Category: Travel and Vacations

Budget Travel Tips: Cheapest Asian Countries to Visit

Despite being the largest continent in the world and home to very expensive countries like Japan and Singapore. Asia is still one of the favorite destinations for those who are on a tight budget. 

But, with 48 countries in Asia, how do you know which ones you should travel to if you’re looking for the most bang for your buck?

Check out this guide to learn about the cheapest Asian countries to visit. 

1. India

We all know India as the home of the Taj Mahal. But, India has a lot more to offer than just this famous palace. 

With 1652 languages (22 official), over 2,000 ethnic groups, and representation from every major religion, India is undoubtedly a cultural hub. Not to mention, it’s incredibly affordable. 

The main way to travel India is by train, and you can find 20-hour train rides that take you practically cross-country for as low as $9. 

You can buy a meal off the street for as little as $2, and wash it down with a fresh glass of juice for just a few more cents. 

Accommodation is also incredibly cheap in India, with dorm rooms in hostels costing about $5 per night. 

Budget travelers could easily survive on about $15 per day while traveling in India. 

Also, if you don’t have a lot of time, traveling by train may not be the best option in this massive country. Luckily, domestic flights through AirAsia are pretty cheap. You can check out this site to learn more about AirAsia

2. Nepal

With its beautiful mountain ranges and friendly people, Nepal is becoming more and more popular for budget travelers, and not just those who want to climb Mount Everest. 

For those who would like to do some hiking in this beautiful country but don’t have the money (or the guts) to climb Mount Everest, there are a bunch of other treks to choose from. One of the most popular treks is the Anna Purna Circuit. 

This is a 131-mile trek that takes between 16 to 21 days, depending on what route you take and how many rest days you take. You can hire a sherpa for the trek who will guide you one the right route and carry your bags for you (highly recommended), or you can tackle the trek yourself. 

Along the trek, you’ll stay in teahouses, which go for as little as a few dollars per night. Then, there’s the food. While Nepal has a lot of delicious options to choose from, for those who want to get the most bang for their buck, we suggest dal bhat. 

Dal bhat is a traditional Nepalese meal that consists of steamed rice, cooked lentil soup, meat, vegetables, and roti. And, the great thing is that pretty much wherever you order this meal in Nepal, you get unlimited helpings at no extra cost. 

In Nepal, you can easily survive on a $15-$30 per day as a budget traveler. 

3. Sri Lanka

If you don’t feel like the mountains of Nepal are calling your name, then head to the beaches of Sri Lanka. 

Sri Lanka is another country that’s growing rapidly on the international tourist radar. 

Although the national parks and other attractions can be costly, you can eat, sleep, and travel here for fairly cheap. You can get a cheap, but flavorful meal for as low as $1.50, and, you can explore the sandy beaches and cultural cities without spending a dime.

Guesthouse and hostels are around $7 to $11 per night, and you can expect to pay about $40 per day traveling around this beautiful island nation. 

4. Vietnam

You can’t talk about affordable Asian countries without talking about Vietnam. Vietnam has quickly climbed the ladder as one of the most popular destinations for budget travelers, and for good reason. 

From dining and drinking to accommodation and transportation, pretty much everything is affordable here. 

In the capital city of Hanoi, there’s plenty to see for free, such as the Perfume Pagoda, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Hoan Kiem Lake, and the Old Quarter. 

In Vietnam, you can find private rooms for under $10, meals for under $4, and pints of Bia Hoi (basically, Vietnamese beer) for as little as 30 cents. It’s also highly recommended that you rent a motorbike to see this country, which will cost you just about $13 per day. 

In total, you can expect to spend about $10 to $25 per day in Vietnam. 

5. Myanmar

While this country was once inaccessible, Myanmar has slowly but surely been opening its doors to tourists since 2011. 

However, prices have been slowly rising here from year to year, as rumor has it that the government is trying to make Myanmar a luxury tourist destination. So, you better hurry up and go while it’s still affordable!

The trains in Myanmar are incredibly affordable, and it’s still quite easy to find cheap food. 

In Myanmar, you can expect to spend between $20 to $35 per day. 

6. Cambodia

If you’re looking to explore several countries in Asia, Cambodia is the perfect place to start, as it’s very centrally located. 

