Category Archives: Student Travel

There is a saying, when a man has time, he is short on money. When a man has money, he is short on time. Being a student and traveling is similar. As a student you have time but you lack resources. But you don’t have to be limited.

Beyond Bicycles: How Electric Trikes Combine Form, Function, and Fun

When it comes to redefining personal mobility, electric trikes have burst onto the scene. Electric trikes are a revolutionary evolution of the traditional bicycle that is steering us into a new era of mobility that blends form, function, and fun in remarkable ways.

Powered by electric motors, these trikes offer a dynamic and accessible mode of transport that has captured the attention of diverse user groups, from urban commuters to adventurers seeking unconventional experiences.

Electric tricycles are also becoming increasingly stylish and customizable, including excellent stability, carrying capacity, and comfort, making them a more attractive option for a wider range of riders.

So, if you want to be able to ride without the fear of falling, carrying heavy loads, and feeling uncomfortable, enter the world of electric trikes with this guide and discover their delightful combination of form, function, and fun.

Electric Trikes: A New Era of Mobility

As the name suggests, electric trikes are three-wheeled vehicles equipped with electric motors.

Unlike conventional bicycles, etrikes offer pedal-assist or fully electric power, enhancing both speed and ease of use. This innovation has propelled electric trikes into the spotlight as a versatile and eco-friendly solution for modern transportation needs.

So, why opt for an electric trike over a traditional bicycle?

Well, the answer lies in its exceptional stability, especially when compared to its two-wheeled counterparts. The three-wheel configuration not only offers enhanced balance but also eliminates the need to balance the vehicle at stops or slow speeds, making it an appealing option for individuals of varying physical abilities.

The best part is that electric tricycles can carry more cargo than bicycles. Their unique blend of aesthetics, practicality, and entertainment value makes them a standout choice in the world of personal mobility. E-trikes are stylish and customizable, making them a great option for riders of all abilities.

Exploring the Form Factor: Modern Aesthetics and Design

Ergonomic Design Principles

Electric trikes are designed with a sleek and modern aesthetic that appeals to a wide range of riders.

The form factor of these electric folding trikes is meticulously crafted to ensure rider comfort during short commutes or extended journeys. Comfortable seating, easily accessible controls, and intuitive handlebar placement all contribute to a smooth and enjoyable riding experience.

Customization and Personalization Options

In today’s era, personalization is one of the key factors when it comes to electric vehicles. Recognizing the importance of personalization, manufacturers come with color choices, accessories, and additional features so that riders can customize their vehicles to reflect their preferences.

Functionality: Enhanced Mobility and Practicality

Electric trikes excel in functionality, offering an array of advantages over bicycles:

Electric Assistance and Extended Range

Electric trikes shine when it comes to enhancing functionality with their power assistance mechanism. Another notable advantage of electric trikes is their extended range and battery efficiency.

The electric power assistance mechanism present in models like the Addmotor CITYTRI E-310 electric folding trike empowers riders by providing an extra boost when pedaling. With its 750W electric motors and a 48V*20Ah long-range battery integrated into the design, this etrike transforms strenuous journeys into enjoyable outings

This feature proves especially valuable during uphill climbs or when covering longer distances to arrive at their destination without breaking a sweat. Beyond that, the extended range not only increases the trike’s practicality for commuting but also encourages riders to explore their surroundings without worrying about battery life.

Stability

The three-wheel design ensures superior stability, making etrikes an ideal option for riders of all ages and abilities. This stability is particularly appealing to those who may have balance issues or mobility limitations.

Cargo Capacity

Many etrike models are designed with cargo capabilities in mind. Some feature spacious storage compartments, baskets, or even cargo trailers, transforming them into practical alternatives for grocery shopping, commuting with luggage, or running errands.

The Joy of Riding: Fun with Every Pedal

Electric trikes redefine the riding experience by offering an enjoyable and engaging journey:

Ease of Use

Etrikes are incredibly user-friendly, requiring minimal effort to operate. This accessibility encourages more people to embrace etrikes, even those who might have been hesitant to ride a traditional bike.

Comfortable Seating and Riding Position: The joy of riding an electric trike is amplified by the emphasis on rider comfort. If we take the previous example, the adult electric trike Addmotor CITYTRI E-310’s well-designed seating and ergonomic riding position ensure that each journey is a pleasant experience. Long rides are no longer arduous tasks; they become opportunities to revel in the scenery while cruising in comfort.

Safety Features

Safety takes center stage in electric trikes, and stability is a prime contributor. With three wheels and a balanced design, the adult electric trike provides a stable and secure platform, even at slower speeds. Additionally, safety features like lights, brake system, integrated buttons, Speed Differential, Reflective Tires, etc., are often integrated to enhance rider visibility and ensure a safe ride.

Scenic Exploration

E-trikes’ versatility, added comfort and stability of e-trikes allow riders to explore their surroundings confidently. Whether navigating through bustling city streets or cruising along scenic paths, e-trikes enable riders to immerse themselves in their environment and appreciate the journey.

By harmonizing all these cutting-edge technologies and benefits with a captivating aesthetic, the Addmotor CITYTRI E-310 exemplifies the exciting potential of electric trikes and masterfully intertwines form, function, and fun, which makes it not only efficient but also a joy to ride.

Conclusion

Electric trikes are more than just bicycles with an extra wheel. They are practical, convenient choices suitable for riders of all ages, abilities, and preferences.

As you ​intend your next mode of transportation, consider the benefits of electric trikes: the stability, carrying capacity, comfort, and undeniable joy they offer. Take the leap into this electrifying revolution and experience the future of mobility firsthand.

So, embrace the power of electric trikes and redefine how you move. You will be amazed by how electric trikes can transform your cycling experience and make it more fun and enjoyable.

Don’t Make These Common Travel Mistakes

Booked your first air ticket? Congratulations, you are soon going to fly at 32,000 ft above the clouds.

Flying for the first time can be both fun and exciting. However, if you have any flying anxiety, before boarding a flight, seek professional help or enroll in an online flying course to ensure a seamless experience.

Mistakes happen and many first-time flyers make blunders that can affect their journey and overall travel experience.

Let’s find out what are the most common travel mistakes and how you can avoid them!

Forgetting to check passport Expiration

There is nothing quite like the stress that comes from booking a flight and learning your passport is expired.

Many first-time flyers often make a mistake of not checking their passport expiration date. Some countries like China and Brazil require 6 months of passport validity. This means such countries will deny you entry if your passport isn’t valid for at least 6 months after your last day of travel.

It’s better to check your passport’s expiration date and, if needed, update it to avoid any problems.

Overpacking

As a first-time flyer, it may be tempting to pack a lot of stuff to make the trip more pleasant.

However, this can make your journey difficult and can boost the chances of you getting charged with potential baggage fines.

It is advised to go through the baggage allowance policies of your airline.

Reaching late at the airport

At the airport, it is a common sight to see people arriving late and many of them end up missing their flight.

For instance, if your plane departs at 2:00 pm, that doesn’t mean you have to reach the airport 20 or 30 minutes before just to find a closed boarding gate or to watch your plane flying away from the terminal.

Procedures like getting the boarding pass, security checks, and reaching terminals can all take much longer than you believe.

So, if you’re a first-time flyer, reach the airport at least 2 to 3 hours before the scheduled departure so that you have spare time to board the flight.

Not opting for web check-in

Whether you are a rookie flyer or an experienced jet setter, web check-in should be your top priority.

By web check-in, you can:

  • avoid standing in a long queue
  • save your precious time
  • choose the desired seat on the plane
  • immediately go through the security checks and then to the boarding

Forgetting to carry in-flight entertainment

This is the most common mistake that first-time flyers make.

Whether it’s a long-haul journey or not, carrying in-flight entertainment like headphones, iPad, e-reader, or smartphone can be a lifesaver on your flight.

Some of the benefits are:

  • Makes the journey enjoyable and fun
  • Calm your flying jitters
  • Time passes quickly
  • Keep you distracted
  • Block unwanted noises

Let’s wrap up

In-advance planning, double-checking your luggage, arriving on time, and avoiding these potential mistakes can make your first flight comfortable.

Above all, don’t’ forget to communicate with your co-passengers and seek help from the crew if you feel uncomfortable.

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Family Gap Year: Visiting All 50 US States

If you’re from the United States, you probably think of it as just “home.” But the US is one of the biggest countries in the world, with incredibly diverse geography, and you could explore it for years without getting bored.

Just as the song says, “from the mountains, to the prairies, to the oceans white with foam…”

Sunrise on South Padre Island, Texas

Many people have the goal of visiting all 50 states, and our family is no exception. In the past two years, our family of six has traveled the US full-time and visited 45 states.

Counting previous trips, we’ve actually been to 49 out of the 50 states (just Alaska left to visit!), so it’s safe to say we are experts on traveling with a family in the United States!

Why Travel the United States

The US contains a vast array of geographical landscapes and cultural experiences. You can enjoy a tropical beach in Florida, explore the deserts of the southwest, visit Hollywood and New York City, see a volcano in Hawaii and a glacier in Montana, ski down a mountain in Colorado, admire the prairie grasslands in Kansas, and so much more.

And it’s all incredibly accessible! When you travel within the continental US, you can reach every area by car or RV. Laws are generally the same from state to state, and you can freely travel across state borders.

When our family decided to move from the southwest US to the east coast, we thought, “Why not take our time getting there?”

Two years later we still haven’t settled down. We are traveling full-time and loving every moment. While we do want to head overseas, the 2020 pandemic delayed those plans, so in the meantime we are just enjoying seeing as much of the beautiful USA as possible.

Devil’s Bridge in Sedona, Arizona

How to take a family gap year

We started with the idea that we’d take one year off to work remotely, homeschool our kids, and travel — what’s become known as a family gap year. Now is the perfect time to take a family gap year, as modern technology has made travel more accessible than ever before.

Many full-time traveling families live in an RV, but we don’t. The six of us travel in our minivan and primarily stay in Airbnbs for four weeks at a time. This lets us take advantage of the hefty discounts that Airbnb owners often offer for long stays, enjoy the physical space of a house or apartment, and really experience each location like locals.

I could write a novel about all the details of how to take a family gap year, but the two major tips are:

1. Sell or rent your house and put your mortgage/rent money toward your lodgings, and

2. Work remotely and homeschool.

If you’re willing to give up the comfort of having a homebase, at least temporarily, and you have a job that you can take on the road, then you have ultimate freedom!

Hot Air Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, New Mexico

How to visit all 50 states

Our route to 45 states in two years has been a little…how should I say this? All over the place! We’ve made three loops across the country so far with a fourth coming up soon.

We like to visit the southern states in the winter and the northern states in the summer (for obvious reasons), and we’ve been alternating exploring new places and revisiting old favorites. We often stay for about a month at each location, but sometimes we visit destinations for just a weekend, in between longer stays.

If you want to be super efficient in your US travels, you might want to check out Randy Olson’s optimal US road trip maps, or TripSavvy’s list of must-see American attractions in an ordered loop you can begin at any point.

However you decide to travel the US, there’s beauty and fun to be found wherever you go!

Glacier National Park, Montana

Must-Visit USA Destinations for Families

Hopefully the information that follows helps you to plan your ultimate USA travels, whether you hit the road full-time or make separate trips over a number of years. We haven’t been everywhere, but we’ve been a lot of places, and these are our favorites!

Pacific Northwest

We began our travels in the Pacific Northwest, an area of the country that we had never visited before. It was like a magical land, always misty with very tall trees and rocky beaches.

Our Airbnb on Whidbey Island even had a family of deer that liked to relax in the yard.

Must-visit destinations in the Pacific Northwest:

Whidbey Island

  • Check out the “disappearing cannons” at Fort Casey
  • Attend the annual Kite Festival

Fly a kite at the Whidbey Island Kite Festival

Friday Harbor

  • Learn about whales at The Whale Museum
  • Go orca watching at Lime Kiln Point

Seattle

  • Go up in the Space Needle
  • Visit Understory at the Amazon Spheres
  • Watch the fish throwers at Pike Place Market
  • Take a boat ride at The Center for Wooden Boats

Ride a wooden boat on Lake Washington

Portland

  • Browse the shelves at Powell’s Books
  • Get a Voodoo Donut
  • Visit the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center

California

California is a unique state that deserves a category to itself. Spanning almost the whole Pacific coastline, there is much to see from the northern vineyards and redwood trees to the bustle and beaches of southern California.

