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15 Free Ways (Or Even Get-Paid) To Travel That Will Enrich Your Life

15 Free Ways (Or Even Get-Paid) To Travel That Will Enrich Your Life

Traveling can be any experience you make it and whether or not you’re looking for a way to travel for less (or free) there are in fact ways to help you do just that. Not only can working abroad be a great experience, but it’s possible to cover parts of your trip or even make money while traveling. To say the least quite a few the options can lead to some of the most enriching travel experiences and adventures.

Get Paid to Ski

Get paid to ski by taking part in seasonal work at mountain ski resorts. You don’t even have to know how to ski, which is great because if you ever wanted to learn, this is your chance to do it and get a free mountain pass.

Ski resorts hire nationals from all over the world to fill positions from ski lift operators, hotel and restaurant staff as long as a temporary work visa can be obtained. Popular spots for seasonal work at ski resorts are New Zealand, Mammoth, California or Vail, Colorado. Even if you want to work domestically, it’s a great chance to live in some of the most beautiful places in the world and get away from city hustle-and-bustle. There are many resort options, but make sure to apply early to ensure a spot before the season starts. To find these positions you can start with a Google search or check out NZSki.com for vacancies in New Zealand.

Volunteer to Speak English for Free Room and Board

If you speak English fluently, you can sign up for a work exchange experience that requires you to have conversations with students in English who want to improve their language skills. Usually companies will send their employees to these programs so they can hone their conversation skills to better communicate with their clients. Though some people sign up as students just to improve their English in general. Throughout the week you’re engaging in conversations and getting to familiarize yourself with people of different cultural backgrounds.

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In return for speaking with the students in English, you can receive free room and board for the entire time you are volunteering. Diverbo is a program that does just that and accepts English speaking volunteers for their sites in Germany and Spain and provides volunteers with full room and board as well as transportation to the site.

Credit Card Sign Up Bonuses

Earning airline miles from generous credit card offers is quickly becoming more popular and one of the easiest ways to travel in luxury for pennies on the dollar. Banks often offer sign-up bonuses to lure customers to using their cards in hopes of gaining a loyal customer. With just one 50,000 mile sign-up bonus you could be on your way for free to Europe, making it an incredible way to save money on travel. Some credit card offers require you to meet a minimum spending amount, while with others such as the 40,000 mile US Airways credit card offer it’s as simple as buying a cup of coffee.

On top of that there are many ways to to maximize your miles like adding free stopovers in cities along the way, so you can visit more than one destination or even continent on the same ticket.

WWOOF -Work exchange on organic and sustainable properties

Can you picture yourself working on a vineyard in Tuscany? Or a pineapple farm in Costa Rica? WWOOF is an opportunity to work on organic farms around the world in exchange for free housing and food. As a participant, you’re expected to put in around four to six hours of work per day for at least two days with anything that needs to be done. Once your shift is over you are free to explore the village, trails or nearby cities as you please.

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CouchSurfing

CouchSurfing is a website that allows you to connect with local hosts while you’re traveling to stay in their home for free, likely with someone who has a few things in common with you. For a night, two or even three you could stay on a couch, your own room or even a yurt out back for free. One aspect of CouchSurfing that people find appealing is that you are able to get to experience an area with a local. Another aspect of CouchSurfing that people find appealing is that hosts and couch surfers have profiles and reviews from past guests and their hosts so you can get a general feel for the person before contacting them.

Teach English Abroad

There are opportunities for fluent English speakers to teach English abroad in elementary and high schools even if you do not have teaching credentials. Most opportunities require that instructors are TEFL certified which is earned after a series of coursework is completed to become an affective English Second Language instructor. Salary for teaching abroad is based on the living standards of where you are teaching, but depending on the program you go through, some of your living expenses like free housing. In countries like the Middle East such as Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates as well as Japan and South Korea, the salary rate for TEFL teachers is known to offer the best paid TEFL Instructor salaries.

