Planning a holiday or to go travel can be hard to do if you do not have a very large budget to spare. If you have a large family then planning something that you can reasonably afford that everyone will enjoy can be a tall order. Family Budgeting for Travel does not have to be stressful. Here are some tips that you could try and use to find a cheap but enjoyable holiday for all the family.Family Budgeting for Travel – Go last minute
While doing things last minute may not be the ideal way to do things in and amongst the hustle and bustle of family life, it can sometimes help you save quite a bit of money that you could put towards spending on activities while you are there. The chances are that if you have kids, you will want to take your holiday when school is not in session, so you may have already booked the time of work in advance to be with them. As you will have a set date in mind, know to start looking (and maybe packing) a few weeks in advance so you are not so rushed.Get inspiration from other families
Take inspiration from other families that you know about how they save money on the costs of holidays. Looking on family lifestyle blogs can be a great way to get ideas that you haven’t thought of. Some, like Family Budgeting may know of some places that you could go to get a good holiday, or good places that you can go for activities and things to do.Be flexible on the days
If you are planning on going aboard for your family holiday, then e flexible on the day that you fly out and return home, as the day that you choose might change the cost of the flight.Put some thought into your accommodation
Choosing your accommodation is a big part of a budget family holiday. But it is worth considering that choosing accommodation is a key factor in making your holiday a pleasant experience but also affordable. Holiday and RV Rental companies are the ideal alternative accommodation that provides a full family package as well as great accommodation that are affordable for the average family. These resorts are targeted at families in every sense and provide the perfect accommodation for your vacation.
Other options like staying in hostels can also help you to save some money if you are willing to try it.Try and splint the cost
Why not see if some of your other family members or other friends fancy coming on the holiday with you so that you can split the costs of accommodation and any food that you buy to keep in wherever you are staying for when you are not eating out.
Remember that many of us go on holidays to relax and recharge our batteries and worrying about the amount of money that you spend while you are there could make it harder to do that. Weigh up the pros and cons of how desperately you need a holiday ‘this year’ and see if you think that you would rather spend a couple of years saving up for a bigger and better holiday in a few years time when you have more finances to spend on it. Family Budgeting for Travel
In 2013, I decided to drop everything and get my TEFL certification in Cambodia and teach English in Thailand.
I really wasn’t sure where this was going to lead but I had a good feeling that Thailand wouldn’t be the last country I visited.
I was right.
The travel bug bit me pretty hard.
I fell in love with traveling. I wanted to experience everything, eat everything and meet everyone. There wasn’t [isn’t] a place in this world that I didn’t want to go. [That hasn’t changed at all in 3+ years…]
So, I had to make some slight financial changes to be able to live this life I love. I am firm preacher that traveling doesn’t need to be expensive. Honestly, for the most part, I think I spend less traveling than I do when I am at home.
I’m not some crazy budget traveler, I didn’t sell everything I own and choose to live like a hobo for the rest of my life but more power to you if this is you and it works for you.
I’m more of a make simple life changes that pay off in the long run.Work Hard
I work my ass off. Since I was a teen I’ve always been working 2 or 3 jobs, 60+ hours a week. This didn’t change when I decided to travel. I was always the one picking up extra shifts when I was home or extra lessons when I was teaching abroad.
Since quitting teaching, I’ve started doing a lot of freelance work, bartending while I am home and am in the process of starting a business. I literally work from the minute I wake up to the minute I go to sleep. Embarrassing to admit: I pretty much dream about work too…. eek.
But it’s easy to maintain the motivation when I am working to be able to eat Thai noodles on a little plastic stool in Bangkok or hop in a boat in Venice to one of the most beautiful little islands I’ve ever seen or jet down the side of an active volcano on what I would call a small toboggan.Make a Savings Plan
No matter what your goals in life are, you should have a savings plan. As I write this, I have about $20 in my savings account, but still, I’m on the fast track to recovery! When I was bartending or waitressing, I put $20 away from every single shift I worked, even if it was a Monday lunch shift and I didn’t make $20. Working 8-10 shifts a week that averaged out to $150-$200 per week that I was saving. That added up quickly! And I barely even noticed it was missing from my weekly pay, ya know?
