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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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                      Published on May 7, 2019

                      How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

                      How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

                      When it comes to stocks, I bet you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing.

                      Everyone who’s not a financial expert has been there. I’ve been there. But, time is passing and you need to be crystal clear with how you’re investing for your retirement.

                      Otherwise, it’s back to work until you can afford not to. So, how can you invest for retirement when you’re not a financial expert?

                      You take the time to learn the fundamentals well. If you do, you can grow your wealth and retire happy. The best part is that you don’t need to be a financial expert to make smart investment decisions.

                      Here’s how to invest for retirement the smart and stress-free way:

                      1. Know Clearly Why You Invest

                      Odds are you already know why should invest for retirement.

                      But, maybe you know the wrong reasons. It’s time you get clear on why you’d like to retire. Here are some questions to help you get started:

                      • Will you spend more time with your family?
                      • What does retirement mean to you?
                      • Are you looking to launch that business you’ve been holding off for years?

                      Everyone wants to retire but not for the same reasons. Once you’re clear for why retirement is important for you, you’ll focus on making it happen.

                      Investing in the stock market allows you to take advantage of compound interest.[1] All this means is that your money earns money on top of its interest. A reason why investment in the stock market is one of the best ways to plan for retirement.

                      2. Figure out When to Invest

                      “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”– Chinese Proverb

                      It’s true if you’d had started investing when you were 10 years old, you’d have a lot more money than you do today.

                      The reality is that most people don’t start investing until it’s too late. So, if you’re currently waiting for the perfect time to start an investment, it would be today. Open your calendar and block out 2 to 3 hours to choose how you’ll invest for retirement.

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                      A quick way to get a snapshot of where you stand is to use Personal Capital. Input all your personal information and spend some time setting your retirement goals. Once completed, you’ll know where you stand with your retirement.

                      Having a savings account for retirement isn’t planning for retirement. Why? Your money loses value when you factor in US inflation.[2]

                      3. Evaluate Your Risk Tolerance to Create the Perfect Portfolio

                      Investing your money well depends on your emotions.

                      Why?

                      Because when the market drops most people panic and withdraw their money. On average, the US stock market yields an annual 6% to 7% ROI (return on your investment.) But, this won’t happen if you’re worried about short-term loses.

                      Before you invest your next dollar, know your risk tolerance.[3] Your risk tolerance determines the number of risky and safe investments you’d have.

                      Regardless of your investing style, you need to view investing for retirement as a long term game. Know that some years you’ll lose money but recoup this in the long-term.

                      Avoid watching market-related new. Also, create a double authentication to log in your investment account. This way you’re less likely to withdraw your money.

                      4. Open a Reliable Retirement Account

                      Depending on your circumstance, you may need to open a new brokerage account. This is the account is where you’ll invest your money.

                      If you’re currently working for a company, odds are that they offer a 410K investing account. If so, here’s where you’ll invest most of your money. The only problem with this is that you’re limited to the stock options that are available.

                      You do have the option to open a separate IRA (individual retirement account.) Here are some of the best brokers:

                      1. Vanguard
                      2. TD Ameritrade
                      3. Charles Schwab

                      5. Challenge Yourself to Invest Consistently

                      Committing to invest for retirement is hard, but continuing to do so is harder.

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                      Once you’ve started investment for your retirement, you run at risk from stopping. Often you’ll want to contribute less, so you’d have more money in your pocket.

                      That’s why it’s important that you create a budget that allows you to invest each month. If you’re working for a company, you can set a percentage for the amount you’d like to contribute each month. Most people by default contribute 1% but aim to contribute 10% to 15%.

                      Be the judge for how much you can afford to contribute after covering important expenses. To stay motivated, use Personal Capital to view your net worth.

                      A benefit to contributing money to your retirement account is not taxed. For example, if you earn $100 and invest 10%, you’d contribute $10, then get taxed on the remaining $90. As of 2019, the most you’re able to contribute towards your 401K is 19K but this can change.

