Travel

8 Ways to Survive a Long Layover

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Do you have a long layover coming up that you are dreading? Or, have you ever had a delayed or canceled flight and not known what to do to occupy your time? While a travel notebook can help, there is so much else to do! It doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. We’ve had those experiences first hand and have some tips to survive a long layover.

People Watch

Airports are the best place in the world to people watch. Where else can you go where people from all walks of life are together in one place and about to head to the far corners of the world? Who are they and where are they heading?

Explore the City

If you have more than a few hours, leave the airport and explore the city! Take advantage of your layover to have a quick adventure in a new place. What is better than getting a mini-dose of a new place while your waiting to head to your final destination?

Work Out

Some airports have a fitness center or an activity room. If you’re lucky enough to be at one of these airports, make good use of your layover and stick to your fitness routine. If you aren’t at one of these airports, you can still find a spot for some quick stretching or even a makeshift yoga session.

Visit the Lounge

If you’re really worried about surviving your next layover, it may be worth it to check out the airline’s lounge. These VIP areas are usually accessed through membership programs, but you can typically buy a pass for the day if you are not a member. These areas can feature better wifi, open bars, snacks and some even give you access to shower facilities. Maybe you’ll even meet somebody worth remembering and writing down in your travel notebook.

Take a Nap

Set an alarm on your phone, find a cozy corner and take advantage of your layover to get the extra sleep you desperately need!

Hit the Bar

The age old trick to surviving a long layover? Have a drink at the bar! Find a seat to watch the sports game of the hour or make a new friend over a cold beer. Before you know it, it’ll be time for you to board. Just don’t get too carried away.

Eat Your Heart Out

Airport restaurants are notoriously average, especially for the price. But, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t good options out there or that it isn’t a good use of your time. Seeking out and eating a good meal is a great way to survive your long layover.

Chat with a Stranger

If nothing else, you can always strike up a conversation with an equally-bored traveler. There is a good shot that they are also trying to survive their layover, which would be a win-win for both parties. If you’re heading to the same travel destination, maybe your new friend can shed some light on exciting things to do on your visit!

Shop our selection today to learn more about Adventure Assist and our travel notebooks!


Have a layover on your way to an epic destination? Make the most of your trip with an Adventure Assist travel notebook! Get yours today!

8 New Year's Travel Resolutions for 2019

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While we don’t typically love resolutions, we do love taking January to reset on our outlook and remind ourselves that we can always be smarter, more efficient, and more responsible travelers. Here are 8 practical travel resolutions that you can work on this year to maximize your travel experiences:

Go Solo

Some like to think of traveling solo as a right of passage of sorts. We like to think of it as an opportunity to explore a new travel destination while exploring yourself. Traveling solo opens the door to new experiences that just don’t come along when you’re traveling with a partner or group. Plus, you’ll learn a ton about yourself in the process.

Get Global Entry

Instead of just telling yourself to get Global Entry every time you’re stuck in the security line at the airport, you need to follow through! Take some pressure off yourself next time you’re scrambling to catch your next flight.

Maximize Travel Points

What better time to start educating yourself on travel reward programs than now. Savvy travelers that know how to maximize their travel points really save, and those that don’t take the time to educate themselves are literally giving money away.

Save More for Travel

Cook more. Cut coffee. Ditch cable. There are lots of ways to save more for travel. It may be time to commit to changing your lifestyle if you have a big travel goal in mind for 2019.

Leverage Flight Deals

When you want to go everywhere (like us!), leveraging flight deals is easy. You may spot a deal for a destination on your list or take a spontaneous trip somewhere that isn’t on your radar yet. Either way, it really pays off to take advantage of flight deals that are out there.

Pack Smarter

Still overpacking? Most of us are. But we are here to tell you that you probably don’t need that extra pair of heels or a backup toothbrush. Pack like a pro and lose the just in case items and have comfort that if you forget something or need something in the moment that you can likely get that item in your travel destination too.

Become a More Responsible Traveler

Educate yourself on how you can become a more responsible traveler. Remember to shop locally when possible, choose responsible tour operators and respect local cultures.

Help Someone Else See the World

What better new year’s travel resolution than to help someone else see the world. Help a beginner traveler plan their trip. Give them travel tips so that they are safer and more comfortable. Or just give them the nudge they need to get out there and travel. Sometimes we all need a little nudge.

So, give these some thought and get ahead of your new year’s travel resolutions. Our singular mission at Adventure Assist is to help you get the most out of your travels and these travel goals will help you do just that.


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Does your new year’s travel resolutions involve being better prepared for your trips? Check out the Adventure Assist travel notebook today!

Backpack vs. Suitcase: How to Choose on Your Next Trip

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Travelers often have strong opinions in the backpack vs. suitcase debate — you may even be thinking about your preference as you begin reading this blog post. But the truth is there are pros and cons to both backpacks and suitcases, and the best option often depends on the type of travel you are about to embark on. To help make the selection between a backpack or suitcase for your next trip, let's break it down.

Backpack

Pros

  • Extremely mobile

  • Fits just as much stuff if packed correctly

  • Lots of pockets!

  • Lighter weight compared to a suitcase

Cons

  • Can be heavy and/or uncomfortable

  • More difficult to organize

  • More difficult to lock a backpack

  • Finding the right size matters

When it's best

Backpacks are great to use on trips where you will be on the move a lot and you can easily store your travel notebook in them. The more destinations on your trip, the more reason to bring a backpack. If your travel destination features cobblestone roads, dirt paths, narrow hallways or lots of stairs, you should probably consider a backpack. When mobility and practicality are more important than carrying your bag on your shoulders, and the higher likelihood that your clothes will be wrinkled, choose a backpack!

Suitcase

Pros

  • Hard-shell suitcases can take a beating

  • Easier to pack and repack

  • Can be waterproof

  • Roll easily on flat surfaces

Cons

  • Difficult to carry up stairs

  • Difficult to use on uneven surfaces

  • Often take up more space

  • Not as mobile as backpacks

When it's Best

Suitcases with rolling wheels are a great choice when you have one or few travel destinations on your list. If you are on a slightly more luxurious trip where you might not be carrying your bag yourself, or if you aren't moving around much, you likely will not have to worry about most of the cons of carrying a suitcase making it an awesome choice. Plus, your travel notebook can easily be stored safely in a suitcase as well! When ease of access, organization and style are more important than moving freely and flexibly, choose a suitcase!

