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You Can Afford To Travel Anywhere With These Tips

Before I started traveling lots I went on various blogs and read different articles about traveling on a budget. Whether you are traveling for one week or one year, the tips still end up being the same. I have not had a permanent address in nearly three years now so I consider myself a semi-expert … Continue reading “You Can Afford To Travel Anywhere With These Tips”

Before I started traveling lots I went on various blogs and read different articles about traveling on a budget. Whether you are traveling for one week or one year, the tips still end up being the same. I have not had a permanent address in nearly three years now so I consider myself a semi-expert on the subject. I wanted to share with you my favorite four budget travel tips that I myself use all the time. I’m also following them up with 3 little tips that I promise will make a difference.

I’m so excited to share what I’ve learned! Keep reading to find out…

Booking where you sleep

I think this has saved me the most money on my trips. Before I get started on what I’m about to share, know that I never stay in gross or dirty locations. I’m a reviews kinda gal. With that said, you don’t want to be in your room your entire trip anyways so I never waste my money on hotels…or expensive hotels. So, my first tip is to head over to Hostel World and check it out. What I love is that it shows you on a map where you would be staying, it shows you the price, reviews and everything it includes. HOSTELS? Yes, I said hostels. Let me go into more detail.

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Depending what country you are in, I am SUCH A HUGE ADVOCATE OF THEM. I would have never thought I am. When I’m traveling long term I typically get a 4 bed female only dorm. The main reason is because there’s a better chance no snoring goes on at night since females don’t snore quite as often. The second reason is because it’s SO easy to meet people. About 70% of people in hostels are also solo travelers. Then only 30% are just with a friend of two. It’s so easy to meet people. Hostels will typically have a hang out room downstairs where you can also mingle.

You want to make sure you look at the reviews because some are party hostels and if you are looking for a good sleep, I would definitely go to another one. Hostels are also very safe. With that said, be smart, I always bring my valuables with me wherever I am on my trips. Hostels will also typically have private rooms available. So, if I need to get more work done, or I just need a little space from people, I simply book a private room inside of a hostel. It’s still way cheaper than a hotel and you can hang out with people downstairs whenever you feel like it. 

Lastly, hostels will typically do your laundry for you for a small fee. That’s right, you hand them your dirty laundry and you pick it up the next morning smelling fresh and folded.

Plan a budget

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Like I said earlier, it doesn’t matter how long you’re traveling for, most of the tips that I’m giving you will be the same regardless of the length of your trip. If you are going for a certain about of time, look at exactly how much money you would feel comfortable spending the entire time. Once you have that number, divide it by how many days you are there. If that seems like a budget you will be able to stick to…make sure you stick to it! If you are traveling with someone you can even let them know of your daily budget. This will help you to plan where to stay, eat, activities, etc. If you are traveling long-term or even without an end date, look at how much you typically spend at home. How much can you spend without going into the red or how much will allow you to travel as long as you want. Once you have that number, it’s popular to simply take that amount of cash out every morning and simply use cash. That way you are never tempted to go over it. 

 Before you go, make sure that you have the best possible credit card or debit card from your bank. I use Chase and have been thrilled with the amount of money I save and can use towards future flights. (PS none of this is sponsored, I’m honestly telling you I use Chase.)

Tourist Traps

Let’s face it…being somewhere new is SO exciting. But guess what, the country that you are visiting typically knows this and wants to take advantage of it. Ask at the reception where the cheapest deal to find specific things that you are looking for. Also, make your way to where the locals hang out. For things like food and clothes, they will be a lot less expensive here. For activities, make sure that you shop around a little bit. In a lot of countries, especially if it’s a third world country, you will be able to negotiate the price.

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My last piece of advice for this topic is if you are able to do the tourist “deal” by yourself. Of course sometimes you are not able to. But many times you can find a bus to catch and make your way there by yourself and then grab a one day tour once you are there. This not only cuts out any middleman costs but it also will be a lot cheaper overall. So that means at 5 day tour that includes everything, price out each thing and notice how much cheaper it is to book each individually. Chances are when you book them individually they will even stick you with the all included bus. See how easy that just was?

Safety

I travel primarily by myself. And I am a female. Safety is a big deal for me. I notice that I always have my whereabouts way more on trips. If you’re in a country that doesn’t show a lot of skin, don’t show a lot of skin. You’re probably already going to stand out a lot, don’t make yourself stand out even more.

