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Comments: 266 • Responses: 81  • Date: 

me-and-you23 karma

I'm hoping to travel alone in a few years. Every time I tell people this I hear the same questions about how I'll travel safely because I'm a smaller girl. With that in mind, I have a couple questions.

Did you hitchhike?

If so, did you take any precautions?

Any tips to stay safe in hotels and hostels?

Is there any regions or countries you would avoid?

Any overall safely tips?

Thanks!

humtetum22 karma

OP - this is a super cool post! Really enjoying your responses! I hope you don't mind if I chip in a bit for this one! :)

I'm a pretty small myself, and I did some hitching alone in New Zealand. I'm adventurous enough to do it, I guess, but also wary enough to not be super comfortable about it all the time. My number one recommendation about hitching by yourself as a girl is probably not to do it. Honestly, I wouldn't have if I weren't in New Zealand, where there's a huge backpacking culture and I'd met several other women who gave me the go-ahead. (That said, once you start asking around, you get both ends of the spectrum. I decided I was going to do it, and then the day before I left, my hostelkeep told me about two girls who'd done the same and been abducted not too far from where I was going. It's really about your personal comfort level.) I've found it's way, way better to travel with one other person, preferably a guy. Two people means that you have someone to be backup if you need it and means that cars will probably have enough space for the both of you.

If you're hitching, some recommendations:

  • Pack really lightly. You'll probably end up doing a lot of walking between where you're dropped off and the next logical point to get picked up. You don't want to be carrying a ton, and, besides, you probably don't need it. (But have a pocketknife and headlamp. More useful than you'd realize! And if you're going somewhere rainy, have garbage bags or rain gear; if you're out there in the rain unprepared, everything is going to get wet and you have to find time/space/money to get things dry.)
  • When trying to get a ride, choose a spot a decent distance in front of a logical pull-off. It takes a little bit between the person seeing you and being able to pull to the side of the road, and you want to make it as easy as possible to pick you up. Also, learn the rules of the region. Some places it's illegal to be on the side of a highway.
  • Instead of having the person ask you where you're going, ask where they're headed. Especially if you're a girl by yourself, the few seconds it takes to have the discussion can give you a super quick vibe of the person and the car. If something feels off, you can just say that, nah, not headed that way, or nah, looking to go a bit farther. (That said, a sign can be super useful, depending on the situation.)
  • Keep your pack at your feet, rather than in the truck or back seat. It's everything you have, and you don't want to be separated from it.
  • I didn't do this, but people (including someone who picked me up) told me that you should text a contact the license plate of the car that picks you up and your ostensible destination. At the very least, it tells your ride that you have someone looking out for you. There're some websites that you can text, too, I think.
  • Budget lots of time, and consider the hitch as a journey in and of itself. I did this because time wasn't an issue for me, and I was being super frugal. A lot of time is spent waiting for rides - especially if you decide to try going somewhere remote, which can be super hairy and I don't know if I'd recommend - and you can't expect to be there in x amount of time. Don't try to rush your ride either. They're not just a mode of transportation; they're part of the experience. I found that most people who pick you up are just paying it forward, and they usually have really interesting stories. (Or are just very stoic truckers.)
  • If it comes up, tell people you have a boyfriend or are going to meet up with your bf in the next city. With one exception of a nice police lady saving me from a bit of a bad spot, everyone who picked me up was a guy. And invariably, even if you're dressed like a tomboy who hasn't seen a laundry machine in weeks, they'll ask around your relationship status and, in most cases, obliquely snoop around whether you'd sleep with them. Assuming that's not what you want, shut it down early and politely. You don't want to be uncomfortable while trapped in a car with someone else at the wheel, and most people will get the hint.

Hitching is super fun once you get into it, but I think it takes a certain mindset to really enjoy it. You have to decide that the adventure will be worth the personal risk, and then embrace the lifestyle. Be smart about it (it's never going to be 100% guaranteed safe), but have fun! Talk to everyone and be kind; it'll all come around in unexpected ways.

auparis9 karma

I SUPER appreciate your help with this one! Sounds like you've got a ton of experience! Thanks for sharing!

auparis10 karma

I feel ya, I got the same concerns.

I never hitchhiked (too scared and on too much of a timetable, although I'd really like to give it a go), but I had a few girlfriends who did. They said it wasn't concerning at all and it was very easy to get picked up as a pair of girls. I'm not sure what if any precautions they took for safety, they said the main thing is to leave a large chunk of travel time because you never know how long it'll take to get picked up.

