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7 Useful Booking Websites for Budget Travellers

7 Useful Booking Websites for Budget Travellers

Let’s speak openly — it is very expensive to travel frequently. That’s a fact, and everyone who says otherwise is either filthy rich or just ignorant.

Sadly, a majority of people are not wealthy enough to travel around the world carelessly, without thinking about how their trips will affect their financial stability. It is very hard to travel, especially nowadays when the economy is a bit shaky. However, as a passionate traveler, I refuse to give up on my dream. The world is a magical place and you can’t afford missing out just because of money. If you want to travel, you will have to learn how to manage your travel budget properly and incorporate it as best as you can so that you can have the best trip possible.

In order to help you achieve this, I have composed a list of useful websites that can help you cut costs and enable you to visit sites you have always dreamed of.

1. CouchSurfing.com

01

    CouchSurfing is really one of the best options out there for budget traveling, and it’s my favorite. This site offers access to thousands of free hosts all around the world.

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    It works very simple: People voluntarily offer a place to stay to a fellow traveler in their home for free. This network is specifically designed to make it easier for people to get cheap or free accommodations. Not only that you will be able to save a lot of money, but you will also get a chance to learn more about the local culture by spending a lot of time with a local resident. There are many travelers that use this website constantly and most of them are happy with the services it provides. Once you enter the site, you can search for a host by area and check out the reviews a certain profile has. People who have had bad experiences with this site are usually the ones who haven’t checked out a certain host and because of this, they paid the price.

    Besides the fact that you will save a lot of money, you will also be given the chance to experience all the amazing sides of the place you visit and make long lasting friendships.

    2. TripTease.com

    02

      TripTease is a fairly new website that offers concrete real time travel reviews. It is a revolutionary travel review site that can supply travelers with useful tools that can help get first hand information about how certain hotels look, what the current prices are and what experiences previous tourists have had with their visit.

      Everyone who appreciates traveling will appreciate this site as it is truly refreshing to see quality images combined with text. All the prices you can see are real time and reliable while all of the reviews are written by fellow travelers, meaning that you can be sure that what you read is true. Accommodation prices make the biggest part of traveling costs and in this constantly shifting economy, sudden discounts are not uncommon. With TripTease’s smart widget called Price Check, you can easily look for accommodation in a desired area and see what the prices are. Many trip websites offer reviews and prices that are outdated or unreliable and with TripTease, this is exactly what you will avoid.

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      3. InsureMyTrip.com

      03

        One of the most important aspects everyone should bear in mind when preparing for a trip is travel insurance. There are various web sites that can help you choose and compare insurances in order to find the best suited solution while saving some cash.

        One of these kinds of sites is InsureMyTrip, and while it basically offers the same service as its competition, the majority of travelers say that they’ve had the best experience with InsureMyTrip.  The website was redesigned in 2014 with the purpose of enhancing travel insurance comparison and purchase. Through this website, you can safely purchase insurance and choose from a wide range options.

        4. LondonEscape.com

        04

          If you are planning on visiting the capital of the United Kingdom, then there is no better booking agency you can choose.

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          LondonEscape has a long tradition of offering exceptional accommodation in the city of London. No other agency knows London as these guys and they have a long lasting business agreement and a quality reputation. Choose from a vast number of locations in any part of London, all in one place.

          No matter if you prefer the outer part of the city or the center, here you can find affordable solutions that are the cheapest in London.

          5. HotWire.com

          05

            This is the place where you can usually find the best last minute deals and car rental options. Apart from this, here you can find combined deals including transportation, hotels and car rental. Their specialty is to gather low cost transportation options and there is no better place to look for these things.

            One of the major reasons why they offer the best rates available is the fact that HotWire has many partner companies that deal in car renting. However, there are certain offers you can find that don’t offer information related to the company you will be renting a vehicle from. This carries certain risks, but they are minimal. In the end, a car is a car.

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            6. Xe.com

            06

              Make sure to check out this currency conversion site. Here, you will receive the middle grounds and reliable conversion rates for any currency. The conversion rates are displayed very clearly on a grid which is located on the homepage of the site. Xe also offers many useful tools that can help you calculate your travel expenses, credit card issues and most importantly, currency conversion rates.

              7. TripAdvisor.com

              07

                TripAdvisor is one of the most well known sites for hotel reviews. On this site, you can find thousands of reviews coming from either professionals or amateurs focusing on hotels in the United States as well as the rest of the world.

