How to Manage Money While Traveling

Are you traveling alone? With a group? Or going on your honeymoon?

Planning your finances is essential before you pick up your passport. This includes setting your budget, knowing which type of money to carry, and how to deal with emergencies. 

So, keep on reading to learn more about the best tips to manage your money while traveling. 

Create a Budget

It’s always essential to plan your spending before traveling. A good friend and owner of an HVAC Company advised after booking flights and accommodation, know how much money you’ll actually have and how you’re planning to spend it. 

Are you focused on exploring the nightlife? Do you want to indulge in local food experiences? Are you more interested in buying souvenirs? Answering these questions will help you set your priorities. 

Do Your Homework

Don’t just assume that things will cost the same wherever you go. You’d be surprised to know that a single item’s cost can vary greatly from one destination to another. 

Reading a little about your next destination means that you won’t run out of money halfway through your trip and won’t have to borrow from friends or family. 

Customize Your Trip

Don’t just stick to what your travel agent or tour operator offers. You can customize your travel plan to suit your needs. 

Pick a tailor-made tour that includes guiding and lodging instead of paying for everything separately. Also, consider all-day trips with meals included, so you don’t have to worry about securing your food. 

Use Different Types of Money

Credit cards are incredibly safe to travel with because you can easily call your bank and suspend your card if you lose it or it gets hacked. But in addition to cards, you should have some foreign cash with you. 

Again, it’s better to do your research and see if you should exchange some foreign cash at home, or you can do this at your destination. For example, in most European countries, you can exchange money from an ATM at the airport, but this might not be accessible in some developing countries. 

Keep small bills and get yourself educated about the way foreign currency looks to avoid confusion. 

Get Ready for an Emergency

Don’t keep all your cash in one place. If possible, make sure that there’s one card and some cash hidden in the hotel’s safe. You can also have a hidden pocket in your suitcase to keep some cash that might come in handy in case you lose your wallet or it gets stolen. 

Talk to Your Bank

Before using a credit card, let your bank know where you’re going. This guarantees that the bank won’t mark any transaction as fraudulent when you’re away from home. You should also make sure that you have text message alerts activated to keep track of any transaction you use the card for.

Not all cards are created equal, so you need to contact your bank before picking the cards you’re traveling with. Some banks will also charge higher fees if you use your card abroad, so you need to discuss these details. You might be able to get a specific card that doesn’t charge higher fees when used away from home. 

Consider Getting Insured

Travel insurance can come in handy in the most critical situations. You can get covered if you have to deal with theft, the loss of your belongings, or emergency medical expenses. 

You should read the insurance terms and conditions of anything you rent or use. This includes renting a car or a vacation house as it will save you a lot of hassle, so you can focus on enjoying your time.…

Tips on Shopping Abroad

Are you a U.S. resident or citizen and are you planning to travel abroad? It is much more difficult to shop abroad than you might think, especially when compared to shopping in the U.S. Shopping abroad is a great experience. It’s a chance to shop with local merchants, view handcrafted goods from the artisans and window-shop designer handbags that haven’t yet made it to the U.S.

While there are many things you should keep in mind when shopping abroad, the following ten will prove to be extremely helpful. These tips are only for U.S citizens and residents. However, you should also check if they apply to you if you reside in another country.

Shopping Abroad

Register Items Already Purchased

The United States Customs and Border Protection recommends you register certain items prior to leaving the U.S. to be able to prove ownership. Laptops, jewelry, and other similar items are all recommended, especially if they are foreign-made. To register these items, go to the nearest CBP office or to the international airport where you are departing. Request a Certificate of registration and keep it with you when you travel.

Learn about Duty-Free Exemptions

You can usually travel to the U.S. with up $800 worth merchandise. No duty is required. There are many exceptions, so make sure to confirm your exemption before you travel. Combine personal exemptions if you are travelling with family members. You will have to pay U.S. duty on items that exceed your personal exemption even though they are exempt from duty in the country where you purchased them.

