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Tips For A Cheap Holiday

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Tips For A Cheap Holiday
  1. Sign Up For Newsletters and Alerts

One of the first things you need to do to score cheap holiday deals is to sign up for airline and various other travel newsletter services. That way, you can get real-time alerts and updates about some of the best deals happening within the industry.

One of the most recent holidays I had was only possible because I had received an email alert. Once I received the alert, I went and purchased the cheap airfare for my trip.

A lot of airline deals get alerted months in advance. Because of this, you don’t necessarily need to make last-minute decisions and you can save up for the accommodations in the meantime.

Last month, I was able to score a cheap deal to take a weekend vacation in a popular Victorian seaside resort. For as little as $174 per night, we ended up getting a 2-bedroom cabin for 4 people that included a delicious breakfast at the buffet.

This particular location is always packed during the summer. However, it’s not nearly as crowded during the winter. After all, no one wants to travel and endure the cold Victorian winter. Because of this, we took advantage and scored the great deals being offered by the best hotels in Minneapolis as they are much more willing to give out great deals when they have less demand.

  1. Travel During The Off-Season

One of the best tips you can use when you are looking to score great deals on your trips is traveling during the off-season. While it may not be the optimal time to travel for the best experience, you will find the best deals that make it more than worth it. Once your children are in school, you will be completely tied to planning holidays around school time. Unfortunately, this means you have to plan your travel when the demand is at its highest. This means you pay the most expensive prices.

However, if you can maneuver your way and plan your trips during the off-season, you can score massive savings. You may not get the same warm weather, you will get added benefits like traveling with fewer crowds and for a lot less money!

This is especially true when you are looking to travel to some of the more popular spots. If you travel to popular spots that have a lot of accommodations, they will struggle to find enough supply during the off-season which can yield massive savings on your end. The savings make traveling during the off-season one of the biggest steals as you can save money on better accommodations and perhaps even stay longer because of it.

  1. Stay Close To The Popular tourist Town

If you want to have a familiar tourist-like experience but you don’t want to spend tourist money, you are going to want to find a close-town nearby. This is one of the best hacks to save money while having a similar, if not better experience.

A lot of towns nearby will provide you with a similar experience at a much cheaper rate. You will also be able to immerse yourself into the local culture better. For example when you visit the Lake District there are many small towns to stay.

  1. Take a Break From The City

If you are someone that lives nearby a regional town or city, you should look into becoming a tourist momentarily.

A lot of people that live close to a big city tend to not spend much time as a tourist. You end up taking it for granted.

I live nearby Melbourne’s CBD. It’s a place I’ve lived and worked for many years. However, traveling to it and staying in it is a completely different experience.

Leave your vehicle and take the public transportation system. Allow yourself to spend time in the city as a tourist would. Walk around the local parks and gardens and spend time at a local cafe.

  1. Make Your Food

One of the top ways you can save money while traveling is by not relying on dining out. The fact is, dining out on a trip is one of the biggest expenses. This is especially true if you are feeding a family of four 3 times per day. By staying in a place with a kitchen or at least a fridge, you can prepare meals, lunches, and more. This can keep you from relying on eating out at expensive restaurants throughout the entire trip.

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7 Solo Travel Tips You Need to Know

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Because of increased remote jobs, traveling positions, and the coronavirus pandemic, traveling alone has grown immensely over the last three years.

In fact, solo traveling now makes up about %18 of all travel.

If you are one of the %18 of individuals taking a trip unaccompanied by a loved one, you may be worried about boredom, loneliness, or safety.

Below we have seven things you need to know to stay safe and entertained, so keep reading for some helpful tips.

Schedule Calls or Video Chats

Keeping in contact with your loved ones can make a solo trip a lot easier.

Schedule daily calls with the people you miss most to keep them in the loop, stay in the loop yourself, remove any anxiety on either end and help you stay entertained.

These scheduled chats can give you something to look forward to each day and is the perfect way to avoid feelings of disconnection.

Choose a Safe Area

No matter age, gender, or occupation, being alone in a foreign area can be scary so choosing a safe location to spend your time makes a huge difference in how much you enjoy your trip.

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for solo travelers to be targeted for crimes. Therefore, before booking your hotel or planning events, you should search the crime rate in the area and look at hotel reviews. Additionally, it may be good to bring items for self-defense like pepper spray or a taser.

Take Plenty of Pictures

The best way to share your travels is to take many pictures to show people when you get home.

Whenever you wish that another person was sharing your experiences with you, pull out your camera and document the adventure.

Your loved ones will enjoy hearing all about the places you visited and the things you saw.

Additionally, the excitement of telling the stories can keep any feelings of loneliness at bay.

Go Out and Enjoy the Area

Sitting in the hotel room feeling lonely and anxious is helpful to nobody. So instead, go out, have fun and explore the area.

