Posts Tagged ‘budget’

Elijah wakes up in a cage, and can barely remember anything about himself or his situation. He fights his way alone to escape a building full of bizarre and deadly monsters, while learning disturbing truths about himself. Once he finds the way out, he has to pass it up and keep fighting to rescue hiw wife and child from his nemesis.

Author Bio.

has previously published three other books and various short stories, as well as spending two years as a journalist for The Michigan Daily Newspaper. He studied creative writing under the tutelage of Jonis Agee, author of “Strange Angels” and “South of Resurrection.”

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The book is $12.99, downloads are 2.99


Melissa6 portrait Growing up in Ontario, Canada, M.J. was the only child of a single mom.  Her passion for the arts ignited at a young age as she wrote adventure stories and read them aloud to close family and friends.  The dramatic arts became a focus in high school as an aid to understanding character motivation in her writing.  Majoring in Theatre Production at York University, with a minor in English, she went on to teach both elementary and high school for 10 years throughout Simcoe County. M.J. currently lives with her husband and young son in Caledon, Ontario.  She keeps busy these days with her emerging authors’ website Infinite Pathways: hosting writing contests, providing editing services, free publicity tips, book reviews, and opportunities for authors to build their writing platform and portfolio.  In addition she writes articles and edits freelance as she continues her own creative writing working toward completing the next book in the Chronicles Series. Time’s Tempest: The Chronicles of Xannia (1) is M.J.’s debut science fiction novel.  She firmly believes that if she hadn’t been born a Virgo, she wouldn’t be half as organized as she needs to be to get everything done from one day to the next.

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  1. Airline Tickets – Plan in advance and visit discount websites to see if there are better deals. While these sites might charge you a service fee ($5 or so), they can easily combine flight segments from different airlines easily to give you a great deal. (bonus – get even more savings by finding a Travelocity promo code before you book a trip)
  2. Connecting Flights – You might think connecting sucks but it sure saves you a good chunk of money doing it. Consider the pros and cons and don’t write it off right away.
  3. Travel Light – Airlines are starting to charge for everything now and if you have 2 bags or more, expect to be charged for it. Remember to not use over sized bags whenever possible and try to keep it all within one bag per person.
  4. Substitute – Consider packing really old clothes (if you plan to buy new ones on the trip). This way, you can keep one luggage and still have room for purchases.
  5. Always Look into Round Trip Tickets – Sometimes, one way tickets are so expensive that the round trip ticket is cheaper. Just don’t use the return trip. (I know it’s weird but I’ve seen it myself)
  6. Try to Get Back to the Same Airport – Flying in and out of the same airport is almost always cheaper. It’s not only the flight tickets but the car rentals as well.
  7. Traveling to Two Countries – If you are planning to stay in two countries and an airline makes you change planes on those countries anyway, you might be in luck. Check pricing on the flights to see if you can stay a few days at the country of the flight change instead of changing planes right away since airlines often let you do that for the same price.

  1. Plan Your Meals – Figure out where you will be and eat before you actually go out. This is not just good for your wallet, but your stomach too since you will probably find economical restaurants that tastes great.
  2. Cook for Yourself – Not many people do this butcooking while on vacation can sometimes be quite fun. Since the experience is new (cookware, dining area, supermarkets etc), it’s actually quite fun.
  3. Meals Carryover – Want a breakfast that cost nothing? Ask for some bread to-go at the restaurant the night before.
  4. Avoid Breakfast from the Hotels – Chances are good that the breakfast from the hotel is expensive and isn’t great. It probably pays to walk out the front door in the morning and find a local cafe. You might just stumble onto the local favorite.
  5. Eat More at Lunch Than Dinners – Fancy lunches are often much less expensive than dinners. If you eat a big breakfast, lunch and a light dinner, it’s also healthier.

