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10 Genius Ways to Save Money While Traveling Abroad

10 Genius Ways to Save Money While Traveling Abroad

Traveling abroad may seem like an unobtainable goal, especially if you have the added expense of taking children with you. However, there are several techniques that you can utilize to help make a trip overseas just as affordable as one within your own country. In fact, any thrifty traveler can go on a seemingly once in a lifetime vacation as long as they take the time to properly analyze their options and prepare for a well-budgeted and planned out holiday.

1. Choose Airfare Wisely

The cost of airfare varies not only by the time of year but even by the day of the week that your trip begins. Travel experts recommend purchasing tickets somewhere between 50 and 100 days before your departure. You can also reduce your expenses by as much as 20 percent by selecting flights that depart on a Thursday and return on a Monday. Additionally, most airlines offer discounted tickets during the month of September, but you might be required to travel relatively quickly in order to take advantage of this option. Another good way to cut costs is by traveling abroad to your chosen overseas destination during the off-season.

2. Be a Thrifty Diner

It is easy to get wrapped up in allure of trying out several new restaurants, especially if you really enjoy the cuisine that your vacation destination is known for. On the other hand, unless your trip was planned primarily around the idea of eating out frequently, you can use this aspect of daily life to save some money.

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For example, you will often find a mixture of cafés and high-class restaurants in the same general area. Eating at a café or even from a street vendor is by far the better financial choice. Keep in mind that you can also pick up supplies from the local grocery store to eat for even less. Making a picnic lunch is a great way to keep your energy up for a minimal cost, and it will encourage you to enjoy a local park while you are exploring the town.

3. Screen Car Rentals

The first question you need to ask yourself is whether or not you even need a car rental. If the answer is a definite yes, you should take the time to look through discount booking sites in order to get the best possible deal. You will also need to familiarize yourself with the local laws and what, if any, assistance your insurance company will provide if you are in an accident. This will make it easier to avoid adding on insurance that you do not need. Another important step to take is looking through traveler reviews from the car rental companies that you are considering. Doing this will enable you to steer clear of companies that have a history of providing poor customer service or inflating their rental rates.

4. Utilize the Cheapest Transportation

If you do not need to rent a car, you can save even more money by ensuring that you choose the cheapest transportation options for each portion of your journey. Walking is always the best method from a cost perspective, and it will allow you to truly experience a new town. However, when this is not a suitable option, you should look into any discounted train and bus tickets that are offered for travelers. A prime example of this is the fact that you can save money by buying a 10 pack of train tickets in Paris. There are also discounts for using an Oyster card in London during non-peak hours. Buying in advance can save you time and money, along with eliminating the hassle of attempting to communicate in a different language while you are traveling abroad.

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5. Know Your Currency

The currency exchange rate changes constantly, so it is a good idea to research these rates before you leave for your trip. You can also exchange your currency in advance, and this means that it can be very beneficial to begin tracking the exchange rate a few months before your trip. After all, if the rate experiences a notable drop, you could save a lot of money by moving forward with an exchange before the cost increases again. You may also wish to use the exchange rates to help you determine which country to visit. American travelers can currently get more out of their money in Australia and New Zealand than in Europe, and this is definitely worth considering.

6. Research Your Accommodations

Many people choose a hotel because it is part of a chain that they are familiar with or it is available for a discount through a travel site. Although both of these reasons can lead to a solid decision, there are several other options that you should consider. If you are comfortable sharing space and are not traveling with children, you may be able to save a lot of money at a hostel.

Travelers who want more privacy than a hostel can offer may be able to find very good deals by choosing a vacation rental property in lieu of a hotel. The pricing will probably be similar, but the added bonus of being able to cook your own meals can save you a lot of money on dining out. Make sure that you select a rental that is close to the downtown area or located near a bus or train line, though, or else you will waste your saved lodging money on transportation. As always, check into the reviews of any place that you are considering to ensure that you make an informed decision. You can get some financial protection by reserving a rental through VRBO.com or Airbnb.com.

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7. Use Savvy Shopping Skills While Traveling Abroad

Traditional stores may have items of interest, but they are also much more likely to be easily duplicated at home. Instead, look into local markets where truly one-of-a-kind items can be found at a reduced cost. Many cultures expect you to haggle over pricing in the marketplace, so be sure to research local customs to avoid spending more money than necessary. Azerbaijan is a prime example of this practice. The pricing in their markets is always inflated to allow consumers to haggle for a better deal, but they will take the listed price with a confused smile if you are not savvy enough to know how their markets work.

8. Download Budget Travel Apps

Although it is wise to book as many things in advance as possible, you may still find yourself needing to select a new hotel or rental car while you are on the go. Instead of attempting to do everything in person, you can use budget travel apps to quickly sort through all of your options until you find the right deal. These apps can also be very useful when you are in the planning stages of your trip because they make it possible to track price fluctuations so that you can snatch up a good discount.

9. Take Advantage of Free Entertainment

Almost every major city has a long list of free entertainment options, but you might need to spend some time researching this topic in order to find what you are looking for. Of course, cities such as London actually make it quite easy to stay entertained for free throughout your visit. Almost every museum in London is free, which means it is a dream destination for art and history lovers. If Paris is more your style, you can visit the highly regarded Louvre for free on the first Sunday of every month. Free museum days tend to attract a very large crowd, so be prepared to get in line early or else face the potential consequence of waiting for several hours. You may also be able to find free concerts in a local park during the summer.

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10. Steer Clear of the “Only Here” Mentality

There are some things that can only be done in specific locations, and you may wish to put some of your budget toward these experiences and events. This definitely makes sense and can be very memorable, but be sure to steer clear of doing too many of these special things because they will almost certainly break your budget. The best way to do this is to list out every unique experience you want to have and then narrow it down to the one or two things on the list that are the most exciting or affordable. Additionally, do not waste time or money on activities that can be done at home. In other words, it does not make sense to go to the movies to see the latest blockbuster when the same film is showing at home. Spending your budget wisely requires you to make choices that can maximize your fun without costing an arm and a leg.

You can also make a smaller budget work by using practical traveling tips such as doing laundry during your vacation and keeping your money safe in your front pocket. Putting all of these techniques to work for you can make it possible to take a trip that always seemed to be outside your financial means. Even if you still have to save up for a couple of years to turn your dream vacation into a reality, there is no good reason to stay stuck at home when you could begin seeing the world.

Featured photo credit: unsplash.com, via CC0 License via pexels.com

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Holly Chavez

Writer, Entrepreneur, Small Business Owner

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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