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Great Alternative Budget Vacation Ideas

While many of us dream of traveling the world it’s not always feasible, even for those with the best of intentions. But while you might not have a lot of time or money, luckily there’s more than one way to see the world. Travel is…

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While many of us dream of traveling the world it’s not always feasible, even for those with the best of intentions. But while you might not have a lot of time or money, luckily there’s more than one way to see the world. Travel is simply the art of going somewhere new and different and exploring everything the place has to offer. It doesn’t matter if you have two days, two weeks, or two months. There are many ways to get on the road and see the world, so here are some budget ways to travel and explore even if you are cash-strapped or time-poor:

 

Be a local tourist – How often do you visit the tourist sites in your own city? Hardly ever, right? We always put it off until tomorrow, because when we live in a city, there is always a tomorrow. If you’re short on time and money, there’s no better way to spend some free time than to wander your own city. No matter what its size, it has a number of wonders just waiting to be explored. When you become a local tourist, check out of your house and into a hotel, hostel, or guesthouse. It’s important to get out of your familiar environment, because if you stay home, you’ll find something to do around the house and create excuses for why you can’t sightsee. Moving to a different location can help give you that feeling of adventure, excitement, and unfamiliarity. Moreover, be sure to go to your local tourism office and get a city tourism pass. These cards allow you to see a wide range of local attractions for free or reduced prices and can be your way to see your local sites on a budget. They aren’t just for outsiders!

Travel regionally – Travel brings to mind faraway and exotic destinations. Because of that, few people look in their own backyard for adventure, but it offers just as many places to travel. Exploring your own region is an underrated and often overlooked aspect of travel. So you don’t have to fly across an ocean to explore the world. Head to the bookstore, buy a regional guidebook, and see what there is to see in your area. Your backyard holds as many possible travel destinations as does a country half a world away.

Go to National Parks – There’s almost always a park nearby and spending a few days with nature is not only good for your wallet but also good for your soul. Camping, after all, costs very little money. Camping fees in national parks are as little as $15 USD per night in the United States, $15-40 CAD in Canada, $30-60 AUD in Australia, and $17-22 NZD in New Zealand. And in many places in Japan and Europe (especially Scandinavia), you can camp on public lands for free. Additionally, you go camping stocked with all your own supplies and accommodation so you don’t have to worry about spending lots of extra money. Your food bill can be whatever you spend on groceries and nothing more. You don’t need to love camping to spend time in the national parks, either. Luckily, many parks provide cabins.

Book a last minute cruise – Cruise lines always offer incredible last-minute deals. No ship’s captain wants to leave with half the cabins empty. If you wait until the last minute, you can find some really amazing deals as cruise lines scramble to find passengers. Plus, cruise operators always throw in some on-board amenities, free upgrades, and cash vouchers to sweeten the deal. After you book, keep an eye out on prices, because if they drop, you can often call your travel agent or the cruise company itself to get a partial refund or vouchers to use for dining and alcohol on the boat.

Think outside the box – Travel counter to the prevailing trend. If people are going in the summer, you go in the spring or winter. Skip the popular destinations and head off the beaten path a bit. It might not be the most ideal time to go or your favorite destination, but thinking of unusual places to go and visiting in the off-season are going to save you a lot of money.

Book a last-minute tour – Just like cruises, tours are best booked last-minute. Tour companies need to fill the seats because once that trip departs, they still have the same costs. Why are tours so cheap last-minute? Well, think about how people plan vacations. You get the time off work, you book your vacation, you buy your flight, and you go. Since people pre-book, prices are higher in advance because these companies understand booking patterns and then price accordingly. As departure time nears, companies know people aren’t likely to turn up and book on departure day, so they sweeten the price to increase bookings. So take the time off work, wait until the week before, see what’s cheap, and then go.

Become a house sitter – Accommodation can eat into the cost of a trip big-time. A way around that is to stay somewhere for free. A unique way to overcome this is to house-sit for someone while they are on vacation. You get free accommodation, a kitchen to cook in, and the chance to explore a destination in depth. It’s a pretty unique way to travel and one that a lot of world travelers take advantage of. You can even do this in your own region too, to cut down on transportation costs.

Grab a cheap flight – Nowadays, you don’t have to guess where the cheapest flight from your home would be. You can look up a whole list of flights using a site like Momondo or Google Flights. With those sites you can type in “(the closest airport to you)” for your departure city and “everywhere” for your destination. Then a list of the cheapest flights appears in front of your very eyes, so you can choose where to go within your budget.

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Travel

Don’t Ever go on a Road Trip Without Packing These 10 Items

Road trip season is almost here and you have to be prepared. The weather is going to clear up soon; spring break is on the horizon and your need for travel will be growing. It’s an American tradition to pack up the car and head…

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Road trip season is almost here and you have to be prepared. The weather is going to clear up soon; spring break is on the horizon and your need for travel will be growing. It’s an American tradition to pack up the car and head out into the great beyond, navigating your way through the beautiful country. I know once the first signs of spring begin to appear, its road trip time!

