frugal vacations http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/9577/all en-US Why You Should Never Buy Souvenirs http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-never-buy-souvenirs <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-you-should-never-buy-souvenirs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/souvenir-4066083-small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="175" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Tourism is a multibillion-dollar industry and souvenir sales make up a significant portion of that pie. If you&rsquo;ve traveled at all, you&rsquo;ve likely noticed gift stores on almost every corner in high-traffic, touristy areas and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/little-road-trips-here-and-there-little-savings-everywhere" target="_blank">smaller vendors in less-traveled areas</a> that welcome out of town visitors. There are no limits to what you may find in a souvenir shop: stuffed animals, clothing, shot glasses, or even &quot;souvenir water&quot; from places like Niagara Falls. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easiest-way-to-save-money-on-vacation" target="_blank">The Easiest Way to Save Money on Vacation</a>)</p> <p>Most of these items are pretty useless, but we feel good when we buy souvenirs because we&rsquo;re certain our friends and family back home will love them. But if your friend isn&rsquo;t an avid keychain collector and your kids are too old for stuffed animals, is it really worth paying all that extra money for the sake of bringing back souvenirs? Or, to take it a step further, should you buy souvenirs at all?</p> <p>I&rsquo;d say no.</p> <h2>Zero &quot;Obligation&quot;</h2> <p>There is little utility value to most souvenir items, and yet we still find ourselves buying impractical, overpriced trinkets out of some sense of obligation to the folks back home. Remember that tourism is a highly profit-driven industry and extreme markups on cheap items (sometimes in excess of 50-60% of the item&rsquo;s actual value) are commonplace. Travel is expensive enough; why squander Euros, rupees, yuan, etc. on souvenirs that will inevitably find their way to the back of someone&rsquo;s closet?</p> <h2>Travel Hassle</h2> <p>In 2010, I was returning to the US from a month in Europe with a group of other exchange students. One girl bought a snow globe for her parents on the way to the airport, as a last-minute, obligatory souvenir. Unfortunately, it was bigger than the allowable &quot;tennis ball size&quot; snow globe and airport security promptly confiscated it. Since 9/11, the number of limits on carry-on items has skyrocketed, particularly where liquid or &quot;sharp&quot; items are concerned. Souvenirs present another hassle to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/clipped-wings-can-consumers-fix-air-travel" target="_blank">already-hectic air travel</a> plans, and, sometimes, you could be encouraging illegal activities without even realizing it.</p> <p>&quot;If you come across people selling wildlife or wildlife products, be aware that those 'souvenirs' could very well be endangered species that have been poached from the wild and are being sold illegally,&quot; Senior Policy Officer for U.S. Government Relations Will Gartshore said in a <a href="http://worldwildlife.org/stories/12-travel-tips-that-are-good-for-conservation" target="_blank">World Wildlife Fund article</a>. This is especially true of the fur and ivory industries, which are targeting tourists who may not be aware of these illegal activities. Why risk it? Not buying souvenirs at all is a simple way to avoid this problem.</p> <h2>Worker Exploitation and Scams</h2> <p>In addition to animal-related incidents, there have been reports of worker exploitation on the fringes of the tourism industry. <a href="http://www.scmp.com/article/290043/rights-group-attacks-worker-exploitation" target="_blank">Allegations of souvenir companies overworking their laborers</a> and exposing them to toxic chemicals in the factories have come to light, and <a href="http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/772524.shtml#.UYgpwKvwKHc" target="_blank">New Zealand&rsquo;s tourism industry recently experienced scandals</a> involving mislabeled and overpriced &quot;Made in New Zealand&quot; rugs (that were really made by cheap laborers in Peru). These are only a few instances amongst many, and as a frugal tourist, remember that getting a bargain on souvenirs may have some unforeseen consequences.</p> <h2>Alternatives</h2> <p>But if you don&rsquo;t want to avoid buying souvenirs altogether, there are a few, frugal ways to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-fun-and-functional-souvenir-ideas" target="_blank">bring a little <em>something</em> back</a> for your friends and family. Photos and maps are inexpensive and probably last longer than a cheap keychain. You could also bring back coasters and pens from hotels you stayed at, and places like Disney World or Disneyland hand out freebies such as pins (for special occasions), character or princess stickers, and the Autopia &quot;driver's license.&quot; If you're vacationing off the beaten path, consider taking home a pressed leaf (they make for great wall art) or a little jar of sand (though mind the rules about removing sea shells from the beach, especially if you're in an environmentally-sensitive area).</p> <p>Saving the best for last, postcards are the true winners when it comes to souvenirs. They&rsquo;re simple, personalized, and affordable (just pay for the postcard and postage). That way, your friends and family still get a piece of your vacation without cluttering their homes or overstretching your wallet like traditional souvenirs often do.</p> <p><em>What about you? Do you like buying souvenirs or do you have something else you like to bring back home? Tell us in the comments below!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kelly-kehoe">Kelly Kehoe</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-never-buy-souvenirs">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easiest-way-to-save-money-on-vacation">The Easiest Way to Save Money on Vacation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sleeping-in-airports-for-the-stranded-and-frugal-minded">Sleeping In Airports For The Stranded And Frugal Minded</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-take-one-vacation-day-and-save-thousands">How to Take One Vacation Day and Save Thousands</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-at-the-post-office">How to Save Money at the Post Office</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tourist-towns-that-are-actually-great-to-live-in">6 &quot;Tourist Towns&quot; That Are Actually Great to Live In</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Shopping Travel frugal travel frugal vacations postcards souvenirs tourism Tue, 14 May 2013 09:48:38 +0000 Kelly Kehoe 973919 at http://www.wisebread.com Got Extra Space? Make Money and Meet Travelers With Short-Term Rentals http://www.wisebread.com/got-extra-space-make-money-and-meet-travelers-with-short-term-rentals <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/got-extra-space-make-money-and-meet-travelers-with-short-term-rentals" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3545552472_f47cb1c5c9_z.jpg" alt="women eating breakfast" title="women eating breakfast" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you have a penchant for meeting new people and playing host, have you considered short-term rentals to travelers?