Shop our selection today for your own travel notebook!


Pick up one of our Travel Notebooks to go along with your backpack or suitcase for your next trip!

How to Travel as a Broke College Student

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A lot of college students talk about wanting to see the world, experience new cultures, and gain a broader understanding of the world at large. But not nearly as many take advantage of their opportunities to go out and see it. After all, what better time to travel than your college years when you have a summer break, less responsibilities and are eager for new experiences. Even if you're a broke college student, we're here to tell you that traveling doesn't have to exist only in your day dreams. Here's how:

Flight Deal Websites

There are several flight deal websites out there that make it more affordable to fly around the world - great news for broke college students! The key here is to be flexible with your travel destinations and timeline, so that you pounce on that great deal when you see it. Some of our favorite flight deal websites are The Flight DealHolidayPiratesSecret Flying and Scott’s Cheap Flights.

Travel During the Low Season

We mentioned that being flexible with your timeline can be important if you are looking for travel deals. Well, if you travel in the low or shoulder seasons, transportation and accommodations are often far more affordable! Take advantage of summer and holiday breaks while in college to seek out those low season travel destinations.

Don't Eat Out

Save major money while traveling by not eating out at a restaurant for every meal. Go to the market and shop for produce like a local to cook for yourself back at your hostel or Airbnb. Exploring markets is one of the best cultural experiences while traveling, plus anything is better than eating instant ramen noodles in your college dorm room.

Take Advantage of Free Tours & Museums

If there is one thing that broke college students are great at seeking out, it's free stuff, and if you're looking for it, there are plenty of free ways to explore a travel destination. Take a free walking tour, go to a free event or visit a free museum!

Use Public Transportation

One of the best ways to get around while traveling is to use public transportation. It's cheap, and you really get a feel for how the locals get around. So when you can't walk to where you want to go, make use of the subway or bus system so you can save some cash.

Couchsurf

As a broke college student, what could be better than not having to pay for a place to stay during your trip, all while meeting cool locals? That could be yours with couchsurfing! If you're unfamiliar with couchsurfing, it is a hospitality service that allows travelers to arrange homestays and meet locals or other travelers. 

Study Abroad

If you'd like to immerse yourself in a new culture for an extended period of time, what better way than by studying abroad? In many cases it costs the same as the tuition and housing that you would be paying anyway plus it is an amazing opportunity to learn more about the world. 

Volunteer

Volunteering is a great way to see the world while you are making a difference in a powerful way! There are a lot of great opportunities to volunteer around the world, no matter what type of work you have in mind. Check with your college to see what volunteer opportunities may be available to you through your school. 


Are you a college student looking to travel the world!? Get your own Adventure Assist travel notebook to plan and organize your trip.

Simplify Travel Planning

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Do you get overwhelmed with travel planning? We're here to help you simplify your process to get the most out of your travel planning and maximize your travels, which can also be easily accomplished with a great travel notebook! Here are some quick tips to keep in mind the next time you're planning a trip:

Know Your Options

The biggest reason to travel plan is to know your options for activities, sights to see and places to visit. It's totally fine to show up to your travel destination with little to no research, but in our experience that rarely makes for the best travel experiences. We tend to get the most out of our trips when we at least know our options, even if we don't have our plans set in stone. It doesn't have to be a concrete itinerary, but you will feel more connected to your travel destination if you are knowledgeable about things to do and see such as historical sights, restaurants or museums. If you have an objective that you would like to get out of your trip (practice your Spanish, learn about wine, etc.), you will need to research the options you have while in your travel-planning process. Try writing them down in your travel notebook. Don't let this overwhelm you, try to have some fun with it and focus on the bigger picture — that it will help to maximize your travel experience.

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

No trip goes exactly as planned, so don't sweat the small stuff. While travel planning, keep in mind any time constraints and try to set reasonable expectations of what you will be able to see and do in the time that you have. Knowing your options before you get to your travel destination helps you to prioritize the activities that you most want to do and see, according to what you would like to get out of your trip. But if something goes wrong (and it likely will), just remember that it is all a part of the adventure.

Stay Organized

To help you stay on track and not get overwhelmed, it is important to implement some systems around your travel planning to help you stay organized. Of course we'd love for you to utilize our travel notebook, but definitely recommend having a system that works for you. For us that means recording where we will be staying, potential things to do and how we will be getting from place to place. Other things we like to fill in as we go to remember the adventure. If you can have all your information in one place, you won't be searching everywhere for your flight numbers or hotel reservation information which will help to keep things moving smoothly.

So next time you're planning for a big trip, try not to live and die by your travel-planning outline, but instead use it to maximize your travel experience. This perspective helps us to simplify how we trip plan and not get overwhelmed and we couldn't recommend it more.

Browse our selection today and get your own travel notebook to help simplify travel planning your next adventure!


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Travel planning for your next big trip? Check out the Adventure Assist travel notebook to help you simplify your travel planning and get the most out of your trip.

Weekend Getaway Tips

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Need a weekend getaway? If you're like most of us and swamped with life in general, sometimes a weekend getaway is all it takes to relax, reset and rejuvenate. A change of pace and a change of scenery can be an incredible break even if just for a short weekend. But taking off for a quick weekend getaway doesn't have to be overwhelming or poorly planned. Here are our tips for taking an easy but memorable weekend getaway.

Choose a destination close by

Choosing from a short drive or short flight for your weekend getaways serves a few purposes. Perhaps most importantly, you will spend less time actually traveling so that you can maximize the time you have in your travel destination. Additionally, traveling close to home can mean less packing, less planning, less expenses and zero jet lag.

Have a Focus

Pick something you want to focus on for the weekend. Do you want to relax on the beach, eat until you explode or hike a mountain? By having a central focus, it gives you exciting reason for your trip but allows for plenty of free time to explore during a short trip. 

Plan around holidays

Planning weekend getaways around holidays is a best practice for any corporate weekend warrior. Getting the extra vacation day for your trip is extremely valuable in the grand scheme of things.

