Sillicon Valley

Sillicon Valley

Sillicon Valley

It is located in California, US and it is in San Francisco bay area. The biggest Sillicon Valley cities are San Jose, Palo Alto, Santa Clara, Mountain View and Sunnyvale. The state California has a higher GDP than UK, which makes the world 5th biggest economy, although it has only 40 million population compared to the 65 million people in UK. A very productive state. Sillicon Valley itself has 2 million people. The name silicon refers to its industry it focuses on.

It is the world biggest startup hub with 8 billion investment from VCs, which is about half of all US VC investments. Many IT companies started from there like Intel, Google, Facebook etc. US Americans have a very good sense of doing business. It’s not only in high tech, they are striving in, but also in food. They are also able to sell worldwide burgers, fries, coffee, pizza etc. #McDonald’s #Starbucks #PizzaHut etc.

One of the remarkable cases, that YouTube in 2005 received $11.5 by Sequoia Capital and a year later it was sold to Google for $1.65 billion. A more recent case was with Instagram. In 2010 it got funded with half million $. After adding their app in the app store, it got $7 million funding in 2011. A year later it released an Android app and got $50 million of funding and soon enough Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion. US Americans really know, how to do business. A famous startup accelerator Y combinator doesn’t even look at your business plan, if you don’t have a cofounder. Why? Because they know, that it is way more likely, that you fail without a cofounder. Besides Sillicon Valley has a famous university called Stanford, which is ranked a 2nd best university right after Havard.

They have the technology. They have the knowledge, the right mindset in order to succeed. Failure is inevitable, so they are not afraid to take the risk. Calculated risk to invest in it. Thanks to that, there are many great companies out there providing great products and services to the world e.g. the iPhone, Google, Facebook etc. that is able to disrupt many industries. God bless the US Americans. I hope, you like this article. To stay up to date. Just like my Facebook Fanpage: The Doan’s Blog. Further reading: What is SEO? Most popular blog article: International money.

United States

usa

United States

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S.) or America, is a federal republic composed of 50 states. At 3.8 million square miles (9.8 million km2) and with over 325 million people, the United States is the world’s third- or fourth-largest country by total area and the third-most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital’s federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The USA territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the USA make it one of the world’s 17 megadiverse countries.

History

Paleo-Indians migrated from Asia to the North American mainland at least 15,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century. The United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the French and Indian War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, and the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776. The war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties. The United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, displacing Native American tribes, and gradually admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848. During the second half of the 19th century, the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery. By the end of the century, the United States had extended into the Pacific Ocean, and its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar.

Super Power

The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country’s status as a global military power. The United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, and a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 moon landing. The end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world’s sole superpower. The United States is the world’s oldest surviving federation. It is a representative democracy, „in which majority rule is tempered by minority rights protected by law“.

Economy

The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States (OAS), and other international organizations. The United States is a highly developed country, with the world’s largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP, accounting for approximately a quarter of global GDP. The U.S. economy is largely post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge-based activities, although the manufacturing sector remains the second-largest in the world. The United States is the world’s largest importer and the second largest exporter of goods. Though its population is only 4.3% of the world total, the U.S. holds 33.4% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country. The United States ranks among the highest nations in several measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP, and productivity per person. The U.S. is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending, and is a leading political, cultural, and scientific force internationally.

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Being an expat in Dublin

expats

Ireland is a great country for expats. All the big US Americans are here. That’s why it is also known as the European version of Sillicon Valley. For example the Headquarter of Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Dell, VMware, Kingston, Intel, Adobe, Symantic, Airbnb etc. just to name a few. Ireland also uses € Euros as a currency, but North Ireland uses £ British pounds, because only North Ireland is part of the UK, so Brexit only effects them. Please keep that in mind for visa issues later on.

Because I’m a German citizen, I don’t need any visa or work permit. It’s like I’m working in my home country, which is very convenient and it saves money, but as an EU citizen, you also have to do some paperwork. You just have to apply for the PPS number and Bank account. It has to be an Irish Bank account, not any EU Bank account, which requires you a little bit more paperwork. In order to get the PPS number, you have to provide your passport, ID and evidence of address. A tenancy agreement can be regarded as proof of evidence. Please bear in mind, that the opening hours of such authority is only during normal Business hours, which means, it is recommended to apply for the PPS number before your start date. In order to open a bank account you have to provide your passport and your PPS number. That is basically it. Same like local citizen.

Tax in Ireland is more straight forward than in Germany. If your salary is below 32 800€, the tax will be 20%. If it is above this limit, it will be 40%. For example the net salary of annually 32 000€ is the same like 37 000€ in Germany. Actually you can not compare it like this way, because the health insurance in Germany is pretty, so you do not need a private health insurance. So it is like you get, what you paid for. Having a private health in Germany is most of the case just a status symbol like having a fancy car.

