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Budget Travel

Cheap U.S. (and Nearby) Spring Travel Destinations in 2018

You don’t need to spend a fortune to experience a getaway full of joy and sunshine this spring.

When planning a cheap yet enjoyable spring vacation, one should consider the atmosphere of the place, the cost of accommodations, and the things you can do and places you can visit while you’re there.

We’ve compiled some of the best cheap destinations to make your spring vacation planning a whole lot easier.

New Orleans, Louisiana

Known for its European-inspired architecture, New Orleans is the go-to destination for people who love Southern cuisine and music. Rock ‘n’ roll, blues, jazz, and Zydeco tunes can be heard in every corner of the city.

For most people, the main reason to visit New Orleans is Mardi Gras, a carnival-like weeklong celebration full of vivid colors, music, and an overall wild and thrilling party experience.

If you didn’t make it in time to join Mardi Gras, don’t worry. In New Orleans, the party never stops. Just head on over to one of the Bourbon Street clubs, where people party from dusk till dawn.

Places to visit (for FREE) in New Orleans

  • French Quarter
  • Frenchmen Street
  • Garden District
  • St. Louis Cathedral
  • City Park

New Orleans, LA

Austin, Texas

The city of Austin has the most live music venues per capita in the U.S., earning it the title of “Live Music Capital of the World”.

Despite how much the city has grown over the years, Austin has retained that laid-back, quirky type of vibe that you won’t find in any other city in Texas.

People outside of Austin sometimes tend to see the place as the home of wacky characters. But for Austinites, they flaunt the city’s motto—“Keep Austin Weird”—with pride and eccentricity.

Places to visit (for FREE) in Austin

  • Zilker Metropolitan Park
  • State Capitol
  • Austin Bats
  • 6th Street

Greetings from Austin Sign

San Diego, California

Seventy miles of beautiful coastline and consistently warm weather are what draw tourists to San Diego all year, every year.

The city’s nightlife, exotic cuisine, and famous parks call to those who seek adventure. If you love soaking up the sun, San Diego offers a lot of beautiful beaches.

After you enjoy the daytime activities, change your board shorts and flip-flops into something formal and enjoy the thriving nightlife throughout the city.

Places to visit (for FREE) in San Diego

  • Coronado Beach
  • Balboa Park
  • Gaslamp Quarter
  • Mission Beach
  • Sunset Cliffs
  • La Jolla Coves

San Diego California

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Are you a beach lover?

If you are, you’ve probably dreamed of going to a beach where the sand is white like sugar, with clear blue water. Well, in the Dominican Republic, this kind of beach isn’t just a dream. Punta Cana is the perfect Caribbean getaway for all the sun-seeking travelers out there. This 20-mile stretch of pristine coastline also offers tons of activities like kayaking, sailing, and ziplining.

Places to visit in Punta Cana

  • La Cana Golf Course
  • Imagine Punta Cana Disco
  • Barcelo Bavaro Golf Course
  • Manati Park
  • Dolphin Island

Punta Cana Dominican Republic Beach

Nashville, Tennessee

When one thinks of Nashville, the first things that might come to mind are a big porch and an old-timer playing a Johnny Cash tune on his guitar. But, of course, Nashville is more than that.

Radiating a modest, down-to-earth vibe, the city’s hipster bars and the trendy boutiques prove that Nashville isn’t just for traditional country folk. The city offers Southern hospitality with a mix of grandstand glitz and has its share of young, energetic collegiate people.

Places to visit in Nashville

  • John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge (FREE)
  • The Hermitage
  • Belle Meade Plantation
  • Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge (FREE)
  • Adventure Science Center
  • Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and Museum of Art

Nashville at Night

South Padre Island, Texas

Back then, every year for spring break, Texas college students would cram into their cars and head down to South Padre Island for some warm, sunny beach fun.

While students today do still hit up SPI, of course, times have changed. SPI has seen a rebirth of some sort and is now a popular vacation destination for families as well. The mixture of bars and trendy hotels, the sparkling water, and the beautiful, extensive beaches invite people of any age.

Places to visit (for FREE) in South Padre Island

  • Laguna Madre Nature Trail
  • Isla Blanca Park

South Padre Island Beach

Puerto Rico

From Miami, Puerto Rico is a less-than-3-hour flight away. Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, which means that you don’t need a passport and you can pay for all the stuff you buy with American dollars. If you’re into surfing, you’ll definitely love the 20-ft. waves.

And for families with little kids, Puerto Rico also has calm, clear waters.

Places to visit (for FREE) in Puerto Rico

  • Flamenco Beach
  • Sun Bay
  • Condado Beach
  • Carolina Beach

Puerto Rico

Cancun, Mexico

After the devastating effects of Hurricane Wilma back in 2005, the stores and lodges of Cancún are now rebuilt, and this tiny region in southeastern Mexico is once again a hotspot for nightlife, golfing, and beaches.

Cancún is also a very affordable destination; for $600 per person, you can enjoy an all-inclusive trip to these beautiful beaches.

Places to visit in Cancun

  • Playa Tortugas (FREE)
  • Playa Delfines (FREE)
  • Chichén Itzá
  • Isla Mujeres
  • El Rey Ruins

Cancun Chichenitza Ruins

Daytona, Florida

20 miles of beachfront is already a tempting offer to anyone seeking a fun vacation, but some visitors to Daytona have something different in mind.

