Smart Travel Tips for Entrepreneurs

These Won’t Bust Your Budget!

This is a guest post by freelance writer and aspiring businessman Michael Baker.

photo of coffee cup and glasses with scene of lovely beach symbolizing Smart Travel Tips for Entrepreneurs These Won't Bust Your Budget!Are you a new biz boss? An entrepreneur on a shoestring budget? Looking for the best travel options and locations within a strict budget can be overwhelming. But here are the latest smart travel tips to get the most out of your next vacation – without wrecking your budget!

Do you remember the line: “Ya gotta squeeze every penny” from the Simpsons? Even if you don’t, it still holds value in its straight forward message of being frugal where ever you can in order to save money.

Everyday there are numerous opportunities for us to save money in our busy lives, but what about when you travel?

Have you ever wondered, “What if I booked at this time,  or through this website? How much could I have saved?” Are the savings worth it compared to the amount of time you spend searching for the best deals?


Timing is Everything

The timing of your trip can determine how much over or under budget you will be. Going somewhere during peak periods means you will pay the most for your accommodation, food, transport and any activities you want to enjoy while you are there. So if you can, travel in the off season. There will be a lot less crowding in tourist hot spots, too.

A great example of this is Myrtle Beach, one of the best coastal beach locations to visit on a tight budget. Myrtle Beach is particularly good in off season periods where there is still plenty to do in the area but without the summer crowds.

Also, if you can be flexible with travel dates and allow yourself plenty of time to book, you will be able to hunt down the best deal.

Getting There Is Part of the Fun!

All across America, and the world, there are always hidden gems between major cities and holiday locations. If you have the time and can plan accordingly, a cheaper way to travel is by car. Of course, taking your own car can turn out to be expensive, so why not someone else’s?

Auto Driveaway is a great money saving option when it comes to travelling. They are a car relocation company which allows people to transport cars all across the country. They’ll give you a car, your first tank of gas and a certain amount of time and miles to get from Point A to Point B, usually between two major cities. But, there are some requirements. To use Auto Driveway,  you must be at least 23 years old, hold a current driver’s license and a current motor vehicle driver’s record.

Road tripping is a great way to see parts of the country you haven’t experienced before. One of the best road trip experiences you could have is the trip along the Pacific Coast Highway. This is a trip everyone should embark on at least once during their lifetime.

Riding the Rails

Travelling by train is another great way to save a few dollars. Some rail packages include sleeping accommodations and meals. Group packages are usually available which can help keep costs down on a family vacation or group trip.  Check out the railway options for getting to your next vacation spot!

Smart Travel Tips for Flying

If you want to fly, look for flights that land at regional airports. You’ll be surprised how much money you can save on ticket prices and sales taxes if your destination is near a regional airport.

Which Budget is a search engine that can help you find budget airlines and flights to regional airports. If you are planning to fly internationally, The Flight Deal, has great prices when travelling from the USA. It’s worth checking them out before you book your next trip

Get the Best Deals on Lodging

Where you choose to stay on your business trip or vacation can take a big chunk out of your travel budget. But you can easily offset this cost to being almost nothing. Here are a few ways how you can save on where you stay.

Feeling Adventurous?

Airbnb is a great way to save a lot of money on your accommodation. You have options for single rooms or shared spaces from about $30 – $40 per night. With this service, even a large group can stay together in one house. This is one of the best ways to save a bundle on group accommodation.

Couchsurfing is another great option for not just cheap, but free accommodations. Nope, I’m not suggesting crashing with your friends or family for a few nights. Couchsurfing is an online service similar to AirBnB that helps you connect with local folks willing to share their home at your destination. The added benefit is your new friends can offer great advice on finding those hidden gems mentioned earlier, like local night spots.

Tried and True

If you like sticking to what you know then last-minute deals on Priceline or Hotwire can get you rooms over 60% off the normal price. You are able to bid for rooms, but if you decide to do this, use the website Better Bidding to see how much others have paid for similar hotels and rooms.

Eating on The Cheap

Eating the local cuisine is a great way to experience the different cultures the world has to offer. But your food budget can easily blow out too much more than you would expect.  Paying for three meals a day adds up fast!  So, let’s take a look at how you can keep your food expenses down.

The easiest way to keep your food budget under control is to avoid eating out for every meal. The locals don’t so why should you? Don’t be afraid to visit the local supermarket and see what the area has to offer. Eating “in” for at least one or two meals each day will keep costs down.

When You Eat Out – Avoid the Madding Crowd

This may seem obvious enough when it comes to not spending too much, but it is something people often forget. Don’t stand in line at the top tourist eateries. Instead, try walking for a few blocks in any direction to try find where the locals eat. There is a good chance the food will be twice as good for a fraction of the price.

