Make The Most of Your Vacation Time With The Least Amount of Money

Make The Most of Your Vacation Time With The Least Amount of Money

All of us have dream vacations we’d one day like to take. Mine include Rome with all those stunning fountains, Egypt and her mystical pyramids, the utterly unique Galapagos islands. I cannot currently afford any of those vacations. In the meantime, does that mean I need to settle for staycations with my limited means,? No way! With a little planning and alternative thinking it’s possible to take fun, interesting vacations on a restricted budget.

 

Sometimes the when is as important as the where

Set your alarms everyone, because according to Skyscanner the best time to book a flight is 5 am! Further to that, the best time to book flights for domestic trips is 2 – 3 weeks in advance. The best time to book international journeys is 5 – 6 months in advance. The least expensive month to book those flights is January (with an average round trip flight of about $500). February comes next then leapfrog all the way over to August. While you’re planning, plan to book your domestic flight on a Tuesday and your international flight on a Wednesday to enjoy the most savings.

 

Accommodation alternatives

Last year I went to Costa Rica with my daughter – which is why I’m on a limited vacation allowance now! Following a few convincing words from my daughter, one of the things we did to save money was stay in a hostel. Old enough to have a twenty-four-year-old daughter, I’d never stayed in a hostel before, thinking they were for backpackers and twenty-four year olds. To be sure there were many of those, but to my surprise there were also all kinds of people my own age. Some traveling with their own kids, some on their own. Although we stayed in a room with 5 other people there were options for semi-private and private rooms. The hostel was spacious and clean and very friendly. It cost us about $25 a night and was an experience I would definitely repeat.

 

If hostels are absolutely not your thing you can still score significant savings through sites like Airbnb and HomeAway.

 

There’s also Glamping – which you can think of as luxury camping or glamorous camping across locations around the globe. Or Canopy and Stars a collection of unique, creative places to stay in the great and grand outdoors.

 

Transportation

You could take a taxi when you travel and pump your money into someone else’s pocket or you could get friendly with the bus and subway schedules in the area. Or if distances aren’t too daunting you could put your legs to work either as locomotion on their own or as peddle manipulators.

 

If you do need to rent a car follow these tips from tripsavvy and:

Book early

Comparison shop

Reserve the smallest car possible

Compare daily and weekly rates

Use non-airport facilities

Ask for a discount

 

BYOB

By carrying your own water bottle and filing it up as you go, not only are you helping save the world from more plastic refuse you’re also saving significant amounts of money. Speaking of water, choose nature’s thirst quencher as your beverage of choice and put the savings toward other aspects of your vacation. Extra night in the hostel anyone?

 

Enjoy the freebees

No matter where you travel there are all kinds of things you can do for free. In the article about free things to do on vacation from Wise Bread they mention that many museums around the world offer free admission, and for the ones that don’t they often have a day when admission is free. Plan in advance and explore world treasures without paying a cent.

 

Walking tours are also a great way to see any city and often those are offered for free.

 

One other thing, don’t forget about Google. Type free things to do in X and go to town!

 

Become your own tour guide

Get yourself a tour book before you go and familiarize yourself with your destination then become your own tour guide. For instance, when I finally do get to Rome I could book a 60 euro tour to see the coliseum or I could prepare in advance and get in with 12 euros and create my own experience.

 

Should You Work For A Large Company Or A Small One?

Should You Work For A Large Company Or A Small One?

Starting out in your career? Trying to decide if you should work for large company or a small one? Or maybe you’re in the process of switching jobs and you can’t decide which direction to take. There are pros and cons to both.

Team size

In a big company, you’re a small cog in a large machine. As be part of a large team you’ll be expected to do one thing every well. There will be a lot of people to get to know, and more of a cushion for your learning curve because others can cover your slack.

In a small company, you’ll be part of a much smaller team. You’ll probably expected to do 2 or 3 things very well, because there are just less people available to share the burden. The team environment is small, and more intimate. The work will, at first, likely be more of a challenge.

Compensation and benefits

A big pro of going with larger company is that they’re able to provide benefits packages for full time employees that smaller companies simply can’t afford.

In terms of pay, larger places can often afford higher salaries. But sometimes smaller ones have more competitive compensation because the money is shared between less pockets. So they can afford to pay everyone well.

Room for growth

The place where small companies really shine is their room for growth. In a large established place, your road to success is regimented and likely quite slow.

With an indie company, as the company grows, so do you. If you get in on the ground floor, your career can explode much faster than at an established place, but only if the company does.

Working for an indie company might be a little riskier but there is potential for big rewards as you grow with them.  It would might be safer to work in a larger, established location, but it would likely take longer to make your mark.

 

When It’s Time To Negotiate

When It’s Time To Negotiate

If you’re applying to a minimum wage job then how much you’re paid isn’t really an issue, but if it’s a salaried job then there’s an opportunity for negotiation.

When to negotiate

You need to have salary expectations in mind going into the interview but the time to negotiate isn’t around: Hi my name is Jim and I’m expecting to make $50K does that work for you?

 

The first interview probably isn’t the time for salary negotiations to start. They should wait until it’s clear that you are a choice candidate. If the company likes you and has chosen to make you an offer then they are likely prepared to negotiate. That negotiation is actually part of the hiring process.

 

Know your number

Salary negotiation isn’t something you start thinking about when you’re in the interview or discussing the job offer. It’s something you’ve prepared for well in advance. You’ve already done your homework and have a salary range in mind before you came into the interview.

 

That doesn’t necessarily mean a specific number, I expect to be making $52,342 a year. Better to have a range, I’m expecting to make in the $50 – $55K range.

 

If you don’t have an answer for the salary question, then that can actually drop you in the ranks, if not discount you from the race altogether. It indicates to potential employers that you either don’t value yourself, know your worth, or have done your research. If you couldn’t even prepare yourself for an inevitable job-related question what kind of drive and motivation do you have?

 

Don’t forget about the benefits – they’re part of the negotiation. Holidays, insurance, pension are all topics that need to be addressed. Job perks can make a significant contribution to your salary.  So, like you did your homework on salary expectations, you should know what you’re looking for in terms of medical, dental etc. The other thing you should remember to ask about is the company’s policy on future raises.

 

Don’t act like a thirsty wanderer in the desert

If you go in with the attitude of a thirsty wanderer in the desert of the job market willing to take whatever drops are offered you, you will probably end up with only a few drops. A confident attitude, surety in yourself and an ability to stand up for yourself speaks volumes about what you will bring to the job.

 

Don’t be greedy

If however you’ve been offered what you were expecting or more, then that’s not the time to start asking for more. Asking for more than you’re worth simply demonstrates a lack of judgment.

 

 

Do back up your expectations

Have reasons for your expectations. Why are you worth what you say you’re worth? Be prepared with examples from your resume and your personal experiences. Just because experiences didn’t come out of a job environment, doesn’t mean they aren’t part of the package you are presenting.

 

Thanks but no thanks

Be willing to walk away. If the job isn’t right for you don’t just take it out of desperation. You’ll end up looking again sooner rather than later. Better to get the right job with the right salary in the first place.

 

Take time to be sure

Don’t feel like you have to make your decision on the spot. It’s perfectly okay to take a day to consider your options.

 

Negotiations can be hard. The employer is going to try and get the best deal for the company while you’re trying to get the best deal for yourself. That doesn’t mean negotiations are negative. They’re an opportunity for you to showcase your value. How you handle yourself during negotiations is indicative of how you handle yourself in general.