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8 Tips for a Dream Vacation on Any Budget

8 Tips for a Dream Vacation on Any Budget

The average vacation costs an astounding $1,145 per person, so it’s no wonder that so many people believe they can’t afford to travel. However, when you consider the fact that vacations are important for physical and mental health, it’s easy to understand that it’s necessary for everyone to take a break at least once a year. If financial concerns have prevented you from taking an annual vacation, it’s a good idea to educate yourself about the numerous ways you can bring expenses down without sacrificing the trip of your dreams.

1. Adjust the Timing of Your Vacation

Everyone wants to go to tourist hot spots during the summer, but this is the most expensive and crowded time of the year. If you want to go when the weather is still good, simply make travel plans for the week before or after the peak season. This is especially beneficial in small beach towns because the crowds will be gone, the beaches will be practically deserted and you’re much more likely to get a good deal on lodging, food and souvenirs. As an added bonus, avoiding the peak season is ideal for introverts and parents who wish to avoid large crowds and long lines.

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2. Choose a Vacation Rental Home

Airbnb and other similar sites are all the rage right now, and with good reason; they provide lodging that is more comfortable and often cheaper than hotels. Additionally, you’ll have access to a fully-equipped kitchen, which means you can save a ton of money on food. It’s important to check the fine print though, as many of these online services charge booking fees that inflate the total price. Tripz is a notable exception to this trend because they don’t have any booking or commission fees for vacation rentals. In other words, you can enjoy living like a local for an even lower price.

3. Use Discount Sites

Discount sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial make it possible to save a lot of money on airfare, lodging, excursions, rental cars and dining. Again, the best time to take advantage of these deals is during the off-season when package deals can be found for more than half off the regular price. These deals always have very specific guidelines, including which travel dates you must adhere to, so be sure to read through everything thoroughly before purchasing anything. The best prices are typically offered for international destinations.

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4. Travel Light

The average cost of checking luggage for a flight is $25, but this price increases steeply with each additional bag. By the time you get to your third piece of luggage, you can expect to pay hundreds to travel with three bags. Instead, it’s best to maximize your carry-on option and, if necessary, restrict your travel items to no more than what can fit in one checked bag. This becomes much easier if you’re staying at a vacation rental that offers laundry on-site. Although no one wants to do laundry during their vacation, the cost of detergent and a bit of your time is much better than spending hundreds of dollars to take a larger wardrobe with you. You can also use the money you save on baggage fees to help pay for the rest of your vacation expenses.

5. Skip the Rental Car

Are you flying into a major city such as London or New York City? These areas have comprehensive public transportation options that make it easy to get anywhere without spending a lot of money. It’s also important to note that having a rental car will require you to pay a lot of parking fees, along with additional stress of driving in a congested downtown area. Skip the hassle and all of the associated expenses. Instead, invest in a subway or bus card and allow someone else to transport you around the city.

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6. Take Advantage of Free Days

Many cities offer free admission to museums and other major tourist attractions at certain times of the month or year. For example, Paris offers free admission to notable locations such as the Louvre on the first Sunday of every month. If you’re under the age of 26, you can also visit this world-renowned museum for free on Friday evenings. The Louvre is usually €15.00, so utilizing a free day is a great way to save a lot of money. You’ll want to get in line really early though, as a lot of people show up on these days.

7. Restrict Your Dining Out

Yes, people often go to other cities or countries looking for new dining experiences. However, eating out for every meal can quickly become one of the most expensive parts of your trip. Remove this expense by packing a picnic lunch each day. If you’re in a vacation rental or a hotel room with a kitchenette, you’ll also be able to cook dinner and keep leftovers refrigerated. If you feel like you must eat out, do it only once a day. Lunch is usually cheaper than dinner, and it’s best to avoid tourist trap restaurants that inflate their prices.

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8. Become a House Sitter

Are you willing to travel at random times to a wide variety of places and take on a few responsibilities in exchange for a place to stay? House sitting is rapidly becoming a viable alternative option for people who can demonstrate that they are trustworthy. The way these programs work is that you stay in someone’s home while they enjoy their own vacation. House sitting gigs can last as little as a couple of nights all the way to several months. Be aware that you may have to do tasks such as pet sitting or taking care of plants as part of the deal, but you will get to stay somewhere for free! Of course, there’s no guarantee a house sitting job will be posted in a specific area, so this is best for people who are comfortable with spontaneity.

Travel has been proven to help people become smarter, healthier and less stressed. Therefore, it’s truly important to prioritize taking an annual vacation. If possible, go on a few vacations per year, even if this means you choose locations that are closer to home. By incorporating tips such as booking a vacation rental online, traveling light and using public transportation, you can travel around the world without being rich. Some people choose to get temporary jobs while traveling to make the experience even more affordable.

Featured photo credit: 1818244 via pixabay.com

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Holly Chavez

Writer, Entrepreneur, Small Business Owner

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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