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40 Budget Travel Tips Every Wanderlust Should Know

40 Budget Travel Tips Every Wanderlust Should Know

If you’re missing the road, what better time than now to begin preparations for the next great adventure? But before you get too far into your planning, be sure to check out these great tips and websites to avoid paying too much. These will make saving cash a breeze!

General Budget Travel Advice

1. Stay far away from touristy restaurants and instead go down a few blocks and eat where the locals do.

2. Travel during the low-peak season and avoid traveling during the summer and around holidays.

3. Enjoy a nice picnic instead of eating out. You can experience the local culture’s day-to-day activities, as well, by shopping in their grocery stores.

4. If you’re traveling between countries, try to do as much buying of needed items as possible in the cheaper countries where your dollar can stretch farther, then avoid the souvenirs in the more expensive ones.

5. Understand what your options are for rail passes, especially if you’re in Europe.

6. Buses are the best method of transportation if you’re just trying to get around a city. They are your cheapest option outside of walking.

7. If you do drive though, be careful where you park. If a thief recognizes a tourist’s car they are much more likely to break into it.

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8. Use a wallet-friendly airline. Europe has very competitive airlines and that drives down the price. In many instances you can get a flight to another city for less than the price of a rail pass.

9. Negotiate deals. You can always ask for a cheaper price on the phone with your airline or hotel.

10. Use a museum pass. Many of the passes will pay for themselves and you will be able to keep coming back.

11. Bring a water bottle. Paying for pop and water adds up quickly and that money can get you another night in a hostel every week!

12. If you’re in a hot environment and you have the option, stay at a hostel that only offers cold running water instead of hot and cold. It’s cheaper and you probably won’t be feeling like a hot shower anyway.

13. Hotels generally have a ton of extra toothbrushes, paste, shaving cream, razors, and even phone chargers. Ask if you can have them before you go out and buy them yourself.

14. Go where the dollar is strong. You’ll be able to get a much bigger bang for your buck and be able to extend your trip by weeks or months.

15. Take advantage of complimentary breakfasts to get as much food as possible and save some for snacks later.

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16. Bakeries generally offer half-priced goods at the end of the day to keep things fresh. It’s a great way to get some good food for little outlay.

17. Always look to get free admission to museums and other local activities that may be going on.

18. Don’t go overboard on souvenirs and instead buy something like a postcard or just take your own photos. Plus, the extra weight can add up, as backpackers will know.

19. Do things as a group if possible. Whether that’s carpooling or going on a tour, you can typically get better deals.

20. Don’t take what you don’t need. The extra weight will cost you when you’re boarding the plane and anything you need can be bought cheaply when you arrive.

21. Plan out your day so you know where your money will be going. You don’t have to plan the whole trip, but looking over your day in the morning is a great way to cut costs.

22. Get travel insurance before you leave. While it does cost money, it’s totally worth it if you get injured, and can end up saving you a lot in the long run.

23. If you’re traveling by train, take the night train. It will save on accommodation and once you’re used to it, sleeping won’t be a problem on them.

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24. If you plan on visiting a tourist town, stay next door and take public transit into the town. The prices will be much cheaper in the town over.

Budget Websites

25. Search deals online at JetsetterPriceline, or Hostelworld to pick up some great last-minute deals.

26. Go couchsurfing. You can stay in locals’ homes for free and get a more in-depth experience of their culture.

27. Keep up to date on all things travel miles by following awesome travel bloggers like The Points Guy.

28. Use many different flight search engines, but hands down, Momondo is the best that I have ever seen for scooping up great deals.

29. If you’ve always wanted to travel by sea you can join Crew Seekers and experience what it’s like to be a pirate! Well, kind of.

30. Check out VirtualTourist so you don’t get lost. They crush it in the guide department.

31. There are a lot of great tour companies out there so check out those that are highly rated. I suggest taking a look at G AdventuresIntrepid Travel, and Gate 1 Travel.

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32. Discount cards are a great way to save cash and if you’re a student, STA Travel has one that’s bonkers.

33. Another really cool card for backpackers with fewer restrictions than STA’s card is the VIP Backpackers card.

34. Volunteer on a farm so you can stay for free with WWOOF!

35. Use a travel rewards card while you’re traveling. Every dollar you spend goes right back into your next trip and can earn you a free flight. You can use creditcards.com to compare cards.

36. Check out local programs for possible tax refunds. Thailand has one that will give you 7% back on luxury goods!

37. Get a card with no foreign transaction fees. This will save you a lot of unnecessary costs. You can use creditcards.com again for this.

Apps

38. Check out the Hotel Tonight’s app to get great last minute deals.

39. Use Yelp to find anything and everything in your local area. It’s a great tool to compare nearby businesses.

40. Plan your vacation with Trip Saver by Nomadic Matt to keep track of your budget. You can set daily spending limits too!

Featured photo credit: Siim Teller via flickr.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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