* Car Rentals *

  1. Be Specific with Car Rentals – One way car rentals (when the pickup and drop off locations are different) are sometimes more than twice the price of standard rentals, especially if the two locations are in different states (or country). If you need the car for 7 days and will be in the same city for 5 and another city for 2 for example, break the rental period in two and have a 5-day same location rental and another 2-day one day rental. You might need to go back to the rental facility but it really doesn’t take that long and it might save you a few hundred dollars.
  2. Car Rental Coverage – Some insurance and many credit cards have car rental coverage so take advantage of those when you rent a car. All you have to do is pay with the credit card that will cover you. (Just make sure you decline the coverage from the rental company when they ask)
  3. Size of the Car – I used to always get the smallest car possible because not only do I not need the extra room, I also didn’t want to pay for the extra gas that bigger cars need.
  4. Children Car Seats – If you are traveling with kids, you might think that bringing the car seat is cheaper. Call the car rental company and ask about rental prices. With airlines charging for extra luggage, it might save to just rent it.
  5. Fill up that Rental Car – If you are renting a car and need fuel, just fill her up with regular gas since that’s what the car rental company uses anyway. Also, decline those services that fills the gas tank up for you. Even though it seems like the advertised price is cheap, they charge you for a full tank of gas regardless of how much is left in there when you bring the car back.
  6. Coupon Codes – Sometimes car rental companies have coupon codes that can be used. Search the Internet.

* Transportation *

  1. Rail, Metros and Subway – If you are traveling to Europe, research on multi-trip discounts. Many metros and rails have passes such as a 3-day unlimited travel passes which might be worth the cost.
  2. Night Train and Flights – If the transportation is going to be long, consider traveling at night to save money on accommodation and many hours of time. Many people have a tough time sleeping on these, but it’s all mental. Once you get used to it, you will be able to have a good night’s rest.
  3. Take the Slower Transportation – If flying is too short for you to take advantage of sleeping while traveling, take a bus ride. When you are sleeping, you won’t mind that the bus ride is 7 hours.
  4. Avoid Taxis and Welcome Public Transportation – Tourist usually take taxis since it’s the laziest way to get from point A to B. Consider the subway or buses because it’s sometimes easier and it is much cheaper.
  5. Driving is Not Bad – Want to take that 1 hour flight? With airport security and all the hassle of airport inefficiencies, you might as well drive there (it takes just as long and it’s less expensive). Once you get there, having a car is also much easier than needing to take your bags everywhere.

* Currency *

  1. Watch That Currency – If you never really had a preference in travel destinations, consider the exchange rate when you travel. This sometimes makes the biggest difference.
  2. Getting Cash – Many exchange centers have very bad exchange rates so don’t go there. Search the internet to find out good places to get cash in the local currency. For example, a quick search tells you that the best exchange rate is found at the airport and using ATMs in Taiwan and France respectively.
  3. Try Using the Local Version of the Same Website – Due to the rapid change in currency rates, it could be much cheaper to book using the local currency. How do you do that? Go to the local version of the same website.

* Accommodations *

  1. Staying in a Town Next Door – Sometimes the smaller towns close to where you are going have hotels that are much less expensive. If you don’t mind the 15 minute ride, you might just save that bundle.
  2. Home Exchanges – These are pretty cool and popular especially in Europe. Your trip might not be as romantic as The Holiday (movie with Cameron Diaz and Jude Law) but if you are of the adventure type, this could be exciting and refreshing).
  3. Ask – Sometimes smaller hotel chains are willing to give you free upgrades (or even free nights). If you already have a reservation booked elsewhere, call them up and tell them that you would consider changing if you can get an additional night free.
  4. Vacation Home – If you are staying at a destination for at least a few days, consider a vacation home instead of hotels. They are often are more comfortable and your cost will probably be cheaper.
  5. Suites – Instead of having two rooms, consider the two-bedroom suites that some hotels provide. They will end up being cheaper and you get just as much privacy with your own room.

  1. Duty Free – Many airports have duty free shops that you can take advantage of. They might not be the best deal around if you don’t consider taxes but tax-free might make it the least expensive option.
  2. Don’t Forget About Possible Tax Refunds – Some countries let you get all or part of the retail sales tax back. You might have to fill out forms and show proof but if large purchases are made aboard, it can save you a bundle.

