Sunday, October 16, 2016

Free Travel Guides!

Calling all travelers & Amazon Prime members! Amazon recently released a new perk for members, Prime Reading, offering free eBooks to ALL Prime members! Available titles include popular nonfiction books, magazine subscriptions, children's books and more. But the category I find myself most interested in is the list of Free Travel Guides from Lonely Planet! I love Lonely Planet guides and now I can access all of them right on my Kindle! Their Travel category also includes some travel writing, so you may have a hard time sticking to their 10-title limit. That's right, I found out pretty quickly that I couldn't get every title I wanted. The Prime Reading service is similar to a library in that you're actually "borrowing" the titles from Amazon. But it's easy enough to trade in a title you've already borrowed for a new one. Unfortunately, this doesn't work with every eBook in your library, only the ones included in the Prime Reading program. After much consideration I narrowed my list down to some guides for countries I expect to visit soon (I see you Peru and India), plus cool titles like:
 
"An Illustrated Journey: Inspiration from the Private Art Journals of Traveling Artists, Illustrators and Designers," which combines sketches and stories from well known artists and travelers.

If you don't already have a Prime membership, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial. And if you don't have a Kindle, you can download the Kindle app to your smartphone or tablet to read any Kindle titles. Or you could buy a Kindle, up to you. I love my little Kindle Paperwhite, even after years of trying to fight the eBook craze because I prefer a real book. But Amazon offers so many free titles, I figured I was doing myself a disservice by not taking advantage. If you are already a Prime member and don't want to stick to the 10-title borrowing limit, you can upgrade to Kindle Unlimited for another $9.99/month.

I hope you're as excited as I am for this new Prime Perk, and now that my Kindle is done charging I'm going to go check out some of my new guides!

Safe Travels,
Sam

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Travel Hacks: How to Sleep on a Plane

Before I offer tips for sleeping on the plane on your next trip, I should mention that I have been blessed with the ability to sleep just about anywhere. Movie theaters, my desk at work, the back of a taxi/pickup truck in Thailand, nothing is sacred. So I don't usually have trouble falling asleep on a plane, especially at the end of an exhausting trip. Usually I'm asleep before everyone has even made it on the plane, much to the chagrin of my travel partners and seat mates as they glare with envy. But that doesn't mean I don't have advice and tips, ranging from free to significantly more than free, for when counting sheep isn't enough.

Free

  • Wear comfortable clothes. Anything too tight, itchy or otherwise uncomfortable will make it harder for you to fall asleep when all you can think about is how much your jeans are pinching your stomach.
  • Play soothing music. Whether you bring your own music or listen to the in-flight radio, make sure it's something slow and instrumental. I like to listen to Explosions in the Sky. The fewer words the better.
  • Try some relaxation techniques. If you're familiar with meditation, you can use those techniques to clear your mind and help you fall asleep. If not, counting is always a good go-to when you need to relax your brain. Choose a high number, in the high hundreds, close your eyes and try to count to that number. The trick is to only concentrate on the counting. If you let your mind wander to other things, it won't work. You want your brain to relax, your breathing to slow, and you should drift off to sleep before you get anywhere close to your original number.
  • Bring something that relaxes you. Kids have their favorite stuffed animals, but adults can have comfort items too. Whether it's comfy socks or a cozy sweater, whatever makes you comfortable will help you fall asleep and stay asleep longer.
  • Take advantage of the free alcohol. Many international flights offer wine and beer for free, and while you should never get drunk on a plane, it's awkward and uncomfortable for you and everyone around you, a drink or two can help you relax and fall asleep faster.
  • Sleep when everyone else is asleep. After drinks and food have been distributed and collected, there is usually a time when the window shades are lowered, lights go off and everyone tries to fall asleep. This is the best time to sleep when there are fewer announcements and light pollution to keep you up.
  • Move your seat. On my last flight back from Thailand I had a young boy behind me who kicked my seat, banged on his tray table and had an awful cough that kept me awake during the whole flight from Koh Samui to Vancouver. The plane had an hour layover to refuel and put us through an additional security check, so after making it through, I begged the woman at the desk to move my seat to anywhere else on the plane. I explained that the boy had been kicking my seat, coughing and otherwise disturbing me in a very calm tone without putting blame on anyone, besides the little boy. She checked her computer, which stated the plane was full, but she must have seen the desperation in my eyes and appreciated that I wasn't trying to make a scene, because she called someone on the plane who told her there was one last seat open in the back of the plane on the aisle. "I'll take it. You're a lifesaver." I slept the rest of the way to New York.