                Simply type in the destination you are interested in and the site will offer many results from its database. TripAdvsior offers a huge number of listed hotels, bed and breakfasts, apartment rentals and other types of accommodation.  The search engine of this site has many filters that can help you find accommodation that is best suited for families, couples, solo travelers, budget travelers or luxury hotels.

                However, there is also a bad side and you should be on the lookout for fake reviews which are not dependable. Usually the shady posts are flagged by the site’s administrators; however, you should also be on the lookout for those reviews that seem “too perfect”. Here, you can search for affordable solutions that have the best services compared to their prices. When you find something that you might like, Google that hotel or hostel just to be sure what it’s about.

                By combining the services of these sites, you can easily come up with good math that doesn’t require spending much money on your travels. Research your options and set your priorities to which places you would like to visit first. After you’ve done this, plan your trip in a detailed fashion and try not to spend all of your money on the first day. Safe travels!

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                Last Updated on August 13, 2020

                12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind

                12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind

                As a mediation teacher, I am constantly confronted with these two questions regarding the benefits of meditation:

                1. Why can’t I enjoy the benefits of meditation continuously?

                I ask back: Is it maybe because you see mediation as a technique, performance, or some exclusive activity? The answer is: yes!

                Or, because your mind is constantly evolving on the past negative attachments and traditional habits? After careful thinking they answer: yes, probably!

                Although meditation is very simple and challenging at the same time, in the above mentioned case, it’s not easy to benefit from meditation, especially when approached with the idea that it has to be learned, studied, or applied. Meditation is to be seen as a natural, mental cleansing process that happens on a basis of awareness on a moment-to-moment experience. When that takes place, the benefits of meditation are continuous.

                2. What is the purpose of meditation?

                The purpose of meditation is to accomplish a level of consciousness for mastering the mind and uniting with the finest, deepest, and subtlest part of yourself as a being.

                It is a conscious process of observation of the mind—helping the meditator to understand the structure of its mind and the quality of its content. During this process, countless benefits of a physical, mental, and spiritual/philosophical nature arise for the meditator.

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                Meditation as a Fixer and Benefactor

                In this article we’ll have a look at the primary and the ultimate benefits of mediation, which improve your body and mind at the same time. For the sake of clarity, readability, and tangible experience, I have separated the benefits into three groups.

                You can change just about anything you don’t like about yourself (psychologically, as well as physically) through meditation. However, this is only possible with a specific approach, when your brain allows the benefits of meditation to do their work.

                This means not to interrupt the benefit with other thoughts, but to let their effect implement itself in your body and mind. This approach is crucial.

                The following exercises will make you feel the benefits of meditation instantly, but the continuity of the benefits of meditation on your body and mind depend on the discipline of your brain, how you manage external stimuli and your thoughts.

                Less Physical, More Psychological

                Even though the practice of meditation is more psychological and less physical, the first benefit we’re going to experience is both physical as well as mental.

                This benefit happens literally immediately, right at the moment of meditation. It is the essence of mediation basically.

                The First Benefit of Meditation

                The first benefit of meditation is twofold:

                1. Improving inward attention (sharpening the mind)
                2. Relaxation of the body

                Let’s do it right now. This benefit consists of only one step, and it is very simple to perform. It goes like this:

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                Sit still and pay attention to your exhalation.

                That’s it! Technically, the whole journey into the world of mediation begins here and nowhere else. And right here, you benefit from this step in the following way:

                When you pay attention to the flow of your exhalation (gentle, deep, effortless exhalation), your body begins with the process of relaxation instantly (your heart rate slows down, your nervous system calms, and tension in your muscles is relieved).

                When the nervous system calms, your mind calms down, and, more specifically, less thoughts are produced by your mind. How, exactly? By applying one of the most valuable mental skills—attention—the mind follows the breathing and has no space and time to generate any other thoughts. Only when the attention goes off the breath, other thoughts are constructed, and the mind is accelerating with thought production again.

                Keeping the First Benefit Effective and Ongoing

                Here you apply the approach of not letting the relaxation and attention process get interrupted; rather let the effects of these benefits implant in your body and mind as deeply as possible.

                This is to say, the instant relaxation and inward attention happen at the same time when you follow the flow of your breath. Repeating this process—creating a constant rhythm out of the breathing and the attention—you create a process of meditation.