* Alternatives *

  1. Tourist Spots May Not be That Hot – Many countries have tourist spots that aren’t really the most interesting places to go to, not to mention that everything is more expensive around that area. If you’ve been to that place already, there’s no point seeing it again and again. Instead, go to local areas and observe life. It might just spice up your vacation.
  2. Walk Around – If your destination isn’t that far away, consider asking the locals directions and walking there. It’s a great chance for you to see the city and take pictures.
  3. Enjoy the Local Version – Many consumables are less expensive when it’s made in the country you are visiting. Consider trying their local beer, coffee or food. You might be surprised at how great and cheap it really is.
  4. Be a Little Flexible with Travel Days – Many prices are based on supply and demand, so sometimes it’s much cheaper to leave the day before (or after) instead. Look around the dates of your travel plans and see if spending an extra day is worth it. This makes a difference especially around major holidays.
  5. Book a Bundle – There are many package deals that saves you money if you book hotels and flights together. Basically, the more business you can give them, the better discount they can give you.
  6. Go Off Season – Everyone wants to ski or go to Hawaii in the winter. Consider this type of vacations in off-peak times (going skiing in the spring time for example). It’s cheaper and less crowded.
  7. Travel Around Home – Overseas travel might be your dream vacation but there are actually many places close by that is very interesting as well. Check out those lesser known places and the local experience might very well be great.
  8. Try Booking at Different Times – Online sites sometimes have rates based on the time and day of the week you book. Try different combinations and see if you can get a better deal.

* General *

  1. Bid Your Own has a great system where you can name your own price on flights, hotels and car rentals. If the same offer is available, I’ve always saved money bidding for it.
  2. Discount Everything – Some countries have discount stores (I’ve seen one in Japan for example) where they sell all kinds of tickets at a discount. In that store, I’ve even seen gift cards for department stores so if you are buying something anyway, those stores will give you an instant deal.
  3. Don’t Give Up Looking for Deals – Even if you have your plans set, keep trying to look for deals. Reservations can often be canceled with a full refund so if you find a last minute deal that fits into your plans, take advantage of it. (I went to Las Vegas recently and saved half my hotel cost since a last minute deal happened to fit my itinerary so it really works)
  4. Reward Points – Even if you aren’t a frequent traveler, sign up for those reward programs since you might qualify eventually. It’s all free anyway and if you finally get enough points, you can get always get something free.
  5. Go to the Grocery Store – Even if you are away from home, chances are high that there are grocery stores where you are traveling to. It’s worth it to take a trip there and get snacks, water, and everything you need for your trip since hotels overcharge.
  6. Age, Student and Membership Discounts – Many attractions like theme parks, museums and others have discounts for senior, children or students. If you are traveling, remember to take your ID and membership cards (e.g. AAA card) with you that might qualify you for these.
  7. Group Discounts – We all know there are group discounts everywhere. To take advantage, team up with a few friends and go to the same destinations together. You can even set it up so there is no obligations to be everywhere together.
  8. Talk to the Locals – Be friendly and chat with them. Sometimes, they will tell you where to eat and some may even offer you to stay over (works best in small towns).
  9. Mini Tours – I’m not talking about bus tours that takes days but one day tours that take you to many different places within the city. Not only will they take you to places you probably want to visit anyway, the bus driver is usually quite entertaining and informative as well.

    Dont forget to eat healthy

    1. Pack your own snacks

    Remember Michael Pollan’s food rule about never buying fuel for your body where you’d buy fuel for your car? The same goes for airports. If you pack healthy snacks before you leave, you’ll never have to stop at gas stations or convenience stores when your stomach starts to growl.

    Pack smart, portable foods: reusable containers of nuts, pre-washed and cut vegetables with hummus (if you have a cooler), almond or peanut butters, easy-to-transport fruit such as apples or bananas, containers of berries, dried organic fruit, homemade trail mix, protein bars, pre-portioned oatmeal, sliced cheese, whole-grain crackers or rice cakes, sandwiches

    2. Water is your best friend

    Sip water frequently and generously. If you’re traveling within North America or Europe, take a reusable water bottle and present it for refilling whenever you’d normally order a drink. In the rest of the world, it’s a better idea to stick with bottled water.

    To reduce waste, buy the biggest bottle of water possible, keep it in your hotel room, and refill your reusable water bottle throughout the day.

    If you’re flying, be sure to fill up before boarding the plane to help stay hydrated. Turn down offers of sugary drinks like fruit juice or soda.