I rarely stay in hostels or hotels, but I ALWAYS rent a safe and keep my important stuff in there or on my person at all times.

I wouldn't avoid any region or country... mexico, north korea, iraq, afganistan, syria, and parts of south america and africa I'll probably wait a few years on, but honestly if I got the chance to visit those places I'd probably still go.

me-and-you4 karma

Thanks, I'm glad to hear stories from women who have safely hitchhiked alone. I don't know if I'm brave enough to consider going it alone yet, but maybe someday. Thanks for the tip about travel time. I never would have considered that.

Where could you rent safes and things?

I understand. I want to see those places eventually, when it's a little more stable. Where would you recommend someone start out?

auparis11 karma

Most hostels will have safes available for rent and they'll usually tell you about them at check in, I would also bring your own lock if you plan on staying in a lot of hostels. I'd say start out in a country where you speak the language and you are excited to see. Australia was amazing. Highly recommend it.

me-and-you2 karma

Ah, ok. That makes it much safer. I heard a rubber door stop is good to have too. I saw that you also used couch surfing sites. I'm definitely looking at using those too. How do you vet the people you'll be staying with? I've never been there, but it's at the top of the list. Thank you!

auparis6 karma

Couchsurfing is GREAT, just be smart and not a dick about it. I just happen to make two videos about it! This one will teach you a bit about how to go about it.

dude61 karma

You seem genuinely awesome and your videos are kinda awesome too! I'm sure that translates to great social skills: is that a necessary component for solo travel? I'm not too familiar with CS - does it resemble real life where the attractive and/or women get preferential treatment? Have you ever had a problem with a hoster trying to hit on you?

auparis3 karma

I'm not sure if I get preferencial treatment as a not appalling looking woman, but I expect as much.

But a lot of CS revolves around references from other surfers. If you've fucked up or made someone very uncomfortable the CS community is going to know about it and you'll be less likely to get hosted.

karmicintent-4 karma

i don't understand why you'd avoid mexico or any part of south america.. it's a total misconception that people think these places are unsafe. mexico is one of the most amazing places to visit for a multitude of reasons and besides the border towns with the US, is completely safe. if you're thinking colombia is one part of s. america you'd avoid, also totally disagree- spent 3 months there and was one of our fave places. speaking from 5 years of rtw travel. would agree on the others you have mentioned (we were lucky enough to go to syria before the s*** went down- amazing country).

baylohay15 karma

just my two cents, but I live in Texas very close to the Mexican border, and it it's not all happiness and butterflies. over 12,000 people, many of them tourists, have been killed by the cartel in the last 6 years. OP is not wrong to want to stay away. I'm not in any way speaking for South America, but the situation in Mexico is not good right now.

auparis3 karma

I live in Texas as well... thus my mentioning of Mexico.

itisntyou14 karma

What safety nets did you maintain? Something along the lines of a daily/weekly check-in with a specific person, a backup money-sender, personal banker?

auparis13 karma

I never had a specific check in with anyone, no "If you don't hear from my by Friday, I'm dead in a gutter".

When I would couchsurf I'd send the profile of my future host to my mom and/or friends. Most of my trips I had planned in advance and sent the itinerary to my family. So if I went missing they'd at least have an idea of where I was.

Randomness4257 karma

How safe is couch surfing? Did you encounter any dangerous situations? Did you get along with everyone?

auparis5 karma

Couchsurfing is the best thing I've ever decided to do. Its safe as long as you're safe about it. The site provides references for every user, so if you stay with someone who has a negative reference or maybe only had two references you're taking a risk, where as if you stay with someone with 45 positive references both hosting and surfing, you're probably pretty well off.

The most dangerous situation was a scooter accident in Rome. I was getting a ride back to the apartment with the roommate of my host, who I didn't get a good feeling from, but also didn't want to take an hour by train and be rude to this guys for offering. We took a corner WAY too fast in the rain and fell over. I fucked up my knee pretty good, but it was nothing worth visiting the hospital over, and the scooter was still functional. Honestly not that bad of an accident.

I got along with almost everyone. I've had one or two surfers and hosts who I didn't end up getting along with. But that's a risk you take. 95% of the people I've met through CS, I've loved the fuck out of.

auparis11 karma

On the money-sender part, my parents aren't that well off, but my mom does work at my bank. So if I was in a dire situation they could have spared maybe a few hundred dollars and I probably could have gotten it fairly quick.

