The Usual Mistakes in Popular Travel Destinations

Travel is all about going from the familiar to the unfamiliar. That is what excites us about traveling, the opportunity to see new places and new people and the chance to be able to experience new culture. But when confronting something new and unfamiliar, we are open to commit mistakes. When we are in an unfamiliar location, we do not know the customs there and so we might make some wrong moves. Though it is to be expected that a tourist would be unfamiliar with the ways and customs of a new place, it is still best to avoid making any mistakes while there.

We have compiled here some of the more common mistakes that travellers make while in some of the more popular world destinations. If you are doing your traveling on a shoestring budget then you should really study these mistakes to avoid them. Some mistakes can be costly which in your case might prove disastrous for your plans.

Mistakes Travelers Make in the Caribbean

One of the more common mistakes that people make when visiting the Caribbean has something to do with the food. A lot of travellers prefer to order food that is not any different from what they can get at home and because they are in another country, they would have to pay a lot more for it. If you are on a budget then consider trying out the local cuisine. That should be part of the adventure and the experience that you are getting during your trip. You should be ready to sample the local delicacies. Aside from the adventure part of it, eating the local dishes is also cheaper and that means you can stretch your budget.

Another common mistake in the Caribbean would have something to do with the shore excursions. When you let the cruise lines arrange your shore excursion, you can bet that they would include a healthy cut that would go to their pocket. If you want to get the most out of your money then arrange your own shore excursion with other passengers. You can save money by doing that.

Mistakes Travelers Make in London

London is a popular tourist destination. The city is so rich in history and is so vibrant today. The city is also filled with some of the greatest museums in the world and many of these offer free admission. If you are a budget traveller then skipping these free admissions is one of the most serious mistakes that you can commit. You are passing up on an opportunity to see some of the greatest cultural pieces of the world for free. The British Museum which is arguably the greatest museum in the world can be toured free of charge.

Another mistake that travellers often make when visiting London is paying too much for their room. There is no question that London is home to some of the finest hotels in the world, but some travellers pay too much even for the simplest of rooms. Don’t just accept the fact that London rooms are expensive. Spend some time in locating the more affordable options even if those are just the spare rooms of locals. You are a budget traveller after all.

Mistakes Travellers Make in Paris

Paris is one of the greatest tourist destinations in the world. Millions of people visit it every year. It is useful if you were to become more familiar with how a traveller should go about while in the City of Lights so as not to make costly mistakes. One usual mistake committed by travellers while in Paris is waiting in line to get to the top of Eiffel Tower. That might be worth your while but if your stay in the city is limited then you should keep in mind that waiting in line can eat up a significant part of the day. There are other equally interesting things that you can do while you are there.

Like London, Paris is another great capital that has so many things to offer. You cannot possibly check everything that is interesting there with one visit. It would be a mistake to miss out on some of the free attractions that Paris has to offer. There are so many sites that you can visit for free while in Paris and a budget traveller must take advantage of all those opportunities.

Another common mistake here is failing to use the excellent mass transport system. One of the best things about Paris is that almost all the important points within the city are reachable by the excellent public transport system. Do not waste your money by renting a car while in Paris. You don’t need it.

Mistakes Travellers Make in Venice

Venice is one of the most popular destinations not just in Italy but in the whole world. Its gondolas and canals are the most romantic attractions in the world. But riding those traditional boats can turn out to be a huge mistake if you are not prepared for it. The rates are controlled by the authorities but you can still end up paying more than $100 for an hour long ride. It can be a memorable experience but be sure that you can afford it.

Another usual mistake that people make when visiting Venice is trying to stay near the Grand Canal. Accommodations right by the Grand Canal can be expensive. You should try finding some other cheaper alternative and the good news is that there are plenty of choices that you can choose from. Mestre which is a town near Venice can offer excellent accommodations at cheaper prices. If you have a choice, you should also avoid visiting Venice during the summer months because it can become crowded during the peak season. It can lose much of its charm during that time.