</p> <p>You can rent out anything from a spare couch to a spare room to a full apartment or house, and you can be as hands-on with your guests (or not) as you wish. Your guests will get a local living experience, and they'll probably save some money over cookie-cutter-hotel alternatives. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-steps-to-market-your-extra-space-as-a-vacation-rental">7 Steps to Market Your Extra Space as a Vacation Rental</a>)</p> <h2>Sites That Connect Travelers and Rentals</h2> <p>Below are a variety of services that will help you with the logistics of renting out your nook. Most of them are free to use; they'll market your listing, handle payment processing, and provide a secure platform for communication and privacy protection. Some will even send out a photographer and help you create a professional listing to maximize your rental potential.</p> <p><strong>Roomorama</strong></p> <p>With <a href="http://www.roomorama.com/">Roomorama</a>, you can list anything from a spare bedroom to your entire house or apartment. There are no fees at all for the host (guests are charged an additional booking fee that covers Roomorama's expenses).</p> <p><strong>Wimdu</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.wimdu.com/">Wimdu</a> boasts a wide range of accommodations from apartments and houses to couch space, tents, and boats. Hosts are charged 3% of the booking fee to cover processing and handling.</p> <p><strong>9flats</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.9flats.com/">9flats</a> allows you to rent out a variety of accommodations. It's free for hosts to use (they tack on an additional percentage to your price to cover their costs).</p> <p>9flats just acquired iStopover, which I wrote about a few years ago here &mdash; <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/istopover-earn-extra-income-or-travel-on-the-cheap-and-a-special-promotion-for-wise-bread-readers">iStopover: Earn Extra Income or Travel on the Cheap</a>.</p> <p><strong>Airbnb</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.airbnb.com/">Airbnb</a> is free to list, but you pay 3% of the guest charges on successful bookings to cover fees. The sky is the limit in terms of what you can rent out; you can list anything from a parking space to an igloo to shared rooms, full houses, lighthouses, caves, and even trains, tipis, and tree houses.</p> <p><strong>Go With Oh</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.gowithoh.com/">Go With Oh</a> is currently only in major European cities, and each city is separately managed with its own subsidiary website and management team. The whole process is free for hosts, but hosting possibilities are limited to full apartment rentals.</p> <h2>Tips and Etiquette</h2> <p>Although short-term rental services for travelers are becoming increasingly popular, there are still a few grey areas to navigate. Here are some general tips and etiquette to get the most out of your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-host-a-traveler-13-tips-to-keep-it-safe-easy-and-cheap">hosting</a>/rental experience.</p> <p><strong>Being the Host With the Most</strong></p> <p>Even if you are just renting out your space and are unable (or unwilling) to spend time with travelers, in most cases you (or a designated representative) are required as the point-person to greet your guests, give them keys, and orient them to the place.</p> <p>From there its up to you to work out with the guests how hands-on your relationship will be during their stay. If you are renting out a room and sharing common space with your guests, it's good to set the stage right away, so there are no problems or misplaced expectations.</p> <p>There is no obligation to play host to travelers, but many owners enjoy the cultural exchange and ability to provide an enriched travel experience.</p> <p><strong>Cleaning</strong></p> <p>You're responsible for providing a clean, presentable space, and cleaning up after guests leave. Some sites allow you to offer cleaning services (you can usually specify the terms) as an additional service for which you can charge.</p> <p><strong>Legal and Tax Implications</strong></p> <p>In most places, income received from short-term rentals is taxable, but you will be responsible for paying those taxes (the services above don't withhold tax). Consult your accountant to get the scoop, and find out what expenses you can use as deductions to reduce or eliminate the tax liability.</p> <p>I'd also recommend setting aside a percentage of rental income received as you receive it to cover any anticipated tax bite.</p> <p>Also, if you don't own the place you're renting out, be sure to check with your landlord to see if they approve of sublets.</p> <p><strong>Rental Damage</strong></p> <p>Some of the sites listed above allow owners to use a security deposit process (either in the form of cash or a credit card authorization). However, they're hands-off when it comes to collecting/holding and reimbursing the deposit &mdash; that's your domain.</p> <p>Some of the sites offer insurance (either for an additional fee or included in the agreement), but it's often specific to certain countries due to various regulations.</p> <p>Also check your home insurance policy to see if there is coverage for short-term (paying) guests.</p> <p><strong>Make Even More Money Serving as a Tour Guide</strong></p> <p>If you like the idea of making a little extra money and meeting people from all over the world, you might want to show off your backyard and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-money-in-your-hometown-become-a-tour-guide">make even more extra money as a tour guide</a>!</p> <p><em>Do any Wise Bread readers have experience using any of the above short-term rental services &mdash; either as a traveler or host/owner? Please let us know what it was like in the comments! </em></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm">&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/got-extra-space-make-money-and-meet-travelers-with-short-term-rentals">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-11-best-websites-for-renting-your-extra-space">The 11 Best Websites for Renting Your Extra Space</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/does-it-make-sense-to-stay-in-a-hotel-anymore">Does It Make Sense to Stay in a Hotel Anymore?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/turn-your-home-into-a-rental-in-9-easy-steps">Turn Your Home Into a Rental in 9 Easy Steps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-steps-to-market-your-extra-space-as-a-vacation-rental">7 Steps to Market Your Extra Space as a Vacation Rental</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tourist-towns-that-are-actually-great-to-live-in">6 &quot;Tourist Towns&quot; That Are Actually Great to Live In</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income Real Estate and Housing Travel AirBnb frugal vacations renting Fri, 21 Sep 2012 10:24:41 +0000 Nora Dunn 954607 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Ways To Get More Time For Yourself http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/8-ways-to-get-more-time-for-yourself <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/8-ways-to-get-more-time-for-yourself" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/8-ways-to-get-more-time-for-yourself</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/8-ways-to-get-more-time-for-yourself" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000008194161Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Not long ago I began to feel very suffocated with my work and life.