The living cost is pretty high for low quality. That’s why Ireland got money from the EU like other poor countries. Since the joining of the European Union in 1973 it received €50bn, but it a few years ago, but a few years ago, it started contributing to the EU. There are many old houses. It looks like the war is recently over or something, so not very inviting to stay there. So if you want to stay in very pretty, modern and well designed apartments, it is better to go to Zürich. They have the best apartments I’ve ever seen in my life. It looks like paradise, although I have no clue, how a paradise supposes to look like. Haha. The average salary for graduates is €25 000, which is pretty low compared to Germany with €44 000, which is about 75% higher in Germany. Although the tax in Ireland is a little bit lower than in Germany, it can’t compensate that big difference. The rent price in Dublin for a double room is on average 1000€ per month, which is about 50% till 70% higher than in Germany. Considering the low salary and the high living cost, Germany is more than 100% better than Dublin. With the low salary and high living cost, you only can afford bread and water. Because I have more than 1 income stream, I could afford beer sometimes 😀

In terms of infrastructure, Dublin has no metro to the city center from the airport. Only buses. German cities with similar amount of population have already a metro to the city center. So Dublin is falling about half century from behind. The whole city has only 3 lines and the buses don’t have air conditioners. The good thing about it, you don’t need to go to sauna any more. German cities with that size of Dublin have at least 10 metro lines. You might argue, that I could buy a car, but I will only buy a car, if I know, where I will settle down, but after being to 22 different countries, I still have no idea, where to settle down :D. It is really difficult to find a better place than Germany. Germany is one of the richest country in Europe and in the world. It is hard to beat that. That’s why Germany is the 2nd immigration country right after the US. I’m happy not being an expat in Dublin / Ireland any more. It’s not easy to get used to that kind of low life quality.

Although Ireland is part of the EU, it uses a British socket, which is quite confusing.

British socket

So do not forget to take an adapter with you. There are quite many Brazilians, which is surprising, when I arrived there. In Germany I have not met any of them. From what I have heard from them, it is easier to get an Irish visa and you are allowed to work part time while studying English, which is similar to Germany. I also noticed, that there are more US American tourists than Australian tourists. In Budapest there are almost only Australian tourists. Very interesting …

In order to stay up to date just like my Facebook page The Doan’s blog. Here is another related article: How to survive a long flight.

Being an expat in Ireland

expats

Ireland is a great country for expats. All the big US Americans are here. That’s why it is also known as the European version of Sillicon Valley. For example the Headquarter of Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Dell, VMware, Kingston, Intel, Adobe, Symantic, Airbnb etc. just to name a few. Ireland also uses € Euros as a currency, but North Ireland uses £ British pounds, because only North Ireland is part of the UK, so Brexit only effects them. Please keep that in mind for visa issues later on.

Because I’m a German citizen, I don’t need any visa or work permit. It’s like I’m working in my home country, which is very convenient and it saves money, but as an EU citizen, you also have to do some paperwork. You just have to apply for the PPS number and Bank account. It has to be an Irish Bank account, not any EU Bank account, which requires you a little bit more paperwork. In order to get the PPS number, you have to provide your passport, ID and evidence of address. A tenancy agreement can be regarded as proof of evidence. Please bear in mind, that the opening hours of such authority is only during normal Business hours, which means, it is recommended to apply for the PPS number before your start date. In order to open a bank account you have to provide your passport and your PPS number. That is basically it. Same like local citizen.

Tax in Ireland is more straight forward than in Germany. If your salary is below 32 800€, the tax will be 20%. If it is above this limit, it will be 40%. For example the net salary of annually 32 000€ is the same like 37 000€ in Germany. Actually you can not compare it like this way, because the health insurance in Germany is pretty, so you do not  need a private health insurance. So it is like you get, what you paid for. Having a private health in Germany is most of the case just a status symbol like having a fancy car.

Although Ireland is part of the EU, it uses a British socket, which is quite confusing.

British socket

So do not forget to take an adapter with you. There are quite many Brazilians, which is surprising, when I arrived there. In Germany I have not met any of them. From what I have heard from them, it is easier to get an Irish visa and you are allowed to work part time while studying English, which is similar to Germany. I also noticed, that there are more US American tourists than Australian tourists. In Budapest there are almost only Australian tourists. Very interesting …

In order to stay up to date just like my Facebook page The Doan’s blog. Here is another related article: How to survive a long flight.

Maldives Tips and Tricks budget travel

Maldives

By Low Budget Maldives

Here, we will share with you Maldives tips and tricks that you can save in your budget.