You should also avoid spending too much time and money on shopping while in Venice. There are other more worthwhile activities other than buying merchandise that you would have to carry with you when you leave.

Mistakes Travellers Make in Mexico

Mexico is another popular tourist destination mainly because of the beaches there and also the historical places. One common mistake that a travellers can commit while visiting Mexico has something to do with the currency. Some ATMs in the country display the Dollar sign, but in fact they are referring to the Peso. If you have to use an ATM while in Mexico, stick to the ones that are from multinational banks. That can lessen the confusion.

If you are from the United States or Canada then you might suppose that using the mobile phone there would have the same rate like at home. The rates are more expensive while in Mexico but they are not exorbitant. Before you leave make sure that you check with your mobile phone provider to find out what kind of rates you will be charged while in Mexico. You should also make sure that the tour guide that you will be hiring is legitimate and trustworthy. Crime is high in Mexico and criminals there victimize and target tourists as well.

These are just a few of the common mistakes that people make when they are visiting some of the more famous destinations in the world today.

Categories: Budget Travel

The Most Expensive Destinations in the World

Are you into budget travels? Then you have to choose your destination carefully. Some places are just more expensive than others and you have to choose the destinations that would allow you to stretch your budget. Most cities in the world would allow you to do that. If you know just where to look for it, you can find cheap accommodations and affordable dining options. But then again there are certain destinations that would simply be beyond your budget no matter what you do. Here are some of the destinations in the world that are simply not for the budget traveller. These are the places that would not be on your list if you are looking for places where your budget can get you far.

Oslo

Norway is rich in petroleum and like other cities that are founded on the wealth oil, Oslo is also a very expensive place to stay and visit. In fact, according to a recent report, Oslo is the most expensive city in the world. Oslo is a very cosmopolitan city and you can find a lot of things to enjoy there. The problem is that you would have to pay more there as compared to what you need to pay in other European cities. Goods and services in Oslo are higher by 70% than the world average. If you are a budget traveller, then you would not go far in the Norwegian city.

Zurich

There are so many things offered by Zurich. The fresh mountain air, the beautiful surroundings and the safe places where you can walk any time are all distinctive parts of Zurich. But those things come at a price. A steep price actually. If you are looking for a budget accommodation over the weekend then Zurich should be at the last of your list. Another problem with Zurich is the cost of transportation there. The cost of public transport in Zurich is believed to be the most expensive in the world. Not exactly the kind of place that a budget traveller would want to go to.

New York

There is something about New York that sets it apart from the other cities in the United States or in the world for that matter. There is something about it that makes it the leading city in the world. People from all over the world want to visit New York just to be able to say that they have been there. But if you are a budget traveller then you should stay away from the city because it has the most expensive accommodations in the world. This is the same city where you can get a $1000 sundae. Overpricing is the name of the game in New York.

Bora Bora

If there is an isolated place that is so expensive then it has to be Bora Bora. The South Pacific island is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the world. But if you are a budget traveller then Bora Bora is not your kind of island. Getting one of the exclusive bungalows in the island can cost $1,000 per night. Staying there is not the only expensive thing. Flights to the island can be expensive as well. If you have a limited budget for your trip, you better write this one off. But if you really want to visit the place then you should visit the island between December and March. The rates for staying there during that period go down considerably.

Sydney

You can have a jolly good stay while in Sydney, you just better be ready and have the money for it. The city is considered to be one of the most expensive places in the world today. According to an analysis, a weekend getaway in Sydney would actually cost more than in New York. If you have a limited budget for your travel then Sydney is definitely out of the question for you.

Tokyo

Tokyo is considered to be one of the most expensive cities in the world to visit. It’s so expensive that even the Japanese complain. According to studies, the Japanese capital is the third most expensive city in the world. Compared with other Asian cities, goods and services in Tokyo are actually 50% more expensive. When it comes to hotel accommodations, it can rival New York City for being expensive. Like other places around the world there are also some cheaper options. Tokyo is such a large city that you are sure to find affordable options there but you have to be ready to do some searching first.

