Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Deals: 10% off Lonely Planet Products

Here is a 10% off discount code for Lonely Planet Products:

Coupon Code: CJCOUPON10

Hint: Don't buy their books.  Download what you need from their Pick 'n Mix Chapters and only print up the pages that you need from the PDFs you download.  You'll save weight and space in your bag and you can throw away chapters as you visit cities, meaning you'll decrease your weight as you go.

Click Here: Save 10% off your next purchase at Lonely Planet! Use coupon code: CJCOUPON10

How To: Withdraw Money With A Debit Card But Get the Fraud Protection of a Credit Card

So here's the conundrum:

1.  You don't want to carry a lot of cash overseas because it might get stolen.
2.  Traveller's checks are an option, but in reality they are hard to use because so few establishments take them, especially if you're in a non-developed country.
3.  You can use a debit card to withdraw money from ATMs in major cities (which also gives you the benefit of a favorable exchange rate) but debit card protection liability is $50 (meaning you have to pay the first the first $50).
4.  Credit cards have almost unlimited liability protection, but they also have abusive rates if you withdraw cash from them, which compound daily.

Meaning: You want to use a debit card, but if it's stolen you're screwed.

Well, Visa Prepaid has a card that's a good solution: the Vision Premier.  Basically, you deposit money into your prepaid account (which can be done via bank transfer or direct deposit) and then you use it the way you would use a debit card: to pay for purchases, buy things online or withdraw money from ATMS.

But since the card has Visa's Zero Liability Protection, you're completely covered if it's stolen and someone rings up charges on your account.  So: protection of a credit card without the rates of a credit card.  Pretty sweet.

Since Visa is promising no credit check and no fees with this card, I assume they are making interest off the money you deposit on the card prior to spending it.  That means you aren't making any interest.

My advice: keep most of your money in savings or high interest checking, and try to be organized enough to only move what you need onto this card when abroad.  Since bank transfers usually take 3 days, I'd also keep a couple hundred extra on the card in case of emergencies.

Click Here: Learn More about the Visa Prepaid Vision Premier Card

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Deals: 25% off Gap Adventure Tours

What?  You didn't know that Gap did adventure travel?  Yeah, me neither.  Although I don't think this is Gap the store, but GAP, the "Great Adventure People".

Whatever.

They are currently running a 25% off special.  I've never been on one on of their tours, but I have been on tours with some other companies.  In general, I'm partial to not paying a company to guide me, as it allows for more freedom and interaction with locals, but the times I have signed up for a tour, I was usually given the following 3 things:

1) Lack of stress (someone else is doing all the planning and will take care of it if the bus engine blows up)
2) Access (tour companies negotiate to do things that a lone traveler can't)
3) Women (groups are usually age-similar and, well, you're going to be with the same group for a week or more; plenty of time for game)

If it is an arm of the Gap store, maybe all the women will be in black and white.  Although you may be competing with Gap men with perfect six packs.  Dammit.

Click Here: More Information on Gap Adventure Tours and 25% Off Your Tour

Sunday, March 28, 2010

How to: Let People Can Call You for Free While You Are Traveling

Here is how you can be reached for free almost anywhere in the world:

1.  Take your iPhone or iPod Touch with you and make sure it has the free Skype App installed.
2.  OR have your netbook with you with Skype installed.
3.  OR get on the internet at your hostel if they have Skype installed.
4.  Get a SkypeIn number and give it to everyone you like or love or are trying to keep the sexual tension going with while you are on the road.
3.  People call you on your number and it's free for them (assuming they have nationwide calling) and free for you (other than the cost of getting the number).

That's right.  People call you when they want and can talk to you as long as they want anywhere in the world that has an internet connection.

Even if you aren't available when they call, they can leave a voicemail that you can check the next time you get online.

The service is not free for you (after all, you are getting a second phone number), but it is a relatively cheap way to let your mom hear your voice whenever she's worried sick because you're currently traipsing around the Australian Outback with a couple of Cambodian hookers and a kinky kangaroo.

It's $18 for 3 months or $60 for a year.  The nice thing is that if you already have one of Skype's unlimited subscriptions, you get 50% off.  Since the USA/Canada Unlimited subscription is $2.95/month, you can bring the total to $12 for a one month trip and that means mom can call you whenever she wants and you can call her whenever you want and (provided you're somewhere there is an internet connection) the two of you can talk as long as you want for $12/month.