Keep it simple

Maybe the biggest tip of all for a weekend getaway - keep it simple. Don't try to do too much. Have fun, memorable plans but leave yourself some room to breathe. After all this is your chance to relax and reset, right!? 

Stick to these tips and you'll be well on your way to having an amazing weekend getaway!


Are you a weekend getaway pro!? Keep track of your adventures with the Adventure Assist travel notebook. Plan your trips, stay organized on the journey and relive the adventure for years to come!

Travel Planning Tips: Research and Organization

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So you've picked your next travel destination and are about to dive into the exciting, but sometimes overwhelming, world of planning your trip. Don't worry, we're here for you with more than just our travel notebooks! We've laid out our process of researching and organizing our travel information as well as some general things to consider as you go through the travel-planning process.

For reference as you go through this post, here is a link to our favorite travel resources.

To-Do

Make a list of all of the things you would most like to do at your destination (or better yet, simply the things that you might like to do) in your travel notebook. We like to break them down into three general sections - Activities, Attractions and Food/Drink.

Activities - Things to do, Tours, etc.

Attractions - Sights to see

Food/Drink - Restaurants, Coffee Shops, Bars & Nightlife

So, what’s the best balance between being completely spontaneous and having your trip planned out to the minute? We’ve found that you’re always better off knowing your options, but the point at which you schedule activities is largely a personal decision based on how structured you would like your trip to be. Some people may prefer to decide the day of an activity, for some the night before, for others it could be weeks or months before your trip. Be aware that certain activities and attractions can require booking in advance.

Once you do have your schedule set, it is a great idea to add those items to a travel notebook or calendar to help you connect your to do list with your schedule.

Transportation

The three biggest things to consider with transportation are — cost, comfort and time (in no particular order). Unless you are traveling to remote locations, you will typically have options for a range of the three factors. You will need to do some research to see what makes the most sense for your particular situation. For example, a budget backpacker, who places a high value on cost, may stick to cheaper bus routes that take longer to reach their destination, while a mid-range traveler may opt for a short flight instead.

Once booked, it is a good idea to write down your transportation details, such as booking numbers and departure times, in your travel notebook so that you can reference them easily and efficiently.

Accommodations

For some travelers, finding the right accommodations can make or break a trip. Usually the three biggest factors when deciding on the right accommodations are — cost, location and value (in no particular order). Again, you will need to do some research to find the best place(s) to stay for your particular situation.

Once you’ve found your perfect home away from home, we recommend recording the address and all of the booking and contact information in your travel notebook so that you will be able to easily access it while traveling. Shop our selection today for your very own travel notebook and get to planning that next adventure!


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Let us help keep you organized as you plan your trip! Get your Adventure Assist travel notebook today and never lose track of your travel details again!

Reasons to Study Abroad in College

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Are you thinking about studying abroad? If you need help convincing yourself that it is the right thing to do, you've come to the right place! Here are some of the best reasons why you should study abroad in college.

Learn a Foreign Language

Being immersed in a culture that speaks the language you would like to speak is by far the best way to learn it. Becoming fluent in a foreign language is a lot of work, but it is becoming more and more important with the globalization of the world. 

Personal Development

Studying abroad and travel in general are great ways to foster personal development. It teaches you to be more independent, self-reliant and to step out of your comfort zone. Being in a new country long term can be overwhelming at times but you will come out of it better prepared to handle life after college. 

Experience Different cultures

Being immersed in a new culture is a powerful experience. Studying abroad opens the door to your host culture's food, language, history and traditions. While some may be extremely foreign and others might be strangely familiar, they will all contribute to your experience abroad.

Make Lasting Memories

While studying abroad you'll have the opportunity to meet lifelong friends from different parts of the globe and likely share many new and exciting life experiences together. Your time studying abroad just might be your favorite part of college.

Impress Potential Employers

Improve your employment opportunities after you graduate by studying abroad in college. Companies are investing in the global market and want employees who are comfortable in a global setting. Not to mention the skills learned while studying abroad, like self-reliance, are highly sought after. 

It is Possible to Do Inexpensively

There are a lot of great places to study abroad where the living expenses are far less than they are in the United States, especially if you are interested in studying somewhere outside of Europe. Tuition may be less expensive as well.

See the World Differently

Your previously held beliefs about the outside world will undoubtedly change after your study abroad experience. You may even gain a new perspective of your own country! 

So go ahead, study abroad! Step out of your comfort zone a little bit and gain valuable life experiences, new skills and personal growth.


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Heading out on your own study abroad adventure!? Get the most out of your experience with an Adventure Assist travel notebook.

12 Incredible Things To Do in Nicaragua

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Nicaragua has a special place in my heart. As a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who served in Nicaragua, the country was my home for over 2 years. On a recent trip back to relive my time there, I was reminded of how great of a travel destination it is. Nicaragua has beautiful nature, great surf, is inexpensive and safe. The people that live there are extremely hospitable and accommodating. Even though Nicaragua is no longer a well kept secret in the travel community, there are still plenty of places to get off the beaten path. If you're looking for a new adventure, we can't recommend this Central American country enough. Here are 12 incredible things to do in Nicaragua.

Explore Granada

The colonial city of Granada offers some incredibly preserved architecture and is one of the most popular places to visit in Nicaragua. Walk the streets and explore the Spanish colonial buildings and churches, most of which are painted vibrant colors and feature beautiful doors that are no less incredible. Besides wandering around the city, you can take a boat ride or kayak around the islets in the lake nearby. Granada also has the best assortment of restaurants and bars in Nicaragua.

Zip Line on a Volcano

Take a short day trip from Granada to Mombacho Volcano to zip line through the treetops in a jungle setting on the side of one of Nicaragua's many volcanoes. Mombacho Volcano offers some great hikes as well but if you're short on time, we highly recommend the zip line experience.

Visit Ometepe Island

One of the most unique places in the world, Ometepe Island, is a small island located in the biggest lake in Central America and is made up mostly of two large volcanoes. Outdoor activities are a big draw to Ometepe, and you can expect great experiences whether you're cycling, kayaking or hiking. If you're up for the challenge, hike one (or both) of the island's volcanoes. It truly is a challenge to hike either volcano and you'll need to start early to beat the heat. Make sure you use a guide for your hike.