Ended, Maldives is one of the expensive travel destinations in the world. The luxurious resorts, world-class quality facilities, Maldives is a near heaven paradise. Very elegant beaches, white sandy sand, crystal clear water lagoon, stunning natural coral landscape, you cant imagine that this paradise can be found in the Indian Ocean. In this Maldives Tips and Tricks article, we will share our knowledge and experience on how to save a dollar when visiting in the Maldives. Have you imagine, that can spend your holidays in this dream paradise with a less budget.

The Maldives is a tropical country in the Indian Ocean made out of 26 ring-formed atolls, which are comprised of more than 1,000 coral islands. It’s known for its shorelines, blue tidal ponds, and broad reefs.
Read: Where is the Maldives located on the world map.
Read: Best time to visit in the Maldives

Flights


There is twenty plus airline that flies to the Maldives from different airport hub around the Globe. Finding cheap flights to the Maldives is the best way that you can save dollars in your budget. In this case, I used cheapflight website. As you can see in the photo, the cheapest flight is on top for $224 only a round trip flight from Singapore to Maldives. Tiger air or scoot airline has given the lowest ticket price. There are a lot of sites that you can compare flight.

Find out: Maldives Aiports

Currency

Rufiyaa is the Local currency of the Maldives. $1 = 15.40mvr, the bank rate and most of the store and resorts follow this changing rate. For tourist/traveler, Changing your dollar to rufiyaa is not necessary, because US dollars or cards are widely accepted in the Maldives.

Maldives Traditional dress

Transportation

Seaplane and ferry or speedboat are the main transportation in the Maldives. From island to island. Ferry has the cheapest fare in terms of transportation in the Maldives. For only 3mvr-30mvr($0.03-$2) it depends on the distance of the island, but it takes a long ride before you arrived at your destination. You can check the ferry schedule here. 50mvr-200mvr($3.4-$15) for the speedboat, it depends also on the distance of the island, but mostly, guesthouse or resorts will arrange for the ride. Seaplane, is the exciting way of transportation in the Maldives, as you fly above the Maldives land, you can see the stunning chain islands.Resorts or guesthouse will arrange for the transportation and it cost $200 to up. Here’s gives you an idea of the cost of the Maldives.

Maldives Tips and Tricks where to stay

The cheapest island resorts (deluxe) it cost $200-$400 per night, with free wifi, tv, air conditioning, etc. However, water villa or bungalow is more expensive $450 up to thousands dollar per night, with swimming pool, easy access to the lagoon. But not all travelers can afford that price. Thanks to the new law, local island are allowed to accept tourist/travelers in their guesthouse.
Staying in the guesthouse is the cheapest accommodation in the Maldives, inhabited islands have a lot of guesthouses where you can stay in a low price for about $70-$150 per night, it depends on your package.

Read: Best Place to stay in the Maldives

Foods

If you are staying in the island resorts, all your meal and drinks are included. But if you are staying in the guesthouse in the local island, you can find a local restaurant where you can eat for just 50mvr-90mvr. But mostly they served is a curry dishes or spicy. And for a nicer restaurant or some of the hotel and guesthouse, expect to pay 120mvr – 170mvr in every meal.

Read: Foods in the Maldives

Cheap Excursions

You can find a cheap excursion from a guesthouse or a small booth near the beach(assuming that you’re staying in the guesthouse from local island). Don’t be afraid to ask or inquire and compare their price and packages. Most of the water sports activity it cost $100 for 3 or 4 excursions ( like jet skiing, banana boat riding, kayak), there are a lot of exciting activities you can do them in the Maldivies. If you love diving, some guesthouse also offers this kind of activity, for a single dive it cost $75-$100 within the island.

Read: Maldives Excursion

Day visit in the resorts

Of course, spending holiday in the Maldives would not be complete if you cant experience to live like a prince or princess in this luxurious resort. Most of the guesthouses have a day visit activities in the nearby resorts where you will be able to experience luxurious ambiance, standard service, and high quality facilities and amenities without spending too much of your money. Not only that, you will also experience to dine in their restaurant which has an intercontinental foods. What more can you ask for? Be wise and save trice!

Read: Things need to know in the Maldives

Now, you have an idea or tips on how to save your budget when spending Holiday in the Maldives.
If you found this Maldives Tips and Tricks article helpful to you or if you have any questions or experience you wanted to share to us by the time you visit in the Maldives, feel free to comment below.
Enjoy your travel.

In order to stay up to date just like my Facebook page The Doan’s blog. Here is another related article: How to survive a long flight. If you want to know, how to get sustainable traffic, read this: What is SEO? My most popular blog article: International money.

Travel – 10 Tips on how to survive a long flight

Travel

By Ania Travels

We’ve all been there, we sit online browsing through flights hours on end, again and again, calculating what’s the shortest time I can be on a plane for the cheapest price. You finally find one that’s “tolerable”, click, enter your credit card and you just booked yourself a flight halfway around the world. Then you forget about that flight for 4ish months and about two weeks before your flight you realize CRAP, halfway around the world really means halfway around the world and a 10+ hour flight. So you panic not only because you have to pack for a vacation halfway around the world, but you also hate flying too! Well… I’m here to give you 10 tips how to survive a long flight and how to make them more tolerable. So that’s one less thing you don’t have to worry about, and you can enjoy your vacation!

