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12 Smart Hacks to Travel on a Budget

12 Smart Hacks to Travel on a Budget

The travel bug has bit more and more people these days, but so has the stress of finances. Luckily there are ways to enjoy traveling without the stress of overspending. Here are several tips and tricks I learned while on my travels.

1. Do your research

I can’t stress enough how important it is to do your research. I have saved so much money just by sitting in front of my computer screen a few extra hours per day hunting for the best deals. A good tip I have learned from others is to go on the actual airline’s website and see if they have any specific deals.

2. Sharing is caring 

It can be a little intimidating to share a room with a complete stranger(s) for several days and/or weeks, but more and more people are actually turning to hostels these days. Hostels are accommodating. It is much better to think simply in terms of where you are staying. Don’t look into the petty details, just focus on what you plan to do outside of the room.

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3. Package deals

Whether you decide to buy your ticket and room together or separately, just remember to look for the best deals. I have found from experience that a package deal can actually be less expensive. Also, make sure to choose a budget. We all know what we can afford, so in order to reduce stress during travel, make a budget and stick to it, trust me, you will feel much better if you do.

4. Take what you can carry

We all know packing can be a major pain, but the good thing is that we are able to take a large suitcase and a carry-on. It is important that you make as much space for as many items as you will need since you will have to consider the laundry part of your travels. It helps to have a packing list. Remember to check the weather prior to your trip in order to pack more appropriately for your destination.

5. Cash is important

It is always important to have some cash with you since you never know if you will need it. It is important to notify your credit card company of your dates of travel ahead of time, to avoid any issues while you are vacationing. It also helps to notify them so they that they are prepared to take extra precautions on your card, in case of theft.

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6. WhatsApp

WhatsApp, Viber, etc, are great ways to keep in touch with family, friends and colleagues while you are away. Wherever you end up staying will probably have free wifi, so you can connect with anyone for free and avoid any charges. Talk to a representative from your phone carrier and see what they suggest. You can ask them about the least expensive way to use your phone overseas and they will certainly give you the answers you need.

7. Pack a picnic

Even though airlines kindly provide us with meals, it is important to bring some food from home. You can pack several snacks, sandwiches and fruit to accommodate you on your travels. It will help avoid having to pay crazy prices at airports and it also keeps you happy and energized as you head to your destination.

8. Destination save

So, now that you have found your cheap flight and hostel or hotel deal, you have packed enough to accommodate your needs, you downloaded WhatsApp and/or Viber to your phone, took out some cash to exchange and have packed a picnic, you are ready to travel.

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9. Choose the cheaper route

As tempting as it is to take a cab all the way to the foot of your hostel or hotel, I recommend you try the train or bus instead. For example, the average cost of a cab in any city is 25-30 euros and that is expensive. Airports have great directions and services that will direct you to the nearest buses and trains.

10. Eating like a champion

Take advantage of complimentary breakfast options where you are staying, as well as cheaper options within your hostel or hotel. The challenge is eating out. I’ve learned from experience that tourist areas are the priciest. It is important to avoid these spots if you are budgeting, however, this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a nice meal. I once found a cute little mom and pop tapas bar hidden in the back streets of Barcelona for under 10 euros. It was delicious, filling and didn’t starve my wallet.

11. The art of budgeting

Art galleries, museums, parks, etc, are wonderful ways to learn more about your destination’s culture, painters, architects and musicians. For example, when I went to Barcelona, I was able to experience the beauty of Gaudi’s Parque de Gaulle for free. Yes, you heard me, for FREE. There is a large portion of the park that tourists are able to experience without spending a dime.

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12. Walking is the best exercise and it’s free

Think about how far you can get by simply walking. Indulging in the art of walking means you are giving yourself a free scenic walking tour. Walking also gives you the option of being social. It is a great way to meet locals and share a smile, as well as connect, ask questions, ask for advice, directions and even make friends. You never know who you will meet.

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Nicollete Izakovic

Candidate of International Relations

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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