Wanderlust

5 budget friendly travel tips!

Budget travel has never been easier. The internet along with social media provides you with everything you need to learn or know to put together an amazing trip all on your own. The down side is, it takes time and a lot of it. Since I have been traveling I have learned so much about travel, planning, and resources that fit the way I want to see the world. Here are 5 ideas for the budget conscious traveler. 

 

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budget 

travel 

tips!

1. Flights: If you are flexible with your dates you will find cheaper more accommodating flights. I booked a direct flight from San Juan to Frankfurt last minute for $200 every other day was over $500. Try using the +/- 7 days filter to find less expensive offer. 

2. Accommodations: There are an assortment of places to stay from hostels to hotels and airbnbs. There are places to stay for fee. I have been petsitting around Europe. I take care of peoples houses and pets while they are away, in return I get free accommodation. I must say some of the houses have been spectacular. There are also places like workaway, where you help around a farm, hostel, or with a family for free accommodations. 

3. Public Transportation: Learning the public transport system will save you so much money. Think $2 one way instead of $20 for an Uber or Lyft.

4. Entertainment: There are so many ways to entertain yourself. From parks to museums you can get away with saving a ton of money. By using Groupon you can cut the price of eating out in half along with theater and tours. I paid $6 for a 4 hour walking tour in London. 

5. Food: Book a place that offers breakfast and sneak an apple or a banana in your bag as a snack. Find a street vendor for lunch and splurge on a good dinner. 

Clearing up the confusion on extended EU travel!

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“How the hell were you able to stay in Europe for so long, don’t you need a visa?”….this is one of the many questions I received about my 8 month stay in Europe in 2017. In all honesty, I was so confused about the visa laws that I contacted several people and read a ton of blogs because I didn’t want to be hauled off to some foreign prison never to be able to return home again. Well…they probably would have just put me on the next plane to the U.S instead of jail. First things first, as of now, American’s do NOT need Visa’s to travel throughout the EU, this may change.  

So how did I do it?  There are a few key terms that you need first: Schengen and Non-Schengen ( still have no clue how to say these words). The EU is made up of a lot of countries. Some of these countries are part of what is known as the Schengen agreement. Members of the EU can travel throughout these countries without trip interruption and if you are an American you don’t need to get a visa, but you can only stay in these countries for 90 days out of 180 days. There are countries that ARE part of the EU but are NOT part of the Schengen Zone known as the non- Schengen Zone. These countries have their own laws when it comes to stays. 

Now, you can only stay in the Schengen zone for 90 days! After the 90 days you MUST leave the zone for up to 90 days. After 90 days you can return to any of the below countries and the 90 days starts over.  There are EU countries that have their own visa rules. The below non-schengen countries have their own visa laws. For instance, Ireland is 90 days ,UK is 180 days, Croatia is 90 days along with Bulgaria, Cyprus and Romania.

26 Schengen Zone Countries

Austria

Iceland

Poland

Belgium

Italy

Portugal

Czech

Latvia

Slovakia

Denmark

Liechtenstein

Slovenia

Estonia

Lithuania

Sweden

Finland

Luxembourg

Switzerland

France Malta 

Germany Netherlands

Greece Norway

Non-Schengen Zone Countries

Croatia

Bulgaria

Cyprus

Romania

United Kingdom

Ireland  

Allow me to give you some examples to make it more clear. This is what I did for 2017:  Italy (30 days), Croatia (30 days non-schengen),  Germany (60 days), United Kingdom (90 days non-schengen). Once you leave a schengen zone and go to a non-schengen zone like I did (Croatia) the time ends but DOES NOT start over, it is just paused until you return to one of the schengen countries.

Another example…Iceland ( 10 days), Sweden (10 days), France (10 days), Ireland (30 days), United kingdom (14 days), Croatia (14 days), Italy (20 days).

Now with the above example you have stayed in a Schengen Zone for 50 days. You still have 40 days to travel through other schengen countries or just save those days and go to a non-schengen area. 

If you want to bounce around Europe you know have the knowledge to do it without the risk of being deported. If you play it right you could stay Europe for a really long time! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2018 Wander Woman Workshop in beautiful Faro, Portugal (edit: This trip as been postponed)

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It’s 5 am, you are up checking emails, planing your day, and before you know it it’s 9 o’clock at night. If you run your own business you know exactly what I am talking about. Everyone thinks  running your own business is rainbows and unicorns each and everyday. What they don’t see is the behind the scenes work that you put in to build your business. It hard work, believe me, I know. 