                      6. Consider Where to Invest Your Money

                      The most common way to invest your money is in stocks, but it’s not the only way. Here are other ways to invest:

                      Robo Advisors

                      Robo-advisors[4] are fancy algorithms that’ll choose the best investments for you. Sites like Wealthfront make it easy for first-time investors to invest their money. You’d input information about yourself and set your risk tolerance.

                      Then, set your monthly contribution amount and your robo-advisor would do the rest. Robo-advisors charge a fee to manage your money, but less than regular advisors.

                      Bonds

                      Think of bonds as “IOUs” to whomever you buy them from.

                      Essentially, you’re lending money and charging interest. Like stocks, not all bonds are equal. Some will be riskier than others depending on their rating.

                      Here are the different types of bond categories:[5]

                      1. Treasury bonds
                      2. Government bonds
                      3. Corporate bonds
                      4. Foreign bonds
                      5. Mortgage-backed bonds
                      6. Municipal bonds

                      Mutual Funds

                      Picture a group of people dumping all their money in a jar that’s managed by a professional. This is how mutual funds work. The fund manager manages the money looking to earn capital gains (interest.)

                      One of the best types of mutual funds is index funds. Since these funds don’t try to beat the market and instead follow it, they need less research. Because of this they often charge the lowest fees and yield the best long-term results.

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                      Real Estate

                      Yes, buying a home is an investment when done correctly.

                      Imagine buying a home and using it as a rental property. After repairing it, you receive a monthly surplus check of $100 to $200.

                      This may not sound like a lot, but repeat this process enough times and you’d earn a large amount of passive income. That’s why real estate is one of the best investments to not only retire but become wealthy.

                      But, it requires a lot of money to start and you should expect losing money along the way as you learn the process.

                      Savings Accounts

                      Your money can still grow in a savings account. Nowadays most online banks offer a 2% annual return. Although the average inflation is higher your money will be available when you need it.

                      7. Master Disincline to Dodge Short Success

                      Investing for retirement is a long-term strategy. That’s why you need to master delayed gratification. All this means is delaying short-term pleasure for something bigger in the future. Research shows that those who have delayed gratification are more successful.[6]

                      So how can you master delayed gratification?

                      By building your discipline.

                      Think back to what retirement means to you. A clear purpose will help you avoid withdrawing your money during a market downturn. It’ll help you contribute more towards retirement when you’d want to waste it instead.

                      Your journey towards retirement will be long, so reward yourself along the way. Choose a reward that’s relevant and meaningful, so that you reinforce positive behavior. For example, after contributing more towards retirement, treat yourself to dinner.

                      8. Aggressively Invest on This One Investment

                      I’ve mentioned several types of investments but haven’t covered the most important one.

                      It sounds cliche but here’s why you’re your best investment towards retirement. The more you know, the more money you’ll be able to make. The more good habits you adopt, the more secure your retirement will be.

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                      More importantly, investing in yourself is an investment that no one can take away. There’s no market downturn nor tragic circumstance that’ll wipe your knowledge and experience.

                      But, how can you invest yourself?

                      Reading books, blogs, and anything that’ll help you learn new topics daily. Listen to podcasts and audiobooks on your commute to/from work.

                      Save money to buy courses and hire coaches. I used to believe hiring coaches was a waste of money when I could learn the subject alone.

                      But, coaches see your blind spots and hold you accountable. Hiring the right coach will help you achieve your goals faster than you would’ve alone.

                      Retire Happy with Excess Money

                      The key to a secure financial future doesn’t only belong to financial experts.

                      It’s possible for you and I. What if you were able to retire earlier than most people and weren’t a financial planner? What if you were able to focus on what you enjoy doing the most while your money was working hard for you?

                      I know this sounds impossible now, but the truth is you’re capable of taking charge of your retirement. I’m not a financial expert but I’ve learned how to invest my money by reading books and learning from others.

                      Investing your money is scary. So start small and invest a small amount of your money with a robo-advisor. Feel your money drop and rise for a month or two. Then, invest more and keep this up until you’re aggressively saving for retirement.

                      One day, you’ll wake up with a net worth you’re proud of – confident about your retirement. You now know a few strategies you can use to invest in your retirement. Will you take action to retire happy?

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                      Featured photo credit: Matthew Bennett via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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