The city’s beach parties aren’t the only things that attract visitors; every year, the Daytona International Speedway draws in thousands of auto racing lovers who want to watch NASCAR racing and see their favorite race car drivers in person.

Places to visit in Daytona

  • Daytona Beach (FREE)
  • Daytona Lagoon
  • Halifax Historical Museum
  • Museum of Arts and Science
  • Daytona International Speedway

Daytona Beach Nascar Race

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Myrtle Beach’s 60-mile brown beach is its main tourist draw, but there’s more to this South Carolina city/vacation resort combo than that.

Myrtle Beach is the perfect destination for families that are budget-minded, looking for entertainment options without having to spend too much.

The city’s amusement parks draw people in with family-friendly rides and activities such as racetracks, roller coasters, and waterslides. There are outlet malls for the shopaholics and more than 100 golf courses for the golfers.

Places to visit in Myrtle Beach

  • Myrtle Beach
  • Mt. Atlanticus Miniature Golf
  • The Carolina Opry
  • Myrtle Beach State Park
  • Ripley’s Aquarium Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach Amusement Park

The perfect spring vacation doesn’t have to be expensive to be fun. Planning ahead of time and choosing the right destination will allow you to save a lot of money and still have a memorable trip.

But try to have some self-control when it comes to buying souvenirs!


Budget Travel

6 Different Ways Travelers Can Get 100% Free Accommodation

We all know that traveling to different parts of the globe can be quite challenging budget-wise, since you have to take into consideration the cost of airfare, a budget for food, and the price of activities at your destination, not to mention the accommodation for the duration of your stay.

Fortunately, with a little creative thinking, accommodation expenses can be easy to slash completely. Here are some great ways to help you find a place to stay without even touching your wallet:


Did you know that there are over 200+ Couchsurfing destinations all over the world?

Couchsurfing is a platform where travelers connect with homeowners who open up their homes for free. It is a social network and hospitality service combined. Hosts don’t get anything out of it, only the pleasure of meeting new people every single time.

As a guest, you don’t have to pay for anything. Couchsurfing hosts not only help with providing a roof over your head, but also often offer food and sometimes include a guided tour as well.

The beauty of platforms like Couchsurfing is that you get to connect with different people from all over the world and make lasting memories and friendships.


Home Exchanges

If you’re a homeowner, this kind of arrangement allows for you and another party to swap houses for an agreed period. So, you both get the benefit of staying in each other’s place and get a run of the place (much like in the movie “The Holiday” where Cameron Diaz travels to England to stay in Kate Winslet’s very cozy home while Kate travels to sunny California and lives in Cameron’s posh home).

The actual type of home being exchanged can vary, from apartments to holiday cottages, luxurious homes, or even RVs and boats. Houses can be exchanged either simultaneously or at different times and may last a week, a month, or something even longer-term!



This is one of the more traditional types of accommodation, especially perfect for those who love roughing it out in the great outdoors. All you need is a good location to pitch your tent and an arrangement for food for the duration of your stay, and you’re set! Bonus: Camping is also one of the most scenic and beautiful ways to save on accommodation.

Actual camping accommodation also varies, from a humble tent to a motorhome or caravan. It can be close to the beach or way up in the mountains, and off the beaten path or at a camping ground/campsite (which, fair warning, does occasionally cost money, but it’s still cheap).


Work Exchange/Volunteering

This living arrangement allows you to work, usually for up to around four hours per day, in exchange for free room and board. In your downtime, you will still be able to explore the locale and see the sights.

The kind of work offered in these cases usually involves farming; other arrangements can give you the chance to work at a hostel or even in private homes.

The important thing to remember if you want to take this route is to make sure that both host and guest (you) agree to the kind of work that will be done. This makes for a harmonious and memorable stay. Not only that, you also get to be part of the local community and immerse yourself in the culture and lifestyle of the place that you are visiting.



Housesitting is like babysitting, but the difference is that you are taking care of a home instead of a baby or child. In a housesitting arrangement, the homeowners leave the care of their home in the traveler’s (your) hands. This involves taking care of their home, which may include basic maintenance or taking care of their plants (or even their pets), depending on the homeowner’s needs.

Housesitting stints can last for a week, a month or, in other cases, even six months to a year.

There are actually a number of sites available where you can browse for housesitting gigs. You should be quick to respond to the ads so that you can get the best deal. There are literally thousands of homeowners all over the world who are looking for house sitters. So if you travel more slowly and think this type of accommodation will suit your needs for an upcoming trip, start looking!


Living & Working on Boats

This is another mode of accommodation that is quite unique since you get to live on a boat! Yacht owners often offer free accommodation (and food!) on their boats in exchange for paid onboard work.

Some tasks that may be required of you include deckhand/maintenance work or accommodating passengers by entertaining or serving them. You might be surprised at the number of things that need to be done on a boat or yacht. That means that captains will always need help from people with different skillsets.

So if you’re looking to travel by sea and get free accommodation while you’re at it, this might just be the thing you’re looking for. You not only get to enjoy the beauty and expanse of the open ocean, you also get to connect with other people and build a network of friends from all over the world.


Now that we’ve given the lowdown on different types of free accommodation available to you when you travel, make sure to start planning your next trip now, ahead of time, by exploring the different hospitality, house sitting, home exchange, and work exchange/volunteering options out there. Your next [dirt cheap] adventure awaits!


