Expert Advice: StephMyLife Founder’s Top Budget Travel Tips

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Have you been unconsciously planning a trip you probably will never take? Are financial limitations holding you back?

If so, Stephanie Barry Woods, CEO of StephMyLife, might just be able to sort you out.

By leveraging her extensive knowledge and experience traveling, her company, StephMyLife, offers a range of budget-friendly options to destinations worldwide.

Her journey started in the UK in 2015 when she planned an Asia trip with her husband on a tight budget. The next few years saw a growth (to the point of obsession) in their passion for travel and new experiences, along with Stephanie’s newfound interest in researching and planning budget trips.

StephMyLife, a travel blog with a vast online audience, offers personalized trip planning services, ‘freelancer boot camps,’ travel tips and hacks, destination resources/information, and guides to address the various aspects and niceties of travelling and being a digital nomad.

In an interview with The Irish Examiner, the Irish native Stephanie briefly explained her story. She also offered advice for anybody considering following her path toward a life on the road.

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Here are a few key takeaways for those planning a trip to a new place (especially South East Asia):

1. Know your comfort levels and set a daily allowance

Stephanie suggests foreseeing the places you would be comfortable staying in and setting a daily budget for your trip during the planning process. 

“I’ve seen people travel for months on €12k ($12.8k). It’s really dependent on your comfort levels and whether you’re cool with hostels and street food or whether you need aircon and private rooms,” she said in the interview.

She added that you could eat and sleep in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam for as low as $32 a day. 

2. Have a financial safety net. 

Having some backup cash stashed away is always advisable if something unforeseen occurs. 

Stephanie admits having been a little over-cautious as she didn’t know how long the money was going to last where she was going. 

If you are a freelancer planning to take your life on the road, your next paycheck isn’t certain. So ensure you have enough saved to carry your weight through at least a few months of no income.

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Stephanie also suggested that it would be wise to always have a little cash on you at all times and have the rest of your money on travel cards.

“You can switch off transfers or withdrawals over a certain amount. You get a notification every time you spend something, so if your card is scammed, you know immediately,” she added.

3. Have a decent gig and invest wisely.

According to Stephanie, an investment could mean either spending time figuring out one’s strengths and a suitable means of earning an income or making efficient purchases to carry out work-related tasks. 

Stephanie and Tim Barry Woods. Image via StephMyLife.

4. Respect the local culture.

She added that “unwritten guidelines” must be followed when living in a new place.

“There are rules about casual work because you’re going to take jobs away from someone who’s local, in Thailand, Cambodia, or Indonesia, which isn’t good,” she said.

It would be advisable to learn the basics of the language of the palace you are traveling to. A little research into the culture, history, and local traditions wouldn’t hurt either. 

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Aqil K
Aqil K
Aqil writes about travel, tourism, and covers the many aspects of the digital nomad lifestyle.

1 COMMENT

  1. Researching local culture makes travel far more seamless. My wife and I spend a bit learning a few words in the native tongue but mainly research culture to be fully aware of popular adhered to norms. For example, as you noted SE Asia above, saving face is the culture in personal interactions. In my beloved Thailand, always ensure that folks keep face by never embarrassing them and of course, never try to embarrass yourself intentionally. We learned this pre-trip then applied it during our 2 years there. Smart tips here.

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