Adventurous Aspirations: How To Travel On A Budget

Broadening your horizons, introducing you to new cultures and inspiring you to see the world anew, travel is one of the best ways in which you can spend your time and money. With increased air fares and rising rental prices, however, actually getting your hands on that trip can feel all but impossible and unless you’ve managed to squirrel away a rainy day find, then you might believe that the adventure of your dreams is forever out of reach.

Think again. One of the most enriching and rewarding experiences out there, travel can be easily within reach, even if you’re on a shoestring budget. By simply planning ahead of time, changing up your schedule and committing to some easy tricks, you can go on the trip of a lifetime, all while staying within budget. Ready to see the world? Now, you can.

Set A Budget

While it might seem like the most obvious of steps, setting a budget is something that relatively few people do before jetting off into the sunset. Although you might have a vague idea of how much you want to spend, by spending a little more time working out a specific budget for each step of the journey, you can save yourself a great deal of time and worry down the line. When putting a list together, budget how much you want to spend on food, accommodation, supplementary travel and activities, always leaving a little extra over for emergencies. If you’re going away for a longer period of time, you can consider putting away extra funds in an online savings account, which you can dip into later down the line. At the end of the day, you can also list down how much you have spent on activities and food. By staying on top of your budget, you do away with any financial worries that might hit along the way

Travel To Nearby Countries

If you want to plan a bigger trip, traveling within the same region can save you a great deal of money down the line. Although your initial flight out might be costly, further travel from that point onwards can be a great deal more affordable, giving you the chance to see diverse areas of the same region. If you’re traveling within Europe, for example, you can find a number of affordable connecting flights or trains for much cheaper than visiting the place on a one-off trip. Similarly, if you’ve bought an expensive flight to another part of the world, you can make the most of it by traveling more within the country or region when you arrive. Local transport tends to be a great deal cheaper and more accessible and can help to open up your eyes to the rest of the world.

Stay At A Rental Apartment

When it comes to travel, we all want to do so in style but as costs mount up, choosing expensive accommodation can be an unnecessary luxury. While you travel, consider following options like AirBnb or VRBO for your stay. Not only will they save you a great deal of money but also, can give you the chance to live like a local during your trip.

Travel Off The Beaten Path

While we all have a list of travel spots that we want to visit, popular tourist destinations can sometimes be costly and often, it’s better for your budget and experience to travel off the beaten path. While capital cities like Rome and Paris are definitely worth a visit, there are a great deal of less renowned but equally beautiful cities nearby that will help you to keep your budget in check. If you want to get a glimpse of Europe, try heading east where the prices are dramatically lower. Cities like Tallinn, Budapest and Kraków have some of the richest cultures in the world and might just open up your eyes to a completely different way of life.

Pack Light

Keeping your suitcase small and packing light for a shorter trip can help you to save on baggage costs while you travel and make moving onwards much more simple. Many forms of transport limit the amount of luggage that passengers can take and if you go over weight requirements, you might find yourself forking up the extra money to cover your baggage. Knowing exactly the amount of clothes you need during your trip can help you to keep suitcase costs low and make moving around the different places much less of a hassle. The less you take with you, the freer you will be to follow your next adventure!

By taking the time to really think about your trip, you can cut costs dramatically and be free to enjoy more places along the way. Your next adventure is out there for the taking; it’s up to you to grab it with both hands.

How To Step Into The New Year As The Real You

New year, new you. At least, that’s what we’re told at the start of another calendar year. While positive mantras might encourage us to overcome our insecurities and fight to be the very best version of ourselves that we can possibly be, actually going through with it can be a very tricky thing indeed. Shedding the expectations that other people place on you is something that even the most confident people struggle with and if, this new year, you want to feel  a little more comfortable in your own skin, you’re going to have to get a little savvy about it.

Inspirational posters are all well and good but if you want to go ahead with verve and confidence, you will need to take a few active measures in order to achieve it. Starting with a few simple adjustments could be all it takes, however, and pretty soon, you might notice a real change in the way you carry yourself.

Be Aware Of Who You Are

It might sound like an incredibly simple thing to do, but actually recognizing who you are as a person is a very tricky thing to do. When we are around others, we tend to mimic parts of their behavioural style in order to fit in with their world view. While this is a normal part of socializing, doing it too often can be detrimental to your confidence and sense of self. Although you don’t have to be the most confrontational person in the world in order to get your voice heard, it is ok to disagree with the people around you when you really can’t see eye to eye. Understanding how you react with those around you is a great way of understanding how you function as a person. If there are any things you don’t like about how you interact with those around you, think about why that is and how you can go about changing them. You shouldn’t have to go against your beliefs to fit in with the people around you.