Click Here to Learn More about SkypeIn

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Deals: Discount Codes for WorldTraveler.com

Couple of discount codes I found for WorldTraveler.com

1. $10 off an order of $150.00 or more at WorldTraveler
Use coupon code AF0501 at checkout.

2.  10% off and Free Shipping on a $100 or more order of Luggage or Briefs
Use Code CJ10 at checkout

Briefs means Briefcases and not underwear.  Buy the way, if it did mean underwear and you did buy $100 worth of it, I'd ban you from my site.  No person ever needs either A) that much underwear or B) underwear that expensive.

Unless we're talking lingerie, in which case I'll unban you if you model it for me.  Ladies?

3.  WorldTraveler's Closeout and Discount Page (So You can Look for More Deals)

Friday, March 26, 2010

How to: Call Home for (almost) Free

I have a mother.

She doesn't like that I travel.

Well, she likes looking at the pictures and listening to the stories, but she also worries non-stop, even once throwing a fit and forcing me to call off a trip to the Middle East just because Israel and Lebanon happened to be at war.  What I've learned from this are two things:

1.  Don't tell my mother where I'm going
2.  Call or email her frequently when I'm there

I used to just email her, but technology has gotten to the point that letting her hear my voice is ridiculously simple and cheap.  This makes her feel better, and it means she puts up less resistance when I'm about to go somewhere new that may or may not have a working government.

Firstly, it seems that almost every hostel in the world now, from Egypt to El Salvador to Thailand has the internet.  And not just the internet, but wireless internet.  Although I was surprised to realize it, it's actually cheaper for most places to set up a wireless router than to try and lay down an ethernet connection.

This means two things:

1.  Most hostels now have Skype on their computers
2.  You can now access Skype via the hostel's wireless internet either on a netbook or your wireless 3G phone

Hell, Skype even makes a free app for your iPhone or iPod Touch that you can get HERE.

By the way: anyplace you have a wireless connection, you can use your iPod Touch like a phone if you have the Skype app installed.  All the functionality of an iPhone without getting locked into a contract.  Woot! 

Skype has saved my butt abroad more than once, particularly a time in Egypt when I had lost my ATM card and I was able to call the bank's 800 number via Skype on my hostel's computer and get it sorted out.

But while most people already know about using Skype to call other Skype users or 800 numbers, Skype now has unlimited calling plans to a number of countries, including an unlimited world calling plan for $12.95/month and an unlimited plan to the USA and Canada for $2.95/month.

So it works like this: if I'm going to be gone for a month, I fork over the $3 to have unlimited calling for my trip.  Every couple of days, when I find a hostel with wireless internet or Skype installed on one of its computers, I can call my mom and let her know how I'm doing.  It's that simple.

Here is the Link to the Program

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Ultimate Travel Card? Chase Sapphire.

The Chase Sapphire card is a card designed with travelers in mind. Not only does it have one of the easiest point-for-benefit redemption systems I've encountered, but it also comes with a slew of free travel insurance coverages and nice touches like no expiration date on your points and your calls going straight to a live person.

Oh, and, the three things most important to me bonus grubbers like me: a 10,000 sign-up bonus after your first purchase, no dollar minimum on the first purchase, and no annual fee!

Chase (JPMorgan Chase & Co.)

Check Out and Apply for the Card by Clicking this Link.

The Chase Ultimate Rewards system seems to Chase taking the American Express points and ThankYou point systems and improving on them.  Like those other two, Chase Ultimate Rewards has an online mall where you can buy various products and gift certificates, but unlike those programs, you can instantly use your points to get cash back on your card.

For every 2,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards points that you redeem, you get a $25 credit on your card. That simple. This means the 10,000 point bonus is worth $100.

This is an improvement over AE or ThankYou because when I want to redeem points for a flight through them, I either have to have enough points to cover the entire flight or pay an abusive cash-for-points fee.

With the Ultimate Rewards program, though, even if a one-way flight is $124, I can just use the bonus to take $100 off it and then pay the rest when my bill comes at the end of the month.

