Recommendations

I built this page so that you can find all the programs and products I recommend in one convenient place! Take a look, and don’t be afraid to contact me if you have questions about any of these resources.

To make your search easier, I have divided my recommendations into four categories: Resources for travel discounts, Methods for earning/saving travel money, Agencies for teaching in Asia, and Travel products.

Disclosure: Some of the following contain affiliate links, which will provide me with money at no extra cost to you. But don’t worry, I only recommend things that I have either used or feel confident will benefit users!

Resources for Travel Discounts

CityPASS: This company provides tourists with discounted tickets to the main attractions in the following cities: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, NYC, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Southern California, Tampa Bay, and Toronto. I’m talking majorly discounted tickets.

CityPASS

 

 

 

 

 

Booking.com: This website makes it super easy to find a hotel or hostel in the area you want to stay in. You can also narrow your search by price range, which was very helpful on my road trip around America!

booking dot com

 

 

 

Skyscanner: Skyscanner searches different airlines and flight booking websites to find you the best price for a trip. You can narrow your search by date, time of day, and airline. Or just leave your options wide open to find the absolute best deal!

skyscanner recommendations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CTrip: CTrip is basically Skyscanner for China. For my fellow expats living in China, use CTrip for the best flight prices.

ctrip recommendations

 

 

 

 

 

List of 20 ways to save money when you travel: I created this easy-to-read guide so that everyone can realize how easy it is to travel. If possible, don’t let money hold you back! Just subscribe to my newsletter to receive this free list!

 

Methods for Earning/Saving Travel Money

Businesses for Side Gigs

VIPKID: Thanks to VIPKID, I teach Chinese children English from the comfort of my living room! (While wearing cozy sweatpants, I might add.) You can earn $14-$22 per hour teaching with this company, not to mention choose your own hours.

teach english vipkid

 

 

 

 

 

PreOwned Wedding Dresses: This is the website I use to sell my old bridesmaid dresses. You can also sell your wedding dress on this site if you want!

preowned wedding dresses recommendations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inbox Dollars: Inbox Dollars pays you to fill out online surveys in your free time. Personally, I fill out surveys while watching Gilmore Girls re-runs. Once you hit at least $30, Inbox Dollars mails you a check.

inbox dollars recommendations

 

 

 

 

Wag!: Walking dogs can be a fun (and possibly easy, depending on the dog) way to make extra money. According to the website, you can make up to $25 per hour walking furry friends.

wag! recommendations

 

Apps and Websites

Digit: Digit is a savings app that automatically puts money into a special savings account for you. (In this case, it could be your travel fund!) This way, you don’t have to worry about self-discipline. Just set things up once with Digit, and you’ll be able to purchase that flight in no time.

digit recommendations

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trim: Connect Trim to your bank account, and it tracks your automatic withdrawals for things like bills and subscriptions. Then it sends you a text to notify you of the payment, asking if you still want to make this payment or offering tips for slashing prices. Take the money Trim saves you and put it in your travel fund!

trim recommendations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unsplurge: This app is based on the concept of saving for things you love. Set a financial goal, such as “Trip to Canada,” then track your progress!

unsplurge recommendations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Qapital: Similarly to Unsplurge, Qapital encourages you to save for a specific goal. (“Backpacking around Asia,” perhaps?)  Then you set your own savings “rules.” Qapital rewards you for following those rules and charges you for breaking them. It’s like a game, where you make up the rules yourself!

qapital recommendations

 

 

 

Agencies for teaching in Asia

Adventure Teaching: This is the company I used when I decided to teach in China. And my husband used this recruiter to teach in South Korea even before that.

Adventure Teaching Logo

 

 

 

 

 

GoldStar TEFL Recruitment: I discovered GoldStar recently, and now I write for their blog! They’re a well-established, reliable agency that works in various countries, but mostly China.

gold star tefl recruitment recommendations

 

 

Travel Products

Express VPN: If you visit/move to China, websites such as Google, Facebook, Instagram, etc., are blocked by the Chinese government. You’ll want a virtual private network (VPN) to access these sites abroad. I tried a couple different ones, and VPN was by far the most reliable. Almost all the expats I met in China chose Express VPN, also.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Travel books: Leisurely travel books are good ways to gain travel ideas and inspiration. (Thanks, Cheryl Strayed, now I really want to hike the Pacific Crest Trail!)

My 5 Favorite Travel Books

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REI: Calling all outdoorsmen! (Or wannabe-outdoorsmen.) REI is my favorite place to get all my outdoor gear, from tents, to boots, to warm socks. REI’s products are high quality and long-lasting.

rei recommendations

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Traveling!

Laura Grace Tarpley