I_sandcrabbed_out11 karma

I've dreamed of doing this when I make it out into the "real world." Is it worth it?

auparis13 karma

Absolutely. I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

I_sandcrabbed_out5 karma

You've inspired me then.

auparis5 karma

Excellent! Honestly, its the best thing I've ever done and am quickly planning my next series of trips.

I_sandcrabbed_out3 karma

Well, what are some destinations you would suggest to someone looking into this trip? Just to have somewhat of a "roadmap."

And I hope your future endeavors are equally as rewarding as those you've been on already.

auparis8 karma

Well, I was an au pair in NYC and Paris for a year so my route looked something like this:

Austin -> NYC (and bouncing around the north east for 6 months)

NYC -> Paris (bounced around Europe for a year)

Paris -> Bangkok

Bangkok -> Australia and Tazmania (bounced around for a month)

Sydney -> Hawaii

Hawaii -> California

California back to Austin

Some of the top cities I've visited were Florence, Sardegna (island), Dublin, The entire west and south of France, Bangkok, The gold coast, Tasmania, & Maui. Those were the top tier of places i visited, though I loved everywhere I went.

lcpunk3 karma

Gold Coaster here... I hope you enjoyed your adventure!!! What did you like so much about it?

auparis4 karma

HI Gold Coaster! I had a fantastic experience with my best friend and our CS hosts there. I found everyone there warm and inviting, plus... the surf. Oh so lovely.

Arggghhhhhhh1 karma

So, basically, you went to France, Thailand, and Australia...

auparis2 karma

OK, Here is the grand list:

NYC, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Somewhere in the forests of New Jersey and have since forgotten the name of the town, Paris, Nice, Marseille, Canne, Arles, Rennes, La Roche Morris, Brest, Morlaix, Avranches, Dublin, Edinburgh, London, Oslo, Fredrickstad, Rome, Venice, Florence, Cagliari, Pula, Amsterdam, Dusseldorf, Bangkok, Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Gold Coast/Maroochadore, Great ocean road, East coast of Tasmania + Hobart, Maui, & LA.

Some places I visited for a month others a day.

So basically just France, ITALY, Thailand, and Australia.

maybethestars6 karma

How do you keep travel costs down?

auparis16 karma

Excellent question.

I buy plane tickets pretty far in advance so I've got time to shop for the best price.

I couchsurf as much as possible or stay with friends. I'll usually deliberately visit a city where I know I have a free place to stay.

I don't buy souvenirs.

I rarely go out to eat.

And I generally limit myself to one over priced touristy thing per city.

ice10913 karma

i rarely go out to eat

Oh man but that's like literally half the fun of traveling!

PS no love for Africa!?

auparis9 karma

It's true, but I can get the local flavor without spending $50 a meal, though I will occasionally splurge. AND I like to cook food with my hosts or friends lots more fun AND cheap.

MAD LOVE FOR AFRICA, I just haven't gotten the chance to go yet.

ice10914 karma

Street food bro street food (i know you're not actually a bro but i think that term should unisex).

auparis30 karma

I embrace the bro.

karmicintent7 karma

i'm intrigued as to how you did this on less than $4000- does that include flights, insurance, immunisations and visas? or just the travel costs (accomm, food etc). also, you did work as an aupair- is that how you saved the money to travel?

auparis4 karma

That is the total of flights, accommodations, and food that I spent. Granted as an au pair I had income for the better part of a year.

I didn't need immunizations, I didn't have insurance (hooray USA!), and my visa was paid for by my employer.

supavixen5 karma

Ever feel unsafe?

auparis11 karma

The majority of the time, not at all. There was one instance in Nice where I ended up splitting a hotel room for a night with a friend I had made there, we hadn't planned too well and the hotel turned out to be... prostitue heavy, shall we say? I had a 5:30am train and left the hotel alone and had to walk the streets of a pretty shady area. Nothing happened and I was perfectly fine, but was looking over my shoulder ever 2 seconds.

supavixen4 karma

Ever get lost?

auparis7 karma

Not yet. I usually download a map of the city where I plan on going and am pretty good with directions.

supavixen4 karma

You're so brave!

auparis3 karma

Nah, more stupid than brave I'd say, but thanks none the less!

iamaredditer5 karma

Most interesting person you met? Funniest thing you saw while traveling abroad?

auparis10 karma

I met a fuck ton of interesting people... My friends boyfriend (now fiance) in Hawaii was pretty cool though, su-chef at a 4 star restaurant who could break dance and sing.

