I graduated from college a year early so I could backpack abroad guilt-free. The goal was to travel for as long as possible as cheap as possible. I worked as a bartender the summer after school ended and saved up a decent amount. I began to look up travel hacking and airline miles but I just couldn't figure it out. And then I came across Barclaycard Arrival Plus World-Elite Mastercard. It was so simple and offered so many perks for travel (especially internationally) that I immediately got the card and put my parents on as authorized users. In just a couple of months I received the introductory 40,000 miles bonus. Simply putting necessary purchases on the card paid for my first flight - to Munich for Oktoberfest! The flight was a steal, but I didn't realize that finding accommodation would be difficult (mostly booked up) and costly ($200 for a bed in a 24 person dorm?!) because of the festival. I looked up other options - camping (too cold), airbnb (even more expensive), and then I finally found couchsurfing. I was definitely nervous but my first experience was so good I decided to save my money and couchsurf the entire rest of my trip. I paid my hosts back with food, drinks, and gifts here and there - all put on my card, earning me miles. I traveled to 16 countries and my Barclaycard never failed me (except for the time I got pickpocketed in Athens and customer support helped me infinitely). I calculated all of my expenses when I returned home, and I spent only a little over $4,000! Booking budget flights, couchsurfing with locals, and putting all my purchases on my Barclay card to earn miles saved me more than I could have ever imagined. Traveling doesn't have to be expensive and I believe that some of the best experiences and stories come from affordable travel.