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Uber has been amazing for my travels. I find it way safer than a cab. If Uber is not available (which is rare), I feel a lot less confident that I will get ripped off and for my safety. Here is what I do (I’m not sure why I just started it the minute I started my solo travels). I flag down a cab and have the destination address in my GPS on my phone already. I look at the cab driver in the eyes and with a stern look show him my destination and show that my GPS is on. If I’m in a third world country I ALWAYS say how much will this be. That way they know you understand their currency and they can’t walk all over you. In most third world countries, you will also negotiate a cab ride. I’ve only had one issue in vietnam and forgot to do this. But that’s another story. However, it all could have been avoided if I asked the price upfront.

Also, if I’m headed to somewhere like the airport, I will go into the lobby of the hostel (sometimes a little bit early) and as people are checking out ask them if they are headed to the airport or where they are going. I’ve almost always found someone this way to split the cost with.

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Here are a few additional quick tips for traveling affordably:

  • If it’s a country where you can refill your water bottle, bring a few extras with you on your trip. Especially in places like europe, water cost really adds up!
  • I bet all of your luggage fits in carry ons. Unless your traveling long term, you can probably get away with it. Find out the maximum carry on allowance and use it all. Some of the upcoming flights may be cheap but the baggage fees can be very extensive.
  • I think that carry on toiletries are just there appear that they are saving you space. Have you looked up how big your carry on shampoo can actually be? It’s WAY larger than you realize. I always have my toiletries in my carry on and they are always way larger than the small sizes. This will help you from needing to constantly get new ones in the country you are traveling to.

I have so many more tips and promise to do another blog soon, but after thinking about my favorite tips over the past few days, these are them! Feel free to comment below which one you will try using OR your favorite one that I didn’t include.

Happy travels! 🙂

Dealing With PTSD After Trauma

When I think of PTSD I don’t think of grief. At least I didn’t used to. I’m sure most people would agree with me, unless you are one of the unfortunate few that are currently nodding your head. For those of you that have experienced PTSD from a traumatic incident involving grief, I want to … Continue reading “Dealing With PTSD After Trauma”

When I think of PTSD I don’t think of grief. At least I didn’t used to. I’m sure most people would agree with me, unless you are one of the unfortunate few that are currently nodding your head. For those of you that have experienced PTSD from a traumatic incident involving grief, I want to first tell you that this is actually very normal. I hate how I always feel like I must be crazy with some of my emotions. Then I suddenly post it on my Instagram and the comments and messages come flooding in telling me that’s exactly what they are experiencing but either did not know how to put it into words OR they thought they must be crazy so wouldn’t dare say it out loud.

Well guess what, if you experienced seeing a loved one die in front of you, you experienced taking care of them and it was hard on you, you experienced seeing your loved one suffer, you experienced getting a terrible phone call, and a million other ways you see someone you care for deeply pass away, you probably have experienced a very traumatic event which now probably causes you a bit or a lot of PTSD.

So, to go into detail on my specific experience and what I experience. Insert deep breathes…

James was chatting about history one moment and the next moment he was on the ground. There are little moments about that night that I do not remember and really don’t feel like remembering. So, thanks brain for not bringing that back up with me. I remember thinking he must have fainted and started to shake him. I remember medics coming in and suddenly finding it hard to breathe and thinking this is the worlds shittiest dream. And to skip ahead a few hours, I remember the doctor telling me my husband wouldn’t make it as I was kneeling beside James holding his hand.

Little things about my night just come to me. I’ll be walking and SMACK (that wasn’t a door hitting me, although I think it would actually feel better) I remember seeing the monitor and noticing for the first time he had no heartbeat. Things that I hate that make me think of random things about that night…

  • Ambulances
  • Seeing any emergency hospital sign
  • Anyone telling me they had the worst day ever and it is not hard AT ALL.
  • Any kind of surprise good or bad. I’m surprised out, thanks.

A lot more, however those ones seem to be reoccurring and those damn ambulances never seem to go away.

I’m really not writing this blog to give you any kind of advice. Just deep breathes. Although I’m never a fan of time heals all, I really do think these kinds of things decline as time goes on and you simply learn how to deal with them. For example, with an ambulance I just sit there and literally hold my breathe and then you suddenly stop hearing the sirens and then I count to three quickly in my mind slowly and then I’m okay again. Those 25 seconds seem to go on forward, but if you asked me about ambulances 1 year ago I would say I f*cking hate them and they always put me in the worst mood. PROGRESS!

So no, you are not crazy. You have experienced something your brain had a hard time comprehending and it still struggles from time to time.

Have you experienced this? Has it gotten easier over time? Feel free to comment below or send me a message on Instagram (click here).

Where Did the Support Go?

There seems to be three kinds of people during my grief process. People that are judgmental and don’t seem to understand at all The people that may be there if you really needed them, but they don’t reach out. Your support system. During the first month everyone seemed to be in the third group. No … Continue reading “Where Did the Support Go?”