    3. Reduce alcohol consumption

    I know it’s hard on vacation, especially if you’re staying at a resort with an awesome bar, but consider the end of it — you want to show off pictures, not extra pounds, right? If alcohol consumption is a must, then commit to drinking only within certain hours. Drink a glass of water after each alcoholic beverage that you consume. Choose ‘cleaner’ options, such as vodka soda, wine, or a Bloody Mary, and keep away from sugary mixed drinks.

    In places where the water supply is questionable, beer is a very safe and hygienic option because it’s kept sterile and is served in a sealed bottle.

    4. Give priority to vegetables

    Too often vegetables get neglected while travelling, although it’s important to consider where you are. Within North America and Europe, it’s safe to order a large salad and eat it before ordering a main course, which you may not want afterwards. Elsewhere in the world, use your discretion. I’ve always eaten plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit while traveling in South and Central America and have never gotten sick, though I’m far more careful in Asia.

    Consider vegetarian menu options, which are often lighter, healthier, and lower in saturated fat than meat-centric dishes. Cooking vegetables makes them safer.

    5. Eat according to the hour

    There’s a saying that goes, “Eat like a king for breakfast, a prince for lunch, and a pauper for supper.” If there’s any time to load up at a buffet, it’s definitely breakfast, which gives you the whole day to digest. By eating less in the evening, you’ll feel less bloated, full, and lethargic, and you may sleep better.

    Remember to nibble on snacks throughout the day, which will make you less inclined to gorge at mealtime. Think of the day’s food intake in terms of 5-6 small meals, rather than 3 large ones.

    6. Don’t add unnecessary sugar or salt

    Eating a lot of restaurant food makes it hard to limit salt and sugar intake, so don’t pick up the saltshaker just out of habit. Keep away from those fancy mixed coffee beverages that are made with sugar syrups, i.e. chai or other flavoured latte, mocha, London Fog, French Vanilla cappuccino, etc.

    7. Visit a grocery store or food market instead of a restaurant

    In a foreign country, this can be an interesting cultural experience. No matter where you are, buying food at a store is a great way to save calories and dollars and gives you control over portion size more so than at a restaurant.

    Buy sandwich materials, or go á la français with a selection of hard cheeses, a good salami, and baguette. Many North American supermarkets have great pre-made salads. Grab some fresh fruit and go have a picnic.

    Many developing countries have fantastic street food vendors. If the food is hot and cooked through, it’s usually safe, though once again use your discretion.

    8. Find a kitchen

    If you’re staying in a hotel for a few days, look for one with a kitchen. You can call ahead to ask for a microwave and fridge, at least. Apartment rentals are also a good option for stays longer than 3 days and can give you control over food preparation.

    9. Eat a treat a day

    You’re on vacation, so of course you want to indulge. There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as you place limits on it. By committing to a single decadent treat per day, you won’t feel as though you missed out, nor will you feel uncomfortable by the end of the trip.

How to Travel on a Budget

Posted: November 5, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,
  1. Choose a mode of travel that fits within your budget and which you are comfortable with. Here are your options, from the cheapest to the most expensive:
    • Hitchhiking. It’s generally safe if you do it during the day, and seasoned hitchhikers can cross the entire US in 4 days or less.
    • Train hopping. It’s free, but it can also be dangerous and stressful. Looking over your shoulder for train yard workers and being ready to hop out of a moving vehicle when someone gets creepy with you may not be everyone’s idea of fun. In addition, this is illegal, and may net you felony trespassing charges if you are caught.
    • Canoe. If you have one and the weather is good, consider canoe camping.
    • Take a bicycle ride. You don’t move as far as a car in one day, but you cover more territory than walking. Like hiking, you get to see the countryside up close and meet interesting people. Bicycle Touring.
    • Motorcycle or scooter. If you have one already, it’s just about the cheapest way to propel yourself over long distances, because of the low fuel costs. If you don’t have one, look into the cost of renting and compare it to the next few options.
    • Buses and trains. This is safer than the previous options, but you’ll need to check the fares for the trip you have in mind to determine how cost-effective it is.
    • Driving. This is comparable to bus and train fares in terms of gas costs, but if you don’t have a car, you’ll have to rent one, which can get pretty pricey. However, there are several ways to push down the cost of driving:
      • Carpool and split the gas/rental costs. If your friends don’t want to come along, check the rideshare section of your local craigslist:
      • Sleep in your car. This will save you money on lodging, unless you were going to secure free lodging anyway.
      • Hypermile. If you follow the techniques carefully, you can save plenty of money on gas. See How to Hypermile.
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    Plan where you will sleep.

