Budget-friendly Gift Ideas for Any Traveler
'Tis the season for giving!—and the season for inboxes full of promotional emails, busy schedules, and endless, end-of-year to-do lists. Shopping can add a lot of stress this time of year, but we've got a few ideas that can help. Whether your gift list includes an avid traveler or just someone who enjoys the occasional day trip, we've got a great list of budget-friendly picks and stocking stuffers that are both practical and thoughtful. Please remember: If you purchase through our links, we may earn a commission from our partners, thanks for your support!
The Charging Cable That Does It All
This Mr Bio Eco Friendly Universal Compact Multi Charging Cable is a multi-adapter cable that can charge all kinds of devices and only costs around $15. It features a patented dual USB/USB type C power in and power out tips to Apple lightning connector, USB type C, and micro USB tips. Bonus points: the company works hard to make their product environmentally-friendly, as it is created with a bio-degradable enclosure and woven-paper cable made out of recycled plastic bottles.
A Power Bank for Off-the-Grid Adventure
This solar-charged power bank will keep your devices up and running no matter how long the next hike takes! Perfect for camping and backpacking trips, users can keep devices charged without having to track down an outlet thanks to this product's front solar panel and dual USB ports. It even features a built-in flashlight. For those travelers not going to far into the wild, these power banks can still save the day when it comes to airport layovers or outings to busy theme parks when searching for an outlet for a mid-day charge is unsuccessful.
Family trips, road trips, and extended stays in hotels are made infinitely easier with simple and quick laundry solutions like stain pens and these Tide Travel Sink packets. Maybe not the fanciest gift on the list, but a perfect fit for the ultra-practical packer or parent-turned-travel agent in your life.
The Perfect Travel Pillow
Sometimes the journey isn't always as fun as the destination. Make trains, planes, and automobiles a lot more manageable by gifting a comfy travel pillow, like this Samsonite Magic Travel Pillow. This one can be switched between a U-shaped pillow or a square shape, comes with a travel clip for easy transport, and weighs a mere half a pound. Add earbuds and a sleeping mask to make a perfect package for light sleepers.
A Memory Journal
A simple journal for writing down thoughts, reflections, memories, or even sketches can be a great easy-to-pack activity for anyone on the go. All that's needed is a beautiful blank notebook and maybe a nice set of pens, and you've got a incredible thoughtful and open-ended gift. For those that especially love the process of writing, though, this one from Promptly Journals is specifically designed for documenting vacations with space for everything from pre-departure plans to post-journey takeaways.
A Germ-Busting UVC Sanitizer
Nothing ruins a trip more than a surprise illness—and yet, sometimes it's hard to avoid when passing through busy airports and cities along the way. This U-V-C Sanitizer Portable Case eliminates some of the stress for the germ-conscious traveler, featuring a compact size that can still easily fit items like jewelry and earbuds. For an added touch, throw in some other handy health items like lozenges and wipes and you've got a perfect travel care package.
Road-Trip Safety Kit
For solo travelers and those that prefer to hit the open road, this roadside emergency kit that includes jumper cables, a head lamp, and simple first aid tools can save the day when things don't go quite as planned—especially when cell service is spotty and gas stations are far between.
A Portable Hammock
Some travelers, like the minimalist backpacker, prefer to pack light, making shopping for them even harder. A portable hammock can be a great item for campers and hikers that want to pack efficiently. This AnorTrek Camping Hammock comes in a dozen colors, weighs just over a pound, and can be set up in seconds.
Reminders of Trips Past
Homesick Candles makes a perfect, sentimental gift for those who may be nostalgic for a place or city that they've always loved visiting in the past. Choose from scents inspired by specific locations, like "Southern California" or "New York City," or more general travel themes like "Ski Trip" and "Beach Cottage."
Gear for Efficient Packing
Sometimes, it's hard to pack light—and for some people, it can be nearly impossible. For those that like having lots of outfit options, lean towards being over-prepared, or simply just want to make the most of their suitcase capacity, these affordable packing cubes help keep everything organized and compact. For the chronic over-packer, save them a headache at the airport luggage weigh-in with this handy luggage scale.