Must-visit destinations in California:

Northern California

  • Hug a giant redwood tree
  • Visit a Sonoma vineyard

San Francisco

  • Drive across the Golden Gate Bridge
  • Visit Fisherman’s Wharf
  • Have some chocolate at Ghirardelli Square
  • Drive or walk down Lombard Street
  • Ride a cable car

Ride a cable car in San Francisco

Drive the Pacific Coast Highway

View from Pacific Coast Highway

Southern California

  • Walk the Santa Monica Pier
  • Hike to the Hollywood sign
  • Visit Disneyland
  • Learn about space at the Griffith Observatory


Visit Griffith Park for great views of Los Angeles

Southwest USA

We lived in Arizona for 15 years, so we are well-acquainted with the southwest! Growing up in Maine, I never knew the desert could be so beautiful, but the vistas of the southwest are something wonderful to behold.

Just keep an eye out for rattlesnakes, tarantulas, and scorpions, all of which we encountered at one time or another!

Must-visit destinations in the Southwest:

Nevada

  • Walk the Las Vegas Strip

Utah

  • Drive through colorful Zion National Park


Drive through Zion National Park for gorgeous vistas

Arizona

  • Stay at the Wigwam Motel on Route 66
    Drive Gate’s Pass in Tucson for gorgeous desert views
    Watch a gunfight in Tombstone
    Marvel at the Grand Canyon


The Grand Canyon makes every jaw drop

New Mexico

  • Attend the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

Four Corners

  • Stand in four states at once!

Texas

Another state big enough to have its own category is Texas! As they say, everything is bigger in Texas. There are several major cities with lots to offer, from Austin to Dallas to Houston, and there’s also quite the impressive coastline on the eastern side.

Our favorite Texas cities are San Antonio and South Padre Island.

Must-visit destinations in Texas:

Amarillo

  • Spray paint the cars at Cadillac Ranch


Add your mark on the cars at Cadillac Ranch

San Antonio

  • Tour the Alamo
  • Take a boat ride along the Riverwalk

South Padre Island

  • Ride the go-karts at Gravity Park
  • Visit the rescued sea turtles at Sea Turtle Inc.
  • Take a sandcastle building lesson


Learn how to build the perfect sandcastle on South Padre Island

Florida and the Gulf Coast

We love visiting the Gulf Coast, from the rich history in New Orleans, to the miles of white sandy beaches in southern Mississippi, Alabama, and along the Florida panhandle.

As a family with young kids, we’re no strangers to the theme parks of Orlando, and we love the tropical paradise of Miami and the Keys.

Must-visit destinations in Florida and the Gulf Coast:

New Orleans

  • Visit the French Quarter
  • Listen to some jazz music at Preservation Hall
  • Eat a beignet at Cafe Du Monde and a muffaletta from Central Grocery

Alabama

  • Relax on the perfect sandy beach in Gulf Shores
  • Attend a Mardi Gras parade on Dauphin Island

Florida

  • Visit Disney World
  • People-watch on South Beach in Miami
  • Visit the southernmost point in Key West
  • See the mermaids at Weeki Wachee


These mermaids perform incredible feats underwater!

Southeast USA

There’s so much history, culture, and good food to be found in the south! Visit in the fall or spring for weather that’s “just right”. We fell in love with South Carolina when we visited on our travels and now plan to settle down there and live the beach life!

Must-visit destinations in the Southeast:

North Carolina

  • Walk through the dreamlike UNC botanical gardens in Charlotte


The UNC Botanical Gardens are straight out of a fairytale

South Carolina

  • Try all the flavors of moonshine at the Kentucky Mist Distillery in Myrtle Beach
  • Watch the sunrise from Surfside Beach
  • Take a carriage tour through the streets of Charleston

Tennessee

  • Make some music at the Musician’s Hall of Fame in Nashville
  • Try Nashville Hot Chicken (if you dare)
  • Tour Sun Studios in Memphis

The Mississippi River

  • Take a riverboat cruise on the Mississippi River

Georgia

  • See the Spanish Moss in Savannah
  • Try all the flavors in the World of Coke tasting room in Atlanta

Mid-Atlantic US

The mid-Atlantic is where our country was born! There are lots of historical sites to visit in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and New York, gorgeous beaches along the shore, and of course the one-and-only New York City.

Must-visit destinations in the Mid-Atlantic:

Virginia

  • Stroll the Virginia Beach boardwalk
  • Visit Historic Jamestowne

West Virginia

  • Hike part of the Appalachian Trail


Hike the Appalachian Trail in West Virginia

Washington DC

  • Tour the three branches of government
  • Visit the national monuments
  • Explore the (free!) Smithsonian museums
  • Watch the pandas at the National Zoo


Say hi to the pandas at the National Zoo

Pennsylvania

  • Tour Independence Hall and visit the Liberty Bell

New York

  • See a Broadway show
  • Go up to the crown inside the Statue of Liberty
  • Visit Times Square, Rockefeller Center, and Central Park
  • Visit the 9/11 Memorial and Museum
  • Spend a day at Coney Island


Ride the rides or enjoy the beach at Coney Island, New York

New England

New England will always be home to me! I love the beaches and port towns of Maine and New Hampshire and the rich history of Massachusetts. Visit in the summer for beach weather, in the fall to see the gorgeous leaves, or in the winter if you’re brave!

Must-visit destinations in New England:

Boston, Massachusetts

  • Walk the Freedom Trail
  • Take a Duck Tour
  • Visit Faneuil Hall
  • Watch the fish at the New England Aquarium

Enjoy the picturesque foliage in fall


There’s nothing like the fall foliage in New England

Maine

  • Go shopping in Kennebunkport
  • Have the greatest pizza of your life at Pizza by Alex in Biddeford
  • Eat pier fries in Old Orchard Beach

Midwest USA

We spent four weeks in Louisville, Kentucky, and then explored the rest of the midwest on a whirlwind three-week excursion, hitting all the hot spots. Here are some of our recommendations for a trip through the midwest!

Must-visit destinations in the Midwest:

Louisville, Kentucky

  • Tour Churchill Downs (attend the Kentucky Derby if you get the chance!)
  • Watch baseball bats being made at the Louisville Slugger Factory

Ohio

  • Visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Indiana

  • Go duckpin bowling
  • Drive a racecar with the Indy Racing Experience Driving Program

Detroit, Michigan

  • Sing in Studio A at the Motown Museum
  • Take the Coney Dog Challenge

Chicago, Illinois

  • Take a reflection picture in the Bean
  • Visit the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Put your forehead against the glass at the top of Willis Tower
  • Eat a Chicago-style hotdog and deep-dish pizza

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

  • Visit the Milwaukee Public Market and get something cheesy

St. Louis, Missouri

  • Go up in the Gateway Arch


Look out on the west from 630 feet high at the Gateway Arch

Central USA

I wasn’t sure if we’d ever make it to some of the central states, because we tend to take routes that don’t pass through them. But on our mission to visit as many states as possible, we made sure to head that way! What can you see in the middle of the US?

Must-visit destinations in the Central US:

South Dakota

  • Visit Mount Rushmore

Nebraska

  • See Chimney Rock (remember it from playing Oregon Trail?)


Chimney Rock: even better than the 8-bit version!

Kansas

  • Go 650 feet underground and explore a salt mine

Oklahoma

  • Visit the National Oklahoma City Memorial

Mountain West

The Mountain West region encompasses lots of different terrain, from the Rocky Mountains in mile-high Denver, to Yellowstone’s effervescent springs in Wyoming, and the frozen glaciers in Montana.

Must-visit destinations in the Mountain West:

Idaho

  • Eat baked potato ice cream at Westside Drive In


Looks like a potato, tastes like ice cream!

Glacier National Park, Montana

  • See a glacier
  • Drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road


You’ll never forget the gorgeous views at Glacier National Park

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

  • See Old Faithful erupt
  • Marvel at the Grand Prismatic Spring


Yellowstone is a truly unique geographical experience

Colorado

  • Stand a mile high on the Denver Capitol Building steps
  • Tour the haunted Stanley Hotel
  • Visit Garden of the Gods

Alaska & Hawaii

Alaska is the only state we haven’t visited yet, but it’s in the plans! Hawaii was our honeymoon destination back in 2005, and we hope to visit again someday with the whole family.

Must-visit destinations in Alaska & Hawaii:

Alaska

  • See the Northern Lights

Hawaii

  • Tour a volcano
  • Watch the surfers at the North Shore
  • Attend a luau
  • Walk on a black sand beach

I hope this has given you a ton of great ideas for how you can travel and experience the United States with your family. There is truly so much to see and do, from coast to coast!

Author Bio

Megan Tenney travels full-time with her husband and four children. At Family Gap Year Guide, she teaches regular families how to take life on the road! Grab her free guide on how to afford full-time travel and live your dreams of seeing the world with your family!

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Safe Hostel Travel: 14 Tips for Teens

Hostel traveling is one of the best ways to explore the world as a young person. These communities that dot every major city on the globe are hot spots for like-minded voyagers looking to visit faraway cultures and people.

However, life on the road doesn’t come without dangers to personal safety. In this article, we’ll highlight a few simple steps to ensure a fun and secure stay at a hostel, particularly if you are a teen traveler.

Find the Right Location

Finding the right location is one of the greatest ways to ensure safety while visiting a new city. Visiting a new destination (often abroad) is fun, but the cost of travel gets substantially high the further away you travel from your home.

Staying in Hostels is one effective way to budget your expenses but hostels are all about who will share the place with you, how far it is from the city center, public transportation, and what’s the cost when compared against Airbnb or Hotels.

Therefore, booking a hostel should be done carefully so that one doesn’t end up staying far from the places they want to explore. If you plan to drink, look for locations close to the nightlife of your city. It’s better to have a short journey back to bed in the nighttime.

Do Advance Research

There are several websites specifically dedicated to this form of travel, and each site posts helpful information such as they type of hostel, the type of community found there, and what to expect from a stay.

Make sure to find one that fits your personality, as this will mitigate culture shock and oftentimes depression.

Also, do some research about:

  • common travel scams in particular destinations you are planning to visit
  • the nearest embassy of your country
  • note down phone numbers for hospitals, ambulance, and police
  • shady neighborhoods to skip

Drink Responsibly

First thing first, find out the legal drinking age in the country you are visiting. And, do not drink in if you are not of age. Drinking is just one tiny way to have good times but traveling offers so much more. Be mindful, present and curious. Let your senses be overwhelmed by the new experiences (so you don’t feel like you are missing on anything).

Another tip is to drink responsibly (if you must) and if you are traveling in a group, then go to a bar with your group. Do not accept drinks from strangers no matter how friendly they appear.

Pack Light & Carefully

Take care when packing for your trip. Remember that most hostels sleep six to ten people in a single room, so the space you live in will be shared with strangers.

Therefore, all your personal items will be in a common space that is potentially open to thievery. Remember, the quickest way for a trip to be ruined is to lose something important.

One great strategy to minimize the threat of robbery is to be a packing minimalist. When gathering the items, carefully revise and prune the list of items that you will bring.

Expensive clothing shouldn’t be brought if it isn’t necessary, along with high-priced electronics that won’t be of use on the trip. Bringing fewer items will decrease your chances of getting something stolen abroad.

Bring a Lock

Inevitably, some valuables will have to be brought on your trip. Passports, money, and cell phones are part of every travelers’ arsenal when living in hostels. In order to keep these items protected, it is imperative that a lock and key is brought on your journey.

Almost every location will offer lockers to store your gear either for free or for a small fee. Using a locker will allow for important documents and information to be kept in a safe place while exploring the city’s sights or bars. Don’t hesitate to bring one!

Private Rooms

In addition to standard mixed-gender dorms, some locations will offer private rooms for booking. Private rooms are great options for additional privacy if you do not want to share living space with strangers.

Additionally, they can add another level of protection to personal items while visiting cities across the globe.