There seems to be three kinds of people during my grief process.

  1. People that are judgmental and don’t seem to understand at all
  2. The people that may be there if you really needed them, but they don’t reach out.
  3. Your support system.

During the first month everyone seemed to be in the third group. No matter who you were, it seemed as though everyone was about to be my cheerleader to say screw you grief. It’s interesting how it shifted so quickly.

“The best thing about the worst time in your life is that you see the TRUE COLORS of everyone.”

I remember only 2-3 weeks after my husband, James passed away I began getting less and less messages. People also started leaving my messages read. Perhaps they did not know what to reply, but the process started. I remember at the one month mark (February 1st, 2017) my inbox was flooded again. Okay, thank goodness I thought. People are back and ready to help! That process continued and continued while fewer and fewer people reached out until it was only a very small select few.

People that are going through grief…we get it, you do have a life. You can’t be at our disposal 24/7. The thing is, the person that I personally lost would have always been there for me 24/7. He was the one that heard my happy stories, my sad stories, my frustration stories and every story in between. Unfortunately, when the support dwindles down, the lack of a support system around you becomes that much clearer. That empty hole becomes that much more evident.

I want to go into detail a little bit more about these three groups that I have found.

Group #1) I was only 26 years old when James passed away. Were we wanting kids? Yes, eventually…but we were in no rush. At his memorial service the pastor talked a lot about never putting things off. I loved that. Afterwards someone came up to me and asked if I then regretted putting off kids. I’m not sure how I stayed so calm. I simply smiled and said nope. Another example is during my travels, people make comments on a daily basis how much money I must have in order to afford such travels. Once again, nope, just smart with my money. People don’t always mean to make these terrible comments to someone that is grieving, but they just happen. I try and laugh most of them off and realize that most people simply don’t understand. That group is large though and the longer the time has passed, the larger it becomes.

“My husband passed away. I don’t need advice. All I need is for you to gently close your mouth, open wide your heart and walk with me until I can see color again.”

Group #2) This is your largest group. In fact, it is filled with people that you thought would be there for you, that simply are not. Group #2 may have been some of your best friends that do not know what to say to you. They are the ones that say “please let me know if you need anything”. It’s always a nice thing to say, but I can never imagine myself reaching out and saying “hey, this is what I need…”. I’m going to ask the people that are in my life on a regular basis to help me with that. This group means no harm, but they also are the ones that move on quickly, they are the ones that don’t realize how lonely it is during the grieving process and they are the ones that think time heals all wounds. I have news for you, after 15 months, time didn’t heal anything.

Group #3) These people somehow get it. They don’t understand what you are going through, but they are there to listen and to help you in any way they can. For anyone going through grief, we understand that these are the people we most rely and that help us get through each day. The interesting thing about my group #3 is that most of the people in this group I would not have been able to predict. If you asked me a week, a month or a year before James passed away, I would have been sure this list would have been longer, I would have been sure of the people in it and I would have been sure there would be an abundance of support. How interesting life can be.

Now what?

One of the best places I have found support is on my Instagram site. It seems as though no matter who someone lost or what age they are, grief is grief. At first when I opened up the account I wondered how I could relate to anyone. I’m so young. That’s been one of the biggest things I’ve learned. It doesn’t matter your age, having someone out there that can relate to you is a beautiful thing. They somehow make you feel normal and that the thoughts inside of your head are not actually crazy at all.

I joined an online support group but to be honest, did not find it very helpful. It was full of young widows but they all seemed SO sad. Although I was sad, that was not my goal. It seemed as though they were all stuck and life had defeated them and they were okay with that. Me on the other hand, I was trying to figure out how to live again. This group wasn’t for me but that doesn’t mean it’s not for everyone. If you’re in a larger town there may be great groups to join. Quickly do a Google search and see if that kind of support there is out there for you.

Growing Group 3

You may not know who your direct support system is, but you know you want to have it there. There are some easy ways to help grow (or at least stabilize) this group. The easiest and probably the hardest is to ask for it. If you know someone who has been through grief before, they are an excellent person to reach out to. If you have a friend or family member that has been there for you and has slowly grown apart, perhaps you can try and notice things going on in their life. Make sure that you are a good friend back to them. A quick thank you to people that have been there for you can go a long way. They may not even realize the impact they are having on your life, but YOU DO.

Like every single thing you have realized through grief, it all changes, including your friends. Appreciate Group #3, give Group #2 the benefit of the doubt, they don’t know any better and ignore Group #1.

Thanks for the support the wonderful people I have met going through grief has given me.

Until next month,

Laura Leanne