Find something that works for you and stick to it. It is easier when you have a specific goal or trip in mind, trust me.Evaluate your Needs
If you honestly think you can purge everything and become a hobo, good for you. For me, I touch down at home every couple months for a couple weeks and we don’t have an extra family car so I needed to keep my car.
I did, however, stop dying my hair. Saving nearly $200 every couple months was huge! And it never really lasted in the intense Southeast Asian heat and salt water anyways.
Even basic things like going to a wedding changed for me. I used to go out and buy a new dress, shoes and bag for each wedding. A few weeks ago I opted to just wear an old dress and shoes I had and borrowed a purse from a friend saving me a couple hundred.
Don’t restrict yourself too much, or you’ll be miserable leading up to your trip and placing too much importance on a trip can ultimately ruin the experience for you.Be Realistic
This goes hand in hand with my last point. One of the biggest things I see when I read articles about creating a travel savings plan is to cut off spending on coffee every day. Now, Starbucks is really like a drug kind of. If you’ve been drinking it #everydamnday for months, maybe years, do you honestly think you can just stop going and you’ll still be happy?
I used to have this addiction and I opted to cut myself down to once a week. I would hold out until Friday and save this little splurge as a bonus for making it that far in the week. Cutting your spending from $35 to $5 a week is still a HUGE deal and a much more realistic goal.
Be real with yourself and understand that you shouldn’t make your life miserable to be able to travel more. Then, it’s kind of pointless, huh?
Another aspect of being realistic is about how you want to travel. If you can only afford super budget trips, but hate hostels, don’t plan a trip where you have to stay in hostels the whole time in order to do it. Have a long talk with yourself about what kind of travel you like and what your budget really is for it.Find a Job That Let’s You Travel But That You Also Enjoy
Finally! My favorite part about this! Yes, I work a LOT but I have developed a life and a career that allows me to do that work anywhere! It is a hell of a lot better setting up my coffee and computer on a balcony overlooking the ocean than working in an office in cold snowy Upstate, NY with other miserable, cold people.
Through following my passions, I’ve spent a lot of time researching and teaching myself skills that I can do anywhere. I do graphic design, freelance writing, virtual assistant work, manage social media profiles for travel companies. You name it. I do it.
There are a lot of options when it comes to remote work, from basic things like medical transcribing to advanced web development. Believe in yourself and find something that you enjoy. It can be hard to motivate yourself to do work at 6am instead of watching the sunrise on the beach if you don’t at least somewhat enjoy what you’re doing.
The German Autobahn. Who hasn’t dreamt about speeding down its lanes in a red convertible with the pedal down to the metal the entire way? However, before you head to Germany and hop in a car, there are a few things you should know about autobahn driving.
Below we’ve gathered the most important tips.1. There are several Autobahns with different names
Each Autobahn in Germany may be referred to in several different ways. For example, Bundesautobahn 5 is also called BAB 5, while Autobahn 5 is also called A 5. On the road, you will only see the number listed in a blue square. The A 5 is also part of the E 35, E 40, E 52, E 54, and E 451. Each of these describes a European route. The longest of these, the E 40, is 4,971 miles long and crosses through France, Belgium, Poland, Germany, Ukraine, and Russia. Although you may not feel up to driving the whole distance (though who knows?), it’s still important to know the E 40 and A 5 are the same route when driving in Germany, otherwise the signs can get confusing. The good news: unlike several of the countries listed in European route 40, you never have to pay to drive on the German Autobahn.
The German Autobahn is famous for its lack of speed limit, and you really can drive as fast as you want (or as fast as your car can handle). But not always. Occasionally a speed limit is posted — usually 80, 100 or 120 km per hour — in a white circle with a red border. Speed limits are mostly posted around cities or due to dangerous road conditions (windy mountain roads, around construction sites, etc.).
When a speed limit appears, there are sometimes automated roadside radar photo devices that measure your speed and take your photograph if you’re over the limit — Germans call it getting geblitzed (flashed) because of the bright white light from the camera flash. When you get geblitzed, you can expect a ticket in the mail within the next six weeks. The amount varies depending on how much you were speeding, but in most cases it will still be under €100.
On the Autobahn you will also sometimes see square blue signs with 130 written in white letters. These signs are a reminder that 130 km per hour (80 mph) is the “recommended” national speed limit. But, unless an actual speed limit is posted, people can and certainly will be driving faster.
