This week, we’re sitting down with Lisa and Dave from Basic Travel Couple. They share their travel hacking tips and tricks to help people travel the world on a budget!
Tell us about yourself!
Hi! We are Dave & Lisa, also known as Basic Travel Couple. Dave and I both grew up in Buffalo, New York. Neither of us traveled much growing up. When we met in 2015, I invited him to a wedding out of town in Chicago as our first date. A few years later, we learned how to travel hack and have been to 18 countries together.
Our passion is to teach others how to travel for less. We never thought we would be able to afford travel on a teacher and desk job salary. We enjoy trying new foods, scuba diving, hiking, and going on adventures.
We are also both avid readers, prefer to fly vs drive, and recently became real estate investors.
When did you start traveling?
I had a small taste of travel in college, when she studied abroad in Australia for 5 months. The following year I went to Ireland & London for a 3-week study abroad trip for grad school. I didn’t travel again for 8 years as I couldn’t really afford it.
Dave had traveled to the Bahamas on a cruise as a kid. We really didn’t start traveling until 2017 after learning about travel hacking.
What have been some of your favorite places or activities so far? Why?
I would think my favorite places so far would have to be Egypt & Greece in 2018. Dave proposed at the Great Pyramids of Egypt and the entire trip seemed magical. Not only were the people the friendliest in each country, but the food was also outstanding.
2018 was a big year for us as we were a few years into travel hacking and really understood the magnitude of how life-changing it could be. We were able to visit 6 countries and save over $30,000 in travel costs.
Dave’s favorite place so far was Hawaii. It was a super outdoorsy and adventurous trip where we were constantly on the go. Within a week, we went scuba diving with Manta Rays, hiked an active volcano, did an open doors helicopter tour, visited black and green sand beaches, skydived, and swam with sharks.
Have you had any misadventures during your travels?
Our first big adventure we took together was to spend 30 days in Thailand. It had always been a dream of mine after visiting Australia and seeing all of my friends travel there. Towards the end of the trip, Dave got super sick with food poisoning. Luckily he ended up being okay, but it did take a few weeks for him to get back to normal.
Two years later, I fell through a dock in the Galapagos islands and broke my leg in 5 places. Having to navigate getting help and going to a hospital was no easy feat — especially when neither of us speak Spanish. My leg took a bit longer to heal than the food poisoning, but the memories will for sure last forever.
Travel is a life-changing endeavor. What are lessons you’ve learned from your time exploring the globe?
- Experiencing different cultures changes the way you see the world
- You can travel without spending a ton of money
- To go with the flow and be spontaneous. Sometimes the best experiences have come from plans falling through
What countries/activities are still on your bucket list?
There are SO many. We eventually want to visit every country in the world. Our next big trip is planning for our honeymoon in the summer of 2021. We hope to head to Maldives, Sri Lanka, India, and South Africa for a safari.
Have any destinations be better than your expectations? Or worse?
I was blown away by Egypt. I had no real expectations because Dave was the one who really wanted to go. I had picked Thailand the year before so it was his turn for our summer adventure. There was so much to do, the people were so friendly and the food was amazing. We did get engaged in Egypt so I might be biased, but it was an awesome trip.
Scuba diving in Egypt is comparable to the Great Barrier Reef in how vibrant the colors were. The people were incredibly friendly and went above and beyond to help. We also rode in a hot air balloon on my birthday. After we landed, they all gathered around and sang what I think was happy birthday to me in Arabic. They were so genuine even though we didn’t speak their language, their smiles and kindness is an experience I will never forget.
I don’t think we’ve had any really bad or expectations that were worse on a trip. We usually keep a pretty open mind when traveling and don’t expect much but to enjoy the experience. I think after corona, we will 100% appreciate travel more and how easily we could go somewhere before.
Do you have any favorite travel books/movies/TV shows?
We love the Amazing Race and would like to participate in it one day. One of my favorite books has been The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau. Reading other people’s stories and challenges that they set out to do and accomplish makes you want to create your own challenges and live your life to the fullest.
Now, tell us about yourn travel blog!
Basic Travel Couple is the name of our blog. We wanted to teach people the basics of travel hacking and show them that any “basic” couple (or person) can do it. We came up with the idea in 2018 and slowly started working on after as a side hustle (we both have full-time jobs).
Since then we have learned a ton about blogging and what it takes to be consistent and increase our audience. We started it to teach others how easily travel hacking can change your life- even if you don’t want to travel. Recently I wrote an article how we paid off over $45,000 in credit card debt during the pandemic. I wanted to show people how utilizing credit cards can work in a positive light too even if you aren’t that into travel.
What is one thing that has surprised you since you started blogging?
I think that blogging really kind of encompasses your whole life essentially. It’s no longer just a quick weekend trip, but trying to capture photos and information to share with your readers to be valuable. It definitely is a lot more work than I thought it was going to be, but it also has opened up so many other doors and connections with people I don’t know if I would have met otherwise.
How do you balance blogging and travel?
I think this is sometimes really hard to balance. On one hand, you are always ‘working’ and it is hard to sometimes differentiate that and give yourself that space to say, “Okay, we need to give ourselves a break to actually enjoy travel and live and not just document it the entire time.”
Is it challenging working and traveling with your partner? What tips/advice do you have for other couples who want to travel long-term (or work) together?
It definitely can be challenging working and traveling with your partner, but I also can’t ever imagine traveling with someone else by my side. We definitely get into disagreements sometimes, but being in another country and exploring you tend to resolve them quickly.
It’s important to always make sure you are on the same page. It doesn’t necessarily mean you both want the same things, but that you support each other and have the same end goals.
Also, give each other space if you need it. We are so used to being together 24/7 for weeks or months on end, but sometimes you need time to yourself. Make sure you respect that of each other on the road too.
What tips do you have for new bloggers just starting out?
Ask for help. There is a LOT to learn in the world of blogging, but having help, and being consistent are the two biggest things I think that make you successful.
What are your blogging goals for 2021?
- Increase our monthly viewers to 20,000 per month.
- Finish and publish our training to teach readers how to travel hack.
- Help couples get a free honeymoon by utilizing credit cards to their advantage.
- Network with more travel bloggers.
- Speak at a live in-person event (after COVID).
Plane or train? Plane
Aisle or window seat? Window
Beach or mountains? Beach
Chill cafe or adrenaline activities? Adrenaline activities
Where can we find you online & on social media?