    • Sleep on the couch. Even if you don’t have friends you can stay with, there are a few ways to get around that:
      • Network. Ask everyone you know or even anyone you chat with throughout the day if they know of anyone you can stay with. Ask in your Twitter, MySpace, and Facebook updates.
      • Go to and find someone who’s offering up their couch. The website has a vouching system to help address concerns about safety.
      • House-sitting is a good method of obtaining free shelter, though it comes with responsibilities. Some websites list house-sitting opportunities for free, and others will charge you.
      • If you live in a city or region where others want to travel, you can arrange a temporary home-swap with people who live wherever you’d like to stay. This can be coordinated through Craigslist and other sites.
    • Sleep in your car. Many interstate rest areas allow overnight parking. Vans, pick-up trucks with camper tops, and even small hatchbacks with the rear seat folded down can make comfy beds. And you will be especially thankful when the rain starts pouring down, and you can just pull over and not worry about setting up a tent. For some additional tips, read How to Live in Your Car.
    • Go camping. In state and national parks in the US, campsites are often cheap, or even free. (Chain campsites, and large resort-type ones with pools and arcades will often cost you as much as a hotel would.)
    • Look for hostels. This dorm-style lodging is usually cheaper than motels.
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    Plan how you will eat. Generally, the less prepared food you buy, the better.

    • If you have or can borrow a camp stove, you would be surprised how easy it is to cook a cheap and delicious pasta feast in a parking lot or rest stop. See How to Use a Trangia Camping Stove.
    • Stuff a jar of peanut butter and some crackers in your pack to save you from the overpriced gas station snacks.
    • Dumpster Dive. This can also be useful for finding cans and glass bottles and getting cash for them in some cases.
    • Find Wild Edible Plants –especially berries (like dewberries) and other fruit. If you’re in the desert, you might be able to gain sustenance from yucca and prickly pear cactus. A word of caution, however, be sure you know what you are eating and that it is edible. Some berries and other plants are very similar to others that are very lethal. As long as you know what you’re eating berries and other plants are a great way to get free food!
    • Bring energy bars. They might be expensive, but they’ll hold you over when you need to avoid the temptation of buying food at a restaurant so you can wait until you get to a grocery store and buy much cheaper food that you can cook yourself. If you have the time, you can make your own energy bars before you go.
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    Brainstorm ways to make money on the road, if you need to.

    • Can you play an instrument? An afternoon of busking on a busy city street may get you some cash to buy a meal or gas to get you to your next destination. See How to Make Money Busking (Street Performing).
    • Panhandle Please note that panhandling is illegal in some places. Know the law to keep yourself from getting in trouble.
    • Farm labor. Go to websites that list farms and farm work opportunities and look for operations in the areas you plan to travel through. Call in advance and ask if you can work for a full day. If they can’t give you cash, maybe they’ll give you food and/or lodging.
  5. 5

    Bring helpful tools and supplies.

    • A comfortable bag. You might need to do a lot of walking, so choose a back pack intended for that purpose. Make sure it has support straps across your hips and shoulders, and the straps should be padded.
    • A folding bike. If you’re not traveling with your own means of transportation, a portable bike could be a sensible investment for if you need to travel from your campsite or the place you’re staying to a local grocery store, or so you can explore areas easily when you’re not hitchhiking. When you’re not using it, you can fold the bike and carry it with you.
    • Baby wipes. Bathing can become an issue when traveling in this fashion. You may not have daily and immediate access to a suitable shower. Baby wipes will allow you to freshen up easily. You can buy some or, better yet, make your own.
    • Camp stove. As mentioned earlier, this is handy for making your own food anywhere.
  6. 6

    Scour freebie websites before you leave.

    • Most major cities have all types of free entertainment and services; which can be found, on sites like Lafreebeee and, depending on where you live.
      • Museums are free on certain days of the month or if you have a student id.
      • You can see free movie screenings if you know where to look and how to sign up.
      • Sign up for free coupon offers and take the coupons with you on your trip.
      • There are free medical clinics in many major cities.