The funniest thing I saw was probably Eurovision... but that was probably because of the booze and company.

iamaredditer5 karma

Favorite place to visit? Friendliest people? How many languages do you speak? Best food?

auparis13 karma

Favorite place to visit: I've been to rural Norway 3 times, its gorgeous, but I think my favorite place thus far was Florence.

Friendliest people: Australians (so far)

How many languages do you speak: Just English and mediocre French. But I make it a point to learn a few key phrases in every country I visit where I don't speak the language.

Best food: Oh Jesus, thats tough. Let's go with Italy.

Fjonball3 karma

When ever I hear people traveling on a budget I would never expect Norway to be one of the destinations..

auparis3 karma

Well, I've got family there so I can stay and get rides for free, and I usually buy groceries to last me while I'm there.

savage1ma1 karma

Have you been to canada... if yes they are sorry

auparis2 karma

I haven't been to Canada... yet. or Mexico. I'm a terrible american traveler.

iamaredditer4 karma

What is the longest period of time that you stayed in one country? and which one?

auparis10 karma

The US... since I was born and raised here... But I doubt that's what you meant.

France. I lived in Paris a little over a year.

iamaredditer3 karma

So while in Paris did you get a job and an apartment? Reason you stayed so long?

auparis3 karma

I was an au pair in Paris and lived with a family in their house.

indedly7 karma

How did you become an au pair?

auparis6 karma

The internet. A friend of mine found thegreataupair.com, I filled out a profile and my family contacted me after a month or two. I liked the look of them and I liked that I'd be living in NYC for a short period of time to try it out, so I said Hell Yea!

Then I fell in love with the kids and the family moved to Paris and took me with them.

denvertheshark4 karma

Maybe it's an obvious question but what did you do with all your stuff before travelling? Did you store/sell it or something? And how did you make money while travelling, is it hard to find a job when you're a foreigner?

auparis8 karma

I sold most of my belongings before leaving. Everything I owned fit into a few chests in my parents garage and the suitcase I took with me.

I was an au pair the majority of the time as well as a free lance photographer and retoucher. It's pretty hard as an american to find a job in a foreign country besides english teacher or au pair. If you work for a company with branches in Europe you can try to work your way in that way, otherwise its a hefty process.

catsrule3623 karma

What inspired you to do this?

auparis8 karma

I had wanted to travel my whole life, still do as a matter of fact, but when I was younger I kept waiting for someone to do it with me. I had friends who wanted to travel, but never to the same places and wanted to spend way more than I was willing to.

So a few years ago I just said, Fuck it. I'm not waiting any more. So I bit the bullet and moved outside of NYC for 6 months, then went forward from there.

catsrule3623 karma

Did you "discover yourself"? Or is that a load of shit?

Did you learn anything?

auparis13 karma

I'd say that's a load of shit. Traveling can be very eye opening and inspiring, but self discovery and awareness should happen all the time.

I learned a ton though! It would be VERY difficult to list. One of the more interesting sounding things was learning to make dumplings from a mongolian throat singer in Sydney.

mischievousfawn3 karma

You inspire me. This is something I've wanted to do for years! <3

auparis2 karma

YAY! DO IT! I'm sad it took me until I was 25 to get started.

AutumnShade443 karma

First, how long have you been traveling, and how do you do it with so little money? My plan has always been to graduate and then simply to travel. I know it'll be rough. I know it won't be easy. I know that its not all fun and games. But I'm okay with that. Travel makes me happy. And its something I could do for years of my life and still not see it all. Sorry for the rambling. Anyway, my last question is, has it been lonely? I enjoy my solitude but it is a concern. Thanks so much for doing this AMA

auparis2 karma

You. Let's be friends. That is an excellent attitude to have when traveling.

I traveled actively from about February 2010 to December of 2011. I answered the "how?" question a few times, but its basically couchsurfing/staying with friends, being resourceful, not eating out too often, not buying souvenirs, and not doing ridiculously priced touristy stuff.