Many people feel uneasy or uncomfortable doing things alone, but solitude and independence are empowering and offer the best self-reflection, self-care, and growth opportunities.

Besides, while out and about, you may meet some incredible people or discover a new passion.

You can find tons of fun things to do while away on eventbrite.com.

Share your Location and Itinerary

To help keep your loved ones from worrying about your safety, you can send them a copy of your itinerary and use a location-sharing app.

Life360, Glympse, and Find my friends are apps that share your real-time location with those whom you give access.

If a situation were to arise that left a friend or family member concerned about your safety, having your itinerary and location gives them a last known location for investigative purposes.

Book a Good Hotel

If loneliness or boredom is a primary concern, book a hotel that can keep you busy.

Many hotels are aware of the increase in work-related bookings and recognize the importance of having great amenities and entertainment.

Consider booking a hotel that offers:

  • A pool or spa
  • Free wifi
  • A bar
  • Dining
  • Events
  • A workout facility
  • Business areas

In addition to amenities, it may be helpful to book a hotel close to activities and shopping centers so you can explore the area when bored.

Bring a Copy of your Emergency Information

Another safety tip for solo travelers is bringing an updated copy of your emergency information.

Consider printing multiple copies of documentation that includes your emergency contacts, medical history, doctor information, and allergies. Take those copies and place one in your pocket and one in your purse or briefcase.

Additionally, you protect yourself further by wearing jewelry that identifies allergies or medical conditions like diabetes or heart problems.

Having important identification information could be life-saving if anything happened to you while away.

Traveling to an unfamiliar area without anyone there to experience the adventure can be nerve-wracking. Luckily, there are many things you do to help you feel safe, connected, and enjoy your trip.

Consider booking a hotel with great amenities, sharing your location, documenting the trip with photos, and planning some activities to keep your mind at ease and entertained.

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Reasons why your laptop is the best travel buddy

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Reasons why your laptop is the best travel buddy

When traveling, few consider taking their laptop with them for a number of reasons. The biggest of these being that they don’t want to risk losing it, and they don’t want the burden of carrying it about.

Depending on where you are going and how long for though, bringing your laptop with you while you travel can be a great idea. If you’re going away on a beach trip, you’re probably not going to need it, but when it comes to a number of other travel situations, you really might.

From traveling around a country of the continent for a few weeks to visiting loved ones in another country for a month or two, there are many situations where you’ll be glad you brought your computer.

Here are just a few.

  1. Your own personal, portable TV

With so many streaming services available now, your laptop is your ticket to all the TV shows and movies you want when traveling.

Even if you don’t use it as much as you think, by just packing your Lenovo, you will be guaranteeing yourself hours of entertainment should you need it. Nothing on hotel TV? Facing a 10-hour flight with nothing to do? Your laptop can really save the day in this case.

While you may be worried about not having access to the internet, there are so many ways you can download what you want to watch beforehand just in case you need it when out in the sticks.

  1. Work, if you really need to

A big reason that people don’t travel as much is that they worry about what they’ll do for work. Besides booking time off and taking the odd trip here and there, few workers take the risk and venture on a long trip away somewhere.

This is down to not being able to fund their travels, but this doesn’t have to be the case. With the rise in remote working, you don’t just have to be in the office to make money anymore. In many cases, as long as you have your laptop or computer with you, you’re good to go.

While you might not want to, knowing you can log in and get some work done if you need to can be a huge relief when you’re away.

  1. Keep in touch with home

While you can do this from your smartphone or tablet, laptops are so much easier to use when it comes to keeping in touch with those at home.

Not only does the bigger screen allow for much easier chatting over the video, but you don’t have to worry about running out of battery all the time. While you may not be going away long enough to feel that you need regular contact with back home, much like the working example, it can be a good thing to have just in case.

Travel comes into your life for many different reasons. Why some of these won’t require you to bring your laptop, it can truly be the perfect travel companion at times.

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Travel Budgets – Finance Management 101

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Travel Budgets

I bet traveling is fun and outright therapeutic for everyone. However, most travelers have a limited budget so one must spend wisely. And although emergency spendings are a normal part of any travel adventure, it can dent your finances.

You have to factor everything into your budget. You wouldn’t want to turn your magical, sacred, fun, and therapeutic adventures into regrets, don’t you? Thus, considering everything when planning your travel budget is a must.

Let’s face it. Not everyone likes budgeting. But, it can save you a great deal of stress while on the road. You should be prepared for emergencies, cover your debt obligations and stick within your budget.

There is no need to be anxious and panic about your finances while on a trip when you can avoid them. But how do you plan your budget properly? Let’s find out.

1.   Identify Expensive Items on Your Budget

Check out the biggest expense on the travel list. Transport, especially air tickets, contributes to about half of travel expenditure. It can easily be the most expensive item on any travel.