Cambodia is infamously affordable. In fact, the capital city, Siem Reap, is known as the “backpacker capital of the world”. 

In addition to the famous Angkor Temples, Cambodia is also known for its white sandy beaches and lush rice fields that you can walk or ride a bike through. Many people say that Cambodia is a lot like Thailand, but cheaper and with fewer tourists. 

You can easily find a guest house or hostel here fr as little as $3 per night. Street food meals are as cheap as $1, and if you’re not a fan of street food, you can find a meal at a traditional restaurant for as little as $5. 

For Cambodia, you should budget between $10 to $20 per day. 

Cheapest Asian Countries: Are You Ready to Explore Asia? 

As you can see, there are a lot of beautiful and budget-friendly countries to explore in Asia. 

If you like this list of the cheapest Asian countries, be sure to check back in with our blog for more travel-related tips and tricks. 

How to Save on Hotels: The Best Money Saving Tips You Should Know

Did you know traveling can help you de-stress and feel happier? Time to plan and budget your next trip.

Do you want to learn how to save on hotels? Not to worry! In this guide, we’ll go over tips on how to find inexpensive hotels.

Want to learn more? Keep reading to find out.

Call a Hotel

To avoid paying commission to Expedia, hotels offer a cheaper rate on their website. If you find a lower price someplace else, consider calling and asking if they will match the rate.

Sometimes, hotels will throw in extra amenities or a free upgrade.

Think About the Days of the Week

Did you know that business hotels might have a cheaper rate on the weekend when their guests leave? If you want to stay at a quaint bed and breakfast, consider having a romantic getaway during the week.

Bring Breakfast Items

Some hotels don’t provide free breakfast. Consider packing some instant oatmeal instead. If you have a microwave in your room, you’re all set. If not, you can always boil water in a coffee maker or tea kettle for your oatmeal.

Avoid the Hotel Bar

Instead of paying for overpriced drinks, pick up beer or wine beforehand. You can keep your beverages cold with ice from the ice machine. Relax in your room with a drink of your choice.

Join a Loyalty Program

You can join different hotel programs. These programs are free, but the perks can add up. Some hotels will provide you with free breakfast, room upgrades, and early check-ins.

Do You Have Other Memberships?

Some hotels will offer discounts for guests with AAA, AARP, or who are in the military. The discounts will vary, but you can get up to 15 % off a typical rate. Ask the hotel agent if they have any discounts available for your memberships.

Research for Promotions and Save on Hotels

If you don’t have a specific hotel membership, consider looking for a coupon code online. Follow your favorite hotels on Twitter and Instagram. They might announce a special flash sale on their social media platforms.

Stick to a Budget

When you’re traveling, it’s easy to overspend. Create a budget to help help you stay on track. If you plan to eat out while traveling, make sure you save in other ways. Don’t book an executive room or order room service every night.

What’s Included at Your Hotel?

When looking for hotels abroad or at home, you’ll want to check out their amenities. For example, a free shuttle service to the airport will save you an expensive taxi fare.

Some hotels will offer free breakfast. Your hotel might even offer discounts to local restaurants or spas.

Want to Learn More?

We hope this guide on how to save on hotels was helpful. Consider joining a loyalty program.

Don’t forget to bookmark our site. This way, you won’t miss out on any of our resources.

Adventuring on the Cheap: How to Find Budget Camping Gear in 2019

Did you know scientific research indicates that spending time outside in nature is good for you?

It’s true. Not only does being outdoors help your mental health and clarity, but it can also reduce your risk for chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease.

This is why camping is such a great choice for a getaway. In addition to spending time away from your responsibilities, you’re also spending that time unplugging and reconnecting with nature.

But many people who have never been camping before are reluctant to try it because they think it will be expensive. Why invest in all that equipment if you’re not even sure you’ll like it?

Luckily, with budget camping gear, you can give camping a try without breaking the bank. Check out this guide to learn how adventure on the cheap.

Consider Renting Equipment

If you’re camping for the first time, and you’re not sure if you’re going to like it yet, it might be worthwhile to rent your equipment the first time you go. This way, you can test out the experience. Your local outdoors store or even your local university might rent camping equipment.

If you decide that you do like camping, however, you should eventually invest in your own gear. In the long run, it will be more cost-effective to purchase it.