See Lava at the Masaya Volcano

Nothing will make you respect mother nature more than staring into the bubbling lava of an active volcano. This is exactly what you can do on Masaya Volcano. You can look into the volcano from a safe distance that you can reach by tour, hiking or driving straight to the top. Be aware that you should not stay longer than a few minutes at the volcanoes peak because of the strong fumes.

Visit the Craft Market in Masaya

The craft market in Masaya is another great day trip from Granada. It is by far the largest craft market in Nicaragua and offers beautiful textiles, paintings and other crafts. There is a separate "locals" market in Masaya that is equally interesting to explore but features less souvenir items and isn't curated for tourists. There is very limited accommodations in Masaya so we recommend visiting on a day trip.

Swim in Laguna de Apoyo

A relaxing spot nearby Granada and the capital city of Managua, visit Laguna de Apoyo to relax for the day or spend a few days at a guest house or hostel on the lagoon. Laguna de Apoyo was formed in the crater of an extinct volcano and offers beautiful views and incredible nature. Sail, fish, swim or hike around the lagoon or just take some time to relax. 

Surf along the Pacific Coast

The beaches on the pacific coast of Nicaragua are beautiful and most offer excellent surfing opportunites. Nicaraguan surf beaches are a less crowded alternative to it's neighbor in Costa Rica but offer similar swells. The sunsets aren't bad either!

Explore Leon

Another colonial city, Leon is less colorful than Granada but still has some amazingly preserved architecture, including the largest cathedral in Central America. You can climb to the roof of the cathedral for some great views of the city. Leon is the former capital of Nicaragua and remains the country's "intellectual capital" boasting one of the main universities and several museums. Make sure you visit the Revolution Museum, especially if you are interested in learning about the Sandanista movement and U.S. intervention in Nicaragua. Additionally, many murals marking the political impact of the war between the Somoza regime and the Sandanistas can be spotted around the city. 

Go Volcano Boarding

A day trip from Leon, visit Cerro Negro (the youngest volcano in Central America) where you can hike up and actually sled down the active volcano. Organized tours leave Leon in the mornings and are one of the most popular activities in Nicaragua. While there are ways to slow down or speed up, be advised that you can be seriously injured while volcano boarding.

Swim through Somoto Canyon

Somoto Canyon is still a fairly under the radar tourist activity in Nicaragua. A day trip from the city of Esteli, you can jump off the canyon cliffs and swim in the turquoise water below. There are several tour companies that will take you to explore the canyons or you can do self guided tours. Please use extreme caution if not on a tour and you want to jump from cliffs. We have had close friends severely injure themselves. 

Escape to the Corn Islands

One of the best getaways in all of Nicaragua are the Corn Islands located off the Caribbean coast. There are two islands - Little Corn Island and Big Corn Island. Big Corn is slightly more expensive and offers more resort style accommodations. Little Corn Island is quieter, cheaper and extremely laid back. It is the perfect place to snorkel, dive, or just read a book on the beach. Little Corn Island is also one of the cheapest places in the world to get scuba certified.

Relax in Pearl Lagoon

Another Caribbean destination where you can really slow down and experience other cultures that Nicaragua has to offer is Pearl Lagoon. Most of the towns population is Creole but there are also indigenous groups like the Miskito and Garifuna that make up the towns inhabitants and the main language spoken here is English. Not a major tourist destination, Pearl Lagoon is hard to get to but it is truly a special place in Nicaragua and well worth the trip. The Pearl Cays off the coast of Pearl Lagoon are especially worth the visit, where you can rent a boat guide and have a whole Caribbean island to yourself for the day.


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Traveling to Nicaragua? Keep track of every travel detail with your very own Adventure Assist Travel Notebook.

Tips for Traveling When You Don't Speak the Language

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Is not speaking the language keeping you from an incredible travel opportunity? We get it, travel is fun and exciting but for some people it also can be nerve-racking if you don't speak the language. That's why we've put together our tips for traveling when you don't speak the language.

Learn the Basics

You don't have to become fluent for your two week trip abroad, but, if you don't speak the language, put in the time to learn basic words and phrases that will be helpful during your trip. Knowing how to say "hello", "please", "thank you", "Do you speak English?", etc, will get you pretty far and likely make you feel more comfortable. Not only will it help you navigate your new environment, but it shows locals that you've made an effort.

Use Hand Gestures

If you're at a loss for how to explain what you're trying to say, hand gestures are often the solution. It is often said that hand gestures make up a higher percentage of language than spoken words so it isn't surprising that using them when you don't know the language is so helpful. When you're stuck, try miming or charades. One word of caution though, be sure to do some research to make sure specific gestures are not offensive in your host country.

Translation Apps

Another great solution, although not always the most practical, are the use of translation apps. They are usually far from perfect but if you're in a bind or simply want a guide for the basic words and phrases that you're trying to learn, they can be extremely helpful.

Point

There is power in pointing. For example, pointing to items on the menu as you butcher the pronunciation is usually a good way to make sure you're ordering what you actually want. Point at places on maps, point at your phone, point at the address you're looking for. It is a great way to get your "point" across (sorry, I couldn't help the pun).

Carry Around the Address Where You Are Staying

It is always advisable to carry around the address of where you are staying while wondering around your travel destination. Taking a business card from your hotel or having the address handy in your Adventure Assist travel notebook are easy ways to do this. This will ensure that you can always find your way back by showing your taxi driver the address or asking directions.

Be Nice

Possibly the most helpful thing to consider when traveling to a destination where you don't speak the language is to always be nice. It can be frustrating at times to not be able to communicate effectively, and let's face it you'll probably mess up at some point when you try (everyone does). When you are nice, people instinctively want to help you and they will often go out of their way to make sure that you have everything that you need.

Often travel is about putting ourselves out there and finding comfort in the uncomfortable. So, if not speaking the language is keeping you from an amazing travel experience, consider these tips to make sure that you don't let anything hold you back.