Understand Where You Get Value From

Determining where value stems from in your life is one of the most simple ways to understand how you see and appreciate yourself. If the people in your life that you value don’t seem to reciprocate your feelings, it’s worth asking why you have kept them around for so long. Often, we hold on to bad relationships or friendships because we lack the confidence and self-worth to cut people like this out of our lives. Ultimately, the person you should value the most in your life should be yourself and those that you spend time with should merely compliment this fact. If you are having to change things about yourself to fit in, it might be because you don’t value yourself enough to wave goodbye to bad relationships. Cutting ties doesn’t have to be a bad thing and the sooner you do it, the closer you might be to finding people who value you back.

Find Things You Believe About Yourself

While we might all have a long list of things we feel about ourselves, we rarely focus on the things that we believe about ourselves, and that are unquestionably true. Instead of thinking that you’re not good enough, or that you don’t have enough confidence, try focusing on the things that you know you can do. If you’re a really great cook, focus on this part of your life. If, on the other hand, you’re a great sibling, or friend, look into why this is so, and how you act differently in this area of your life. Taking influence from areas of your life that make you feel happy and confident is a great way to transfer these behaviours to other parts of your life that you want to improve.

Seek Others Like You

While we might believe that we have many like-minded people in our lives, it’s not always so easy to find people who are emotionally compatible, especially when it comes to relationships. Finding traits in potential partners that don’t really exist is something that many people do when they try to form attachments, leading to problems further down the line. When you’re getting to know someone, try and be as objective as you possibly can be, and take all of the information they’re giving you in. Our brains often have the tendency to overlook negative signals in favor of positive ones, giving us a skewed perspective of the people that we let into our lives.

The relationships that we have in life with others can shape the person that we turn out to be but essentially, the most important relationship is the one that we have with ourselves, as we will always be in our own lives. This new year, let yourself be your greatest love; your future relationships will thank you for it.

How To Eat Your Way Through The Holidays, The Healthy Way

If the holidays are about one thing and one thing only, then surely it’s food. As soon as December leaps into action, we are inundated with invites for festive drinks, winter feasts and after-work snacks. Eating has become such a huge part of the winter season that it’s very easy to enter into the new year a whole lot bigger than you ended the previous one.

When it comes to festive food, it seems that we’re either all in or all out and very rarely do we manage to find a healthy middle ground. While one year we might binge eat our way through Christmas and the holidays, another year we might restrict ourself entirely, forbidding ourselves for indulging in fear of not being able to stop. There is another way, however. Enjoying food during the holiday season is one of the greatest ways in which to truly appreciate everything the winter has to offer and even if we eat a little more than normal, there’s no reason why we should beat ourselves up about it. The holidays are all about relaxing and celebrating life. The trick is knowing how to go about it without losing control.

Start Cooking Yourself

The more that you’re able to cook yourself, the healthier that your relationship with food will become. While you don’t have to become a gourmet chef over the month of December, understanding the types of foods that you like to eat can really make you relax about how much you’re eating, and what you’re cooking. View your meals as a celebration and a way to relax; food should make you feel better about yourself, not worse. The more active a role you have in the cooking process, the more consistent your eating habits will become. It shouldn’t be about all or nothing.

Make A Christmas Menu

When it comes to the festive season, we all have our own preferences when it comes down to the menu. If you’re in charge of the festive cooking this year, it’s your opportunity to load up your plate with your favorite kind of dishes and while you might want to whip up an indulgent feast, it can also be worth investigating a few healthier options, too. Having control over what you are eating over the Christmas season is a much better way to not let your eating habits spiral out of control and if you can feature a healthy dish or two, it’s all the better. The difference between how you feel after a healthy and a stodgy meal can be incredible and might just change your perspective on Christmas eating altogether.

Don’t Restrict Yourself

While indulging in a food free-for-all is not exactly advisable over the Christmas period, neither is making a list of foods that you’re not allowed to eat. As soon as you restrict yourself from certain types of meals, your cravings for these dishes is going to skyrocket and if you do cave in and eat them, you could just feel worse about yourself in the long run. Faddy and restrictive diets will leave you feeling grumpy, isolated and seriously unfestive. Be freer with your eating; you might be surprised at how much self control you actually have!