Don’t Overspend on the Tent

When camping, your tent is essentially your only source of shelter separating you from the great outdoors. It can be easy to think, then, that you’ll need to invest in a heavy-duty and high-priced one to hold up to the elements.

In reality, this isn’t true. Basically, the only feature you need to make sure the tent has is a floor that is welded with the walls. This will ensure that moisture does not enter the tent.

Also, keep in mind that, often, more expensive tents are more lightweight. For this reason, a cheap tent might even be more heavy-duty than an expensive one. 

Also, whenever you buy a tent, only buy one big enough for the group you need. So, if you’re only camping with one other person, get a 2-person tent, rather than a 4-person one. Not only will the be cheaper, but it will be easier to keep warm.

You Don’t Need the Highest-Rated Sleeping Bag

When you shop for sleeping bags, you’ll notice that they are rated for the temperature they will keep you warm at. Often, you’ll hear the advice that you should purchase a sleeping bag rated ten degrees cooler than the coldest weather you’ll be experiencing. But that might not be necessary.

You can get away with getter a higher-rated sleeping bag by sleeping in layers. This will keep you warm as long as you don’t let the layers get wet.

And, of course, you can always supplement your sleeping bag with some good old-fashioned blankets that you have at home.

Also, when it comes to sleeping, you don’t need an expensive air mattress to sleep on. A nice sleeping pad or even some yoga mats will provide a comfortable surface to sleep on.

Don’t Go Crazy Buying Specialty Cooking Equipment

If you do some research on cooking equipment for camping, you can spend a lot of money really fast. In reality, you don’t actually need pots, utensils, coffeemakers, or other gadgets made explicitly for camping.

Invest in a nice cast iron pan. Not only will it be under $30, but it will also have plenty of uses at home when you’re not camping. 

Instead of buying a camping coffee pot, get a metal french press that you can use to make coffee with heated water. And, rather than buying special camping utensils, bring some of your old flatware and a pocket knife.

Consider Buying Equipment Second-Hand

Another way to get your camping equipment at a discount is to look at second-hand options. 

As you would with any furniture, be careful about tents and sleeping bags. Make sure the people you get them from are trustworthy, and treat them to eliminate any pests. 

In some cases, you might even be lucky enough to find equipment at thrift stores. These can be especially good places to find things like cooking supplies or lanterns.

If you want to be really thrifty, do a spin around the campground at the end of the weekend. You’ll be surprised to see that people will leave behind perfectly good barbecues, camp chairs, and other equipment. 

Don’t Cheap Out on Safety

While there are some easy ways to make budget-conscious decisions for camping, there are other areas where you don’t want to cut corners. This is especially true when it comes to any equipment related to safety.

For instance, you probably don’t want to bring a flashlight you got at the dollar store as your main light source. It gets really dark in the great outdoors, so you don’t want a light that is going to die on you in the first hour.

Also, if you plan on doing any hiking, you’ll want to bring high-quality shoes with you that are up to the task. Shoes with poor tread can easily lead to accidents and injuries.

Your strategy should be to save on equipment where cost is less important so you can invest the extra money where it actually matters.

Start Your Adventure With Budget Camping Gear

With this guide to budget camping gear, you’ll soon be ready to be a happy camper!

Looking for more tips on how to live life affordably? Check out the rest of our blog for inspiration.

 

Cruising With Kids? 8 Brilliant Tips on Taking a Cruise With the Family

What if you were trapped on a boat with uncontrollable monsters?

We’re not talking about the latest Hollywood horror movie. Instead, we’re talking about taking a cruise with your kids.

A cruise can be a magical experience for your entire family. Or it can be a trip from hell that leaves you longing for home (which is one reason why many cruises entirely forbid kids).

Wondering how to make cruising with kids easy and fun? Keep reading to discover our best tips!

1. Do Your Homework

When adults plan a cruise for themselves, they usually focus on exotic destinations and not the cruise itself. When you’re taking kids on a cruise, you need to have a different set of priorities.

For example, you’ll want to see what kinds of childcare options are available. This helps to determine whether you and your spouse can actually enjoy any one-on-one time during the cruise.

You’ll also want to research meal options and times. If your kids are picky eaters, it’s important to know that they’ll have food to look forward to.

Other factors include the cost of the cruise, the time of the cruise, and the size of the room (more on that later). Your goal is to not have any unwanted surprises once the cruise begins.

