How You Can Benefit From A Work Exchange Program

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This year, I traveled around Europe for nearly 6 months in an attempt to solve my quarter-life crisis. As a money-saving measure, I nearly eliminated accommodation costs by couchsurfing, staying with friends, and doing several “work exchanges,” where I volunteered my time in exchange for food and a bed. The types of work exchanges available vary greatly, from farms to youth hostels, to summer camps to restaurants. Online networks such as WWOOF, HelpX, and Workaway help connect people to hosts in need of help.

Work exchanges are appealing to savvy travelers, not only because they can help you save money, but also because they provide learning opportunities, cultural immersion experiences, and much more. During my travels, I spent 2 weeks volunteering as a“native English speaker” at a language immersion program in Poland and nearly a month helping out a family in Ireland with a number of assorted jobs. Here are several important things I gained from these exchanges.…

Identifying And Overcoming Your Quarter-Life Crisis

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A couple posts back, I talked about quitting my 40-hour-per-week office job to pursue a career as a freelance travel writer. I did this to follow my dreams; however, it’s also an attempt to solve my ongoing quarter-life crisis.

Becoming a grown-up is scary business, and people often panic as the path through life becomes less clear-cut. Some will wish they’d chosen a different career, studied something else in school, or just attended or finished college in general. People who moved home after college may also feel like they’re trapped in their hometown forever. I stayed in my university city for 2 years after graduation, and I was feeling stuck there.

Fortunately, it’s never too late to change the course of your life! Here’s my step-by-step guide to recognizing the signs of and handling your quarter-life crisis.…

Scary Cheap DIY Decor And Freaky Food For Halloween

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Halloween is arguably the best holiday on the calendar. It’s fun at every age to dress up, transform your apartment into a haunted house, and use it as an excuse to eat loads of junk food. It’s no wonder most people stretch it out and celebrate for an entire week (or even the whole month of October!)

Fortunately, it’s also easy to impress your Halloween party guests without breaking the bank. On a low budget, you can produce a spectacular array of DIY decor and freaky foods. Here are a few tips.…

Follow Your Dreams By Taking These 4 Steps

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Ever since high school, my dream job has always been travel writing. Along the way, many people told me it would be too difficult—or even impossible. I believed it.

For a long time, I thought I would need to work a desk job forever, to pay my bills and student loans. I didn’t like cubicle life, so at the end of last year, I shifted my attitude and started thinking positively.

In May, I quit my 40-hour-per-week office job to pursue freelance travel writing. And now, I’m satisfied and happy.…

How To Stock Your First Kitchen On A Budget

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September is here, and across the country, students are moving into new apartments. For many of you, this marks the first time with your own kitchen. If you and your roommates are still debating who’s going to buy what, be careful—it can be quite expensive to stock the cabinets and drawers.

If you start with a well-stocked kitchen, and you learn to use all of your kitchen supplies, you can save money on food forever. Cooking cheap and easy meals at home is my number one way to cut down on living expenses. Follow these tips to get everything you need on the cheap.…

How To Eat On A Backpacker’s Budget When Traveling In Europe

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When you’re on vacation, your instinct is to do things the easy way—which means eating most of your meals at restaurants.

In Europe, it’s really easy to blow through your budget on food and drinks. The food is great, and the prices seem inexpensive (that is, if you were able to avoid issues with exchange rates or other banking fees). However, with a bit of effort, you can stretch your food budget much further.

Here are a few tips I’ve learned for how to save money on food while traveling.…

Save On Travel Accommodations By Staying With Locals

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When traveling, one of the biggest expenses is usually accommodations.

If you’re backpacking in Europe, you’ll likely find that hotels are out your price range—even budget ones usually cost at least $70 per night. Hostels could fit your budget better, but their prices vary greatly, with the minimum usually about $20 per night.

Fortunately, savvy travelers can find lodging that’s cheaper than this—or even free! As long as you do your research, maintain an open mind, and stay safety-conscious, you can stretch your cash by staying with locals. Here are different ways to do it.…

3 Hidden Costs That Could Crush Your Low-Budget Euro-Trip

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It’s easy to get confused while traveling—and it’s even easier for any “mistakes” you make to result in a fee or ticket of some kind.

Luckily, you can easily avoid many of these hidden costs if you look up rules, customs, and common fees for each city you’re traveling to, as well as for each company or bank you’re utilizing.

Check out three fees I’ve personally run into—and tips for how to avoid each.…

3 Must-Have Travel Accessories You Can Make Yourself

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With graduation season in full swing and the summer fast upon us, young travelers (including yours truly) are taking off for adventures all over the globe.

Inexperienced travelers should prepare for all kinds of situations. However, an entire industry exists to sell over-prepared and overcautious people “specialized” travel goods, like cushy eye masks and single-use laundry detergent sheets.

These products are definitely helpful—but they’re also definitely overpriced. Fortunately, for those traveling on a budget, you can make your own versions of these items. Here are three I didn’t leave home without.…

4 Tips For Packing Luggage For A Summer Trip

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Two summers ago, I went on a 7-week Euro trip. I spent lots of time meticulously prepping for my adventure, as I was determined to pack efficiently on a small budget while still being fashionable.

However, this was my first big trip, and as I traveled, I realized I had gone wrong in more ways than one. I’m now getting ready to travel again for several months, and this time, I’ve learned from my costlier mistakes. If you’re planning a big trip, you can benefit from these four lessons too.…