Day 15 – Advice to Someone Who’s Thinking about Traveling

Just. Do. It. 

Really, that’s my advice. I could end this post here. BUT since this is the last post of the ever-so-amazing travel challenge, I’m not going to leave you hanging like that. In all honesty, this entire blog is supposed to be advice to someone who’s thinking about traveling abroad. That’s why I named it “Vai Via.” It simply means “go away.” Just go. What are you waiting for?

You can’t afford it? Hands down the biggest and most common fallacy I encounter. Just like you make time for what you want in life, your spending habits say even more about what you want in life. Here’s a tip:  Put your saving on autopilot. But really, if you have a job and you have income, I don’t understand this excuse. Yes, it may require longer-term planning if your job is part-time or you have a ton of bills. But if you’ve wanted to go somewhere for over a year I can guarantee that you have made enough money to go on an international adventure. Stop playing yourself! Noone’s missing out but you. And you’re not getting any younger.

From April 2010 to now, I had a full-time job for about 5 of those months.  The rest of the time I was either not working, had a part-time job (or 2), or was in graduate school full-time. Also since April 2010, I have been to Amsterdam, Dominica in the Eastern Caribbean, Montreal, Vancouver, countless domestic trips to Miami, New York and Boston, and will be going to Brazil for three weeks. So if I can do it on 5 months of salary (plus savings from a previous position), I know you can do at least one trip with this full-time job you’ve had for years. If you have doubts hit me up, I’ll help you find flights, less expensive accommodations, and help determine a “payment plan.” Hell, I may even try to go on the trip with you! 😉 Guys, you work too hard not to enjoy the fruits of your labor! So just like I started is how I’ll end it – Just. Do. It. 


Your Money’s No Good Here!

One of the reasons I ran out of money while I was in Milan for that semester is because when saving, I didn’t really take into account the exchange rate. For every $1 US Dollar, I would only get between E0.65-0.75 cents (eurocents).  And a trip to London was even worse.  With 1 Great Britain pound being worth $2 US Dollars, I was literally paying twice the cost of everything had I bought it here in the States.  For example, we went to Starbucks quite a few times. My toffee nut vanilla latte cost me about 4.40 GBP (Great Britain Pounds).  When I got a chance to check my bank account, I was like, WHEN DID I SPEND $8 AT STARBUCKS??? THREE TIMES??? Yeah, not a fun feeling.  That said, here are some places with a favorable exchange rate for Americans. This means that your $1 will be worth more than that in the local currency.  And exchange rates change daily so staying abreast of them and watching the trends can make all the difference in not breaking the bank while traveling or studying abroad. Without further ado, my top places to visit with a favorable exchange rate:

Brazil ($100 USD = 177.50 Brazilian Real) – Planning my birthday trip to Rio, I began to get really excited when I noticed the exchange rate.  From what I understand, this exchange rate is actually the worst for the USD$ that it has been in years, but it’s still favorable for me. (For example about 5 years ago the rate was $100USD = 300 Real.)

Costa Rica ($100 USD = 53,120.00 Costa Rican Colon) – And no, that’s not a typo.

Argentina ($100 USD = 393.45 Argentine Pesos) – Seems like there is a trend with favorable exchange rates in Latin America, huh?

Egypt ($100 USD = 569.60 Egyptian Pounds)

Fiji ($100 USD = 203.21 Fijian Dollars) – As if you needed another reason to go to Fiji!

New Zealand ($100 USD = 145.37 New Zealand Dollars)

Of course there are other factors that will make a difference in the final cost of goods in these countries, but understanding currencies can be a great way to justify picking certain destinations.  Figure out where your money’s good at – and go there!