</p> <p>The constant struggle of raising a young family, growing a thriving business, and a long list personal and professional goals can leave anyone feeling absolutely frazzled and hopeless.</p> <p>Some say work-life balance doesn't exist and on some days I'd be inclined to agree given the struggle I face sometimes with my own juggling act. But I'm determined to prove them wrong. My sanity depends on it!</p> <p>I've found that one way to begin to find <a target="_blank" href="http://worklifejoy.com/">Work Life Joy</a> is to try to carve out some &quot;me&quot; time. Here are eight ways to try.</p> <p><b>1. Exercise</b></p> <p>Although I&rsquo;ve got a few pounds to lose since having a new baby, working out is important for so many more reasons besides weight loss. Since joining the gym, I&rsquo;ve fallen back in love with my business, had more energy for my children, and found myself happier throughout the day.</p> <p>I&rsquo;m more motivated and focused than ever before.</p> <p>I enjoy working out at the gym with my iPod Touch because it allows me to get my health back on track all while listening to killer business podcasts and jotting down my ideas with the note app.</p> <p>If joining a gym is not your thing, consider popular at-home systems like P90x or Insanity, both of which are getting hyped and reviewed from trusted bloggers like Pat Flynn and Yaro Starick.</p> <p><b>2. Television</b></p> <p>Here&rsquo;s where I&rsquo;m supposed to tell you that the best way to stop the entrepreneurial buzz going on in your head is by mediating daily. But I personally have no experience with mediation and it kind of seems a bit daunting to me.</p> <p>So a great lazy way to escape the stress of unfinished to dos and future plans, well besides <a target="_blank" href="http://www.amazon.com/Do-Work-Steven-Pressfield/dp/1936719010">doing the work</a>, is to watch TV for a few minutes or an hour. With <a target="_blank" href="http://www.hbo.com/true-blood/index.html">True Blood</a> and <a target="_blank" href="http://www.amctv.com/shows/breaking-bad">Breaking Bad</a> just around the corner, escaping for a bit will quiet the business and life thoughts circling your brain and immerse you in someone else&rsquo;s world for a short while.<em>Ain&rsquo;t nothing wrong with that</em></p> <p><b>3. Read</b></p> <p>Similar to TV, reading will allow you to venture outside yourself and enjoy the pleasures of someone else&rsquo;s life for a while. Whether it&rsquo;s something silly like <a target="_blank" href="http://www.amazon.com/Sh-t-My-Dad-Says/dp/0061992704/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1308257921&amp;sr=8-1">Sh*t My Dad Says</a>, thrilling like the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.amazon.com/Girl-Dragon-Tattoo-Stieg-Larsson/dp/0307454541/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1308257956&amp;sr=8-1">Girl with the Dragon Tattoo</a>, or thought provoking like <a target="_blank" href="http://www.amazon.com/All-Marketers-Liars-Preface-Works--/dp/1591843030/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1308257964&amp;sr=8-1">All Marketers Are Liars</a>, you&rsquo;ll get much more from reading than just escaping; you&rsquo;ll become a better thinker, writer, and speaker too.</p> <p>When you take regular time out of your business to sit back with a good book you&rsquo;ll see the benefits in your <a target="_blank" href="http://www.problogger.net/archives/2011/02/10/6-fiction-writing-techniques-to-improve-your-blog/">latest blog posts</a>, the ideas you produce, and the way you communicate with the people closest to you.</p> <p><b>4. Pursue a Passion</b></p> <p>Make a list of all the things you've wanted to do in life but have never had the chance to explore. You probably already have a few things in mind, but you can take it further and make your list bursting with ideas by jotting down things you did as a kid but never had a chance to explore in depth. My list contains figure skating, tennis lessons, soap making, and pottery classes. What about you?</p> <p><b>5. Attend a Retreat</b></p> <p>With the internet bursting at the seams with thought leaders and consultants of all kinds, there are endless retreats to help you restore sanity in a variety of ways. The benefits of any retreat, regardless if work is involved, is the chance to get away from all other distractions for a week or a weekend and give complete focus to one thing you'd like to improve.</p> <p>If you're ready to get your health back on track, try an all natural St. Lucia getaway with Toronto nutritionist Meghan Telpner's <a target="_blank" href="http://www.meghantelpner.com/retreat/nourish-your-soul-i/">Nourish Your Soul</a>. Alternatively, if you're ready to take your business to a whole new level, work alongside two of the biggest names online with Pam Slim and Charlie Gilkey's popular <a target="_blank" href="http://liftoffretreat.com/">Lift Off Retreat</a>.</p> <p><b>6. Make Mornings Calmer</b></p> <p>I really enjoyed reading <a target="_blank" href="http://www.inc.com/magazine/20091101/the-way-i-work-jason-fried-of-37signals.html">Inc's interview with 37 Signals founder Jason Fried</a> because it offered a glimpse into his interesting life. More importantly, the interview revealed that even people managing big empires strive to find balance in life. Jason says:</p> <p>&ldquo;I try not to grab my phone and check e-mails first thing. I used to do that, and it's just not good for you. Instead, I'll go and brew some tea and try and relax a little bit. But the computer's always kind of pulling me toward it, so I end up looking at e-mail sooner than I'd like to.&rdquo;</p> <p>By making it a point to do something simple yet nice for yourself every morning before tackling your work or family duties, you're setting yourself up for a calmer and more productive day.</p> <p><b>7. Coffee Dates</b></p> <p>I got a yummy taste of freedom one day when I walked my daughter over to preschool and then decided on a whim to head over to a nearby coffee shop until I had to pick her up. I spent two hours puttering around on the internet, drinking lattes, and trying tasty treats, and never once thought about the laundry pile at home or the work deadlines I had coming up.</p> <p>Why not schedule in a fun coffee date for one as soon as you finish your most pressing matters for today? The taste of freedom will give you some perspective on your juggling act and you'll leave the cafe with more motivation to tackle the laundry and your looming deadlines.</p> <p><strong>8. Sing It Like You Mean It</strong></p> <p>My entrepreneurial uncle once told me that every time he had a meeting with a client, he would spend the entire drive over with the car radio blasting, singing along at the top of his lungs. My uncle said singing along helped him speak more powerfully and clearly when he got to the meeting. Better, he said it made him feel happier, more confident, and more energized every single time.</p> <p>When's the last time you belted out your favorite songs word for word like your life depended on it? Do it and you'll see benefits in life and work, too.