Tag: Budgeting (page 1 of 6)

The Sim Card Shuffle: How to Travel and Stay Connected

A smartphone is fast becoming the most versatile machine a traveler can own. It is our telephone, stereo, messenger, high resolution camera, and POS system. And in a turn that makes the smartphone even more valuable to our everyday functioning, even mythically-so, there’s this: it’s not constrained by nationality.

From buying a local SIM card, to signing up for an international mobile plan, to wifi hopping, there are all sorts of ways to use your smartphone to stay connected when traveling around the world.

Local SIM Cards

A SIM card, short for subscriber identity module card, is that square plastic wafer nestled inside your smartphone. Its job is to store information and connect the device to the carrier network.

The thing that makes a SIM card so great for travel is that it’s entirely interchangeable. If you’re taking a vacation to Italy and want your phone to put on a fancy Italian jacket and speak to all the right Italian cell towers, you can simply buy a local SIM card and for all intents and purpose it will be an Italian phone. Yes, you’ll even get a new, local phone number.

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Frugal Vacation: 3 Ways To Cut Costs On Your Next Road Trip

With summer around the corner, many families are considering their next vacation. Vacation can be a wonderful time to get away from work and hectic schedules and to bond as a family. They can also be money traps that can get hard-working individuals far off their budgets and even into debt. However, the family that plans ahead can find frugal ways to cut costs on their next road trip without cutting out fun.

Beware of Food Traps

Food seems very insignificant to the person planning a trip. In fact, for most, it is only an afterthought. However, when one considers three meals a day plus a couple of snacks, all of which are eaten out, the costs can skyrocket for a family. Eating at a sit-down restaurant can increase costs further when one adds on a tip. Consider saving money on two smaller meals each day as well as on snacks, and only eat out for dinner. Breakfast can be easily managed with cold cereal, yogurt or oatmeal for families who have access to a microwave or mini fridge in their hotel rooms. For those without these conveniences, a breakfast bar and juice box can do the trick. Peanut butter and honey sandwiches or prepackaged tuna salad on bread or crackers can make a tasty and nutritious lunch. Bags of popped chips, whole wheat crackers, 100% fruit snacks or nuts can make delicious snacks and can be paired with a dark chocolate candy bar for those with a sweet tooth.

Choose Reliable Personal Transportation

Because the gas price has gone down compared to a few summers ago, many families are opting for car trips rather than air travel. Therefore, families going on road trips need to consider the best routes and times to travel to avoid excessive traffic jams and congestion, which can significantly pull down gas mileage. In addition, one should have the family vehicle fully checked over before heading out for a long trip. Small problems can turn into significant costs when they are not taken care of immediately. For example, driving with a dirty air filter can shave 10% off the gas mileage. In addition, driving on tires that are not filled to the correct pressure can decrease gas mileage. Individuals should also check tire tread, fluid levels, headlights, brake lights and transmission fluid levels. Individuals who do not have a reliable family car should consider visiting professional like those at this St George KIA dealership, and investing in a new one for overall savings over time.

Get Deals on Hotels and Attractions

Families should be sure to book hotels and entertainment ahead of time to avoid terrible rates on last-minute sales. Most families can find great rates on their own by visiting popular websites, such as Priceline, Expedia and Travelocity. For some major trips, a travel agent can actually be worthwhile because he or she will able to find the best overall deals and can often find all-inclusive options. To save on entertainment, a simple online search for the attraction with the word “discount” attached can unlock great savings, or Groupon is another great option. Local visitor’s bureaus may offer coupons for popular area attractions as well.

Families should be setting money aside all year long to spend on a vacation and should be careful to stay on budget while away from home. A prepaid credit card can be a great way to ensure that costs do not exceed the planned amount. With a little extra research and some hands-on preparation, families planning road trips can shave costs from food, travel, lodging and entertainment.

 

About the Author:

Emma is a freelance writer currently living in Boston, MA. She writes most often on education and business. To see more from Emma, say hi on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2

Pearls of Wisdom for First Time Travelers:

As somebody who has probably made every mistake known when it comes to traveling, I thought I would share a little bit of my wisdom that I have picked up along the way. Traveling is amazing (there’s no doubt about that) and if you have wanderlust, then there’s nothing better than getting out and seeing the world! But when you’ve broken your arm in Thailand and you haven’t got travel insurance, or you’re traveling across Europe and haven’t got enough money to pay for your hostel, then things need to change! Here are a few tips that I’ve picked up along the way that I think you’ll appreciate.

Trying to see everything

Trying to see everything at once is one of the biggest rookie errors that you can make. I remember the first time I went to Italy, I had 5 days and the ambition to see everything, which ended in disaster. I ended up missing half of the places I had booked, and spent the whole time stressed out. Try and limit yourself to a few cities/ places wherever you are traveling so you can take the time to really appreciate where you are. One of the best places that I’ve ever been to is Lake Bled in Slovenia, it was so beautiful and scenic, and I honestly think that I enjoyed it so much because I took the time to relax and explore what it had to offer. Just remember, you don’t have to cram everything in!

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Practical Tips I Wish I Followed Before I Started Traveling

When you travel to different places in the world, you need to adapt to a number of things. Visa and immigration issues may vary from place to place. Each country has it’s own culture and the kind of people you come across are different in every part of the world. Nonetheless, there are a few things which remain the same no matter where you head off to. Here are some of the tips I wish I knew before I started following my passion for traveling:

Always Keep the Hotel Card

This is not at all important if you have visited the country before or the local people speak the English language. However, if you are surrounded by people who may not understand a word you say, it is helpful to keep the original hotel card that displays the hotel’s name in the local language. This helps in situations when you get lost or are staying at a place which is not listed on Google Maps. You simply have to show the card to a cab driver and he will take you to your hotel.
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How To Make Money While Traveling

Traveling is a such a rewarding and fun way of seeing the world that you almost never want to come home. However, many of us do, as we need to make the cash to fund our next trip. But did you think about the fact that you can earn money while you’re on the road, so you can truly be a digital nomad. Here’s some of the best ways to make money while you’re on an adventure.

Rent your Car

Why let your car sit unused while you’re thousands of miles away? It’s a waste of untapped income. There are services like Turo that will rent out your car for you while you’re away. If that sounds a little scary, remember that some companies will insure your car for up to $1 million while it’s under their care. Ask around and you could make some good cash for pretty much doing nothing!

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