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 Niver is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 102 countries on six continents. This University of Pennsylvania graduate sailed across the seas for seven years with Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, and Renaissance Cruises and spent three years backpacking across Asia. Discover her articles in publications from AARP: The Magazine and AAA Explorer to WIRED and Wharton Magazine, as well as her site WeSaidGoTravel. On her award nominated global podcast, Make Your Own Map, Niver has interviewed Deepak Chopra, Olympic medalists, and numerous bestselling authors, and as a journalist has been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded three Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards and been a finalist twenty-two times. Named a #3 travel influencer for 2023, Niver talks travel on broadcast television at KTLA TV Los Angeles, her YouTube channel with over 2 million views, and in her memoir, Brave-ish, One Breakup, Six Continents and Feeling Fearless After Fifty.

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