</p> <p>Taking time away from your already busy schedule to pursue some &quot;me&quot; time might seem like it would create even more chaos in your calendar. But by finding a regular chunk of time &ndash; be it every day or even just once a week &ndash; you'll find that all those fuzzy feelings you get from pursuing me time will cross over into your work and life, too, leaving you happier and healthier and better able to tackle both.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/justine-grey">Justine Grey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/8-ways-to-get-more-time-for-yourself">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-reasons-alone-time-is-good-for-your-soul">9 Reasons Alone Time Is Good For Your Soul</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-secret-to-time-management-and-work-life-balance">The Secret to Time Management and Work-Life Balance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-get-your-life-back-into-balance">7 Ways to Get Your Life Back Into Balance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-protect-your-personal-time-from-work-and-be-happier">9 Ways to Protect Your Personal Time From Work and Be Happier</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development Small Business Resource Center frugal vacations me time rest and recharge small business work-life balance Wed, 29 Jun 2011 22:01:42 +0000 Justine Grey 591370 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Steps to Market Your Extra Space as a Vacation Rental http://www.wisebread.com/7-steps-to-market-your-extra-space-as-a-vacation-rental <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-steps-to-market-your-extra-space-as-a-vacation-rental" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/rental_apartment.jpg" alt="Spare rental room" title="Spare rental room" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When my husband and I purchased our Manhattan condo, it was important for us to buy a two-bedroom.</p> <p>Not only does the spare room encourage friends and family to visit more often &mdash; they don&rsquo;t have to spring for an expensive hotel &mdash; but it also has become an extra source of income because, when it&rsquo;s vacant, we rent it out to tourists who are seeking lower-cost accommodations with friendly locals.</p> <p>For the past two-and-a-half years, we&rsquo;ve welcomed into our home travelers from all over the world for a reasonable nightly rate. We&rsquo;ve made great friends along the way, for sure, but we&rsquo;ve managed to make a decent amount of money, too. Enough, in fact, to seriously offset our monthly mortgage payment. Check out this recent post to find out about some of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/extra-income-online-5-websites-that-can-seriously-pad-your-pockets">room-rental services</a> we use &mdash; and exactly how much we&rsquo;ve pocketed. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-weird-things-people-sell-for-cash">6 Weird Things People Sell for Cash</a>)</p> <p>Simply listing your property on sites like <a href="http://www.airbnb.com">Airbnb</a> and <a href="http://www.roomorama.com">Roomorama</a>, however, isn&rsquo;t going to make your side business a success. There are other aspects that require fine-tuning to make this situation work to your advantage. The way I see it, there are more than 4,000 other entrepreneurial folks in NYC doing the same thing we are (though that will soon change due to a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.governing.com/topics/politics/lawmaking/new-york-illegal-sublet-law-affects-vacation-rentals.html">newly passed law</a>), and I want to ensure that our guest bedroom is filled with paying customers as often as possible.</p> <p>If you have extra space and live in an area conducive to travel or tourism, I highly recommend hosting travelers. To give you an edge over the competition, here are seven criteria to keep in mind for maximum results.</p> <h3>1. List Your Property on Travel Sites</h3> <p>When we first started this little business, we were strictly listing in the Vacation Rentals section on Craigslist. The geniuses (and I mean that wholeheartedly; they&rsquo;re brilliant) at Airbnb contacted us after the site&rsquo;s launch in 2008 and invited us to list with them. We continued with Craigslist but also took Airbnb up on its offer. Business increased dramatically. Then Roomorama, a similarly modeled site, debuted, and we took advantage by listing there, too.</p> <p>Listing on three sites is certainly a lot to manage &mdash; especially in making sure that we&rsquo;re not double booking (I&rsquo;ve never had it happen, knock on wood) &mdash; but it means thrice the exposure. The travelers looking on Craigslist may not be on Airbnb or Roomorama, and vice versa. The best thing about Craigslist is that we receive the full amount of the rental, whereas with the other sites you pay a percentage of the rental as a listing fee. But the fee is so low &mdash; and we raise the rent on those sites a tad to make up for it &mdash; that it&rsquo;s inconsequential. The popularity and power of Airbnb and Roomorama within the marketplace is so incredible, too, that our inquiries from Craigslist have significantly reduced. And I&rsquo;m OK with that. Airbnb and Roomorama have many more advantages &mdash; automatic calendar updating, a photo portfolio for your listing, and direct deposit &mdash; that make this opportunity both manageable, fun, and financially rewarding.</p> <h3>2. Market Your Home as a Destination</h3> <p>There are an incredible amount of listings on the vacation rental sites, especially in well-visited cities, and to pique a traveler&rsquo;s interest, you have to offer amenities. Our unit features an in-unit washer/dryer, HD cable, DVD players, and a LCD TV in both the living area and guest bedroom. We offer a mini-fridge stocked with simple breakfast items and snacks and a Keurig single-cup coffee maker in the private room. We have fresh Ralph Lauren towels, a Wii and Xbox 360, among other enticing items, which are all inclusive. These are perks that people want &mdash; they make their stay more luxurious and enjoyable &mdash; and they&rsquo;re items that help the traveler choose us over another host offering less. In this business, the little things go a long way.</p> <h3>3. Write an Engaging, Entertaining Ad</h3> <p>Staying with strangers can be a precarious predicament, because you never really know who&rsquo;s on the other side of the door. Even before the advent of the vacation-rental sites, I had written an ad for Craigslist that aimed to give the traveler an idea of who we are in a funny and charming way. Our guests have told us that the quality of our ad single-handedly sold them on the idea of booking with us.&nbsp;You can <a href="http://www.airbnb.com/rooms/5135">judge our ad</a>&nbsp;for yourself.&nbsp;</p> <h3>4. Vet Your Guests Before They Book</h3> <p>This tip ties in with writing an engaging, entertaining ad because 9 times out of 10, it&rsquo;s conducive to conversation. My ad has motivated innumerable interested travelers to send me messages about how funny a certain part is, or how much they can&rsquo;t wait to play Wii with us. With their response, they generally open up about themselves as well. From my end, it&rsquo;s very important that travelers send messages that give me a little insight into the kind of people they are. If I receive a bland message that says simply, &ldquo;How much per night?