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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 September 28, 2020

            The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

            The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

            At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

            Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

            One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

            When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

            So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

            Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

            This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

            Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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            When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

            Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

            One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

            Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

            An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

            When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

            Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

            Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

            We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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            By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

            Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

            While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

            I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

            You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

            Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

            When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

            Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

            Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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            Con #2: Less Human Interaction

            One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

            Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

            Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

            This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

            While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

            Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

            Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

            This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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            For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

            Con #4: Unique Distractions

            Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

            For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

            To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

            Final Thoughts

            Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

            We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

            More About Working From Home

            Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

            Reference

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