 

Let’s look at what essentials you should bring to make your road trip epic and unforgettable.

 

Sunglasses

You can’t leave home without your shades dudes. I live in California so I wouldn’t even think about starting a road trip with out my favorite pair of sunglasses and I might even bring a backup, because you never know. Driving down the highway with the sun glaring back at you can be dangerous, so the shades aren’t just for looking cool, although they certainly help.   Make sure your sunglasses protect against UV rays and you should be safe.

 

Water Bottle

Water is the basis of all life and we need it to survive and thrive, so make sure you pack a quality water bottle. I enjoy one that keeps my water cold for longer, like a Contigo. We should be drinking 4-16 ounce glasses of water a day at minimum to keep you hydrated, so a good water bottle is key. Plastic water bottles are environmental nightmares, so steer clear of these bad boys and get yourself a refillable bottle.

 

GPS Navigation

Most smartphones come with map apps already installed but I prefer an aftermarket one. Try WAZE, it’s a navigation app that adds in the functionality of social media to increase its effectiveness. This app tells you where traffic is and redirects you to minimize your travel time. I honestly don’t drive on the highway without first checking WAZE to see what the traffic is like.  Getting lost can be a fun adventure, but getting found is much better.

 

Tunes

What’s a road trip without some great tunes to guide your way? I always make a road trip specific mix so that my trip soundtrack reflects the drive.   If your car has an auxiliary port, make sure you bring that aux cable so you can hook up your mp3 player, or just burn some sweet mix CDs.

 

First Aid

You never know when you may need a first aid kit and if you are on a road trip, who knows where the closest help could be? You may just need a bandage or some aspirin, but a properly stocked first aid kit will always come in handy.

 

Emergency Kit

Going along with the first aid kit, a roadside emergency kit is very helpful to have in the trunk. A good roadside emergency kit should contain jumper cables, road flares or reflective triangles, a shovel, rope and a battery jumper. I have a great battery jumper in mine and it’s saved the day multiple times. Believe me, accidents happen and it always is good to be prepared. I knew being a Boy Scout would come in handy.

 

Camera

You need a good camera for your road trip or did it even happen? I pack my GoPro when I travel because you never know when adventure will happen and you need to document it. On a good road trip, you will see some sites that you’ve never seen before and you better record it. A simple point and shoot digital camera works great for this purpose, just toss it in the glove compartment and make sure your battery is charged.

 

Snacks

How can you go on a road trip without the proper snacks? I advise a good mix of sweet, salty and sour. Candy and chips are the standard with some beef jerky tossed in for sustenance. I always like to drive with emergency food, just in case you get stranded somewhere.

 

Sunscreen

Believe me, you will notice a driver side arm tan after a few days on the road. I always pack sunscreen or sunblock for road trips.   Make it an SPF of 30 or higher for the proper protection and you won’t have to keep reapplying throughout the day.

 

Cell Phone Mount

A good cell phone mount is key, especially since distracted driving is fast becoming a cause of many fatal car accidents. I use a vent clip phone holder, while many will chose the suction cup version that sticks to your windshield.   Either way, this will keep your hands free to drive and your attention on the road.

 

Hopefully these items make your road trip one to remember. Drive safe and follow all posted signs, its an epic adventure out there, just waiting for you to take it.

 

Photos Courtesy of Trend Hunter, ignant, sunglasswarehouse, travelsupermarket 

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Choosing the Best Airplane Seat

The great debate… window or aisle and which airplane seat is best? It’s a question that has been asked multiple times and the discussion keeps raging on.   Is there a scientific answer or is it more about personal preference? I’m here to get to the…

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The great debate… window or aisle and which airplane seat is best? It’s a question that has been asked multiple times and the discussion keeps raging on.   Is there a scientific answer or is it more about personal preference? I’m here to get to the bottom of this question and maybe finally find out, which seat on an airplane is truly the best.

It’s no surprise that the airlines continue to move the seats closer and closer, slowly eroding our legroom and lowering our comfort levels. Have you ever sat on an airplane and have the windows not line up with your seat?   That’s because the seats have been moved to make room for more rows and more passengers per flight.

Of course this debate doesn’t include first class, because there is no bad seat in first. If you can afford first class or get upgraded, thank your lucky stars that you don’t have to make this Sofie’s choice. Enjoy that free champagne up there; us peasants will be fighting over the armrest like a bunch of wild animals.  I’m not sure that people that fly first class have any idea what its like choosing and airplane seat.

The only real truth that has been answered is that the middle seat is by far the worst and should be your last choice. Only a real savage would decide to sit in the middle seat if others were available. This choice has too many variables to make it an acceptable choice.

Window or Aisle?

Statistically, the aisle seat is the most sought out when booking, and the window is a safe second choice. Most frequent travelers prefer the aisle for access to the restroom and the fact that they don’t have to climb over someone. Safety from blood clots is another reason aisle people love their seats. It allows you to get up and stretch your legs multiple times and at your own convenience.  These reasons are why the aisle is statistically the number one airplane seat picked.

