How to Budget for Travel

Today’s guest post is by my girl Tyra of Barrisourista. She’s a travel blogging attorney that shares lots of great locales, and meals on her blog and social media. Check out her tips on starting to budget for travel.

BarrisTourista-Budgeting for Travel

Many people think that travel is something that only the rich can do. They don’t believe that it can be extremely accessible for anyone, even if you have a family. This is part of the reason that BarrisTourista publishes tips and tricks for saving money on travel…to show that anyone can do it. Here are five travel financial questions to consider so you can fuel your wanderlust so you can determine what is most important when you start to budget for travel.

What are your travel goals?
Starting at the beginning, it is important to identify your goals before going forward. I always advocate SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Timely) goals. Do you want to take two big trips this year? Will you be traveling during the holidays? What do you want to accomplish this year in travel? But in addition to SMART goals, throw in some aspirations as well so you have something to look forward to.

What type of traveler are you?
Okay, you have to be honest with yourself on these questions, or this whole exercise is moot. Knowing yourself is going to be the key to having a rewarding and realistic travel experience. Are you someone who likes to backpack or do you have to have 4- or 5-star accommodations? Do you have certain times and destinations you must travel/visit, or do can you be flexible? If you don’t take to answer these questions and assess your travel style, there is a very real possibility your trip will be a disappointment…or it won’t even happen.
Are there alternative airports that you can fly into to save money?
If you live in a city with multiple airports, or near a major airport hub, it may behoove you to check to see if you can find a significant deal from an alternative airport. Live in LA? Check out Burbank, Long Beach or Orange County airports. NYC? Try Newark.
This also works on the destination end as well. If you want to go to London, for example, check a bunch of airports in Europe, like Paris or Dublin. Once you are across the pond, it is very inexpensive to get around the continent, but the key is first and foremost to get there.

What are you willing to sacrifice?
This is the word no one wants to hear but everyone has to consider. If you want to have the trip you want, but funds are tight, you may have to make some sacrifices in order to travel. So what are you willing to give up, and what are truly necessary or non-negotiable items?

In which programs do you have loyalty memberships, points or status?
You want to figure out when it is most advantageous to cash in accrued points or miles from loyalty programs, as that can save you substantially on your travels.

How to Budget for Travel
So there you have it. There are five huge questions to consider when making a travel budget. Want more? Check out the Travel Sense & Cents Budget Sheets, which pose detailed budget questions to help you get to your travel goals. And for not only budget help, but also trip planning, check out the Travel Sense & Cents Workbook, which includes the budget sheets, calendars and trip planning guides.

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Tyra is the creative force behind BarrisTourista Travel and Foodie Blog, which offers local insights, traveler experiences, foodie recommendations, and travel tips. In addition to being a travel writer and photographer and an avid traveler, Tyra is a practicing attorney who helps content creators, bloggers, and photographers with protect their businesses and intellectual property rights. 

Couple’s Getaways at Little River Inn

Today’s travel related guest post is by Kimi Le Vadge… if you like sex…you’ll like her blog. #realtalk But today’s post isn’t sexual lol, it’s a recap of her stay at a gorgeous Inn….

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Couple’s Getaways at Little River Inn…

Have you ever wanted to run away?

Has work, the kids – your everyday routine ever made you want to pack up and leave?

Like – go to the store for milk and come back days later kinda leave?

Well, I’ve got the place for you…

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When I thought about visiting California, my first ideas were Los Angeles or San Diego. As a New York girl, I suppose it was natural to lean towards the big cities with the bright lights and celebrities strewn about. I like a nice, quiet setting every once in a while, though – especially around Valentine’s Day. The hustle and bustle of entrepreneurship, motherhood, wifeliness (I made that one up) can be tiring and stressful. The photos had me sold; they gave off an aura of peace and quiet. Mendocino had me at “coast”.

Little River Inn

 Photo Credit: Little River Inn

 Little River Inn had so much character just from the descriptions. Oddly enough, I was a little scared of the classic-style architecture because I have a thing about ghosts and spirits. Parts of me wondered how a place so historic in age could not be scary. I mean, the property’s been around since 1939 – it’s gotta be old school, right?

Wrong.

The 3.5 hour, winding drive from San Francisco was quite an adventure with wildlife hanging out with their friends roadside. The eerie sounds reminded me of a Nancy Drew book narration on the way up to Mendocino. I’m not going to lie, I was afraid during the drive – but the journey was well worth it when we pulled up. The town was dark by the time we arrived at 3am – but when the sun rose into our room, it was nothing short of amazing. The scary sounds I heard at night were actually the sound of waves crashing along the shoreline – who would have thought we were driving along something so amazing?

Little River Inn

Photo Credit: Me.