Join a Family and become an Au Pair

For travelers who love working with young children, there are families who are looking for Au Pairs to help take care of their children. Families may look for an English speaking nanny so that their children can improve their English-skills. As an Au Pair you should expect to receive free room and board as well as some payment. The company Au Pair World helps connect host families with potential Au Pairs through profiles which you can browse through by country and gets you in touch with a potential match. What you would get out of it is essentially an opportunity to immerse yourself within the culture and community and learn the customs and traditions.

Hitchhike the Globe

In some parts of the world, even in some areas within the US hitchhiking is common, accepted and generally safe. In Armenia, for example, it’s common for locals to hitch a ride so it would not be odd. To flag down a ride the universal sign of hitchhiking is to stand on the side of the road in the direction that you want to go and stick out your thumb. Always use good judgement when accepting a ride. If the vehicle or its occupants give you a bad vibe, then do not accept the ride. To get a feel for which countries hitchhiking is acceptable in and considered safe you can refer to Hitchwiki which is user-compiled and breaks down the unofficial rules and tips of hitchhiking by country.

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Diaspora Youth Programs

Birthright programs are usually synonymous with the young Jewish community through Birthright Israel in which for 10 days 18-26 year olds from all over the world get an all expense paid trip to Israel to connect with the Israel. However, for those who are not of the Jewish faith, there are programs geared towards other cultures such as Birthright Armenia which reimburses travel expenses to Armenia as long as they commit to a minimum of two months to intern or volunteer in various sectors such as news agencies, hospitals, government offices and environments NGOs in Armenia. Through these internships you get valuable experience that you can take back with you for your work resume. Other similar programs include Heritage Greece, ReConnect Hungary, or the Love Boat Study Program for youth of Chinese or Taiwanese descent.

Volunteer at a Hostel or Homestay

If you’re backpacking or traveling for an extended period of time, stumbling across a hostel that you love while traveling is likely to happen more than once. It never hurts to ask if they have any volunteer opportunities for free room and board. This can be a great way to extend a stay while traveling abroad. To find some volunteer experiences that vary from working at a hostel teaching yoga, to helping build a house, check out HelpX which lets users post help wanted ads.

Got skills? Become an instructor

If you are well versed in a sporting activity—surfing, rock climbing, skiing, mountain biking—you may be able to land a job abroad teaching other people the ropes. If you speak several languages it may also be a huge plus since most tourism agencies rely on their instructors to communicate with many international customers. Adventure Work is a great place to start looking for potential instructor jobs around the world.

See the World for Less through House Sitting

Believe it or not, homeowners around the world are looking for house sitters, and you’d be surprised as to how many opportunities are out there. You would also be surprised as to how many people are doing it and with multiple established websites it’s easy to get started. The options are varied, but for pet sitting or gardening, you can be staying for free. A benefit of house sitting, is that not only are you living rent free, but you get to spend time in one place for a longer than you may have if you had to pay for accommodations and get to know community.

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Free Walking Tours

If you are traveling to a country you know a lot about, especially the significance of monuments within a particular area, historical moments and are well versed in the culture, why not take a dabble at being a walking tour guide. Many of the guided tours are free, but basically you work for tips. While the tips may not be very much money, it can very well cover the cost of your meals for an entire week.

Show Off Your Talent with Resort Entertainment

If you have the talent to entertain, whether your forte is dancing, singing or even magic tricks, you may find positions available with cruise ships around the world. Working with a cruise line comes with a salary, free accommodation and the chance to travel along.  You of course have to audition, but if you have a special talent that you would like to let shine and you get the position, you will get to paid to do what you love, travel and perform. Backstage.com which offers a list of casting calls for various cruise lines is a great way to get started.

Teach in the US with AmeriCorps

While you may not be able to travel outside the US with AmeriCorps, you will be placed in a new city to work as an educator and role model under one of its programs. AmeriCorps members depending on the program usually serve in low-income communities, working with children in different aspects like homework help and tutoring. Some programs go as far as doing environmental field research like surveying salmon counts and analyzing watersheds. In addition to helping out communities who may be in need, members can have their university loans deferred, receive a monthly stipend, and a grant to help pay for grad school.

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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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