Window enthusiasts will advocate for their choice by saying you can sleep easier and are bothered less. They also boast about having control of the window shade, which is a power move for sure.   Overnight flights make people chose the window first, because it allows them to lean on the side of the plane as a headrest, which makes sleeping much easier.

 

Worst seats on Airplane

Its no secret that the middle seat is the redheaded stepchild of airplane seats. Nobody wants it and only chose them when they have no other choice. Last resort middle seats are your punishment for booking your travel late.   You don’t get your own anything in the middle except of coarse tray table.

Sitting in the middle makes you continuously jockey for the armrests and legroom with your row mates.  Why chose this airplane seat?  I can only think that you wish to sit with your loved one, but I always have my wife sit on the aisle as I sit in the window.  Only if someone tries to sit in between us does my wife move to the middle.

I never want to sit in the first or last rows, always a bad choice. The last row almost never reclines and the first row never allows you to keep your personal belongings with you.   Airlines tend to jam the last row in there so it may also have slightly less legroom, and on airplanes, every centimeter counts. The first row or bulkhead is a red herring; it looks like first class but is actually not convenient at all. The flight attendant will make you keep all your stuff in the overhead compartment instead of next to you, where you need it.

The seats in front of the emergency rows also doesn’t recline, so steer clear of those awful seats.

Exit door seats are also way over-rated, they boast that they have extra legroom, but they also don’t recline. In my experience, reclining is way more important than a little extra legroom. If you are extra tall however, these seats are your best bet.

For the love of all that is holy, stay away from the bathroom. You may think that these are good seats because they have easy access. WRONG! You will smell everything that comes out of people and there is no escaping some stinky poop. Beware of false conveniences.

 

Night or Day

If you are flying at night, the overwhelming majority of people prefer the window. This is obviously for sleeping purposes and not being bothered by your row mates.

During daytime flights, the aisle is the preferred seat. These allow people to have better access to the restroom and have more room overall to adjust during the flight.

  

Which seat is best for you is totally a personal opinion. I know that I almost exclusively sit in the window seat, but that’s my opinion. I can tell you that sitting in the middle seat is a fate I don’t wish upon anyone. They should just get rid of all middle seats and the world may actually be a better place to live. Imagine how much happier we would be if the middle seat never existed in the first place.

 

 

Photos Courtesy of thedailybeast, mrandmrsromance, dailymail, youtube

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Traveling Creates Personal Growth

I often get asked why I want to leave home and travel. Won’t I miss everyone and everything? Won’t I get lonely? What am I running away from? We all have our reasons for traveling – wanderlust, the love of a new culture, a desire…

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Why do I travel, is something that gets asked of me often and for a while I didn’t have an answer.  It actually took some solo travel for me to have the time to ponder that great question.  I reflected on what I was doing and why was I there.  The answer is different for everyone, so my reasons will certainly be different from yours and so on.  The simple answer to why we travel is for personal growth, but what does that mean?

Every person has their reason to travel… exploration, freeing your soul, personal growth, trying to forget something, searching for answers, boredom or do you just want to see the world.  I’ve always believed that travel is particular to each person.   For some travel can be backpacking around the world, while travel for others can be driving 100 miles to the next major city, all that matters is your personal growth.  

The cool thing is that travel means different things to different people and my definition has no bearing on yours.  The key is that you find your own reasons to travel and just do it like nike.

No travel book is written for you unless you are the author.  I can’t live your life for you, but I can give you some useful advice and if you follow it that is on you.  I hope you do travel and I hope you figure out why you travel, because I have and its changed my life.

Travel is a collection of moving parts that you hope gel together to create a memorable and favorable experience. That collection of moving parts is how you will experience a trip and hopefully help you become a better person.  Is this improving your personal growth?

 

The world moves so fast nowadays and with modern conveniences we lose sight of many of the important aspects, like personal connections and understanding how other people think. 

Life moves fast and it helps to slow down on occasion and appreciate how amazing everything is.  The synergy of our planet is pretty cool and if you don’t spend time to check it out, after awhile it will be too late.

I’ve been moving pretty fast recently, married, new job, and the one constant in my life is my need for wanderlust.  A constant need to better myself, my situation and my happiness.  i’ve learned that life won’t slow down for you, if you want change, you have to actively work on it.

Is there personal growth?

Now is the time that you must decide why you travel or if you don’t, why should I.  I’m tired of hearing the same excuses for why people constantly put off traveling and these excuses never stop.  If you want to experience life and not just get by, travel and see the world.  This will hopefully open up your eyes to how other people think and live, by doing so, you will be a better person.   This is your homework assignment: seriously try and think about why you travel or should travel.  Try and think about the last trip you took and how it affected your life, your mind and your world view.  Hopefully you were positively affected by your trip and you found soe inner peace along the way, cause I know I did. 

 

Check out the full article on NomadicMatt

Photo courtesy of 1elemental and Lifehacker

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