 Cheap

  • Buy an eye mask and ear plugs. I bought this set from Amazon and loved it. The eye mask is molded so it doesn't rest directly on your eyes or nose, and the ear plugs come in their own plastic container. Plus the pouch it comes with is big enough to fit the mask, ear plugs and my compression socks without taking up too much room in my carry-on.
  • Bring your own pillow & blanket. The blankets and pillows they provide on the plane are rarely washed, which can keep a germaphobe up for hours. Instead, bring your own travel pillow and blanket to feel more clean and comfortable. I love this Vera Bradley Fleece Travel Blanket, it can be used as a pillow or unfolded to a blanket and features a strap so you can attach it to the handle of your suitcase when not in use. And you can wash it! Depending on your sleep habits, there are plenty of neck pillow options to choose from. There's the traditional neck pillow,
    The best way to let your neighbor
    know you're not in the mood to chat.
    Source: Amazon
    inflatable neck pillow, J-Pillow, Trtl Neck Support Pillow, and if you are a secure enough person to not care about the stares you'll receive, you can try the Travelrest, Little Cloud Nine Travel Pillow, or Ostrich Pillow.
  • Bring a book or activity. Depending on what relaxes your mind, reading a book or doing a Sudoku or crossword puzzle can help take your mind off the stress of flying.
  • Sleep aids. This is a method I have not tried, but there are those who swear by it. If you already use sleeping pills at home and know how they affect you, then you should feel comfortable taking them on the plane. However if you have not tried them before, I recommend trying them out before your trip to make sure you don't have any strange side effects. Sleep aids can be bought over the counter or prescribed by your doctor. Personally, I know Benadryl, an anti-histamine, puts me right to sleep without any side effects.

Pricey

  • Buy noise-canceling headphones. Block out your neighbor's snoring, that baby crying, and whatever else is keeping you from falling asleep. Bose is the popular choice for noise-canceling technology, but they can be expensive. I have these headphones from Bohm that cost less and work just fine. They have a long-lasting battery and come with a carrying case to protect them in your bag.
  • Upgrade to Economy Plus. If leg room is your issue, spending a little more for the added comforts of Economy Plus might be worth the cost. 

Splurge

  • Buy a Business Class or First Class ticket. If you can swing it, a seat where you can lay down flat and don't have to climb over someone to get to the bathroom is the closest thing to paradise you'll get on an airplane. Or, figure out how to perfect the art of the free upgrade. And if you do, please share your tips with me!
If you try all of these tricks and still nothing works, don't give up on traveling, you still have options. Try to avoid overnight flights when possible and build in time to sleep when you arrive at your destination. Depending on when you land this might not help you adjust to jet lag, but not sleeping at all won't benefit you either. 

I hope these tips help you next time you find yourself wide awake on a red eye! And for more travel hacks, check out my Pinterest board.
Save Travels,
Sam

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Book Review: What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding

See more on my Instagram: frametheshot
As a single woman in her late 20's who lives to travel, I can relate to Kristin Newman. Newman is a comedy writer who worked on popular television shows such as "That 70's Show" and "How I Met Your Mother," and used her spare time to travel the world with friends or by herself. Her travel tales and biting comedy would have been good enough for a memoir, but Newman also shares her sexual exploits with men around the world. Sometimes her trysts were hot and steamy, other times bordering on awkward, but Newman's re-tellings are always entertaining.