Budget Travel

Most Romantic Places to Go for Valentine’s Day

‘Tis the season of love, and we’re sure that couples who want some adventure this Valentine’s Day are looking for the most romantic spots to go to surprise their loved ones for this very special occasion.

So here’s our list of recommended places to travel to for Valentine’s Day this 2018:


Paris, France

Given that Paris is the City of Light, after all, it tops our list of most romantic places to go on Valentine’s Day.

You can renew your vows in front of the Eiffel Tower or take in the sights of Paris while riding a horse-drawn carriage. Taste the sweet champagne; take a picturesque cruise along the Seine.


Positano, Italy

A very popular romantic destination in Europe, this cliff-side village located in southern Italy is known for its pebbled beachfront and steep streets lined with cafes and boutiques.

It has maintained its beauty over the past century because of the strict building codes enforced by the government to preserve the beauty and authenticity of this place.


Santorini, Greece

Considered one of the most romantic places in the world, Santorini is popular with couples who want to go on a honeymoon or simply enjoy a romantic candlelit dinner with the island’s caldera and the deep blue sea in the backdrop.

Don’t forget to take in the ruins of the Byzantine Castle and the Akrotiri lighthouse (especially during sunset), as they’re both a sight to behold.


Seville, Spain

This beautiful place is located in southern Spain and is the capital of the Andalusian region.

You can easily get lost in the fairytale-like splendor of the architecture that surrounds this place, like the Alcazar Castle, which was built during the Moorish Dynasty, or the Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza, which was built in the 18th century.

You might also want to check out the 17th Century Palazio in the old section of Barrio Alfalfa, in the heart of Seville.


Venice, Italy

Ah, the city of canals. Known as one of the most romantic cities in the world, Venice is built on water and is famous for the romantic gondola rides offered along its network of beautiful canals (while the gondolier sings in the background and sips on a glass of champagne).

If you want something truly luxurious, you might opt to stay at the Aman Canal Grand Venice Resort, a 16th-century hotel located to the right of the Grand Canal. This beautiful resort offers drinks on its rooftop terrace!


Prague, Czech Republic

This city boasts majestic castles and red-tiled roofs (from its Gothic churches). You would think that walking along cobblestoned streets lined with gas lamps is already passé, but these are alive and well in this city. Try taking a boat ride down the Vltava as part of a “Prague Venice” cruise, the city’s unique spin on Venice’s famous canal tours. This memorable tour will give you a breathtaking view of the old town from the water.



This romantic archipelago located in the Indian Ocean is perfect if you’re looking for privacy, especially on Valentine’s Day. Spend the night at the water villas, complete with terraces that overlook the cerulean sea, and soak up the beautiful scenery or walk along the shores of the white-sand beaches at sunset.

There is a host of other activities that both you and your S.O. can indulge in, like snorkeling, diving, windsurfing, and canoeing.

You can also sample the many different cuisines that the islands offer, ranging from French to Japanese to, of course, fresh seafood.


Big Sur, Califonia

Known as the “American Riviera” due to its Mediterranean-style coastline, Big Sur is one that you should add to your romantic Valentine’s Day getaway list.

It offers a beautiful backdrop of the Santa Lucia Mountain as you drive along the coast on Highway One.

Big Sur is also dotted with beautiful beaches and waterfalls. Soak in a natural hot spring, enjoy a scenic hike, or simply relax and admire the area’s picturesque views with your partner.


Rome, Italy

This Eternal City is known for its blindingly spectacular sunsets that bathe the city’s domes and church towers in a golden hue. Romance plays a major part in what Rome is known for, with its quaint piazzas and Ponte Sisto, the city’s iconic “kissing bridge.”

Passionate romantics would do well to include Rome and its attractions on their list.


Mendocino, California

This Victorian village sits along the rugged top of Northern California overlooking the Pacific. It’s a very charming place to visit, with 1850s New England-style cottages lining the village.

It’s famous for its magnificent botanical gardens, hiking trails within the redwood forest, and walks along the beach. You can also sample the wines that can be found around the region.

Don’t miss out on their Pinot wine (the grapes for which are grown along the coast).


Kauai, Hawaii

For a more peaceful, secluded, and romantic getaway, you absolutely must consider this “Garden Isle”.

Kauai’s natural beauty may make you feel like you are in a tropical paradise, boasting gardens filled with all kinds of tropical flowers and foliage.

You’d do well to visit the Na Pali coast, accessible via boat, helicopter, or (if you’re up for an adventure) hiking. There are several spots throughout this area to discover, but with no shortage of stunning beaches and other attractions, the island as a whole is a truly idyllic place for couples on Valentine’s Day.


Fregate Island, Seychelles

This 740-acre private island located in Seychelles is a place that seems lost in time simply because of the privacy that it affords you.

You can forget all about the world and focus on just the two of you as you admire the island’s seven beaches, the sanctuary home to thousands of birds, and a unique treehouse that sits on the largest and oldest banyan tree in the island.

This island hosts only 40 guests at a time, so you can really enjoy the privacy that this place offers. Let your troubles melt away in the jacuzzi, and did we mention that you can have your very own waiter at your beck and call? On Fregate Island, you and your partner can really feel pampered on Valentine’s Day.

Maldives Beach Vacation
Budget Travel

The Best Places to Escape the Cold Weather

The height of the cold season is here, and we’re sure that you’re looking for ways to escape the chilly winter weather so that you can make the most of this holiday season – not cooped up inside, but out where the action is. So, here’s a list of some places you can go to for some much-needed escape.

