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European Travel Blog
When you are planning your European holiday, there’s much to consider and to plan for.
One of your deciding factors, and there are several, is how long will you be traveling throughout Europe?
Others include, What is your budget?
Another, What month or season are you going to Europe?
It’s important to consider if you want to visit many different places or spend longer amounts of time in a few areas.
Once you can answer these questions, you can begin planning what is sure to be a memorable European holiday.
Stay safe whilst solo traveling – If you’re new to solo traveling, you might feel worried about the potential dangers that you could be faced with.
Traveling without the safety of a friend or partner can feel daunting, and you might be concerned about people trying to take advantage of your situation.
But try not to worry.
Ways to Stay Safe Whilst Solo Traveling
Solo traveling can be extremely invigorating and create a sense of freedom that you won’t get when traveling with a companion.
So, how can you stay safe whilst solo traveling?
Respect safety signs
You can run into danger anywhere in the world, and you may see signs warning you about potential hazards in certain areas, like those made by mysafetysign.
If you’re visiting an area with potential hazards – like a mountain range, for example – a falling rocks sign will have been placed to alert you of the potential hazard and keep you safe.
Whilst it might be temping to ignore a safety sign to get a better picture or to feel “invigorated”, it is not advisable.
The signs are in place for a reason, and you’re putting yourself at risk.
If you’re craving adrenaline, consider visiting a theme park instead.
Keep Family Members Updated
Whilst you might be solo traveling to get some space from people back home, it’s important to keep one or two people updated about your whereabouts.
This means that someone else always knows where you are and when to be concerned if they haven’t heard from you.
If you’re worried about getting internet whilst traveling, check with your network provider before you embark on your trip, investigate into local Wi-Fi spots or invest in a local sim card.
All it takes is one text a day to ensure your safety.
Be aware of scams
If you’re traveling to popular tourist destinations, especially big cities with famous landmarks, then unfortunately you may run into scam artists, pick pockets or thieves.
These people wait in busy, popular areas and take advantage of tourists who are distracted by impressive sights or don’t speak their language.
Whilst being polite and friendly to strangers is a great way to meet new people as a solo traveler, and it’s certainly not advisable to be rude to locals, being aware of these types of people can be useful to keep you safe.
Research the common scams in the places you’re travelling to, and keep an eye out.
Whether you’re heading to a big city in the US like Austin or headed across the ocean to check out the culture and class of the European nations, there are some personal finance tips you’ll want to follow to keep your personal finances secure while you’re traveling abroad.
Fraud and theft can happen anywhere, so it’s important to take certain precautions to ensure you don’t fall victim to financial crisis while traveling.
Here are 6 personal finance tips for traveling abroad
personal finance tips for traveling abroad
Tell Your Bank
First and foremost, you should always let your bank know where you’re going, how long you’ll be there, and your estimated return date.
This goes for credit card companies as well.
Banks and credit cards will sometimes freeze your funds if they suspect fraudulent activity, and not letting your bank know you were going to Prague could make your transactions seem very suspicious.
Keeping your financial institutions informed ensures that your travel isn’t cut short.
The hassle alone could be enough to ruin your trip, let alone the inconvenience of not having any money.
If your funds are frozen on a Friday, you may not be able to get a hold of anyone until Monday morning!
Cash is still king, and taking cash on your trip can help protect your debit or credit cards from being at risk.
Your PIN will be protected if you use cash, and often, cash is worth more in foreign countries (depending on the exchange rates).
When you’re carrying cash, it’s best to only take what you need. You don’t want to lose or have a large amount of cash stolen.
If you’re going shopping, start with a small amount, and if you need more you can always use an ATM.
Restaurants are a popular place for thieves to strike since the waiter/waitress usually has to take your card over to the register to ring you out.
This can put your entire bank or credit account at risk; jeopardizing much more than just your travel plans.
Protect your financial information and your travel plans by using cash instead of your card.
Plan for an Emergency
When traveling abroad, it’s important to have a backup plan should you run out of funds.
While Western Union transfers are still around, there are plenty of other ways to have money sent to you while you’re traveling.
Facebook and apps like Vemo offer a convenient way to transfer funds to anyone in the world, and PayPal is the classic go-to for such transfers.
Have a backup plan in place with a trusted relative or friend so you don’t end stranded without any money.