Since March 2022, air tickets have increased by over 10% due to hiked fuel prices globally. The current high prices are reflected in accommodation and food as well. In fact, a third of people reported price as the main reason for not traveling.

But don’t lose hope yet. There are still ways of traveling on relatively cheaper air tickets. With summer around the corner, any means of saving on air tickets should be worth exploring. But, first, you will need flexible travel dates and destinations to get a cheaper air ticket. Airfare prices fluctuate based on:

  • Days of the week
  • Time of the year
  • Holidays

Airfares are relatively cheaper during the mid-week than on weekends or before holidays like Easter. Hence, if you plan to stay longer in a particular destination, go mid-week before the beginning of any holiday.

You can also use Skyscanner to check available cheap flights to your travel destination. The tool allows you to search flights throughout a month to pick what’s works with your budget. So, you can choose to fly cheaply without breaking the bank.

Alternatively, you can choose a cheaper route to your final travel destination. For example, flying directly to Heathrow or LAX can be relatively expensive. Instead, you can fly into London Stansted or Long Beach to grab cheaper deals.

Flexibility on your destination route can also help you save some bucks too. You can take a detour instead of direct flights. Savings on detours can go as much as hundreds of dollars. With Skyscanner, you can select “1 stop” or “2+ stops” features to see the cost of detour flights. They are cheaper than direct flights but may take longer to reach your destination.

However, if your traveling will span several continents, RTW (round-the-world) trip would be suitable. It can be a relatively cheaper and exceptionally convenient way of traveling the world.

You can get your RTWs deals from One World, Star Alliance, and Sky Team.

But third-party agents can also have better RTW deals by mix-matching offers. Check out Skyscanner and Google flights for the best money value for RTW flights.

2.   Cover Any Pending Debts Before Traveling

Cover Any Pending Debts Before Traveling

With your air ticket covered, the next stop is your debt obligations. If you are going for long-term travels, you must accommodate all your debts. Whether it is a student loan, mortgage, or credit card, you must have mechanisms to handle them while away.

Do not travel if you do not have regular income to cover your debts. It would be better to clear them before considering long-term or full-time traveling. Accumulating more debt while traveling restricts your freedom. And it can mess up your future stability if you fail to pay the debt in time.

Most long-term travelers always max out their credit cards. As a result, when you come back from your sabbatical travels, you’ll start battling financial stress.

Using Chunk Finance to track your credit utilization can come in handy. These types of software allow you to monitor your budget including your debts and payments. Thus, it lets you balance your travel expenses and debt management.

Also, chunking debt through debt paydown can help you reduce interest costs, making you save a lot more.

3.   Get Your Estimate Expenses Upfront

We can proceed to other expense tickets worth including in your budget control. Knowing your travel costs upfront helps gauge whether you can afford them or not. Also, they help you design effective travel expense management, especially for companies.

Here is a list of other travel expenses items that you can estimate:

  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • Local transportation
  • Entertainment

The cost of living in your destination will determine how much you will spend and save in your travels. There are plenty of tools to help you estimate some of these expenses.

First, check out overall living costs using wikitravel.org and favorite spots worth checking out. Alternatively, you can check out Lonely Planet guide books for your destinations. For hotel stays and their rates use:

  • Airbnb is a short-term rental service platform across the world.
  • Booking.com is mainly known for booking international and local hotels without hassle. It offers some crazy discounts worth claiming if you use the site.
  • Agoda.com is another online booking platform for international and local travel. You can book hotels, apartments, and flights on the platform.

We recommend Airbnb because it will give you a local experience, especially if you want to cook yourself. It is also perfect for group travel and is less expensive than hotels. Hostel World can be the ideal site to gauge the lowest-priced stays if you are on a highly shoe-string budget.

Hostel World can give you as low as $5 per night in some unique places. But, calculate your stays or lodging expenses per night to get the overall estimate. Remember that hotel meal costs are highly-priced and must be budgeted accordingly.

For hostels or Airbnb bookings with the kitchen, you must also factor in the overall cost of your groceries throughout your stay. It is better if you do the calculation based on daily spending. You should do the same for local transportation.

Whether you will use car rentals, taxis, rail, domestic flights, etc., you must calculate the estimates. Pick out each day and the activities you will be undertaking alongside the preferable mode of local transport. Afterward, attach each mode of transportation with estimated cost figures.

We recommend these tools to help in estimate calculations:

  • Discover Cars allows you to get affordable car rentals on the go around the world.
  • Busbud is another excellent platform for getting bus tickets and comparing their prices worldwide.
  • Seat61.com comes in handy for checking and comparing train tickets worldwide.
  • Eurail gives you access to 33 countries in the EU using a train. You can check, compare and book train tickets to these destinations on the platform.
  • Thetripcost.com can also be a helpful tool for calculating the average costs of your travels across a handful of worldwide destinations.