You can use the credit for anything, by the way, not just travel. You could buy $100 of Spam and Pepsi if you wanted to (and who could blame you?), but it does pay to put your travel on the card because doing so gives the travel the following protections:

1. Reimbursement for travel if you have to cancel for reasons outside your control (this will also save you from buying cruise insurance). Super Sweet.
2. Free Auto Rental collision coverage (this will save you from buying collision coverage from the rental car company) Super Sweet.
3. Reimbursed meals and lodging if your trip is delayed more than 12 hours due to reasons outside your control. Pretty Sweet.
4. Reimbursement  of "essential items" you may have to buy if your checked bags are delayed by 18 hours or more. Somewhat Sweet.
5.  Coverage of carry-on or checked luggage that is lost or stolen. Super Duper Sweet.

Here it is again in case you're to lazy to scroll back up:


Check Out the Chase Sapphire at this Link.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

$300 in Bank Bonuses

I'm always on the lookout for bank bonuses that don't require a direct deposit.  This is just a little way to make money on the side, but I usually earn about $500-700 a year on this.  Here are $300 worth of current offers:
 
$150 from Suntrust Bank

Link 
1.  Open a checking account: Get $50
2.  Make three bill payments a month for three months: Get $100


$100 from Chase
Link
1.  Open a Chase Checking account
2.  Make 5 debit card purchases (or set up direct deposit): Get $100

$50 from ING
Link
1.  Open an Electric Orange Checking Account using code EM262
2.  Use your debit card 3 times within 45 days: get $50

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Passive Income: Hubpages

Hubpages is a website for articles about, well, everything.  Basically, you can write about anything you want (travel stories, advice about alien anal probes, how to breed fire ants) and post it.  You add keywords so that others can find your article (it also suggests keywords for you), and within a day it's showing up in Google searches.  Hubpages then tastefully surrounds your articles with Google Ads and you can get revenue one of two ways:

1.  You get 60% of the revenue for every time a Google Ad appears on your page.
2.  You get 100% of the revenue everytime someone clicks on one of your Google Ads.

There are also other ways for you to generate revenue for the site, including driving traffic towards other people's articles and recommending items on Amazon, which you'll get up to a 15% cut of if they buy it.

I'm just starting to work with the site, having my personal assistant upload columns that I wrote in college.  Yes, I have a personal assistant.  She lives in the Phillipines, she's awesome, and I pay her $0.66 an hour.  More on outsourcing your work in a later post.

The columns have already gotten several hundred views in a day, each of which generates me money.  From what I hear, having up 40 quality articles will generate you $40-50 a month.  Between my articles on this blog, my column and my travel stories, I should have several hundred articles posted, so we'll see what kind of revenue I might be able to get.

I'll update on Hubpages in a month and let you know how it's going, along with any tips or tricks I learn. 

You can sign up for Hubpages here: Sign up to Hubpages

Monday, March 15, 2010

How to: Backup Your Passport Online

This is actually a simple bit of advice, but it seems to be little known because every time I mention it to someone, they kind of slap their heads and thank me.

You probably know that you should leave a copy of your passport with someone that you trust in case something goes wrong while you're on the road, but that is problematic because then you have to A) Get a hold of them (when you're likely not even in the same time zone as them) and B) Have them find a fax machine so that they can fax it to the embassy.

It's better is to give a copy of your passport to yourself.

1.  Scan your passport.
2.  Email the photo to yourself or store it online
3.  Access it from anywhere in the world with internet access.

Since every American embassy has internet, it means you can pull it up while you are there.  Simple, right?  But most people don't think to do it.

Also worth emailing to yourself and storing online (provided said storage place is secure):

1.  Credit card numbers (in case they get stolen)
2.  Travelers Checks numbers
3.  A passport photo (so you can print if you find a place that prints photos)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

How to: Handwash Clothes

This was taught to me by my host mother when I was in Peace Corps, and I have two years of experience doing it.

1)  Fill up a sink/bucket/tub with hot water.

2)  Add soap.  As in actual soap.  I break bits off or just rub one piece of clothing over and over under the water until the water becomes whitish.

3)  Put your clothes into the water, and stir them around for a few minutes and then let them soak for 5-10 minutes.

4)  Get each piece of clothing and rub it against itself, pushing the cloth together between your knuckles and rubbing up and down.  You really only have to work the underarms and collars of your shirts and the butt and knees of your pants as these are the areas most likely to be dirty.

5)  Give a light wring to each piece and put them aside.

6)  Rinse out the sink/bucket/tub and fill it with cold water.

7) Dunk and wring each piece of clothing several times to get the soap out.

8)  Give one final, serious wring to each piece of clothing.  When you are done, no water should drip from it (my host mother used to hand me back clothes that I hadn't wrung out enough).