Using a financial advisor to help you set up a travel fund and backup plan will ensure that you’re putting the right amount of money away.
These experts will help you make better financial decisions overall, increasing your travel budget and personal assets.
Things You Must Avoid at the Airport – When you’re heading somewhere new for work or for pleasure, getting to the airport is all part of the excitement and the journey!
Of course, it’s not all drinks in the departure lounge and a leisurely stroll to the gate, airports can be very stressful places, with lots going on, lots of people and the fact that you cannot completely relax.
There’s a lot of advice out there for all the things you should be doing when you get to the airport.
But what about the things you shouldn’t be doing?
Read on for 5 things you must avoid at the airport
Being somewhere you shouldn’t
Airports can be a confusing place.
Especially if you’re in a foreign country and having a bit of difficulty getting your bearings right – even more so after a long flight.
World’s Cheapest Shopping Destinations Countries – Now we’re not saying you should choose your travel destination based solely on the cheapest county to buy clothes… but it should definitely factor into the decision!
Most of us enjoy browsing the stalls or shops or thrift stores while travelling, and there is no shame in that.
So here is our list of the cheapest shopping destinations in the world.
World’s Cheapest Shopping Destinations
The Benefits of Shopping Abroad
You can get items that no one at home will be wearing, so there is no risk of arriving at a party in identical H&M tops. Your clothing will be unique and suit your style more.
It can be cheaper! Different countries have different pricing for clothing and taxes, so it could save some pennies to be spent elsewhere.. Or on more stuff!
You have a wider range to choose from, you’re not limited to the local shops anymore.
You get to experience other cultures, whether it is clothing or furniture or other bits and bobs, different countries have original styles that could spice up your home and outfit. Even eco-fashion
You can bring your travels home with you, to enjoy them long after the tan and stamp in your passport have faded. The perfect way to commemorate a great trip.
It allows you to support different economies, particularly for less developed areas this can really help families and local businesses.
The Disadvantages of Shopping Abroad
It’s only fair to consider both sides, so here they are!
You can’t return the items as easily.
The quality may not be assured.
In certain places, this could result in supporting unfair wages, such as through the clothing industry.
Where is the cheapest country for buying stuff?
Now that we’ve considered why we should and shouldn’t buy things abroad, let’s look at the cheapest shopping destinations in the world.
It is known to not only be one of the cheapest shopping destinations in the world, but also one of the best!
From fabrics to furniture, you’ll find a wide range of items here.
Including those with heritage impact, but also the latest from Europe swindles its way here.
Electronic lovers will definitely appreciate this cheap shopping destination.
You’ll find cutting edge gadgets without the hefty price tag, as well as awesome footwear and clothing.
Here you’ll find more quality for handmade products than anywhere else in the Americas.
We recommend really focusing on local goods here, particularly the gorgeous crochet!
A true haven for bargain seekers, with delightful stalls lining the streets and brimming with items.
We don’t recommend this one for the faint of heart, as nerves of steel will be required for haggling!
Bargaining is almost a sport in south-east Asia so put on your tough face and aim for ⅓ of the price.
It is hard to leave Thailand without an overflowing suitcase, particularly if you’re passing through the capital city of Bangkok.
With markets stretching over miles, you’ll have plenty of choice.
There are a variety of market types, from weekend to night, selling clothing, handicrafts, electronic gadgets and more.
In which country can I buy the cheapest clothes and shoes in Europe?
Charity Giving – Charity is an essential part of a spiritual life.
It is so central that Allah, in his wisdom, cast it into the very central core of our faith, depicting it as the third of the Five Pillars of Islam.
Yet as central and vital as it might be, it’s also not remotely easy.
Our natural tendency is to cling stubbornly onto that which, from a purely material perspective, we see as ours and thus rightfully in our control to do with what we wish.
While we have Ramadan, and Zakat ul Fitr as a natural requirement of annual generosity, if that is the whole extent of our giving we might be able to say that our spiritual life is alive, but is it truly thriving?
Just like so many other aspects of our lives in both the spiritual and material world, our charitable behavior is governed by cognitive biases.
For example, repeated studies have shown that the so called ‘denomination effect’ holds sway all around the world, in that we are far more likely to spend five one-pound coins than we are to spend a single five-pound note.
