374 for Week Four.

Wrap Up

Each month seems to get a little easier and we get closer and closer to achieving our spending and earning goals. April ended up being our second most expensive month, which was a little disappointing, but we know exactly where we went wrong and have ideas on how to avoid the same issues in the future.

We are expecting May to be another difficult month… we’re going to Australia!!! I got a great price on the tickets but, obviously, a plane ticket isn’t going to come anywhere near our daily goal of $28. We’re hoping that some of the preparations we have made in developing our careers and building good routines will keep us from losing all of our money, but I guess that is part of the adventure isn’t it?

See you all next month. Wish us luck!

Read more about our Around the World Travel Budget here! ♥


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Budget – March 2018

There seem to be a bazillion nomad bloggers out there talking about how cheap it is to travel, but very few are open about their finances. We’ve gotten quite a few questions about how we can afford to travel full-time, so we’ve decided to open up the books and do a monthly post with the details of our budget. The hope is that these posts will help prepare others who are thinking about jumping into the nomad life, and help us re-assess our spending habits. Enjoy!

There seem to be a bazillion travel bloggers out there talking about how cheap it is to travel, but very few are open about their finances. We’ve gotten quite a few questions about how we can afford to travel full-time, so we’ve decided to open up the books and do a monthly post with the details of our travel budget. The hope is that these posts will help prepare others who are thinking about jumping into the nomad life, and help us re-assess our spending habits. Enjoy this Malaysia travel budget!

Check out our full-time travel budgets for another month. ♥


Malaysia has proven to be a bit more expensive than China, both for food and lodging costs. However, we were able to keep our spending on track (mostly), and really save a lot at our housesit in KL. Our goal budget for this journey is $200 per week, putting us at $800 to spend for the month of March and our Malaysia travel budget.

  • Average Daily Food Cost: $11 per day
    • Hotel – Breakfast was included, so we only needed a light snack, and dinner each day
    • House Sit – Groceries for three meals and snack per day. One night dining out per week.
  • Average Daily Lodging: $10 per night
    • Hotel – $20 per night for basic room in questionable neighborhood
    • House Sit – $0 per night for luxury home, pool, and car use

Money Spent: -($818)

Income: $157

Monthly Net: -($661)


Three Month Spending Total: -($3,585)

Three Month Earning Total: $852

Total Journey Net: -($2,733)

(Goal was -$2,600 for month three)


Week One Malaysia Travel Budget: -($200)

We were very happy to stay exactly on budget this week. It took a little extra effort to balance the cost of food, but we made it! We loaded up on hotel breakfast every morning and tried to hold off for as long as we could until dinner. It wasn’t a strict rule. If we were hungry, we ate. But if we weren’t hungry, we did our best not to spend money on food we didn’t need. At the end of the week, we were feeling healthy and were excited about our spending. We spent $200.

Read about the amazing food in Kuala Lumpur. ♥

This month, we are cutting down on the amount of “unfocused” work we are doing. Josh has one last project on UpWork to complete, then one hour a day going forward. It won’t make us a lot of money, but will hopefully provide us more time to focus on the projects we truly want to do. We made $0.

Week Two Malaysia Travel Budget: – ($123)

We started our house sit this week! Once again, we found this arrangement to not only be comfortable and fun, but a great way to save money. We purchased groceries and cooked most meals at home. We spent $160.

Meet Molly, our new furry friend! 

Josh made some money from his one hour per day UpWork time. We made $37.

Week Three Malaysia Travel Budget: – ($172)

Even without trying, we totally nailed this week. We only went over budget on two of the days; once for a nice dinner out and another for our trip to KL Tower. We found some fish at the grocery store we really liked, making the home-cooking even more enjoyable. We spent $192.

Read about our KL Tower adventure. 

We made $20.

Week Four Malaysia Travel Budget: – ($166)

As per usual, our transition week was a little more difficult than the others. We moved from our house sit in Kuala Lumpur to Penang. We’re here for a short excursion before heading to our next house sit in Thailand. The train tickets, food, and hotel costs weren’t too bad, but always a bit more than I would like. We spent $265.

Josh has been working really hard this month to publish two short stories in addition to his CannaHealth article each week. He has been doing an amazing job and even made his first dollar as an author!!! He made $1.80 from people viewing his story, “Open Letter to my Hostel Roommates“. I’m so super proud of him! We made $100.

_Open Letter to My Hostel Roommates_


Each month seems to get better and better. For our third month over-seas, we are feeling very good. We only barely spent over our travel budget and were able to offset quite a bit with some income. We still aren’t breaking even, but each month gets closer and closer.

I can not wait to see what next month has in store!!


Instagram advertisement for @theplaceswelive. It has a blue box labeled "Follow us on Instagram" and is surrounded by four pictures. One is of a woman dancing in a desert. Under that a bowl of pork noodles. Then a photo of a bridge in Chengdu, China. Under that a photo of a farm in Yangshuo, China.