&rdquo; or something with an equitable lack of personality, I delete it. A certain measure of caution must be taken when welcoming strangers to stay in your home, and the more I know about the travelers before they arrive, the safer I sleep at night.</p> <p>Truth be told, there have been times that I have accepted bookings without really getting to know the traveler on the surface beforehand &mdash; and those folks, consistently, have been weirdos. Since then, I&rsquo;ve learned to trust my gut. If someone seems shady via email, they&rsquo;re probably much worse in person. That said, 99% of our guests have been an absolute pleasure to host; the weirdos are far and few between.</p> <h3>5. Keep Competitive, Affordable Rates</h3> <p>Rental rates will vary city-to-city, neighborhood-to-neighborhood. For instance, we live in Harlem and charge $90 per night during peak travel months ($110-$125 a night on holidays) while hosts in more desirable areas, like Chelsea, demand upwards of $200 per night &mdash; and if you can believe it, with far fewer amenities than we offer.&nbsp;</p> <p>I can&rsquo;t compete with the units in the more convenient midtown and downtown areas, because if travelers have made up their minds about what area in which they want to stay, there&rsquo;s little I can do to change that. Rather, I&rsquo;m targeting the folks who want an excellent experience at a rate they can afford who are open to exploring new neighborhoods. With that comes the responsibility of researching similar accommodations in my area to guarantee that I&rsquo;m undercutting the competition. The whole point of this venture is to book my guest room, and if it&rsquo;s empty, I&rsquo;m not doing my job. My number-one rule of thumb when it comes to the nightly fee is that I will reduce it to fit <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/keeping-the-budget-in-budget-travel">travelers&rsquo; budgets</a>. For instance, during the slow winter months, typically January 3 to March 30, I lower the rate to $70 nightly. Still, I would gladly slash that rate in half rather than let the room stay vacant. $35 per night is better than nothing at all, in my opinion.</p> <h3>6. Provide a High Level of Hospitality</h3> <p>A big part of any business is repeat customers and referrals. Those play a part here too, but so do reviews and ratings on the vacation-rental sites. It is extremely important to me to provide my guests with the best experience possible &mdash; from clean linens and towels (and an immaculately kept home overall), to suggestions on where to eat and drink, to helping guests carry their bags if needed. When their stay is over I want them to feel like they got their money&rsquo;s worth, made new friends, enjoyed their vacation, and want to leave an excellent review. Other potential guests will read that review before deciding whether or not to stay with us, so it&rsquo;s a critical part of the process. The bottom line is that bad reviews will shut us down quickly. Luckily, all of our reviews are positive, which is a testament (and a source of pride) to the level of hospitality that we provide.</p> <h3>7. Ask for Feedback About the Experience</h3> <p>Ratings and reviews are one thing, but guests don&rsquo;t often go into detail, especially if they&rsquo;re leaving positive feedback. Still, that doesn&rsquo;t mean that there aren&rsquo;t areas of improvement to make the guests&rsquo; stay even better. I often ask our guests what they liked or didn't like about their stays, and I use their feedback to enhance the experience. Admittedly, though, that method can be off-putting, because guests don&rsquo;t want to hurt your feelings while you&rsquo;re standing in front of them, even if it's the smallest suggestion. To get more honest feedback, consider creating a suggestion box or feedback form that the guest can fill out upon departure. It lets them off the hook since you&rsquo;re not in their face, and it will give you real information that you can use to be the best host you can be.</p> <p><em>Do you host travelers to make extra money? What sites do you use? How have you fared? Feel free to tell me about your experiences &mdash; and provide additional tips &mdash; in the comments section below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-steps-to-market-your-extra-space-as-a-vacation-rental">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/got-extra-space-make-money-and-meet-travelers-with-short-term-rentals">Got Extra Space? Make Money and Meet Travelers With Short-Term Rentals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-money-while-traveling-the-world">How to Make Money While Traveling the World</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-money-in-your-hometown-become-a-tour-guide">Make Money in Your Hometown: Become a Tour Guide</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-reuse-a-comforter-bag">8 Ways to Reuse a Comforter Bag</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-mistakes-that-can-ruin-your-yard-sale">7 Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Yard Sale</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income Home Travel frugal vacations rent your house spare room Thu, 03 Mar 2011 12:00:09 +0000 Mikey Rox 498263 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Happening Places to Hit Up in Estelí, Nicaragua http://www.wisebread.com/5-happening-places-to-hit-up-in-estel-nicaragua <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-happening-places-to-hit-up-in-estel-nicaragua" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/esteli.jpg" alt="Waterfall " title="Waterfall" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="240" height="161" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With all of its mountains and volcanoes, its beaches and big waves, its awesome people and fascinating culture, Nicaragua rocks.&nbsp;It&rsquo;s less developed, less touristy, and more interesting than some of its other Latin American counterparts, which is why you should come check it out, especially the northern headlands closer to the Honduran border. This is where you&rsquo;ll find Estelí, nestled close to the mountains, where the air is fresher, the landscapes more beautiful, and the activities more engaging. If you like a quieter town with less hustle and bustle, this is the place for you.</p> <h2>Rest Up and Chill Out</h2> <p>When you hit town, you can find a super place to stay in <a href="http://www.cafeluzyluna.com/">Hostel Luna</a>, which functions not only as hostel, but also as a non-profit with a program to help improve and develop smaller communities outside of the city limits. The hostel sports private rooms and baths, as well as shared dorms and bathrooms. Across the street, the same owner runs a small café, Café Luz, that offers some of the healthiest food in town, like yogurt with fruit and honey and organic breads from a local bakery. Visitors at the hostel get free organic coffee from the café every morning and can even order breakfast in bed. The staff at the café will deliver it right to you in the hostel. Planning to stay longer? The owner also rents out rooms by the week and by the month in her house.