In a world where women are expected to represent purity and virginity, it is refreshing to hear from the Amy Schumers and Kristin Newmans who talk openly about sex; the good, the bad and the sometimes gross. Throughout the memoir you follow along as Newman goes from long-term girlfriend girl, to picking up men in bars around the world, to — well you'll have to read it to the end to find out.

Newman's exploits take her from Argentina to New Zealand to Russia and back again, all while exploring a new side of her, one she calls "Kristin Adjacent." Kristin Adjacent is not shy or insecure, she can flirt with and land any guy in any bar around the world. I, too, have a similar "coming out of my shell" attitude whenever I travel, so I loved reading Newman's stories compared to her "normal" life of work and family, etc. It makes me feel better knowing I'm not the only one who truly feels like herself when abroad, away from responsibilities and worry.

I wouldn't call Newman's stories too racy or provocative, there's no "50 Shades" going on here. Your Mom might even enjoy this book, if your Mom had some wild romps in her youth. Maybe not the right book for your grandmother, but definitely the right choice for your single (or taken) friend, sister, aunt, cousin, favorite barista, whatever, and especially anyone who has fantasized about a sizzling foreign love affair, and who hasn't?

You can look for this book at your local bookstore or get it in paperback, audiobook or Kindle edition on Amazon: What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding: A Memoir.

And for more travel reads, check out my Travel Reading List Pinterest board.

Thanks for visiting, I'll be back with more travel product reviews next week!

Safe Travels,
Sam


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

I'm Back!

It's true! I have returned! I don't know if anyone missed me, but I have definitely missed you. Let's see, since my last post I have moved to a new city, traveled to new states, countries and continents, and I'm feeling older, wiser and ready to offer new stories and advice.

But before I do, I want to be completely transparent with my audience. I have started up this blog again for more than one reason; first and foremost, I miss writing about my travels in more than just my personal travel journal. I love sharing my tales and reading about others' and doling out advice that you may not have heard before. There is another reason though, and that is that I hope to make a little spare change from this site using affiliate links. I had the idea a few months ago when I was on the lookout for new travel gear for my next trip. I wanted a quick-drying microfiber travel blanket, a new eyemask and packing cubes, but I had trouble figuring out exactly which product would work best for me. There are hundreds of brands selling similar products at various prices, and I wanted to get a deal without ordering something that would fall apart after its first use. That's when I came up with the idea for a review site. Sure, most web sites offer reviews, but it is so difficult to wade through them and figure out who is being paid by that company to say good things or who is the person who has a complaint about everything. It can be hard to know what you're getting before it arrives, especially when shopping online. So, with that in mind, I had the idea to write up some reviews for products I already use and love (and some I have tried and hated) as well as new products I try along the way. I promise my reviews will be objective and honest (I was a journalism major after all) and if you think a product would work for you, I hope you will click through and buy it after doing your own extensive research. No pressure.

With that said, I would love to have some recommendations for what people are looking for in travel products. I have some ideas already that are forthcoming, but knowing what other travelers are interested in would be a big help. So if you are in the market for a specific product OR if you have any advice for integrating affiliate links in a non-obtrusive way, I would love to hear from you!

I also promise that not every post will be a product review, because that can get boring and alienates my audience if you already have everything you need for your travels. So I will continue to post tips, advice, stories and other travel-related content that I hope you will enjoy.

Thanks to any old readers who have returned and welcome to any new readers who are visiting for the first time! All feedback is appreciated!

Safe travels,
-Sam

Monday, April 28, 2014

Travel Traditions

Hello all! I came up with the idea for this post a few weeks ago, and after trying to make an accompanying Pinterest Board, I see there is a need for it. Today's post is about Travel Traditions or things you can do on every trip to make them more memorable and fun.

There are plenty of reasons to start a travel tradition and your reasons may be different from the ones I suggest, but either way I think starting your own traditions are important.