It was never lonely. In fact there were days where all I wanted to do was be alone for a while. Its the opposite of what you'd expect.

homo-insurgo3 karma

[deleted]

auparis2 karma

You are! or possibly guy!

CJkins3 karma

How did you keep yourself occupied? I guess traveling the world would include a decent amount of waiting.

I enjoyed your videos by the way!

auparis7 karma

Thank you!

I was rarely bored. On travel days there was a fair amount of waiting so for entertainment I have one book , my iphone for music, a notebook and a pen and I'm good.

Generally I strike up a conversation with someone if I don't feel like doing any of the above, that'll fill quite a bit of time.

EmilioEstavez2 karma

I'm assuming there was a fair amount of prostitution involved.

auparis4 karma

Less than you'd imagine. Male prostitues are expensive and tend to be a little too muscley for my tastes.

igottaSH1T2 karma

[deleted]

auparis5 karma

Ok! I think this is what my video is going to be about, so I'll post a link here after its done. But basically planning, being resourceful, and getting lucky (in more ways than one, ba-doom-ching! I'm awful).

I travel to places with a large enough population to enable easy couchsurfing, or places where I already know someone I can stay with. This eliminates most of the cost of travel, hotels are damned expensive.

I never buy souvenirs (stuff I wouldn't use just for the sake of having bought them on the trip) and I don't do much in the way of touristy things.

I plan my trips several months out and try to get airline deals when I can.

jampf2 karma

Have you ever worked the airline miles system by getting cards with free miles?

auparis3 karma

I have not! But that has worked out for friends of mine.

kane552 karma

Any cool travel romances worth mentioning?

auparis7 karma

I may have hooked up with a handful of CS hosts and french/italian boys, but nothing that swept me off my feet. I did make out with a french dentist one night...

coralto7 karma

Did he have the freshest breath ever?

auparis1 karma

Surprisingly not. But this was after a long night of booze.

ryandalion2 karma

Are you a feminist

auparis7 karma

Yes.

1cerazor4 karma

Brace for downvotes (or upvotes if SRS sees this). Anyway, you seem cool.

auparis16 karma

You also seem cool. The definition of feminism is equality with men if I'm not mistaken... sometimes it get's misconstrued.

Misspelt5 karma

Feminism is misconstrued because it advocates equal rights for women but doesn't do the same for men. Equal rights advocate is, appropriately, more fair. Also I agree with 1cerazor, you seem pretty cool.

auparis2 karma

I appreciate the clarification sir or madame! When directly asked if I'm a feminist I say yes, but I think equal rights advocate is probably more along the lines of what I believe in.

you_cant_say_that_Ma2 karma

how many people did you have to have sex with to get a room for the night?? i bet at least 11.....

auparis6 karma

10! you were so close.

AverageForgettableMe2 karma

How did you travel when you stayed places? Did you rent a car? Did you walk?

auparis3 karma

I'm a big fan of walking. I have only rented a car when it was either crazy cheap or someone else (or a company) are coving the cost. Most places outside of the US are pretty easy to handle with just walking and public transport.

AverageForgettableMe1 karma

Good to know. I'm planning on doing what you did as soon as I finish up a few loose ends. Might contact you via Reddit in the future if I am anymore questions or to ask advice!

auparis3 karma

Please do!

Vaguely_Saunter2 karma

Where do you go to find flights? A few years ago I was able to do a trip to Scotland with a $600 flight, but I haven't found any deals remotely close to that since, and with all the places you went it seems like you must have gotten even cheaper rates.

auparis3 karma

I use Kayak, http://matrix.itasoftware.com/, and email alerts for deals. Honestly the key to cheap travel is patience and flexibility. If there was a cheap flight to a place I hadnt been yet, I'd book it then figure out the rest.

Kasia272 karma

you are a inspiration, i hope one day to do the same. i think traveling and exploring the world is the greatest thing to do in your life. If you ever come to germany, i will glady offer you a place to stay. i wish you all the best.

auparis2 karma

I will gladly take you up on that place to stay! I haven't given Germany a proper visit yet.

Heremateyerma2 karma

Thank goodness, for a second there I thought you had traveled around the world metaphorically.

auparis3 karma

Metaphorical travel would be pretty alarming.

zipzoopzabulous2 karma

[deleted]

auparis2 karma

It doesn't sound alarmist, I think most ladies have this in the back of their head , here's an interesting article peripherally related to that if you're at all interested.