1) Sicily, Italy

Who wouldn’t want to visit this picturesque place? As one of the largest islands in the Mediterranean, it is located at the southern tip of Italy and is home to Mount Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe.

This time of year, the temperature averages around 65 degrees. Daylight here also lasts 7 hours, so you can make the most of the sun’s warmth.


2) Paxos, Greece

This is one of the smallest of the Ionian islands, but do not be deceived by the size of this place; you can still get swallowed up by the laid-back vibe here.

If you’re looking to escape the party scene, this is the place for you.

Because of Paxos’ small size, one of the best things you can do is explore the beautiful nooks and crannies of this island. The temperatures here are milder, ranging from the mid-50s to the lower 60s.


3) Alicante, Spain

This is the capital of eastern Spain, Costa Blanca. It gets its name from the rolling sandy beaches in this part of the country. This city is ripe with things to do and explore.

You can explore the beautiful local architecture and history by visiting the different museums that can be found in the city, like the Archeological Museum and the Santa Bárbara Castle.

You can also laze around in the afternoon at the beautiful beaches of Saladar that can be found south of Alicante, or head north to Playa de la Albufereta.


4) Mozambique

Despite being filled with popular beaches along its coastline, this southern African nation is still not that popular among most travelers. However, this place has a lot to offer, like its beautiful turquoise water that boasts colorful sea creatures and well-preserved corals. You might also enjoy the pounding surf along the country’s southern coast.

This place also hosts beautiful colonial-style architecture and its own flavor of nightlife. However, it’s not easy to get around here; you would do well to bring a measure of patience with you, as getting to your destination often requires long bus rides.

But, for beautiful places like this, it is well worth it.


5) Morocco

This is a North African country that overlooks the Mediterranean and Atlantic oceans. This country offers scenic mountain ranges and deserts as far as your eyes can see, plus ancient cities and diverse cultural influences. It is known as the gateway to Africa.

There are also beaches in this country that you might like to explore.


6) Dubai, UAE

Located at the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf, this city is the most populous and largest in the United Arab Emirates. It is known for its modern architecture, luxurious shopping, and colorful nightlife.

Some of Dubai’s top tourist attractions are the Burj Khalifa (currently the tallest building in the world), the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, and Dubai Creek. So if you’re looking for a unique (and often grand) experience during the holidays, this is the place to be.


7) Barbados

An eastern Caribbean island, this is one of the best places to escape during the winter season. It offers a host of beautiful beaches around the island, 17th-century plantation houses, botanical gardens, and the Harrison Cave formation.

The place is best known for its powdery sand beaches and festive nightlife. Barbados is the place to be if you want to experience summer during the winter.


8) Costa Rica

This Central American country features coastlines bordering both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Costa Rica is known for its rich biodiversity, beaches, and volcanoes.

Costa Rica is also a great place to get your surf on. You might also want to go and explore the peaks of the volcanoes in this area, go hiking, explore the area on a bike, or go ziplining.

You’re only limited by your imagination.


9) Phuket, Thailand

This is a mountainous island located in the Andaman Sea. It is also known for its beautiful beaches along its western shore. Phuket has old shophouses, high-end spas, and resorts and restaurants.

It also has bars, clubs, and discos that tourists often frequent when they visit this island. This is the largest island in Thailand.

So if you want to be a beach bum, do some diving, and enjoy a hedonistic lifestyle (especially in the winter), this is where you’ll want to go.


10) The Maldives

Located in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives is a South Asian archipelago comprising 1,000 coral islands and 26 ring-shaped atolls. It is primarily known for its blue lagoons, reefs, and beaches.

The main island offers shops, restaurants, and a fish market. You can feast on exotic food here. You’ll also enjoy the weather, because the Maldives gets plenty of sunshine, with temperatures usually stable in the 80s.


11) Kenya

Kenya is an East African country with coastlines located along the Indian Ocean. This beautiful country is not only known for its beautiful beaches, but also for its sprawling safari.

So if you want to experience less human interaction and more of the beauty that nature has to offer, Kenya is an ideal place to go to meet the big five including majestic lions, rhinos, and elephants, to name a few.

Elephants in Africa

12) Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Aside from being the second most populous city in Brazil, it is also known for its Ipanema and Copacabana beaches as well as its 125-foot-tall Christ the Redeemer statue, with cable cars located at the granite peak.

This city has been frequented by tourists for decades because of its annual Carnaval festival. It’s one of the most festive and colorful places to be in the world. So if you’re looking for a warm place to escape to that’s also lively and energetic, this is one that you should include on your list.


Budget Travel

Better Places to Spend New Year’s Than a Crowded Bar

The day to usher in the New Year is fast approaching, and while you might not be 100% sure of your plans yet, you know you don’t want to spend your New Year’s Eve in a packed bar (again).

So if you’ve got your mind set on celebrating somewhere else, consider some of our suggestions for awesome places to travel to spend New Year’s; you may just have one of your most memorable New Year’s celebrations yet.



Famous for its 3-day celebration which kicks off every 30th of December, the streets of St Giles and South and North Bridge going to Holyrood Part are strewn with people carrying torches. Fireworks light up the night sky as they start the celebration.

The celebration continues on New Year’s Eve, where even more people flock to the streets and sing ‘Auld Lang Syne’ as they welcome the coming year. Imagine, thousands of people singing together!