Reasons You May Want to Start a Travel Tradition:
1. For superstitious reasons. If there is something you do for good luck on a regular basis, why not tie it in to your travels? If you have a lucky shirt, wear it. If you have a lucky penny, pack it.
2. For posterity. Start a tradition in your family, or continue one, re-making photos similar to ones your parents, grandparents or other family members made. For example, my Mom remembers a photo she took on a high school trip to Puerto Rico with her and her friends sitting on a wall overlooking the ocean. When we visited Puerto Rico when I was in high school, we attempted to re-create the same photo. If there is no photo to recreate, simply revisiting a place that holds significance to you and your family can be a new tradition.
3. For consistency. Similarly, I have a photo of me sitting in the same spot in the Roman Bath House in Bath, UK from each year I visited. It's a fun way to see how much you've grown and changed over the years.
4. For memories. Create new memories with each travel tradition.

Okay, that sounds good. But what kind of tradition should I start?

My Traditions:
I try to buy a piece of jewelry, clothing or other notable souvenir from every place I visit. If you are a collector of a particular object, try to find one on every trip. Other objects you can collect include sand, rocks, water, I've even heard of people collecting air from around the world. Not only will you be reminded of the trip whenever you see these items, but they can be good conversation starters as well.

I like to try new dishes that are staples of that country or city whenever I visit somewhere new. I am somewhat limited as a vegetarian, but I am usually willing to try any new meat-free dish that comes my way.

Catching a performance in a new place can be exciting too. I like to try to see a play, musical performance or even take a few moments to watch a street performer when I visit somewhere new.

What Else?
If you don't like those, I took some time to brainstorm and came up with more ideas, some of which I may start doing myself.
  • Take a photo of yourself and travel partners before and after your trip. See if you notice any differences in your demeanor and confidence caught on film.
  • If you have a favorite pose or picture you like to take, try to take one everywhere you go. 
  • As mentioned above, you can recreate photos from your own family or famous photos from the past. 
  • If you're a shutterbug and like taking interesting and unique photos, try putting a spin on typical tourist photos by looking for new perspectives. Get creative!
    Traveling is all about looking at things from
    a new perspective.
  • Check out a sporting event.
  • Buy original artwork from a street vendor.
  • Chat with the locals.
  • Sketch.
  • Write a poem.
  • Bring home a newspaper or book written in a different language.
  • Try something new. Whether it's a zipline, a signature dish or drink, or anything else out of your comfort zone, give it a shot while you have the chance.
  • Try something you already like to do in new places. If you're outdoorsy, visit a park or go on a hike. If you're artsy, visit a museum, gallery or a place that inspired your favorite piece of art. Whatever it is you're into, go find it!
Your Turn:
Do you have a travel tradition? There are plenty more than the ones I could come up with, so please share your ideas in the comments!

Before we get to the Fun Fact and Pinterest Boards, I have some exciting news! My Contiki tour guide from my trip two years ago and good friend, Ben, has launched his own business called Ever Thought of Trying! Ever Thought of Trying is a new way to travel by immersing yourself in a culture while learning something new. If you've always wanted to learn to cook in Italy or surf in France, Ever Thought of Trying is the place to start. I also wrote a few posts for the blog launching soon, so look out for those too!

You can check out the Pinterest board for this post, however it is disappointingly small this time. Hopefully I can inspire more traditions so I will have more pins to add to it! I also started a new Wanderlust board that I will be constantly adding to with beautiful and awe-inspiring travel photos.

And lastly, your Fun Fact today has nothing to do with anything I've mentioned but I learned it while watching my new favorite show, Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan on BBC America. Dom told me (just me, because in my mind we're best friends now) that the gender of a baby crocodile is determined by the temperature of the eggs in the nest. Low temperatures, from 82 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit or 28 to 30 Celsius will produce female crocodiles, while hotter temperatures, up to 94 degrees Fahrenheit or 34 Celsius, produce males. So you can stick that in your top pocket, as he says.

