The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is a favorite travel credit card, highly recommended by many international travelers, including myself. I've had the card for 3+ years — here's my honest review, the good and the bad, and some real-life examples.
How does a full-time solo traveler (with a car and a dog) spend her money, living and traveling Mexico? Peer into my spending the last three months, and take it from me... I can't afford *NOT* to travel!
I last wrote a spending breakdown at the end of 2022, when I shared with everyone that I lived on $74 a day as a global nomad (mostly in Mexico and Eastern Europe, with two months in the U.S). The lifestyle I lead would cost probably twice as much in the states — and while I wouldn't call my post-employment, full-time travel choices luxurious, I am comfortable. So, what does "comfortable" look like for me this year traveling in Mexico? Here's what I spent my first three months in 2023...
As part of my four months in Europe traveling the Balkan Peninsula last year, I spent a week in Albania. As usual, I documented my discoveries on social media, and I had a blast — but I got some unnecessary hate about Albania as a travel destination. Here's my itinerary for Albania, which includes relaxing in the turquoise waters of the Albanian Riviera, digging into its lengthy (and discordant) history, and experiencing the country's incredible nature (lakes, waterfalls, and the Albanian Alps)! Plus, I share my thoughts on the country: ultimately, I found Albania beautiful, affordable, and full of contradictions. This Albania travel guide includes information for both budget-conscious backpackers and those (with a little more to spend) looking for a more cultivated experience.
Last week, in Chapter 1 of my latest blog series, “How Did I Get Here?” I told you: I’ve always been a writer... the page my canvas, the written word my medium. But, did I ever dream of nomadism? Nope. That later came to me as a complete surprise. Like many of you, I went on vacations, both domestic and abroad... and over the years, each trip nourished my soul and whetted my appetite for more. Read on for Chapter 2.
I’m coming upon the end of my first year of mini-retirement, and as usual, I’m sharing yet another spending recap with you (as I’ve done all year long as I’ve traveled across Mexico and Europe)! You’ll recall, at the end of 2021, at age 36, I participated in the great resignation/financial independence retire early (FIRE) movement. After quitting my job, my goal for my semi-retirement was to take back my time, energy, and creativity for MYSELF, vs. my employer… and to get the most out of my travels sans the demands of a job. Now that my first year “on sabbatical” is coming to a close, here’s my total spending for the year (as an unemployed person spending five-sixths of the year traveling across 14 countries): $27,014.26, or $74 a day. This is how I lived. P.S. Want to join me for a free webinar and Q&A where I dig in deep to my budget and spending? Enter to receive the details by email.
It's not sorcery... it's one great suitcase, some smart clothing choices, and a few packing hacks.
“Julie… where was your favorite place in Europe?” I’m not a mom, but I reckon it’s kind of like choosing your favorite child: each place I visited is unique and special in its own way, so I literally cannot pick a favorite! So, instead… how about I do superlatives, high school-yearbook-style (in a completely biased, non-scientific way, of course)? And the award for most beautiful city, prettiest old town, best food, and nicest people goes to...
I spent half a month in Split, Croatia in October — I really needed to slow down after a whirlwind three months traveling through Eastern Europe. (Nomading is exhausting, ya'll!) And overall, I found Split to be a very nice vacation destination, with lovely weather (highs in the upper 70s) in mid-to-late October, plenty of good restaurants, and a variety of things to do... even as Split entered the off-season. Read on for a comprehensive list of my favorite things to do and the best things to eat in Split!
Traveling doesn’t have to break the bank. Trading and bartering has been around for centuries, and the internet has made it more possible than ever to exchange work, expertise, and camaraderie for lodging. So here are four actual, real-life, TACTICAL ways to travel without spending bucket loads of money... and all you need is a keyboard and a mouse to get started!
My third month in Europe has rolled to an end, and I'm here to share another spending recap. But first, in the last month, I’ve been in five countries, I’ve taken buses or ferries in between 10 cities, I’ve spent 20 nights in hotels or Airbnbs, and I’ve dined out about once per day… What do you think I spent? Please, close your eyes and guess. (All will be revealed momentarily!)