9)  Hang your clothing up.

10) If you are anywhere near a laundromat, or if your hostel has cheap laundry service, skip steps 1-9

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Bonus Stacking: ThankYou Points

_
The ThankYou rewards program is used by both Citi and Expedia (the two might be part of the same company; I'm too lazy to find out) and can be found at: http://www.thankyou.com/. There are thousands of ways for you to redeem ThankYou points (including cruises and hotel rooms), but I always head straight for the airline tickets.

Using your points to buy tickets is easy compared to using frequent flyer miles, which have blackout dates and limited seats per flight.  With Thankyou, you do a flight search that's similar to the one Kayak uses and looks through all the major airlines.  If you find a flight to your liking, you buy it at a penny a point.

Have 25,000 points? You can buy a $250 ticket. That simple. Even if it won't buy you a round trip ticket, you can still get it one way and pay cash for the return flight.

Bonus offers for ThankYou Points change frequently, but I'll post some recent ones:

Citi Forward (6,500 points after $250 in purchases and signing up for paperless statements; 100 points a month)

Citi Checking Account (16,000 points for opening an account and qualifying activities)

22,500 points right there.  Enough to get me from New York to Orlando and back, which I've done every month since September, most of it for free.  :-) 

It pays to Google "Thank You Bonus Points" frequently.

Happy stacking.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Bonus Stacking: The Basics

_
I can't claim credit for the idea, but I can claim credit for the term.
Bonus stacking.

It's the art of combining credit card and banking bonuses to rapidly (as in, by next month) earn free flights and hotel rooms. Not only is it completely legal, but in the long term it also helps your credit score.  I started doing this a year ago and have gotten four free domestic flights and a room at a five star hotel in Cancun. In all, I've have gotten well over $1,500 in travel savings for a few hours of effort. I cannot recommend bonus stacking enough.

The gist: in order to attract and retain customers, credit cards and banks offer reward programs. Almost across the board, the points (or miles) in these programs are worth a penny apiece and are usually given for each dollar spent. Which means for every $1,000 you spend, you'll get $10 in value. Racking up the $30,000 in purchases required to enough points for a $300 ticket could take most of us years, which is what the companies want, since in that time you'll likely have given them far more in finance charges and late fees. 
In order to get you going, though, the financial companies like to start you off with a sign-up bonus to lure you in, usually between 5,000 and 10,000 points. With a little organization, you can stack the sign-up bonuses from several cards to immediately earn enough points for flights and hotel rooms.
Here is the nitty-gritty:

1.  You need a decent credit score to even get the cards in the first place. This is good thing in my opinion because if you are bad at managing your credit to begin with, the last thing you need is is a half a dozen bright, shiny credit cards lying around asking to get used. Anything above 650 will usually start you off.  
2.  In the short term, this will hurt your credit.  From the companies' point of view,  if you are ordering a large number of cards, it's because you are about to fund a super-model, cocaine-filled orgy and then off yourself at the end. Or similar. So ordering a large number of cards will ding your score, probably 15-20 points.  Because of this, it is best to order a number of cards all at once, because the next month your score will drop.


3.  In the long term, this will help your credit. A significant bulk of your score is determined by your credit-utilization ratio. This is the dollar amount of credit you have versus the amount that you are using. If you are $9,000 in debt on $10,000 in credit, your score will be lower than if you are $20,000 in debt on $50,000 of credit. So adding another ten credit cards will actually inflate the amount of credit you have (because you are NOT going to start using your bonus stacking cards, right?) and month after month your credit score will go up. 

4.  You can use the credit building thing as an excuse.  I got greedy once and ordered six different American Express cards in a day and they called me to see what was up. I said I was trying to increase my score by increasing my available credit. They asked for proof of income, I faxed it to them and they approved all six cards. Those bonuses got me two free plane flights.

5.  Be organized. A simple spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel, Open Office Calc or Google Docs (which I use) will do wonders for your sanity. This is because different cards require different hoops to jump through. Some require a single purchase, others require a certain dollar amount of purchases (say $250). Some have annual fees that are waived the first year, meaning you have to cancel them before the year isup. Some post their bonus points in four weeks, others in six to eight. In a future post I will give tips on free finance programs and provide a spreadsheet template to help minimize your Advil use.


