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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 December 9, 2019

            5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

            5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

            Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

            Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

            Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

            1. Get Rationally Optimistic

            Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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            This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

            In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

            The result: no more mental stress.

            2. Unplug

            Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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            How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

            It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

            Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

            3. Easy on the Caffeine

            Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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            Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

            4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

            That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

            How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

            • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
            • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
            • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

            While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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            5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

            This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

            The result: mental stress will be gone!

            So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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            Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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