Specialty Hostels

Another option for female globetrotters is all-female dorms and hostels. While these hostels and rooms come fewer and further between, they can provide additional safety and security for women traveling abroad.

Be sure to look for these options if one has concerns about privacy or living with men.

Final Thoughts

Some additional precautionary tips to keep in mind are:

  • Ask the hostel staff for security advice or anything you should know about
  • Don’t open the hostel door for strangers
  • Make a copy of your Passport and email it to yourself
  • Hide some backup money somewhere safe. This is just in case you lose your wallet/purse
  • Plan to check-in at your hostel before dark for the first time
  • Don’t leave your hostel alone late at night (no matter how safe you feel)
  • Trust your gut “feeling” but also use your brain (it is better to be safe than sorry)

I hope these easy to follow steps help when planning your next trip! The world is a gift, and everyone should have the opportunity to see every part fearlessly.

Go forth and experience something new!

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One Golden Rule To Avoid Overpacking

When I went on my first ever solo trip, I bought myself a 75L rucksack. Yes, you read it correctly. A 75L Rucksack!

I was so happy when I received it. It was huge, and it could carry almost anything.

In my excitement, I packed four pairs of shoes and all the pretty dresses I had. The rest is just a bad memory, Lol. My rucksack became so heavy that I got backache and blisters, and overall physical exhaustion from my trip.

I was so much in pain, that I couldn’t even enjoy my stay. I needed a vacation after my vacation to recover from my vacation!

Read Next: How to Pack Like a Pro & Travel Like a Ninja

The Golden Rule

Pack your bags smartly. There is a golden rule of packing that you must follow if you want to avoid overpacking situations like me.

The Golden Rule: Ditch the what-ifs

If you travel to a place in monsoon, then travel with your boots on. So, you don’t have to think- “should I pack my boots?”

Pro-travelers have a neutral colored wardrobe. I prefer black and blue over any other colors.

As a solo female traveler, as a bonus benefit, remember neutral colors goes a long way. For example, When you are traveling through busy streets or tourist hot spots, and if you dress up in bright colors, you will attract unwanted male attention.

Not only this waste time in causal small talks and saying “No” to offers for drinks and coffee, but it also causes unwanted stress, especially if the place and people don’t appear safe.

But if you wear a neutral color like navy blue, black or gray, you feel at home with the Parisian Women. Make sure your travel capsule has neutral colors which you can mix and match.

Black pants, black jacket, black jeans, and boots can take you almost anywhere in the world. And you can mix and match it with gray and navy blue. Below, there are infographics to show you how to create a travel capsule and yet look fashionable.

There is a saying that the lighter you pack, the farther you go. And it couldn’t be truer.

Travel Capsules – Packing Tips

We have three travel capsules for three seasons you may encounter on your travels: winter, summer, and rainy.

Fall and spring seasons can be planned as a winter destination minus the coats, thermals, jackets, gloves, and boots.

Winter Travel Packing List

  • (Inner) Thermals
  • Black tank tops
  • White tank tops
  • Black full sleeves t-shirts
  • Grey full sleeves t-shirts
  • Black and white striped t-shirts
  • Black pants
  • Blue jeans
  • Black jacket
  • Black boots

Summer Travel Packing List

  • White tank tops
  • Black tank tops
  • Black T-shirts
  • Grey T-shirts
  • Black and white striped t-shirts
  • Blue jeans/shorts
  • Black pants/shorts
  • Tan Sandals
  • A Red/black/white dress

Rainy Travel Packing List

  • Travel size umbrella
  • Light Waterproof /Windproof Jacket
  • White tank tops
  • Black tank tops
  • Black t-shirts
  • Grey Full sleeves shirts
  • Black and white striped t-shirts
  • Black pants
  • Blue jeans
  • Black boots/tan boots

What About Accessories

Actually, accessorize (watch, bracelets, jewelry) don’t take much space. Also, things such as scarves, belts, and handbags don’t take up a ton of space if you utilize the space and pack them smartly.

This means your default neutral-colored look can be enhanced with beautiful, small accessories of bright colors.

Moreover, there are good chances that you’ll do some shopping on your travel and you can also buy a few accessories or clothes as you travel. If you plan it right, you can carry even fewer stuff than what we have suggested above.

A Word on Souvenirs

Some folks like to collect memorabilia from everywhere they visit. This is a subjective choice and although I respect those who buy 5 magnets and postcard photos and a handmade artisan craft and a bag of local coffee or whatever that place is known for, know that these days you can buy most common stuff everywhere.

Besides, many of the artisans made pieces are not truly “made in fill-in-the-blank” but imported from China or South America.

If you absolutely feel like buying a souvenir for yourself or your family and friends, then buy something that is essentially and uniquely local.

You can choose to buy stuff that helps the local people and economy rather than at the airport or in big stores.

You can also consider donating money or hard cash to local artists or street performers. Moreover, you can take a class for something if you are staying longer.

These memories, good karma, and the new skills that you will learn will give you more joy than the shot glasses, postcards, magnets, or whatever common stuff everyone collects.

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Top 6 Tips for Budget Travel

Travel. The 6-letter word that gets everyone, kids and adults alike, all juiced up. Budget; another 6-letter word that is a very important factor in traveling.

But can you put two and two together and figure out how the heck you can travel on a tight budget? Especially that the raise that’s been long overdue hasn’t been overseen by your boss…AGAIN!

Don’t let that dampen your spirits. If you put your foot down and not allow yourself to be reeled in by those luxurious travel commercials or expensive travel brochures; you can definitely afford to travel. All you need are a bit of patience and proper planning.

Same as you, I was once also in a similar situation when I was planning my first ever Southeast Asia vacation. But I stuck to these top 6 tips for my first budget travel.

Related: How to Travel as a Couple on a Low Budget

1. Travel Off-Season

There’s a beauty in traveling off-season and that is – saving money! Airlines hike up the airfares a few weeks before, during, and after peak seasons.

Travel during the off-season or the shoulder season. Some budget airlines almost always offer promo airfares during these seasons and you might get lucky and snatch a cheap fare to the destination of your choice!

Be patient and check the airline’s website once in a while.

2. Go for Budget Hostels

When you travel to a new place, you’re not going to lounge in your beautiful expensive hotel the whole day but you’re probably going to be on-the-go most of the time.

The only time you’ll need it is when you’re done with the day’s activities. Booking a low-cost accommodation can save you loads of money which you can use for other things like attraction fees, souvenirs, or transportation fares.

There are a lot of platforms you can search for reviews and pricing.

3. Try Airbnb or Couchsurfing

Just as the above, if you can’t find a decent hostel in a area, then try Couchsurfing or book your stay through Airbnb. Both options work great and both has its own merits.

Airbnb allows you to search and book shared accommodations. While, Couchsurfing is a community of like minded people who like to travel and meet new people.

Read Next: How to Travel on a Student’s Budget

4. Package Deals and Group Tours

Although having a solo tour with a tour guide all to yourself might sound a bit fancy, it will also cost you a huge amount of money! Go for package deals and group tours.

There are several groups of backpackers and travelers that are also looking for like-minded people they can travel (and save money) with.

5. Pack Right and Pack Light

Only bring the essentials. Strap on your best travel backpack and leave the unnecessary things behind. This will not only give you comfort in carrying a light burden but will also save you the extra baggage fees on the plane.

Rolling my clothes always hits the mark in terms of packing like a pro.

 

Related: Top 15 Money Saving Tips That Actually Works

6. Ditch the Taxis and Embrace Public Transportation

As you know, taxi fares might be very steep in other countries compared to yours. Try to avoid taking cab rides from one point to another.

It’s good to map out your routes for the day so you’ll know which public trains to take. Think of traveling as a fun form of exercising, go for long walks (if you can) to the tourist spots.

Author Bio

Judy Maria is a passionate travel & outdoor blogger who loves to travel and write about her experience. She spends her free time hiking, swimming, camping and spending time with her family. She also blogs at GearJunior which is a site filled with outdoor tips and guides.

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Dalhousie to Amritsar Roadtrip via Chamba

The distance between Amritsar and Dalhousie is almost 180 km. The best way to travel between Amritsar and Dalhousie is to take a train from Amritsar to Pathankot (both cities are in Punjab), and then take a bus or rent a taxi.

In our case, we drove the entire way. Road condition is usually good except for a few patches at times and overall it was a great experience.

Related: Delhi to Amritsar Road Trip 

Dalhousie to Amritsar Roadtrip

The drive is very scenic. Here are few photos from the Chamba region (in Himachal Pradesh). The main goal however for us was to reach Amritsar before noon.

Pic credit: SuyanRamesh

Pic credit: Vjdchauhan

Arriving In Amritsar

We had our lunch at a proper Dhaba in Amritsar, and finally I tried the much hyped lassi. And bammm! It was on my face! I loved it. And the summer heat made it feel like ambrosia. We made it straight towards the famous Golden Temple.

Jallianwala Bagh

You can visit both places on the same day as Jallianwala Bagh and Golden temple are both side by side.

Mass Murder at Jaliianwala

Jaliianwala is a place where many Sikhs had gathered to protest against the British during the British Raj. And then happened the merciless incident, when the silent protesters were fired on by the British troops.

All the gates of the garden were blocked. So the people had nowhere to go. Many tried climbing the walls, and many jumped straight into the well. Terrible!

Jallianwala Bagh is a place which lights patriotism in any Indian, and mercy in any human. Walking inside the Bagh, I saw the walls, where the bullets had hit.

The holes on the wall tell a story of how ruthlessly the forces tried to overpower the peaceful protesters.

Inside the park, the Martyrs well is a place where 120 bodies were found. You can look below and feel the helplessness of the people who jumped into the well to escape from the gunshots.

The panicked protesters couldn’t do anything than run away. There is also a museum nearby which gives you the history of the Indian freedom struggle.

Golden Temple

Just a few steps away from the Jaliianwala Bagh is the Golden temple. You can see the Golden temple shining in the sun from afar. We all walked into the temple. And as soon as you enter you will have to submit your shoes at a counter. It is a holy place, and a temple, so opening the shoes is an important part of the tradition.

Once you submit your shoes you will have to walk on the marble floor in the heat. But the Sikhs are so caring and full of concern, they know the trouble you face.

Hence you can see carpets laid out on the floor. And they are not the normal carpets, they are the wet carpets. They pour water over the carpets, so that it does not hurt the feet.

I had never encountered this level of mindfulness and it made me grateful.

We made our way throughout the temple, and I stood near the pond, where you could wash your hands and feet. It is supposed to be holy.

The water seemed tempting, so I went into the water. But a man soon came by and warned away all the devotees who were in the water because there were fishes swimming on the edges.

I stayed there long enough to wash off my hands and feet, and say a prayer. It was already time for lunch and the sweating made me hungrier.

Ravi who had been to the temple more than once led us to the place where the langar is served. But before that let me tell you what a langar is.

Golden Temple has one of India’s mega kitchen, it serves thousands of people food everyday as a form of charity. Many people volunteer to help, and help with cooking, serving and cleaning.

My father – who is always concerned I go around traveling was the one who recommended we surely have the langar. So, Papa’s word taken, we sat in the lines of hundreds. 

In Langar, they served us Roti made of corn, curry made from gram seeds, a form of sherbet, and kheer as a desert. I shoved the food down my throat like an animal (do not judge me as I was very hungry.)

I must say  the best lunch ever. Kindness and generosity do fill your stomach.

Wagah Border

Tummies full, and soul sated. We were bound to Attari- Wagah Border. It is the most controversial place you can be in India other than Kashmir. It is the border between India and Pakistan, and that is the closest I have been to Pakistan.

We reached there at 3 in the afternoon , the sun did not take it easy and kept blazing over our heads. We were led by a soldier to the entrance, he was graceful enough to help us out.

And then we had to stand in line for the security process. Ravi knew all the places like the back of his hand, so he advised us not to take any purses with us, just our phones.

After the security process, we lost each other. We sat in different groups all around the place. But it did not matter because the enormity of the moment outweighed it all.

I was about to witness the full on India VS Pakistan live. The program here lasts for exactly an hour and starts 4:30 in winters and 5 in summers.