Many German Autobahns have only two lanes. What this means is you’ll usually either be stuck in the right lane with the big rigs and campers or have a Porsche or BMW sports car constantly on your tail in the left lane, aggressively making it clear they want you out of the way. In other words, it’s not always an easy cruising experience. Driving the Autobahn can be pretty stressful sometimes.4. Cruise the Autobahn on Sundays for a less stressful drive
If you just want to get a feel for what it’s like to drive on the Autobahn, we suggest you go for a drive on Sundays. On Sundays, big trucks are not allowed to drive on the Autobahn, so if you do (inevitably) get some speedster on your tail in the left lane, at least the right lane will be nicer to drive on.5. Sometimes you can’t drive at all
It’s not uncommon for the Autobahn to be backed up for miles and miles. Although this is sometimes because of accidents, it is more likely caused by the bane of anyone who regularly drives the Autobahn: construction sites. A typical stereotype about Germans is that they are a very efficient bunch, but anyone who spends time here will soon learn what they are actually good at is making things far more complicated and stressful than necessary. This definitely holds true when it comes to Autobahn construction. From the spring to the fall, stretches are (sometimes inexplicitly) blocked off for miles and miles, often causing major delays. Nine times out of ten, when you drive by, you’ll never actually see anyone working, giving rise to the rumor they only set up the construction sites to piss off as many people as possible.
To avoid traffic jams, you should also be aware of any school holidays in the area. German schools have fall vacation (two weeks in October), Christmas vacation (ten days over Christmas and New Years’), winter vacation (one week in February), Easter vacation (two weeks over Easter), and summer vacation (six weeks). If you’re traveling during any of these times, you should avoid taking the Autobahn on either the first or last weekend during the school holidays because it’s guaranteed to be packed. Since the starting dates vary from state to state, it’s best to check the schedule in the area you’re visiting, click here.7. Never pass on the right
Most rules of the Autobahn are the same as driving in the United States (e.g., use your turn signal, slower traffic stays to the right, etc.). However, it is important to know it is illegal to pass a vehicle on the right side. In order to pass, you must always first move into the left lane — otherwise, it is verboten — and potentially very dangerous since no one will be expecting it. The only exception to this rule is when traffic is moving at a very slow speed, such as during a traffic jam.8. Get off the Autobahn for more scenic driving
Although a drive along the Autobahn is definitely an interesting experience for any tourist, if you’re not in a hurry, it might be a better idea to stick with a more scenic route along the Landstrassen or Kreisstrasse. Both of these types of roads will take you through the countryside and towns (Kreisstrasse are smaller, rural roads while Landstrassen are usually busier). Unlike Autobahns, both have a marked speed limit, usually 80 or 100 km per hour (around 50 to 60 miles per hour). Not exactly speed demon tempo, but you will get to see more of the country and, in the end, you may just feel 60 miles per hour is fast enough after all!
Today is the 100th anniversary the National Park Service in the United States.
As many of you might know I’m in the middle of a project to photograph all 59 national parks in the United States. I’m about 75% through with the project and I should be able to finish it sometime in 2017. (I’m also attempting to visit all the national parks in Canada, which is a whole other thing…)
Today I am announcing a new project, to go above and beyond just visiting America’s 59 national parks.
While the national parks are usually considered the highlights of the national park service, the system is much larger than just the 59 places with a “national park” designation. There are national monuments, memorials, battlefields, seashores, lakeshores, preserves, trails, and historic sites.
With the recent addition of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in Maine, there are now 413 sites in the United States National Park System.
….and I’m going to visit and photograph all 413 of them!
This isn’t anything new for me. I have been visiting National Park Service sites as far back as the late 90’s when I had to travel for work. I’d bring my National Park Passport with me and visit sites all over the US. Based on my most recent count, which was a while ago, I’ve been to over 150 sites already.
Here are the constraints I’m putting on myself for the purpose of the project. They are similar to what I’ve done for my national parks and UNESCO World Heritage Site projects:
- Any sites I visited before 2007, will be revisited. This is actually a rather hefty number as over 100 of the NPS sites I’ve been to were before I started traveling full time. Thankfully, many of them are in a dense area around Washington DC and New York City.