Follow your nose! In many places around the world, like Asian regions, you will come across side streets filled will food stalls. Usually, the cooking is done right in front of you and fills the surrounding area with some of the best aromas you will ever experience. You might need to be a little adventurous to try this, but low prices make it even more enticing.

More Smart Travel Tips

One of the best ways to save on business travel is to ask for corporate discounts. It doesn’t matter the size of your company, or your travel group. Most major airlines, hotels and car rental agencies have corporate discount programs. Some offer discounts as high as 25%.

A traditional travel agent can help you get corporate discounts, and may have their own incentive programs to save you even more.  If you are a frequent traveller, there are many opportunities to save a few dollars here and there through a good travel agent on each trip.

Another cost-saving method is to join frequent flyer miles programs and rewards clubs. Credit card companies usually have offers where you get points for every dollar you spend with one of their rewards partners. You will find many hotel and car rental companies participate in rewards programs.

To ensure you are able to save yourself the most money on your next trip – be flexible, allow plenty of time when booking your travel dates, and don’t be afraid to do a little homework yourself.

Have you used any of these smart travel tips? Do you have your own money-saving travel tips? Please share in the comments below!

Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos via Pixabay cc

Stress Free Holiday Shopping Tips You Can Use Now

planningCrush Debt With An Effective Financial Plan

Holiday spending is a notorious budget buster, but with Stress Free Holiday Shopping Tips You Can Use Now your fall and winter holidays can be affordable, satisfying and fun!

A Debt Free Holiday is a Stress Free Holiday

Holidays are stressful enough without the worry and regret of additional debt. Being in debt just plain sucks! Are you struggling with debt, and feel like you are getting deeper and deeper? Stop digging and start planning!

If you are dreaming about starting your own business but can’t afford to leave your day job, that’s another reason to stop the same spending pattern and start planning.

Cut the worry and guilt and avoid adding debt by starting your stress free holiday shopping now in the top three budget busting categories: travel, gifts and food.

It is all well and fine to tell yourself that this year you are going to be frugal, but let’s be real. Instead of giving out adorably boxed home-made cookies, are you likely to end  up in line at the mall in December with a big load of guilt and a smoking hot credit card in hand?

Plan your spending and shopping strategies now. Come the New Year, you can look back at a holiday season that did not leave you in more debt! You’ve got this!

Take Advantage of Tax Free Shopping

When football season is kicking off and every store is packed with back- to-school promotions. Keep an eye out for tax free shopping days in your region.

Each year, more and more states offer tax-free shopping days or weeks for consumer goods ranging from clothing to computers! It is perfectly legit to snag a few things off your holiday shopping list during the tax-free period.

The good news is, you do not have to have a third grader in tow to take advantage of the sales! Nor do you have to be a resident of the state. Take advantage of the sales and reduced taxes to score some planned for purchases for the coming holidays.

Start Now for Stress Free Shopping for Holiday Travel Deals

The United States Department of Transportation reports that the Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Year’s holiday periods are among the busiest long-distance travel periods of the year. With higher demand comes higher pricing.

If you haven’t already, now is the time to start shopping for holiday travel tickets for you or for family members. Especially if you are planning to fly, shopping now is a very good plan. Not only will you be able to get better prices, you are more likely to get the flight you want before it fills up.

Don’t forget to look for hotel deals if you will not be bunking at Grandma’s or if the family is driving over a period of days. Remember a heated indoor pool is a great way to wear out kids who have been stuck in the back seat all day, especially if you can book that room at a reduced rate!

We Love Lay-Away for Holiday Gift Shopping

Thank goodness for the reappearance of the “Lay Away” plan at so many large retailers!  This old-fashioned payment method is a great way to avoid going into debt for holiday spending.

The revival of the Lay Away payment plan lets you buy your gifts now and divide up the payments between now and the holiday. You get to do your shopping early enough to avoid the rush and avoid any debt!

Since the gifts stay at the store until they are paid for, you don’t have to worry about hiding toys and bicycles from curious kids!

Most Law Away plans require 10 to 20% down with the remaining amount paid over a six to eight week period.

How it works: Say you have $300 worth of presents to lay-away. Most stores have a small lay-away fee of around $5. If you then put down 20% that would be $60 for a total to start of $65. You will then pay $30 each week for eight weeks.

Shop and lay-away now. You will have all your gifts paid off and ready to wrap the first half of December. Free and clear, with no January credit card hangover! How cool is that?

Rock Your Holiday Food Shopping

How many big meals and traditional recipes do you prepare every year? Are you expecting house guests in coming months? Do you tend to run to the store for your cooking and baking supplies a few days before the big event?