THIS PAGE MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. PLEASE READ MY DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.

Ask to be seated in the back 

This is one of my favorite hacks when flying. When you go to check in at the counter ask them to seat you all the way in the back. People usually want to sit up from so they can get off the plane quicker, but you’ll be smart and sit in the back. The back is usually less crowded and I’ve scored full rows to myself by doing this. Even if you can’t score a full row, there are usually empty seats around and there’s more wiggle room to move around and pick a seat of your choosing.

10-tips-to-survive-a-long-flight

Catch up on your beauty rest + consider a sleeping aid

Because I travel so much, people always think that I’m jet legged since I change time zones so much. But tell you the truth I rarely get jet lagged. This is because I sleep on my long flights to pass up the time zone. When you do this make sure you calculate how much sleep you need. What I like to do is look at the time of my arrival and work backward. If I land in the middle of the day I know I have to get some sleep so I can stay up when I land and go to bed at a normal time. But if I land in the evening I know I can’t sleep too long because then I’ll be up all night. Calculate it the right way and you can completely avoid jet lag.

Planning on traveling overseas? Click here to check out some amazing deals on flights.

You might have problems sleeping on planes though. I’m the complete opposite, I actually suffer from insomnia, but on flights I can sleep, must have something to do with being thousands of feet up in the air. But if you’re not as lucky, consider taking a natural sleeping aid so you can catch up on your sleep. Be careful though, test out how you react to the sleep aid before you fly, sleeping pills do act differently in your body at a higher altitude.

Bring something to do

You’re going to be on this plane for 10+ hours. Bring something fun to do to entertain yourself. Most long flights do have in-flight entertainment now which is amazing, but I’ve also been on flights where I’ve watched all of the movies, or my tv screen doesn’t work. I like to download a couple movies from Netflix onto my phone and download a book or two onto my kindle I also make sure that my laptop is fully charged so I can get at least a couple hours of work done.

Stay hydrated

I can’t stress enough how important water is while you travel. Traveling, in general, dehydrates you, but when you’re up thousands of feet above ground where the air is extra dry will dehydrate you even more. What I like to do is bring a refillable water bottle with me, fill it up at the airport, and purchase another bottle of water at the airport. This eliminates having to ask the flight attendant for water every 30 minutes.

10-tips-to-survive-a-long-flight4

Bring snacks

I’m a HUGE snacker!!! I’m pretty much eating all day every day, and the same goes while I’m traveling. Let’s face it the food on the flights suck, and airport food gets pricey. So bring some TSA friendly snacks and eat whenever you get hungry. Some of my favorites snacks to bring on board include the RX BarsOrchard Valley Nut MixVeggie CrispsMini Lara Bars, and Sahale Snacks Nut Blends.

Befriend the crew

The crewmembers deal with difficult people all day long, the last thing they want is another person being difficult. A simple thank you and smile goes a long way. But the extra mile is even better. When I purchase my snacks to bring on board I usually bring a few extras and give them to the crewmembers. They’re stuck eating airplane food most of the time too, so they really appreciate it. I know a few people who have also make goodie-bags for the crewmembers. If you do this it will definitely be appreciated, might even score you an upgrade or other special treatment.

10-tips-to-survive-a-long-flight3

Wear comfortable clothes

I’ve literally seen some women get on a 10+ hour flight in full makeup, heels, and dresses. Like woman WHAT ARE YOU DOING???? Be comfortable!!! You’re going to be stuck in this tube for the next 10+ hours, don’t you want to be as comfortable as possible? Your body naturally swells up while you travel also, so wearing loose clothes won’t leave you gasping for air at the end of your flight.

10-tips-to-survive-a-long-flight1

Bring a scarf

Flights get cold! Something about being so high off the ground that they just need to crank the air up on every single flight you ever take. Bring a scarf and layer up. Scarves are great too because you can use them as a blanket, as a pillow, put it over your face when you sleep, and when you’re traveling they’re great to cover your shoulders at churches/temples. Check out this awesome scarf that not only covers you up, but also has a hidden pocket to keep your money/passport safe.

Move! Move! Move! (and do a little happy dance)

You are on that plane for 10+ hours, that is a long time to be sitting in a tiny little seat for so long. So stand up, walk the isles, move around a little in your seat, or put on some great music and do a little dance in your seat.

Planning on traveling overseas? Click here to check out some amazing deals on flights.

Keep it fresh

Keep all of your essentials on you. You are there for a long time so you’ll probably want to freshen up. I always keep a toothbrush, toothpaste, socks, and deodorant with me on a long flight.

