🚌 How to get around when traveling abroad

 

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Good morning, and welcome back to Daily Drop, the fine wine of newsletters. We just keep getting better with age.

Speaking of wine, let’s talk about travel hacking:

  • 🗺️ How I get around while traveling abroad

  • 🍪 Tasty Travel Tidbits

  • 🧡 Learn a language with Babbel

🗺️ How I get around while traveling abroad

A lot of people ask me, “Mike, how do you get around when traveling to all of these foreign countries? It must be so complicated and expensive.”

And my answer to them is, “No. I’m super stingy, and I barely spend any money on getting around.”

That’s because I have a series of tools at my disposal that make getting around a BREEZE and cost nearly nothing.

So let’s talk about them.

1. Public Transportation

Generally speaking, I always aim to take public transit before looking at any other options. It will almost always be the cheapest option and oftentimes is easy and fast.

Let’s look at a few examples.

When I arrived in Japan (Osaka International Airport), I saw people jumping into taxis left and right.

So, I whipped open the Uber app and saw this fun estimate:

That means just to get to downtown Osaka from the airport it would run anywhere from $140 to $180 USD.

Instead, I chose to take a bus. It cost me $10 USD and only took a few minutes longer than a taxi would have.

Many countries around the world have their public transit pretty easily accessible by simply using Google Maps, which is what I primarily use. It will tell you route options and even the price you can expect to pay.

When I was in Taipei and needed to get from the city center to the airport to catch my flight, I looked up Ubers which were running for about $40 for the 45-minute ride.

Instead, I chose to take the train, which took even less time than a car!

Want to know how much it cost…?

THREE FREAKING DOLLARS.

So, in this case, taking public transit saved me time AND over $35. 

But sometimes, public transit is not very accessible at all, or you just want something a little more convenient and comfortable. What do you do then?

2. Rideshare apps

Most people don’t realize that Uber works in TONS of countries abroad… I use the Uber app everywhere, from Tanzania to Paraguay to India.

But there’s often an even better option: Using local rideshare apps.

Here are the rideshare apps I have on my phone that cover about 90% of the globe 👇

  • Uber

  • Lyft

  • Grab

  • Bolt

  • Careem

With these apps alone, you’ll be able to book a ride share super easily, and often for extremely cheap…

For example, in countries around Asia and Africa, you can use apps like Grab to book tuktuks in addition to cars.

When I arrived in Cambodia last week, I booked a TukTuk via Grab for just $3.

The price is in Cambodia Riel, or about $3.22

For a 20-minute drive straight from the airport, that’s amazing.

The other benefit of doing this is you don’t get gouged and charged tourist prices. Since you’re using the same apps that locals use, you’ll always pay the same price.

Oh… and it doesn’t hurt that you can use your credit card to pay and rack up those delicious points. 🤤

People also don’t realize that tons of countries out there have their own ride-share apps that literally ONLY work in that one country.

In Nepal, you can use Pathao. In Cambodia, they have PassApp, etc.

This is also a great way to save even more money. I have around 20 different ride-share apps on my phone (aside from the very popular ones mentioned earlier) because of this reason.

But what about the places that don’t have public transit OR any ride-share apps? Or what if you can’t get it to work?

Well, if you find yourself in this situation, you’re probably in a country where you can use my favorite method of getting around: HAGGLING. 🙌

3. Haggle with local drivers

Back in 2019, I spent about a month in Ethiopia traveling solo. It was great, and I was a mostly happy boy exploring Ethiopia.

That’s me in a town called Lalibela in the Amhara region of Ethiopia

But then…

The government of the region I was in attempted to overthrow the Prime Minister of the country while I was there through a series of assassinations. It was a LOT of fun… not 😬

Riots ensued, roads were closed, and the electricity and cell service were completely shut down nationwide.

As a result, I was stuck with nothing but a small wad of cash. No ATMs, no card payments, no phone, nothing.

Thankfully, I’m an EXPERT haggler. I was able to get around for a good few days by negotiating super low prices on food and transport.

When I’m traveling in places like East Africa and Southeast Asia, I love flagging down a motorbike, tuk-tuk, or taxi, and haggling to get around.

These places are like heaven for tuk-tuk riders and stingy travelers (like me).

I find it to be a lot of fun and a great option for when you’re out of options. It’s also almost always guaranteed to be the cheapest option out there, and a great skill to have when sh*t hits the fan like it did for me in Ethiopia.

Even this past week in Cambodia, I mostly got around by haggling with tuk-tuk drivers. Most of my rides around town only cost about $0.50 or a dollar because of this.

Haggling is a topic of its own though…

(it's not really patented)

Only Email Recipients can participate in polls.

Anyway, getting around when traveling can be super cheap and easy if you have some tools at your disposal, prepare ahead of time, and are willing to be flexible.

There’s much more we could cover with this topic (when you aren’t in a city, renting cars, and more), but I hope these few tips help shed some light on the things that have worked well for me in almost a hundred countries around the world!

🍪 Tasty Travel Tidbits

🧡 Learn a language with Babbel

I’m sure you all can relate to this…

The feeling of visiting a country where English isn’t widely spoken, and having a local come up to you and chatter away in their native language…

Only for you to just stand there, wide-eyed, like a dumbfounded deer in headlights 👀

Yeah… it’s not a great feeling.

However, you might be able to alleviate some of that paralyzing panic if you pick up a few local phrases by using Babbel 😎

Babbel can help you with all sorts of language learning 👇

  • Try 10-minute snippets of helpful real-world lessons

  • Employ podcasts, games, videos, and live online classes to keep it interesting

  • Join no matter if you’re a beginner or more advanced

  • Feel confident in having basic conversations after just a few weeks of daily practice

Babbel not only wants to make language learning fun, but also accessible! That’s why they’re offering 60% off your subscription!

But hurry! Don’t let that 60% discount slip through your fingers. Join today 🧡

One of my favorite ways to learn about new travel hacks is in our very own Daily Drop Lounge, an online community of DD fans and travel hackers.

And unlike your local airport lounge, you won’t have any trouble getting into the Daily Drop Lounge. 😉

So come check it out. See you there!

That’s all for today, Daily Drop family.

How are you guys doing? Everything going okay in life? Any existential thoughts on your mind? Let me know by replying to this email or reaching out on social media.

Love you all ❤️

Mike Dodge
Head Writer, Daily Drop

3.1319° N, 101.6841° E