Plan Your Shopping List

In the same way that planning a Christmas menu is a great way to keep your eating habits within the realms of normality over the holiday season, so too is writing about a shopping list and sticking to it. At this time of the year, supermarkets are awash with tempting treats and holiday offers and even if you enter them with one thing in mind, it’s easy to come away with arms full of naughty treats. Planning out your cooking and meals beforehand is a simple way to make sure your shopping habits remain under check and you don’t buy all of those indulgent extras that you will probably regret in January. There’s nothing more satisfying than checking off a list.

Try To Relax

Let’s face it, we all eat a little more than we should over the Christmas period. There’s no reason to panic if you enter the new year a little more full than you would like to be and worrying about it is will not achieve anything at all. The more stressed that you feel, the harder it might be to get back on track with your eating habits when the new year rolls around, so allow yourself a little breathing room.

The holiday season is all about kicking back and relaxing and allowing yourself a little bit extra on your plate is nothing to beat yourself up about. While you can take control of what you eat, you should ultimately do whatever feels right to you this holiday. Eat, drink and be merry!

Reasons To Be Thankful: How To Love Yourself Courtesy Of Your Favorite Women

Work, family, friends, health, travel: Being successful in your life means filling up every moment of your time with activities yet, with so many things drawing on your emotional resources, it can be hard to remember to pay it all back to yourself. When loving yourself is the last thing on your list of priorities, you know that it’s time to take a long, hard look in the mirror and readjust your perspective. Really struggling to be thankful for what you already have? Don’t sweat it; your favorite women are here to back you up.

Emma Stone

Flying the flag for strong women everywhere, Emma Stone has parted with some pretty killer advice over the last few years. Her most lasting statement? Stay true to who you are. Speaking about the importance of listening to your yourself, she said “don’t be afraid, even though people might say that what you’re doing isn’t cool or isn’t right. I promise you, you will not regret it if you stay true to who you are and what you love to do”. Listen to your heart, and drown out everything else.

Amy Poehler

As well as being one of the funniest women in any room, Amy Poehler also has a ton of essential advice to impart. In her bestselling book, Yes Please, she shared the importance of sticking up for yourself, no matter what: “Sticking up for ourselves in the same way we would one of our friends is a hard but satisfying thing to do. Sometimes it works”. You’re not perfect, and you’re not always going to get things right but when you’re being wrongfully put down, you need to defend ourselves as you would someone that you love dearly. After all, you’re always going to be in your life; it pays to get along with yourself.

Anna Kendrick

Sometimes, it’s the simplest and most obvious advice that can help you to see things in a more positive light. Comparing yourself to the eerily perfect bodies of the models and celebrities you see in magazines can be one of the most detrimental things that you can do to your sense of self-worth. If you’re feeling down about the way you look, there is one piece of advice that you really need, courtesy of Anna Kendrick. “Girl, don’t worry. Everything is photoshopped”.

Taylor Swift

Not in a relationship? Who cares! The single most important relationship that you will have in your life is the one that you have with yourself. Begrudging those who share their experiences with a partner is something that you might have done in at least once before but in fact, life is about so much more than romantic attachment . Need a little more convincing? In the words of Taylor Swift: “Life can be beautiful and spontaneous and surprising and romantic and magical, without you having some love affair happening”. Love life, love yourself; anything else is a bonus.

Jenny Slate

Life isn’t all plain sailing, though, and from time to time, you will go through moments which will really test your strength. In times of crisis, it is important that you give yourself the space and time to work through your emotions, and let yourself feel whatever is happening to you. When comedian Jenny Slate was let go from Saturday Night Live, she said “when I was fired, I ordered 50 million pizzas and invited all of my friends over. It’s important to let yourself go through all of the emotions”. Feeling pain is not a sign of weakness and if something has rocked you, let yourself feel it fully. If it’s taking over your life, though, it could be time to readjust your world view: “if you start seeing yourself as a victim, rather than as all of the other amazing things you could be, it’s time to snap out of it”. Listen to your emotions, grieve your loss and pick yourself back up again. You can always bounce back.

At this time of year, it’s easy to let family commitments and seasonal pressures to overwhelm your life and make you forget to take a little time out to focus on keeping yourself in check. Remembering to be kind to yourself, to take things slowly and to listen to your heart might be the key to really following the path that you want in life. Only you can truly affect how you feel and what you do; it’s time to start listening to yourself (and maybe these women, too).