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This YouTuber shares how he made traveling the world his full-time career

Drew Binsky has made a career out of traveling the world. Select spoke to him about his best tips for travelers, making money on social media and his favorite credit cards.

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Source: Drew Binsky
Select’s editorial team works independently to review financial products and write articles we think our readers will find useful. We earn a commission from affiliate partners on many offers, but not all offers on Select are from affiliate partners.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

There are 197 countries in the world, and Drew Binsky, YouTube travel vlogger, has just two left to visit: Jamaica and Saudi Arabia.

His passion for travel started as a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, when he had the opportunity to study abroad in Prague in 2012. He decided then to make seeing the world a priority.

He didn't want to go the corporate job route after college even though he had a degree in economics. When a friend told him about a program where he could teach English to children in a town outside of Seoul, he jumped at the chance. His experience in South Korea cemented his love of traveling: After teaching for two years, Binsky set out to visit every country in the world.

While teaching in South Korea, he started sharing his travel experiences on a blog called the Hungry Partier, where he would document his travel and nightlife experiences. The success of the blog led him to launch a YouTube channel and Facebook page in 2015. 

A stroke of luck would help Binsky's Facebook page and YouTube Channel to spike in popularity. In 2017, he made a video about a three-day guided tour he took in North Korea, which went viral and garnered nearly 10 million views. After seeing the success on his video, he turned his energy into creating more content for YouTube and Facebook.

Using YouTube to bring people together

For Binsky, the appeal of traveling and sharing his story and the stories of others lays in a desire to emphasize the common humanity between his viewers and those considered strangers in far flung countries.

"I have my heart in countries like Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Turkmenistan, Iran, Lebanon — those countries that everybody is scared to go to," Binsky says. "And [my viewers] think that it's only a war zone, and they think it's so unsafe. But when you go there and you meet people and connect with the humanity aspects of these countries, it's really beautiful."

Travel vlogging has hardly been an easy job for Binsky, and he emphasizes that it's important to recognize that traveling to a new country may bring a unique set of challenges. He struggled to shoot videos in Libya and in countries in Central and West Africa, for example, because people were more skeptical of being filmed.

"I love the challenge," Binksy says. "And I love trying to overcome these struggles. At the end of the day, I'm just trying to share the best stories that I can share."

Binsky's best budget travel tips

Binsky initially started out traveling on a budget, but in recent years travel vlogging has become quite lucrative for him.

He now has 2.7 million subscribers on YouTube and more than 4 million followers on Facebook, and he makes money from ad revenue from social platforms, brand deals and selling his own merchandise and an online course on travel hacking. And he's no longer a one-man show — Binsky has a team of 26 helping him produce content. His business is on track to make seven figures in revenue this year.

Still, he believes that traveling can easily be done quite cheaply if people are strategic. He recommends travelers stick to low-cost countries in regions like Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Latin America and skip regions like Western Europe and Scandinavia and countries like Australia, Singapore and Dubai where the cost of travel can be more expensive. 

Binsky suggests that budget travelers looking to keep accommodation costs low opt to stay in a hostel or use a service known as CouchSurfing, which connects travelers with locals offering free rooms.

For American travelers, Binsky recommends using credit cards to finance their trips. (For international travelers, it can be much more difficult to get approved for these cards.)

Picking a credit card that matches your lifestyle

Binsky doesn't describe himself as a travel hacker or a credit card enthusiast who carries a bunch of cards and tries to maximize the awards he earns. Instead, he primarily uses three cards for his travel and business expenses: the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card, the American Express® Business Gold Card and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

While he recognizes that the Sapphire Reserve comes with a steep annual fee of $550, he thinks it's worth it. He's able to easily offset the fee by using perks like the $300 annual travel credit, and the Priority Pass Select lounge access, which gives cardholders access to airport lounges internationally. 

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

On Chase's secure site
  • Rewards

    Earn 5X total points on air travel and 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3X points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases plus, 10X points on Lyft rides through March 2025

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

  • Annual fee

    $550

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    18.49% - 25.49% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    5%, minimum $5

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent

Terms apply.

 

Binsky is especially enthusiastic about the Priority Pass Select lounge pass because it gives him access to lounges in international airports, some of which include amenities like free massages, showers and sleeping quarters.

He also recently signed up for the Amex Business Gold Card because of the flexibility of its rewards categories. New cardholders can also take advantage of the welcome bonus: earn 70,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $10,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership (terms apply). For him, Facebook ad spending is a big priority so he's able to get 4X points back on that category.

American Express® Business Gold Card

On the American Express secure site
  • Rewards

    Get more rewards with 4X Membership Rewards® points on two select categories where you spend the most each month and 25% points back after you book a flight using Pay with Points (up to 250,000 points back per calendar year).

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 70,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership

  • Annual fee

    $295

  • Intro APR

    Not applicable

  • Regular APR

    16.49% - 24.49% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent

See rates and fees, terms apply.

While the pandemic slowed down Binsky's travel habits for a few months between March 2020 and June 2020, he's been back on the road since June 2020, frequently taking Covid-19 tests in the process and itching to complete his final two countries, which he plans to do in October.

For rates and fees for the he American Express® Business Gold Card, click here

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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