2. Child Activities and Clubs

The good news is that most cruises have special activities and clubs for kids. The bad news is that some of these activities and clubs are better than others.

Before your trip, check out what age level the cruise club is designed for. And really explore the potential activities to see if they are something your children will enjoy.

If your children are in different age groups, check to see if multiple clubs are available. The last thing you want is a surly teenager stuck doing basic kiddie activities.

3. Test Voyage

Obviously, there are many cruise options, with some being longer than others. Take it from us: you should try a shorter cruise first to see how the kids handle it.

No matter how much research you do, a shorter trip is your best way of finding out how kids react to the cruise experience. You’ll want to know if it stresses them out, if they get seasickness, and so on.

And you can still make a short trip feel very special. Pick one designed for a holiday to make some very special memories. If you’re lucky, you may just kick off a new family tradition!

4. Saving Money

Let’s face it: cruises are always going to be an expensive vacation. However, it’s important to try to save money, both before and during your vacation.

If the destination isn’t too important, you can afford to be selective about the cruise. This lets you find a trip that is suitable for your budget.

One area where it makes sense to “splurge” a little bit is the cabin itself. You typically get what you pay for, and trying to cram your entire family into a tiny cabin is a decision you will regret almost right away.

Pay special attention to cruises that offer free or reduced rates for children. This alone can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars!

5. The Day Before

What do you think causes the most anxiety during a family vacation? The surprising answer is “time management.” It can be stressful to herd slow children from one place to another when you are on a strict schedule.

That’s why we recommend arriving at least one day before the cruise begins. This helps you settle in and avoid the stress of last-minute packing and racing down the road to arrive on time.

And the extra day can also help children physically and mentally adjust to their vacation. That means they are likelier to have a positive frame of mind once you set sail (harder to do if they are still shrugging off jet lag)

6. Trips to Shore

Taking a trip to shore with your family can be a pricey proposition. If you can afford it, though, this can make for an unforgettable experience.

These excursions can let you visit cool destinations in exotic cities all around the world. Alternatively, they can let you enjoy some “fun in the sun” on a faraway beach.

To really win some points with your children, make them part of the process. Kids are usually very excited to plan some aspect of your family vacation.

Such an excursion also gives them something to look forward to and makes for a nice change of pace and environment during the cruise.

7. Cabin Fever

Many couples bring their children on a cruise because they want to recreate their fun experience on the ocean. However, what works for a couple doesn’t always work for a family, especially when it comes to the cabin.

A typical cabin is very small. This is usually fine for a young couple, but a family (even a small family) may be way too cramped inside this space.

It’s worth trying to get a stateroom that has features such as dividing curtains and a balcony. These, along with separate seating areas, can give everyone a bit more room and privacy.

8. Safety Gear

As you know, being on a cruise is like being in a small city. It’s important to bring the right safety gear to keep track of your family and keep them all coordinated.

Walkie-talkies are a great way to quickly communicate with your family. They are more effective in certain areas than cellphones and are especially good for children who do not have a phone of their own.

You’ll also want dry-erase boards or post-it notes so you can leave messages for each other back in the cabin. This helps reduce the panic of wondering “where is everyone?”

Don’t forget to see if the cruise has a special app. This can provide yet another way for your family to keep in touch.

Cruising With Kids: Making Magic Memories

Now you have our top tips for cruising with kids. But do you know who can help get you on the ocean quicker?

We understand cruises are expensive. To see how we can help you save money for your family cruise, check out our tips for working parents to earn extra money!

A Backpacker’s Paradise: 6 Best Places to Visit in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia is so full of diverse cultures, delicious foods, and beautiful scenery that it might be difficult to decide where exactly to start. 

Are you a backpacker looking for your next destination? Here are some of the best places to visit in Southeast Asia.

The Best Places to Visit in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia is a popular destination for those backpackers looking to globe-trot inexpensively. There is plenty to see and do while island hopping, new cultures to learn about and immerse in, and delicious foods to taste and experience. 

There is something for everyone, from adventurous activities like diving or whitewater rafting to visiting temples and other types of cultural sites, this will be a trip of a lifetime and one you may never forget. All while not breaking the bank. 