Facing the dangers of the world is fucking tough, especially as a lady, but what helped me is knowledge, preparation, and knowing the reality of the situation vs. my perception of the situation.

First off, take a defense class. This will help you in your every day life as well as if you ever plan on solo travel. Even if its just a few hours at the Y you'll feel a lot more confident, and you wont feel so defenseless. Being a small girl isn't mutually exclusive to being weak, just look at River Tam (yes, I realize she's fictional, but a bad ass none the less).

Second, Start traveling alone. Choose a city where you have a friend or relative who you can stay with and make sure that your friend/relative will be busy part of the time you're visiting them (work, school, etc.) so that you can venture out on your own a bit. Plan all the travel on your own. Map out the city, know the public transport system, look into things you'd like to see while there. I'd say make your first trip 4 or 5 days spanning over a weekend. That way you won't overstay your welcome and you'll get a decent taste of what a good trip can be without a major time commitment. Go out on your own a couple of times and take walks.

Third, on the subject of potential maiming, death, and/or rape. There is no sure fire way to prevent this, unfortunately. You can't plan for every situation, but you can travel smart and lessen the likelihood of one or more of these things happening. Rape or death could happen to you ANYWHERE, I think the statistic is 75% of victims know their rapist. When traveling as a lone lady you have to keep in mind that you may be slightly more exposed and vulnerable than you may be used to, but preparation is your friend. Before visiting a place, learn about the cities layout, always keep $50 in your bra so you can get a cab to a safe place if shit goes down or you get lost, don't go wondering down an empty dark alley at 3am, know the number of who you're staying with, don't talk to creepers at bars or take drinks from them, etc.

Overall I've experienced more kindness from humanity while traveling than shit.

You'll get there, darling. It takes time to build up the courage, but you'll get there.

thatguylikeaaronhall1 karma

What compelled you to travel the world alone?

auparis2 karma

No one would go with me on trips for a long time and I got sick of waiting. Then I discovered I preferred traveling alone, so I kept it up.

Maxables1 karma

Tell us your wildest experience!

For reference, last time I was in Stockholm, I met a bunch of bros from Iowa. Looked and sounded like douchebags from afar, but were actually the nicest people ever. Anyway we snuck in to a nightclub and one of them almost accepted a handjob from a transvestite! Fun night.

Yours?

auparis6 karma

Wildest.... Hmmmm. I had a drunken one night stand with a french-men who I still dont remember the name of after being escorted around the streets of Paris at 4am on the back of his scooter.

zsnowmanz1 karma

how old were you when you did this?

auparis2 karma

I had just turned 25.

nofuture091 karma

4000 dollars? I call bs. Sorry but No way that is true. Not in todays economy.

auparis3 karma

This was the economy between 2010 and 2011, but its true.

nofuture092 karma

How did you do that?

auparis2 karma

Well... I've answered that in comments already, but basically planning and being resourceful.

giegerwasright1 karma

Must be nice to be able to capitolize on the global cache of free shit available to women.

auparis2 karma

I find it amusing and sad that people are crediting my ability to spend wisely when traveling to the stereotype that women get free shit... hmmmm. Now If you'll excuse me I have to go show my tits to some guy so he'll buy me a drink.

giegerwasright1 karma

Well. That's how it works. If you want something that costs X, and you don't want to pay X, then in order for you to get it, that price mst be discounted. Being a woman gets you a lot of discounts. Discounts that giys don't get.

Society has created a system of constant bribery with women, aimed at getting a shot at their chach. Women refuse to admit it because they like free shit as much as they like believing they earned that free shit and men are afraid that if they insist it's true, they'll get cut off from the supply line. If you had a dick, you'd have been home a lot earlier.

auparis1 karma

Listen, I got cheap flights because I scoured the internet for deals over several months, I couchsurfed (with men and women) and stayed with friends to avoid hotel costs, I cooked food from the grocery store with my hosts 90% of the time and when I did eat out it wasn't at an expensive place, and I didn't do overpriced touristy shit.

Never did I get something for free because of my gender and assuming so makes you look like an ass.

rationalgia1 karma

When I was an undergraduate student, I spent three months in New York, three months in the Netherlands, three months in Australia, a week in Hawaii, a week in Puerto Rico, and a few weeks traveling around Europe. The only cost to me was about $2k worth of planet tickets and a Eurrail pass.

auparis2 karma

You are a golden god of sexy.