</p> <h2>Take in the Local Sites</h2> <p>While you&rsquo;re in town, you can also check out the local sites, like the museums and art shops, or you can get a super tour of local cigar making. Find out how the cigars are made, from the moment the tobacco is harvested in the field to the moment the cigars hit the retail floor. Or you can just catch it from the factory side of things where you can watch the workers roll cigars and learn how to roll your own. But whatever you do, you won&rsquo;t want to miss these types of tours, especially when they&rsquo;re done by local residents who know the process inside and out. A bonus is that you get free cigars at the end of the tour. For more information or to book a tour, call Leo Flores Lovo at (505) 8415-2428 or shoot him an email at <a href="mailto: info@tourdeltabaco.com">info@tourdeltabaco.com</a>.</p> <h2>Get Your Nosh On</h2> <p>The food in Nicaragua is pretty good in general. But it&rsquo;s also pretty fried, pretty much all of the time. Trying to find a good, healthy meal that doesn&rsquo;t include something cooked in oil is very hard to do. Unless you eat at Monkey House Café, which serves up a range of dishes such as lasagna and spaghetti, steak cooked on the grill, or an occasional home-style soup. This laid-back café is the perfect spot to grab a bite to eat and to chill out after a long day of touring. Call the owners for more information and for directions: Jay at (505) 8366-3200 or Daniel at (505) 8360-6870.</p> <h2>Dig into the Dance Scene<strong><br /> </strong></h2> <p>Need to get your dance on? Wander on down to Sémaforos, a local dance club with live music on the weekends. They offer a mix of music from salsa and meringue to a few American dance mixes from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. And the live bands change up every week, so you never know who&rsquo;s going to be there. Cover charge is C$50, which is roughly $2.50 American, to get in. And beers run around C$25, which is a little over a dollar. Just tell the cab driver where you want to go, and they&rsquo;ll know where it is.</p> <h2>Wander into the Nature Zone</h2> <p>The woods next to Estelí are not only beautiful, but also easily accessible and rarely, if ever, crowded. The best places to check out are Tisey and MiraFlor. Tisey is part of a natural reserve and offers spectacular views, nice hiking trails and good, homegrown food at the local restaurant. There&rsquo;s also an art shop that sports carved marble statues and dishes. A little further up in the mountains is MiraFlor, which offers more rugged wilderness than Tisey. There are a bunch of small communities here, and they&rsquo;re always happy to see visitors. Daily buses run to both. Check with the local bus stations or with Hostel Luna for more details.</p> <p>So don&rsquo;t miss out. Nicaragua is the final frontier of Central America and really worth taking a look at.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sasha-a-rae">Sasha A. Rae</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-happening-places-to-hit-up-in-estel-nicaragua">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-never-buy-souvenirs">Why You Should Never Buy Souvenirs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-steps-to-market-your-extra-space-as-a-vacation-rental">7 Steps to Market Your Extra Space as a Vacation Rental</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/got-extra-space-make-money-and-meet-travelers-with-short-term-rentals">Got Extra Space? Make Money and Meet Travelers With Short-Term Rentals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-take-one-vacation-day-and-save-thousands">How to Take One Vacation Day and Save Thousands</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel central america frugal vacations nicaragua Fri, 19 Nov 2010 15:00:09 +0000 Sasha A. Rae 306942 at http://www.wisebread.com Taco Tuesday: The Inner Mechanics of Budgeting on Vacation http://www.wisebread.com/taco-tuesday-the-inner-mechanics-of-budgeting-on-vacation <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/taco-tuesday-the-inner-mechanics-of-budgeting-on-vacation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/How to budget on vacation.JPG" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoPlainText">I recently found myself sitting around a dinner table in <st1:state><st1:place>Hawaii</st1:place></st1:state> with a number of new traveling acquaintances. We met at the place of accommodation we were staying at, and enjoyed each other&rsquo;s company, sharing travel tales of adventure and misadventure alike. So when &ldquo;Taco Tuesday&rdquo; presented itself as a way to get super cheap beers and tacos, we jumped at the opportunity to enjoy a night on the town all together. <o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Interestingly, Taco Tuesday became a fascinating study in the spending patterns of people on vacation. <o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText">John and Wendy, having nipped over to <st1:state><st1:place>Hawaii</st1:place></st1:state> for a quick break before embarking on a major move across the country, didn&rsquo;t have huge money concerns, but were trying to be frugal knowing that their upcoming move would cost them dearly. Dave and Angie were finishing off a trip around the world, having been on the road for eight months already through countries both expensive and inexpensive. They played hard during their trip, but their stash of cash was predictably dwindling (an expected bi-product of good budgeting through their long trip). Julie was a very young headstrong woman figuring out where she belonged in the world, and <st1:city><st1:place>Wayne</st1:place></st1:city> was an older gentleman on an extended vacation. Rounding out the group (in addition to myself) was Phil, who was something of a nomad, living and working in <st1:state><st1:place>Hawaii</st1:place></st1:state> for a bit before moving on to the next locale that tickled his fancy. <o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText">I describe each friend&rsquo;s background in an effort to paint the picture; one of a group of people, all originally from <st1:place>North America</st1:place>, but bringing an entirely different set of experiences, finances, and travel values to the table. <o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Where things got interesting was in how people indulged on Taco Tuesday. <o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText">John &amp; Wendy decided that cheap beer was more appealing than cheap tacos, and so they engineered their budget for the night to partake of the beer (at $2/bottle), and prepared their own full dinner at the house we were staying in prior to going out. Dave &amp; Angie being well-seasoned travelers chose to fill up on some home-made appetizers prior to going out, and each nursed one beer and a taco or two. Julie simply had Coke (not only was she young, but she was broke and underage), and Wayne (who had gads of money) flew under the radar with one beer and two tacos. And then there&rsquo;s Phil. Poor Phil. <o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Phil was definitely out for the party and camaraderie, but didn&rsquo;t have much money to spare given his lifestyle. This didn&rsquo;t seem to stop him from indulging though; he managed to order seven tacos, and four beers &ndash; not the beers on special though &ndash; premium beers. <o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Phil&rsquo;s tab ended up being more than everybody else&rsquo;s tab &ndash; combined. No wonder he was broke and working during his trip. He listened to tales of faraway and exotic destinations with drooling enthusiasm &ndash; and a bit of melancholy, as he wished he had the ability to travel to these places, but couldn&rsquo;t scrape together even the airfare if he had to. <o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Here&rsquo;s the rub: <strong>The amount of money spent on this night was in no way correlated to how much fun each person had.