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12 Epic Places That Budget Travelers Wish They Could Explore Earlier

12 Epic Places That Budget Travelers Wish They Could Explore Earlier

With winter fast approaching in the Northern Hemisphere, the budget minded traveler find it harder to escape for weekend escapades into forgiving sunlit forests, or dry desert landscapes that hold the promise of bass-boosted neon light shows and sweaty nights heavy with the swollen moon and worthy of a howl. With the whispers of winter heard from the wind (and here in Boise, in the snow) travelling south, where summer is in full swing and travelling on a budget can be more economical than domestic travel.

1. Western Australia

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    Australia offers a wide array of hostels, wilderness, and adventure for any traveler who does not want to sacrifice the availability of first world comforts when travelling abroad. Swimming in the coral reefs, taking the back trails into the great plains, and  clubbing it in Perth, it’s a choose your own adventure in an English speaking country, with drinkable water, and a great AUS:US dollar ratio (1.4:1) for the budget minded traveler. It also offers a solid platform for spring-boarding off into Asia, if the wind takes you that way…

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    2. Indonesia

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      The wind definitely should take you that way. South-east Asia is one of the best places for the first time or budget traveler. It offers an expansive view of a world unseen and experiences you simply can’t get elsewhere. Besides for a quarter the cost of a major European vacation, you can explore the stone ruins of Buddhist temples, sit on sandy beaches, and eat every manner of spicy, savory, simply umami food!

      Indonesia is one of the most economical countries to visit in the South Pacific. From its bargain basement prices, extremely high rate of biodiversity (2nd highest in the world), to it’s seventeen-plus thousand islands. This means if you visited a new island every day, it would take you almost 48 years to see them all! The wide biodiversity alone should be enough to lure anyone down to Indonesia, home of the Komodo Dragon, Sumatran orangutan, and over 1,500 species of birds. Besides, can anyone say no to Bali? With The Tanah Lot Temple, lush rice terraces rising over the edges of every volcanic cliff, and pearly white beaches, diving into the never ending oceans of Bali are some of the most budget-minded choices you can make.

      3. Malaysia

      Cheap, beautiful, full of place to go, and things to do. And although alcohol is more expensive in this part of the world, exploring the diverse cities and expansive countrysides pays off more than double to make up for the loss of it. From the high-rises in Kuala Lumpur to the inland gateway town of Sibu, which acts as an entrance to the inner part of Johor, there are a multitude of different activities and cultures to take in. You can spend your day eating authentic Indian food, visiting Buddhist temples, and end the night on top of a mountain with Kam Pua (a traditional noodle dish). Malaysia offers a smorgasbord of authentic cultural options with its remarkably diverse background, so in this budget traveler’s paradise, picking just one thing, or culture, to explore can be a doozy!

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      4. Thailand

      Travelling can be exhausting, and Thailand has the cure for any hungry traveler, and every wanna-be Indiana Jones who needs fantastically, sometimes healthy, food to slash their way into the jungle and explore the ruins of the Khmer Empire, and old Buddhist monoliths stuck halfway out of the ground, rising out of rice patties like half sunk suns. Thailand is renowned as the budget travel location, 1 USD is a little under 35 Baht, and with a competitively priced cost of living, making Thailand a magnificent place to land for anyone looking for an extended, economical, vacation. While in this area, watching for parasites will also pay off in the long run, while parasites are everywhere, being aware of the signs and symptoms might prevent a sudden, unexpected shock hitting you out in the middle of a night market.

      5. Laos

      If you need to go where no one else has gone, somewhere ‘simply beautiful’, then Laos is for you. The forgotten backwater of the Indochina Peninsula. There are no malls, no skyscrapers, and the biggest city has a population of about 740,000 people. Great stone statues of Hindu saints and demons scatter the lost land of Laos intertwined with colonial French architecture and spectacularly green water falls. Monks still outnumber tourists throughout this country, as Buddhism is still heavily practiced, and in some parts tak bat, the monk’s alms collection, still happens daily. About a third of males in Laos become monks, sometimes only for a few weeks or years.

      6. South Africa

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        You want beaches, safaris, kite-surfing, and a little bit easier communication while travelling. Luckily South Africa can give you all of those things. From kite-surfing in the European-esque city of Cape Town to the desert spring flowers across Namaqualand, South Africa offers a wide selection from Africa, and the ocean, including cage diving with great whites, whale watching, and taking the fabulous luxury railways to explore the plains of Africa. Even though the ticket to fly into South Africa can be expensive (depending on where you travel from) the cost of living in South Africa is almost 50% lower than in the US, and that can give a traveler big-budget benefits for longer vacations.

