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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

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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