- I will take at least one representative photo at each site. Some sites, like the Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial, are really small. Some, like on the Mall in Washington DC, are just statues. Nonetheless, I should be able to get at least one decent photo from each place I visit.
- Each visit is to be a meaningful visit. This is very vague I realize. My intent is that the goal isn’t just to take a photo or get a passport stamp. I’ll try to have an experience like what a normal visitor might have, which includes going to the visitor center (if there is one), watching a film, talking to a ranger, and exploring the site. The sites are all very different from each other, so what might constitute a meaningful visit in Northern Alaska will be very different for an urban park in Washington DC.
- I will walk at least one mile out and back on each national trail. I am aware that this is only a tiny fraction of the size of most trails, but I’m not trying to hike every inch of every trail in the US. That would be over a year of walking. For most trails, I’m assuming I park my car at a trailhead, walk out for at least a mile, and then walk back.
- I will not be collecting passport stamps. I always forget to bring my passport. I’ve purchased 3 of them over the years because I visit a place when I didn’t have my passport. I’m just going to forego it entirely and just focus on visiting and taking photos.
This is a big undertaking and it will take me years to complete. That being said, I’m well on my way there already. Even with the rules I’ve placed upon myself, I’ll probably be well over 100 by the time I visit my 59th national park next year.
Much of this will consist of doing regional road trips throughout the US: fly into a city, rent a car, and drive to the NPS sites in a region. I’m sure there will be a few big road trips as well. Unlike full blown national parks, it is entirely possible to visit multiple sites in a single day as many of them are quite small and close together (again, New York and Washington DC).
I’m revisiting sites I visited in the past simply because of photography. I didn’t have a camera back then and I’d like to be able to share the images of all the places on the website.
I will not be the first person to accomplish this. According to the National Park Travelers Club, there have been 43 people who have visited all 413 National Park Service sites. Fewer than the number of people who have visited every country on Earth. I’m quite sure that by the end of the project several more people will have completed it, and the number of sites will probably be more than 413. (I remember it being in the 390’s back when I started visiting them in the 90’s)
I’ll try to announce trips on social media before I embark on them, so I can do meet-ups in the various cities across the US that I’ll be visiting. For some of the more urban sites, I’ll also be arranging small group trips as well.
I stared down at the white slip of paper in front of me and gulped. $2,200? How could I pay for this? Do hospitals in Thailand take credit cards? What would happen if I didn’t have the money to pay for it?
I’d spent the last week in the hospital after an emergency appendix situation, and I was finally recovered enough to start dealing with the administrative aspects of being hospitalized in a foreign country. Paperwork, phone calls, meetings with the hospital’s finance department, and bills began to fill my days and nights, and I admittedly started to get a little overwhelmed.
Luckily, after speaking with the hospital’s billing department, I was able to pay for my hospital bills with a mixture of cash and credit card, and I got discharged the following day. Thankfully I bought travel insurance before I left for my trip and they helped me arrange and pay for a hotel stay, so I made my way to a hotel in Chiang Mai near the famous night market. I settled in to my abode for the next few weeks and all was well.
Quickly realizing I now had less than $20 in cash, I hobbled my way to the nearest ATM with my aunt, who had flown in from the Philippines to help me out. Stepping up to the ATM, I inserted my debit card into the machine and performed my transaction as usual, took the money, and went on my way. Hours later, however, I checked my wallet and realized that my card was missing.
In a panic, I tore apart my hotel room and went back to the ATM, but the card was nowhere in sight. I asked the hotel reception, retraced my steps around the street, and even churned through the trash in my room to try and find it. Clothes strewn about the room, I called my bank and cancelled my card. Though this situation wasn’t ideal, I still had some cash and two credit cards to tide me over until I could manage to get a new card. That would be enough to last me the next few weeks until my boyfriend arrived from the US, right?
Again, all was going smoothly and I was recovering normally. I started to be able to walk again with the help of my aunt, and I was well on my way to filling out my medical claim forms to submit to my insurance provider for reimbursements. I changed hotels to a more youth-friendly place and was once again flying solo after my aunt returned to the Philippines.