Thanks for reading everyone and don't forget to check out Ever Thought of Trying!
-Sam

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Hack Your Travel

Hello and welcome back! I have returned with a great post full of easy travel hacks to make your next trip even better. Let's dive right in:

Hack Your Suitcase
There are a lot of tips for maximizing space in your suitcase, many of which I addressed in an earlier post, but here are a few more tips to hack your suitcase for optimal use.
1. Use a bright colored suitcase, like my new Delsey luggage, or tie a piece of bright and noticeable fabric to the handle to make your suitcase easily identifiable.
2. Mark your suitcase as "fragile." The people handling your luggage should take special care with it and put it on top of other luggage in the cargo hold, making yours one of the first on the carousel at baggage claim.
3. Weigh your suitcase. Your bathroom scale should give you a relatively accurate weight to help you avoid paying extra to check your overweight baggage.
4. Pack quick-dry and wrinkle-resistant clothes. You'll always look your best even when living out of a suitcase.
5. Keep clothes fresh with a bar of soap or a dryer sheet in the bottom of your suitcase. If using soap, wrap it in something else so you don't get soap stains on your clothes. If the hotel you're staying in provides a free bar of soap, you won't even have to bring your own.
6. Pack hot tools in oven mitts, that way you can wrap them up and throw them in your bag even when you're rushing.
7. Pack a small sewing kit. Not only can you fix holes and sew on buttons, but you never know when the thread and tiny scissors will come in handy.
8. Hide money in unlikely places. Some genius places I've seen: Old Chapstick tubes, mint or gum containers, and sanitary napkin wrappings. (Brilliant! No thief is going to open that!)
9. Make copies of important documents. Keep copies of your passport, itinerary and emergency numbers with you, in your suitcase, and leave copies behind with family and friends in case of emergencies.

Hack Your Trip
1. Do your research before you go. Obviously you're going to look up the hotel before you go, but what about restaurants and attractions? Read restaurant reviews to find where the locals eat and the best places to experience the culture. TripAdvisor and Yelp are good places to start.
2. Use the ATM for cash when traveling abroad. You will get better exchange rates than at the airport, just make sure you notify your bank that you will be traveling.
3. Go early or around lunchtime to tourist attractions. You can usually avoid the lines if you can get out before everyone else, but lunchtime can be a good time to explore too as many people will be taking a break to eat.
4. Take photos of maps, itineraries and important documents. If you're traveling with a group, like when I traveled with Contiki, you may have to meet up at a specific place and time. Keep a photograph of meeting places and maps on your phone or camera in case you lose your map.
5. Easily convert Celsius to Fahrenheit with this easy trick. Double the Celsius number and add 32. Boom, Fahrenheit. (It's actually the Celcius number times 1.8, and if you can do that in your head, I respect you greatly. For everyone else, just double it, you'll be close enough.)

Hack Your Flight
1. Get a credit card with travel perks. You can earn miles and other rewards to save money on your next trip.
2. Clear your cookies or use the incognito window in your browser when booking flights. Prices may go up if you visit the same site multiple times.
3. Bring an empty water bottle. You can't take a full water bottle with you on the flight, but you can ask your flight attendant to fill it and keep refilling it throughout your trip. However, know where you can drink the local water and where you should avoid it.

Hack Your Hotel Stay
1. If you travel a lot and tend to frequent the same hotel chains, join their rewards programs to get free nights and perks.
2. Ask the hotel for a free upgrade. I've never tried it, but I've heard this works. If it works for you, let me know!
2. If you forgot your phone charger, go to the front desk to see if they have any guests have left behind.
3. For extra security while you sleep, use a small rubber door stop to keep the door closed while you're in your room. Some hotels may already provide them, or you can pick one up for a few dollars and pack it in your suitcase.

