Category Archives: Traveling on a Budget

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3 Tips to “Not be Broke” when Coming back from a Trip

“Travel brings power and love back into your life.”
― Jalaluddin Rumi

And you know, it really does. But when the reality of going back home kicks in, something else hits you: the possibility of going back to an empty (or barely surviving) bank account. Have you ever felt like you had such an amazing time away that the mere thought of thinking about how much you spent could crush all your good memories? Or have you ever delayed looking at your bank statements upon returning home?

I know, for sure, I have, or at least I used to, until I started applying these three tips to avoid being broke when coming back home:

Tip 1: Make a budget

I learned to budget since I was around 13 (perhaps even earlier), and this is definitely a skill that I am grateful for. Budgeting when traveling gives you a clear vision of a) how much you want to spend, b) how much you can spend and c) what you want to spend on. It is crucial to have that balance when traveling, because you might want to spend more than what you can afford, and this might put you into very delicate situations.

When establishing your budget, avoid allocating the exact amount to each activity. Rather, go towards the upper limit in the event that your activities turn out to be more expensive than what you originally expected. Finally, allocate more funds to the things that you consider as priority for each trip. For instance, going to Rome for a shopping spree? Then allocate more funds to shopping. Going food tasting in Paris? The biggest part of your budget should be on meals and fine dining. Looking to enjoy sightseeing, museums or historical expos in Geneva? You would probably end up spending more in sightseeing. So make your budget strategically based on what the primary purpose of your trip is.

Tip 2: Stick to it!

It’s one thing to make a budget, it’s another thing to stick to it! Regardless of how difficult it is, it is important to make a conscious effort to stick to your budget, especially if you’re traveling Solo. To ensure that you stick to your budget, you could separate each portion into different envelopes and whenever you hit the town, make sure you only take “what you need”. That way, if you see something that you’re extremely tempted to buy and know for sure you don’t need, you won’t be able to purchase it (since you won’t have any cash for it anyways).

Tip 3: Travel with currency from your home country.

This works especially well if your home currency is not very common (like the US Dollar, Euro or Pound). The reason this works particularly well for me is because whenever I travel with my home currency (which is currently the Eastern Caribbean Dollar), there is no where overseas where I am able to change it into another currency (unless I am traveling within the Caribbean). That way, I have a guarantee that I won’t be able to use that money during my trip and I’ll have some substantial cash when I return back home!

And you, do you have any tips to “avoid being broke” when coming back from a trip? Share it in the comments below, I’d love to know!

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” 
― Henry Miller

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5 Flight Booking Traps and False Ideas that No One is Telling you about

Here are the two most important expenses that you always have to deal with when planning a trip: 1) Accommodation and 2) Flights (unless, of course, you decide to purchase a private residence or a yacht while overseas, in which case, that’s a completely different story😅 ). And because these are the most pricey items when it comes to budget for a trip, people tend to get very nervous over flights and accommodation bookings.

When it comes to flights, I have come across 5 key traps that keep being repeated over and over again, everywhere on social media and on several travel blogs:

1. Skyscanner is the best: Nope, it is not. Sky scanner is great in its own rights, but I wouldn’t qualify it as the best. In fact, people should not even say “the best”, but rather, “the best for me”; because what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another.

For instance, when I was looking for affordable flights to visit other European cities while in Geneva, almost everyone in my entourage was praising Skyscanner wonders. Interestingly, every time I’d go on Skyscanner to look for a flight, I would never get the results that I want. And at times, I could not even see any flights listed for my intended dates. Someone introduced me to Google Flights, and it was a game changer for me, I’ve used it ever since. Whenever I enter a search on Google Flights, it combines all the results that are available, with all airlines, all layover options, etc. Additionally, it sorts out the prices based on the least expensive, and you can even check the most expensive flights if you feel adventurous. Moreover, Google Flights has this great option of suggesting travel dates that could make you spend even less money. And did I mention that they include results from ALL airlines?

The lesson: before landing on Google flights, I had to try a million options: Expedia, Cheapoair, Skyscanner, Trivago, etc. At the end of the day, you need to give it a try for yourself and use what works for you, and not take anyone word for it. 

2. I have a limited budget, so I need to go with the cheapest flight: wrong. I used to fall into this trap a lot, and I’m glad I’ve seen the light. Whenever you look at the price of a flight, there are a lot of things to take into consideration: departure and arrival times, duration of the layover, number of transits, and last, the number of carry-ons and bagages allowed.