Exactly at five, we met our host. He had a charismatic personality and did not need a knife. His expression were enough to make the audience cheer. The ceremony has a specific order as it is a face off between two arch enemies.

Dance was the first one, we were to dance and cheer long enough to beat the Pakistanis out on the other side of the border. It was a friendly rivalry but I couldn’t feel any less patriotic.

After all the cheering and dancing, it was time to get back to business. Woman soldiers led our troops to the gate, and when the gate between India and Pakistan was finally open everybody was up, no single one sat.

Then, the two sides started showing off their strength by parade. It was the kind you can’t put to words, you have to be there to experience it. As the face off continued, the flags of both countries were slowly taken down.

It was the crowning glory of the ceremony. Personally I could not take my eyes of the soldiers of BSF in all their sturdy uniform, I had huge women crushes that day with the female ones.

Visiting Wagah border made me realize how tough these humans actually are, standing day and night in the sun, guarding the borders, going to war. A huge salute to all the soldiers!

The return journey to Delhi filled me with a bitter-sweet feeling, I didn’t want to stop traveling but I had to be home for my parent’s anniversary.

As the Punjabi songs played in the background of the car, I couldn’t help but smile. These songs will always remind of the places I went to, so I downloaded all of them.

How I Spent My Summer Vacation in Dalhousie

Dalhousie – a little Britain inside India. That was my first impression of it. I have never been to the UK, so my impression was based on the books, movies, and stories about England and the English culture.

But whatever it may be, I fell in love with Dalhousie instantly. This place is somewhere I would like to come again and again, or maybe settle down. You can see plant pots on both sides of the road, and they give me the hanging garden feels.

Summer Vacation in Dalhousie

I know I have been raving about my hotel rooms throughout this long summer road trip, but Dalhousie tops them all.

Lucky me, I got the view, the room, the staff and the food – all the boxes ticked. I got a place to rest, where I could finally feel like home.

Khajjiar, Himachal Pradesh

On our first day, I gave every detail to my appearance. I thought we will just be doing some local sightseeing so I dressed well. But damn my luck!

We came across a point where we could do paragliding. And I wasn’t dressed for this adventure as I had my bellies on not sports shoes. I had paragliding on the bucket list for so long, and when I got the chance I jumped at the opportunity, damn the shoes.

Well and let me say that nobody in my group was up for it, so I had to go for it alone. Lucky me! That is what it thought until I had to raid the mountain range and its caveman ways to get to the peak of the mountain.

I have zero experience whatsoever in hiking, so when I had to do it I felt so out of breath, and my blocked nose and cold-stricken lungs didn’t help either.

Half the way through I thought I was going to die, I could feel the blood in my throat from all the coughing I was doing. I don’t want to go philosophical on it or anything, but that moment I realized I either go up or keep sitting here because no one is going to pick me up.

I scaled to the tip and finally got there. Water up there is gold, and you will definitely need a bottle after the strenuous hike.

As I had no experience of paragliding so I got myself a cool pilot. He buckled all the necessary straps, pulled some ropes, and let the parachute open. I had to run from the peak and jump off the cliff, and pray that I don’t fall.

Khajjiar Lake, Himachal Pradesh

I had never been so excited in my life. All my previous complaints and bodily ailments vanished. And even though I have acrophobia, I wasn’t feeling it. I ran as if I was running for my life and jumped straight off.

And whoa! It was exhilarating. I could see the trees below, the river, the tiny dots called houses and the field where my gang was waiting for me to be done flying and come to them.

It was all good till my pilot adjusted the sails (in sailor’s tongue) and we were gliding. I wasn’t just going forward, I was twisting and turning along with the wind. That is the thrill of paragliding. And this too, I would definitely want to do again.

We flew for about ten minutes and made it towards the land. Just when we were about to land my pilot commanded “Legs up!”, and in that way, I landed like a pro. I hadn’t expected that I thought I would get stuck somewhere in the bushes, and tear my pants.

Kalatop

The strenuous hike and the aerial changes made my body feel sick, I got a serious headache. And did not want to do anything but sleep. So I thought I could skip the zoo/sanctuary while my friends go and visit.

I have been to my fair share of zoos and seen many species, so it did not interest me. While I took the power nap in the car I thought maybe I will miss out on the exotic species they are going to see, but as it seems this sanctuary had very few animals.

It is just a stretch of a jungle on the mountains where you see bears if you travel at night.

Credit: Pushyamitra Navare

St. Francis Church

Getting back to my hotel room was all the comfort I needed. And my power nap turned into a powerful sleep. I woke up reinvigorated and wanted to check out the St. Francis Church which was near my hotel.

I dressed up for the cold and visited St. Francis church. It has got a lovely entrance, there was various station along the stone paved way to the church depicting the crucifixion of Jesus.

I adored all the sculptures here. There is a myth that you can ask three wishes the first time you visit a church. I don’t believe in it, but there is no problem in giving it a try.

Once I returned to my room, I just sat in the balcony and had a drink looking over the sight of sleeping Dalhousie.

Early in the morning, we started loading our car with the luggage. We were done with the mountains now, and it was time to head out into the summer sun. I really wanted to stay back and enjoy Dalhousie some more, but that did not happen.

Driving up the mountains was good because many of us slept through it, but descending made it difficult.

Image Credit:  Piyush Tripathi

Two of my friends got sick, and one of my friend being a true gentleman, picked up mangoes from a tree on our way and asked everyone to take bites of the mango.

We continued our journey to Amritsar via Chamba (the hilly mountainous terrain) and Pathankot. Continue reading my travel diary in the next chapter “Dalhousie to Amritsar Roadtrip via Chamba.”

Cover Photo Credit:  Piyush Tripathi

How I spent My Summer Vacation In Manali

Summers in India can be grueling. That is what pushes me every year to visit a hill station – to cool off. This year, I chose not to go alone but in a group. I didn’t know any of my crew initially, but once we decided on the trip, everyone was in.

As we were doing a group tour, we thought it would be better to have a long train journey in order to get to know each other. And so it began the mega journey of 2018.

INDIAN TRAIN RIDE

Amidst all the shouts and bustle of the train, we managed to bring life to the train. Innumerable rounds of antakshari (it is a game where you can sing songs ), and playing Buff as well as UNO, we finally reached New Delhi.

We had to ride from the Nizamuddin station to Manali overnight, which is about 500 km.

KNIGHT RIDING

We all were tired beyond belief, and it took us more than 3 hours just to get out of Delhi region. Once we made it close enough to Chandigarh we liked to stop at Dhabas which is a specialty of this region.

The Pahalwan Dhaba is famous, but foolish me and my sister we made it to Baskin and Robbins to have some ice-cream rather than having the typical Haryanvi lassi.

Later we just stopped at another Dhaba where we had some tea, and as you can see clicked some shitty pictures. I love driving out into the night, but it was a risky thing we were doing because the road from Chandigarh to Manali is hilly and the terrain is difficult.

That too we had only one designated driver who had been driving for hours. My main goal was not to let him doze off. So off went into the night.

SUMMER VACATION IN MANALI

I have been to hilly areas but is not any area have I seen such fast driving, because people value their lives there. Yet on my road to Manali, I thought it is gonna be my last night the way Ravi- our chauffeur was driving. We even had to wait at many stops just to take a break and free ourselves from the muscle cramps.

My best moment was when we just waited at a place for coffee at around 3 in the morning, we were already up in the hills. It was cold and I had to light a cigarette and share it with my friends so we get to keep ourselves warm.

Just sitting there in the night with the cold mountain wind blowing and burning off the cigarette was a moment I am unlikely to forget anytime soon.

I did not sleep a wink throughout the ride, I used to bump Ravi’s shoulder to let him know that he was sleeping. But finally watching the first rays of sunlight filtering through the mountains gave me a giddy excitement which I hadn’t gotten in a long time.

Two days of long journey, and a sleepless night, and I was at Hanogi. This shaky bridge would give anyone a heart attack. The wind was loud above the Beas River, and my one step there make it shake. Goosebumps!

LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT

It took another two and a half hours to reach Manali. My first glance at it and I could not believe it. My eyes went straight to the mountains. And that is the closest I had yet been to a snow-laden mountain. I could not thank my hotel staff enough because the view was gorgeous. I could spend days sitting there and staring outta the window.

But whatever it may be we needed a power nap and refreshment before we explored. After a yummy lunch of  Egg Fried rice (Pahari food is love)  at a local joint, we headed off to see the thrills Manali had to offer. We decided on visiting places that would not demand much of our energy, tired to the bones? Yeah.

THINGS TO DO IN MANALI

HADIMBA DEVI TEMPLE

You can walk anywhere in Manali, it is better that way. Around the summers it is one of the most visited places. There was honking of cars everywhere which I don’t like one bit. So we walked our way to Hadimba Devi temple. I had looked at this marvel in pictures.

 

But up close it was surreal. I hate crowds. So when I tried to enter the temple and saw the line of devotees. I scratched the idea of going in. But I spend my time in Van Vihar. Which is close to the temple and a quiet place to sit and relax.

THE CLUB HOUSE

Zorbing

One of my best experiences of the first day in Manali was in the club house. The club house is a place for sports- from indoor to outdoor. The first thing I did there was water zorbing.

I am out of shape so it is no wonder I  took breathing breaks while being on my all fours and trying to get the big ball rolling in the water. It was exciting and draining as well, I effing loved it.

The Pool Thing

After getting out of breath by zorbing, we headed off indoors to play some pool. To be honest, I got no idea how to handle a stick. But those amongst us knew, taught me how to do it. And I clearly learned how to hit it.

Our time in the Club House didn’t just end there we spent an insane amount of money on per chance games like shooting, archery and yes a silly one was “Drop all the glasses with a wall”. We wanted to head to Vashist Springs, which is a holy place with hot water springs. But it was already too late, so we decided against it.

The Hotel we stayed in had served us delicious dinner. If you travel up here and do not taste Rajma Chawal then your traveling here  is futile. So make sure that you taste a plate of it, and once you have done it you will wanna do it again and again.

MARIH / ROHTANG

From the day I planned on coming to Manali, Rohtang had been up on my list. It is one of the most dangerous roads in the world and it takes you up into the Antarctic like beauty of the mountains. But sadly just few days before we arrived there was snowfall. And roads to Rohtang were close.

So we settled for a place in lower altitude, the road to it was nearly as tricky as Rohtang – we went to Marhi. At an altitude of 11,000 ft, it still had snow left in the summer. The temperature was below the freezing point. And just when I had started playing with snow it started raining.

I can’t tell you enough how much I loved this place. It had an army camp just above the mountain and on the way you encounter lot of army trucks going. It is really commendable how these brave-heart soldiers survive here.

SOLANG

It took half of our day to come back from Marhi, and we made a point of getting out of our snow suits in public which was the goofiest thing I have ever done.

Then we headed to Solang Valley also known as the snow point( though there is no snow here during the summer). It is famous for skiing during winter. I so want to travel here during winter, to just catch the snow in time.

There wasn’t much to do here during summer because it just looked like a barren piece of land. Something caught my eye here, and it was paragliding.

Our whole gang wanted to do Paragliding but as soon as the instructors saw us, they hiked up their prices, demanding 3000 Rupees from all of us. And that paragliding did not even have a proper height to it. We chucked the idea away, disappointed.

HORSE RIDING

When something outsmarts your budget, what do you do? You do something far more exciting at a meager cost. That is what happened to us. We saw an old man with a bunch of horses, near the Shiv temple just outside the Skiing center.

It was my sister’s idea to go talk to him, and boom! We landed a deal. He decided to take us all to the shiv temple on horseback for 12 km. And he charged much less than we had expected. So yay!

In no time we hopped on. But, damn my luck, I got the naughtiest of them all. His name was Sheru (meaning Lion in Hindi). He reared his head and galloped here and there, once I was on his back. Thank God! He did not throw me off.

The first few minutes of the ride, I feared for my life, but soon enough, I drank in my surroundings. We were walking straight into the foothills of the mountain where the Beas River originates.

Imagine, being on a horseback, hopping through the rugged terrain with the glaciers winding across your path, this experience was my favorite as of yet. Our guide who led us towards the temple, was an old Himachali man, he told us about himself. How now people prefer riding the hotshot snow motorbikes rather than taking a horse, and how we were his first ride of the entire day.

