9 Tricks to Make Travel Cheap!

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I have made a lot of money mistakes when I went traveling.  I do not want to date myself but travel blogs were not as popular, and for the most part, was flying blind other than a Lonely Planet Travel Guide.  I lost thousands that could have been avoided.  So I compiled a list of my hard-earned tips and tricks, so you, would not make the same ones!

1. Go where your money goes farther!
Choose destinations where the cost of living is low. Beer in Western Europe could cost you five times a beer in Eastern Europe. Check out https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/rankings.jsp to get an idea of how much it costs to just be in a country.

2. Travel slowly!
The longer you travel for, the cheaper it is. You get reduced rates staying places for a month or longer. The less jumping around you are doing, the less you are paying to get from one place to another. As you are there for longer, so you can take advantage of free days at museums and free festivals. Go to local parties.

 

3. Travel like you live there.
Don’t go out to eat constantly, pick up food at grocery stores and markets instead. Don’t make every day an action packed day, learn to relax. Take local public transportation instead of the tourist option.

4. Work!
Many places or business will give you room and board for work. It is easy to do, and you can even plan ahead with sites like HelpX.net, WWOOF.net, and WorkAway.info. Do not limit yourself; you can contact organizations or businesses you would like to work at and ask them directly too!

5. Cut down on fees.
Get a checking account or credit card that does not charge you extra for out or country transactions and ATM withdrawals. Or even better, find a bank which refunds any fees you may incur at a bank that is not your own. I use a Charles Schwab Investor Checking account. They have been amazing while stationary and abroad.

6. Play the dangerous game of credit card rewards.
I’m not a huge fan of these, as I always seem to end up giving them the cost of whatever they give me right back in interest. But they can be a powerful tool if you are disciplined. My husband and I took a trip to Nicaragua on points and only incurred a few airport fees.

7. Don’t have expenses at home!
Want to travel for a long time? Drop that lease, rent or sell your home, and sell off all your stuff including your car. Travel while you have no at home expenses weighing you down. You may be homeless, but let me tell you it is freeing!

8. Pay attention to Visas!
Know the status of the country you are entering and if you have to prearrange a visa, pay for a visa upon arrival, or can enter for free. I did not anticipate needing a visa, and it ended up costing me a lot of money in changing flights around as I could not afford expedition, and it would have taken a long time regardless as I was not in my home country. For United States citizens: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country.html

9. Don’t be afraid of people!
Hitchhike, find a travel buddy to split costs with, stay at someone’s house for free or through CouchSurfing.com. Try to network through social media to find friends and family in the area or their friends and family. Ask people who know more about the area than you to show you around. Not only does it help with costs, but it enriches the experience. Make sure to be kind and pass it on!

Ready to be Inspired?  Check Out:  My Top 5 Favorite Travel Videos!

Know someone else who might want to know how to save money traveling? Make sure to share!

How I got my Italian Dual Citizenship and Why!

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Whenever I end up in a conversation about citizenship and the fact that I have Dual citizenship in the USA and Italy I generally get two responses.  One group of people give me that wrinkly brow skeptical look and ask why?  The other group look excited and ask how?  Here is the answer to both those questions.

WHY???
  • Why not? I live my life wanting as many options as I can have.  There are no negatives to having a dual citizenship, except for maybe high-level security clearances in the government.  And in worst case scenarios of draft or political turmoil, I can always renounce that citizenship.
  • You know those worst case scenarios I just spoke of?  I could drop my original home country too.  I will always have another home country that will take me in.  Clearly, the US is not Syria, but I like the idea of always having that escape plan.
  • I love to travel and really experience new cultures.  It allows me to live, work, or go to school in Europe for as long as I want with all the benefits and rules of a national.
  • Having a second passport adds to the list of countries I can enter without a visa.
  • It was a labor of love.  It makes me feel more connected to my familial roots and undertaking this task has brought me closer to my heritage.
HOW???
Now, this is more complicated! The way I got my dual citizenship was through jure sanguinis, citizenship by descent.  This means I had to have an unbroken chain of citizenship all the way to Italy. 
 
There are a few hitches to this:
  • Your Italian relative had to have been in Italy or been born in Italy post-March 17, 1861, which was when Italy became a united nation.
  • If your lineage depends on a female link, you could have a problem, women could not pass on their citizenship unless the child was born after January 1st, 1948.
  • If your ancestors naturalized and renounced their citizenship before your link to them was born the chain is broken.
 
Then comes all the research, paperwork, and waiting.  Each embassy is a little different but you have to provide a full history with birth, death, and marriage certificates.  Which all have to be authenticated and translated into Italian. You have to show proof that no one renounced their citizenship, and if they did proof your ancestor was born before they did.
 
My great grandfathers Italian birth certificate
It was a lot of work! I know there are some companies out there which will do some of the work for you, but I did everything myself, and I’m glad I did it was very rewarding.  It also took a lot of time, Italians do not feel the hustle, it took me over a year to get my great grandparents birth and marriage certificate from Italy, and once I had submitted my paperwork to the embassy it took them a year and a half to declare me an Italian Citizen.  Now while my children were automatically made citizens with me my husband now has to apply through marriage.  Which is a different thing entirely, I’ll let you go know how that goes when it is done!