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Smart Traveling: Managing Your Money on the Go

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A partial landscape view of the Grand Canyon during sunrise. Picture by Moyan Brenn on Flickr

Smart travelers are people who are clever when it comes to managing their money, even when they’re on the go. They are people that are able to budget and save, even when faced with all the worldly temptations that they come across while on their travels. Plus, they are people who are able to stretch their spending across the whole duration of their time away from home, no matter how long that may be. 

Ask yourself this; are you smart with your finances when you’re traveling? If you don’t think that you are, then make sure to check out the helpful advice on the matter of being a smart traveler below. 

Keep tabs on your bank account

When you travel, you escape the pressures of your life back home. You escape the pressures of working and studying, as well as those surrounding the balancing of your professional and personal life. When you travel, it’s just you, whoever you may be traveling with and the open road before you.

It’s okay to escape the pressures of your life, but it’s not okay to escape the particular pressure that is your bank account. No matter how far you go, you need to regularly check your bank so that you can keep tabs on how healthy it is looking. How can you be sure that you weren’t being charged double the amount you should have been for drinks on that night out you had? The only way to be sure is to log onto your internet banking portal on a safe, secure device and network to check your account as soon as you can. Or, you can sign up to text alerts that will bring the information you require regarding your spending to you, rather than you having to go to it. Such alerts will warn you when suspicious spending has taken place, too, so they’re well worth signing up for. 

Keep up with your bills back home

Again, you may be escaping certain pressures back home when you head off on your travels, but there are just some that you can’t run away from. One such pressure may be the need for you to pay bills.

Having a life set up back home is going to mean that you are going to need to keep up with all of your important monthly payments. Be it payments on your home, on your car or even on something as simple as your phone; you need to make sure that they are going out of your bank each month. You need to make sure they are going out if you don’t want to miss a due date, trigger fees and then ultimately hurt your credit score. To keep up with your outgoings, you need to embrace continuous payment authority, otherwise known as autopay. As suggested in its name, autopay automates regular payments, meaning you don’t need to take time out of your travels to send the money you owe over to whoever is seeking to collect it.

Traveling is an expensive game, there’s no denying that. If you want to be stretching your adventure as far as it can go, then you need to be finding ways to cut into the amounts that you spend while you’re on the go. To do this, you’re going to have to seek financial rewards whenever and wherever you can.

First, this means finding yourself a reward credit card, the best of which can be found at Bonsai Finance, as this will gift you the chance to spend more money at any one given time. The Chase Sapphire card, especially, is one that you should be looking at as it works alongside travel partners, such as big airline and hotel companies, to provide money back on required traveling expenses. Second, you should be seeking to make as much use as you can out of airline miles, otherwise known as frequent flyer miles. When you do, you accumulate a free-spending fund with every mile you travel, meaning you could end up getting yourself a free plane ticket after traveling a certain distance.

The best way to manage your money, whether you’re on your travels or not, is to set budgets for yourself. Budgets that you not only set but, for the most part, adhere to. By doing so, you stop yourself from spending all those little, seemingly innocuous amounts of money, and by doing that you save yourself a boatload in the long run.

When it comes to budgeting throughout your traveling experience, you should first find ways to save on all the things that are necessary for you to maintain a good standard of living. For instance, this should mean you not only make full use of the free breakfast being offered at your hostel by heading down to it but by stocking up for your day while you’re there. If your hostel offers you the chance to make sandwiches, don’t be afraid to make extra for your day ahead! Doing so will see you get the nutrition you need to travel to the best of your ability, without having to spend big on having meals out.

Something else that you should do is load up on entertaining material before you are suckered into buying magazines at the airport. By bringing your own entertainment, which could mean packing your laptop with movies or bringing a device full of reading material, you stop yourself from having to spend money on things that will, sooner rather than later, have you wondering where all of your money has gone.

You should never let fears about your finances stop you from traveling. If you want to head out and the see the world, give in to your desire to itch your wanderlust scratch and do it! When you do do it, just don’t get silly with your finances. Make sure you are keeping up with your bank and your payments, make sure you are finding financial rewards wherever you can and make sure you are always budgeting.

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Student @ Advanced Digital Sciences Center, Singapore. Travelled to 30+ countries, passion for basketball.

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Travel

Top packing hacks for all your summer 2019 festivals

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Summer is almost here and with it the prospect of lazy summer festivals and camping with your friends. It is a time for making memories, laughing a lot, listening to great music and soaking up the sun.  

What you definitely don’t need is arriving to find you don’t have half of what you need. Without good planning your great trip can suddenly become a thing of nightmares, with sleepless nights, sunburn, dehydration and blisters.

So to make sure you can sit back and enjoy the atmosphere get out a pen and paper and start your packing list now. Remember that you will have to carry it across the campsite so you need to pack light. Here are some tips on what absolute essentials you will need

Don’t underestimate the power of sleep

Sleep deprivation is part and parcel of any camping or festival experience, but you do need to give yourself the best chance to avoid the complete exhaustion that stops being fun. First things first, you need a tent. That goes without saying, and you can get some great one person options that are super lightweight.