 

Budget – February 2018

There seem to be a bazillion nomad bloggers out there talking about how cheap it is to travel, but very few are open about their finances. We’ve gotten quite a few questions about how we can afford to travel full-time, so we’ve decided to open up the books and do a monthly post with the details of our budget. The hope is that these posts will help prepare others who are thinking about jumping into the nomad life, and help us re-assess our spending habits. Enjoy!

There seem to be a bazillion travel bloggers out there talking about how cheap it is to travel, but very few are open about their finances. We’ve gotten quite a few questions about how we can afford to travel full-time, so we’ve decided to open up the books and do a monthly post with the details of our budget. The hope is that these posts will help prepare others who are thinking about jumping into the nomad life, and help us re-assess our spending habits. Enjoy!


Our goal budget for this journey is $200 per week, putting us at $800 to spend for the month of February.

We did not live a life of the rich and famous, but we didn’t go without either. China is quite suitable for $800 per month for two people.

  • Average Daily Food Cost: $11
    • The time at our house sit included two home cooked meals and one meal out.
    • Outside of the house sit, we ate out for all three meals. We also enjoyed one cup of coffee and three cans of either beer or soda per day.
  • Average Daily Lodging: $7.50
    • Two weeks in the private room at the Yangshuo hostel were $14 per night.
    • Two weeks in our house sit were FREE.
    • One week in our two different dorm beds at the Chengdu hostels were $11 per night.
    • All of our lodging included Wifi, VPN (expect for three days), and free water.

Money Spent: $1,128

Income: $387

Monthly Net: -($741)


Two Month Total:

$692 (Income) – $2,662 (Spent) = -($1,970) 


Week One Net: -($178)

Despite some big nights out, we still came very close to sticking to our $200 budget. We rented a scooter for a day, ate a big meal of beer fish, and had a date night with a fancy Indian dinner and two import beers. We spent $202.

We reached our goal of 2,000 views on the blog for the month of January. I’m still not famous, but I feel pretty awesome!! I even made a little bit of money from AdWords (the annoying advertisements on the bottom of the page) of $0.46! May not be much, but that is enough for a small breakfast here.

Josh had a couple of long-term jobs on UpWork, so he was only able to close one contract for the week. We made $24.

Week Two Net: – ($149)

Week two was a travel week. We caught a taxi to the bus station in Yangshuo, a bus from there to the train station in Guilin, a train from Guilin to Chengdu, then a subway to our hostel in Chengdu. That adventure set us back ¥100/$16. We stayed at The Mix Hostel in a dorm room for a couple of days. The price was decent, but we lacked for comfort.

But the exciting news of the week was our house sitting job!!! We moved out of the hostel and moved into our house sit in Southern Chengdu where we watched a dog in exchange for a free place to stay. So, we went rent free for the next 12 days!! Whoop! In addition to our free accommodations, we had a great kitchen that allowed us to buy groceries which also saved us a ton of money. We spent $171.

It was another slow work week. We made $22.

Week Three Net: -($493)

In general, we did pretty awesome this week. We had one day where we spent nothing and three other days that were under $14. We really got into the swing of things eating more at home and only purchasing what we needed, when we needed it. However, as you can see from the sub heading, we still had a couple of really big purchases. First was a new charger for Josh’s computer. We tried to put it off for as long as we could, but both realized that we were selling ourselves short by sharing a computer. So, we bit the bullet and purchased a new charger at the Apple Store for $99. We also purchased our plane tickets to Kuala Lumpur for $313 (two direct flights). The ticket prices are amazing, but really cut into the budget. We spent $525.

Josh wrapped up one project for $23 and I made $10 on my Amazon.com eGift Cards link!!  We made $33.

Week Four Net: +$78

This was our hardest week due to the move out of our house sit, into a hostel, then into the more expensive city of Kuala Lumpur. Even with a $50 gift card applied, we are still paying 58RM/$15 per day for the 14 nights we booked at our KL hotel. That only leaves us with 43RM/$11 left to spend on other expenses per day. Thankfully, food and transportation are fairly cheap, but still not enough to keep us under budget. We have gone over our 101RM budget every day since we have arrived in KL. We spent $230.

Fortunately, all of those big projects Josh has been working on are finally getting wrapped up. He edited a woman’s non-fiction novel, wrote an essay about intermittent fasting, researched and wrote an article about drug testing, and summarized another research paper for CannaHealthWe made $387.


For our second month overseas, we still have not met our budget goals, but we did get much closer AND came in under $800 for the month’s total net. Overall, we feel pretty good about it. Some learnings this month were:

I have 50% of the rest of our journey booked with house sits. My goal is to bump that up to 75% by the end of next month. That should save us quite a bit of money on food and lodging, but will add to the travel costs (although that was going to be an expense regardless).

Josh and I also had a long talk about his UpWork “career” and have decided to pull back a little bit. He is going to continue to write for CannaHealth, but will otherwise focus more on his short stories. We put together a plan for the month that would have him doing brand building and creative writing for at least five hours per day. I think he will enjoy this much more and, if we start now, will hopefully start making some money at it within the next few months. It’s a risk, but one we are willing to take. I’ll update you on his work in a couple weeks.

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