Bodoblock1 karma

[deleted]

auparis2 karma

I was working as an au pair during the long stays in NYC and Paris, but I most definitely developed a day to day "this is where I live now" type routine. But I mostly used those as jumping off points to explore the area.

CouchSurfing meet ups are fantastic for meeting new people while traveling, but generally I was couchsurfing or staying with a friend, so I would mooch off of their friends to meet new people. Oh, ALSO free tours. Most major cities have a "take a free tour of ______", I've met a lot of great people through those also.

laomo1 karma

When is the cheapest time to buy a plane ticket?

auparis2 karma

Depends on the destination and airline in my experience. I got a roundtrip ticket from Paris to Noway for 12€ in January 2011.

I plan trips pretty far in advance and wait for sales or deals. Generally traveling to a place when most people wouldn't want to go there (ie. Europe in the winter) brings the price down quite a bit.

wally_moot1 karma

Did you use traveler's checks? You obviously didn't carry around $4000 with you. Did you use a bank?

auparis3 karma

Nah, travelers checks were never my bag. The $4000 is the approximate cost of plane tickets, food costs, etc. I had a credit card and a bank card with me, I only ever kept one on me at a time. When I was in a country with a different currency I'd take out as much cash as I would plan on spending in my time there and bring that out with me.

[deleted]1 karma

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auparis5 karma

As of now I have no place I see myself living for the rest of my life, so I'm going to keep traveling until I find it.

I don't think that staying in one place equals a sense of purpose. I get a sense of purpose through my experiences and travel is one of the best ways to experience new things.

gwhiz132 karma

i'm curious about this one too. Do you plan on aupairing your way around the world or do you have other career plans? I want to travel all over the world myself but at the same time I want to develop myself professionally which taking off on a round the world adventure might not be too conducive for (eg travel the world for a year or intern for that time to get relevant skills for grad school/job). Do you have any long term career plans?

auparis1 karma

Part of what spawned this trip was a slight disintegration in my life plan. I planned to be a photographer from 12 to 25, then realized that making money from something I was passionate about killed it for me.

Before that realization I was very much in the same place you are now. I didn't want to ruin potential opportunities for my career by being half way around the world... but after a few years of actively pursuing that goal I realized that there would never be a time where I felt comfortable up and leaving the career I was creating. I simply decided to stop waiting. There probably wont be an ideal time and I may as well fucking do the things I want to do before I get hit by a rogue toilet seat falling from space.

shocktothesystem1 karma

Thanks for this! Aside from the finances of traveling, the whole idea of suddenly living in new culture, with their different customs and their languages, is to say the least scary to me. To hear stories of other people doing it and having great experiences is really starting to give me the confidence to plan my own trip!

How did you decide where to go first?

auparis2 karma

YES! Go on your own trip! It'll be scary but you will love the fuck out of it, I swear.

I had wanted to live in France for a long time, so it wasn't much of a decision. Where I went following france was purely based on what opportunities came to me.

blark841 karma

Great videos. What video editing software do you use?

auparis2 karma

I was using final cut for most of those, but I've since switched to premiere pro.

BrawndoTTM1 karma

Is expedia/travelocity a good way to find bargains on flights/hotels, or do you have other ways?

auparis2 karma

I've never used them, but I've heard of that working for some people. I usually keep an open schedule and use Kayak and http://matrix.itasoftware.com/.

Joannaisbanana1 karma

Hi, I am would love to do what you have been and are doing!

How did you get set up with Au Pair jobs? I am from UK and a teacher. I was hoping to get started in an English speaking country and work a little in New York, Australia and New Zealand. Were there any specific sites that you used?

Thanks for the interesting AMA!

auparis3 karma

I used this one but there are plenty out there. I would recommend teaching english in a non english speaking country though. Au pair work is pretty tough.

greatsharkhunt561 karma

Strange question but you made a few references about using your phone for things. For traveling in the world, what kind of plan did you have to be able to stay in touch with people/ download maps of cities?

auparis1 karma

Not strange! I have an ancient unlocked and jailbroken iphone. When I was in Paris I had a plan that would work in other european cities but the rest of the time I used it as an iTouch and would download everything I thought I needed before I left.

viweklekhak1 karma

Have you been to Nepal??

auparis1 karma

No, but I'd fucking love to go.

auparis2 karma

I very well might take you up on this in the future.