Second up you need something to sleep on, a roll mat is easy but not all that comfortable, and an air mattress can be bulky and a pain to inflate. So consider the halfway option of getting a thermarest. These fold really small, need very little inflation, but give that little bit more comfort.

Pick up a sleeping bag and travel pillow too, but when it comes to keeping warm at night you want to layer up your clothing so you make sure you don’t freeze or overheat. Choose clothes that you can wear in the evening, but also to sleep in if you get cold. You are roughing it so make each item of clothing work extra hard to earn its place in your packing. You can’t go wrong with a good pair of tracksuit bottoms or yoga pants – warm and comfortable.

Take good care of your feet

While fancy fashionable sandals might seem like a great idea, the reality is you will be on your feet for hours and walking a lot across different ground. And if it rains you will very quickly find the ground is churned up into a muddy mess.

So you need to make sure you have good comfortable footwear, which doesn’t necessarily need to be ugly. You can browse all the available options on Buyviu US, including those all important wellies that will be your saviour if the heavens open.

One other thing you should not skimp on is socks – especially if your feet get wet or if it is cold at night. Think like a soldier and keep your feet clean and dry.

Take a decent medical kit for little emergencies

This will save your life. Because you can guarantee the pharmacy provision when you are in the middle of nowhere will be limited and expensive. So be prepared by taking your own.

You should think of all the ways you can be uncomfortable and pack accordingly a good place to start is painkillers, antihistamines, blister plasters, suncream, stuff for a bad stomach, and even some rehydration sachets with electrolytes for a little boost and replenish lost vitamins.

Get a decent rucksack with lots of compartments

Finding things inside a tent in the dark (top tip – remember a torch) is hard enough already. This is why a really good rucksack with multiple compartments for different things. This was you can easily find what you need when you need it without emptying out the entire contents every single time.

Prepare well and you will be all set to have the time of your life and creating memories that will laugh a lifetime. Summer here we come.

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Europe

The Best Handmade Souvenirs from Spain are Just a Click Away

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Artisan decorative figurines are one of the most common purchases among the tourists who visit Spain and want to get something special as a souvenir to remember their stay. Spain’s craftsmanship is known throughout the world for the enormous talent behind it, and for years it has prompted tourists to visit the country and purchase ceramic figurines as souvenirs or to complete a previous larger collection of antiques.

But the people fond of arts and decoration who want to get pieces for their collections can’t always come to Spain to buy them. Indeed, lot of tourist can’t bring craft souvenirs back home because they do not have enough room in their suitcases, or because they want to keep traveling before returning to their countries and they can’t carry them around safely. Luckily, shopping is easier now thanks to the Internet, and customers can get products made in other countries from anywhere in the world. What used to require to go to a specific place, look around and ask for prices, and then proceed with the purchase, now is as simple and convenient as entering a website, click here and there and waiting at home for the product to arrive.

The craftmanship field is not foreign to this new concept of shopping. Some companies, especially in the souvenirs’ field, have noticed the needs of the modern public and have wisely approached a niche as specific as this one. For  this reason, there are online companies such as Toledogifts which are dedicated to the sale and distribution of these decorative figurines through the Internet. The e-commerce technology offers numerous facilities for the sale and distribution of handcrafts online, which makes posible several websites such may offer plenty of options and fair prices.

Toledogifts has brought internet solutions to a sector as traditional as ceramic and porcelain figures, craftsmanship in general. It is no longer necessary to travel to buy collectibles or anything like that, now all you have to do is go to their website and proceed through the catalog to choose what you like. Their online store stands out for its variety and professionalism. They sell high quality handmade products crafted by Spanish manufacturers, and they ship to any part of the world, allowing the customer to confortably receive the products at home, forgeting plane incoveniences.

The first thing that stands out in this company is its catalogue. Scrolling down the webpage, the user can find a wide range of the most popular craft products from every Spanish region. Thanks to the number of filters and options available -essential tools to speed up the search and, of course, the purchase-, you can easily find what you are looking for.

Toledogifts complies with the standards of online stores to ensure consumer satisfaction. Besides high quality products, they also offer the best delivery service. They take care of shipping in the shortest possible time and ensuring, above all, the proper protection of the pieces so that they are not damage during in the journey. Also, they always guarantee that the price is as close as possible to their real value.

Amog the different great products that can be found on this website, the unique damascenes from Toledo stand out. Damascene is defined as the art of inlaying gold on a soft iron base. Damascenes take their name from the city of Damascus, because it is craft technique which originated in the Syrian capital. Their origins are remote -there are vestiges of more than 1500 years old, and pieces have been found in different civilization, but the Imperial City of Toledo became the world’s largest producer of damascenes.

There are three different styles of damascenes: the traditional and genuine Arabic modeling, where the gold or silver thread is highlighted with chisels; the Renaissance style introduced in the 16th century and which represents floral, animal or landscape motifs; and also the new model called “vistas”, in which the city of Toledo is represented often centred on motifs of Don Quixote, so logically rooted in these Castilian-La Mancha lands. The pieces are beautiful and not so easy to find outside Spain, which makes them perfect for picky art collectors.