Xoxo Ania Travels 💜

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Travel – 5 Things You Must Do When Visiting Singapore

Singapore

By Brando Beauty

Planning a trip to Singapore? Here are five things you can check out while you are there and some interesting facts about the modern and amazing city.

Singapore was founded in 1819 as a British trading colony. The city-state has come a long way since that time period, as it has grown into a very prosperous country. Today, Singapore is filled with modern subways, skyscrapers and national monuments that are featured in national magazines, media outlets, and textbooks. It has been classified as one of the “most popular travel destinations” in the world. If you have never been there, you should definitely try to do it at least once in your life. Below, you will discover more information about Singapore and how to get the most out of your vacation.

Sentosa

On our second day in Singapore we realized that we got to see pretty much everything in the city itself which lies in the southern part of the island, so we had several options of a pastime somewhe…

Sentosa is a small island off the southern coast of the country. It was once known as PulauBelakang Mati, which means “The Island After Death” in Malay. The name was given to the island after the British were defeated at the Fortress Singapore on the island. Sentosa underwent a major rebranding, transforming it into a large tourist attraction. Many people who have visited the island since then refer to it as an “island getaway” for singles, couples, and families.

Head To Chinatown

Chinatown night market, Petaling Street, Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Southeast Asia by Gavin Hellier

There are many countries in the world that have their very own Chinatown. Singapore is no different. Singapore is made up of mostly immigrants and a large portion of these individuals was originally from China. Chinatown is one of the biggest ethnic enclaves in the entire country. It offers a wealth of entertainment for a tourist. For instance, you’ll be able to enjoy delicious Chinese cuisine and shop for cute souvenirs. More importantly, you’ll be given the opportunity to explore the unique culture of the Chinese residing in the country.

Dance Theatre

Singapore Dance Theatre Don Quixote photo Bernie Ng

Each country has its own unique form of dance. Dancing gives the artist the opportunity to express themselves and tell a story. When visiting Singapore, you will definitely want to consider seeing a performance of this kind. The wushu form of dancing is one of the most popular in Singapore. If you want to get the most out of your trip to Singapore and want to keep the entire family satisfied, you will definitely want to visit one of the local dance theaters.

Singapore Flyer

Singapore Flyer - Singapura http://fuievouvoltar.com

Do you enjoy a little adrenaline rush? If so, you will absolutely love the Singapore Flyer. This amazing Ferris Wheel just happens to be one of the biggest in the entire world. In fact, it is the largest observation wheel in Asia and it delivers a stunning 360-degree view of the nearby city. It was originally opened in 2008 and it is still one of the hottest tourist attractions today!

Merlion Park

The iconic Merlion in the Merlion Park in Singapore

Singapore is home to many amazing attractions. Merlion Park is located on Marina Bay and it just happens to be one of the best. The park is home to an amazing statute, which will give your kids a giggle. It stands 28 feet tall and spews water. Plus, this is one of the most cost-effective tourist destinations in the entire country. You can enjoy everything Merlion Park has to offer while spending next to nothing. You can visit the park at any time of the day or night for free!

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Travel – 10 ways to save money while travelling

Travel

By Lindsay Ferner

Ever since Nick and I began taking long trips overseas to backpack around Asia, the most common question we get is regarding the logistics of affording to travel so long.

The second most common remark we get is, „It must be nice to be you!“  To which I would love to have the guts to respond with an equally unsavory remark, but I’m way too nice.

While saving money before traveling will be addressed in a different post, here is where I’m going to talk about the strategies we use to make our money stretch farther, thereby allowing us to travel longer, sometimes for 4 months at a time.

10 ways to save money while traveling

Being from America, where the cost of living is high, and it’s easy to spend money (or use credit cards) to keep up with the lifestyles of those around us, I understand how it can seem impossible to stretch a few thousand dollars over a few months of travel.  It is impossible if you’re not strategic.

We hope you get some ideas from this list.  Be sure to read #10 because that’s my favorite and most useful one.

1.  Choose your destination wisely

Okay, this isn’t exactly saving money while traveling, but it is the very foundation of it.  There’s no way to budget travel if you choose the most expensive places on earth.  So your ability to travel cheaply is dependent upon where you go first and foremost.  Now into the details.

2.  Get the cheapest flight possible

Getting cheap airfare is like a game to me.  There are strategies I use, websites I prefer, and secrets I will never tell.  Just kidding about the secrets.  You can read all about our favorite websites to book cheap travel.

One of my strategies is to book 3-4 months ahead of time and have relatively flexible dates. I also use multiple search sites to compare prices.  You can find those sites here.

After you’ve done significant searching and found the golden ticket, it’s critical to book the flights either using a different computer, or by opening a private window.  The majority of search sites will save your search criteria and jack up the prices on you.  So be smarter than them!