  • First case scenario:  if for instance you get a $50 round trip flight deal, but with no carryon and no suitcase allowed (which means you need to purchase it afterwards), and you also get a $70 deal with a carryon allowed but no suitcase, which flight would you take? To make that decision, you need to know how much a carryon costs for option 1. If the carryon costs less than $20, then option 1 is definitely the cheapest of the two, but if it’s more, then… well, you get the point.
  • Second case scenario: say you’re planning a one day trip to a special city, like I did for my trip to Brussels. Ideally, you’d like to leave early in the morning and return later at night, or early the next day. Option 1: you get a $50 flight that leaves at 12:00 PM and returns the same day at 6:00 PM. Option 2: you get a 110 flight that leaves at 7:00 AM and returns at 8:00 PM. Which option is best? I’ll let you figure out this one on its own, feel free to give me your answer in the comments! (but if you picked option 2, I know you definitely got the point!)😎

3. It’s always better to use different airlines based on whoever offers the best deal: false. Sometimes, it’s advantageous for your to use different airlines, other times, it’s wiser to stick to the airlines you are familiar with, especially if you already have miles with them. For instance, if I get a Quantas Airlines (Australian airline company) for $60 and a Virgin Australia Airlines flight for $100, and I am a frequent flyer with Virgin Australia, I would personally choose to opt for the $100 flight because it would help me to accumulate a few miles (just for a $40 difference). Small rewards, but handy on the long run. But if my budget is extremely tight or there is a bigger price difference (in the order of the hundreds), then I’d gladly consider switching to the other airline and, why not, start a Frequent Flyer account with them too! 🤗

4. If I ‘m used to a specific airline, I should just stick to it: wrong. For instance, I’m a huge fan of American Airlines when it comes to traveling to North America and beyond. However, depending on where I want to go, Delta would offer me way cheaper and better options. Perhaps airlines have agreements with specific airports, I wouldn’t know for sure. But for some cities, American Airlines would charge me two to three times the price of a ticket sold on Delta and this for similar services (I have checked), and Delta would do the same for other cities. So even if you have your go-to airline whenever you travel to a specific country, be open-minded.

5. First and Business classes are always more expensive: said who? Psssh. My sister recently came back from a trip to Philly (Philadelphia) which she absolutely loved (in fact, she promised to write a guest post on www.travelwithclem.com about it, stay tuned!) And guess what, she travelled Business, and paid the same price she would have paid if she had traveled Economy (with a mere difference). And would you believe me if I told you that with an additional 20$-100$ to your economy fare, you could actually get a first class ticket, if you book your flight 6-8 months in advance? Test the waters, you’ll be pleasantly surprised😎

Do you agree with these tips? And are there any other flight myths you know of?

Join the discussion by letting me know in your comments, I’d love to know!

 


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Where Do People Find Money to Travel?

Since I have been sharing my travel experience through my blog, I have had this question time and again: where do I get the money to travel?

And I am happy to tell you.

But first things first, it is important that you know that what works for one might not necessarily work for another person, and as such, use the advice and information here to see how this can apply to you.

Here are three key questions to ask yourself:

1.First things first! Where do I want to go?

A lot of people tend to believe that you need to have money first before traveling, but let me correct this: you need to know where you want to go before you have the money. Just as much as your budget determines your destination, your destination also dictates your budget. In other words, where you want to go determines how much you’d need. Note that some people prefer to save up a lot of money and then decide on where they can go based on how much they have. I personally prefer to pick a destination and work towards getting the means to afford a trip to that destination.

2. How much do I need?

Now that you know where you want to go, it’s easier to determine how much you’ll need. 95% of the time, your biggest expenses are on flight+accommodation, so budget for that first. To make a budget for your flight, consider the travel season (summer vs winter, holidays vs regular days, weekdays vs weekends, etc.) to get the best flight deals. To make a budget for your accommodation, consider your preferences and expected level of comfort: do you rather stay in a guesthouse and maximize on sightseeing and meals, or do you rather stay in a resort and live the suite life? Either option is fine, according to your needs. You just need to take that into consideration when making your budget. Once you have an idea of the cost of your flight and accommodation, you can estimate the rest of your expenses on site such as transportation, meals, and sightseeing.