A few days later, as I was sitting in my new hotel room, I checked my credit card statement to realize that a few purchases had been placed on my card back in Houston. Gasoline, a few fishing rods from Bass Pro Shops, and some retail buys totaling over $1,000 riddled my statement. I was furious, but also a little bit concerned, given that I now had only one credit card and the rest of my cash to last me. What if I had another emergency situation? What if my last and only credit card got stolen or lost? In the past few weeks I’d really learned to expect the unexpected while traveling, and financially this was no exception.
In my moment of panic there was still some light. I was cleared to travel and I booked a flight to my next destination, Vietnam. My medical and hotel expenses were submitted and approved by my insurance provider. I was eager to get back on the road and start traveling again, even if I was now reduced to a rolling suitcase in lieu of a backpack.
The day finally came when I was able to take off again. I packed up my room and went to check out of my hotel, grinning with excitement.
“We only accept cash here,” the receptionist said, “the credit card system is not working.”
What?! I thought to myself. With now only a few hundred dollars of cash at my disposal and some Thai baht, I was extremely concerned about having enough money to finish off my trip. Taxis to and from the airport, food, lodging, and activities ate up a good amount of money each day, and I still had over two weeks before my boyfriend would meet me in Saigon with my new debit card.
So what did I do? I spent a good chunk of time budgeting the next two weeks, each day being very meticulous about expenses, cutting them down wherever possible. I did a lot of research about activities and cut out partying and unnecessary snacking until I arrived in Saigon. I cut out credit card expenses entirely and kept my last card on my person at all times to avoid it getting lost, stolen, or misplaced.
And guess what? I made it, with over $100 to spare. In just a few days, I went from being one credit card and a few hundred dollars away from being completely destitute in a foreign country to being back on track with my trip’s itinerary. To top it all off, I learned so much about budgeting and keeping track of my finances, a skill I’ve been able to use on my travels and life at home ever since.
Finding an affordable hotel room in Barcelona is not as easy as it used to be. As Barcelona’s popularity as a tourist destination continues to soar (with almost 9 million visitors in 2015), so do the hotel prices. Long gone are the days when you could roll into the city and find a great deal even at the last minute.The rates
Enter Pension Mari-Luz. This budget hotel checks all of the boxes when it comes to our favorite cheapo categories: a low price, fantastic location, charming surroundings, and a welcoming atmosphere. Right now you can reserve a double room at Pension Mar-Luz in November 2016 for only $50 per night. That is truly a steal for Barcelona!
For select nights in December, the price is even a little bit lower. And if you’re traveling with a group, you can find triple rooms for only $71.
When it comes to perks, Pension Mari-Luz goes above and beyond what we expect from most budget hotels. The free Wi-Fi is a big plus, but we really love the balconies that offer views of the neighborhood. Almost every room comes with a balcony but ask ahead when reserving if you have your heart set on one. There’s also air-conditioning in the rooms, so you don’t have to worry about getting a good night’s rest even during a heat wave.
10 of the rooms share bathrooms, but they’re all very clean and modern. If you want a little more privacy, you can upgrade to one of three rooms with a private bathroom if you don’t mind spending a bit more. For example, a twin room with its own bathroom goes for $68 in November, while a triple goes for $87, and a quadruple can be had for $106.Location
For such a low price, you might think the hotel would be in a far-flung location. In fact, it is the exact opposite situation with a wonderful location in the heart of the Gothic Quarter (Barri Gotic). Especially if this is your first time in Barcelona, it’s hard to beat staying here. We love wandering down the narrow streets that twist and turn like you’re in a maze.
Yes, the Gothic Quarter can be a bit too touristy, but the hotel is just far enough away from Las Ramblas to offer some relief. Plus, just finding the hotel will be an adventure! It’s nestled on one those winding streets on the third-floor of a building without an elevator.
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But hurry — these fares will be over in une flash. You must book before midnight EST on Friday, August 26, 2016.The deal
- Tickets from $560 round-trip in economy on Air France (and its codeshare Delta) from JFK – Paris.
- Travel period: January 11 – March 31, 2017.
- Must book on www.airfrance.us
- Must travel on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday to find sale fares.
- You must stay at least one week (and not more than 12 months).
- You must book by midnight, Friday, August 26, 2016.
We tested it out several times this morning, and indeed easily found $560 flights. Remember to stick to searching for Sunday – Wednesday. As with any sale, the more flexibility you have with your dates, the easier it will be for you to find the sale fare.
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