Hopefully you can use these hacks during your next trip, and you can find even more on the Pinterest board for this post. If there are any hacks you use that I missed, please leave them in the comments.

To end this post today I will leave you with a bit of travel trivia I learned from watching Dangerous Grounds, a fantastic show on the Travel Channel that follows Todd Carmichael as he journeys to dangerous places to find the world's best coffee. While Bolivian coffee is popular around the world, residents of Bolivia don't usually drink coffee. Instead they chew or make a tea from the leaves of the coca plant. The sensation that results is a mild stimulant that also suppresses the effects of altitude sickness. However, the coca plant isn't only used to make coffee and tea, it is also the first ingredient in cocaine.

That's it for today and I'm sorry my posts have been so few and far between. I'm working on getting back on track with a regular posting schedule, so let me know if there are any topics you want covered. Thanks for reading and happy trails!

-Sam

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Saving Up for Your Dream Trip

Welcome back! I apologize for the long break between posts. My list of excuses includes the holidays, going full time at my job, and playing Candy Crush until everything starts to look like candy. But I'm back on track now with a new post on saving money for your next trip.

As you may know, a little less than a year ago I quit my job, took a month off, and then took a part time job to pay the bills. I hardly had any money to throw around, let alone save up for a trip overseas. Luckily, I already had some savings and most of the expenses for my trip to Greece last summer were already paid for. However, had I kept saving (or not saving) at the rate I was going, I could forget about going on another trip this summer. Nevertheless, traveling is important to me and I won't let a little thing like "having no money" stop me from doing what I want. The purpose of this post today is to help anyone else with a penchant for traveling to save up money for that dream trip, no matter how long it takes.

First of all, for anyone like me with a spending problem, you'll have to admit you have a problem. Saving is easy for those who pay their bills and put any leftover money away, but unspent money burns holes in my pockets so saving can be a challenge. I have been given plenty of advice over the years, and I have actually found some of it to work. With any luck, others can take the advice that has been given to me and I can learn to practice what I preach.

Let's start with some easy steps:
1. Post photos of your dream destination so you are constantly reminded of your goal. Hang them up in your room, put them on your mirror, on the fridge, make it the background of your phone, anywhere you look every day. Put a wallet sized photo in front of your credit card so you are reminded every time you pull it out, it may stop you from making yet another pointless purchase.
2. When you get the urge to shop online, Google image your top destinations instead. Get wrapped up in an article about a city or scroll through dozens of images. You don't need another pair of shoes, you need that trip to Thailand you've been dreaming about.
3. If you MUST spend money because you have an addiction to shopping (guilty), buy something for your trip. Pick up a guidebook, TSA lock, backpack, etc. If you can justify that it's for your trip, that's good enough for me.
4. Hoard your change. Designate a piggy bank, jar, box, whatever, and put it somewhere you pass every day. Throw all of your extra change in it and watch as it adds up. Last year when I emptied out my coin jar I had enough to pay for a gel manicure before my trip, that's $30 plus tip I didn't have to take out of my spending money.
5. Tell others about your plans. I've read that telling your friends and family about your goals makes you hold yourself accountable to them because you don't want to let others down. Encourage your friends to call you out when you're wasting money and remind you that you have bigger plans. But don't get mad at them when they actually do.