To avoid paying duties, you must have a duty-free exemption in your possession.

Before you travel to the U.S., pay your duties

All duties must be paid prior to you return to the U.S. Some places also accept credit card payments.

Personal Shopping Service

There are many options. For personal shopping services, you can try a duty-free business that offers duty-free pricing.

Although it is a different experience than online shopping, it is a great alternative for those who cannot purchase products overseas. Your personal shopper will ask you what you are looking for and then create a list to show you. They will find you exactly what you want and get you the same financing options as local customers. Many retailers offer free shipping.

A Currency Reporting Form may be required

You will need to file a Currency Reporting form with U.S Customs if you have more than $10,000 in traveler’s checks or money orders, cash, and you are carrying more than $10,000 in cash. Although you can bring any number of monetary instruments on your trip, it is not allowed to exceed $10,000.

Find out what’s prohibited and restricted

The prohibited and restricted items list includes plants, firearms, and meat products. They are also not allowed into the United States unless they are required to. For your convenience, the CBP’s list is available. Before you leave, be aware of what you can and cannot bring back.

Learn How to Complete a Customs Declaration Formula

Customs Declaration Forms are required for new merchandise imported from overseas. This form should include the amount you paid for any merchandise purchased after you have left the United States. Keep your receipts for these purchases, in case you have to present them quickly at the airport. These items should be packed together to make them easily accessible for inspection.

Keep an eye out for knock-offs

Many cities abroad are known for selling knockoffs of designer purses, sunglasses and clothing. You should not be looking for counterfeit goods unless you are. You should be aware that knock-offs can lead to serious and even illegal consequences. Ask your concierge at your hotel for help or a tour guide if you’re not able to locate information about the location and counterfeit goods available there.

Learn how to Haggle

Although haggling is becoming a less popular art in certain countries, many people still practice it and expect it from tourists. You can learn how to bargain to get a better deal. Also, make sure to brush up on your negotiation skills before you leave so that you have a plan. First, you will need to determine if bargaining is necessary for that item. Next, calculate the value of the item and the price you are willing to pay.

Be friendly. You’ll lose the sale if you are rude or forceful.

Mail Items from Overseas

You are still responsible for all duties and taxes if you send items overseas rather than bringing them home with you. Only if the items are with you on your return to the country, does your personal exemption apply? You have three options when shipping items back to the United States: U.S. Mail, Express shipments and Freight. The best option for you and the items will be determined.

You may not have done enough research about international shopping if you don’t know the following ten tips that will help you on your journey abroad. These tips will save you money, time and avoid unnecessary delays at customs. International shopping is a tricky business.…

Packing Light Saves Time & Energy

If you are someone who regularly pays excessive baggage fees, packing light can seem daunting. Many of the tips on how to travel light will suggest packing two weeks’ worth of luggage in a small, hand-held bag. There is a middle ground, don’t worry.

Here are some quick changes and swaps you can make in your packing system to reduce your luggage weight and maximize space. You don’t have to wear the same pair four days consecutively. Some of these hacks may be easier to commit to than others. That’s fine. Because I have straight, bone-straight hair, there is no reason to bring straighteners. 

I am proving that traveling light does not necessarily mean traveling extremely light. Your bag will become lighter with every decrease you make. If you aren’t able or ready to make these changes all at once, you can always add more when you travel.

How to Pack Light

It makes my travels so much easier. If you are still not convinced, here is a list of the many benefits of traveling light.

  • No excess baggage fees
  • If you are able to achieve the holy grail of ‘carry on only’, there will be no checked baggage fees
  • Porters should not be paid excessively high ‘guilt’ tips in order to help you get your bags to your room.
  • No more airport trolley fees
  • It’s quicker to pack at home than at the destination
  • Multi-destination trips are less stressful
  • Moving all that weight around is safer.

