Category Archives: Funny Travel Money

Sometimes, HOSTEL-ity is Necessary

When you come back here, think about staying at my hostel,’ Mel, the owner of Roatan Backpackers stated to me in 2011.

Wait.
Maybe I heard wrong.
Just maybe she flipped the letters ‘s’ and ‘l’ around and meant to say hotels.  I mean, didn’t she know anything about ‘Hostel,’ the movie? Absolute travel terror. I knew more about that movie than the actual hostel option itself. Heck to be honest, I thought the term was only made up for that movie.

While I replied with a smile, nod, and the most fake ‘okay’ to her suggestion, my brain was like ‘no way, Mel-A.’

Me and I in 2011 at Barefoot Cay Resort
Me and I in 2011 at Barefoot Cay Resort

Fast forward to 2012. I decided it was time to begin my travel fund so that my future voyages would be paid for with cash and not credit. I saved up enough to purchase a round trip flight back to Roatan in 2013 for Semana Santa, with the remaining balance planned to be used for lodging, spending money and other extras. Gold star for me!!! Next step on the list was choosing where I would stay.

My fantasy was to go back at Barefoot Cay or another resort/hotel on that same level, but my remaining travel fund balance quickly brought me back to reality. I will be honest with you, Good People. I was SO tempted to slip into my old charging habits, but thankfully, I overcame it!!! I contacted Mel and booked the one-bedroom apartment of her hostel for one week for only $220 and I still had money left over in my travel fund! I even extended my stay and assisted her with running the hostel. This gave me business experience in a foreign country and definitely challenged my pequeño knowledge of Spanish.

IMG-20130729-00138
Bathroom in one bedroom apartment
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Sitting area next to kitchen
Kitchen in one-bedroom apartment
Kitchen in one-bedroom apartment

I really appreciated the feel and location of the hostel. It’s close to a main road where tons of buses and taxis drive, close to tourist attractions, the beach, and locally owned restaurants and bodegas. Because it’s in a residential area, it was easy to convince myself that I actually lived there, lol.

From interacting with good people from all walks and purposes of life:

Hostel guests
Hostel guests

Mel assisting me with volunteering as a pharmacist at Clinica Esperanza:

Nurse Carla, me and Miss Peggy of Clinica Esperanza
Nurse Carla, me and Miss Peggy of Clinica Esperanza

and enjoying a fun dinner night with Mel’s family other guests:
foodnight

Mel and I in 2013
Mel and I in 2013

staying at Roatan Backpacker’s definitely provided me with more of an authentic Roatan experience than a high end resort ever could.  Plus, the cost was super light on my pockets. I am glad I was hostel with my lodging approach. Traveling mission accomplished. 😉

 

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How I Am Paying For My Voyages…Now

Financial Wisdom from Caye Caulker, Belize
Financial Wisdom from Caye Caulker, Belize

As I ponder on the $15,379.53 credit card debt I eliminated in June 2012, I can honestly conclude that 50% of it was due to my travels in and out of the country.  During my psycho spending days, I did waiver between the feelings of uneasiness for charging my trips to the mindset of ‘WHATEVER!!! I DESERVE this, no matter the cost.’ As I found out later, arrogance is costly…literally. Back in the day,  looking at my credit card balances would make me feel defeated even before charging so much on them.  My mentality then was ‘oh well, I already have $1,000 on the card, what’s $200 more?’
Well, those of you who are familiar with your own debt can predict what happens with that stinkin’ thinkin’- $200 turns into $250 which leads to $1,000 until finally, in my case $15,379.53.

While I knew I wasn’t going to stop traveling, I also knew I had to be smarter about my financial decisions before and ESPECIALLY during my voyages. So, I decided to implement these two simple techniques and I must say, my budget has definitely benefited from them both!

-The Travel Fund Fund
Gone are the days of my mind deceivingly convincing me to rely solely on my ‘weak willpower’ to set aside funds from my paycheck for my travels. That deceit ran its course after seeing my credit card balances! I now have my employer deposit a set amount every pay period into a bank account I call ‘The Travel Fund’ Fund. Flights, lodging options, and spending money comes strictly out of it. It truly determines if I stay home or go on.

-The Envelope Method
Those of you who are familiar with financial no-nonsense guru Dave Ramsey probably practice this method or know someone who does. I decided to extend this technique from my everyday spending to my travels. The pictures of the envelopes below are from my voyage to Belize. I stashed money into each of these envelopes based on what I planned on doing while there. I even took it a bit further and estimated how much I could spend on transportation, food, and even tips while there. It really kept me financially focused from overspending and relying on credit.

moneyplan
So tell me, what financially savvy techniques to do you follow when paying for your trips?


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