Okay, a little more challenging:
1. Stop making impulsive purchases. At my new job, I spend all day on retail web sites looking for the lowest prices on clothes, TVs, laptops, etc. I thought this would be a terrible idea for me because I would be dropping money left and right whenever I saw something I wanted. Surprisingly, this hasn't been the case. If I do see something I like and think I may want to buy, I'll open it up in a new tab and minimize it for the rest of the day. Usually, after I've had all day to think about it, I decide I don't actually need it and my money stays safely in my bank account. Next time you see something you like, give yourself some time to think about it. With any luck you'll have changed your mind, or the item will have sold out. Either way it's a win-win for your savings.
2. Go out less. Everyone knows it's cheaper to cook at home, but even if you're not a culinary chef, the Internet is full of recipes for cheap and easy food that is delicious too. Restaurants and bars jack up their prices to cover their own costs and you usually have to add a tip, so do yourself a favor and whip up something at home to pad your wallet.
3. Team up with a travel buddy. This is similar to teaming up with someone to lose weight or train for a marathon, it's easier when you're going through it together. You'll also have someone to hang out with when you're saving by not going out to eat, drink, dance or whatever you're into that costs money.
4. Have a budget. Figure out how much of your paycheck has to go to bills, food, gas and anything else you absolutely need. Re-evaluate whatever you are spending the rest on. Rather than buying coffee and a donut every morning, you can wake up a few minutes earlier to brew your own cup and make your own breakfast. I understand leftover money is a luxury not all are lucky enough to have, but even the smallest amount put away each week or month will add up.
5. Set goals. Know when you want to leave, how much money you will need, how much you can put away and how long it will take you to save up. If you are not reaching your monthly savings goal, you may need to take more serious steps:

Now let's get serious:
1. Have two banks. Put your savings account and checking account into two different banks. It will take longer and be more complicated for you to take that money out, so you will be less tempted to spend it.
2. Apply for a credit card with travel rewards for miles you can use toward your flight.
3. Spend a little at a time for your trip. If you have a year before your trip, take half the year to pay for the trip and the other half to pay for the ticket. Putting out one lump sum is harder than spending a little at a time. This is where goals are important however, the hotel room you have booked in Germany isn't any good if you don't have a plane ticket to get there.
4. Work more. Pick up extra shifts, stay late, or even take on another job. Unfortunately, in order to make money most of us need to do actual work, but all of it will pay off when you finally reach your destination. If following your dreams were easy, everyone would do it.
5. Sell your stuff. If you physically can't take anymore work, there are plenty of people who will pay cold, hard cash for the junk you don't need anymore. Have a yard sale, sell your things on Craigslist (safely), or look up web sites looking for what you have to sell. You can sell CDs, furniture, jewelry, whatever is taking up space that can make you money. Word of caution, don't sell anything that's not yours or that you may regret selling in the future. Usually, you can't get it back. Additionally, if you have a talent for painting, photography, jewelry-making, or any other marketable craft, sell your wares at a craft fair or online to make some extra cash. Every little bit helps.
5. And finally, don't be dismayed if something comes along that needs those savings you worked so hard to get. Cars break down, home improvements need to be made, and medical bills can add insult to injury. Don't give up your dreams because you have to start all over again. Having goals and dreams are fulfilling parts of life, no matter how long it takes you to complete them.

Seen here: Victory
My trip to London, Paris and Amsterdam in 2012 was the first trip I paid for entirely by myself. It was my first vacation from my first real job and knowing that I had worked hard to earn it made the trip that much more satisfying. I hope you get to experience that feeling of accomplishment when you finally touch down on your dream vacation.

Remember, these tips can be applied to anything you need to save up for. For me, traveling comes first. But if you've got your sights set on a new car, house, HDTV or Keanu Reeves' complete filmography on 3D Blu-ray (I won't pretend to know what you're into), then you can repurpose these tips to reach your goal.

Fun Fact: Today's fun fact has little to do with traveling but is interesting nonetheless. I recently learned that the amount of American dollars currently in circulation in the world equals about $1.24 trillion. However, the amount of "money" in American dollars existing in bank accounts around the world equals about $2.5 trillion. That means that if tomorrow every American went to the bank and asked for all of their money in cash, half of us who were too lazy to get there earlier wouldn't get any. That figure doesn't even count money market funds, savings accounts and Certificates of Deposits, which equals another $10.5 trillion. Let that sink in. Rather than try to make a point about the money that doesn't even exist that we base our economy on, I will leave you with this: there is money out there, you have to figure out a way to get your hands on it.

Thank you for reading and good luck saving up for your dream trip!
-Sam