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Planning an amazing trip?! Get your very own Adventure Assist travel notebook to help you travel plan, stay organized and document your once in a lifetime journey.

What Not to Pack

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In our view, packing is a personal challenge to ourselves to not be miserable keeping track of and lugging around too much stuff. There are many tips to pack like a pro but what it ultimately comes down to is deciding what not to pack. Easier said than done, what not to pack is often some of our favorite things or even something that we think might come in handy during our trip. We all have various needs, so this is far from a concrete list of things not to pack, but if you're feeling a little overstuffed on your next trip consider leaving these things at home.

Don't Pack IMpractical Shoes

Packing too many shoes is the quickest way to fill up coveted luggage space. Packing impractical shoes is the best way to ruin your trip. Aim for one pair of comfortable walking or running shoes, and another pair of comfortable shoes that can be dressed up or down. Think twice about bringing boots, high heels or any other shoes that are not comfortable or you're unlikely to wear more than once or twice.

Don't Pack UNNECESSARY Gadgets or Devices

If you brought a portable DVD player on your last trip, we're looking at you. Bulky gadgets or just too many devices can be a pain to keep track of. Even over the ear headphones are a nuisance to pack. You're phone is probably the only device you really need except for those of you that might need a computer for work reasons. Likewise, there are rational reasons to bring a kindle or small portable speaker but definitely leave your book light, mini iron and toothbrush sanitizer at home.

Don't Pack your whole Beauty REGIMEN

Try restricting your toiletry bag to the basics (toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant) and any medication you may need on your trip. If you're opting to bring your makeup bag, the same principals apply - the basics will probably do just fine. Your accommodations will likely have soap and shampoo, and if they don't you can just as easily purchase them at your destination. Definitely think twice before packing your 8 step skin care routine or your elaborate regimen to tame your hair.

Don't Pack Valuables

Expensive jewelry, fancy electronics and designer clothes are probably best left at home. Bags are often lost in transport, tourists are more likely targets for theft, and it is easy to forget or misplace items at your hotel. As a general rule - If you wouldn't be okay with losing it, don't bring it.

Don't Pack Towels

Towels are bulky and take up a lot of space in a suitcase. They can also take a long time to dry and stuffing a wet towel into your bag is not fun. Your accommodations should have towels that you can use during your stay. An exception would be the light, quick-drying towels which are a solid all purpose solution for a beach towel, yoga mat or if your hostel is stingy.

Don't Pack Bulky Clothes

If you're traveling to a cold climate, it is a far better strategy to layer than to bring bulky items. You can probably get away with one heavier coat if you wear it while traveling but beyond that, stick to lighter items that you can layer together to stay warm.

Don't Pack Unique Outfits for Different Days

We all love options but the truth is you have to make some sacrifices. Instead of packing a full new outfit for each day of your trip, bring versatile clothing that can be mixed and matched to maximize your suitcase space. Wearing an item in various ways creates more room for you to pack other things. Earth tones are usually a safe bet because they can usually be worn together and you can always add some style with a unique scarf or hat.


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Packing for a big trip? Get an Adventure Assist travel notebook today to plan, organize and journal the most important details.

8 Things to do in Singapore

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A futuristic city that combines lush greenery with modern urban landscapes, Singapore is leading the charge into "green" cities around the world. But beyond the parks and gardens which have earned Singapore the nickname, the Garden City, there is still a lot to do and see. From shopping to street food, here 8 of our favorite things to do in Singapore.

Marina Bay Sands

An iconic feature of Singapore's skyline, Marina Bay Sands is a giant hotel complex that features a hotel, shopping center, several restaurants, and observation deck. The rooftop bar overlooks the Gardens by the Bay and provides an incredible view of the city. It's also the perfect place to catch a sunset while drinking a Singapore sling.

Gardens by the Bay

Perhaps the most well known attraction in the city, Gardens by the Bay, is a fascinating and futuristic ecosystem of botanical gardens that will help you understand why they call Singapore "The Garden City". Gardens by the Bay features enormous biodomes with exotic plants, man-made supertrees, and beautiful park areas all connected by various pathways and suspension bridges. Go at night to see the supertrees lit up and stick around for the light shows set to music.

Chinatown

Take a stroll around Chinatown and explore Singapore's Chinese heritage. Navigate the tacky souvenir stands and explore the colorful shophouses and delicious restaurants. Don't miss the Chinatown Heritage Centre for an in depth view into Chinatown's past.

Orchard Road

If you're a shopper in Singapore, chances are you will find your way to Orchard Road. If you're in Singapore but aren't much of a shopper, chances are you will still find your way to Orchard Road. Busy malls, upscale designer stores and surprisingly good restaurants make up this popular shopping street. You may be surprised to find that it is actually very much a place of interest for locals and tourists alike.

National Gallery Singapore

Located in the recently renovated Supreme Court building in downtown Singapore, the National Gallery Singapore features a large collection of modern art from in and around Singapore. The gallery aims to reflect Singapore's unique culture and heritage as well as it's relationship with other Asian countries and the world as a whole. If you like modern art, this is a must visit.

Haji Lane

Lined with shophouses, Haji Lane, has become the go to street for independent shops, boutique designers and hip bars. Take some pictures exploring the colorful streets, visit quirky vintage shops or stop for a beer and some people watching.

Little India

Featuring some extremely well preserved shophouses from the colonial era, Little India is one of the most vibrant areas of Singapore. Roam the incense infused streets, enjoy amazing Indian food and visit colorful Hindu temples. A great place to get lost for a few hours.

Hawker Stands

One of the best reasons to visit Singapore is the food. With an incredible mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian flavors, there is no shortage of good food in the city. But what really makes Singapore's food scene special are the hawker stands. Visit any of several hawker centers around town for incredible and affordable dining. We're talking food courts with Michelin-starred street food.


Planning a trip to Singapore? Make the most of your adventure with an Adventure Assist travel notebook!

Traveling with a Purpose

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We often talk about traveling with a purpose... but what do we mean by that?

Consider this - could travel be leading you nowhere? A few "awesome" experiences under your belt, checking countries off your bucket list, wandering the world without really taking the time to get to know your destinations or yourself? As an outsider it may seem like this is the dream life, but we know from experience that constantly traveling in vacation mode, especially during extended trips, can be pretty damaging to your attitude and your wallet.