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        7. Macedonia

        If you’ve been daydreaming of a European vacation, then travelling to the lesser known sites in Eastern Europe will give you a bigger bang for your buck. Macedonia,the birthplace of Alexander the Great, and ex-member of the USSR; offers monasteries, seas, and medieval fortresses, without crowds of tourists (or a big bill at the end). Macedonia is for the prudent traveler who wants a quiet European vacation visiting old castles, quiet bookstores, and small cobblestone lined alleyways that promise wizards or some titillating tulumbi.

        8. Prague

        If you want a European vacation full of all the rich history and excitement like you always dreamed of, then Prague might be the one place I’d recommend borrowing for. Determine if it’s worth it, or save up, because while it is economical in terms of European vacation, using your time there wisely. Stare Mesto and the divine cafes will haunt your dreams when you return, luring you back into the never-ending streets of Prague. Besides, travelers who visit off season can avoid the crowds (and excessive airline costs), and if you really want to squeeze the most out of your trip, you can use vacation rentals. Some can start as low as 14$ a night, which will be helpful if you plan a long-term stay (196$ for two weeks rent is cheaper than most apartments!).

        9. Peru

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          Peru is rich in history, culture, and outdoor adventure! There is no way a traveler could traverse across the complex, rich climates that Peru covers, by focusing on Lima, you will get the most out of your short time in Peru. There is a stark contrast from the colonial buildings located in the heart of Lima (like the protruding wooden balconies that are practically signatures from the 1800s) from the mummies and pre-colonial monoliths just a day trip out of town at either Huaca Pucllana or Pachacamac. Travelling in Peru can be very economical and very delicious, especially if you take advantage of the backpacking opportunities just outside of the city.

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          10. Nicaragua

          Nicaragua is an increasingly popular destination for the adventure traveler because of its high biodiversity, active volcanoes, warm climate, and use of American currency. Carry loose change with you when you go out to eat, because eating will literally cost you cents on the dollar, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a street vendor who could make change for a twenty. Forts built to fight pirates, and two thousand-year-old footprints preserved in volcanic mud, you can bet that your only quandary will be what to see first. Especially if you find yourself in the Bosawas Biosphere Reserve, which is the second largest rain forest in the western hemisphere. The Lake Nicaragua even has a fresh water bull shark!

          11. Costa Rica

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            If you just want to go somewhere beautiful, try Costa Rica. It offers economical flights and is very budget friendly to explore. The dry season goes from December to April. And the luscious rain forests are full of volcanos, monkey, frogs, and sloths to hang out with. If you aren’t interested in the forest perhaps it’s specialty coffee industry will give you something to perk up about, combined with the Native American/Spanish fusion, food and drink are a variety pot of mixed flavours. If you need a guide on budgeting for a trip, most bloggers estimate 20 days, with hotels, might cost around 850$.

            12. An Economical Traveler can go Anywhere!

            If you are a thrifty traveler then getting the best deal on your vacation then travelling to an economical location will definitely satiate your vacation needs, and get you the most bang for your buck. However, if somewhere is really calling to you, or if you just need to escape for a couple months, there are ways to escape without spending a dime, whether it’s working at resorts or acting as an au pair.

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            Last Updated on August 20, 2019

            How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

            How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

            Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

            Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

            I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

            You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

            Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

            When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

            I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

            Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

            Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

            Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

            1. The Inner Critic

            This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

            • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
            • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
            • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
            • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

            The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

            Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

            2. The Worrier

            This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

            The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

            3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

            This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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            This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

            The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

            4. The Sleep Depriver

            This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

            The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

            • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
            • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
            • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
            • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

            How can you control these squatters?

            How to Master Your Mind

            You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

            Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

            There are two ways to control your thoughts:

            • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
            • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

            This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

            The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

            Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

            For the Inner Critic

            When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

            You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

            For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

            You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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            “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

            If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

            • They rile up the Worrier.
            • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
            • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
            • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
            • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

            Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

            Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

            For the Worrier

            Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

            Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

            You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

            • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
            • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
            • Muscles tense

            Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

            If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

            Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

            “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

            Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

            If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

            Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

            Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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            For example:

            If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

            “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

            Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

            “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

            Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

            For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

            Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

            The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

            • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
            • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
            • Muscles tension

            I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

            Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

            Breathe in through your nose:

            • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
            • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
            • Focus on your belly rising.

            Breathe out through your nose:

            • Feel your lungs emptying.
            • Focus on your belly falling.
            • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

            Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

            Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

            One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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            Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

            For the Sleep Depriver

            (They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

            I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

            Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

            1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
            2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

            When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

            From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

            For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

            If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

            You can also use this technique any time you want to:

            • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
            • Shut down your thinking.
            • Calm your feelings.
            • Simply focus on the present moment. 

            The Bottom Line

            Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

            You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

            Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

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            Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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