3.  Do not shop at the airport

This means snacks, magazines, neck pillows, water, anything.  They inflate the prices so dramatically that you are essentially being ripped off.  So stock your carrying on with everything you need before getting to the airport.  Bring an empty water bottle through TSA and refill it on the other side (not always safe to do based not the quality of the drinking water of course), and keep yourself occupied without shopping.

This goes for the end of your trip as well, don’t do your souvenir shopping at the airports.  If you must purchase something for family back home, do it with the local shops during your trip and support their economy instead of the overpriced, cheap stuff at the airport.

4.  Do not park at the airport

To save quite a bit of money, do everything in your power to secure transportation to and from the airport and keep your car at home or a friends house.  Don’t worry about burdening someone because you can always return the favor.  Call a friend or secure an Uber or Lyft, and save the $12 – $30 a day to leave your car in a parking lot.  That money could be better used to get your an entire day of activities on your trip!

READ MORE:   Why You Should Prioritize Traveling Abroad

5.  Take public transportation

Most countries that are budget friendly have incredible public transportation systems in place.  Or at least inexpensive ways to get around.  Stay away from taxis which will suck your budget dry, and try the local buses, trains, or even hop on the back of a motorcycle.  Sounds sketchy, but is quite popular in some countries.  Navigating the public transport can be tricky, but is a priceless way to experience the culture, and will make your money stretch much further.

For half the price of a cab to transport your luggage to your hotel, in Thailand you can rent a motorbike for the whole day and transport it yourself.  Then go explore!  Score!

For half the price of a cab to transport your luggage to your hotel, in Thailand you can rent a motorbike for the whole day and transport it yourself.  Then go explore!  Score!

6.  Skip pre-packaged tours

Nick and I try to limit tours when we travel because it’s always much less expensive to plan activities ourselves.  Of course, sometimes we are feeling lazy and it’s nice to be catered to, but it’s rare because we also understand that many package tours take you to places where other package tours go, and so you end up feeling like cattle being herded around.

With all those other package tourists around all your travel pictures end up having tons of tourists in them too, which sucks.  There’s a huge sense of freedom to go exploring on your own, so do a little research, ask around, and go!  Your budget will thank you.

7.  Eat at local restaurants

The fewer English words printed on the menu the better.  The less „western food“ on offer the better.  Better, and almost always cheaper.  Skip eating at places that are filled with other tourists, and find the restaurants where the locals are eating.   Eating at the street stalls is even better!

Saving money looks like eating $1 noodles while sitting on the street curb.

Saving money looks like eating $1 noodles while sitting on the street curb.

8.  Do not eat near big tourist attractions

The most expensive and least tasty meals can be found next to the major sights.  The locals know where the money, I mean people, flow, and no matter the country they will take advantage of it.  Throw a snack in your bag before you go incase you get hungry, and then leave the area to find a proper meal.  This will cut costs dramatically.

9.  Do not make hotel reservations ahead of time unless you have to

I can almost feel your adrenaline pumping at the thought of showing up to a new location without a place to stay.  Trust, it can be a little unnerving if you haven’t done your research and you arrive in the dark.

Nick and I always try to narrow down our hotel options to 3 or 4 possibilities in a certain neighborhood before arriving, and we do our best to arrive in new places in the day time.  That way it gives us the opportunity to visit the hotels or hostels to see what we are getting, and then negotiate a better price.

Also, staying at places that even have a website and ability to book online means they are going to be pricier than other places in the area.  Finding a cheap place that isn’t online is always good for the budget.

But, if you absolutely MUST book your room online, which happens to us time to time, then I recommend using HotelLook.com or Hotels.com.  We also like AirBnB, but who doesn’t?  These are affiliate links by the way, and if you use them to book, you will be helping this blog. So, thank you in advance.

10.  Put your daily budget in cash in a separate wallet

This is my absolute favorite way to save money while traveling, and a must for me to stay on track during a long trip.  I travel with two wallets.  One is a money belt where I keep my cards and cash and passport.  The other is a tiny little zip-up pouch.

Each morning I take my daily budget out of the money belt and put it into the pouch.  There are two upsides to this.  First, I can see what I’m spending through out the day and it helps me stay within my means.  At the end of the day if I still have money left over I get soooooo excited!  Second, when I’m in public, I’m only ever flashing a few bucks when I go to pay for something, so if I get robbed (god forbid) I can give them the small pouch and only lose one days worth of money.

These are just a few ideas that work well for us.  But there are so many ways to cut costs while traveling like working along the way, volunteering, camping, hitch-hikeing, or bartering.  Be creative!

Do you have a technique you use to save money while traveling?  We’d love to hear about it. Share in the comments below.

PS: In order to stay up to date just like my Facebook page The Doan’s blog.

