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10 Sites for Budget Travel You Should Know About

10 Sites for Budget Travel You Should Know About

You do not need to spend a fortune to travel. Nowadays, you can go almost anywhere you want on a limited budget. Let’s have a look at some websites which will help you reach your dream destination even if you don’t have a million in the bank. Spice up your travel experience and make your life much easier. I wish I knew of them before I traveled abroad for the first time.

Couchsurfing

couchsurfing

    Couchsurfing is a network for passionate travelers and hosts who want to meet up with people from around the globe and share their experience and culture. If you want to save money on accommodation and meet a local, Couchsurfing might be the website for you. Sign up and start searching for hosts offering free couches. You can find travel buddies or locals to hang out with. A friend of mine met her husband through Couchsurfing. Seriously. Are you little hesitant to sleep at places of unknown people? Do not be. Everyone who is serious has filed out a profile and provides references. The community of couchsurfers organizes events from time to time. Check if there are some going on in your city and join them. You will meet interesting people and learn how couchsurfing works.

    HitchWiki

    hitchwiki

      If you are an adventurer, you might like to try hitchhiking. HitchWiki is a collaborative website made by hitchhikers all around the globe sharing their knowledge from the road. Since this is not the safest way to travel, you better read some stories from experienced people. You will learn how to increase your chances of getting a ride, how to stay safe, how to create a hitchhiking sign and what the status of hitchhiking is in particular countries. If you have any questions, join the discussion group and ask more experienced hitchhikers for their advice.

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      Momondo

      momondo

        Need an airline ticket? Try out momondo. First of all, you get great deals. But if you just feel like traveling and you do not know where, momondo will solve can decide for you. Set up your money limit, airport you are flying from and get a list of all the places you can fly to within your budget. When you click on the city you are interested in, momondo will provide general info about the place, weather info, hotel deals, and ideas for your additional travel from your selected place. To save you some cash, you will also get advice about the best time to buy a ticket. 

        Staydu

        staydu

          No hotel in the world will give you the same experience as staying with a local. Staydu is a network for budget travelers, who need a place to stay, and hosts, who like to meet new people from different countries. You can get accommodation from the host for free, a small fee or for some help you may be able to offer the host. If you need a travel buddy, sign up and share your plans. There is a chance you will meet one. The only disadvantage is pretty is the low member base compared to stronger websites like Couchsurfing.

          Last Minute

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          last minute

            Sometimes you just wake up and you know it is time to do something different. If you belong to this group of spontaneous people, you might like to dig into last minute deals and start your journey immediately. On Lastminute.com, you can find offers for last minute airline tickets, train tickets, attractions and hotels all in one database. Deals on spas, theaters, restaurants and entertainment are available in the UK, USA and some western European countries. Next time you have an idea to go somewhere, first check the last minute deals.

            Stay.com

            Stay

              Choose a city and create your own guide. Stay.com has around 100 destinations listed where you can create your personal itinerary. Select the place and pick attractions you would like to visit. You can download your itinerary as a pdf and print it, or  you can just download their app for iOS and Android and use it on to go. You can change your list anytime and add new places. I personally like the view options on the map. You do not need to buy maps with tourist attractions anymore. The app works offline and is free.

              Hipmunk

              hipmunk

                Flying can be fun. Sometimes. Imagine a flight with 2 or 3 stops lasting a couple of hours. That’s not fun. That’s annoying. Hipmunk is a search engine for airline tickets which compares offers from airlines and travel sites. You can search your flights according to price, duration, take off, landing and AGONY. Agony is combination of price, number of stops and flight duration. Next time you are buying an airline ticket, go check hipmunk and find a flight with good price and less agony. 

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                Workaway.info

                workaway

                  Learn something new, help someone, meet locals, travel and get free accommodation and food. Sounds like a pretty cool offer, right? On workaway.info you can find small jobs in more than 135 countries around the world. Standard volunteer rate is 5 hours a day for 5 days a week. You can help families or small organisations. Living with locals and learning new skills will make your trip unforgettable. 

                  Trivago

                  trivago

                    You need a place to stay. So you are thinking about all the websites you need to go trough to find an affordable and nice hotel room. Well, you do not need to do that anymore. Trivago is the largest hotel search in the world which compares deals from around 238 booking sites. Simply search the place where you want to go and set criteria important to you, like your budget or even the size of the hotel and distance from city center. 

                    Bla Bla Car

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                    Bla Bla Car

                      Need a ride? Find travelers who are offering free seats in their cars for your trip. Bla Bla Car is pretty popular in UK and Europe, serving almost 10 millions members. Besides finding a cheaper ride, you can meet interesting people. Every member has their profile, ratings and you can see what type of car they are driving. It is like a safer version of hitchhiking.