What a sight to behold! This is truly one that you can put in the book for years to come.


New York City

Who wouldn’t want to go to the city that never sleeps?

New York belongs to one of the top spots to celebrate the New Year because of the ball drop tradition in Times Square, where many famous musicians perform every year to kick up the party atmosphere. But did you know that you can also witness the fireworks from a not-so-crowded view?

You can go for a ride down the New York Harbor and see the best angle for fireworks.

Now that’s simply amazing!


The Bahamas

One of the places best known for their beautiful beaches—especially in the summer—The Bahamas is a place that you should want to go to during New Year’s because the festivities here will leave you breathless. They have a Mardi Gras-like celebration that happens on the first day of the year. This is preceded by beach gatherings and parades on the street where different performers and costumes are featured, a sight to behold.

Large properties also host some of their own festive parties that are not just limited to the adults; they are likewise family-friendly.


Walt Disney World

Now, this is a place that we’re sure the whole family will enjoy. The park stays open until 1 am and there are numerous activities that everyone will enjoy, like the Cirque du Soleil, performances of live entertainers, and the colorful explosion of confetti. There’s also the beautiful light show at Epcot that happens before midnight.

You know why this is one of the places to be on New Year’s Eve? It’ll be less crowded, so you can really enjoy all that the park has to offer.



The land down under hosts a unique celebration of the New Year. They are known to have the world’s biggest fireworks display. Now that is something that you wouldn’t want to miss.

Don’t want to miss out on the action?

You can take a boat ride down the waterfront of the Sydney Harbour Bridge for a front-row seat where the magical display will be showcased for the whole world to see, featuring the beauty of the Sydney Opera House.


Rio De Janeiro

Want to experience summer in December? This is the place to be. It is said that around this time of year, it is still mid-summer in Rio. But that won’t stop people from flocking to the beaches of Rio to watch the amazing fireworks display. The celebration usually starts at 8 pm, when the live bands play the samba to get the crowd going.

By the way, if you’ve decided to go to Rio and join the party, you ought to wear white—it’s said to bring luck for the whole year. Be prepared for a shower of champagne in the air, as you will definitely be under the spray of the champagne bottles!


Koh Phangan

Speaking of beach parties, you wouldn’t want to miss spending New Year in this part of the world. Koh Phangan hosts the most famous Full Moon Party and the wildest party in the world. Party in this area starts at the crack of dawn and ends on the afternoon of the following day. Want to party ‘til you drop? This is where all the action is.



The City of Lights is not just any nickname for the most romantic city in the world. The dawn of the New Year transforms the Eiffel tower into a majestic light show and fireworks display. Champs-Elysees becomes host to street parties where people greet each other with kisses on the cheek and feast on chocolates wrapped in shiny paper that crackles like that of a firecracker that’s been lit and sumptuous papillotes.

However, if you’re going for something less crowded, you may want to go to Montmarte—which provides a good view of the fireworks—or opt for a ride down the Seinne for a dinner cruise.


Cape Town

This South African city celebrates New Year’s unlike any other—it goes on for three days! Fireworks displays and concerts happen on New Year’s Eve at the Victoria and Albert Waterfront. There’s also the carnival-themed train and live music to entertain people at the Victoria Falls New Year’s Carnival.

The Cape Town Minstrel Carnival goes around town on New Year’s Day and the following day. But this is not any ordinary parade; this is a tradition that dates back to the 19th century. It boasts 10,000 performers singing and dancing in the streets to the entertainment of the thousands of people that head to the beaches to witness this spectacular show.



This picturesque city in the northernmost part of the world experiences only 4 hours of daylight in late December. So you can just imagine how eager the people are to start their New Year’s celebration. They start the celebration by burning their troubles away via community bonfires. There’s also a festive atmosphere as people dance and sing around the campfire while music is being played. This is followed by a dazzling fireworks display. Festivities end at 5 am on the following day.

Budget Travel

Top Tips for Stress-Free Christmas Travel

The holidays are fast approaching, and we’re sure that by now, most people are already preparing for their out-of-town holiday and Christmas travel.

Your head may already be spinning with the number of things that need to get done before you head out to parts unknown.

So to help you out, we’ve come up with a list of things that you should keep in mind if you’re traveling during this Christmas season so that you can have a stress-free travel experience.

1) Ship Christmas presents ahead

The first thing to make it on our list is to ship those Christmas presents ahead of you.

It would be ideal to send them out about a week ahead of time to avoid the hassle of bringing them with you to the airport and having to unwrap those gifts in front of the TSA or – even worse – not being able to take them on board. It’s better to avoid the hassle altogether and simply send any gifts beforehand.

While it will cost you some money, it’ll be one less thing for you to worry about.

2) Travel light

Packing everything into just a carry-on bag would ideal, since you won’t have to line up to have any luggage checked in. But if you think that what you’ve packed in your carry-on bag won’t be enough, you again may opt to send some of those things that you will need along with the presents that you will be giving away.

Plus, you will eliminate the chance of having your luggage lost along the way.

3) Avoid booking flights to/from the busiest airports

It saves you the hassle of working your way through the crowds of people in the airport. Plus, it’s cheaper if you’re traveling out of secondary airports. You’re killing two birds with one stone, so to speak; you get to avoid large, crowded airports while also saving on airfare.


4) Choose a flight that is early in the day or late in the evening

It is always best to get a good head start when you travel because, aside from being able to arrive at your destination early, it also allows you to relax earlier and maximizes your time with family and friends.

