Travel Hacks

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.

11 Bad Travel Habits to Kick

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Even the most frequent of fliers fall victim to bad travel habits sometimes. Let's face it, its easy to get caught up in the excitement of travel. Sometimes it can even be overwhelming. Either way, do you really want to be that traveler? Don't let these bad travel habits get in the way of your travel experience.

Over Packing

Its not a stretch to say that packing too much for your trip is the cardinal sin of travel. Having a lot of luggage quickly identifies you as a tourist, transportation becomes a logistical nightmare, and your much more likely to be targeted by a pickpocket or scammer. Take our advice and ditch this bad travel habit forever - pack light and you're in control.

Over Booking

Traveling to Europe for two weeks and planning on visiting ten cities? Bad idea. We understand you want to get the most out of your epic trip but try narrowing your itinerary by focusing on what you most want to get out of your travels. You will be less stressed and have more time to get to know your travel destinations.

Not Having a Plan

There is something especially liberating about the idea of traveling on a whim and not having a plan at all. We advise against it. It's important to be spontaneous but you should, at the very least, do your research even if you don't want to book anything yet. You will know your options and overall have a stronger connection to your travel destination. 

Planning out every second

On the opposite end of this bad travel habit, don't be the itinerary police and have every second of your trip planned out. It is good to have direction but leave some room for spontaneity, gut impulses and chance encounters.

Not Having a Budget

You definitely don't want to finish your travels and be in a ton of debt. Sticking within your means is especially important during travel. Don't get caught up in this bad travel habit - make a budget and have a plan.

Being too Frugal

On the other hand, don't be so frugal that you miss out on the attractions and activities that you traveled across the world to see and do. Make sure your budget includes must do activities and leaves room for spontaneous decisions. Know what is important to you - if you care about eating at an expensive restaurant but are willing to stay in a cheaper hostel, that is great information to plan around. 

Falling into Tourist Traps

Unnecessarily expensive restaurants, overly aggressive hawkers, taxi drivers that triple the fare - We've all been there. But there are some things that you can do to avoid falling into tourist traps. We recommend to research possible scams and common tourist traps in your guidebook and on the internet, get off the beaten path (don't live or die by your guidebook's recommendations), and book activities in advance when it makes sense.

Complaining about the small stuff

You may be in a new place where things are different than you're used to, but that doesn't mean that you should complain about it. In fact, sweating the small stuff might be the worst of all bad travel habits. Travel delays, restaurant mishaps, not having the amenities that you're used to - while it can be frustrating, try to be positive and see it all from a new perspective. You (and your travel companions) will have a much better time.

Partying too hard

Traveling is all about having a great time, meeting new people and having once in a lifetime experiences. So, by all means, do some partying if you'd like - but keep a few things in mind. Spending most of your trip hungover in bed is probably not the best way to experience your travel destination. Having a good time should not come at the expense of your host countries cultural norms. Most importantly, make responsible decisions to ensure that you and your friends stay safe.

Being Unwilling to Try Something New

Maybe our favorite thing about travel is trying new things. New food, new experiences, learning something new, the list goes on. It opens our minds, helps us learn about our travel destinations, and makes for the best travel stories. We get it - you're a creature of habit - but trust us, you will get more out of your travel experience if you break this bad travel habit and are willing to try something new.

Not Respecting the Culture

The world is a fascinating and diverse place with many different languages, religions and cultural norms. While traveling, you will likely encounter some things that are new to you, or even things that you don't fully understand. In these situations, keep in mind that you are a guest in your travel destination and it is important to respect the local customs. There may be an opportunity for you to learn from the situation and take home a larger understanding.


Planning an epic trip? Head over to our SHOP page to get your Adventure Assist travel notebook to plan, organize and document your travels.

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.

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. 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. 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.


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

Eyes on Edinburgh: My Experience Using the Adventure Assist Travel Notebook

Circus Lane, an Instagram favorite in Edinburgh.

Circus Lane, an Instagram favorite in Edinburgh.

I love to write. I love to write in cursive on paper, in captions for Instagram, and in words for blogs. Therefore, when I found Adventure Assist on Instagram through the lovely Rachel of Rachel Lately, I was hooked. This would be the perfect accompaniment for my fall excursion to Edinburgh, Scotland, and Cambridge, England.

 
Ready to go!

Ready to go!

 

My typical trip planning includes research, serendipity, and reflection, and the Adventure Assist travel notebook encompasses the whole range of activities. From packing to processing, its design and functionality is unsurpassed. Whether you plan every minute or go with the flow, you can use the Adventure Assist travel notebook to your advantage. Here’s my journey to the U.K., divided into Before, During, and After.

 
Adventure Assist at     Edinburgh Castle

Adventure Assist at Edinburgh Castle

 

BEFORE: RESEARCH

Before I go on any trip, Instagram is my favorite tool for research. From local bloggers to restaurant openings to featured events, the aesthetic social media app has a whole host of possibilities. I studied abroad in Edinburgh for four months last year and also took a trip for spring break this year, so I love finding new and exciting people, places, and pop ups every time I go.