                      As you can see, travelling doesn’t have to cost a fortune. What’s more, cheaper options sometimes bring more adventure and a richer experience. Try out these websites and find services for budget travel which suits you the best. If you want to know more tips and tricks for budget travelers, check out 40 Budget Travel Tips Evert Wanderlust Should Know.

                      Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

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                      Last Updated on September 2, 2020

                      How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

                      How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

                      Personal finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. That’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

                      In this article, we will explore ways to set financial goals and actually meet them with ease.

                      4 Steps to Setting Financial Goals

                      Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task, if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps to get you started.

                      1. Be Clear About the Objectives

                      Any goal without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream, and this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

                      It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore, if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it’s for. It could be anything, including your child’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car, etc.

                      Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives that you foresee in the future and put a value to each.

                      2. Keep Goals Realistic

                      It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a Pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going beyond what you can realistically achieve will definitely hurt your chances of making meaningful progress.

                      It’s important that you keep your goals realistic, as it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

                      3. Account for Inflation

                      Ronald Reagan once said: “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman.” This quote sums up what inflation could do your financial goals.

                      Therefore, account for inflation[1] whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far into the future.

                      For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years from now, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is a mere 3%. Always account for this to avoid falling short of your goals.

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                      4. Short Term Vs Long Term

                      Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach to achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It’s important to bifurcate goals into short-term and long-term.

                      As a rule of thumb, any financial goal that is due in next 3 years should be termed as a short-term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long-term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short-term vs long-term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

                      By now, you should be ready with your list of financial goals. Now, it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

                      How to Achieve Your Financial Goals

                      Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a two-step process:

                      • Ensuring healthy savings
                      • Making smart investments

                      You will need to save enough and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals.

                      Ensuring Healthy Savings

                      Self-realization is the best form of realization, and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

                      This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

                      1. Track Expenses

                      The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your spending. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you will be surprised by how small expenses add up to a sizable amount.

                      Also categorize those expenses into different buckets so that you know which bucket is eating most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pumping up your savings rate.

                      If you’re not sure where to start when tracking expenses, this article may be able to help.

                      2. Pay Yourself First

                      Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classic mistake when setting financial goals. We pay ourselves last!

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                      Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world, i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and manage all the expenses from the rest.

                      The best way to actually implement this is to put the savings on automatic mode, i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (mutual funds, retirement accounts, etc) every month.

                      Taking the automatic route will help release some control and compel us to manage what’s left, increasing the savings rate.

                      3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick With It

                      Learning to create a budget is the best way to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be organized

                      Nowadays, several money management apps can help you do this automatically.

                      At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely, but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

                      Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options, and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

                      You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

                      4. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

                      In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that, in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

                      Make savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counterintuitive to many, there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

                      • Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Weekends are more expensive.
                      • If you are a travel buff, try to travel during off-season. You’ll spend significantly less.
                      • If you go shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

                      The key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice, which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

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                      5. Talk About It

                      Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission.

                      Therefore, in order to stay the course, surround yourself with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

                      6. Maintain a Journal

                      For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

                      If you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

                      When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energized to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot easier for you to track your progress.

                      Making Smart Investments

                      Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However, savings, when invested wisely, can do wonders.

                      1. Consult a Financial Advisor

                      Investment doesn’t come naturally to most of us, so it’s wise to consult a financial advisor.

                      Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings, and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

                      2. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

                      Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about the common ones, like a savings account, Roth IRA, and others.

                      Just like “no one is born a criminal,” no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference[2].

                      As a general rule, for all your short-term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature, for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds, etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less compared to equity instruments.

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                      3. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

                      Einstein once remarked about compounding:

                      “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.”

                      Use compound interest when setting financial goals

                        Make friends with this wonder kid. The sooner you become friends with it, the quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

                        Start saving early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

                        4. Measure, Measure, Measure

                        All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments and taking stock of how our investments are doing.

                        If we don’t measure progress at the right times, we are shooting in the dark. We won’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not, whether the financial advisor is doing a decent job, or whether we are moving closer to our target.

                        Measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

                        The Bottom Line

                        Managing your extra money to achieve your short and long-term financial goals

                        and live a debt-free life is doable for anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort. Use the tips above to get you started on your path to setting financial goals.

                        More Tips on Financial Goals

                        Featured photo credit: Micheile Henderson via unsplash.com

                        Reference

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