Traveling has always been a passion for me. Since I was little, I always envisioned myself traveling around the world, learning new languages and embracing new cultures. I am 30 years old and have been to 16 countries and counting. One of my most memorable is Phi Phi Island, Thailand. Everywhere I go, I get inspired to go to another place and continue traveling. Now, let’s face it, we all have bills, a job and a family to depend on and sometimes traveling seems out of reach. There are 5 rules that I follow and recommend you follow as well to travel without braking your bank or having buyer’s remorse.
- Set a BUDGET. It is important to know how much you have to spend. Always take into account how much you expect to spend on food, transportation, excursions, etc. For food budget obviously consider the amount of days you are traveling and how much you eat or drink. I for example can eat 2 good meals a days with a protein bar, I don’t spend what normal people do but you know yourself 😉
- Find your DESTINATION. Choose a region you would like to visit. Then hone in to the country or city that interests you. If you are a new traveler and live in the Western US, I recommend Mexico, Belize or Hawaii; if you live in the Eastern US, you may want to visit the Caribbean, Puerto Rico is always a great place to start.
- SHOP. I personally always shop on Expedia as a bundle package (hotel and flight). So far, I have had no troubles with my bookings, however, I make sure to confirm my reservation directly with the hotel. Time of the essence when traveling…..the sooner or advance booking is always cheaper. Not only that, I have realized that when searching for deals or tickets on any website, prices tend to drop when searching during the day or on weekdays. Weird but true! Also, traveling in pairs (2) is always helpful and helps the budget, you tend to get better deals when booking 2 tickets than one on Expedia. I also recommend booking.com or orbitz.com. Using personal travel agencies are outdated and overrated, plus they tend to charge a lot more for the same service.
- RESEARCH. Once you have booked your hotel and flight, set a reminder to confirm both directly with the airline and hotel. Ask any questions you have to the hotel such as weather, currency exchange rate and other tips. Beware of hidden expenses, some hotels charge a resort fee the may or may not be paid at the time of booking, so ask about that for sure, sometimes it can be up to $300 at check out (keep in mind that most hotels around the world charge a resort fee so its normal). Always research the area, city or country you are visiting to see what is near and what activities are available. For example, if you are going to Cancun, Mexico you may want to see the Maya ruins…..read about that and look for tour guides to get prices and services. There are so many out there but I tend use Tripadvisor for decision making on all the traveling I do.
- PLAN. Always plan ahead and continue the research. Don’t spend too much on research, just enough to know how you are getting there, what you are doing while you are there and how you are getting back to the USA! I coordinate my transportation to and from the airport and my excursion dates by checking the weather as some excursion do not allow you change dates.
If you follow these rules, I guarantee (well most likely) that you will have a great, affordable and safe trip. Everyone deserves a vacation, we work hard and need a little break. Not only that, you come back with a different perspective in life, in our society and culture as a whole. I personally get inspired and thankful to be an American and have everything that we have compared to other countries.
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by Jorge Ramirez @jjramirezz86