My favorite pen couldn’t write fast enough in the To-Do section of my Adventure Assist travel notebook. I even made two separate entries for Edinburgh and one for Cambridge, a new city I had yet to explore. I neatly noted my Transportation and Accommodations information in their respective locations also.

Here’s a sneak peek at my Edinburgh destination list. From Attractions to Activities to Food and Drink, I thoroughly enjoyed detailing this trip from the beginning steps.

 
Edinburgh in the To-Do section

Edinburgh in the To-Do section

 

DURING: SERENDIPITY

My blog, Strikes of Luck, is dedicated to the exploration of serendipity in everyday life. Expecting the unexpected is one of the most exciting parts of any travel experience, and my serendipity usually includes coffee shop creativity, photo shoots, and Instagram meet ups. This is where my Adventure Assist travel notebook entered the picture: I avidly noted my journeys in the Journal part of the planner. I used one page per day and listed my adventures to accompany my photos.

In order to record the serendipitous encounters, I carried my travel notebook everywhere I went with my phone and my camera. The pocket in the back cover was perfect for tickets, flyers, and other assorted memorabilia that I collected along the way.
 

 
The Balmoral    on Princes Street, Edinburgh

The Balmoral on Princes Street, Edinburgh

 

AFTER: REFLECTION

The two week trip flew by, and I was back home in Greenville, South Carolina, eager to tell my family and friends about my trip. Obviously, I turned to my Adventure Assist travel notebook for every tiny detail, from the South Carolina couple I met in my favorite coffee shop, to the Instagram dogs I interacted with, to The Cambridge Satchel Company store.

 
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As a traveler, blogger, and all-around lover of words, I appreciated my travel planner/journal for its ease of access, captivating design, and creations “for travelers, by travelers.” Head to my Instagram or blog, Strikes of Luck, to follow my creative community and smiling serendipity.

Guest post by Sarah Cooke


Head on over to our SHOP page and get your very own Adventure Assist travel notebook. Where will it take you?

Travel Journal Inspiration: What to Write About

There are all sorts of reasons why you should keep a travel journal. You'll remember more of what made your trip special, you'll learn more about your destination and yourself, and it is a great opportunity to reflect. But if you're finding it challenging to come up with writing inspiration, here are some travel journal topics to get your creative juices flowing.

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Why are you going?

You don't necessarily have to have a reason to go travel but if you are going for a specific reason, that is a great topic to write about. You could touch on your goals or anything your hoping to take away from the experience.

What are your expectations?

Expectations are usually pretty different from reality but it is a great idea to write about what you think your destination might be like. 

What is the reality?

There will surely be some differences between your expectations and reality. Write about how they differ and how that has changed your perspective.

Sights, sounds, smells

New experiences that appealed to your senses are always a great topic to journal about. Local markets are usually a hotspot for new sights, sounds and smells.

Food you eat

What is the local food like? Do you like it? How is it different from what you're used to?

People you meet

Journal about an encounter that you had with a local or another travel. If you've made new friends on your trip you could write about how they have affected your experience. 

An activity you did

If you did something that you've never done before, that is a great topic to write about. Did you enjoy yourself? Did it live up to expectations? Would you do it again?

How do you feel?

There can be many ups and downs while traveling. At any given moment, write about how you feel. Are you having the best time of your life? Do you miss home? Are you looking forward to something?

What have you learned?

Journaling about what you've learned during your trip is a great way to reflect on your experience. What can you learn from the local culture? What have you learned about yourself? What has your travel experience taught you?

How can you apply what you learned back home?

List some actionable things that you can do when you're back home to apply what you've learned during your travels.


Check out our travel notebooks, equipped with a large journal section, to get the most out of your travels.

Top 5 Reasons to Travel Plan

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We certainly recommend spontaneity while traveling, after all this is often where the best travel stories originate. However, we believe in being informed travelers which means becoming familiar with your destination's history and culture, and having an idea of what you want to get out of your travel experience. With this in mind, we can't understate the value that we place on trip planning. For us, this doesn't mean to plan out every waking hour or even necessarily your hotel for next week. But it does mean, at the very least, knowing your options. Here are our top 5 reasons to travel plan:

Better Connect to Your Destination

Everything we do at Adventure Assist centers around better connecting travelers to their destinations. Having found that knowledge enhances experiences, we encourage everyone to take the steps to learn about their destination's culture, history and language before travel.

Prioritize

Becoming familiar with the available sites to explore and activities to do during your travels allows you to prioritize the things you want see and do most.

Availability

Planning and booking hotels, transportation and tours in advance typically gives travelers more options and less to worry about. Some specific transportation and tour options must be booked in advanced or you will miss out. If you want to be a bit more spontaneous, we dig it, but we also recommend at least knowing what options are out there.

Save Money

Planning ahead allows you to better budget your money. As an extra bonus, sometimes you're able to qualify for early booking discounts for travel services.