</strong> Everybody laughed, shared stories, enjoyed the leisurely walk along the ocean to and from the bar, and came away with great memories. If anybody, Phil seemed the least enthused about the night, spending much of the walk home doing the math about how many hours he would have to work to pay for his tab. At least he had a good buzz on to dull the financial pain. <o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Despite a range of financial backgrounds and intrinsic values, the people who had the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-millionaire-next-door-riches-de-mystified" target="_blank">ability to spend a wad of dough</a> that night chose not to. Most people ate something at home prior to going out, so they wouldn&rsquo;t be starving and end up over-eating at the bar. The tacos were cheap &ndash; but they weren&rsquo;t cheaper than a healthy homemade snack or meal. <o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText">So how do you budget on vacation and still have a good time? In short, <strong>make your vacation and having fun in general a state of mind, not a set of criteria or a checklist of experiences that must happen. </strong><o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p></p> <ul> <li>You don&rsquo;t have to eat at all the finest restaurants in order for it to be a special vacation. <o:p></o:p></li> <li>You don&rsquo;t have to splurge on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easiest-way-to-save-money-on-vacation" target="_blank">souvenirs</a> for all your friends and family at home to prove you had a good time. <o:p></o:p></li> <li>You don&rsquo;t have to spend extra for the helicopter tour just because you&rsquo;re on vacation and &ldquo;why not&rdquo;. The bus tour at a fraction of the cost can be just as much &ndash; if not more &ndash; fun. <o:p></o:p></li> <li>You DO have to focus on the people. Enjoy the company of others without needing to spend money. Go to the grocery store and buy a bunch of different cheeses, a bottle or two of wine, and sit in the park (assuming you can drink wine in the park). It&rsquo;s cheap (when you split the cost across the group) and cheerful. <o:p></o:p></li> <li>You DO have to focus on your surroundings. Forget splurging &ndash; you&rsquo;re already on vacation; that&rsquo;s the splurge! You&rsquo;re already abroad and seeing, smelling, touching, and listening to foreign and refreshing things. Soak it all in. <o:p></o:p></li> </ul> <p class="MsoPlainText"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText">If you have a ton of cash and insist on spending luxuriously whilst on vacation because that is what defines a vacation for you, then that is fine. You will (hopefully) be spending within your means and having a good time. Kudos. <o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText">But <strong>if you don&rsquo;t have a lot of money</strong>, and are even considering canceling this year&rsquo;s vacation because you aren&rsquo;t sure you can afford it, maybe this is an opportunity to re-evaluate how you spend your money on vacation. <strong>Where can you compromise?</strong> <o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p></p> <ul> <li>Would you accept a lower standard of accommodation (maybe you have to walk further to see the sights, or contend with a shared bathroom and kitchen) than you are used to? <o:p></o:p></li> <li>Could you eat more home-cooked meals (provided you stay somewhere with a kitchen) despite the fact that cooking is a chore, in order to enjoy everything else your destination has to offer? <o:p></o:p></li> <li>Is it feasible to drive instead of fly? Maybe even to camp along the way, and even at your destination? (A family I know drove &ndash; and camped &ndash; all the way to <st1:state><st1:place>Alaska</st1:place></st1:state> and back from <st1:state><st1:place>Alberta</st1:place></st1:state>. The journey was one that created a lifetime of memories for everybody). <o:p></o:p></li> <li>Will your vacation still be complete if you don&rsquo;t do all the organized tours available, and instead soak in the culture with long walks and just a few key tours? <o:p></o:p></li> <li>Can you sit at a restaurant or caf&eacute; and enjoy the culture without ordering the expensive <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-retirement-latte" target="_blank">lattes</a> or entrees? <o:p></o:p></li> </ul> <p class="MsoPlainText"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Check out <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-a-frugal-vacation-and-still-treat-yourself" target="_blank">this article</a> for a few more ideas on how to enjoy a frugal vacation by making innocuous compromises. <o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><strong>Here is a little exercise for you to define your vacation needs:</strong><o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Pull out a blank piece of paper and a pen. Now start writing down words that you associate with vacation. Don&rsquo;t worry about sentences or specific locations or even making sense; just write down words that for you define &ldquo;vacation&rdquo;. <o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Is it &ldquo;<em>sun, sand, ocean, palm trees, pina coladas</em>&rdquo; or &ldquo;<em>foreign languages, art, music, museums</em>&rdquo;? How about &ldquo;<em>animal life, markets, nature, new friends</em>&rdquo;? <o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText">What are your vacation words? And how many of these terms that define your vacation directly correlate to spending a lot of money? I would argue that very few people define their vacations with &ldquo;<em>fancy restaurants, limos, expensive tours, and red carpets</em>&rdquo; unless they already have the financial capacity to enjoy these things at home. <o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText">By defining your vacation desires, and reframing your vacation needs, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-travel-in-style-for-free" target="_blank">being creative</a> where you can, you just may find that you can budget on vacation and not feel like you have sacrificed a thing. <o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Happy travels!<o:p></o:p></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taco-tuesday-the-inner-mechanics-of-budgeting-on-vacation">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/does-it-make-sense-to-stay-in-a-hotel-anymore">Does It Make Sense to Stay in a Hotel Anymore?