1. Angkor, Cambodia

Angkor flourished as the capital city of the Khmer Empire between the 9th and 15th centuries. Home to the famous temple, Angkor Wat, it is one of Cambodia’s most popular tourist attractions. 

One of the best ways to see the Angkor temples is to rent a bike or tuk-tuk to get around the grounds. The whole site will take you about 3 hours to explore casually or almost half the day if you plan on taking your time. 

The temples are an ancient religious site and visitors need to dress modestly. It is requested that you cover your upper arms and wear shorts to the knee in order to gain access to the highest level of Angkor Wat. 

2. Halong Bay, Vietnam

Halong Bay is located in northern Vietnam and is speckled with over a thousand limestone towers known as karsts. These karsts raise up out of the bay, some of them are hollow, arched, or topped with thick jungle growth. 

Visitors to Halong will find plenty of things to do like taking a guided boat tour around the karsts and explore inside some of the limestone caves. You can also visit one of the larger islands and see the vegetation, views, and even visit some of the floating villages of the area.  

3. Ifugao Rice Terraces, Philippines

The Ifugao Rice Terraces are located at the base of the Cordillera mountain range. These breathtaking terraces were carved out of the landscape by the ancestors of the Ifugao tribe and have been used to cultivate rice, and other crops, for over 2000 years. 

The Ifugao tribe is a member of the larger Igorot group who has lived in this mountain range for thousands of years and because of the difficult terrain was never encountered by the Spanish, and later, American colonizers. Because of this their culture and practices were retained and not influenced by the new colonial cultures. 

When visiting this beautiful site, take time to show respect to the people of the Ifugao tribe who continuously work to maintain the fields and admire the creativity it took to farm these difficult lands. 

4. Borobudur, Java

Borobudur is located on the island of Java and is the largest Buddhist temple in the world. This famous temple was built in the 8th and 9th centuries by the kingdom of Sailendra and took roughly 75 years to complete. 

This ancient temple is the most popular location for Buddhist pilgrimage. It symbolizes a path to enlightenment and pilgrims will begin by following clockwise passageways and begin to gradually ascend towards the center to the tallest point. 

If you would like to follow the same pilgrimage path then you can hire a guide who will take you along the pathways while explaining the different reliefs and their stories and meanings. You do not have to follow the entire journey but can see a few of the reliefs and then ascend to the top and enjoy the awe-inspiring view from the top. 

5. Ko Phi Phi, Thailand

If you are looking to take a rest and get some beach time in on your backpacking adventure across Southeast Asia, then Ko Phi Phi is the perfect place to slow down and take it easy. 

This coastal location has been featured in blockbuster movies, and its no wonder. While standing on the white sand beach you will look out onto the clear blue sea and tall jutting limestone karsts with the beautiful lush green mountains behind you. 

This is a great location to spend some time lounging on the beach or going for a swim. You can also hire a guide to take you out snorkeling or diving or a boat can take you around to see the sites and maybe keep an eye out for dolphins. 

After a relaxing day spent on the water, you might be ready for a little nightlife. Ko Phi Phi is well known for its parties where you can dance, have a cocktail, listen to some live music or watch a Muay Thai fight. 

6. Mount Kinabalu, Borneo

Mount Kinabalu is the tallest mountain in Borneo and is a sacred location for the indigenous tribes of Sabah. This mountain has been a sacred resting place for the dead and is a spiritual focal point to the tribe. 

These days Mount Kinabalu is a popular destination for those looking to climb to the top because it doesn’t require the person to be in peak physical condition. You can hire a guide to take you to the top over two days and camp overnight. If you plan on hiking, be sure to get a climbing pass ahead of time because there is a limited amount available each day. 

You can also explore the surrounding jungle or beautiful gardens of the area and visit some of the villages in the area to learn more about the local culture. 

Which Places Are You Excited to Visit? 

These are only some of the best places to visit in Southeast Asia, there are many more areas to explore. Which places are you excited to see on your backpacking adventure? 

Be sure to visit our website daily for more travel ideas, tips, and advice! 

 

Europe By Car: How to Plan a European Road Trip on a Budget

Do you yearn to spend a summer wandering through Europe? The idea that you can go wherever you want. Stay for as long as it feels right. Blend with the locals to get a true European experience.

Does your wanderlust have you dreaming of European roadways, cafes, and culture? It all sounds great until you imagine how to actually pay for it. 