The Top 6 Apps to Help You Save For Your Next Vacation
Bored of your daily routine? Want to relax on a sunny beach or on top of a freezing mountain? A long vacation helps you remove your boredom and rejuvenate with freshness to better battle the daily chores. However, we know many of you, perhaps, are worried about budgeting your vacation. Where does the money come from? What if we tell you that we found the top 7 apps to help you save for your next vacation? Isn't it exciting to let an app manage your budget and keep you on track for your dream holiday? On top of it, we selected these apps carefully so that even a non-tech-savvy person can use them with relative use. Yay for user-friendly technology! #1 - Mint Mint, without a doubt, is the most widespread and renowned budget app. With its intuitive usage and maximum coverage, the app helps in every financing activity of our daily lives. Using Mint, you can track your expenditure, pay bills, and check your credit score with relative ease. You can also link your credit and debit cards and your bank account with the app to record all your financial information. It's just one click away! What's more, Mint is highly secured; you won't have to worry about losing your private information. The best benefit of Mint is it's free and easy to use. Using Mint, you can save your money for tours in the best places to spend a vacation around America. #2 - Qapital Qapital may not be as famous as YNAB or Mint, but it does the job of managing your goals for any plan with perfection. The clever app allows you to set financial goals for different purposes, including your next trip. Once you set your targeted amount and probable date for the trip, the app takes you to a customized screen. Here you can set rules for your expenditure to fulfill your goals. It's AI technology will help you tailor the rules and maximize a user-friendly experience. What's more, once you have set the goal, it will assign an attractive photo next to the rules. As it keeps showing you the progress, you will feel motivated. Last but not least, the app is available on all platforms, including websites, iOS, and Android. #3 - YNAB YNAB is another popular financial and budgeting app for all people. So, you may be already familiar with its name. YNAB stands for You Need A Budget and lets you set a goal for every penny you earn. You can quickly split your budget for housing, lodging, food, and not to mention your future vacation. Since you can split your earnings and keep a record of your spending with a few clicks on the mobile screen, it simply just makes your life easier. Once you set your next vacation goal, the app will update you about the progress. The only downside? You'll need to pay $99 for a year or $14.99 a month once the trial period gets over. But isn't it worth it for your dream vacation? #4 - Trabee Pocket Trabee Pocket is a dedicated app to help you save for your next vacation. The app permits you to set different goals for different requirements of your daily life, including trips and tours. The best feature of the app is its ability to switch and swap between other currencies, which allows you to know exactly how much you need for your favorite tour in the proper currency. Also, it differentiates between your credit and cash purchases, helping you out with how much you have left. It is an excellent way to stop over-expenditure that may deter you from going on your holidays. This feature can be game-changing for those who use travel rewards for credit cards. Also, knowing which credit card offers more flexibility in your post-vacation payment is a winning moment even before your tour. The app is free and available on both Android and iOS platforms. #5 - Digit Are you having trouble budgeting your money and deciding how much you can save each month from visiting somewhere like Disney World or Navagio Beach? Fret not…. Digit, with its nearly endless features, is ready to do the job for you. Once you download the app and connect it with your bank account, and set your vacation goal, it will automatically pull money from the account. So, budgeting and managing your next vacation will get easier and simpler. Once you set your goals, Digit uses its intelligent AI and algorithm to check your daily expenses, purchasing habits, monthly income, and vacation expenditure. Then, it will start deducting money and pull it into your savings without troubling your mind. So, you will save a good amount without even knowing about it. The app offers 30 days of a free trial. After that, you need to pay $5 while signing up. What's more, it provides a 1% saving bonus every 3 months based on your daily spending. #6 - Acorns Is there anyone who hasn't used a piggy bank in their childhood? If kept securely in a piggy bank, even a tiny amount of change and spare money can become a substantial amount over time. Acorns have embraced this concept and applied it to help you save for the next dream vacation. It is a micro-investing intuitive app. The app permits you to save your spare change and get a profitable return according to your goal. You can connect your credit and debit card along with banking information as well. The intelligent algorithm of the app will then transform your spending and purchases into round figures and save the excess amount to return as a good savings strategy. And better yet, it starts merely at $3, and the app is user-friendly with great instructions and an eye-catching design. So, what's your next holiday destination? Set your goal and let one of these apps take charge to fulfill your dream. You will love how these apps will save your money without troubling you daily and fulfills your vacation requirement for a refreshed lifestyle.
