What Does Traveling Mean to You?

by Alex Schnee
( June 23rd, 2015 )

Travel Beach Sicily

We’ve all been there. You’ve come back home from one of your fantastic adventures and you can’t wait to share the details. You’ve already organized the photos you want to put on Facebook. You’ve picked out gifts for loved ones and you can’t wait to elaborate on your stories about the time you spent away. However, when you sit down with your friends over a cup of coffee, you find that they don’t want to hear about it.

Returning from a long journey like an extensive backpacking trip or living abroad as an expat can be a challenge to begin with. But you may find that you’re unexpectedly alone after returning to a place you love. The first time I returned from Venice to Montana, I was expecting to tell all my friends the stories I had accumulated during my time abroad. What I came to find was that very few people actually cared. Not that they didn’t care about me and whether or not that I had a good time, but few cared about the details or wanted to hear my experiences.

It took a few more trips for me to realize how personal travel really is. Even when you’ve made the decision to embark on an adventure with a traveling companion or two, you’re not going to have the same experience as they have had overall. There’s a reason travel encourages us to grow as individuals—each experience is unique to the traveler. Learning to recognize that your experiences are yours and yours alone and to enjoy them as your unique moments can make a huge difference in how you see future trips.

Although there might not always be someone who wants to hear about your adventures, it doesn’t really matter. Traveling should be an individual experience that should affect you most of all. Learning to travel for my own personal growth rather than seeing it conversation-starter has taught me a lot about myself as a person. It’s taught me that it’s okay to do things for myself and to enjoy experiences because I want to rather than in order to share them with other people.

What are the reasons you travel? Do you choose to travel alone on purpose in order to create memories for yourself? Do you disagree?

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Stolen or Lost Credit Card while Traveling? How to Deal

by Alex Schnee
( June 8th, 2015 )

Credit Card Stolen

Nothing is worse than dealing with a stolen credit card when you are traveling—I’ve never experienced it personally, but a few travelers I know have gone through this problem on the road and it has turned out to be a huge ordeal. You can spend an entire day trying to deal with having no funds and it can require much more than calling to cancel your card. I had a friend suggestion that I write about some tips when your credit card is stolen abroad and what you can do to prevent it.

Call your bank well ahead of time.

It’s surprising how many people forget to call their bank before they head abroad and find that they are stuck without a credit card because they forgot to let someone know they were traveling. Remember to call your bank at least two weeks in advance so you know that you’ll be set to head overseas. Also, it’s a good idea to have a way to call back to the States if you need to. I use Viber Out, so I can call any number in the US when I have wifi—including my bank and credit card company in case I am making a last-minute trip and need to let them know.

Keep multiple credit cards—and keep them in different places.

It’s a good idea to have a few credit cards on hand when traveling abroad, and you’ll also want to keep them in different locations. Take one with you when you go out and leave one behind in the hotel or hostel safe so you know if one is lost or stolen you have another as a backup. If you plan on taking both of them out, keep them in separate locations on your person. If your wallet is stolen and you have your two or three cards in there, it doesn’t help you to have multiple credit cards.

You can still use checks.

I didn’t know this, but my friend informed me that even if your credit or debit card has been locked because it has been stolen or lost, you can still write checks from your checking account. Also, make sure you have some cash out when you are traveling—it’s a good idea to have it as a backup in case something happens and you find that you no longer have any cards.

Have any tips for travelers? Ever lost a card before? How did you manage?

Image courtesy of MoneyBlogNewz.

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Sushi on a Budget: Eating in Tokyo

by Alex Schnee
( June 1st, 2015 )

Sushi in Tokyo

I was in Japan a few months ago, and usually when I tell other people they immediately comment on how expensive Tokyo can be and how they went their wallet in about three days. Well, I am here to tell you that this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case—especially in regards to the food. You can find some amazing dining options in Tokyo without spending more than you feel comfortable with. Just because you are a budget traveler doesn’t mean you have to skip out! Here are some things I found helpful when in Japan and trying to stay on budget.

Look for restaurants off the main streets.

This can apply pretty much anywhere you travel to, but especially in Tokyo, you want to see if you can find a location or two in a place you wouldn’t expect. Some of my favorite restaurants that I ate at in Tokyo were in the basements underneath stores. You have to do a bit more looking, but it’s worth it in order to find a traditional meal that you’ll remember.

Know which areas are expensive.

As with most cities, different areas have different price ranges, and Tokyo is no exception. I was staying in the Shin-Juku area and was surprised to find that down the block you would end up paying 2000 or 3000 yen for a meal while if you walked down the street a bit you could find a giant meal with dumplings and sushi for 1000 or 1500.

Avoid spots where the menu is in English.

The locals know that if you speak English, you’re probably a tourist. So choosing a spot with the menu solely in Japanese can ensure that you are at a location where the locals go. Don’t worry—most of the wait staff usually can speak English if you are worried about communicating. And if not, that’s part of the fun. You might not know what you are getting, but that is one of the best parts of travel—experiencing something new.

Head to the grocery store.

You know you’re in the place with the best sushi when you can go to the store and pick up some amazing options. My friend and I picked up sushi from the grocery store several nights because not only was it easy and cheap, but it was also delicious. Just because you are low on funds doesn’t mean you need to miss out on some of the amazing food Japan has.

Have you been to Tokyo? Have any tips for budget-minded travelers?

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