For years I have been a professional photographer doing the daily grind; being everything from sales and marketing to accounts receivable. I would say 90% of my business is getting and maintaining clients and 10% is actual photography. After years of this I decided it was time to take a break. This is when I decided to leave the U.S and travel the world. It’s been a years worth of adventure and was totally worth it. 

Since leaving I have learned so much about how to travel better, I have been able to focus on the type of photography I love, and the best part is I’ve been able to help others with their own business by teaching them the ropes of social media and photography. Because of this past year I am so excited to share my knowledge of travel, photography, and social media. 

This September I am planning the very first Wander Woman retreat in Faro, Portugal. I am combining my love of travel with my love of photography and social media. Six women will join me in the lovely country of Portugal. While here we will go on adventures such as hiking, kayaking, and walks. We will also have workshops each morning that will help you with your business goals; you will learn photography skills that will grow your social media following. During this week long retreat you will grow as a business woman, connect with like minded individuals, and learn valuable photography skills that will take you to the next level in social media. 

We hope you can join us on this journey. The following is what is included. If you have any questions email Liz to find out more. liz@travelwanderwoman.org 

Find out more

Let's talk about what's included: (subject to change due to availability)

  • Accommodation (7 nights) villa house with a pool or on the beach (TBD)
  •  3 excursions: Sunset Kayaking, Wine Tour, and Hiking.
  • Breakfast and dinner plus 2 professional catered dinners by a local chef. 
  • Free time to enjoy Faro, the ocean, or the pool.

Morning Workshop: workshop exercise book, professional training and teaching, one on one sessions with your instructor.

*Photography for your business

*Social Media Marketing to grow your business

*Doing better business. Tips and tricks to gaining customers and keeping them. 

COST: $2,000 per person airfare NOT included

Deposit due: February 15, 2018: Non-refundable $600

 

The evolution of the hostel and why you should start staying in them!

What do you think about when someone says they are staying in a hostel? Do scary images come to mind about a sorted building in a dark, foggy city where no one speak English which is filled with 20 something backpackers making their way around Europe. Well, when I tell people I am staying in a hostel I can see it on their faces, confusion, which is most likely followed up by questions like, “ Why do you stay in a place like that?” or “Aren’t you to old to be doing that?”. This past year I have been petsitting around the world, but there have been times when I needed a place to say for a few days or wanted to see other parts of a country but didn’t want to break the bank. 

There has been an evolution to the hostel experience; still budget accommodation, hostels offer up common spaces for strangers from around the world to gather, talk, and rest. Now with the internet and cable tv you can find free Wifi and in some cases computers are available for public use. It’s like your living room but shared with people from all walks of life. While staying in an independent hostel in Cornwall, England, the age range was 18-81 years. The guest were literally from all over the world, a virtual revolving door of culture. We chatted around a fire pit at night and I had the ultimate pleasure of introduced the grand old American tradition of making s’mores. Hostels aren’t just for 20 somethings anymore! 

I am currently in a hostel in Washington, D.C; yesterday, upon my morning arrival I was greeted with a complimentary breakfast of pancakes, cereal, toast, tea, orange juice, and coffee. The kitchen is fully stocked with all utensils needed for cooking, two refrigerators, 3 dish washers and two sinks. You can go to the store up the street, bring back your groceries, and keep them safe in the kitchen, which will save you loads on food cost while traveling. While this hostel has a kitchen others may have a restaurant and bar for their guest. Depending on what you want to get out of your stay, there are so many options. 

Traditionally, hostels have multiple rooms with a lot of bunk beds filling the space. This still holds true but now you have more options for your stay. There are mixed bunk rooms with male and female guest, but you can also get rooms that are just for females or males, there are also private rooms with ensuite bathrooms that compare to hotel rooms but at half the cost. Also some hostels even have family rooms, so cut the cost of family travel in half by staying in a hostel. 

My absolute favorite thing about hostels is the location. Hostels in big cities are most likely located near the city center, public transport, and close to the tourist attraction. Instead of spending $150 or more for a hotel room or $50 on an Airbnb you can spend as little as $10 a night; this was the case for me when I had an early flight out of Shannon, Ireland. My hostel was near the airport, $10,  shared with two lovely girls traveling through Ireland together, and the bathroom was in the room. 

Hostels have evolved from dodgy budget accommodation to places that have a life all their own, they can enhance a persons travel experience by providing fellowship and a safe, comfortable place to lay your head and rest before discovering a new city. 