I was 15 years old when I got my first job working at Panera Bread for $5.25 an hour. Like most people, I’ve been working ever since, without so much as a few weeks off or a few months between jobs — until my “great resignation” at age 36. I’ve worked at coffee shops, restaurants, big box retailers, golf courses… and then post-college, in two TV newsrooms and a few big corporate organizations. Sometimes, I worked side gigs and temp jobs simultaneously with my salaried job, to the tune of 60-70 hours a week, just to pay the bills or get ahead. (Damn, those days were rough.) Then, I quit. I took a chance on myself and my future: to grow and monetize this blog, publish a memoir about my journey, and THOROUGHLY ENJOY MY LIFE. I call this Julie’s Financial Independence Recreational Employment (my take on FI/RE)! Hereby, these are 7 confessions of a corporate job escapee... who's never been happier (spoiler alert).
I have another 30-day, full-time-traveler, nomad-in-Europe spending update for you! I spent most of my second month of my stint in Europe in the Balkans and Mediterranean, so you'd think my mini-retirement spending would be lower than western Europe, buuuuuuut... I had a couple bills come due and a few "splurges," like my 7-day sailing trip in Turkey. So, in days 31-60 in Europe, I spent (and please excuse me while I mentally cringe)...
I’ve been city and country-hopping in Europe for a month and a half now, and the single city I’ve spent the most time in has been… Budapest! And because I love to eat, I appreciate rich culture, there’s a lot to see, and I also don’t mind a party (here and there), Budapest was a welcome haven for me. I found it most convenient to stay on the Pest side of the river, as I spent most of my time there, while making fewer outings to the Buda side. Luckily, the transit in Budapest is very efficient and affordable. I was also gifted the Budapest card, a tourism card which gives the holder free public transport and free or discounted entrance to tons of museums and a number of other activities, services, and dining for a designated period of time (a 72-hour card is €56). It definitely saved me a lot of money in Budapest — a big thank you to the Budapest tourism board for the gift! So without further ado, here's my 7-day itinerary for Budapest, Hungary.
“How can you afford to travel?” is something I hear fairly often, and to be honest, as an American without a job and a home, traveling is the only thing I CAN afford! The USA is the 15th-most expensive country in the world. Compare that to Mexico, where the same lifestyle generally costs about half as much, and compare it to central and eastern Europe, where almost everything is a degree or two cheaper than what Americans are used to… and traveling is a bargain! If you’re new to my blog, I published spending updates every month during my six months in Mexico… and the purpose of those and future updates is only to inform and educate on what my lifestyle choices cost in varying parts of the world. This is not “how to do it on a shoestring” content — I’m drinking the wine, eating the gelato, and going on some tours, but I’m definitely creative when it comes to maximizing my budget. Drumroll please. In my first 30 days in Europe, I spent $2,009.09, or $67 a day. “Wait, Julie, what?!” — I’m sure you’re thinking — “That’s less per day than you spent in Mexico!” It is, and I’ll explain why…
If you're new here (or just catching up!), I'm Julie, I've been a full-time nomad for about 2 years, and in this blog, I'm answering 16 of YOUR most frequently asked questions... about money, my sleeping arrangements, making friends, and the challenges I've faced as a full-time nomad. P.S.: What else do you want to know?
Five years ago, I jetted off to Europe on a one-way ticket. A few weeks ago, I did the same again. But this trip looks A LOT different. I made a lot of mistakes back then — with transportation, bookings, planning, and spending — and now, I'm a bonafide expert traveler. Here's my stories and advice, and what I'm doing better this time around.
After I quit my job, transitioning from an earner to a spender was not emotionally easy for me… but this is how I adjusted, and now, I'm at peace with it.
Well guys, my six months in Mexico have sadly come to a close. To say my time there was incredible is an understatement… and I’m still processing! At the time of this writing, I’m in Austin, TX for the 4th of July weekend to get some of my USA errands handled before I head up to Kansas to see family. Then, I'll head overseas in late July. (First stop, Slovenia!)
I may WANT to work again, should my choices dictate. But probably, definitely, not in the way that a lot of people work — because they have to, because they're trapped in a debt cycle, because the lifestyle they've chosen comes with a never-ending financial responsibility, because they care about status and appearances and bigger and better and more. Not me.