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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 September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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