Other best-sellers of the webpage are artisan ceramic plates and porcelaine figures. Porcelain is considered a luxury material and is widely worked by artisans in Spain given its moldability property. Porcelain’s composition is kaolin, which provides the distinctive with pigmentation after it’s baked, feldspar and quartz. An artisan creates a clay figures inspired in the given design, providing it with the details that will be seen in the final figure. Afterwards, the artisan takes molds of and pours liquid porcelain in them. When the consistency is adecuate, molds are retired and the artisan will paste, polish, sculpt and bake the final figure.


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Europe

Top 10 reasons to visit Iceland by car

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For a long time Iceland was a well kept travellers secret. It was not the typical choice of holiday, but now this wonderful country is becoming more and more well known for that holiday of a lifetime and a chance to see and do things that you can’t do anywhere else in the world.

And there really is only one way to really experience this wild country properly and that is using car rental in Iceland to explore it for yourself. It is far better, and far cheaper, than trying to take day excursions with the other tourists and so many great adventures can be had this way. Here are the top reasons why touring Iceland’s roads absolutely should be your next holiday without delay.

1.The people are really, really nice

This is absolutely true. Icelandic people are very proud of their beautiful country and very keen to show it at its best to visitors. Other places in the world are known for quite a surly reception, but this is absolutely not the case here. You’ll notice it the second you head of to the car rental in Keflavik Airport. The conversation is easy, and english quite widely spoken which can make travel easier. Of course once you are out on the road exploring for yourself you should absolutely get chatting to the locals as you explore, they often know the best places to visit or eat that simply aren’t available on google or tripadvisor. Local knowledge is key for getting off the beaten track.

2.Iceland is really easy to navigate by road

Iceland is not a huge country, and there is one huge road that traverses most of it for about 190 miles. It is known as the Golden Circle. So this means that you have a great point of reference for when you are exploring. You can easily slip away from the main road to explore into the countryside, and then hop back on the Golden Circle to get to your next location. The roads are pretty well kept here – even the gravel ones, so you don’t need to worry too much about the terrain when choosing a hire car. Unless you are planning to get really off road that is.

3. The night sky is a thing of beauty

The night time is truly beautiful, especially in winter when the nights are much longer. With so little light pollution and the chance to see the aurora borealis this is a sight few people actually get to experience for themselves. Of course to really get the best of this opportunity there is really only one way to do it, instead of a car look at camper rental in Iceland instead and stay out all night. This is especially useful in the summer when the nights are very very short. This way you have all night to enjoy it while snuggled up warm in your sleeping bag.

4. The unspoiled beauty of Iceland

Of course the other great thing about Iceland camper rental is that by getting out of the towns and into the beautiful countryside you can see Iceland how it should be seen as a beautiful, scenic natural landscape. Imagine being able to camp somewhere so inspiring and free from the intervention of man and waking up to the freshest air and sounds of nature.

5. Visiting the villages gives you a real taste of Icelandic life

Most of the population don’t live in the major cities of Reykjavik, Isafjordur and Akureyri. Most life in smaller communities dotted around the country, and bearing in mind how friendly the people are, it is a chance to really embrace a different culture and take part.

6. Get out there and try the amazing fresh food

The great thing about hopping from village to village on your tour is the chance to try real local food. It is not too dissimilar to Scandinavian food, and there is of course plenty of fresh fish available, as well as lamb. You have probably heard of Skyr, the Icelandic cheese a little like yoghurt. Well here it is made into all types of delicious dishes you absolutely have to try.

7. Iceland has so many different landscapes

It is almost magical the different landscapes you can see. From grassy fields with Icelandic horses, to snow covered tundra, from magnificent coastlines to moonscapes and lava fields it is really something quite special and like nowhere else on earth. With your car you can experience all this, jumping out to hike on foot and get close to nature, before driving to what might seem like a completely different world at your next location.

8. You can watch the landscape change before your very eyes

There are volcanoes in Iceland, and the geology is formed on an every moving tectonic plate that is actually causing the country to grow in size by 2 cm every year. Its impressive and by driving up to the Lake Myvatn area you can see where steam is being vented from the heat under the earth’s crust. The volcano fields are also very beautiful, and give a strange quality to the landscape, almost like you have landed on the moon.

9. Take your binoculars with you, the bird watching is fantastic

With very few predators on Iceland, bird populations are able to thrive here. There are so many varieties, and depending on the time of year there is a chance to see many migratory birds too. It is not just birds you have a chance to see, you can also opt to go whale watching too at certain location. Heading out by boat to cruise alongside the magnificent animals.

10. You will feel like you have had the most amazing adventure

There is nowhere in the world quite like Iceland. Heading out on your road trip with nothing but a map and an open heart will help you discover wonders only shown to the few brave enough to get off the well travelled path. You’ll create memories hear that will last a lifetime.

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