Tips For Protecting Your Identity On The Road
As a woman who travels solo to do research, I’ve learned that there’s more to traveling safely than just being aware of my surroundings and staying away from sketchy hotels. Keeping one step ahead of identity thieves is just as important as keeping yourself physically safe. Whether you’re traveling alone, with a companion—or even with a group—these tips should help make your trip hassle-free and keep your personal identity safe while you’re on the road. Many of these suggestions are common sense. Some of them are so simple that you’ll wonder why you haven’t been doing them all along. None of them take much time or effort, but all of them will save you the financial cost and personal pain of having your identity stolen. BEFORE YOU GO Notify Credit Card Companies: I learned the hard way that you should notify your credit card company or financial provider that you will be traveling (so they don’t block your card as a security measure when you try to pay the bill at an out-of-town restaurant). Most of them have an automatic phone system that makes it as simple as answering a few yes and no questions. As technology improves, the bigger credit card companies already know you’re traveling through your purchase of airline tickets or booking of a hotel or rental car. Check Your Latest Credit Card Bill: Along the same lines, it’s good to check your credit card bill before you go on a trip. That way you’ll be able to easily spot any new charges that look suspicious upon your return. Big Tip: Don’t wait until you’re in a hotel room or an airport to pay your bills or check your bank account! To avoid exposing sensitive information online when traveling, do your bill paying and checkbook reconciliation before you go. Clean Out Your Purse. I always clean out my purse for two reasons. One, I do a lot of walking when I’m traveling and I want it to be as light as possible. Secondly, my wallet has a lot of extra things in it like gift cards, store cards, etc. that are just unnecessary. I only take what I absolutely need, which is usually two credit cards and some cash. (I recommend taking at least two credit cards, since one could be turned down and then you have a backup. I never had a credit card refused in my life until I was in Las Vegas—and that was because I didn’t call ahead of time and tell them I was traveling). Tell The Post Office: Hold your mail and use informed delivery. You can set up informed delivery through the U.S. Postal Service to receive an email listing of the scanned mail that was delivered. When you return, you can identify any missing items. Holding your mail lessens the likelihood that you’ll have any problems. DURING YOUR TRIP Make Copies: I always worry about what could happen—not what is likely to happen—so I’m all about protecting and duplicating everything I can. Lots of people store their valuables in a hotel safe, but you should be just as careful with your traveling documents—especially your passport. For added security, take a picture of passports and credit cards in case your wallet is lost or stolen. Protect Your Boarding Pass: Use mobile passes when you can, but if you print a paper ticket for backup (raising my hand), make sure you rip it into pieces when discarding. Boarding passes reveal full names and travel destinations. Avoid Remote ATMS: Remote ATMs are more likely to have skimmers attached or cameras that can capture your password data. Also, do you really want to withdraw money from that ATM in the dark, empty-looking parking garage? Social Media...Just No: Don’t share too much while you’re traveling. You can tell everyone about your trip on Facebook and Instagram when you get back. Avoid Public Wi-Fi: This is a hard (if not impossible) one. At the very least, don’t use your computer or phone for anything that could reveal personal or financial data. WHEN YOU RETURN Change Your Passwords: I’m trying to make this a habit because it’s probably the most important thing to protect your identity. Even if you’re not traveling it’s a good idea to change your passwords every few months. Do A Checkup: Don’t wait too long to check your bank and credit card accounts for anything that looks suspicious. Do it while any purchases from the trip are still fresh in your mind. FINAL NOTES I enjoy traveling alone because I can explore at my own pace and change my schedule if necessary. But the freedom to do what I want doesn’t mean I can let my guard down when it comes to protecting my personal identity. If you do a lot of traveling or are traveling abroad, it might be worth the peace of mind to sign up for one of the many of the companies that provide identity protection services or credit monitoring. Also, check with your credit card company. Many of them offer protection as part of their plan. Taking the necessary steps to safeguard my identity is slowly becoming second nature to me when I travel. I hope these tips help you travel safely as well. Happy Travels! Jessica James is an award-winning author who shares her passions for history and travel by writing about little-known destinations and historical sites on her blog www.pastlanetravels.com.