While he talked I talked to Sheru, calming him down. When we went uphill I had to lean backward, and when we went down I had to lean forward. “ Easy there Sheru Boy!” was all I had to say. Once we reached our location, it was so cold there. We had to sip a cuppa coffee.

Taking rest for a while, we started our journey back, and now I had trouble getting up on Sheru, because I am a shorty. Our guide was old so he wasn’t able to push me up even though he tried. And after my several attempts, there came a local who lifted me up easily so I straddled. Everyone around the coffee stall laughed out loud, and I turned tomato red, yet I looked around and waved at him, shouting a huge thank you.

The journey back was victorious, how you might ask. Let me tell you. When we were on our horseback perched up high, that too walking in an imposing line, everybody down riding the motorbikes looked up at us. And my inner goddess just did a twirl!

Going local and sustaining the local business is the best possible way to travel. That point got proven that day.

9 Smart Tips to Travel on a Student’s Budget

Young people around the world like to travel around and see new things, meet new people and create memories. That said, we all know that traveling requires ‘time’ and ‘money’.

Students often have the luxury of free time but the number one issue that most students face is the lack of bank balance for such excursions into the unknown.

Traveling on a Student’s Budget

Luckily, there are ways to travel at relatively low expenses and still see the world and experience everything it has to offer. Plus, traveling only makes your resume and background story for a future career more interesting.

1. Hitchhiking

The most popular way of traveling cheaply (or even for free) is hitchhiking. Finding a Good Samaritan every once in a while shouldn’t be too difficult. All it takes is raising your hand next to the road and hitching a ride to wherever the driver is headed and is willing to take you.

Paying for lunch or for drinks along the way is a great way to repay their kindness and keep moving on. Just remember to be careful about hitchhiking and don’t be afraid to be picky about your drivers – some people might want to do you more harm than good.

2. Volunteering

Many student organizations offer free travel and accommodations for their volunteers, offering you a great way to travel cheaply. While you will have to do some volunteering along the way, it still beats paying for your own expenses.

You will not only see new places but also learn new skills and meet new friends, which is a whole other benefit to volunteering that you should consider.

Also Read: 7 Smart Tips to Make a Perfect On-budget Vacation

3. Cruising and crewing

Many oversea cruise lines look for bartenders, housemaids, chefs, etc. All the time. Yes, these jobs exist and they offer a great way to travel the sea and earn some money along the way.

It’s a great way to travel around at literally no expense and even end up in the positive when you are done with cruising. If sea or homesickness is not a problem for you, definitely think about cruising.

4. Travel internships

There are agencies and firms out there that pay for people who travel around and promote their brand. Just imagine traveling the world in a Coca-Cola minivan. It offers the company cheap publicity and marketing and it gives you a chance to travel around the world at no expense whatsoever.

While you will have to take photos of everything you are doing and abide by the contract of the company that is financing you, this is a minor issue when you take into account everything that you are getting.

5. Flying smart

Not all flying companies have high costs. You can easily find cheap flights all around the world if you look in the right places. One such website is Ryan Air and while you can’ travel to literally any location, you can still find a huge number of cheap deals on offer.

Look for cheap flights and providers that can help you travel to your desired location as cheaply as possible. You will probably have to adjust your dates accordingly and travel light, but it’s a great way to spend as little money as possible and still see the world.

6. Freelancing

While not a method of travel itself, freelancing gave birth to a type of people you may have heard of – digital nomads. These people travel around the world with nothing but their backpacks and laptops. They work wherever they end up sleeping that night and travel around for very low prices.

They can afford all of that because they are freelancers – all of their work is done online and there’s no need for a static job placement. Supreme Dissertations is now hiring students, take a look at the website in order to take a peek at what it means to be a freelance translator and write for a living. Think about freelancing the next time you are thinking about traveling the world at an affordable price.

7. Trade labor

You can combine hitchhiking with trading labor wherever you travel. Some inns, hostels and family businesses will happily offer you food and shelter in exchange for labor. You can work a couple of days in each place and move on along your journey, hitchhiking along the way.

This is a cheap and effective way of travel if you are in going through a rural village area where people are more welcoming and willing to trust strangers.

8. Travel Contests

You and your friends can apply for a travel contest that pays for all of your expenses in exchange for meeting certain criteria. These are usually racing around the world with little to no support from the organizers, apart from the media coverage and an instant way out if you give up.

These adrenaline-fueled races and competitions are a wonderful way of bonding with your friends and creating memories that will last a lifetime. How many people do you know that took such a challenge? It’s risky, exciting and most importantly – you get to travel the world cheaply.

9. Couch surfing

Perhaps the oldest trick to traveling cheaply, Couchsurfing has been around for a while. You can sleep at someone else’s place provided that they allow for couch surfers in their home and then move on once you get some rest.

Couch surfing is also a great way to meet new people and pay very little for your travel expenses when you put everything on paper. While not many people will let you stay the night because they don’t know you, those that let couch surfers crash for a night have often been couch surfers themselves.

Yes, You Can Travel

Traveling for on a small student budget takes some ingenuity but it’s certainly possible. The important thing is to always stay in touch with someone back home and have a way out should you get stuck. Traveling completely isolated from your real life can have huge consequences and it’s quite risky.

While it’s smartest to travel in groups, traveling this way is one of the best experiences you can have. Being a modern nomad and traveling around with only your backpack at hand is a wonderful experience that everyone should try at least once.

Author Bio

Ashley Kornee is a blogger and freelance writer. She always tries to write about ordinary things in a creative way.  You can find her on Facebook and Twitter. She’s now working at Supreme Dissertations as a content manager.

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7 Smart Tips to Make a Perfect On-budget Vacation

Do you wish to break out of a boring, monotonous rut? Well, Travel. Visit new places. Expose yourself to new experiences.

It’s the best remedy to almost all our problems. But what holds most of us back are the massive expenditures. From getting there, to living, eating and roaming around, everything just starts to cost as much as twice when you travel to a foreign land.

7 Smart Tips to Make a Perfect On-budget Vacation

We all long to accomplish our travel goals, staying on a budget. No matter how impossible it seems, you can actually make the perfect on-budget travel plan without much hassle

How? With these 7 smart tips!

1. Pick an Off-Beat Place

If you wish to discover a new, popular place, select an off-beat destination. Most destinations that are popular among tourists are not that authentic and very over-priced. Instead, you should consider going to the underrated countries that are still unexplored or exploited by heavy tourism. You’re more likely to have an authentic and worthy travel experience.

Alternatively, you can pick a small town near a popular tourist destination, which is a short commute away. This way, you can save big on flight rates, accommodation and daily expenses and still have an access to popular tourist highlights.

2. Travel During the Off Season

During certain times of the year, popular tourist destinations get expensive and prices hike generally for everything. Places that experience cold climates are more expensive during summers, and vice versa. Prices shoot up during the holiday seasons too. So, if you’re on a budget, avoid these seasons and travel during the off-season. You’ll surely be able to save big!

Related: Travel Planner (find how much time and money it costs to travel)

3. Research Well About Packaged Deals

The cost of a vacation reduces drastically when you bundle up expenses. Combine your transportation, housing, and daily expenses and look for an all-star travel management company that could plan a fully-loaded itinerary within a given budget.

Analyze if it will cost you any less otherwise and take your decision wisely. If you’re travelling with friends or family, look for cheap family vacation packages online. This way, you’ll be able to explore more with less in your pocket.

4. Stay Closer to Your Dream Destinations

The easiest way to save on airfares is to stay close to your dwelling place. You can drive to a nearby destination and slash down the flight fares off your trip. You can also shave off the hotel expenses by camping or couch-surfing.

For example, if you are aiming to travel to Europe and you live in the US, then settling in the city of Boston might be a good idea. It will save you on airfare and also travel time. This strategy can be used for domestic travel as well.

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5. Book Your Flights, Hotels and Car Rentals Together

Bundling your expenses will help you save a lot of money. Websites like Expedia, MyTrips360, Hotwire, Travelocity, etc. provide users with this option. When you book your flights, hotels and car rentals together, you can save a lot of money.

MyTrips360 has some amazing loyalty plans for individuals, employers, families and even students, catering to the needs of both frequent and occasional travelers.

6. Stay at Hostels or Try Couchsurfing

If you want to cut down on the costs of living, you can consider staying at hostels and homestays. AirBnB is a great option for group travelers whereas Hostel has cheap accommodations for solo travelers. You can also try couch-surfing and stay for free but you’ll have to open your doors for other travelers in return.

7. Buy Discount Coupons Online

Look for discount coupons online. You can redeem these coupons at gas stations, national chain restaurants and eateries, grocery stores etc. and even for recreational activities. Before you leave home, browse through various deal providers’ websites that are popular in the area you’re traveling to. Buy coupons that fit your needs and avail discounts on the go!

No matter if you’re planning a short trip or a luxurious getaway, a lot goes into the planning process. We hope these tips bring you closer to a plethora of ways to save. And we hope you get the most you can with your money. Happy traveling!

Author Bio

Leela Devi is a traveler, wanderer, and learner. She loves to explore new things and places and meet new people. She also shares his/her experiences through meaningful blogs and articles that are quite informative for frequent travelers. She also runs a travel benefit loyalty programs to make traveling cheaper and accessible for all. In his/her blogs, you will find authenticity, valuable information, and practicality. Follow for more here!

 

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5 Tips To Save Money When Visiting New York City

New York City, the extravagant global city, can be quite difficult to explore, as it is a rather pricey destination. However, a little planning and smartness can help you save big when visiting the Big Apple.

In this blog, I will let you know about some of the money saving ideas when it comes to visiting New York City.

Pre-planning is a Must

Just don’t think that you will be able to manage everything, once you reach New York. In fact, there are many things, which you need to look out for or plan in advance. Check websites, which share information about the current and upcoming events in the city.

These websites will also let you know, which destinations offer free or reduced-cost admission on specific days and timings. If you do this, you will not only make your trip efficient but also save, at least, half of what you could’ve spent, without prior planning.

Also don’t forget to prepare a list of destinations, which can be explored for free, such as the Central Park, Battery Park, Bronx Arts Museum, Brooklyn Bridge Park & Brooklyn Promenade, Coney Island Boardwalk, etc.

Read: How to get around in New York City

Opt for Passes

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Being one of the most expensive cities in the world, New York City still knows how to maintain a tourist-friendly reputation. The city offers a wide choice of tourist passes, for a quick low-price admission to different attractions throughout the city. 

These passes are designed, to serve different requirements of visitors. There are those, suited for a single-day trip, and up to 9 days, with different charges for adults and children. They cover over 90 attractions, and along with the reduced admission cost, allow visitors to use the fast entry track to some of the busiest attractions.

Sometimes, these passes also offer additional perks, such as discount in restaurants, theater shows tickets, etc. So, it’s worth getting one if you have big plans for New York City.

A subway pass will also be a good decision if your tour includes unlimited subway rides. This pass will help you save a lot on commuting.

Act Smart

Don’t plan to visit two different destinations in two different parts of the city in a single day. Instead, cover all the destinations in a particular area during the given time. This tip will save you time, money, and energy.

Skip Shopping in Midtown Area

For budget travelers, it’s advisable to roam around in the mid-town area, without buying or eating anything. Undoubtedly, the area is filled with some great temptations and attractions, but, at the same time, the prices are way higher, than in any other part of the city.

Visit Statue of Liberty for Free

You can visit one of the most popular attractions in New York, the Statue of Liberty, for free by taking the Staten Island Ferry. It runs 24/7 and is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to see the Statue.

Explore the City on Foot

There are places in New York City that are very walkable, such as the big part of Manhattan. In fact, it is better explored on foot, than by car or bus. You only need to carry a pair of comfortable walking shoes or boots and get going.

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Personally, I am a big fan of OTBT walking sneakers, because they are extremely comfortable and let me walk miles, without feeling tired. However, you can carry your favorite ones, to explore NYC.

When starting your walking tour, visit an official NYC Information Center, to get all the information about Broadway, metro cards discounts, and budget tips from the specialists.