And that's about it!  Future posts will cover different programs and how to get the most out of your points.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

How to: Get your ATM Fees Reimbursed

I thought I was going to cry the first time that I logged onto my Bank of America checking account while traveling in Slovakia and saw that the last three ATM transactions had been hit with $5.00 surcharges (on top of the $2.00 the Slovakian ATM had charged me).  Basically, more than a day's travel budget had been blown on fees.

What, did the bank WANT me to carry around huge amounts of cash while I was traveling in order to minimize my withdrawals?  Or did they want me to bring a bunch of money from the states and get hammered at the exchange bureaus (if you didn't know, ATM withdrawals give you the best rate of exchange)?

So that's why, after looking around, I settled on Evantage Bank.

Why?

Evantage reimburses your ATM fees, even international ones!

This was proven on a recent trip to Honduras and another one to St. Maarten.  Rather than fearing the ATMs, I was able to visit them as often as I wished.  True to their word, Evantage paid for my ATM fees.

That's the big one for me, because I live in the South Bronx, which has a cash based economy, so I find myself withdrawing money once a week even at home. 

On top of that, Evantage has:

1. High yield checking (currently at 4%) up to $10,000.
2.  Low requirement to get that rate (10 check card uses a month)
3. No phone tree when you call customer service! A real Oklahoman immediately picks up and answers your questions!

Obviously I can't use my check card 10 times a month abroad, but what that means is that when I'm in America, my liquid cash earns 4% and when I'm abroad I'm saving almost that percentage in ATM fees. 

 All in all, it's pretty sweet.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

How to: Bribe an Official

Although I try to avoid bribing when I can (and have successfully talked my way out of having to bribe the police a few times), sometimes it's necessary.  When?  When I've messed up, that's when.   
Scenario: Something has gone wrong, and the official is acting like he is going to do something bad to you.

Your Magic Words: "I'm sorry about this.  Is there a fine?"

The Rationale: Of course there isn't a fine, but this is the official's way of taking money without looking like it's for him/herself.

After They State the Fine: HAGGLE!  Yes, haggle.  I had a Moldova train attendant who wanted $100 and I got him to $60, and I had Cambodian border guard who wanted $20 and I got him to $10.  There is no harm in trying, and it saves you money.

Your Magic Words: "I wish I could pay that, but I don't have that much.  I only have ___  on me!"

After They State a Mid-way Price: "But sir, if I pay that, I will not be able to eat tomorrow.  At most I could pay..."

And so it goes.  Just remember that when someone gets a bribe out of you, it means they will try to get it out of others after you.  So use sparingly.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Passive Income From Lending Club: Minimizing Loss

_
The risk of using Lending Club is debtors that don't pay. So far, I've only had three loans fall behind, and so far there were three different outcomes. 

1.  Worth noting, though, is that the only loans that were late were those that I invested in as new loans.  I have yet to have a loan that I bought on the trading platform go late, and that's because I only bought loans from debtors who had been paying on time for eight months or more.

2.  The first was when I wasn't regularly checking the account, and when I caught it it was already more than a month late. The debtor had made only one payment before he stopped paying. I tried to sell the loan, but no one would buy it, even at 2/3 off the price. I believed I was going to loose the money.  The something interesting happened. The loan was referred to debt collection and then the whole thing was paid off. I don't know if he secured another loan from elsewhere or put it on a credit card, but either way I got my money back.

3.  The second one happened while I was checking on the first. I noticed that its status was "In Grace Period", which meant that the loan was late, but less than two weeks late. After "Grace Period", Lending Club marks it as "Late", which will make it hard to sell (I assume most people, like me, do not buy late loans). So  I put it on the market and steeply discounted it at $20, a 20% discount.  It was purchased a day later. I lost almost $5, but it was better than loosing $25.

4.  The third one is currently late, but I'm waiting and seeing. It was one of the loans I picked up when I was still bidding on new loans instead of buying them on the trading platform. It was a $75 loan that had been paid for 6 months before the debtor fell behind. I saw that it was "In Grace Period" and put it up for sale, again at a $5 discount. Possibly because it wasn't a steep enough discount relative to the worth of the loan, no one bought it. I saw that the debtor had been communicating with Lending Club and had been put on a payment plan by them.

I now had a choice: discount deep enough to sell and loose that money, or hold onto the loan and hope the debtor caught back up on his payments.