 The view above is from the Mallory House – where we spent the weekend basking in the coastal breeze and soaking up the beautiful colors. Stepping outside each morning was like floating into one of those romance novels my mom loved so much growing up. I sipped my tea and gazed off into the sunrise. I wish I could lend you guys my eyes to see what I saw. These pictures – no justice.

Little River Inn

Imagine Waking to This…
Photo Credit: Me

 Even working was relaxing for me. I glanced up through the blinds just to glimpse the view. Seeing what was in front of me kept the motivation to write and finish up my tasks.

Little River Inn

We took a quick drive to the main property for breakfast at Little River Inn’s in-house restaurant. It’s a cozy spot, with ample seating and a warm atmosphere. The atrium-style layout creates a romantic experience every time you gaze outside.

Little River In

Little River Inn

Looking for bunny rabbits…

My eyes are always bigger than my stomach, so I dove in and ordered the Bacon, Avocado and Sour Cream Omelet. Anything with bacon and avocado has my vote – and this breakfast did not disappoint.

Little River Inn

 The staff at Little River In is amazingly friendly, genuine and helpful. They pointed us to all the local night life, best views and gave precise directions.

The quiet atmosphere gave my husband and I a chance to enjoy each other without the rush and bustle of every day life. I honestly think the bed in our room cured my insomnia for a few days. Imagine that.

Little River Inn

The Kissing Bench – It’s only right, right?

Little River Inn

 Little River Inn is a great, affordable couple’s getaway, families and friends. I’ll be covering more on Mendocino and its vacation benefits in the coming weeks. Hubby has already requested to go back to Little River Inn, so it looks like Mendocino will see us again in the summer…

Wanna see for yourself? Check out Little River Inn’s website here.

When was your last couples getaway?!

Kimi is a sex health and wellness coach from New York, living in Florida.  Her mission is creating a comfortable environment for men and women to discuss and learn about their sexual selves. The married mom of one writes about these adventures and answers anonymous awkward questions at vforvadge.com.

5 Tips for Capturing Memories on Family Road Trips

 

 

Today’s post is brought to you by my buddy Kendra from the blog Headband For Today… she’s an avid traveler with tons to share, check out her blog after you read her tips below!

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We’ve done just a bit of traveling over the last year and we’re gearing up for our big road trip of the summer. Here are five tips that I’ve used to capture our memories on family road trips.

Give everyone the power to capture memories. We have several cameras but I recently bought a waterproof, shockproof camera that I’m excited to let my boys use. During our trips, I’ve looked at my camera and saw unique pictures from the perspective of a 2 year old. Not all are great but they give me an insight in what he’s seeing both physically and figuratively. Also, provide kids with a pen and paper without prompting them on what to do. You’ll get pictures, a note to a friend, a list…They’ll be able to capture what they think is important.

My 2 year old took this way out of focus picture but he's capturing a new friend.

My 2 year old took this way out of focus picture but he’s capturing a new friend.

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My son created this “Going To Do List” on one trip. I loved seeing what his priorities were. 🙂

Drop a note in the mail. One thing that I’ve done since my son has been reading is send a postcard from the places we’ve visited. I write a quick note about a memory from our trip (“We had a great time picking up shells with you.”) and drop in it in the mail the day we leave. It covers a few things. 1) It extends our family memory, 2) gives our family some “fun mail” to look forward to and 3) helped my son practice his reading when he was just getting started. When we get home, it’s easy to put it up in his room as a keepsake.

postcard 1
Collect one key item from your travels. As opposed to little trinkets, our family memory is a Christmas ornament from every place we visit. At the end of the year, we add it to our tree as well as reflect on the memories that we created in that space. Our son’s love hearing the story of each ornament. Over the years, our trees have grown fuller with our memories.


Take pictures, tons of pictures! One of the greatest things about digital cameras and smartphones is that you can take pictures without wasting film. Momfluential has this amazing list of 125 Photos to Take on Your Next Trip. You can divide the list between your family or make it a group effort to complete but take the pictures in the moment and worry about the edits later.

And finally, Get the WHOLE family in the picture! If you’re like me, our family pictures from growing up have multiple copies, one with one adult and the next adult. Make sure that everyone gets in at least one picture every destination. Who knows the next time you’ll be there? And I know everyone’s not a fan but pick-up a selfie-stick for those out of the way pictures like in the middle of a campsite or a waterfall.

selfie stick 2

I was on a remote island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The selfie-stick came in handy.

Oftentimes, we ask a stranger to take a picture but they might just take a picture without making sure everyone’s looking the same way or the camera is focused but with a selfie stick, you can get everyone in the picture and make sure it’s just right.

Thanks to the person who took this picture but it's out of focus.

Thanks to the person who took this picture but it’s out of focus.

What are your memory making tips?