5 Unique Things to Do in New York City
New York City the “The City that Never Sleeps” is a city that needs no introduction, of course. The Statue of Liberty, Central Park, the Museum of Natural History, the Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Empire State Building and broadway are all staples of a NYC visit. If you are looking for something different then the regular tourist stops New York has that too! Check out these 5 unique NYC experiences. Note: If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission from our partners - thank you! 1. The Fluffy Cloud: An Immersive Music & Lightshow Photo courtesy of feverup.com September 24th, 2022 8 p.m. – 2 a.m. at Under the KDuration: 6 hoursCost: $80 - 21+ with valid ID The Fluffy Cloud Experience is more than a concert: it is a radical rethinking of what a live music and arts experience can—and should—be. Experience the world's only 360 degree overhead immersive sound system and lightshow featuring some of the world's best electronic dance music artists. It has stunning special effects, live music, interactive art and games, wellness experiences, food, drinks...and, of course, the show’s centerpiece, The Fluffy Cloud itself. Towering 3 stories high, this act of artistic lunacy offers more than meets the eye. Behind its fluffy exterior, 33,000 LEDs and an unprecedented 360-degree 60,000 watt sound system roars over guests’ heads, creating a one-of-a-kind immersive space where you are not so much listening to sound, but being bathed by it. Capable of hitting frequencies 30% lower than any other sound system on the market, it's hard to explain such a unique experience in writing—you just have to see it (and feel it) for yourself! Get Tickets for The Fluffy Cloud 2. The FRIENDS™ Experience: The One in New York City Photo courtesy of feverup.com Starting August 2022 Wednesdays–Sundays at 130 E 23rd St, New York City, NYDuration: 60 minutes Cost: $50 - $65 Children ages 3and under enter free Step inside the world of FRIENDS™! With two floors of immersive experiences, it’s the ultimate experience for FRIENDS™ fans. You can pose on the iconic orange couch, sit at Monica & Rachel’s kitchen table, kick back and relax in Joey and Chandler’s comfy chairs, Dance in front of the fountain and so much more. Get Tickets for the FRIENDS™ Experience 3. Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience Photo courtesy of feverup.com October - December Mondays–Sundays, 5:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. in the woods of Franklin D. Roosevelt State ParkDuration: 60–90 minutes (the walking trail will take approx. 45–75 minutes)Cost: $45 - $56 Children ages 4 and under enter free As the days get shorter and the nights grow longer, enchanting creatures and magical beasts inspired by the Wizarding World come to life in a spellbinding Forbidden Forest. Now is your chance to see these curious inhabitants illuminated! Embark on a bewitching journey through a misty forest trail full of magic and wonder, and discover unexpected surprises around every corner. Ready your wand and cast spells, come face-to-face with Hippogriffs and Centaurs, and experience breathtaking moments based on scenes from the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films. After all the excitement, an enchanting village will welcome you with warm food and a blazing fire. Don't miss this opportunity to step foot into our experience inspired by the wizarding world. Get Tickets for this Harry Potter Experience 4. Candlelight: A Tribute to Adele Photo courtesy of feverup.com September 16 at 6:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. at St. Ann & the Holy Trinity ChurchDuration: 65 minutes (doors open 60 mins prior to the start time and late entry is not permitted) - 8 years old or older. Anyone under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adultCost: $45 -$65 Candlelight concerts bring the magic of a live, multi-sensory musical experience to awe-inspiring locations like never seen before in New York City. Get your tickets now to discover the music