Save on Meals

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New York City boasts plenty of fancy expensive restaurants. But if it’s not your thing, choose places, preferred by young crowds and students. They generally offer food high on taste and low on price.

Also, Mini India, Mini China, and Mini Italy districts offer authentic local food at affordable prices.

Don’t forget about street food, as New York City is a great place to enjoy it. There are plentiful stalls and food trucks, which offer fresh, tasty food, from burgers to rolls, pizzas, and desserts, both veg to non-veg. There isn’t much, really, you can’t find here.

On the other hand, if you are craving for a fine dining experience in NYC, it’s better to go for lunch. There is usually a huge difference between lunch and dinner prices, even at the same restaurant. Lunches are comparatively cheaper and thus, more preferable.

Choose Budget Accommodation

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It’s always very important to plan your accommodation wisely. An accommodation right in the middle of the city will eat up a big part of your money. But if you book something in the outskirts, you will spend a lot on transportation. So, you should find a place, which will save you both from the heavy charges and the hefty commuting.

The best are hotels, outside of the Midtown, but in the neighborhood of the prime city location. Go for hotels, which offer shared bathrooms, as you are not going to spend a lot of time in the hotel. It’s also wise to consider such accommodation options, as hostels, rental apartments, and Couchsurfing.

These are some tips, which will help you save money in New York City. However, once you’ve been there, you are sure to discover new money-saving ideas. It is called the benefit of experience. So, keep saving and keep traveling.

Author’s Bio

Emma Braun is a 34-year-old Mom and passionate traveler from the beautiful city of Boston, United States. She loves to pen down her magnificent travel experiences in the form of a blog, to inspire all the travel lovers out there.

She is also a big admirer of style and fashion and always keeps hunting for things, which bring both style and comfort to her journeys.

“Travel not only lets you see the beauty of places, but it also lets you discover yourself as a person. Different people and destinations make up the beautiful world we all belong to. Some people think they can’t follow their travel passion, because of the busy schedule, kids, liabilities, etc. They are trapped in the same busy schedule, because of the unnecessary fears and doubts. But those, who can break the barriers and follow the dreams, realize how good it is to live the life of your own choice. I am happy to be among them.”

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Gangtok Tales: The City of Snowy Peaks (Part 2)

North Sikkim was awesome sauce, and when I was wondering what I would do on the next day of my trip, I got a call from my guide. He was a kind friend, and he recommended we visit South Sikkim that day. According to him, South Sikkim was a lot more beautiful than North Sikkim; I had to agree because I hadn’t seen it. It was time to remedy that.

ADVENTUROUS ROADS TO TEMI

A three-hour long drive took me to the mountain where Temi Tea garden sits. India is diverse, you know? At one place there is black soil, and nothing grows, whereas at the another place conifers rise towards the sky.

Coming from a place where 40 degrees Celsius is a standard temperature, seeing this mountain felt like heaven. We drove higher and higher up the mountain, and then we came to the Temi Tea Garden. It was massive, and when you see the clouds kiss the vibrant green shrubs, it is heavenly. It is here that my sister stepped out and bought flowers, they weren’t from a high-end shop, but a street vendor. They were a pretty orange East-American flower (as the vendor named it).

After wandering through the valleys of tea gardens, and seeing the Swiss looking lands, we were on our way to another hill. Hill hopping is common here, so there we went to our next stop – The Samdruptse.

THE CLOUDS OF SAMDRUPTSE

I will tell you; I have never been up in the mountains. So, walking or breathing at such a height was a chore for me. It is a miracle that I did not faint somewhere in the valleys.

The height took its toll when we reached the hill of Samdruptse; I wasn’t able to control my breathing. On the internet, you might see that the height is 4,000 odd feet, but the actual height here is 7,150 feet. That is the highest I had ever been. You need to let your body catch up with the atmosphere before you get going.

The giant statue of Guru Padmasambhava is here. There is also a temple beneath, where you can find the stairs to the top. You can click pictures from the statue where the view is magical. You can see the clouds floating between the valleys, and in the midst of it all is the magnificent statue of Guru Padmasambhava.

 

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THE STUNT AGAIN

Other than seeing the huge statue, and greeting the clouds, I also did something daringly stupid here. Most of the monuments in Sikkim get heavy protection.

And before entering the temple, I sat outside one of the high steps of Samdruptse, as you can see in the pic. You know what happened? Don’t even get me started.

I was just sitting there, ready with my sunglasses on when the Army guard charged in. I had no clue what I did wrong, and he was there charging towards me like an angry bull. He yelled “Yaha Nahin, Neeche!” meaning “ Not here, Get down!” And if I had not been scared out of my wits I would have taken some time to admire that fine frame of an army man. But I jumped down as fast as I could and ran into the temple.

CHAR DHAM AND BABA MANDIR

I am not a religious person. I do believe in God.  And religion, not so much. So, when my guide turned the steering wheels towards Char Dham, I was like “Stop Right There!” But he said that it was one of the best places in South Sikkim, and as a tourist, I should not miss it for the world.

There we went to the place where I did not want to go. Arriving at the site did not elicit any excitement in me. I took a chance and went straight ahead to the ticket counter. When I saw it was all about temples, I skipped the tickets. Instead, I stood just in front of the Char Dham and clicked this splendid picture which encases all the four dhams (the four temples).

Again when my guide parked the car at Baba Mandir, I groaned, I thought we were done with temples. Apparently not. Yet when I stepped into the Baba Mandir a strange kind of peace descended on me. It was so peaceful in here.

There were two floors of the temple. The picture above shows the ground floor where you can offer your prayers. On the first floor, there is a priest who offers you holy water. I didn’t go close to him, but my sister did. The thing I loved about the Baba Mandir was its ceiling. It had the galaxy painted on it, and it looked marvelous, to say the least.

DANGER JUNKIES

If you ask me what I liked most about my trip to South Sikkim, my answer will be – The Roads! There are few places to visit in South Sikkim. But for a girl who has seen nothing except drought lands – the serene mountains were like manna for the starved.

We drove through roads which had stiff bends with no warning of what was coming from the other side. It was scary; it was thrilling. On our way back, I didn’t want it to end. From the look on my face, my guard knew my mood.

He proposed I get out of the car, and enjoy the view because it was the last I would get of the City of Snowy Peaks. Out I went, the clouds sailing up the mountains, me trying my hands (and legs) at rock climbing, and me sitting in a depressed pose at the valley divided by Teesta River, this adventure was about to come to an end.

À BIENTÔT

The next day, as my car went downhill, it felt like I was leaving a part of me behind. I was also taking so many parts of the places I visited home with me. It wasn’t a goodbye it was À Bientôt, until we meet again. So, I haven’t even deleted the number of my guides. “Until next time,” I said to them and until the next time it will be. Cheers to the City of Snowy Peaks.

 

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Gangtok Tales: The City of Snowy Peaks (Part 1)

Ever thought that roaming around is tiring? For me, it wasn’t until I encountered altitude sickness that I began to agree. I was on my way to Gangtok from Darjeeling when the height of 6,700 ft. caught up to me.

I advise that you fill your tummy before you get in a car for Gangtok because if you aren’t full you are going to get super-sick. It is also going to take away the pleasure of watching the glorious scenes unfold before you if you feel ill.

SLEEP AND SHOPPING

After three and a half hours of journeying, I finally reached my destination. And whereas my Darjeeling’s home stay was a delight to stay in, in Gangtok I got a stinky room at that same price.

My whole day was all about sleep, sleep, and sleep. But even though my hotel room was stinky, it had a convenient location. It was just on the M. G. Marg. Since it is the market area, when the shopping fairy hits you, you can go and shop anytime.

That is what I did during my first day at Gangtok. Sleep and shopping. It was time to get some rest, as the next day I was heading out to see the North Sikkim, and it was going to be exciting!

PEAKS AND RUMTEK

On May 2nd, my guide Pravin and I set out for a long drive to North Sikkim. My first stop was at the Hill View Point, from here I saw the mighty peaks of K2 as well as Annapurna. It is a joy to see the highest peaks of the world laden with snow.

The Hill View Point was on my way to the Rumtek Monastery, which is one of the largest in Asia. It has the Dharma Chakra Center and is also home to the Golden Stupa. Vehicles do not go to the Monastery.

You need to walk half of a kilometer uphill before you see the face of the Monastery. Do not forget to bring identification with you because it is mandatory.

I was the first tourist to visit that day. Since it was off season and I was pretty early I had the monastery all to myself. You can see in the picture below the Hall of the Monastery. On the right-hand side, there is a signboard which reads – “Way to the Golden Stupa.”

THE STUNT

From here, I climbed and reached the Stupa. The Military Guards are at the doors of the Golden Stupa, and there will always be a monk inside. There is a signboard indicating No Cameras, but I sneaked in my cell phone.

Once you step into the room, you are going to think “What is this?” But then the monk comes in and switches on the light. That is when you see the glittering Golden Stupa. And by Golden I mean Golden, there are all kinds of riches in there. You can see it through the glass. Alas! You can’t touch it.

I took all kinds of risks to click a picture of the Golden Stupa. So, the picture is kind of blurry. After my daring stunt at the Stupa, I went to the Nalanda Institute, which is one of the first in the world.

 

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WATERFALLS OF SIKKIM

One of the top tourist destination in Sikkim is the Ban Jhakri Water Falls. Unlike the Monastery, the Ban Jhakri waterfalls were overloaded with tourists. 

Many of them were hung on tight harnesses, trying to cross the rope bridges across the waterfalls. And even though, I can dare a photograph in a Military secured zone, I shun water. So, crossing the rope bridge was a no-go.

But I did something interesting. I wore the traditional Sikkimese dress and clicked pictures with my sister. And as you can see I totally look like a typical Sikkimese Woman in the pic, don’t I?

CLOUDY PEAKS

It was past lunch time at the falls, and I was super hungry. We set out to the Tashi View Point because my guide told us it is where we could eat lunch. Sadly, the only thing available there was pineapple.

The view of Kanchenjunga from the Tashi View mount is stunning. Luck wasn’t on our side though, the clouds shrouded the peaks and even the afternoon sun did nothing to blast it away. Yet, I viewed all the other peaks that were visible to my glassed eyes.

THE HOWL

After seeing the best zoo in India, Padmaja Naidu Zoological Park, I wasn’t sure I would like the Sikkim Zoological Park. But mate! I was wrong. Where PNZP is man-made and skilfully organized, Sikkim Zoo is wild and untamed.

I loved the raw, untamed beauty of the park. You have to walk around in the woods to see the animals. It feels surreal. First on the list was the common leopard, then came the cute red Pandas followed by a leopard cub.

I was on my way strolling alongside my sister when I heard a deafening howl. We were on our way to see the Himalayan Wolf. But after following the directions, we reached a point where the road was blocked with a sign “Himalayan Wolf Under Treatment.”

That was when we heard the howl again. You can well imagine, walking through the woods on a snowy day and hearing the howl of an ailing wolf. It still gives me chills.

FLOWERY DELIGHT

A long day of sight seeing was coming to an end and my guide wanted it to be special. So he took me to the yearly flower exhibition that takes place in Gangtok. I have very little knowledge about flowers. But what can I say? They are pretty.

ROPEWAY DARE

I have a long list of fears, and the top on the list is water, in the second place is heights. I even fear taking escalators. But it was a trip where I wanted to try new things. So, I took the chance and rode the ropeway.

The view of the mountains beside and the city below was astounding. You can see the picture of the city below. We rode until we reached Deorali, flying over the traffic and through the valley. And after riding 20 minutes on the ropeway, I thought “Heights can be beautiful.”

So, that is how my second day at Gangtok came to an end, with me fighting my fears. That is what traveling does friends; it frees you.

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How To Avoid Loneliness When Traveling Alone

It is all fun and games until we arrive at a dead end and realize we are traveling alone. Traveling is empowering, yet sometimes on the road loneliness creeps in. It is in the moments when you are surrounded by fellow travelers that the pangs of loneliness hit you the hardest. 

I recently took a trip that made me realize you only need to follow a few rules when you feel the pangs of loneliness.

