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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 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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