 

 

Sustaining long-term travel

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From day one, the actual date was November 26, 2016, the common question has been, “How will you afford to do this ( “this” meaning travel). There are multiple blogs and articles out there that explain and explore this topic so I will not rehash. What I would like to discuss is sustaining your long term travel plans and the highs and lows that come with living away from your home country for an extended period of time.

The beginning…I left South Carolina to pursue my dream to travel. With this came with giving up a business I had been building for several years. Because I worked all of the time, I was able to save up enough money to begin to pursue this crazy dream of mine. Because I didn’t have any plans of returning to the states; items needed to be bought and sold.

Two Items that needed to be bought: new laptop, noise canceling headphones with bluetooth ( which have been life savers). Of course I did buy other “stuff” but looking back, it was pointless. The only consistent personal items that have survived traveling are  the computer, headphones, and my phone.

Everything else in my life was insignificant. I am fortunate enough to have free storage space for things I felt like I could not give up: antique furniture, a sofa that I love, a few childhood memories, and a box winter clothing that I may or may not need while traveling. All else was either sold or given away. The 50 in flat screen tv…given to a friend; kitchen supplies…..sold; desktop computer….sold; sewing machine…sold; clothing, mattresses, towels, dishes, vases, pictures all donated. Car, sold!

Letting go of these items was very hard! If someone tells you that letting go of everything you own is easy, they are liars. But being free of all things makes life a lot easier, promise. Here begins my journey. One backpack, and one duffle bag.

With money in the bank and semi support from my family and full support from my friends, I am off. I bring up support because this is important to long term travel. If you don’t have support than your adventure will be a million times harder. With the advent of computers, social media, Skype, FaceTime, texting, and all of the other way to communicate via a device, it is so easy to talk to your loved ones. I honestly have not spoken to my family more than since I left. Knowing that others are happy, excited, and thrilled for your next life step helps you cope on the bad days.

Unfortunately, sometimes, the same people who are your number one fans will leave you in the dust. With traveling comes a separation of friendship. This is something you will have to deal with, emotionally. It’s hard when people stop communicating. You begin to think of what you may have done wrong or what you may have said for them to stop talking to you. The friendship may pick up in the future but right now, it’s on pause. That is how I am looking at it, a paused friendship, with hopes that it will return one day. While traveling it’s ok to be emotional about things, or people. Let it out because if you don’t your time away will be ruined. Focus on the present and maybe the past will return.

Just like friendships, money doesn’t last forever. I am not a rich person. I just worked my ass off to get here and have found ways to keep up this type of lifestyle. After 4 months of a steady paycheck in Thailand, I wanted to be able to do and see more, without being held to a classroom or contract. If you don’t know, I am teaching English as a foreign language. The month before my contract ended in Thailand I applied to several position around the world. I accepted one in China. But quickly realized China was not where I wanted to be. I found an alternative way of making money, teaching online. Am I going to get rich off of this, nope. But does it help me to travel and see other places, yep.

Once hired, I decided to take a week off and travel to Cambodia. From there, it was a 3 weeks in Rome, next 4 weeks in Croatia, and currently I am in Germany for two months. While in Germany I am pet sitting for a friend. Which is certainly the way to go, rent free! Because of this I have signed up on a petsitting website so I can sustain this way of life.

Thinking outside the box is a major player in continuous travel. If you don’t have a trust fund or millions in the bank; which most of us don’t, it is a very important. So let’s review: save money, have a job before you leave, work while traveling, letting go of people and things.

Now, it’s gut check time…do you go on Instagram and see the whimsical photos of that one person and think, how the f*&^ are they doing this? All of these places around the world, they must be spending a fortune. Well they may be spending a fortune but I know I don’t have that kind of money to spend. While in Germany, I have done very little in the way of travel. By looking at my Instagram it would appear that I am spending money left and right. This is not true. Budgeting is my #1 priority. Other than that, I have been working almost everyday, shopping at the local market, watching Netflix at night, and going to Fests on the weekend. It’s just like living back home.

My time in Germany is to rebuild the bank account and spend as little money as I can. Today, I will be going to a bathhouse which cost 5 euro for an hour. Later on this afternoon, I will take the train 5 euro into Frankfurt to explore what the city has to offer. For the month of July, I plan on going on day trips that will not cost more than 50 euro.

Just like everything else in life being able to sustain long term travel is hard and needs to be worked on every single day. Create wonderful memories but not tons of debt and follow your own path.