Smart Travel Moves: How to Fund Your Travel Dreams?


Thank you to Nora Dunn (The Professional Hobo) and CreditWalk for including me in their article:

Smart Travel Moves CreditWalk by Nora Dunn

30 of the Smartest Travel Moves Ever Made

Want to travel like a pro? Then learn from the pros, who share the smartest travel moves they ever made; from frequent flyer mile hacks, to destination choices, to going off the beaten path or even staying on it, let’s see what travel moves influenced the way these experts travel and see the world forever.


Work for Resorts/Cruise Ships

Lisa Ellen Niver of We Said Go Travel loved scuba diving, but she couldn’t afford to dive on her salary at the time. So on a friend’s suggestion, she applied to work at Club Med as a G.O. (an activity organizer).

“I had never heard of it before but sent in a resume and paid to fly to Florida for a group interview. They offered me the job but in Colorado. I wanted to go scuba diving but they needed a person in the kids club who could ski. She promised that if I went to the snow, next I would get underwater. I decided to go for it. I ended up at Club Med for a year and on ships for nearly seven! It was the most amazing way to travel, see the world and save money. I absolutely loved it.”

This smart travel move launched Lisa’s ongoing career as an award-winning travel expert who is featured around the world. To this day, she’s glad she took a chance and went to Club Med to ski when she wanted to go scuba diving. “You never know what can happen if you just begin.”

Lisa Niver working for Princess Cruises
Lisa Niver working for Princess Cruises

NORA’S TIP: Where to stay when you travel? Find free accommodation:

While I’d like to claim ownership of a variety of brilliant travel moves (ha!), the one that stands out – dramatically – for me is the rabbit hole of free accommodation I discovered fairly early into my full-time travel career.

It started with a gig that allowed me to volunteer in trade for free accommodation; which morphed into something I did in half a dozen other countries and scenarios.

From there my logistical requirement for more free time to tend to my travel blog led me to house-sitting, where I could enjoy the comforts of (other people’s) homes, have time for work, and live like a local in a dozen or so more countries (and often some pretty plush digs, I might add).

I also lived on five boats spanning three Caribbean countries (all for free), and of course I enjoyed a variety of hospitality exchange (couch surfing) experiences.

So quite by accident, I became something of an expert on how to get free accommodation around the world; and from there I also learned how to get cheap accommodation, how to find places to rent for a fraction of what you’d pay with AirBnB, and more. For more on all these accommodation options, check out: The Creative Guide to Free or Cheap Accommodation.

All in all, my free accommodation adventures saved me well over $100,000 in my 12 years of full-time travel (so far). And it provided me with invaluable local contacts, activities, and ways to experience the world that I’d never have had if I stayed in hotels.

30 of the Smartest Travel Moves Ever Made

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver, M.A. Education, is a science teacher and is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 101 countries and six continents. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she worked on cruise ships for seven years and backpacked for three years in Asia. You can find her talking travel at KTLA TV and in her We Said Go Travel videos with over 1.3 million views on her YouTube channel. As a journalist, Niver has interviewed an Olympic swimmer and numerous bestselling authors and has been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. She is the founder of We Said Go Travel which is read in 235 countries and was named #3 on Rise Global’s top 1,000 Travel Blogs. She was named both a Top 10 Travel Influencer and a Top 50 Female Influencer for 2021 by Afluencer and is the Social Media Manager for the Los Angeles Press Club. She has been nominated for the inaugural Forbes 50 over 50/Know Your Value list due out in Summer 2021. She has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best and has more than 150,000 followers across social media. Niver is a judge for the Gracies Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media and has also run 15 travel competitions publishing over 2,500 writers and photographers from 75 countries on We Said Go Travel. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded two Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards. From 2017 to 2021 in the Southern California Journalism Awards and National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards, she has won four times for her broadcast television segments, print and digital articles. Niver won in 2021 as Book Critic and in 2019 for one of her KTLA TV segments NAEJ (National Arts and Entertainment Journalism) award. Niver won an award for her print magazine article for Hemispheres Magazine for United Airlines in the 2020 Southern California Journalism Awards and a 2017 Southern California Journalism Award for her print story for the Jewish Journal. Niver has written for National Geographic, USA Today 10best, TODAY, Teen Vogue, POPSUGAR, Ms. Magazine, Luxury Magazine, Smithsonian, Sierra Club, Saturday Evening Post, AARP, American Airways, Delta Sky, En Route (Air Canada), Hemispheres, Jewish Journal, Myanmar Times, Robb Report, Scuba Diver Life, Ski Utah, Trivago, Undomesticated, Wharton Magazine and Yahoo. She is writing a book, “Brave(ish): It's All About Perspective 50 Adventures Before 50,” about her most recent travels and insights. When she's not SCUBA diving or in her art studio making ceramics, she's helping people find their next dream trip.

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We Said Go Travel

We Said Go Travel