Read: 7 important tips for solo and lone travelers

TRAVELING ALONE

The first hack is to be spontaneous. Spontaneity comes naturally to many travelers. However, for introvert solo travelers, spontaneity can be quite the challenge. Even though it may be difficult to begin, once you do, you will start to feel freer and more in control of your own journey.

Forcing yourself to be spontaneous is a reminder that you do not need anyone else; that you alone are in charge of your destiny. So embrace the loneliness and let it empower you. Feeling excited and free will help distract from the loneliness. 

BE OPEN MINDED

This is a mantra for every traveler. You cannot travel well if you are resistant to new possibilities. In India, people tend to be orthodox. For example, most Indians will not even touch beef. However, when I traveled to North Eastern India, I came across many food stalls where there were “Beef Momos” all around.

When I first saw them, I scrunched my nose. I had never eaten them and did not want to start now. Contrary to that initial reaction, I took the chance. From that moment until the last day of my trip, I survived on Beef Momos only.

What I am trying to say is, if you are open minded, you will not need to surround yourself with like-minded people, you can make friends with anyone, over a plate of beef momos perhaps. 

 

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NATURE IS YOUR FRIEND

How can a person be lonely when they have the whole universe at their disposal? I seldom feel alone when I am sitting in a car or train and traveling around. It is not that I am not alone, but it is this that I let nature give me company.

My first experience traveling alone was in Puri, where I thought I would definitely feel alone. One day I saw the ocean’s water kissing the shores as I drove by, the magic struck me! I no longer cared that I was alone because I realized that nature and all its charm always walks alongside us. 

LEARN TO TRUST PEOPLE

I am super paranoid, and by super I mean “take screenshots of every conversation because you never know who will turn against you” kind of person. Haha, I know I was a bit extreme. But, when I started traveling, I became someone different.

I had to trust the directions that strangers told me. I had to eat something a stranger cooked for me. I had to trust my driver not to kill me.

Traveling is a risk, it is a kind of bet you make on others and yourself. You need to learn to trust people, and if you do, you may stop feeling lonely.

KEEP A TRAVEL DIARY

I know it sounds kinda cheesy and old-fashioned, but believe me, the best way to not feel lonely when you are traveling is to talk to someone. When you are traveling, you will likely only talk to your guide or your fellow travelers if you have any.

The only person who will always listen to you is your diary. Maintain a diary where you can write all your day’s experience. It will be like you are pouring your heart out to someone and you will not feel lonely at all. I have a diary myself where I write all about my travels, it not only keeps you from being lonely but also keeps an account of your trips for you to enjoy later.

CREATE AN AWESOME PLAYLIST

You already know music is the best cure. Riding in a car for several hours can be exceedingly lonely, so what do we do? If you have an awesome playlist, then a 4-hour long drive will seem like mere 15 minutes. Make sure you have songs that cheer you up and make you feel free. My playlist has all the “independent single women” kind of songs. I put it on, and it makes me feel good about myself that I can travel alone.

You can also have fun-loving songs so that you can enjoy yourself during the monotony of travel. Also, keep a “Lullaby” playlist ready, to encourage sleep when needed.

STAY AT HOMESTAYS

If you want to feel at home while traveling, what is better than staying in a Homestay? I was unsure when I booked my first Homestay. However, when the time came to check out, I didn’t want to leave. After that experience, I am convinced that staying with locals is the best way to travel.

By taking advantage of a Homestay, you get to experience local culture, you get to know the people better, and it gives you a dose of the pure essence of travel. The Homestay I stayed in had warm and friendly people, and I never felt like I was alone. Make sure you do a background check on the Homestay or Guest House you are staying at; you do not want to end up in trouble.

LIVE LIKE A LOCAL

It is hard to learn the ways of locals, but when you do it makes you feel like you belong. My recent trip to Gangtok was all about being a local. I ate like them, and I even sang like them. By singing I mean almost everyone sings here! The driver will switch on the music and start humming the songs. It is double fun if you join in with them and start singing it louder.

Anywhere you go, try living like a local. Once you feel like you belong, you will surely stop feeling lonely.

 

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What are Your Biggest Travel Problems and Questions?

This is a special and unique post that we will be a LIVE thread for answering your biggest travel problems and questions. Please comment your travel related questions here and we’ll answer them in the comments below.

That said, we have compiled a list of most commonly asked travel questions (around travel visa, safety, hacks and tips, miles, etc.). Please read our massive Travel FAQ page for answers to many of your Common Travel Questions.

Your Biggest Travel Problems & Questions

The Art of Travel is a community for hardcore travelers. We are a group of everyday folks who love to travel and experience the freedom that comes from traveling. However, travel (Internation Travel in particular) is a time and money consuming luxury that most of us can’t afford.

Sure we talk about and share our tips on Saving Money for Travel and Budget Travel but when you have three kids and a minimum wage job, none of the travel hacks quite work for everyone. It gets tricky.

If you have money but less time, we have plenty of travel hacks for you.

If you have plenty of time and little money, well, congratulations, we have you covered as well.

But what to do when you so desperately want to travel but don’t have either money or time. You work very hard to provide for yourself or your family and after paying all the bills and debts, you are left with pretty much nothing except some gas money for carpooling with your friends on a highly crowded weekend.

We want to address these and similar questions and would like to hear from you. What do you struggle with most when it comes to travel? What questions do you need to be answered? What are your biggest travel problems and questions?

Comment below and I will address each one of them in separate blog posts. I’ll do my best to be as thorough and detailed as possible.

We want to know you and we want to help you!

Tell us your travel problems

You can also contact us on Facebook or tweet to us. You can leave a comment on our YouTube videos or on our Instagram posts. If you wish, you can email us as well. If you want to send us mail us, our address is:

Art of Travel, Inc

30 French St. #22

Quincy, Massachusetts USA 02171

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10 Best Party Hotspots Around the World

Partying is a significant aspect of a vacation. You can’t be on a trip without partying. If you are tired of seeing the museums, malls, monuments, then you ought to take a break. Every big city in the world has crazy party scenes. We will present to you some party hotspots that will make you go “whoa!”. No matter if you are a party animal or a bit reserved, we have got just the right place for you.

NEW ORLEANS

New Orleans is popular for one of the greatest parties that take place in the world. Mardi Gras is celebrated during Fat Tuesday. Tourists from all around the world come and join the craziness. If you want to be a part of it, make sure to book the tickets way ahead of time. Almost every year, all of the hotels are booked before a month of the festival. Isn’t that insane?

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You can find colorful costumes. Girls in bold dresses, flashing their breasts. People dressed in purple, green and gold. They are the theme colors. You can dress up. Take a walk around metro part of the city. Get crazy drunk and dance it out. The atmosphere here is electric. You can just do all sorts of fun here. Fun in a sense as downing a bottle of beer, to dancing, and getting laid. Get some action.

MYKONOS

A beach destination in Greece. It is full of culture, but you can’t deny that it is one of the best party spots. During August when Europe takes a summer vacay everyone searches new party grounds. The partying here starts from the afternoon and goes on till sunrise. If you want to continue it, though, there are clubs like Kavos. They are open 24/7.

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You can dress in all your beach glory or even drop in naked. Dance under the mild summer sun. Watch the beautiful sunset. Enjoy the throat- burning drinks. You can even flirt with some hot male Greek glory. And guys can have their pick from a hot and naked crowd.

LAS VEGAS

This Sin City is well known for its amazing collection of nightclubs. If you are in Vegas and not partying, you are in the wrong place. Seriously!

You just need some cash in your hand to make your day. You have lots of options from strip clubs to dance clubs. Vegas throws mind blowing pool parties. Take a chance at the buffet. Let your eyes feast on all that is stripped down. Vegas will spoil you with debauchery. But what fun is partying without some naughtiness? You can do anything in Vegas. No matter what your interest you will find it here. Indulge in sin with booze and sex in all its glory.

EL TUNCO

If you are conservative and don’t like club scenes we have got a place for you. El Tunco is a Salvadoran coastal town. Here party starts from the afternoon at the beach. You will watch as the town comes together. It is like a big reunion. The people here are warm and friendly.

You can even have drinks at low costs. If you want some snacks with it, there are local cafes which serve delicious pupusas. The feeling when the sun sets and music is pounding on the speakers is epic. You will love the feel of the breeze on your face. Just let it go and get wild. El Tunco is a superb party hub on a reasonable budget.

 

 

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TEL AVIV

This Israeli city is craziest party place in Asia. It was the first to organize Asia’s Sex Festival. Yes, you read that right. Tel Aviv is full of with broad minded people who are not scared of trying something new. It has an enormous gay population. So you can imagine, how liberal the city is.

All kinds of clubs are present here. Suit yourself. Take part in the bustling nightlife of Tel Aviv. You can go clubbing. You can have huge DJs to groove to, or you can even go to beach parties. A total spot on party hub for all the super-liberal party animals.

NEVADA

Nevada is full of small towns which are dormant most of the time. But, Nevada comes alive during the Burning Man festival. It has its share of pubs, bar, and restaurant. You can go on an adventurous trip here during the fest. The tents are a major attraction of the Burning Man. Flashy costumes, loud music, drugs, if you can think of it, you have it here.

You can even crash to the party naked, and nobody will notice. If you have attended the Buring Man before, please share your photos and experience below.

BUCHAREST

It is Europe’s party capital. It has a lovely classical feel to it. The incredible architecture here will take you to awe. Abandoned places of communist are now under renovation which makes it more appealing. The old style rediscovered with modern techniques is attractive.

Apart from this Bucharest has sexy strip clubs, Irish pubs, and loud dance clubs. You will land in a place that you like. The nightlife is crazy here, but it is entirely safe outside. Control club is one of the best here. You can go listen up to live music and quirky international bands. If you something mellow in weekday goes to Bordello. You will feel refreshed.

AUSTIN

It is weird, but it’s good. Youngsters have a slogan for Austin “keep Austin weird”. It is typically metropolitan city. Students, tourists, business people, techies, musicians all of them are a part of the crowd. That is why the clubs try to offer something pleasing to everyone.

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The sixth street in Austin is famous. You can start from clubs at around the sixth street and continue drinking till you don’t reek. Not only booze Austin excels in music too. You will find punk, jazz, latino, rock, blues very night in the clubs. The continental club is a music club which specializes in Blues and Rock. If you prefer something different, go for The Mohawk, Club Deville.

BERLIN

We told you about some liberal party hotspots. Berlin is also one of them. It is a city which is for open-minded people. You can take part in any fetish clubs. Like you can have a pass at the BDSM clubs if you are lucky. If something else is your thing, there are diverse options to go for.

Berlin is a myriad of dance, techno, rock clubs. The city never sleeps. Clubs are open all night. You can choose your spot according to your itinerary. Have some wild nights in Berlin. It is also an affordable party place.

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AMSTERDAM

If you love to swing your hips girls, this is the best place to do so. And we know guys who would like an eye candy of writhing bodies. Don’t forget to visit this party destination. Parties last till sunrise, but Amsterdam is even crazy in mornings.

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You can hit dance clubs which are popular around here. Rembrandtplein is the party district here. You will all kinds of people here. From high-class socialites to tourists. Let the tequila do its job while you groove to the sexy beats. Party hard folks.

 

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2697 Days: A Personal Story of Becoming a US Citizen

I am going to America, I muttered to my family of five while having dinner at our rented home during a hot Delhi summer of 2008. All of a sudden, a deep silence, screaming fear, frustration, and failure yelled  back at me through those eyes.

Those were the eyes of my dad, mom, brother, and sister. I still remember those eyes. There were no questions from any of us because we all knew the answer. It was not possible considering our financial situation.

The Struggles

We were already under heavy debt as my dad lost his business. We were barely making month to month. So, I decided to remain quiet that night! But in my heart, I knew that I am going to America – the land of freedom and dream chasing!

The next morning while I was getting ready to go to college, my mother pulled me to a corner in our kitchen so nobody could hear us. She told me that she is on my team and she has some jewelry and she could sell them.

Selling my mom’s jewelry? No way, but it seemed at the time that, that was our only option. The money from her jewelry would be sufficient for my one-way flight ticket and a couple of months of survival cost in America.

