Interview with a Travel Savings Expert: Marcello Arrambide

Lots of people dream of traveling full-time, exploring the world, and having great adventures. Marcello Arrambide actually does it. In his blog, Wandering Trader, Marcello details his various trips – he’s been to over 80 countries! Read on for some great tips on travelling on a budget.

Marcello, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us today. As your blog, Wandering Trader, states, you started working at 13, and haven’t stopped since. You have had one of the most amazing career paths I’ve ever encountered. Could you please tell us all the different jobs you’ve held down over the years?

My very first job was busing and waiting tables under-the-table when I was 13. My sister and I would actually run the entire restaurant. We would also be rewarded with an absolutely fantastic Italian feast every evening.

My first “official job,” or legal job, was actually as a bag boy at Winn Dixie. Consider that I lived part of my life in Florida and the weather during the summer can be quite daunting. It was over 100 degrees Fahrenheit some days (roughly 37 degrees Celsius) and 100% humidity. It was no fun. I quit the first day after they tried to get me to run outside and pick up all the carts.

I’ve been a bit of an entrepreneur finding oddball jobs here and there. I worked at a bakery/sandwich shop similar to what Panera is today. When no one would pick up the extra bakery items left over from the day, I would take them to school. The following morning I would sell breakfast pastries for $1 apiece and would even have teachers lining up to eat. When CD burning first came out I sold mixtapes to everyone in school. I used to sell fake purses when they first arrived from China as well. This was one of my favorite jobs as the markups were over 1000%. After my stint in the restaurant industry, I did plenty of oddball office jobs. Everything from administrative work to answering phones throughout the day. I honestly never enjoyed any of it which is why I was actively looking to be self-employed since I was very young.

You took out a loan to finance your career as a day trader in the stock market. What was your strategy when you first started out, and how has it changed since?

The only thing I knew when I was younger is that I wanted to have my freedom. In order to have freedom, money is required. Most times it is lots of money (if you want to be comfortable at least). I was attracted to Wall Street because it seemed like an easy way to make money. I didn’t have a solid plan. I was just purchasing education programs and software I found online seeing what worked and what didn’t. The $25,000 in student loans that I took out to start day trading was lost completely in a month. I had to go back and get even more loans to be able to continue my education.

Now I have a day trading strategy that I have refined with many of my day traders at The Day Trading Academy. We constantly look for ways of improving as the market continues to change. I have clearly defined rules and run a system of high probability setups that we all look for when we trade. It is honestly much easier now than before. Looking back I didn’t know exactly what I was doing before.

For our readers who might be considering investing in the stock market, what would you say are three important things to remember before trading?

Discipline, patience, and a good strong community is paramount. Many people lose their shirts in the beginning because they don’t take it seriously. Many people consider the process of learning to day trade easy. It is actually quite the opposite. Someone is not going to learn how to trade from one day to another. It takes discipline to practice every day and learn from your mistakes. It takes patience to understand that we aren’t going to learn how to day trade in just a few weeks. When we are looking for high probability setups in the market we also need discipline and patience. It is important to wait for the best moments where the probabilities are highest. This is what I teach all of my traders at The Day Trading Academy. A good community is important because there has to be a support system. This is where traders learn what their strengths and weaknesses are and how to handle both properly.

Trading gave you the freedom to travel the world and be your own boss. In fact, you’ve been to over 80 countries on all 7 continents. When you book flights, hotels, car services, and restaurants, how do you find the best deals?

Most times, I don’t stay at hostels or hotels because renting an apartment is much cheaper. Much more comfortable too! I do not use sites like Airbnb because I have found that in most cases places on Airbnb are overpriced. I find apartments on sites like Craigslist and local rental companies.

Airfare is a tricky one. Since time is of the essence for me, I don’t consider money to be a major consideration. I find time to be more important. I choose the flight with the least connections or cheapest business class flight. I avoid bad airports like the Miami International Airport to save on time at customs. I check the airline websites directly and many of the discount travel sites as well.