You can find Kendra and all her fun travels at her family lifestyle blog, Headband For Today

Abu Dhabi and Dubai: Recap, Tips and Photos

 

Oh my goodness gracious girls. Today’s guest post is by Milla of HappilyEating (can we just take a minute to say yaasss to that blog name? LOL) If this post doesn’t make you wanna book a trip…I don’t know what will… 

I had such an amazing time in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. It is a dream trip and I am so blessed to have had a chance to experience it. After all of my research, there were still so many things that I did not know until I got there, so I thought I would share photos with you from my trip as well as some tips and things you should know that I wish I’d known before traveling to the country.

Yas Beach is the shit!

Yas Beach is located on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi and is free for guests staying at the surrounding hotels. The beach is lined with cabanas that you can reserve, but we just chose one that was available when we arrived. There’s a DJ that was playing awesome music, there was food, plenty of drinks that are reasonably priced, shisha and warm beach water! It’s also a great location to catch the beautiful Abu Dhabi sunset.

So we didn’t make it to any clubs smh 

The weekends in Abu Dhabi/Dubai are Friday and Saturday, so the clubbing nights are Thursday and Friday. Our flight landed on Friday around noon and we checked into the hotel and headed straight to Yas Beach. We met some cool people who kept telling us “Friday is clubbing night!”, but we were so jet lagged, that after dinner we went back to the room to sleep. Saturday night we were ready to turn up in Dubai but there wasn’t much going on. We weren’t totally disappointed, but next time we visit we will definitely fly in on a Wednesday so that we can experience the nightlife.

Jet lag is real!

We missed out on the clubs because we were so tired from the 13-hour flight. I’d heard of jet lag, but to actually experience it was something different. I suggest that if you plan to make this trip, add an extra day so that you can rest and get on the local time.

I wanted to respect the dress code as much as possible

I had read so much about the dress code in the U.A.E. and I was so paranoid about wearing the wrong thing. I came to find that the dress code wasn’t as strict as I’d expected it to be. However, I did try to ensure that I wasn’t wearing shorts or had my chest out. I wanted to really respect the culture, so I made sure to dress as appropriate as one could, considering how hot it is there. I mostly packed pants, long loose dresses and a wrap to throw over my shoulders when I was indoors, because most places have the a.c. blasting. I did see women wearing booty shorts and spaghetti strap tops, I just wouldn’t do it.

It’s only an hour driving time between Abu Dhabi and Dubai

We enjoyed the fact that Abu Dhabi was so close to Dubai. Our driver Aqba drove us to Dubai which only took somewhere between an hour and an hour and a half. If you visit either city, definitely make your way to the other if you have time.

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The tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa is 163 floors

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He was cute…a picture had to be taken lol

Dubai Mall was cool but not that much different from the U.S.

We did visit the popular Dubai Mall. I found that they had all the same stores that you would typically find in the States in addition to the high-end luxury brands. Other amazing features are the indoor ice skating rink and aquarium.

There are deals to be had in Dubai

Anytime I travel, I always make it a point to do things like the locals. Nagey’s friend who lives in Dubai, picked us up from our hotel and took us around the city a bit. He ended up taking us to Dragon Mart , which is a souk (market), but it reminds me of a flea market where you can negotiate pricing. It’s pretty large and is broken out into sections like clothing and fabric, electronics, hardware etc.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a must visit

Prior to coming on the trip, I’d done my research on activities I wanted to do and what sites I wanted to see. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque  in Abu Dhabi was at the top of my list. I purposely wanted to go at night, because of how pretty it is all lit up. You must be completely covered and they do provide you with Abaya’s to wear. You will not believe how much I was sweating underneath it. Even at night, it is extremely hot. Although the Abaya is beautiful to wear, I don’t know how the women wear it in the heat.

Do some research but don’t go overboard

I think it’s always a good idea to do research on the activities you want to do when you are visiting any city. We were fortunate enough to have a driver the entire time we were there, so we didn’t have to figure out how to get anywhere. I suggest that if you will be taking taxi’s etc. that you research where you want to go and how long it would take you to get there from your hotel. It’s always good to be prepared. Taxi’s are relatively inexpensive, so it wouldn’t cost you a lot to get around.

Go on a desert safari

Another item on my to-do list for Abu Dhabi, was a desert safari. My friend Karina, who lived in Abu Dhabi for 2 years, told me that there was Groupon over there, so I knew we would be purchasing our tour through the site. With the Groupon, the half day safari ended up only costing $45 per person, which was an awesome deal and it lasts about 5 hours. It included the ride to and from the desert (which was about an hour), ATV riding, dune bashing, camel riding, henna, a BBQ dinner and a host of other activities. There were several companies to book with on Groupon, but I ultimately booked with Al Badeyah Eyes Tourism. After finding them on Groupon, I went to Tripadvisor to see the reviews and the tour was highly rated. Before purchasing the Groupon, call them to ensure there will be space available for the day that you want to go.