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-secret-tips-to-make-your-london-vacation-cheaper-and-easier">7 Secret Tips to Make Your London Vacation Cheaper and Easier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-luxe-travel-destinations-that-are-cheaper-in-winter">6 Luxe Travel Destinations That Are Cheaper in Winter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-resources">40 Most Useful Travel Websites That Can Save You a Fortune</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-book-an-amazing-cheap-vacation-package">How to Book an Amazing Cheap Vacation Package</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Art and Leisure budget vacations canceling vacations excursions frugal vacations lavish vacations trips vacations Fri, 12 Dec 2008 21:12:10 +0000 Nora Dunn 2644 at http://www.wisebread.com The Easiest Way to Save Money on Vacation http://www.wisebread.com/the-easiest-way-to-save-money-on-vacation <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-easiest-way-to-save-money-on-vacation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/leave the souvenirs in the store.jpg" alt="souvenirs" title="souvenirs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="424" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoPlainText">You are enjoying a sunny vacation on the beaches of Mexico. Some of the locals are wearing native garb, or at least peddling it. Vendors walk up and down the beaches selling their wares, from coconut shell jewelry, to crocheted sundresses, to key chains. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">You want something to remember this moment with. The smells of pina coladas and sun tan lotion, the feeling of the soft white sand, and the sound of gentle ocean waves splashing on the beach. Those crocheted sundresses are beautiful, and you’d look stunning in one. You could use it as a cover up at the beach, and you could also accessorize it up nicely for dressy-casual dinners. It’s perfect. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">You swear up and down that you’ll wear it at home too. That’s the reason you’re getting it of course – there are people everywhere down here wearing these beautiful garments – why wouldn’t you wow people at home with it too? </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">So after shelling out your precious pennies for the beautiful (read: tacky) sundress, getting gitchy key chains as souvenirs for people at home, wacky t-shirts, and coconut shell necklaces, you have just blown your vacation budget. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">What’s worse: you get the beautiful (read: tacky) sundress home, and it in turn finds a home in the back corner of your closet, only to be rediscovered months or even years later. You try it on, hopeful that it won’t look as bad as you think it will. It really does look that bad. So it gets disposed of or given away to a poor unsuspecting victim. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">The key chains are accepted by friends with a genuinely appreciative smile, only to be tossed into their overflowing bowl of key chains that they’ll never use. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">The t-shirts were cool and reflected a uniquely cultural flair when you saw them in Mexico, but they seem a little too out of place at home. They become very expensive cleaning rags. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">And the coconut shell necklace went nicely with the sundress, but it is horribly tacky up close, not to mention falling apart; it is a marginal step above macaroni and white glue. The necklace your kid made in grade two beats this one you paid money for. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><strong>What’s the best way to save money on vacation, and not sacrifice the experience? </strong></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><strong>Leave the souvenirs in the store.</strong> </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">The best intentions of stimulating the local economy by purchasing souvenirs are more often than not misguided. Many “authentic” crafts and souvenirs are mass-produced in another country entirely. The local girl selling them isn’t seeing nearly the profit margins you may think – in fact she could even be getting a meager hourly wage from a foreigner who is the actual “boss”. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u290/leave_the_souvenirs_in_the_store_2.jpg" width="150" height="200" align="right" />The items you think you’ll use at home rarely get used. They collect dust, either in your cupboards, or in the cupboards of the poor folks you bestow these gifts upon. The local fashion looked great while you were visiting, but just doesn’t seem to work when you try to wear it at home. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><a href="/impulse-shopping-a-controllable-handicap" target="_blank">Impulse shopping</a>, especially while on vacation, is an easy trap to fall into; that’s why heavily touristy areas are littered with <a href="/concession-stand-treats-%E2%80%93-a-license-to-print-money" target="_blank">concession stands</a>. But rarely will it produce the overall satisfaction that you expect when you shell out your sheckles for that &quot;must-have&quot; souvenir. You won’t use that purse. Wallet. T-shirt. Key chain. 150th mug. Lampshade. Chances are you really won’t. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><strong>But having a souvenir to remember your trip with is a legitimate desire, and can be satisfied without breaking the budget.</strong> </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">As suggested in another <a href="/how-to-have-a-frugal-vacation-and-still-treat-yourself" target="_blank">recent article</a>, instead of leaving yourself to impulse, try to select an item that you want to remember the trip by – just one. One that you can either use regularly (like a hand-carved kitchen tool), or that has a spot on a blank wall that will compliment your current décor and bring fond memories every time you look at it. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><em>If you can, select this item before you even leave home</em>. Then instead of being sidetracked in souvenir shops and concession stands, you can instead be on a mission to find the perfect kind of item you are specifically looking for. It actually becomes part of the adventure of your trip, and depending on the availability of your chosen souvenir, <em>you may meet some interesting folks searching for it</em>. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">You will start to see the difference between the mass-produced souvenir shop fakes, and the real deal. And yes – in some cases you may spend a little extra money on it; but since you’re only buying one thing, you can afford it. It’s in the budget. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Trust me – this is the voice of experience here, with a drawer full of “who can I possibly give this to” items – both your wallet and your wardrobe will appreciate it. </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easiest-way-to-save-money-on-vacation">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-never-buy-souvenirs">Why You Should Never Buy Souvenirs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-do-to-save-money-that-end-up-costing-you-more">10 Things You Do to Save Money That End Up Costing You More</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-common-weekend-money-traps-and-how-to-avoid-them">8 Common Weekend Money Traps (And How to Avoid Them)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-72-brilliant-ways-to-stretch-20">Flashback Friday: 72 Brilliant Ways to Stretch $20</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-budget-challenge-2016-how-to-live-frugally-when-you-have-no-time">My Budget Challenge 2016: How to Live Frugally When You Have No Time</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living concession stands frugal vacations impulse shopping souvenirs Thu, 14 Aug 2008 06:46:39 +0000 Nora Dunn 2329 at http://www.wisebread.com