9 Tricks to Make Travel Cheap!

9 Tricks to make Travel Cheap, traveler, world, abroad, free, shoestring, budget, frugal, freedom, minimalism, passive, income, passport, visa, advice, world, vacation http://jessicacoaches.com/2017/04/9-tricks-to-make-travel-cheap

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!

Smart Homes: Cutting Edge or Passing Fad?

Smart Homes: Cutting Edge or Passing Fad Amazon Echo Alexa Google Home Smart Devices http://jessicacoaches.com/2017/03/smart-homes-cutting-edge-or-passing-fad

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.


 

First, what is a smart home? It is technology that has been integrated into your home, some of it has to be hardwired into your home while others are devices that communicate via Wi-fi. You now have the potential to control an enumerable amount of devices through movement or sounds, I have even seen some that use vibrations.

Set up your own security system? Check.
Have your entire house change mood lighting with a single phrase. Yep.
Keep an eye on an elderly family member. That too.
A personal assistant who plays music and will help you with your cooking by reading recipes or setting timers all without having to wash those chickeny hands! Yeah, even that.
Save you money by reducing your energy bill. That one is easy!
Control your home remotely? Piece of cake!

Technology has filtered its way into all aspects of our lives, and I imagine that slowly smart technology in homes will become standard. I have noticed as a Realtor, that when I encounter smart technology on a house, the buyers more often than not are excited, and it is one of the things they recall about the house after.

So where do you start?

For me, I just started my journey into changing our house into a smart home last year. Being a mom of three boys, I NEVER buy anything for myself. So when my husband asked me what I wanted for Christmas this year, I felt like a splurge. After watching countless Youtube videos and articles, I told my husband that I wanted a Samsung SmartThings Home Monitoring Kit, and an Amazon Echo. I chose the SmartThings Starter Kit because I like all the things you can do with security, cameras, alert you if a window is open. (Good for burglars and wayward children!) The company is also large and more prominent in the Smart Home field which while slightly more costly, is better supported than some of the smaller companies. The Echo, I chose because it seemed better established than the Google Home, who just entered the scene in 2015 and has some catching up to do program wise. The Echo has had a large impact in my life; music is so much more often playing in my home now, which means more dancing and lifted spirits.

Now, if you are more interested in lighting, I would suggest a Philips White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit to start instead.

How does it work?

First, you must get a hub, this device receives and delivers transmissions to all your other devices and allows for their control. A few of the devices such as the Nest Learning Thermostat  and the personal assistant devices, while able to integrate with the hub can operate independently if you wish.

You can control your hub through your computer, smartphone, or through a personal assistant device like Amazon Echo, or Google Home.

How a smart home is set up.

Click to Enlarge!

 

What are the downsides?

Where ever technology goes there is always someone ready to exploit it, will this make your home vulnerable to hacking? There have already been some reports of abuse.

This is a rapidly developing technology, and it can be costly, and wildly variable. There are so many products out there it could take you weeks of research to learn everything.

Conclusions?

Setting up a program with your hub so you can holler at your personal assistant to turn off the lights or turn on the tv, while having echoes of a starship captain commanding his ship, in reality, is spending quite a bit of money and time to set everything up. If you want your Smart Home technology to perform useful tasks, you will have to buy several other devices after the starter kit. Our decision? We just ordered our Nest 2 Outdoor and 1 Indoor Camera Bundle.

 

Owning a Vacation Rental – Ready to Have That Winter Home and an Investment Too?

Owning a Vacation Rental, ready to have that winter home and an investment too jessica coaches real estate blogger life coach http://jessicacoaches.com/2017/03/owning-a-vacation-rental-ready-to-have-that-winter-home-and-an-investment-too/

Have you thought about buying a property near the beach? The mountains? You could vacation there whenever you want, a little home away from home, but it seems out of your reach? Or maybe you just hate finding, and paying inflated rates during yearly events, like our International Gem Show here in Tucson, AZ because everything is full, but wouldn’t imagine buying a house here because it would just sit empty for the rest of the year.

What if I told you: You can have that vacation home, and not only break even, but make a profit!

I have owned a vacation rental for a little over two years now and the gross yields off that vacation rental are over DOUBLE the gross yields of what it was getting as a month-to-month rental.  Keep in mind that vacation rentals have significantly more expenses though.  But, that means if you bought two homes, lived in one, and managed your own vacation rental out of the other it could potentially pay for both homes!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are all the things I have learned during this time:

The Good-
1. No more hotel bills when you visit your favorite vacation spot! You have a home there. You can have all your stuff locked away in the garage or a storage cabinet so you feel like you just left.
2. Great money. In general, the yields off a vacation rental are higher than a normal rental. People will pay significantly more for shorter stays.
3. Lower wear and tear. On average you have a lower occupancy rate with more dates that no one is using your appliances, walking on your floors ect. The premises are also being cleaned regularly which helps with this a great deal.
4. There are management companies that will take care of the whole thing for you.  These vary widely in how much they charge and the extent of what they do.

The Bad-
1. Most of the time you want to go to your rental when everybody else does. I have decided to stay with family instead of at my vacation rental because I really wanted that 2k paycheck!
2. You might be the one stuck paying all the utilities and bills for the property if your manager does not do that. These homes tend to have everything you do at your home, internet, cable, water, ect. This is mostly just an inconvenience but something to keep in mind.
3. The risk is higher than a month-to-month rental. There are periods of time when you might have no renters, such as low tourist season. You will still have to pay all those bills, and maybe a mortgage, while there is no money coming in. This will need to be planned for by saving back some earnings from better times of the year.

 

What are your experiences? Do you own a vacation rental or would you like to?