As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nicaragua (hi, this is Jake!) I saw this constantly. Travelers that set off on a life changing trip through Central America only to get caught in tourist traps, party all day and night, and spend the majority of their trip asleep in their hostel bed. After I left the Peace Corps I headed down through Central and South America and noticed much of the same. Travelers who were undoubtedly seeking something but appeared instead to be running away. And hey, I've been there, I'm not one to judge and I like a good time as much as anyone, but I decided somewhere along the way that I didn't want to travel like that. In fact, I made it a mission of sorts to travel with purpose and share that idea with others. It's a big reason why we started Adventure Assist. Our travel notebooks have become a way to give people intention while traveling and as we evolve it will continue to be our main focus.

So, how can you apply traveling with a purpose in your own life? Once you understand the concept, there are a million ways to do it. For example, I traveled to Cuba to run the Havana marathon, in Tuscany I set out to learn everything I could about wine, I went to Guatemala to study Spanish, in Singapore I was fascinated by the history and architecture of shophouses. Maybe you'd like to volunteer in India, learn to surf in Costa Rica, attend a baseball game in every stadium in the US, or head to the English countryside to write a book. Maybe you simply want to relax or to see an old friend or to learn about the history and culture of a new place.

We believe that if you plan on traveling for an extended period of time, having goals throughout your adventure is extremely important. We aren't saying that you should make an intense list of things to accomplish in every city you plan on visiting but that being conscious of what you want to get from your travels will likely lead to a more fulfilling experience. Traveling with a sense of purpose helps you learn and grow and it better connects you to your travel destination. Without a doubt, you will leave with new skills, knowledge, and likely some experiences you would not have had otherwise.


Traveling with a purpose? Get an Adventure Assist travel notebook to relive the adventure for years to come.

A Traveler's Guide to Cultural Immersion

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One of the most rewarding aspects of travel is experiencing new cultures. In our experience, this is one of the biggest areas for personal growth that traveling can bring. Experiencing new cultures not only gives you a practical understanding about the world and its history, it will even teach you some things about yourself.

When we say "cultural immersion", we mean the act of integrating oneself into an unfamiliar culture, interacting with people within that culture, and attempting to understand their way of life from that perspective. If you are seeking cultural immersion on your next trip, here are some of our tips.

Stay with a Host Family

One of the simplest ways to experience cultural immersion while traveling is to stay with a host family during your trip. Staying with a host family offers an intimate view of another culture that you just can't experience any other way. Engaging in normal activities together, such as eating dinner or playing a card game, can really make you feel like an extension of the family. Not to mention this is a great way to keep up with your foreign language skills.

Learn the Language

Learning a foreign language is hard work, but it can be especially fulfilling to use your language skills to navigate a new culture. Being able to speak a foreign language (or sometimes even just a few words and phrases) can offer a dramatically different travel experience. If you're looking for an authentic experience off of the tourist circuit, speaking the language is a huge advantage.

It's important to note that cultural immersion is also the easiest way to learn a foreign language. If you are surrounded by people speaking the language, you don't really have a choice except to learn and improve!

Take Public Transportation

Public transportation can be a great way to experience a new place. You learn to navigate your new surroundings from the perspective of the locals. It will help you to understand people's daily routines and maybe you will strike up a conversation or two. It's a big bonus that it's usually the cheapest mode of transportation.

Learn How to Make Local Cuisine

If you love to cook, a great path to cultural immersion is learning to make local cuisine! Most travel destinations have classes, taught by a local chef, that teach you how to make different types of local dishes. Additionally, if you are staying with a host family or if you've made local friends, you could always offer to help make dinner. This is not only an opportunity to learn about various cuisines around the world and how they are prepared, but also a chance to spend time with locals and develop friendships.

Participate in Sports or Group Activities

Participating in group activities, joining a club or playing sports are all amazing opportunities for cultural immersion. You will spend time with members of your host community, learn more about traditions and customs, and people will know a little bit more about you based on what activities you choose. If you're going to be somewhere for an extended trip, seek out some local activities to get involved with while you're there, and even if you'll be there for a shorter while you could always join that pickup soccer game!


Heading out on an extended vacation? Remember every last detail with an Adventure Assist travel notebook.

7 Ways to Become a More Responsible Traveler

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As travelers, we are so fortunate to experience everything that the world has to offer. Amazing landscapes, interesting cultures, delicious food and intricate histories all shape our experiences in any travel destination. It is our responsibility then, as travelers, to be conscious of how our actions might affect the environment, culture and economy of any travel destination. Not only does responsible travel improve the communities you travel to but it also makes for a more authentic and rewarding travel experience. For many people though, "responsible travel" is a new idea that they've never thought much about. With that in mind, here are some simple ways that you can become a more responsible traveler.

Shop Locally

Choosing where you spend your money while traveling can have a tremendous impact on the local community. By choosing local businesses instead of large brands or chains, you're supporting the people who have the most to benefit from your purchases. Next time you're deciding where to eat, where to stay, or even where to buy souvenirs, consider how your choice can positively impact the local economy.

Side Note: In many countries bargaining is part of the culture and you'll be expected to take part in it. Throughout the process however, keep in mind what $1 means to you versus what it might mean for the vendor.

Respect the Local Culture

As a responsible traveler, go out of your way to learn about the local culture. Pick up a few basic words of the host language and become familiar with the country's history. Learn what is appropriate in terms of behavior, dress and body language. These simple gestures will go a long way with how you are perceived as a traveler and they will also help to better connect you to your travel destination.

Educate Yourself Before Wildlife Activities

Wildlife tourism is a giant industry. Unfortunately, more often than not, these businesses care more about making money than the wellbeing of the animals. Make sure you do your research before taking part in any activities featuring wildlife. Any reputable business that interacts with wild animals should be happy to answer all of your questions to reassure you that the activities are safe and mutually beneficial to both tourists and the animals. If they are not, consider choosing a more responsible organization or forgoing the activity altogether.