Travel – A trip to Yala National Park

Travel

A trip to Yala National Park

By Alexia Jolliot

One of my favorite thing to do in Sri Lanka, it’s going on a safari tour. It’s exciting, its fun, it’s outdoorsy. So, whenever we have friends or family members visiting the first thing I am planning is a trip to one of the many National Park. There are a few options when it comes to National Parks but the most famous of all is Yala, as it is home to the Sri Lankan leopards. Yala National Park is a protected area complex comprising five blocks as well as adjoining sanctuaries, but most of the time when people refer to Yala National Park they actually refer to Yala Block 1.

I’ve been to Yala three times, the first time the zone 1 was close and we (Mr. GM) were reluctant (to say the least) to drive an extra 1.5 hours at 5 in the morning, so we gave up and sleep late instead. The second time, I went with my parents during their first visit, and while we enjoyed being in a Jeep in the wild, we did not see any leopards or elephants, it was a bit disappointing, especially as we did it after Udawalawe where we saw so many different things. As my parents were visiting again this year, I planned another trip to Yala National park. And guess what, Yala zone 1 was once again closed. You would think that as someone who got surprised once to find Yala closed, I would have double checked this time before going, I did not… to my defense, the park was supposed to re-open on the 1st of October and we were the 20th. Anyway, this time we did not give up as we really wanted to spot a wild leopard and decided to drive in the early morning to the zone IV and V, where it is still possible to spot leopards. I won’t get the suspense going any longer, we did not see the leopard, unlike my friend who was there a week before and saw the leopard, or our guests who were there two weeks before and saw the leopard, or anyone else that I know visited that park. However, leopard or not, the experience remained thrilling, the park beautiful and, we did get some adventure on the way.

On the way to Yala National Park
On the way to Yala National Park

So, we all got up at 5 in the morning, and took the direction of the Galge wildlife park entrance, entrance to Yala block III, IV, and V. As we were driving along the very scenic B35 in the dawn’s early light, I ask if everyone was seeing what I was seeing in the distance. We weren’t sure at first (it was early, we had no proper coffee, it was early and the night was short…, but as I kept driving there was no other option than to believe what we were seeing. There was a huge, massive, at least 3 times bigger than the car, elephant in the middle of the road. It is the first time we encounter a giant on the road and we weren’t quite sure what to do, we were full of wows and fear, fear definitely overshadowing the wows. We stopped the car and discussed our options: to go or not to go. We heard stories about cars that got flipped or pushed off-road by elephant and quite frankly we weren’t ready to take any risk. As we were about to turn the car around, a bus came and drove as if it was the most normal thing in the world, we followed his lead and went just fine. We learned later from our Jeep driver that this elephant flipped 22 cars in September.

Arriving at the park entrance, we park under the trees, and in the five minutes it took me to get advice on which park to visit and getting our tickets and safari jeep organize, my family had made furry friends that seemed to love our car a lot. While these creatures are friendly at first, be aware that they get cheeky quite fast and are expert in stilling things.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Following our guide advice, we decided to go for Yala Block V also known as Lunugamvehera National Park. The park, rich in biodiversity, expand for 23,498 hectares, with a huge manmade reservoir that occupies over 14 % of the park superficies, The Weheragala reservoir. While visiting the park, it is possible to see the Sri Lankan Leopard, fishing cat, king mongoose and sloth bear, along with Elephant, various kinds of deer’s, and bird species a lot easier to see wandering around the wild. Lunugamvehera is one of the many sanctuaries in Sri Lanka that have been established in the interest of the wildlife allowing for a pathway for the wild elephants to migrate between Yala National Park and Udawalawe National.

Travel

We entered the park and stopped at the first pond to observe birds, water buffaloes, and crocodiles, a parakeet got his head out from a tree intrigued by this sudden bustle. We continued on the dirt roads, looking for the famous leopard. We enter a wooded area, known for observing the big cat. As you know we did not see the leopard, but we had the chance to see (and smell) the prey he killed the previous evening. We stopped the car nearby and observe round of different animals coming to eat on the rest of the dead buffalos, we stayed there for a while hoping the leopard would come to finish his kill. We wandered in the park for another two hours, crossing from time to time another jeep. Almost every we stopped the car, the macaques would show hoping to steal something to eat.

Travel

A good thing about Lunugamvehera National Park is that it is a lot less busy than Yala zone V and it is still possible to observe elephant and feline. Coming from Colombo, the best is to take the highway all the way down to Matara, then follow the  A2 until Tissahamara and drive up on the B35 until the park entrance. If you are visiting Sri Lanka, it would be best to include it in your itinerary. A good option would be to land in Colombo, and then go to Kandy, Ella, continue on to Udawalawe, then Yala, then relax with some beach time on the Southern Coast, either around Tangalle or Mirissa and finish with a couple of days in Galle (read my Galle guide here). As for the transportation, I would advise to mix between train (in the tea country), bus and private car.