Here I was, a young 20 years old, a naive stupid boy who has watched “The Pursuit of Happyness” a million times and thought he can pull it all by himself. Guess what, I somewhat did pull it.

The Path

I would attend college during the day and do a call center gig at night. I used public transportation, drank 2c street-side water, ate 40c meals, and used to stay in cheap lodging. I even stayed with a group of Chinese Christian missionaries in a church guesthouse in Gurgaon.

I was able to save money to buy a one-way flight ticket. With hard work comes luck. I found a university that would transfer my college credits to US Universities and gave me 50% tuition scholarship if I kept up my GPA above 3.0. North Dakota State University (NDSU), Fargo accepted me.

It was one of the coldest places in the country. NDSU was offering me all the goodies, financial aid and 6 months of snow. I said, “I’ll take it. I’ll adapt, survive, and thrive.” By the summer of 2008, I was all set to attend NDSU beginning Spring 2009 session.

I have managed to save enough money for a one-way flight ticket, visa expenses, and to survive the first couple of months. I landed my feet in New York, America on Jan 4, 2009.

Persistence

For next 3.5 years, I took various odd jobs to survive such as cleaning job/ushering, donating blood plasma for a minimum wage, selling soaps door to door (thanks to Amway), and sharing a 3 bedroom apartment between 5 students (with a stunning rent of $108pp).  

My college sweetheart broke off, I graduated in spring 2012 with $17,000 in debt (Failure #1092), I was killing it. Not soon after, my college sweetheart broke off with me. I went through and understood what “depression” really means. I happily graduated in spring 2012 with $17,000 in debt and 1092 failures behind me. You can see, I was killing it.

Two months post-graduation, I got a contracting job with Dell Services. To save money to pay off my debts, I chose to sleep on the carpet in a shared unfurnished apt with a whopping rent of $206 pp. I waited on buying a car and instead took 2 hours long train to commute. I was able to pay off the bulk of my debts in 6 months. That was my trade-off, savings over self-sacrifice.

The end result, I was relaxed and at peace. I saved quite a lot, switched my gigs and moved out to Orange County, California. I soon bought a brand new luxury car, rented a beach condo, and I was on top of the dating scene. This time, I was really nailing it until I got a phone call from home at 4:30 am. 

My mother was crying on the other side that Dad is on a ventilator from the past 9 days and has got a poor outlook on survival. She didn’t ask me to come back because she knew that my visa won’t allow me to travel to India and return back to the U.S.

I had just turned 25 the day before, but after that phone call, I suddenly felt like a 40 years old man surrounded in a bubble of stress. All kinds of stress. What happened? Where did it all go wrong? I was frustrated, scared, sad, and numb.

My decision was clear and I wanted to stay in the US and add value to society. I knew I want to do something with my life. I knew I want to live in a free land. So I exercised the law of attraction. I took immediate action, whatever I could do. I spoke to multiple doctors for the best treatment for my dad. I remained positive and calm.

Fourteen days later, my dad made it back to life and arrived home with a smile. However, during this time I lost my job and was back to square one. I had exhausted my savings. I was back to square “none”.

Luckily, the unique skills set that I have developed in the healthcare industry, it wasn’t hard for me to find a new job. I found a new contract within 6 weeks and took the first flight to North Carolina when I heard back about my job offer.

I started all over again but this time besides my 9 to 5, I had a side gig too for some passive and side income. You see, in this economy, it is not wise to put all your eggs in the “job basket.” Would you? If you have no savings?

In December 2014, I visited India after 5 years. When I returned after almost half a decade, so much has changed. I bought a new house for my parents, returned jewelry to my mother, and just enjoyed family time.

My younger sister has grown so much. Wow, it has been 5 years. With that visit, I also knew that it will be a long time since I’ll see them again, thanks to the system, BS. But when the time came to return, I also knew that it will be again a long time before I’ll see my family, thanks to the broken immigration system.

It takes over 10-15 years for regular people from India to immigrate to the U.S. And during this long wait time, people often don’t see their family for years. This is BS. In October 2015, I decided to quit my well-paying job to join US Army Reserves.

I had the following in my mind:

  • I’ll have a chance to become a US Citizen.
  • I want to give back to the country that has served my dreams.
  • I was craving to succeed and achieve a milestone after a million failures.
  • I know that Army training can push me harder and make me a better leader.
  • Good can go bad but only greatness leads to greatness. Being good was not good enough.
  • I have a strong desire to inspire and give hopes to the underdogs, scared and lonely people out there.

And this was the perfect platform. I love America! Indeed, the USA is a land of opportunities. Anyone can make it here if they are willing to work hard and sacrifice. I have made my dreams come true. A new set of dreams and goals have now evolved for me. It was a relentless pursuit, be it good or bad.

I am grateful for every single event which has contributed to nurturing the seeds of past actions to successful fruition.

So come and join me to celebrate a day of triumph over the failures, the success that comes from the hardship, hope to a better future and a shout out to the land of the free and home of the brave.

Now I can visit back home (to India) every year just to celebrate festivals, eat my mom’s food, take care of my father, and to sleep in my childhood bed. May 24th, 2016, I was naturalized through the US Army Reserves.

I am a US Citizen now. And, I am ready to continue my journey to greatness.

Guest Post by Mukul Jain. Edited by The Art of Travel for clarity. All rights reserved.

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Top 5 Cheapest Destinations Around The World

Whenever we think about traveling around the globe, the first thing that comes to our mind is the expenses involved (unless we are so filthy rich that money doesn’t concern us).

We make a budget, and most commonly find the trip we want to take totally outside the circle of what we can afford. We wonder what would be the cheapest destinations according to our budget.

The Art of Travel recognizes this, and therefore we bring you the top 5 cheapest destinations around the world so that you may travel without worrying for your pocket while enjoying the beauty of the place in full.

VISIT CAMBODIA

The first on our list of cheapest destinations, a country is known to everyone as the home of the infamous Angkor Wat, Cambodia has lately become a popular tourist destination. Being a country with rich ancient heritage, there are so many places you cannot just say no to.

All of this comes at the cheapest cost that one can imagine. You can find a bed for as low as $1. Most of the hotels offer free Wi-Fi facilities to the customers.

Yet, nothing steals attention more than the Angkor Wat, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The entry ticket is mere $13 for one day or $26 for three days. We advise the three days one as the temples are so vast in number that it is hard to see them all in one day, after all, you wouldn’t want to miss any bit of the beautiful ancient architecture.

The food is just amazing around Cambodia, and of course, everything is cheaper than you can imagine.

VISIT VIETNAM

Vietnam is the second number in this list of cheapest destinations, with its various points of interest unaltered along the ages, and the expenses as little as they can be. All expenses of the day, including boarding, lodging, and food can cost as little as $5. What cheaper costs can you expect?

Vietnam is full of green natural places untouched by urbanization, and some will even make your jaws drop. When in Vietnam, don’t forget to try out Pho, one of the most famous Vietnamese dishes. Coolest tourist destinations include the city of Hue, various world heritage sites such as Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park, Hội An, and Mỹ Sơn.

You can also visit the Ha Long Bay which is another UNESCO World Heritage Sites. With all these heritage places at such low costs, who could say no to that?

VISIT INDIA

Being a country rich in culture, traditions, and its religions, you would think that a trip to India would surely take a toll on your pocket. However, it is not the case, as India is on the third among the cheapest destinations.

India offers a lot of variety in not only the tourist places it offers but also the amount one needs to spend on the living. You can travel luxuriously in the first class AC trains, or hire taxis to places you want to visit; it still wouldn’t cost you much. You can get off at as low as $20 per day, or maybe even less if you plan to follow the footsteps of a common Indian person.

With 29 states, and each state rich in culture and tourist places, it is wise to plan what all you want to see in India, as it is impossible to cover all of it in one go (unless you are planning a very long stay here). The geography has a vast gradient, from the Himalayas in the north to the coastal regions of the south.

You can visit the symbol of love, Taj Mahal, or the place where Buddhism was born, Bodh Gaya. The food varies per state, as each state has its own palate of the traditional dishes and recipes that would just make your mouth water.

VISIT THAILAND

Thailand offers a multitude of beaches, exquisite cuisines, beach resorts, amazing religious places, and Bangkok, all of these at the lowest prices. Thailand has remained a popular backpacking destination among the crowds, and the primary reason for this is the incredibly low cost it charges for the super awesome services it offers.

You can spend a night watching the water waving on the beach from the window of your beach hut, or stuff yourself up with the traditional Thai food, and all of it would still cost negligible! So pack your bags and leave now. This earns Thailand the fourth place in The Art of Travel ‘List of Cheapest Destinations’.

VISIT EGYPT

Everyone is familiar with the place of the Great Pyramids, and the home of the Sphinx. But did you know that Egypt is also one of the cheapest places you can travel to?

You don’t need to double check your bank balance to visit this amazing archaeological country, with the grandest of wonders ever created and the richest of museums. The Valley of the Kings is one of the most amazing places you would ever see in your life, and it comes with the cheapest accommodation as well as great food at negligible prices!

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5 Free Things To Do When Traveling

We all associate traveling with money. While planning a trip somewhere, the first thing you do (if you’re not filthy rich) is to make a budget.

But that isn’t always the case.

With this list, you can do the best of things at no cost at all. You will realize that pleasure doesn’t come for a price!

TOUR ON FEET

Not only is this a way to explore free of any expenses, but it is actually the best way to explore any place! When you are traveling around a city on a bus, train, or subway, it is common to miss most of the places along the way.

We do not get to interact with the local culture and lifestyle and see how the streets are, houses are, and how life goes on. Plus, it offers you a variety of options! You can tour alone or with a group. You can make friends along as you are walking (just start with a ‘hi’).

You might also find great places to eat, drink or shop. Walking around the city is the best way to know what the city actually is like.

Though it is very easy to lose your way in a new city. Therefore, download google maps or similar navigation software. You can also buy a local map, though we prefer software as the GPS lets you know your current location easily. The map can tell about the points of attraction and places of interest, so buy it anyway.

GO TO THE BEACH

Spending time just lying on the beach is one of the most beautiful ways to spend your time anywhere. And guess what? Totally free of cost. You can lie on the sand and get a tan through the day, or enjoy the cool ocean breeze during the night. Sleeping on the sand is the most peaceful sleep you will ever get in your life.

Walk along the beach. There will be places with lots of people enjoying the beach, and solitary ones as well. Choose what appeals to you and lie down.

You can carry some water to drink or a picnic basket with some food, so you don’t have to ruin your peaceful and nice rest trying to find food and water.

If you came with your significant others, lying on the beach can provide additional options (wink).

VISIT RELIGIOUS PLACES

Every place has a lot of religious places pertaining to the major and minor religions in that geography. These places have their own history, stories and most of the time amazing architecture.

No religious place ever requires payment, therefore you can tour them all you want. You would find them fascinating. You just need to be religiously open to respecting other religions and have no problem going to their sacred places.

Touring such places is not only a free way to make good use of your time, but it also helps you gain knowledge of other religions and cultures. Some of these places offer a strange mental peace that cannot be found in the huge world outside. So enjoy them to the fullest.

GO TREKKING

Trekking is the most adventurous thing to do when you are traveling in good terrain, and it is totally free too! Trekking packs a lot of adventure, fun, and thrill into one single thing.

Just pack up your bag and put on your trekking shoes, and leave for the amazing places you want to visit.

Traverse the beautiful mountainside full of wildlife and natural beauty. Remember to take some water for the way, as trekking is a very strenuous task and there wouldn’t be much available.

Also, beware if the area is known for wild animals or reptiles like snakes. That can be very hazardous.

EXPLORE MUSEUMS

You might be surprised to know that many of the world’s museums do not charge any entry fees. And this is true for almost all the museums in Britain.

Even for the museums that do charge an entry fee (which is close to nothing), there are fixed days for a week or a month in which the entry is totally free.

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Visiting museums is a great way to spend your time away free of cost. Museums offer a great deal of variety and entertainment.

Art lovers can enjoy Picasso, Ruben, Vinci or Gogh, while people who are more into sciences can enjoy the natural history of the world and rise of various species, see dinosaur skeletons, or visit a planetarium to know cool things about stars and planets!

 

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