Volunteer

A big opportunity for responsible travel is volunteering, and there are now more ways than ever to do so while traveling abroad. From environmental conservation, culture and community projects, to teaching English, volunteering can be a rewarding and inexpensive way to travel responsibly. Again, it is really important to do your research as, unfortunately, many volunteer organizations are known to do more harm than good. Make sure you are considering volunteering for the right reasons, and that you choose reputable organizations that are offering volunteer services that align directly with your skill set and morals.

Minimize waste

Waste management is an issue worldwide. This is especially so in developing countries where environmental education and waste management infrastructure might not be at the same level that you are used to back home. Keep in mind that your travel destination may not have a formal recycling program or even a proper waste management system in place. As a responsible traveler, you could bring a reusable water bottle to fill up instead of constantly buying new plastic water bottles. When making any purchases you could always decline a plastic bag and put the item in your backpack instead.

Choose Responsible Tour Operators

Often the most memorable activities of any trip are booked and operated by tour companies. Sometimes there are literally hundreds to choose from that all claim to offer the best services at the best rates. We recommend seeking out responsible and sustainable businesses that contribute directly to the local community. Ideally, these agencies would be locally owned and choose to help protect the local environment, to only hire local employees, or to donate money to local charities.

Lower Your Carbon Footprint

There are many ways to lower your carbon footprint while traveling. When planning your route, try to choose the most direct path to lessen your carbon emissions. Choose public transportation instead of taking a taxi. Or better yet, walk or ride a bike! The world and your bank account will thank you.

As traveling continues to become more accessible, it's more important than ever for us to be responsible travelers. Not only will these simple practices improve the wellbeing of the communities that you travel to but they also make for a more sustainable and rewarding travel experience.


Travel with a purpose and get an Adventure Assist travel notebook to help you plan, organize and document the most important details of your next trip.

How to Achieve Your New Year's Travel Goals

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Goal setting is a huge part of the new year. We don't think that you should have to wait until the new year to make positive changes in your life, but it is such a great opportunity to start fresh and reassess your priorities. If you're anything like us, you've set some new year's travel goals that you're determined to accomplish in 2018. We're here to help you stay on track.

In order to achieve your new year's travel goals (like achieving any goal) you'll need a plan. We make plans so that we can break down one big goal into several smaller goals, effectively compartmentalizing in order to remove the stress, make clear progress and ultimately accomplish what we set out to. Achieving your travel goals this new year will be no different. Here is how you can take action to make sure you reach your dream destinations in 2018.

Determine Your Priorities

This is probably the most important step. If you really want to travel more, travel further or travel for longer in the new year, you must make travel a high priority in your life. If you fail to do this, you won't make it much further than your couch.

If there is anything holding you back, now is the time to confront those challenges. Don't think you have enough money? Have time restrictions? Not sure how to travel with kids? Unsure about traveling solo? Your situation probably isn't as dire as you think. In fact, there are tons of travelers out there in the exact same situation as you making it work. The difference is they place a high priority on travel.

Decide on a Destination & Timeline

You're determined to turn your day dreaming into concrete action! Well, the next step in accomplishing your new year's travel goals is deciding on a destination and timeline. Some things to consider while deciding - travel expenses, time of year, weather, accessibility, bucket list destinations and recommendations.

Set a Budget and Start Saving

Now that you've chosen a destination and timeline, you should have a general idea of how much the trip will cost. But it's now time to take a deeper dive. You'll want to take into account the price of transportation, accommodation, food and give yourself a buffer for entrance fees, tours and other experiences.

With your budget in mind, set a plan and save for your trip. This is where prioritizing travel really comes in handy because you will likely have to make some sacrifices in order to cut expenses and save for your trip. You'll be on your way to achieving your new year's travel goals in no time!

Travel Plan

Travel planning is clearly our favorite step towards achieving travel goals. You probably have an idea of what your travel destination has to offer but this is where you put it all together. Purchase flights and other transportation, look into accommodations and make reservations if necessary, and do research on all of the things you might like to do on your trip. How prepared you will want to be is mostly a personal preference but we highly recommend at least knowing your options. 

Stay Inspired

Want to know a travel hack to stay inspired leading up to a trip? Research! It's easy to accomplish your travel goals when you are constantly looking up the amazing things you can do on your trip. Find something you're excited about that your destination offers and buy a book or start listening to a podcast about it. Learn at least some general words and phrases if you don't speak the language. Research the political climate, history and anything else you might be interested in. This will serve you well as you lead up to your trip and better prepare you for your travel experience overall.

Set Off

Alright, the time has come! Pack your bags and get ready to achieve your new year's travel goals. You can finally relax on that beach, explore that city or climb that mountain that you've always dreamt of. And remember, have fun!  


Ready to achieve your new year's travel goals? Check out our travel notebooks over on our SHOP page to maximize your trip. Plan, organize and journal the most important travel details.

Our Top Blog Posts of 2017

As 2017 comes to an end, we are taking a look back at our top blog posts from the year. We are so happy to have been a resource for so many of you, no matter what stage of travel planning you were in, and can't wait to assist you on more adventures in 2018. Here is a look back at our top blog posts of 2017:

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10 Reasons to Keep a Travel Journal

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Pro Packing Tips

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Travel Hacking for Beginners

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10 Easy Ways to Cut Expenses & Save for Travel

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Our Go-To Travel Planning Resources


Planning your 2018 travels? Check out our travel notebooks over on our SHOP page to help you make the most of your trips.

Top 5 Small Towns in the U.S. for the Holidays

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Some towns in the U.S. go all out for the holidays, from ornately decorated town squares to Christmas carolers reveling in holiday cheer and much more. We searched for the best small towns to spend the holidays, coast to coast. Here are our top five picks.

Leavenworth, Washington

Always making the rankings of small towns with lots of Christmas spirit, Leavenworth   is a great place to spend the holidays. This cheerful Bavarian town offers an assortment of festivities including the Christmas Lighting Festival, a sledding hill and sleigh rides through the woods. Throw in majestic mountain views and you'll feel like your in your very own winter wonderland for the holidays.