of Adele by the Highline String Quartet at St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church under the gentle glow of candlelight. Get Tickets for this Candlelight Concert 5. The Fans Strike Back: The Largest Star Wars Fan Exhibition Photo courtesy of feverup.com Sunday through Monday starting August - September 2022 at 526 6th Avenue Duration: 60 minutes all ages welcome, however the VR experience is designed only for ages 14 and aboveCost: $45 -$65 The Empire had its chance; this time, The Fans Strike Back! Get ready for the largest exhibition in the saga of fan-made Star Wars events. You’ll find photos, posters, costumes, figures, and models of different types and sizes—all official objects bought by Star Wars fans. There will also be a green chroma to take pictures in the Star Wars universe. It’s a perfect plan for the whole family, from the youngest Padawan to the wisest Jedi master! Get Tickets for The Fans Strike Back
Board or Dog Sitter - Which Is Cheaper Across the U.S.?
Fido is not just a pet––he’s family. Of course, we want our canine companions to join the fam on every vacation, but more often than not, there are cases where our furry family member(s) simply can’t come. Alas, not every trip is pet-friendly. As a result, one of the most common questions for vacation-bound pet parents remains: who on earth is going to watch my dog? We know how stressful it can be to leave your pup behind. We also know that it’s no easy feat, finding the best possible care for them without breaking the bank. Many turn to platforms like Rover.com in order to book trusted, vetted pet sitters, but these costs can vary quite a bit depending on your location. CertaPet dove into the costs of boarding your dog at a sitter’s home vs. hiring a dog sitter to come to your own home in the 50 most populous cities around the U.S.Courtesy of CertaPet Out of 50 of the largest cities, 10 came out on top for saving the most annually from boarding vs. sitting, based on a two-week vacation. Two cities claimed the top two spots by having an annual savings of over $300 each! Philadelphia landed the number one spot for saving $336.70 per year by boarding vs. sitting, and Los Angeles came in second place for saving $335.30 per year. Atlanta, San Francisco, Tampa, and St. Louis are all in the $200 club, and Denver, Detroit, Houston, and Providence all have annual savings between $180-$200. Overall, every city shows some amount of savings for boarding over sitting except for one, Minneapolis. In Minneapolis, the average cost to board your furry friend in a sitter’s home matches the cost of a pet sitter watching your pup at your house; so, Minneapolis folks should take advantage of Rover’s “sitting” option, where your dog can be cared for in a familiar environment. Averaging $30.45 per night, Oklahoma City has the cheapest rate for boarding your pooch at a sitter’s house. St. Louis, Jacksonville, and Memphis also offer low rates, all under $32 per night. New York has the highest cost per night for boarding your canine pal at $61 per night. Averaging $59.25 per night, boarding is pretty steep in both San Jose and San Francisco as well. Courtesy of CertaPet Let’s face it though, sometimes comfort is worth paying a little extra. If you would prefer that your dog stays in the comfort of your own home with a sitter, there are a few cities where your pup can do so cost-efficiently. Indianapolis is the cheapest city in the U.S. for hiring a pet sitter at $36.45 per night on average. There are also several cities where the cost difference for in home sitting vs boarding is under $3 extra a night - San Antonio ($2.75), Chicago ($2.55), Nashville ($2.50), Salt Lake City ($2.35), San Diego ($1.50) and Indianapolis ($.30). Whatever way you decide be sure to go with the option that is best for your pet's comfort and yours! You can view the full study here from CertaPet. CertaPet specializes in US and Canada with a focus on providing clinical services to individuals who are seeking animal-assisted interventions as part of their treatment planning.