Or if you’re traveling late in the evening, it gives you ample time to wrap things up before you leave and check on things that you may otherwise overlook, especially when you are in a hurry to get to the airport.

5) The best time to travel (land or air) is during off-peak days

Why? Because roads are not yet congested with holiday travelers, it makes it more pleasant to take in the sights if you’re driving, and you won’t have to leave early to beat the traffic.

The same goes for air travel; since there are still not many travelers in the airport, you won’t be stressed with the number of people inside the airport. Use Google’s new flight search to aid in your search.

This is especially nice for claustrophobic people.

6) Don’t forget to bring an extra charging device

This is especially advisable for those who need to be connected all the time. It saves you the hassle of trying to find an outlet inside the airport.

Chances are that almost everyone will be looking for an outlet, especially if their electronic device is already running low on power. So to avoid that hassle altogether, make sure you have an extra battery pack or charging kit stashed in your carry-on bag.

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7) Bring light snacks

Don’t rely on airplane food – especially if your stomach is already grumbling and you still have a ways to go before you reach your destination.

Better yet, if you are not the type to bring light snacks, make sure that you grab a bite before heading to the airport. If you’re too hungry, you may not be able to think straight or overreact to a minor mishap.

So fuel up your body with enough food, and make sure to stay hydrated too.

8) Find out where and how you can get help

This is especially helpful if, for some reason, your flight gets canceled due to unforeseen events. It’s always good to have the number of your airline handy so that you can make a call if something happens.

It’s also advisable to know the phone numbers and information for other airlines that are leaving for the same destination ahead of time so that you can buy a one-way ticket from them and get to your destination ASAP.

9) Make use of social media

Nowadays, it’s so easy to access information. So since you’re traveling, make the most of your social media to find out if there are roads that are inaccessible, airline flights that have been canceled, which airports are open, cheap deals on hotel accommodation, amenities within the airport, etc.

Who knows, you might also be of help to other travelers in need of information.

PS. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

10) Bring headphones or earplugs

This works if you just want to tune out the noise and people around you and concentrate on enjoying the scenery.

Nice and relaxing music helps you to doze off, especially after a very long, tiring journey. A few minutes or even hours to yourself always feels good.

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11) Relax and just breathe

With everything that happens around the Christmas season and the number of things that you want to accomplish to avoid the frenzy, you sometimes forget to just take a load off and breathe.

Remember the reason for the season.

Take the time to just appreciate everybody around you, all the people you’re with, and just savor that moment with them. Breathe. Relax. Smile.

Don’t get swept up in the hustle and bustle. Don’t let the stress get to you. It’s the very reason why you’re traveling to celebrate the holidays with family and friends – to relax and enjoy the good cheer.

Budget Travel

15 Useful Budget Travel Tips and Tricks

For whatever reason, one of the prevailing, persistent misconceptions about traveling is that it’s expensive. While money is an important necessary ingredient in the equation, you don’t need as much as you might think. Many people feel that travel is financially out of their reach because they believe that the best way (or even the only way) to travel is by sparing no expense: flying first-class, staying in luxury resorts, eating in fancy restaurants, and shelling out big bucks for the all-inclusive package.

Not only is that not an authentic way to travel, it can break the bank! How can you enjoy your trip to the fullest if you can’t stop thinking about how much you spent to make it happen? There’s gotta be a better way, folks.

Enter the world of budget travel. The Internet has made it several orders of magnitude easier to learn ways to save money on travel, whether it’s general budget travel wisdom or location-specific advice. The best advice can help anybody who travels; even casual backpackers who are likely already working with a tighter budget can stretch their dollars even further by thinking creatively and exercising self-control.

Where should we start? The most useful budget travel tips are those that focus on the four major expense categories – transportation, food, accommodation, and activities/excursions – so let’s look at those.


Moving from one location to the next is the very essence of travel, but transportation can be a difficult category to save a few dollars in. Here are a few ideas:

1. If you’re traveling by air, flight tickets are pretty much a given when it comes to necessary travel expenses. But you can still minimize financial heartache by flying during low seasons, taking advantage of promo fares, flying on no-frills budget airlines, and utilizing travel hacks like credit card points or miles bonuses.

2. Take the scenic route! Slower transportation methods like buses and trains are not only cheaper, they can also be a great way to make new friends or, if you’re traveling overnight, save on a night’s accommodation.

3. Hitchhike. It’s definitely not for everybody, and it requires common sense (and some bravery), but hitchhiking is one of the best ways to get to your destination (or at least closer to it) for free.


I don’t care how long you’ve been traveling, everybody’s gotta eat. It’s easy to go for the most convenient option, especially after an exhausting day of exploration, but a little effort can go a long way towards reducing food costs:

4. Cook your own meals at least occasionally. Eating out every time can become an expensive affair. Make a run to a nearby supermarket to pick up the necessary ingredients, then head back to the hostel kitchen or AirBnb and bring out your inner chef.

5. If you must eat out, do it during breakfast, brunch, or lunchtime, when dishes are cheaper and many places have specials.

6. Stock up on a few cheap snacks at a convenience store before starting the day’s activities so you’re not tempted to eat everything in sight come dinnertime.

7. Try looking for accommodation that offers complimentary breakfast or the like. Then knock out both lunch and dinner with a well-timed trip to a buffet. Boom.