London

If it is culture that you want in your travels then London has it all. It has a thriving theatre scene, it has some of the greatest museums in the world and its historic landmarks are unmatched. The problem is that the city is one of the most expensive places to visit. The cost of a four star hotel in London could be as high as $440 per night. Even the small things like coffee and movie tickets are more expensive in London when compared with other European cities. Though London sure is expensive, there are things that you can do there even if you are on a tight budget.

Las Vegas

If you have the money to splurge then Las Vegas is definitely the place for you to go. The place is known for pushing things beyond the normal and so you can expect costs there to be beyond the normal as well. This is the city where you can get $40,000 per night hotel room or a $5,000 burger. Exorbitant pricing seems to be the norm in Vegas and if you still have some money after you got your accommodations, then you can lose it at the casinos. If you are a budget traveller though then Vegas has something to offer you as well. Just get the hotels that are off the Strip.

Monte Carlo

If you want to visit a place where you would feel like a king, then Monte Carlo is the place to be. Monte Carlo has the highest hotel prices overall. It’s not just the hotels that are expensive there. Virtually anything that you do would cost more in Monte Carlo than anywhere else. Whether you would be playing golf or eating at a restaurant. If you are a budget traveller, this is probably one of those places that you would not visit anyway. Everything in the city has been overpriced since it has been associated with luxury living and royalty.

Singapore

Not too long ago, Singapore was actually considered to be a great place to visit by people who are on a budget. The problem is that in recent years that rising cost of living and the flooding of wealthy foreigners have made the cost of visiting Singapore go up. The good news for budget travellers like you is that there are cheap options there as well. Food for one is available in many food halls at cheap prices. While your hotel accommodation may be expensive you can at least save on the food.

These are some of the most expensive destinations around the world which you should avoid if you want to stick to a budget.

Categories: Budget Travel

Budgeting Your Finances as a College Student

College is an exciting time for young people. They are discovering independence, expanding social circles, and preparing for their career. It’s also a very crucial time to learn budgeting and taking care of your finances if you haven’t learned it already. For you to focus on your studies instead of worrying about your funds, here are some tips to help you.

Create a Budget

Even if you’re not earning anything, it doesn’t mean that you don’t need to create a budget. You still need to estimate how much you will be spending and how much money goes into your pocket each month. Your “income” would include your allowance, savings, and part-time job income (if applicable). Learning how to manage these will help you make the most out of it and minimize unnecessary expenses.

A good way to start creating a budget is to list down on paper your monthly expenses and your money on hand. Even though you’re not yet starting college, it’s a good idea to estimate your expenses for college. When you get accepted in a university, you might have already started to read up on the cost of living in that area and if your school will provide living accommodations for you or not. This gives you a better perspective on your expenses and if you really need them or not.

Once you start college, you need to track your expenses on a daily basis. You can collect paper receipts or immediately list your expenses after spending. It might take some time to get used to this habit and even more self-discipline to stick to this routine, but it’s one of the basic skills for managing your budget.

Define Needs and Wants

Another thing that you need to work on is to know which of your expenses are solely based on wants and which expenses are a necessity for you. One specific example is gas money. If you’re spending more than $40 a week just for gas, you need to seriously consider if it is needed or if you can find ways to minimize it. In your area, it might be easier to use public transportation or even walk to your university.

On the other hand, buying groceries or food supplies are a definite necessity. Still, it’s easy to go overboard and buy expensive items just because you think it’s covered in your food expense. Even if it’s classified under a necessary expense, there are still options for you to save. For example, you can buy fresh produce and make your own food instead of eating in fast food restaurants all the time.

Limit Your Leisure Expense

Part of college is meeting new friends and establishing your social circles. In line with this, out-of-town trips or excursions are popular. Some people go on trips almost every weekend when they’re not partying with their friends. For you, these are good ways to get to know other people and forge friendships. On the financial side, these are classified as leisure expense and need to be minimized. Frequent partying or trips can be very costly and you’ll burn through your budget in no time.