Where to stay in Yala:

To complete the “into the wild” experience, I highly recommend some glamping.

Big Game Camp Yala offers very decent and comfortable safari tents. The setup is amazing, the camp is located around a pond where if you are lucky, wild animals will come to drink. The bungalow tent is spacious and comfortable with a private bathroom. The highlights were the extremely nice BBQ-dinner with candlelight in the evening and the manager Kamal who will go out of his way to make it happen

Price: from 120 USD per night

Travel

If your budget allows, stay at the newly open Wild coast tented lodge. While we haven’t had the chance to try it yet, you can trust Resplendent Ceylon to offer an impeccable service, amazing food, and perfectly designed rooms. The place looks amazing in picture and I really look forward to trying it ( I haven’t given up on leopard yet, I made it a point to see one before moving out)

price: from 340USD per night ++, all inclusive even the safari

But if you prefer more formal accommodation:
But if you prefer more formal accommodation:

Jetwing Yala is a good option, the rooms are spacious and well accommodated. Their food is great, the breakfast buffet has just anything you could ask for and they have a delicious buffet barbeque on Saturday night. The pool is huge and the area often visited by wild boars, monkeys and sometimes buffalos.  Be advised though that the service is slow, especially the check-in, and they aren’t really business-minded.

price: starting from 160USD per night in low season.

Tips: organize your safari tour yourself as they truly overcharge for the service.

Travel

What is SEO?

seo

What is SEO?

SEO stands for search engine optimization. Search engines are a software, that searches the World Wide Web for the keyword you’ve typed in. The most popular one is Google, but there are many other search engines like Yahoo, Bing, Baidu etc. So SEO means, that you optimize your ranking on search engines, but who wants to be ranked high on search engines? Webmasters, Business owners, freelancers, startups, companies etc. are interested in SEO to get traffic, customers and sales, but most importantly it is sustainable.

wikipedia traffic

Here is an example to show you, how important SEO is. The website wikipedia.org has about 2 billion monthly web visitors and most of them through search. Not through social media marketing. No through Email marketing. Not through online ads like Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads etc., but through search. So people find the website wikipedia.org through search engines. Just to give you a rough idea, how important SEO is. You get targeted traffic regularly every month without doing anything any more. So it’s passive traffic. You just have to put the initial effort in the beginning.

The higher you are ranked, the more traffic you will get. The good thing is, that those traffics are free and even targeted, because you are ranked on specific keywords. This kind of traffic you get this way is also called organic traffic. People click more on the search engine results than on ads. The reason behind it is, that the website is already regarded trustful and useful by the search engine. It is already prechecked, so the users can trust that website too. If you want to know, how keyword research works, read this: Why keyword research? The paid version is SEA, which is making an advertisement on Google. The good thing here, that it works instantly. Everything that drives traffic to your site increases your ranking, but if you don’t advertise any more, the traffic will decrease also instantly.

SEO is divided into 2 parts. The first one is called onsite/onpage SEO and the other one is called offsite/offpage SEO. Onsite means, that you make your Website easy for search engines to find it. So it is more technical. For example the alt tags of your page, your website performance, responsiveness etc. The offsite version is everything external from your website. The most popular one are backlinks. Backlinks refer to your Website, which is an indicator for Google, that your Website has a good reputation. The more backlinks you, the better it is, but not only quantity is an indicator for Google. Also the quality of the backlinks. It is determined by the Domain Authority.

International money

Social media plays also an important role. The more shares, likes and comments you have, the higher you will get ranked on search engines. My blog article about money as a sample has over 500 shares, which is impressive. It gives you a social proof and it also shows you, which topic your reader is more interested in. You can read this article here. Maybe you want to share it too. Haha. Social media platforms are e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. SEO takes much time, because it takes time to build reputation, but when you are highly ranked, you will get free and targeted traffic regularly. Once your reputation is established, you will get those traffic on the long run, but how long does it take to get ranked high on Google? It takes weeks even months until you get ranked on the first page of the search engine, if you do the right thing. You also can optimize your ranking on Video platforms like Youtube. The paid advertisement works instantly, but if you don’t advertise any more, there won’t be any traffic. In general there about 200 factors, that can have an influence on your search ranking, but one of the most important factors is content, which belongs to onpage SEO and backlinks, which belongs to offpage SEO. In the end, it is also receommendable to do a SEO audit.

How to do SEO

And here is a quick summary of SEO.

To stay up to date, just like my Facebook Fanpage: The Doan’s Blog. Further readings: What is offsite SEOWhat are backlinks? Why keyword research? What is Digital Marketing? What is SEM? My Agency is providing SEO services. Feel free to contact it: SEO Services.