8. Dumpster diving could be the food equivalent of hitchhiking; you rely on others’ kindness in the hope of getting something free. While actually rummaging through commercial dumpsters is cleaner than most people imagine, sometimes all you need to do is ask grocery stores or restaurants if they have any leftover unsold produce/food.


Pricey hotel stays are usually an unnecessary rarity in today’s budget travel realm, replaced by a host of cheap or even free alternatives. Since everybody already knows about hostels, here are a few other great ways to rest your head for free or cheap:

9. Couchsurfing

Quite possibly the biggest player in this game, Couchsurfing is built on the principle of exchanging hospitality; locals in cities across the world open their homes to travelers, where they can stay for free. It’s technically free, but nobody likes a mooch; if you’re hosted, try to give back somehow.

10. Camping

Why not take your bed with you? Bringing a tent along means that not only can you set up shelter and sleep virtually anywhere for free (or the usually cheap campsite fee), you can also wake up to some stunning views of Mother Nature.

11. Housesitting

Often considered the pinnacle of free travel accommodations by many of the travel pros, housesitting combines the appeal of a free place to stay with the comfortable, home-y vibe of an AirBnb rental. Sometimes, when homeowners travel, they ask for volunteers who can come and watch/take care of their house and/or animals while they’re gone. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship in which the homeowner has peace of mind while they’re away and the lucky housesitter gets a free nice place to stay in return.


Finally, what you do while you’re traveling in a new country also affects how much you’ll spend. Here are some suggestions:

12. Get cheap hobbies. Walking, hiking, swimming, sightseeing, and photographing are all usually free or really cheap ways to enjoy a new location.

13. You can’t do some things, like visiting North Korea, without a guided tour, but 99% of the time, you can save money by skipping the tour group and instead making the necessary preparations and going it alone.

14. Tourist traps are also a thing. You can often find alternative restaurants/attractions/excursions that are cheaper than their touristy counterparts by getting away from the crowds.

15. Other ways to save money could include: drinking in before hitting the bars, hand-washing laundry whenever possible, and using Wi-Fi instead of spending money for a SIM card.

Traveling on a budget takes a little imagination and a lot of discipline, but implementing some of these tips can be a great way to extend your time on the road and likely have more adventurous trips. What other money-saving budget travel tips can you think of?

Budget Travel

How to Save Money on Hotel Accommodation While Traveling

While not impossible, traveling for free can be an extremely difficult proposition – you sacrifice convenience and comfort. For the vast majority of us, money is a necessary ingredient if you want to travel. You need money to eat, purchase plane tickets, and get visas or enjoy certain excursions.

Often, the biggest expenses while you travel come from accommodation – finding places to stay can add up! The first choice for many people is often a hotel stay, which can quickly become expensive.

Fortunately, accommodation is also one of the easiest travel categories to save money in, with several cheaper (or even free) alternatives available! What do some of these include?

Affordable Hotel Accommodations

Short-term Rentals

We’ll start with a trend that’s picked up steam a lot in the past few years: short-term or vacation rentals. While prices on short-term rentals are usually on par with or only slightly cheaper than your typical hotel stay, short-term rentals can be a great alternative because they usually are more personalized and comfortable than a hotel room.

Airbnb is leading this charge with properties available worldwide, but other sites like VRBO, TripAdvisor, Tripping, or HomeAway also offer many short-term rental options.


Our second item highlights the most well-known budget traveler lodging choice – the humble hostel. Hostels are often the choice of backpackers and vagabonds the world over, and for good reason. The communal nature of the dorm rooms is ideal for meeting fellow travelers and making friends from all over the world, and beds can be found in many developing countries for just a couple dollars a night.

Sites like Hostelworld list exclusively hostels, and other places like have a wide selection of budget hostel options.

You can make a hostel stay even cheaper if you’re willing and able to work in exchange for a free bed, which we’ll look at more in the next point:

Work Exchange/Volunteer Work

Whether it’s at a hostel, on a farm, or at a resort halfway across the world, exchanging your labor for free room and board (and occasionally, meals and a small stipend) is a great way to lower your accommodation costs.

Arrangements like these are often requested and worked out in person; however, useful websites like HelpX and WorkAway offer a database of hosts looking for work that you can connect with for a low annual membership fee. Make sure you’re OK with the host’s stipulations, and always look at reviews and references to make sure you’re getting a reasonable (and legitimate) deal.

Volunteering, while similar to work exchanges in that it often includes a few hours a day of unpaid work for a place to stay in return, focuses more on the social and community benefits of said work.

A well-known example is WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms), a program in which volunteers provide 4-6 hours of work per day in exchange for food and accommodation from the host. Or if you’re more into helping conservation efforts, you could even join teams that help endangered turtles.


Camping is the best option for nature lovers on a budget. It’s usually free, but there are a few instances where you may have to shell out a few dollars to rent a campsite.

Camping is a wonderful way to both save money and have the great outdoors at your doorstep, and it’s easier than ever to do nowadays with all the ultralight tents on the market that you can carry with your baggage without adding too much weight or bulk.


Since the dawn of the Internet, people across the globe are now ore connected than ever – and many use the Web as a tool to find unique accommodation opportunities. One prime example of this is Couchsurfing, one of many “hospitality exchange” websites in which locals open up their couches (or rooms, apartments, or homes) to foreign travelers.

Other examples are WarmShowers for traveling cyclists; Trustroots, which targets hitchhikers and nomads; or alternatives like BeWelcome or Staydu, which work similarly to Couchsurfing.

