6 Ways To Book Your Dream Vacation That Won't Break The Bank

6 Ways To Book Your Dream Vacation That Won't Break The Bank

Helpful tips to help you save money all while exploring the world.

Everyone has some sort of desire to travel and explore the world. Especially when you're in college, and young and want to experience new places. But traveling has a big, hefty price tag that comes along with it. So, how can you travel the world while spending the least amount of money?

1. Download the Hopper app.

The application Hopper lets you pick dates that you want to travel to by airplane. Once you pick your dates and the location you want to travel, the app will alert you when the best deals to buy your plane tickets are. It is quite amazing and a great money saver.

2. Staying in an Airbnb

Airbnb is also an application that lets you find very unique and fun places to stay at very reasonable prices while traveling. Almost 99% of the time, it will be much nicer than staying in a hotel and 100% cooler. Airbnb is available all over the world and lets you live like a local.

3. Hostels

Hostels are a great place to stay for very inexpensive. Normally, you can get a hostel for around $8-$12 a night. I am not even kidding. The setup of a hostel is almost like staying at an overnight camp, there are many bunk beds in one room and you are staying with other travelers. If you are uncomfortable to share a room with a stranger, you can pay extra to have a private room. Most hostels will offer free breakfast or lunch as well while you stay there.

4. Google Flights

Similar to the app Hopper, Google Flights will show you the cheapest days to fly to certain places. Not only will it do that, but it will also show you the cheapest places to travel from the airport closest to you. Google Flights will also tell you the airlines that are offering flights for the cheapest so you can save your money!

5. Pack Lightly

This is something that I struggle with all the time, but I have learned that you don't need to bring every article of clothing that you own with you on vacation. Not only will this give you a lighter load, but it will save you anywhere between $50- $100 to check your luggage instead of carrying it on the plane with you. Another way to save space in your suitcase is to wear your heaviest clothes on the place (sweaters, jeans, sneakers, etc.), this will save room in your suitcase and keep you warm on the plane

6. Local Excursions

Instead of paying hundreds of dollars to swim with dolphins, or tour a sacred city, take the local way and try to do what the locals do. I promise you, going to amazing beaches and hiking exquisite trails is going to save you so much more money and will enjoy it just as much.

Cover Image Credit: Alex Camerlengoo

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I Visited The "Shameless" Houses And Here's Why You Shouldn't

Glamorizing a less-than-ideal way to live.

After five hours of driving, hearing the GPS say "Turn right onto South Homan Avenue" was a blessing. My eyes peeled to the side of the road, viciously looking for what I have been driving so long for, when finally, I see it: the house from Shameless.

Shameless is a hit TV show produced by Showtime. It takes place in modern-day Southside, Chicago. The plot, while straying at times, largely revolves around the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. While a majority of the show is filmed offsite in a studio in Los Angeles, many outside scenes are filmed in Southside and the houses of the Gallagher's and side-characters are very much based on real houses.

We walked down the street, stopped in front of the two houses, took pictures and admired seeing the house in real life. It was a surreal experience and I felt out-of-place like I didn't belong there. As we prepared to leave (and see other spots from the show), a man came strolling down on his bicycle and asked how we were doing.

"Great! How are you?"

It fell silent as the man stopped in front of the Gallagher house, opened the gate, parked his bike and entered his home. We left a donation on his front porch, got back to the car and took off.

As we took the drive to downtown Chicago, something didn't sit right with me. While it was exciting to have this experience, I began to feel a sense of guilt or wrongdoing. After discussing it with my friends, I came to a sudden realization: No one should visit the "Gallagher" house.

The plot largely revolves the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. It represents what Southside is like for so many residents. While TV shows always dramatize reality, I realized coming to this house was an exploitation of their conditions. It's entertaining to see Frank's shenanigans on TV, the emotional roller coasters characters endure and the outlandish things they have to do to survive. I didn't come here to help better their conditions, immerse myself in what their reality is or even for the donation I left: I came here for my entertainment.

Southside, Chicago is notoriously dangerous. The thefts, murders and other crimes committed on the show are not a far-fetched fantasy for many of the residents, it's a brutal reality. It's a scary way to live. Besides the Milkovich home, all the houses typically seen by tourists are occupied by homeowners. It's not a corporation or a small museum -- it's their actual property. I don't know how many visitors these homes get per day, week, month or year. Still, these homeowners have to see frequent visitors at any hour of the day, interfering with their lives. In my view, coming to their homes and taking pictures of them is a silent way of glamorizing the cycle of poverty. It's a silent way of saying we find joy in their almost unlivable conditions.

The conceit of the show is not the issue. TV shows have a way of romanticizing very negative things all the time. The issue at hand is that several visitors are privileged enough to live in a higher quality of life.

I myself experienced the desire and excitement to see the houses. I came for the experience but left with a lesson. I understand that tourism will continue to the homes of these individuals and I am aware that my grievances may not be shared with everyone -- however, I think it's important to take a step back and think about if this were your life. Would you want hundreds, potentially thousands, of people coming to your house? Would you want people to find entertainment in your lifestyle, good and bad?

I understand the experience, excitement, and fun the trip can be. While I recommend skipping the houses altogether and just head downtown, it's most important to remember to be respectful to those very individuals whose lives have been affected so deeply by Shameless.

Cover Image Credit: itsfilmedthere.com

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I Went Paragliding In The Swiss Alps, And It Was Nothing Like I Could Have Ever Imagined

When I woke up in the morning, did I expect to be strapped to a Swiss lady named Judith, and then consequently run down a steep hill at full speed? Nope.


A lot of people have asked me how my spring break was, and I only thought it would be appropriate to sum up through my paragliding experience.

Paragliding in Switzerland is like football in America. You grow up hearing about it, your brother plays it, and even though you don't really understand the rules sometimes, you are a groupie anyway. Interlaken, especially, is known for paragliding.

Interlaken is a small town in the middle of Switzerland and in the middle of the Swiss Alps. If you take a 30-minute train ride, then you will find yourself close to one of the highest points in Europe. This place is absolutely insane. Like, "pinch me, is this real? I must be dreaming!" insane. Since this place is in the middle of the Alps, there are many opportunities to drive up random mountains, and run down them at full speed with a piece of cloth and a bunch of strings attached to you, because why not!!

So, here's what happens. You register online through a website that has a lot of capital letters and exclamation points, and you arrange a pickup spot where a guy in a van comes and tells you to get in. You then drive up a mountain for about an hour, while a guy with a thick accent and a good sense of humor explains to you how, when you get to the top, you are going to be strapped to an experienced paraglider and then you will collectively run down an extremely steep hill before you become lifted up and air bound.

This is exactly what happens. I was strapped to Judith, and Judith yelled "3, 2, 1, go!!" and I started to run down the steepest hill I have ever seen in my life, at full speed, until I eventually got lifted up, and there I was- air bound in the middle of the Swiss Alps, with a setting that seemed photoshopped.

That was my spring break. When I signed up for paragliding, I didn't expect to be told to run down a steep hill. I didn't expect it to be snowing at the top of the mountain. I didn't expect it to be as impactful as it was. But that's how traveling is. It's surprising, it's enlightening, and it will, quite literally, lift you off of your feet.

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