Don’t give up on those dreams of days spent wandering European streets and sites. You can see Europe and do it on a tight budget. 

The secret is to see Europe by car. Car and not train? Yes, learn how to travel through Europe by car and stick to a budget too

Car Choice

What better way to road trip across Europe than to pack up the car and take to the open road? The most obvious question is what car to use. If you don’t live in Europe and have your own car, then you need to find access to a car to use for an extended period of time. 

If you are under the age of 25, many car rental companies put steep fees to rent to do a rental.

One option is to do a short term lease. Peugeot Open Europe offers short terms leases for a minimum of three weeks. To take advantage of their low cost, short term lease you must not be a resident in the European Union and be at least 18 years of age. 

Things to consider when traveling by car through Europe are how to insure the car. This is easy to do with a short term lease. You might also want to include roadside assistance since you will be driving in unfamiliar territory. 

You should also consider getting an international driver’s permit. This license certifies you to drive internationally. It often makes car rentals and leases easier to acquire. Learn more here about how to obtain an international driver’s permit.

When selecting a car, think about the fact that you are going to spend significant time in it. Will you want to sleep in it? How much space do you need to carry your belongings?  

Survival Things to Consider

Once you have secured a car, there are other things to think about before taking off driving across Europe. A car gives you freedom in a way that train schedules do not. But there are still some benefits to thinking about how you will get around Europe and live while doing it. 

Where Will You Sleep

Sure, you can use the car to wander from country to country, city to city. But where do you plan to sleep? For some looking to live on an uber tight budget, they plan to sleep in the car too. 

While this certainly is not the optimal situation for comfort, it does save money. You have to consider where can I park my car safely while I sleep. Some countries do not allow this, so be sure to consider local laws. 

Other options for inexpensive sleeping include camping or hostels. Both are less expensive than hotels but still may require planning ahead with reservations. 

Food and Drinks

Let’s face it, food in Europe is amazing. You want to be able to splurge on the gelato or pain au chocolat. But food and drinks can be real budget busters, so you need to do some planning. 

Plan to pack snacks and bring refillable water bottles. Buying a bottle of water or a snack each time you make a stop can add up fast. You might consider packing a “kitchen” box in your car. Then you can pack:

  • A wine opener (it is Europe, after all)
  • A can opener
  • A few plates, cups and cutlery
  • A knife for cutting cheese and bread (again, it is Europe)

Being able to buy food from a farm market or small grocery will greatly save over eating meals in restaurants. 

Set a Budget

If you want to do this inexpensively, you have to set a budget for yourself and keep it. If traveling around by car, gas will be the biggest expense. You should plan for the unexpected if you are traveling by car. You need to have a cushion in your budget for the potential flat tire or dead battery.

Consider how much you can spend. Subtract the cost of the car and expected gas based on the mileage you hope to cover. 

Even if you plan to sleep in the car some, you will occasionally need to pay for a place to stay so you can shower and do laundry. 

Establish a daily food budget. It will keep from making those impromptu purchases. Nothing wrong with a little splurge, as long as it doesn’t happen over and over again wreaking havoc on your budget. The food budget will also force you to plan ahead by using local markets to get food to travel with you.

You should also plan for some money in your budget for admission fees. Some of the sights you can’t miss while traveling, think the Colosseum or a ride down the Seine in Paris, will have fees. 

Outline a Route, Be Ready to Change It

The great thing about traveling by car is the flexibility it provides. You do not have to adhere to the strict schedules of using mass transportation. You can see where the road takes you and make spontaneous decisions to stay longer or investigate a place you find. 

Having said that, consider when a place will have the most tourists. When will holidays affect what you can see?

Make a dream list of where you want to see. Then plan the best route to navigate to those places. It might save gas and time to prevent you from doing a bunch of zigzagging if you don’t have a plan. 

Pack Strategically

It’s easy to think, you can pack all you want since you have a car versus getting on a plane or train. Remember, your car will be your home on your travels and you want it to have space and be organized. 

You will need to access things without having to unpack the whole car every time you want to get a sweater out of your bag. One suggestion is to pack boxes that represent different rooms in your home. You have a kitchen box with eating necessities. You have your bathroom box with a towel and toiletries. 

If you plan to sleep in your car, think about what you will need to for comfort while you sleep. 