Pacific Grove, California

This costal town in Northern California gets plenty of attention over the holidays. With an old-fashioned tree lighting ceremony and a parade of lights, the town sure looks the part. Add on the "Christmas at the Inns" event where several of the town's bed and breakfasts put out their best holiday adornments and open their doors with holiday music and treats. Finally, you won't want to miss the famous "Candy Cane Lane" for some of the best neighborhood Christmas decorations.

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Named Bethlehem on Christmas Eve in 1741, this Pennsylvania town is also appropriately referred to as "Christmas City" and is the perfect holiday travel destination. Take a carriage ride around town or check out the ginger bread house competition and exhibit, or even go on walking tour of historic sites on the Christmas City Stroll. Lastly, don't miss the Christkindlmarkt, one of the top holiday markets in the U.S. featuring vendors offering fine art and other unique items.

Crested Butte, Colorado

There's no place to spend the holidays quite like Crested Butte. For one thing, you're sure to have a white christmas in this laid back ski resort town. After a day on the slopes, catch the lighting of the Christmas tree at Light Up Night and stick around to take pictures with Santa. On Christmas Eve, its tradition for Santa to ride down the mountain in a sleigh pulled by a snowcat at the Crested Butte Mountain Resort. Santa's sledding is followed by the famous torchlight parade performed by the Crested Butte Ski and Ride School. 

Fredericksburg, Texas

A special combination of German Christmas traditions and Texas hospitality, Fredericksburg is a fantastic choice for a holiday getaway. Explore the many boutiques, shops and art galleries on the festive Main Street, attend the Christmas tree lighting ceremony and be sure to catch the annual Christmas parade. But this year, instead of milk and cookies for Christmas, opt for wine and cheese on a tour of the many local wineries that make Fredericksburg a such a magical place to visit any time of the year.


Plan your holiday getaway with an Adventure Assist travel notebook! Get yours today over on our SHOP page.

Our Go-To Travel Planning Resources

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Travel planning can be hard work. We want to help out. So, we consolidated a list of our favorite travel resources to take some pressure off of your seemingly endless search for epic travel experiences. And of course, a travel notebook is a great way to keep it all in one place. Here is our list of go-to travel planning resources:

Travel Blogs

There are tons of great travel blogs out there. A simple Google search generally does a good job of bringing up relevant blogs for your inquiry. Here are a few (out of many!) of our favorites to get you started: Nomadic MattThe Blonde AbroadLegal NomadsThe Points GuyExpert VagabondView from the Wing

Social Media

We use social media in all sorts of ways to help us plan travel and better connect to our destinations. Facebook has made staying in contact with friends, family, and fellow travelers incredibly simple. It is also a great way to get relevant news and inspiration from your favorite travel publications. Instagram is great for visuals, inspiration and to see where your favorite travel influencers are at the moment. Twitter is great for quick info and relevant media from travel publications as well. Join the adventure and follow along on our FacebookInstagram & Twitter.

Guidebooks

Guidebooks are great! We think they are a huge help when planning an epic adventure. They give you quick information about budgeting, must see sites, must do activities and much more. Jot them down in your handy travel notebook! But keep in mind, if you're looking for truly unique and authentic travel experiences, don't live and die by your guidebook. There are a ton of options out there and it largely depends on your style but here are some to consider:  Lonely PlanetMoonRough GuidesFrommer’sWallpaper City GuidesWildsam

Pro Tip: Always look at the release date to make sure you are getting the most up to date version of your guide book.

Transportation

There are a lot of places to get good transportation info for traveling to and around your destination. Here are some of our go-to travel resources to give you a head start.

Accommodations

There are a million websites to book your stay while traveling and again, sometimes a quick Google search is your best bet. Here are our favorite places to turn to when looking for accommodations while traveling:

To Do

Again, there are a lot of places to search for the best things to do while traveling. Here are some popular places to start your search:

  • Travel Blogs (see section above)

  • Viator (to book tours, group activities)

  • General: Google, Your favorite guidebook (see section above), Social Media

Take peer rated sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp with a grain of salt. For many reasons, they are generally not the best places to begin your search but may come in handy to reaffirm a hunch. In the meantime, browse our selection today and get our travel notebook to keep your trip planning organized and efficient!


Planning a trip? SHOP our travel notebooks now to simplify the travel planning process. Plan, organize and document important travel details. 

10 Easy Ways to Cut Expenses & Save for Travel

Want to start setting money aside to reach your travel goals?

The first thing you should do is make a list of your current expenses and start brainstorming ways that you can cut back. A lot of daily costs are in small purchases that definitely add up. These items are easy to cut or replace, which means savings will now add up instead!

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Here are some easy ways to take action today and start saving for an epic adventure:

No more coffee shop runs

Make coffee at home or cut it out altogether. Those cups of coffee add up quick!

Cook for yourself instead of going out

Bring your lunch into work, cook for yourself at home. Sure, sometimes its convenient to eat out but this is a great way to save some cash.

Cut your cable service

In the age of live streaming it's easier than ever to cut your cable service. Movies are always good, you can always live stream your favorite shows, or lose the TV altogether and pick up a good book you've got lying around.

Reduce your utilities

Wear a sweater or turn on a fan. Take shorter showers. Turn lights off in rooms you aren't in. It all adds up!

Compare prices when shopping

Compare prices of similar items when making purchases. Coupons are another good idea.

Quit the gym and workout at home

You can always run, hike, or exercise at home or outside!

Don't buy bottled water

Drink tap water or filtered water instead of buying plastic water bottles. Not only is it better for your wallet but it's also better for the environment.

Lose the car if you can

We spend a crazy amount of money on our cars. Gas and maintenance really add up. If you're able to become less reliant on your own vehicle, you'll be able to save a lot. Alternatives could be the subway, bus, biking or walking.

Ditch your landline

If you still pay for a landline, stop it. Now.

Stop drinking/smoking

For some people this will be the biggest opportunity for saving. Drinking and smoking are both bad for your health and cost a lot of money. If you cut back or stop entirely, you'll have a lot more money to spend on your upcoming epic adventure.

Saving money doesn't have to be overly difficult. Implement these ten ways to cut your expenses and you'll see the savings add up. You'll be on that epic adventure in no time.


Planning that epic adventure? Grab an Adventure Assist Travel Notebook over on our SHOP page and make your life easier.