Wifi, video chat and staying connected

The ladies and I spent the first day trying to face time and video chat via WhatsApp with family and friends with no luck. We later found out that those features are blocked in the U.A.E. unless you have a VPN/hot spot connection. You can however Skype, so that was great. I kept my phone on airplane mode and connected to wifi whenever it was available. I found that most public places had free wifi, so that was awesome. Those with iPhones, I was able to text via iMessage and everyone else I text via WhatsApp when I was connected to wifi.

4 days was not enough time

If there was one regret that I have, its that we did not have enough time. We did a lot, but I would have liked a few extra days to see more of Dubai. The next time I go, I will likely stay 6-7 days including 1 day for jet lag recovery.

Purchase an electrical outlet converter and adapter

The day before I left, a co-worker suggested that I purchase an electrical outlet converter since the outlets are different from the States. I purchased one from Bed, Bath and Beyond using a coupon and it only came to $15. Although the hotel had a converter/adapter, I liked having my own as an additional since I had my phone, portable charger, laptop and camera battery that needed charging.

Exchanging currency

I took money from the ATM in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai which dispersed it in dirham (AED) and my bank (Wells Fargo) only charges $5 per withdrawal. I did have to do the calculation of how many dirhams I needed to withdraw as the ATM only disperses in dirham. There are apps that you can download to your phone to help you with currency conversions. I noticed that no where we went accepted U.S. currency, so you should either exchange cash, pull money out of the ATM or use a credit card. Don’t exchange money at the hotel as they can charge a fee or the exchange rate is off.

I hope my tips are helpful if you are planning to visit the U.A.E.

Have you been to Abu Dubai or Dubai? What did you do?

What are some of your tips?

Traveling since she was barely able to walk, Milla Williams has always had a love for food and travel. With over 10 years experience in the hospitality industry, Milla started her blog Happily Eating in 2013, as a way to share her recipes and travel experiences with others. She believes the best way to truly experience a city or culture is through its food. Milla currently resides in Atlanta, GA where she explores restaurants sharing with her readers her favorite local eats.

5 Tips For Solo Travel

Today’s post is by Jo of JoannaE.com. (She’s got tons of great travel content if you feel like living vicariously through her after reading this post…)

 

5 Tips For Solo Travel
Every year thousands of men and women make the decision to travel solo. This trend has especially increased with women and there are many safety concerns from loved ones that arise. In effort to ease their fears, here are 5 tips for solo travel that can be used on your next domestic or international trip.

1. Do Your Research
Remember to research for any travel alerts and warnings for your destination. Always find out where the US embassy is if it is out of the country. There are countries where men are less likely to approach you if you’re married, so some suggest you wear a fake wedding band or engagement ring when you’re out in the day to avoid cat calls. Be mindful of your clothing choice and try your best to “blend in”.

2. Tell Your Friends and Family
Share a copy of your itinerary with your close friends or immediate family members. Make sure it includes airline, hotel or lodging information, and a number to contact you directly. Try to set a specific time each day (or time frame that you choose) to call, text or check-in via social media. Doing so keeps them informed of your whereabouts.

3. Bring ONE Carry on
Try your best to pack everything in one carry on. You don’t need a different pair of shoes for every night and basic essentials and toiletries can be purchased at your destination. You can even hand wash undergarments and tops. Having one carry on saves time, is less of a distraction, and you don’t have to worry about lost checked luggage. To keep clothing organized in your suitcase, look into investing in packing cubes.

4. Learn the Language
You don’t have to be fluent, but try to be conversational. If you’re visiting a country where English isn’t the primary language, learn simple phrases to ease the language barrier. Common phrases like ‘Hello‘, ‘Goodbye‘, ‘Thank you‘, and ‘Where is the restroom?‘ can help in shops, restaurants, bars, and other public areas. If learning a new language isn’t your thing, get a translator app for your smartphone or handheld device.

5. Stay Alert 
Always make sure you’re mindful of your surroundings. If taking public transportation, don’t get on an empty train or bus and try not to fall asleep. Trust your gut; if something doesn’t feel or look right, don’t continue. Know your alcohol limit in bars and restaurants. If you stay in a hotel, keep the “do not disturb” sign on and keep the lights and television on when leaving your room. Someone is less likely to enter the room if they think someone is there.

Domestic or international, your safety is always most important, but don’t forget to have FUN. Take lots of pictures, and enjoy the freedom of travel.

Do you have any tips for solo travel? 

JoAnna is a travel, beauty and lifestyle blogger at JoannaE and 1/3 of the natural hair group Type 4 Naturals. These blogs document Jo’s personal travels, offers travel tips, covers event recaps, natural hair reviews and more.