Tips for packing light

1. Do not use a large suitcase. Instead, start with a smaller one.

It doesn’t matter how big or small your bag is, you will always fill it so packing smaller bags will be more beneficial in the long-term. If you have a large suitcase and need to pack light, this swap could be the solution.

2. Do not guess the weight of your bag. Get some travel scales to ensure accuracy

If you don’t know how much your bag weighs, how can you tell if it’s light? If you have too many bags, it’s a bit late to weigh them at the airport.

3. Do not pack by looking through all your belongings – make a list and stick to it.

You’ve probably pulled out your large suitcase and stuffed in all your’must-have’ items only to realize that you still have room. You think, as you go through your drawers looking for clothes that you don’t need. Be strong. Only pack the essentials. Use a packing list. If it isn’t on the list it won’t go in.

4. Use compression packing cubes to pack your clothes.

Packing cubes make it easier to find your things while you’re away. They also limit the number of clothes you can take. The compression element can reduce the space that clothes take up. This is more of an area-saving tip than a weight-saving one. The packing cube will be heavier the more compression you do.

To avoid creases, I take the cubes with me when I go out. For the return trip, I compress them to make sure there is enough space for souvenirs.

5. You don’t need to bring shoes for every occasion. Limit your footwear choices to three pairs of dual-purpose shoes

It’s fine to have brown sandals with your white dress, and black heels with your cute shorts. You have to be careful with your bag space, as shoes can take up much of it. Today, I only have one pair of shoes that I use every day (sandals in winter and boots in summer), plus a pair each of flats and running shoes for outdoor activities.

8. Do not pack heavy, bulky clothes. Instead, choose lightweight, technical winter clothing

Smart swaps can help you save space and weight. A thin cotton skirt is lighter than a thick pair of linen trousers. You can also use a few layers to replace a bulky jumper. My best tip for winter wear is to invest in technical clothing. The North Face is my favorite brand, but Uniqlo and cheaper brands have thinner thermal options. A pair of leggings, or tights underneath your clothes can provide warmth and weightlessness without adding bulk. Jeans should not be your friend when packing. If possible, limit yourself to just one pair.

9. Do not pack the largest of your wearables – just wear them

The temperature at airports is generally the same regardless of where they are located. Also, flights are often cold. Don’t forget your boots and jeans! Although you may sweat for 30 minutes during your arrival transfer, you will have more room in your bag.

Do not pack warm, bulky clothes just in case. Pack for sunny weather if the forecast is favorable. If temperatures drop dramatically, you can always get an extra layer for a small fee.
Check out this video to learn more about stress-free packing.

Hotel and Resort Water Conservation

Reducing Hotel Water Consumption

Water savings at Resorts and Casinos

Research shows that indoor water savings can occur at casinos, hotels, and resorts. While some studies only considered overnight guests, they did not include water used by day-trippers and other visitors who don’t stay at a hotel or motel. All factors include the estimated number of overnight guests, the hotel and motel rooms stock and the mix between old, inefficient fixtures or newer, more efficient fixtures required by federal law. Although behavioral modifications may be able to save water during droughts and prolonged supply interruptions, this analysis only considers water savings that can result from the adoption of more efficient technologies.

Faucets

National plumbing standards currently govern the maximum flow rates of faucets. New faucets that are sold or installed in the United States must flow 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm) at 80 psi or less. Faucet flow rates were between 2.75 and 7.0 gpm before such standards were established. This is higher than the 40 million people who visit Las Vegas each year. This is because on average, guests spend 3.5 nights in Las Vegas. There are 140 million guest days each year. The difference in hotel guests and visitors is due to day trippers or those who visit the area with their family and friends.