3. Where do I get the money?

The money can come from either existing funds, or newly acquired funds. Existing funds refer to savings and newly acquired funds to money earned while working at a regular job. So if you’re currently employed, it goes without saying that it’s easier for you to earn and save, depending on your responsibilities.

If you’re not employed, then you need to look for a source of income. Possible sources of income include:

  • Conferences: this is a great option to combine traveling and learning (I call it traveling with a “greater” purpose). Regardless of which ever field you’re into (Arts&Crafts, Business, Marketing, Accounting, Pharmacy, Medicine, Videos Making, you name it), there are a lot of conferences out there with other people sharing the same interests as you. Check it out, and if available, apply for travel assistance! However, it might be important to demonstrate how attending such a conference could help advance your career goals/develop your community.’
  • Training workshops: just like conferences, training workshops are great opportunities to get out there, learn new skills, meet people and discover other countries. You can also apply for travel assistance where available.
  • Paid volunteering programmes: a lot of my friends are involved in those and these options are rewarding at multiple levels. Again, it is important to pick something in the field you’re interested in, as it makes it easier for you to align the experience with your career objectives.
  • Freelance work: do you have any skills or services you can offer in your community or online? Get out there, give it a try and get paid for it! Whatever you think can be used as a marketable skill, is probably  marketable skill. Don’t let your fears limit you. Get out there. Remember, you’ve got a trip to plan!

Do you know of any other opportunities where someone can get money to travel? Feel free to share them here!

If you liked this article, subscribe to my blog and receive more tips and tricks on financing when traveling!

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” – Saint Augustine


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Comics Guesthouse, Rome

If you’re traveling to Rome soon and I looking for an affordable, conveniently located and interesting place to stay, Comics Guesthouse is your best bet!

I stumbled about this gold mine while doing my research on hostels for my trip to Rome.
What made me pick this place, out of so many other options, was the fact that it was themed from comics and cartoons, which I very much love!

I had never seen a hostel like this before, and the fact that they defined such a fun theme for their decor was simply amazing!

Rest assured, this place works well for people traveling solo, in couple or even for families! While I was there, there were several families who had come to spend a few nights.

This hostel had the perfect location, and I couldn’t and skills for more. The closest station is Lepanto (only a 3 mns walk) and from there you’re 15 mns away from Campo de Fiori, the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, the St Peters square (including the basilica) and the Vatican museums. This was simply the perfect location for me.

There are also a few cafes and supermarkets in the vicinity, and the hostel has a kitchen and free supplies that you can use  (coffee, tea, sugar, drinks, pasta,etc).

 

Location: viale Giulio Cesare 38 00192 Roma, 00192 Roma, Italy.
Cost:  less than 20 euros/night 

What I loved: The cartoon theme, the perfect location and the amazing staff! There are also a lot of cafes and shopping places in the vicinity.

What they could improve on: the location is not very obvious and the sign at  front of the building is pretty small. I had to stop at the bakery nearby to ask for directions.
Otherwise, I loved the place. The only reason I checked out earlier was because my plans changed, but I stayed at another amazing hostel, the Generator Home, and you might want to check it out here!

 

 

 

 

 


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Generator Hostel, Rome 

One if the best ways to make sure you save while traveling is to go for budget and comfortable accommodation options!

This hostel is like nothing I have ever seen, and in a great way!

They truly know how to redefine the world of hostels and make you feel like you’re staying at a place more expensive than what you’re paying for.

 

 

Location: Via principe Amedeo, 257, 00185 Roma, Italy.

This hostel is very conveniently located. About 7 mns from the Roma termini station.

PS: the neighborhood seems a bit sketchy, but don’t worry, it’s safe. the Radisson Blue Hotel is also around:) I’d recommend using Google Maps and asking locals if you’re having difficulties finding the place.

Cost: about 20 euros /night in a room with 4 beds. For 5 euros suppl, you get breakfast in the morning.

What I loved about itThe elegance, style, uniqueness and decoration of this hostel are all the things that make it so unique. Being in there makes you feel like you’re in a high end hotel! There are also a lot of social events at the hostel, from Monday to Sunday night! A great place if you’re looking to have a good time while meeting people! I definitely met some amazing people there!

What they could improve onproviding towels to Guests would be great, especially if we don’t have to pay for it!

 

 


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