Since he had paid on time for six months, I decided to take a gamble and see if he would bring his account current. If he does, I am going to sell the loan. With the listing at "current", it hopefully should sell with only a minimal loss. His next payment is due on 3/10/10. I will post after to notify everyone if he paid.

Lessons:

1. Don't invest in new loans.
2.  Check the status of loans weekly to make sure all are current.
3. If a loan is in Grace Period, immediately try to sell it before it becomes "Late".
4. Keep loans to $25, so that you don't have to loose too much money trying to sell them before they become late.

Update: Someone bought the $75 loan off me.  It was still discounted at $5 off, but considering I'd already gotten $4 in interest payments off of it, my loss was $1.  

I'd like to also point out that since I've made hundreds of dollars in interest from Lending Club, loosing $6 is just the cost of doing business.  The trick is to stay on top of it so that you don't end up holding a bum loan and having it blow a hole in your bottom line.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Travel Gear: Chargepod

_
Okay flashpackers, let me know if this is worth having:

Chargepod Base Unit

When I travel, I take a netbook, a digital camera and (sometimes) an HD camcorder. In the past, I've been annoyed that I have to pack a separate power cable for each of these devices, and since I've also seen flashpackers with all those AND cell phones and iPods, then The Chargepod from Callpod might be worth having. 

Basically, you buy it and adapters for your devices and it allows you to charge everything off one plug.  It looks tiny, too; smaller than the size of a cellphone in the pictures and apparently it only weighs a few ounces.  So not only will you likely be saving space, but you also won't be fighting for outlets in hostels or the airport.

So, if you have a Chargepod, leave a comment and let me know if it's worth it.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Passive Income from Lending Club: Step-by-Step Investment Strategy


Here's the biggest thing I learned from my time with Lending Club: don't invest in new loans.

Why? Even though you've looked at their credit history and read why they needed the loan, checked to make sure their income is verified and asked questions about their monthly obligations, there is still one thing you don't know: Will they repay?

Luckily, Lending Club has a way to sidestep this: the trading platform.

Run by FolioFN, this is where Lending Clubs notes can be bought and sold, and it provides filters that let you find the loans you need.

After I got to "Browse Notes" on the platform, here is what I do:

1. For "Status", click the checkbox for "Never Late". Unclick the others. You don't want someone who pays their loans late. Ever.

2. Put the "Remaining Payments" at 28. This means that they have been paying on time for eight months straight. This is more of a "gut" number. If you want more saftey, pick a lower number (which means they've paid on time longer). Vice versa if you want more risk.

3. Click "Search".

4. The right hand column is "Yield to Maturity". Click on it twice. This will order them from greatest yield to least.

5. I look for loans that were originally $25 (by now they're around $20) and that have yields higher than 11%. Buy them.

6. Although I've been tempted to buy loans with high returns that were above $25, I have stayed away. Why? You can absorb a $25 default. A $200 default will kill your bottom line. Buying a large number of small loans will spread your risk more than a small number of large loans.

7. I recommend checking the platform once a day rather than trying to invest everything at once. One day all the good loans available might be at 10% and the next day you'll find good ones at 13%. I recommend buying $100-200 a day until you're fully invested.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Passive Income from Lending Club: Overview

In my continued quest to earn passive income, I am really glad I found Lending Club.

Lending Club is a peer-to-peer lending site where people apply for loans through Lending Club, Lending Club vets them and then it chops those loans up into $25 "notes" that people like you and me can purchase. Essentially, we are putting up the money for the loan and we get the repaid principal and interest. Lending Club takes 1% as its fee.

With the stock market having completed its bull run and looking to go sideways for the near future, this is the strongest return on investment that I've found. Plus: low volatility.  Currently I am averaging 11%, and the principal and interest is paid monthly into my account.

To give you an idea of how this helps: Say you invest $10,000 and are making 11% interest. You will be making an extra $1,000 a year after Lending Club takes its cut, paid monthly. This means that as you are trotting around the globe, you are getting an $83 a month paycheck.

In cheaper countries, like Cambodia, $83 is pretty much all you need.  In a country like Ukraine, that'll still cover half your expenses, meaning you can travel twice as long.

The drawback, of course, is that someone might not repay the loan, in which case you can loose the money you invested.  Although Lending Club says they have been able to fully or almost fully recover 40% of loans that go into collections, you are still risking your money.

I've gotten pretty savy with it, though, so there's more to come on how to maximize your return and minimize risk and loss.