Not only can hospitality exchanges like these be a great way to have a free place to stay, it’s an invaluable resource for connecting to the local life and getting to know a place more authentically.

Just remember to find a way to give back or pay it forward! Free is great, but nobody likes a mooch.

House Sitting

House sitting is considered by many seasoned travelers to be the pinnacle of free accommodations while on the road. Maybe not everybody makes a life out of travel, but the vast majority of people take vacations and have to leave behind a house and perhaps some pets when they go.

That’s where you come in.

It’s common for homeowners to request a house sitter for them while they’re away, which can involve basic cleaning and maintenance work or pet care while you hold down the fort. You can find listings from hosts around the world on websites like HouseCarers, Nomador, and Mind My House, and you can apply to these listings once you’ve paid the low annual membership fee.

Anything else?

There are a few unconventional accommodation options that you may not have thought off right off the bat.

Monasteries and convents often offer shelter and basic meals for transient travelers.

If you’re a homeowner, there are home exchange programs in which you stay in someone else’s home and open up your home for them to stay in in return, all for free.

Yes, it’s possible for anybody to save a few dollars on the road and quite possibly have a more unique travel experience along with it if they’re simply willing to do a little research and perhaps some work.

What’s been the most interesting way you’ve found accommodation on the road?

Budget Travel

Five Common Travel Mistakes (and How You Can Avoid Them)

Traveling can be a wonderful experience, and regardless of what happens, it’s always an adventure.

Unfortunately, some of that adventure can also include mishaps on the road. While many incidents are simply unavoidable, you can easily prevent several common mistakes with a little common sense and preparation beforehand.

What are some of the most common travel mistakes people make, and how can they be avoided?

1. Overpacking

The essence of hassle-free traveling begins before you even leave – with your packing list. A lot of people make their travels needlessly difficult by taking everything but the kitchen sink, perhaps because they don’t know any better. Extra items become dead weight at the bottom of the pack that gets dragged through each new destination.

To avoid this, pack items that you already use every day, and include versatile, unique items – almost anything else you may have forgotten can be picked up at your destination.

Clothes take up the bulk of your packing space; pack lightweight, versatile pieces that can be layered and mixed and matched easily, and be open to the idea of doing laundry more frequently so you won’t have to pack as many changes of clothes.

Clothing or not, if you consider every single item on your list, there are probably quite a few that you could do without.

2. Lack of planning/preparation

Missed flights. Booking mistakes. Declined credit cards because you’re in a new country. Days wasted wandering around aimlessly or getting lost. Getting turned away at a foreign checkpoint. Sure, incidents like these can happen without warning as well, but they are more often the unfortunate result of poor planning or preparation.

To ensure you make the most of your next adventure, do some research and general planning before your trip so you have a rough outline of what you want to do when you arrive. You can’t plan for every contingency, but reading up on items like your destination country’s immigration laws and local customs and points of interest, as well as squaring away reservations and must-see or must-do places/activities, is a great start.

TIP: Especially if you’ll be on the road a long time, travel insurance is a great thing to pick up. You may not end up needing it, but if something happens, you’ll be glad you have it. It’s only a few extra dollars per day for peace of mind.

3. Burnout

On the flip side, it’s possible (and often all too easy) to overplan and schedule an ambitious itinerary, only to find yourself exhausted by the end of your third day in a new place. Trying to move too fast can turn your trip days into a physically and mentally taxing blur. Travel should be a personal journey, but FOMO (the Fear Of Missing Out) and other factors can make you force yourself to see and do way more than you can handle.

Avoid getting burned out by traveling more slowly, giving yourself time to really explore and get to know a new country or city at your own pace.

Set aside off-days, especially after days of more strenuous activities. It’s all too easy to forget about your own well-being on the road – always fuel your body with the proper foods, stay well-hydrated, and find the time and routine to rejuvenate yourself.

4. Running out of money

Nobody wants to have to go back to a normal life after traveling for a long period of time, but an even bigger nightmare is running out of money on the road. It can be frightening to be in a foreign place and discover that your savings are completely wiped out.

To prevent yourself from even running out of money in the first place, set a strict daily budget, stick to it, and monitor your bank accounts closely. Or, better yet, work while you travel!

If you find your funds rapidly dwindling, step back and take a deep breath – whether it’s asking close friends or family to help you with an emergency loan or picking up short-term work to replenish your bank account, there’s always a way. Whatever happens, try to make sure you have at least enough to pay for a way back home.

5. Staying on the beaten path

It may seem cliché, but there certainly is some truth to the value of taking the roads less traveled and avoiding touristy stuff. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with doing all the things associated with “tourists”, few would disagree that being a “traveler” inspires more personal development and is more conducive to getting through long periods of time on the road.

There’s a certain vibe about touristy areas that dilutes the local way of life and isn’t as authentic as getting away from it all and immersing yourself in the local culture. It may be out of your comfort zone, sure, but I guarantee you’ll come away from it with an unforgettable travel story.

Yes, taking a little time to properly plan, pack, and budget for a trip before the big day arrives can save you a lot of future headaches, hassle, and careless mistakes. Always putting your needs first will ensure that you are always in prime condition, ready and able to make the most of your adventures.

And while there’s nothing wrong with being a tourist every once in a while, never forget that some of your most memorable adventures on the road can only be found off that proverbial beaten path.