Save Time

Travel planning ahead of time, allows you to take unforeseen circumstances into account and make sure that things run smoothly. It gives you more free time and actually allows you to be a more flexible traveler.


Start planning your next adventure today, get an Adventure Assist travel notebook over on our SHOP page!

Tips to Travel Like a Local

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What better way to connect with your destination than by pretending you really lived there? Here are our tips on how to travel like a local!

Stay with a local

 AirBnB, HomeAway, Couch Surfing, Home Stays - One of the best ways to travel like a local is to stay with one. Not only will this get you out of the tourist zones and into a neighborhood, but your host will usually have tons of information on their favorite places to eat, drink and hang out. They will often even take you themselves.

Travel to places where you know someone

Travel to places where you have a connection that will show you around or give you some tips. Meeting new people while traveling is a great way to gain friends from all over the world. Take advantage of those connections, to find the local hotspots!

Public transportation

If you want to travel like a local, you must actually travel like the locals. Use the bus system or take the subway!

Don't rely on tours

Tours can be a great way to experience a new site, learn about your destination and meet new people, but if you want a truly authentic experience you may want to look elsewhere. This is where trip planning can come in handy - sometimes it's better to create your own tour. 

Learn local customs and at least some phrases

Do yourself a favor and research the local culture and customs before you arrive at your travel destination. Also, try to pick up a few simple phrases that will likely come in handy on your trip. You will be less likely to look like the lost tourist and the locals will be appreciative. 

Eat local

Ask locals for their favorite restaurant recommendations or head into the packed lunch spot with no tourists. This is a great way to get a taste for living like a local.

Don't hang out with tourists

Obviously it's great to make friends and you can meet some very interesting travelers, but if you want to travel like a local, try to befriend some locals. 

Dress the part

Be aware of the local dress and act accordingly. This could mean getting a sense for the local customs, or just style. 

Get lost

Take some detours, go the long way back to your hotel, go for a run through town. Always be safe and aware of your surroundings, but don't be afraid to get off the beaten path when you feel like it.

Travel with Purpose

Want to learn Brazilian Jiu Jitsu? Travel to Brazil and train with the pros. Want to learn everything about wine? Book a stay in the Tuscan countryside of Italy. Want to learn to speak Spanish? Enroll in Spanish classes in Costa Rica. There are a million ways to travel with a purpose and it is one of the best ways to make an authentic connection with locals.


Want to better connect to your destination? Get an Adventure Assist Travel Notebook over on our SHOP page today!

Travel Hacking for Beginners

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First off, what is travel hacking? Travel hacking entails utilizing incentives and other simple "hacks" to save money on traveling.  Leveraging existing rules of airlines, credit card companies and hotel chains, make earning free or cheap flights, lodging, and upgrades possible. A big part of travel hacking is earning frequent flier miles, reward points, and statuses, but there are additional ways to save money while traveling as well.

Since you're aren't living under a rock, you know that you should start your hunt for cheap airfare with a site that searches for multiple fares. Some of our favorites are Kayak, Skyscanner and Momondo. Being flexible has its perks too. If you can leave a day earlier, or avoid peak travel times, you can definitely save big.

But here are some things that you may not know: 

SIGN UP FOR REWARDS PROGRAMS

A good way to go about this is to pick an airline you like, that you tend to fly frequently, and sign up for their rewards program. You should fly this airline whenever possible, even if the ticket price is slightly higher than its competitors. If you need to fly another airline at any point due to price or availability, you should sign up for their rewards program as well. The same should be done with major hotel chains. This is the slow way of earning cheaper travel, but it works and is an important first step.

SIGN UP FOR CREDIT CARDS

Airline credit cards, and generic travel reward credit cards through a bank, are great for accelerating the rate at which you collect rewards points. When used properly, credit cards can be a powerful tool. Be aware that there is always a minimum spending requirement to reach the bonuses, so this requires a bit of research and smart spending. Make sure you're able to pay off your airline credit card each month, because these cards tend to have higher interest rates.

CHECK AIRLINE AVAILABILITY AS IF YOU WERE IN THAT COUNTRY

If you're flying an airline based in a foreign country, check availability as if you were there. For example, if you are going to be traveling to Colombia and want to fly domestically from one city to another after your arrival, you should update the landing page to "Colombia - English" instead of "United States - English". If you can wait until you are in that country to purchase the tickets, this sometimes works even better. This hack is best for domestic flights within your destination country. 

CHECK YOUR DESTINATION AIRPORT TO SEE WHAT OTHER AIRLINES FLY THERE

You can often get an international flight, with a domestic leg purchased separately, for considerably cheaper than an international flight, with a layover. The trick is to search the lower budget, local airlines for cheaper domestic flights.

These basic travel hacking tips will go a long way to help save you money while traveling!

GET an ADVENTURE ASSIST TRAVEL NOTEBOOK To help Plan & ORGANIZE YOUR NEXT ADVENTURE - HEAD ON OVER TO OUR SHOP PAGE.