Remember that you’re studying in the university to further your education and get a degree, not make friends only. That should keep your priorities straight and help you in making decisions.

Spend Time Wisely

Part of college is having lots of free time. Some people use these for spring breaks or just spending time with friends. If you’re concerned about your finances, you can use it to get a part-time job instead. This will put extra cash in your pocket and help defray your daily expenses. In addition to earning a bit on the side, the work experience (no matter how minor) will help you land a job in the future.

Use Technology

Being a tech-savvy person, there are a lot of ways you can use technology for your budget. You can make use of a spreadsheet to track your expenses and how much money you have left for the month. Knowing your allowable money to spend ensures that you don’t go overboard. There are also some phone applications that help track your expenses real time. This way you won’t be able to forget them if you choose to log them at the end of the day.

Set Goals for Yourself

It’s very tempting to buy the latest smart phone or that new bikini as soon as you have enough savings. For you to use your money wisely, try to make short and long term goals. Your short term goal can be that new piece of clothing you want, while a long term goal can be a new car or a new gadget. Knowing what you want to save your money for will help motivate you to keep a little of your money on the side. As a bonus, it feels really good (and guilt-free) when you buy your goal item.

Learn about Bank Auto Deposits

If you’re receiving money on a regular basis (allowance or salary) in your bank, ask the bank if they have an auto deposit option. This works by setting aside a fixed amount from your bank account at specific dates of the month. Let’s say that you earn money every 15th of the month. You can set your account to withdraw automatically $50 and put it in a separate savings account. This way you won’t need to worry about setting aside money and focus on budgeting the amount left. A lot of banks now offer this option, so it’s worth asking them if you’re eligible for this.

Ask Around

Experience is definitely the best teacher. This holds true when it comes to budgeting as well. Your friends and family members who have experienced university life might be able to give you some suggestions on what worked for them and what to avoid. Talking to other people and learning about their experience is much better than reading it on the internet whole day. They’ve already tried it and they definitely know what they’re talking about.

Keep Buying to a Minimum

When you’re excited to go to college, it’s easy to buy almost half of the furniture store. Keep in mind that you’ll be staying in an apartment or the college dorms. At most, 4 glasses or 4 pairs of utensils are enough. You won’t expect to host parties every night or have a lot of people staying with you. It’s even recommended to postpone your shopping until you know the space of your living accommodations. So you won’t spend too much and overbuy everything.

In addition, it’s also advisable to buy used textbooks. Books are one of the main necessities and major expenses when you go to school. However for college textbooks, chances are you won’t use them that much and you’ll read only a few chapters. This is one area where you can definitely save money by going for the cheaper alternatives and not spending excessively.

College can be a very new place for many people, especially freshmen. It’s one place to learn about independence at the same time preparing for your future career. Stick to these budgeting tips for college students and it just might make your college life enjoyable and fruitful.

Categories: Finance

Guide to Eating Healthy on a Budget

If money is tight or you’re just worried about your money expenses, then finding healthy food can be quite a challenge. Most people turn to instant or junk foods because they seem very cheap and can help stretch the worth of a dollar. You can always see typical jokes about people (especially students) who live off instant noodles for weeks on end until they get their next allowance or paycheck. We don’t need to remind you about the ill effects of junk food as a staple food. Just remember that medical bills are more costly in the long run. The savings you get from eating cheap, unhealthy food can’t even cover them.

If you’re thinking about saving money in terms of food expenses, there are some options that will help you make the most out of your money without sacrificing your health. Regarding budgeting, here are three P’s that you should remember.

Plan

Making a meal plan for the whole week should be one of your first steps. This way, you’ll know what to buy beforehand, how much these meals will cost you, and if you can modify it to save money. For example, if you’re planning to make a turkey sandwich for your lunch or dinner, try to see if you can substitute it for something cheaper. Instead of turkey meat you could probably swap it out for ham or chicken instead. Planning prevents buying on impulse and wasting money on expensive food products when cheaper alternatives are available.