The grocery stores tend to offer attractive holiday specials or loss-leaders during the week or two before major holidays. Those bargains are designed get you in the store with the expectation that you will buy all the things you need while you are there. Yup,  even if the rest of the items on your list are not on sale.

Spread It Out

You don’t have to make yourself crazy trying to find rock-bottom prices on every item.

Control your spending and give yourself a little breathing room. Instead of stressing, plan your major holiday meals now! Include a complete “master list” of ingredients for all your special meals, treats and party foods.

Want a little extra help with planning holiday cooking? I really like the free meal planner sheets from the Organized Home site.

Look over your master list for items that may be safely stored for longer periods. Long shelf-life items are canned goods, frozen foods and baking supplies. Remember non-food items that run out faster during holidays. Stock up on toilet paper, napkins and paper plates!

Start now to pick up a few things from your list every time you go grocery shopping. You can spread the cost over several weeks. Bonus: You won’t be dragging it in the house and putting it all away at the same time. Win-Win!

Remember to mark the items off your Master List. Look at what you have accomplished!

Planning now for your holiday travel, gift giving and special meals will keep you out of debt and give you more time to enjoy your holidays.

Do you have some budget areas that are a problem? Would you like more tips for Stress Free Holiday Shopping? Leave your questions and comments below!

Three Important Reasons to Inventory Your Business Resources Before The New Year

Taking inventory of your business resources now will help you be prepared for 2016!
What did you buy for your business this year?

Have you spent any money on your business in 2015? What did you get? If you are a current business owner or preparing to launch a business in the new year, now is the time to inventory your resources!

There are several good reasons to take stock of your business-related purchases, and here are my top three:

Many, if not all, of your business expenses may be tax deductible. Make sure you have your documentation ducks in a row so you are ready for tax season.

Reviewing your purchases will help you project your expenses for 2016. What did you get in 2015 that you will want to replace or renew? Do you have supplies in house that you can use for future new products?

What did you forget you got? Seriously. Did you sign up for of online courses, workbooks or inspirational e-books to help you be a faster, better and smarter biz wiz that you haven’t completed or even started yet? Your first impression was probably right – this is good stuff – so don’t waste it! Add these resources to your inventory list, and calendar appropriate blocks of time in the coming months use them.


Yeah, well. This category requires a bit of a confession for me, because I cannot possibly justify all my planner purchases as strictly business related. I just happen to enjoy planners and stationary and pretty pens and …. That said, there are some administrative costs that can be attributed to your business, even if they are adorned with bows and stickers, so put them on your list.


This year I launched my website so I purchased my domain name, web hosting through Bluehost and after a hellish week of trying to customize a free theme, I bought a wonderful responsive WordPress theme from BluChic .

These are all service expenses, some recurring, that are strictly business related and should be in your inventory. Also track your costs for paid mail services, payment processing, social network scheduling, and any other business widget or online function you purchased or subscribed to.

Did you use a virtual assistant, web designer or project manager? The cost of hiring staff should be in your inventory, even if the job was short-term, like the company I hired to help design my company logo this year.


Definitely consult with your tax professional to see if any online courses you have purchased in 2015 with qualify as a business-related deduction. Not all business courses may qualify as a tax deduction, but they are still important resources that should be on you inventory list.

Courses and webinars you have already completed will be worth re-visiting after you have more business experience. Lessons that you had as a newbie business owner will have a greater significance when they are no longer just a concept and you are handling that issue for real!

Equipment and Supplies

Some of you produce tangible goods for sale like soap, jewelry, home décor, or planner supplies. The materials that you purchased to make your product and the equipment you use for your business should be in your inventory.

My production this year has been digital in the form of images and written content, but I still bought equipment for my business, such as my Surface Pro and word processing software. For creating my own blog photos and in anticipation of making videos, I also purchased studio lights, a DSLR photo lens for my styled shots, and my tripod adapter and microphone … all through Amazon!

What kind of resources did you get for your business this year? What gave you the most bang for your buck? Please share your best and worst in the comments below!

Living Within Your Means – Why You Should Be Planning To Shop Now!

Plan your holiday shopping now!

Hi there! My name is Debra. I have been married for 38 years and raised two children while living a frugal lifestyle. We own a lovely home and are totally debt-free.

Would you like to be comfortable and debt-free? You can do it. I am here to share my experience and tips that will help you Live Within Your Means.

What? How will it help you Live Within Your Means if you get in the car and go shopping?

If you are struggling with debt, and feel like you are getting deeper and deeper, the first order of business is to stop digging. Stop digging and start planning.

If you are dreaming about starting your own business but can’t afford to leave your day job, that’s another reason to stop the same spending pattern and start planning.