The bottom line is that you need to have a rough estimate of the overall costs of an ideal travel destination. With that in mind, you can create effective budget management. A budget tracker tool like Mint can help you manage your travel expenses.

Using the above tools and tips makes it easy to do scenario planning for debt and expenses in advance. With such clear visibility in every cost and expense, you can adjust accordingly to fit within your budget. It will also increase your savings while traveling by using cheaper alternatives and keeping your debt interests low.

4.   Consider Visas, Vaccinations, and Travel Insurance

Costs of visas, vaccination, and travel insurance should also be considered, especially for long-term travels. Travel insurance is always easily dismissed as an unnecessary travel expense.

Insurance is very crucial, and it is not a luxury. Risky adventures like extreme sporting events or unusual destinations can be overly expensive and burdening without insurance. In fact, you should go for comprehensive coverage that covers any issues that may arise while traveling.

A report by DW shows that some tourists were stranded in Ukraine because their travel insurance did not cover war events. As a result, you should at least try and evaluate the prevailing situation of your destination.

For example, if you plan to go to Taiwan or Tibet, you should know that China claims the two regions and can move in to consolidate them at any time. So, planning and ensuring your travel insurance covers every possible risk event makes you safer while traveling.

You should check out your destination’s country website for your visa requirements and processing. Some allow you to apply on arrival, while other countries need you to process them earlier before traveling.

Also, you should check out third-party visa processing agents that come at a fee. But, they will make the process hassle-free. Also, vaccinations, especially during the pandemic, may vary from place to place. Consult your doctor for relevant vaccinations best suitable for your travel destination.

All the costs relating to insurance, visas, and vaccination should also be known upfront. Now you have everything figured out and their expenses. You have a rough estimate of your ideal travel costs for your entire stay. Compare it to the available money that you have and plan accordingly.

5.   Set Your Priorities Right

Set Your Priorities Right

You can prioritize some essential travel items if the estimated costs are more than your available money. You do not want to run out of cash half into your trip. Or start begging friends and family to loan you money to return home.

And worst still is returning home with high credit card bills. So, you will have to balance your travel experience and costs. Prior planning will help you avoid this kind of stress. Here are some things worth considering while setting your priorities right:

  • Meals. Will you go with street food, hotel meals, or cook for yourself?
  • Experiences. Would you prefer to buy souvenirs or indulge in an expensive experience like a helicopter ride?
  • Emergencies. Do you have extra cash to replace your local air tickets or a visit to a nearby local hospital if they get lost?

I would rather have my emergency funds ready for any turn of events. But a pro tip worth sharing is this, you can bring down travel costs when you volunteer abroad. Volunteering trips can save you so much on accommodation and meals.

6.   Choose the Best Bank for Your Travels

Your bank of choice for convenient traveling and a high chance of saving is partly limited to your country of origin. Consider the following before settling on a preferred bank for your travels, especially long-term trips:

  • It should have more branches around the world.
  • Get an ATM linked to your home bank for lower transactions costs. HSBC is famous for having more ATMs worldwide than other banks.

However, you may experience only a limited-service scope for banks abroad. Alternatively, you can go with online banking for enhanced convenience and flexibility. But track every cost of transaction as part of your spending management. Some online banks worth considering include:

  • N26
  • Revolut
  • Payoneer
  • Wise Multi-Currency Account

However, ensure you access your online banks and other sensitive data using a VPN. It keeps you safe from hackers that can clean out your account without your knowledge. You can choose from the following VPN providers:

  • ExpressVPN
  • NordVPN
  • VyprVPN
  1. Plan and Save for the Trip Early

Now that you have the figure you are working with, you can save towards your ideal travel adventure. Some people include the figure as part of their vision boards. It motivates them towards saving to achieve their dream adventures.

Although it is an uphill task, sticking to your plans will make it effortless. Here are some tips to increase your savings for ideal travel:

  • Create high-interest savings accounts with your traditional or online bank. You will get an additional amount for every savings you make your dream closer than ever.
  • You can share costs with your significant other or if you are traveling as a group.
  • While traveling, you list your house back home on Airbnb to generate more income. However, not all property allows subletting to sites like Airbnb, so consult with your property management.

Take Away

Traveling costs are getting high, with global fuel prices on the rise. The ongoing stalemate between Russia and Ukraine is causing other ripple effects on prices. As a result, you should explore best spending management practices to control your travel expenses.

First, know your travel costs upfront, from air tickets to accommodation and meals. Second, have an excellent scenario planning for your debt, including current and future debts in the planning. The less or no debt obligation you have, the more freedom you will enjoy during your trip.

Third, settle on your key priorities without compromising the experience. Finally, select your preferred bank and save towards your goal. Budget planning will save you a lot of stress in the long run.

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