Europe By Car, the Adventure of a Lifetime

No matter where you sleep, wandering your way around Europe is a fantastical adventure. It can be made even better with some planning and foresight. See Europe by car with an international driver’s permit, a car and some adventure in your soul. 

Learn more travel ideas by visiting our Travel Topics tab on our website. 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Get Stuck at Check-In: How to Update an Expired Passport

Planning your international travels is a lot of work. There are so many different factors you have to take into consideration when traveling abroad.

Do you know what you’re going to see, where you’re going to stay, what currency you’ll need, and so forth? Do you know what to do when your passport expires? Just keeping on top of the basics can be intense and time-consuming. 

Amongst so many other tasks, its easy to forget to think about your passport. Often, our passports are just something we take for granted. It’s easy to forget that your passport might’ve expired between your current trip and your last one, especially if the last time you traveled abroad was many years back. 

What can you do if your passport is no longer good and your trip is coming up? Read on, and we’ll walk you through what you need to know. 

Passport Expiration Basics

The reason many people forget to think about their passport is that they generally last quite a long time without the need for renewal. 

A new passport is good for 10 years (a whole decade!) without need for renewal. This applies to all people age 16 and up, while child passports actually need to be renewed slightly more frequently: every five years. 

If you’re unsure about your current passport status, you can find your expiration date by simply flipping your booklet open. The expiration date should be located clearly on the inside of the front cover. 

Planning Ahead For Your Trip

The renewal process for a passport isn’t complicated and should be easy to do, as long as you have enough time. It can take up to six weeks to receive a new passport, so it’s important to start the process far ahead of your planned date of departure. 

Some countries might require your passport to be valid for at least for six months before granting you entry to the country. This is a security measure intended to protect national security. Depending on where you’re traveling, you might need to have your passport renewed far ahead of time to make the trip. 

You don’t have to wait for your passport to expire in order to have it renewed. If you know you have travel plans coming up and don’t want to cut things close, you can renew it at any point during the 10 year period. 

Passports expire every 10 years when you’re 16 or older. Child passports (age 15 or younger) expire every five years.

What to Do When Your Passport Expires 

Luckily, renewing your passport doesn’t have to be a difficult process. In fact, you can go through the whole procedure from the comfort of your own home. 

What you’ll need to do is go online and find the passport renewal application form (known as form DS-82), and fill out the pertinent information. As long as your passport isn’t more than five years past the expiration date, you’ll be able to renew through the mail.

In addition to your application, you’ll need to include a payment fee and a new and updated passport photo. This photo can be printed cheaply through online carriers or at your local convenience store. 

Make sure to look closely at the passport photo requirements to ensure you’re sending in a photo that won’t be rejected. The last thing you want to do is draw out the application process even more by making an easily avoidable mistake.

Passport photos generally must be in color, printed on photo quality paper, and measure 2 by 2 inches in size. Most printers will be able to help ensure you’re meeting requirements when you go in to get your passport photo printed. 

The fee you’ll need to pay depends on if you’re requesting a book and card or just one or the other. Standard shipping should be free, but you’ll have to pay more if you need your application sent off in a hurry.

If you’ve gotten married since you’ve last updated your passport, you may need to provide a copy of your marriage license with your application. This will allow an official name change to be applied to your passport. 

Expedited Services

What if your trip’s around the corner and you just realized that your passport has expired? You wouldn’t be the first to make this mistake. 

Lucky for you, there are many expedited services that can help get your passport renewed much quicker. But they’ll cost significantly more for the speed. If you’re looking for passport or ESTA renewal, some extra cash can get things done even in a small period of time. 

Through traditional channels, expedited shipping usually costs around $60. There are also some companies and establishments that have relationships with the government and might be able to get your passport through the system faster, but for a fee. 

If you’re not sure of your passport or ESTA status, you can also check it online and see if you’re ready to travel or not. Checking ahead can ensure you don’t get turned away at the airport: a traveler’s worst nightmare. 

Dealing With an Expired Passport

No one wants the trouble of dealing with an expired passport, but eventually, everyone does. Knowing what to do when your passport expires can help save you a great deal of trouble when the inevitable comes to pass. As long as you’re prepared, it really doesn’t have to be too difficult! 

Need more help navigating potentially expensive life issues? Check out my family page for more advice.