                Keep your attention on the flow of your breath and see how the calmness of body and mind begin to rule your present moment. The longer you stay connected to your breathing, the stronger you’ll feel the benefit. Start with 3-5 minutes at a time without doing anything else, and increase to 10-20 minutes and onwards.

                Can you think of a better, simpler and quicker exercise that can relax the body and improve attention in this way, at this speed?

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                This benefit takes you to the second one.

                The Second Benefit of Meditation

                While still working with the first benefit of mediation, you slowly start to see the second benefit of mediation, which is fourfold. I call it the major value of mediation:

                1. Energy (physical and mental strength)
                2. Observance
                3. Peacefulness (stillness, and space of mind for deeper observation)
                4. Patience

                Peacefulness is the source of a blissful life. The energy is the fuel to express that blissfulness. Whatever we want to accomplish in life we need: 1) Physical and mental strength, 2) Observance of that energy, 3) Peacefulness—the calmness and stillness that creates space for freedom of being and creative thinking, and 4) Patience for the process of accomplishment.

                You can only get creative in thinking and boosted with physical and mental energy when you get in touch with the deepest levels of yourself—when you harmonize your mental and physiological activities. How do you do that? Let’s try it right now:

                This step involves the observation of the two separate movements of your breath. After paying attention on your exhalation, you have prepared your body and mind to really see and feel what true peacefulness and true energy means.

                1. Energy

                Keep your attention on your inhalation (inhaling gently, deeply and lightly) and feel the new energy (new oxygen) flowing in your body. The inhalation is the symbol for aliveness and vitality. It is the the primary act that connects the baby’s body with the outside world after coming out of the womb[1]. Each inhalation is a new opportunity for your body to revive, regenerate, and renew itself.

                2. Observance

                The observance comes during the process of meditation, enabling you to see the physiological benefits of introducing new energy to your body. Use that benefit by utilizing its effects, and create deeper observation into yourself. With every single inhalation, this observation will enable you to generate even more energy, mentally and physically.

                3. Peacefulness

                Keep your attention on your exhalation, and feel how, out of the relaxation, peacefulness is spreading throughout your whole body. The exhalation is the symbol for relaxation and peacefulness. Only through meditation can you realize what absolute peacefulness means.

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                4. Patience

                The meditation delivers the previous benefits to you immediately and opens up the possibility for many other benefits and great virtues. A specific one to mention, which is essential for reaching the ultimate benefits of meditation, is patience. If you have experienced the aforementioned benefits, it means that you have invested a certain amount of patience into mastering yourself and your mind.

                The Ultimate Benefits of Meditation

                Patience is a key quality when it comes to the ultimate benefits of meditation.

                Since the mind is the tool that reveals everything, mediation is the method for the proper utility of the tool.

                The above mentioned benefits of mediation lead to the ultimate benefits of mediation—qualities that depict what makes a human being human. As you dwell in a meditative state of being, the following benefits begin to emanate:

                • Diligence: the persistence for righteous effort to reach an intrinsic value; inner strength.
                • Temperance: to express self-control and show excellence in managing the physio-biological and mental necessities
                • Courage: using righteous effort and braveness to look into the weaknesses of yourself and at the hardship of your life, endure it and patiently overcome the obstacles
                • Loving kindness and Compassion – a capacity to care, understand, and tolerate other people’s state of being, wishing them freedom from suffering.
                • Wisdom: the moment when you feel that mediation gives you the feeling and the knowledge that what you do relating to life and practical affairs is just.
                • Equanimity: that puts you in a state of composure, and you experience an ongoing blissful state of being.

                These are the 6 ultimate benefits of meditation that put your body and mind in a state of health and balance.

                Final Thoughts

                Mediation exists to put order in your mind and awaken the best of you, to reconnect you to your goodness and your inborn intelligent capabilities.

                Meditation is the window to your true Self. It gives you a panoramic view of your heart’s greatness. It shows you the true meaning of love, freeing you from the dungeons of ignorance and despair. The power of meditation dismantles the evil that’s trying to cloud the beauty of your heart.

                Your heart, body, and soul are the bridge over which the challenges of life frequently carry their heavy load. Meditation is the support of that bridge. Make use of that support.

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                Featured photo credit: Mor Shani via unsplash.com

                Reference

                [1] Medline Plus: Changes in the newborn at birth

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