For cars, I always try to find a local car company rather than using the big chains. The big American and European chains are always more expensive. For restaurants, I find information from the great travel community on Twitter or by asking taxi drivers. I prefer to eat at small local places because they have the best food!

Do you ever use techniques like manufactured spending or pay with credit card points to fund a trip abroad?

I put everything on my Chase Sapphire Travel Rewards Card in order to get the most points. I pay the credit card off at the end of the month to avoid any interest and fees. The Chase card allows anyone to transfer points to airline miles and even hotel stays. It’s the best card on the market in my opinion. One great thing about the card is that they do not charge any foreign exchange fees.

You were working as a day trader while traveling, and so all you needed was a computer. What are a few other jobs you’d recommend to someone looking to work remotely?

If I had to choose I would honestly say day trading! A freelance writer is the most popular job I have seen for someone working remotely. If someone is a tech person, they could certainly provide tech support and web development services. There is always a market for a good tech person. Someone could start a travel blog as well.  A travel blog is a lot of work in the beginning but long term you can make money from a blog.

You mentioned that you’d been kidnapped and detained in some of the most dangerous areas of the world. Can you tell us about one of them and how you survived?

The kidnappers just wanted money and electronics and were kind enough to drop me back off at the airport. In Caracas, Venezuela, the international and national airports were not connected via indoors (now they are). Travelers had to walk outside and that is where they got me. All they took was cash, electronics, and dropped me back off at the airport. I was very lucky because as I was walking away they even shot at me. In my opinion, they weren’t professional robbers, but it was a very scary ordeal.

What are three tips you can give to our readers to help them stay safe when they’re traveling abroad?

The first and foremost is be confident. I normally never have any issues because of my demeanor. Many people that have traveled with me often have issues when we are together but I for the most part never get targeted. This is because I always walk with confidence. If you are more confident and have a strong demeanor, people will be less inclined to try and mess with you.

The second is cheesy but always be aware of your surroundings. I have been to many dangerous places around the world, and I never feel comfortable when someone walks behind me. Even in the United States I get a bit of culture shock when someone walks behind me at a mall or grocery store. In the long run, always being aware of your surroundings; it will keep you on your toes.

Always be careful using technology and flashing money around. If I ever feel I am in a country or area where I sense danger, I always limit my phone and camera activity. Many times places that people say are dangerous are quite the opposite. One great example is where I am currently living in Medellin, Colombia. It is always in the world’s most dangerous list, but I have found it to be much safer than most places in the world. Keep small stashes of cash in each pocket instead of having a large pocket of cash. If you are using your phone, keep it out of public view as much as you can. Those two items are what thieves always look out for.

Of the countries you’ve visited, which are a few you’d recommend to travelers looking to spend some time abroad on a budget?

Ethiopia is one of the countries that most people do not have on their radars. I found it fascinating while I lived there, and it is incredibly cheap. Many people have always recommend Chiang Mai, Thailand. Even with the current military coup some of my travel buddies say it is still a great place to live. Those two would be the cheapest. There are some amazing places in Eastern Europe that are still reasonable as well. I would have to recommend Medellin, Colombia as I have made it my home base for the foreseeable future. Things here are still very reasonable, especially for housing and food.

Before we let you go, do you have any last travel tips you’d like to leave our readers with?

Do it while you are still young. Quitting my job and traveling around the world is probably one of the riskiest things I have done in my life. But quite honestly, it has been the best decision I have made. Most people I have spoken to always attest to that fact. If you are yearning to get on the road, look for out of the box ways to save money and take the trip of your dreams. Stop buying $5 Starbucks lattes and eating out all the time, and just do it. You won’t regret it.

Like this interview? Check out the rest of our Interview with a Savings Expert series. Have a question for an expert or someone you want to see interviewed? Tweet your suggestions with #SavingsExperts to @CouponPal!

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