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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 August 20, 2019

                      How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

                      How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

                      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. And 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 on how to set financial goals and then actually meet them with ease.

                      5 Steps to Set Financial Goals

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

                      1. Be Clear About the Objectives

                      Any goal (let alone financial) 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 is for. It could be anything like kid’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, however small they may be, that you foresee in the future and put a value to it.

                      2. Keep Them 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 out of the line will definitely hurt your chances of achieving them.

                      It’s important that you keep your goals realistic in nature for 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”. And this quote sums up the best what inflation could do your financial goals.

                      Therefore account for inflation whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far away in the future.

                      For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years hence, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is mere 3%. So always account for inflation.

                      4. Short Term vs Long Term

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

                      As a rule of thumb, any financial goal, which is due in next 3 years should be termed as 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.

                      More on this later when we talk about how to achieve financial goals.

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                      5. To Each to His Own

                      The journey of setting financial goals is an individualistic affair i.e. your goals are your own goals and are determined by your want to achieve them. A lot of times we get on the bandwagon of goal setting only to realize later on that it was not meant for us.

                      It is important that your goals are actually your goals and not inspired by someone else. Take a hard look at this step at all the goals you’ve set for after this step, you will be on the way to achieve them.

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

                      11 Ways to Achieve Your Financial Goals

                      Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a 2 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. So let’s get down to ensuring healthy savings.

                      Ensuring Healthy Savings

                      Self realization is the best form of realisation 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 monthly expenses. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you would be surprised to see how small expenses add up to a sizeable amount.

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

                      2. Pay Yourself First

                      Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classical mistake which almost everyone of us do. We pay ourselves last!

                      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 then manage all the expenses from the rest.

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

                      Taking the automatic route will make us lose control of our money and hence will compel us to manage in what’s left with us thereby increasing the savings rate.

                      3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick with It

                      Budgeting is the best to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be made.

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                      Nowadays, several money management apps and wallets can help you do this automatically. It’s easy and who knows, you may just end up doing what people fail to do.

                      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. Rise Again Even If You Fall

                      Let’s be realistic. It’s not like the world will come to an end if you made one mistake. This isn’t called leniency but discipline.

                      If you fail to meet your budget for a month, don’t give up the entire effort just like that. Instead, start again.

                      Remember that flexible plans are the most realistic plans. So go forward and try to follow your financial goals as planned but if for some reason, the plan gets out of hand for you, do not give up on it just yet. This has a lot to do with your psychology rather than any material commitment.

                      All you have to do is to stay on the road and vow to stay on it, no matter how much you fall down.

                      5. 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 counter intuitive to many but there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

                      Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Usually weekends are expensive. Make it a habit and you would in turn be saving a great deal.

                      If you are travelling buff, try to travel during off season. Your outlay will be much less.

                      If you go out for shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

                      So 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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                      6. 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. And it would be rather easy to lose the grip over your discipline.

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

                      7. Maintain a Journal

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

                      So 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.

                      Use this journal to write down all essential points such as your short term, mid term and long term goals, your current sources of income, your regular expenses which you are aware of and any committed expenses which are of recurring nature.

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

                      At this point, you should be ready with your financial goals and would be doing brilliantly with savings; now it’s time to talk about the big daddy – Investments.

                      Making Smart Investments

                      Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However savings when invested wisely can do wonders and we are at that stage where we will talk about making smart investments.

                      8. Consult a Financial Advisor

                      Investments doesn’t come naturally to most of us therefore rather than dabbling with it ourselves, it is 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.

                      9. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

                      Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about them.

                      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.

                      Do you remember we talked about bifurcating financial goals in short term and long term?

                      It is here where that classification will help.

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                      So 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 as compared to equity instruments.

                      10. 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.

                      So make friends with this wonder kid. And sooner you become friends with it, quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

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

                      11. 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; taking stock of how our investments are doing.

                      If there is one single step where everything (so far) can go wrong, it is at this step – Measuring the Progress.

                      If we don’t measure the progress timely, then we would be shooting in the dark. We wouldn’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not; whether financial advisor is doing a decent job; whether we are moving closer to our target or not.

                      Do 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

                      This completes the list of tips for you to set financial goals and actually achieve them with not so great difficulty.

                      As you can see, all it requires is discipline. But guess that’s the most difficult part!

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                      Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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