Water Conservation and Efficiency at Las Vegas

Although it is difficult to determine the exact number of devices present in Las Vegas hotel rooms, according to our sources, about one third of all existing resort and casino rooms were built after the efficiency standards came into effect. Older rooms are likely to have modern fixtures because they have been recently renovated. The average faucet flow rate in a hotel room is 3 gpm, despite the fact that it has both new and old rooms. According to the Seattle Public Utilities Commission, each guest uses the faucet on average 3 minutes per day. These assumptions led us to estimate that the average daily faucet usage is approximately 9 gallons per guest. The national standard for 2.5 gpm fixtures would allow for a reduction in faucet usage to 7.5 Gallons per guest. This would result in a 400-acre-foot annual savings (AFY). You could save even more money by purchasing faucet aerators, which are inexpensive and widely available. They will reduce the flow rate to 1.5 gpm.

Summary

Current technology can be used to reduce hotel water consumption by substantial amounts. A 29% reduction in indoor water consumption can result in a daily indoor water requirement of 80 to 57 gallons for guests per day. The estimated reduction in diversions, given the 26 million Las Vegas overnight guests annually, would be 6.3 KAFY. Current, well-tested, and cost-effective technologies like toilets or clothes washers could provide the greatest savings. Research shows that water consumption can be reduced, which in turn can result in significant energy savings. This is especially true for hot water appliances like clothes washers and showerheads. Day-trippers who use the restrooms and eat in restaurants would make savings even greater.

A Guide To The Big Cities In Spain

Spain is a beautiful country, and any traveler will have a wonderful time exploring its many big cities. This article will provide you with all the information you need to plan your trip! 

In this blog post, we’ll explore Spain’s biggest travel destinations from Barcelona to Madrid. We cover everything from what these cities are like, how much it costs to get there and where to stay when you arrive. Travelers of every budget can find something for them in these Spanish metropolises!

Valencia – Valencia is a wonderful city to visit with lots of great things to do. Travelers will find beautiful beaches, delicious cuisine and exciting nightlife in this Spanish destination. The cost of getting here from the UK is also relatively cheap at around £50 for one person. We recommend staying near Plaza del Ayuntamiento as it’s central but quiet enough that you’ll get a good rest each night after wandering through the narrow streets full of tapas bars and restaurants.  Travelers should also check out the Cathedral of Valencia or head to one of the many museums.

Madrid – Madrid, Spain’s capital city, has lots to offer travelers who are interested in history, art and architecture. There are several excellent museums around the city that take up much of your time if you decide to see them all! Travelers will find some great affordable accommodation here as well which makes it an appealing destination for those on any budget. Travel Tip: The city itself isn’t very large so walking anywhere within 20 minutes is possible even if you’re staying about 30 miles outside downtown.

Barcelona – Traveling to Barcelona can be a little bit more expensive than other cities in Spain but it’s still not too bad. Travelers will find lots of great food and nightlife here for a reasonable price along with all the popular tourist attractions that they’d expect to see when visiting Barcelona. Travel Tip: Head up Montjuic hill at sunset if you can as there are stunning views from the top!

Granada – Travelers who make it to Granada will find a beautiful city full of culture and history. Travel Tip: The Alhambra Palace is an absolute must-visit while you’re in the area!

Mallorca – Travelers can find lots to do in Mallorca including nice beaches and exciting nightlife. Travel Tip: Traveling by ferry is the most cost effective way of getting here from Spain, but you’ll need to book everything at least a couple weeks in advance.

Cordoba – Cordoba has some wonderful architecture that makes it an interesting place for travelers to visit when they’re in Spain. Travel Tip: The Mezquita de Córdoba is well worth your time if you plan on visiting this city!

Seville – Travelers will love Seville because it’s full of beautiful buildings like the Cathedral de Sevilla along with delicious food and great night life too! Travel Tip: Make sure not to miss out on the sherry too!

Toledo – Travelers will find Toledo to be an incredibly beautiful city that has a lot of history and culture for them to explore here. Travel Tip: The Alcazar de Toledo is definitely worth your time if you plan on visiting this wonderful place in Spain!