When you’re planning your meals, you should also consider the food supplies you have on hand. A lot of food products go to waste and end up in the rubbish bin because they became spoiled. Don’t let these go to waste just because you forgot they existed. Checking your pantry or refrigerator might turn up some valuable find. You could use these food products, resulting in a shorter grocery list for the weekly meals. Speaking of grocery lists, make sure that you carry one whenever you buy food. Of course, grocery lists won’t be useful if you don’t stick to them. In short: make a list of what you need and buy only from the list.

Purchase

As you’re buying food supplies, be vigilant when it comes to prices. Always consider store brands – they offer the same product quality as their expensive, branded counterparts at a cheaper price. Some store brand produce even offer discounts when you buy them in family packs or in bulks. It’s also a good idea to check the unit prices displayed on shelves and compare them with similar products so that you’ll be able to find the best value for your money.

Before you head out to the grocery, it’s also important that you go there when you’re not hungry and you have a lot of time on your hands. If you’re rushed, you won’t have time to think about a purchase or compare them. You end up buying expensive products when there were cheaper alternatives nearby. Also, if you go to a grocery when you’re hungry, everything looks good and impulse buying becomes very easy. Once you go home though, you’ll find out that some of the foodstuffs you bought were useless and just unnecessary expenses.

Preparation

If you plan your meals well, some food types like casseroles or soups can be cooked in big batches and reheated over the week. This will help you save on ingredients and also on time. If you store them in individual containers, you can even bring them to work. Considering meals that can be pre-cooked and reheated saves time for you. You can cook these on days when you’re not busy, and simply reheat them when you have no time.

It’s even possible to reuse your leftovers. If it’s still edible, you can change the dish’s appearance and taste. For example, you can reuse pork and add it to soups or stews. You won’t have to buy new ingredients and it will also prolong the lifespan of a certain dish. Again, just make sure that it’s edible before you reuse it.

Dining Out

Eating at restaurants is one of the major expenses when it comes to food. You pay a lot for food which tastes good, but sometimes the servings are just not to your liking. You end up hungry and go for a snack a few hours after. It doesn’t also mean that you should just avoid restaurants like the plague. It’s still possible to eat at restaurants and save money – you just have to do it smartly.

An example strategy is to eat there at lunch time. It’s not that crowded, but you’ll still get the same service and quality of food. Some restaurants even have specials on lunch time since there are few patrons at that time. A small tip is to order service water when you dine out. Beverages are way overpriced in restaurants and can crank the bill way up high.

Famer’s Markets

One thing to consider when you’re planning to buy food supplies is the store or market. Some groceries are cheaper than others, but the food quality is still the same or even better. A good example of this is the farmer’s market. This is where the local farmers gather and sell their produce. You know that their produce is fresh and you can personally inspect its quality. It’s also very cheap compared to groceries or supermarkets because they don’t have to cover packaging or marketing costs. Since it’s an informal market, you can even haggle if you want.

Use Small Discounts

Coupons might seem to provide only small discounts for your purchases. Once you add them up though, they can save you big amounts of money. It’s important to think long term when you’re planning or using coupons already. A lot of people consider it as a waste of time and energy to look for coupons in newspapers, magazines, or even in the internet. Don’t let their small discounts fool you; it’ll pay off in the long run.

Another way to avail of small discounts is through membership cards. A lot of stores including supermarkets and groceries have this. To avail of this promotion, you just sign a membership form and submit it (for free). The perks include gaining points every time you use it or earn a percentage of the points from your total purchase. For this method though, you don’t need to spend a lot of time and effort. Just fill out the application form and present your card each time you make a purchase.

Sacrificing your health is never an option for you to save money on food expenses. As our guide to eating healthy on a budget showed you, there are a lot of options for you to try out. It takes a bit of practice, trial and error to get things right. Once you do get the basic skills down, it’ll be second nature to you and staying healthy will be easy.

Categories: Health