Amazing_Australian1 karma

Did you visit Croatia? And if you did, how was it?

auparis1 karma

I didn't and I should have. There were a ton of places I would have loved to have gone, but the opportunity didnt present itself.

baylohay1 karma

Do you have a day job? How did you fund the travel?

auparis2 karma

I do have a day job. I make videos for a dull company. Before that I was in childcare and freelance photography.

None were big income jobs, but I'm VERY good at saving.

belethcalwen1 karma

No question, just came to say I love your videos and that you should do a travel show.. bit like 'an idiot abroad' but different ;)

auparis1 karma

I would take that job in a heartbeat. Thank you!

Buddhist_Panda1 karma

I didn't feel like looking through all the comments to see if this has been asked yet but: -How did this journey change you as a person? -How do you/did you, make money before/during/and after the journey? -How long were you "on the road" for? -Why did you travel alone? -Did you make friends?

auparis4 karma

Ok, thats a lot of question and I'm drunk now, so I'm going to do quick answers. I was an au pair for a year and a half in NYC and Paris for income and home bases.

Technically I was "traveling" from February of 2010 to December of 2011. I traveled alone because I was tired of waiting for someone perfect to travel with.

I made more friends than I can keep up with.

I am changed as a person, but not necessarily because of the travel. It was an amazing group of experiences, but I'm very much the same person as I was before I started, I just have more miles on the odometer.

nycdk1 karma

in which country did you feel the most at danger? where did you feel safest?

what did you do when you didn't know the mother tongue of whatever country you were in ?

auparis3 karma

Hmmm. I felt safe pretty much everywhere I traveled, but I will say Italian men are quite forceful if you don't know hot to push back.

I would always download the minute language podcast for the language of which ever country I was visiting. Thai was the most difficult. I always try to learn, "do you speak english?" "I dont speak _____" "Where is the Bathroom" Hello, yes, no etc before visiting a country I didn't know the language of.

Staankygirl1 karma

wow seriously, are you me? I am currently living in Romania, volunteering with street kids. But before that I was working in LA as a nanny. I was in London for the Olympics, lived in Barcelona for a couple months, went to Prague for a Coldplay concert. I am headed to Dublin and London in a couple weeks and Vienna in the summer. Greece in July. Didnt think I could make my money stretch but its surprising how far you can go with being a people person and saving!

Any place I HAVE to visit while I am still close to European countries? Amsterdam? Latvia?

I am a 23 year old girl by the way. If you ever come back to Europe, let me know! I think we could travel frugally together!

auparis2 karma

Abso-fuckin-lutely! As of now I'm thinking of focusing my next trip on Asia since I've done the europe thing, unless some opportunity presents itself.

Visit Sardegna. Its an island off the coast of Italy. Surprisingly cheap, great CS hosts, amazing coutryside. Visit in the summer though so you can capitalize on the beaches.

BitchBoyMalfoy0 karma

Probably a little late on this, but I'd just like to say thanks! You've inspired me. This has been a dream of mine for years, and it's going to be a few more years until I'm actually able to do it (I'm only 17). I've always worried about the costs, and the fact that you travelled around the world for $4,00 is incredible! Also, something I've always worried about: did you ever get lonely? Obviously you'd meet tons of interesting characters, but did you form any real relationships? Also, do you think you'd have preferred to have someone with you on your travels? I think that's about all the questions I can think of for now. Thanks again for doing this!

auparis3 karma

Hey there! I'm so glad you want to travel! Seriously, start planning your route now, it'll keep you on track for the next few years and keep you inspired.

Lonely? Not really. I'm an introvert so I craved alone time when I got it. And traveling creates a more social mindset, I never had trouble meeting people, especially through couchsurfing.

After traveling alone, I will NEVER go back to traveling with someone else (offer void after meeting a future potential husband). I hadn't traveled alone before starting this trip, but I instantly fell in love with it. Its really lovely not having to make every decision with other people or try to accommodate anyone but yourself. It may sound selfish, but its a lot easier to find friends and amazing opportunities when your solo.

As for real relationships? Absolutely. I still talk to plenty of people I met while traveling routinely. In fact some have come to visit me since I returned home.

Mikeaz1231 karma

I highly doubt you're introverted at all... lol.

auparis1 karma

Being an Introvert and being sociable aren't mutually exclusive. If I'm around people for too much consecutive time I feel like I'm going to murder a puppy.