Many can read this and despair, fearing that their own minds and the tendencies therein will just prevent them from living truly active spiritual lives.
But with careful structuring, forethought, and planning, you can circumvent the brain’s normal lazy tendencies and live a truly and exemplary generous life.
Make your charity unthinking
One of the biggest road blocks in the way of many people being more charitable is the sheer mental and moral energy it takes to make the right decision – that being the decision to give.
With Zakat we have some of the decision taken out of our hands, but with Sadaqah the sheer act of making the choice takes work.
Solution – Don’t make the choice so often, make it once and let it keep going.
Instead of consciously going to your bank or to a charity’s website every time you want to make a donation, talk to your bank about setting up a standing order.
This way you only need the energy to actually make the decision to be charitable once, and every other time it just happens without your direct input.
Seek out impact information
A big problem we often have with charity giving is that even if we see it as something beyond our mere obligation, as Sadaqah is to Zakat, is that even then it can just be seen as money vanishing into the ether.
That’s not something we do with the rest of our money when we spend it.
We like to know our purchases to be useful or pleasurable or in some other way beneficial to us.
This attitude is something that would perhaps be helpful to adopt in our charitable giving.
While it may seem mercenary and churlish to treat a charitable donation like an investment, from a motivation standpoint that’s an ideal thing to do.
If you give someone money with the intent of them making the world better, you deserve to know that you got a good return on that investment.
While it might be tempting to just leave it be, and feel somehow more detached and serene about the whole affair, serenity is often not productive.
Oversight, planning, research, effort.
All these things are spiritual too.
Look deep into what is being done with your money.
Don’t just look at the charity’s own sources too.
Go in depth.
Find out more.
Make the most of this information.
Know exactly what you have done, and take a private pride in that.
When you know the good you can do, you’ll want to do more.
Look for specific goals
When we want to be healthy, but we don’t have any particular desired weight or plan, we tend to be lazy in our thinking about food and drink.
We call them “cheat days” and laugh off our dietary intercessions.
But when we have a goal, an aim, a target – then we pay close attention.
The same is true with our money and charitable giving.
When we know that our gifts have moved the needle and have allowed a charity to make another step towards a particular goal, then we feel motivated.
We develop a sense of community, even if we have not spoken personally to other donors or the wider charity that we’re supporting.
History has shown dozens of wondrous examples of these sorts of efforts producing fantastic levels of motivation in the wider public.
When during the Second World War people in the United States and Great Britain knew how many bonds it would cost to buy everything from an M1 Carbine to a Supermarine Spirfire, their donations skyrocketed.
The single donation as part of the larger whole is so much easier to conceptualize as valuable when you know exactly what the wider whole looks like.
When you see yourself as a team pushing towards a particular goal, your motivation will burn brighter and go further.
Don’t be too rational
It is tempting when trying to think about charitable donations to do research to the Nth degree, and indeed research is valuable for motivation as previous points have discussed.
But when you are struggling with the energy you want to maximize the charitable steps in your spiritual walk, research is a tool better used after you make your donations, rather than before.
In a study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania, researcher Deborah Small found that a key motivating feature in people’s charitable giving was what she called “spontaneous affective reactions”.
In blunt terms, when it comes to charity if you want the most from yourself, don’t be afraid to lead with your heart rather than your head.
You can examine relative effectiveness and study the extents to which a charity’s overheads really limit them, but then factor in how the overheads impact giving structures in the long term, and then consider all that in the light of cultural imperialism and the role of generosity in… ad infinitum.
The fact is if you feel an affinity for a cause, and the most cursory examination tells you its worthy, you should feel empowered to donate.
Now once you have donated, research, study, examine, and ensure you get your charitable gift’s full worth, but don’t let questions of the head overrule the heart’s desire to better the world.
Know your own losses
Charity is about giving, but to give something you must have it in the first place, which means when you give, you are giving something else up.
This is something you should embrace.
The aspect that in giving money to charity, you are denying yourself something else.
Often we like use rhetorical techniques to circumvent this.
We tell ourselves that we are buying something for ourselves, or that we get a much greater reward later on.
While these things are certainly true to some extent, the attempt to deny how much we cost ourselves with our charity just puts a greater cognitive load on our good works, and makes it less likely that we will give more in the future.
Not only does this denial have a negative effect, but also embracing what some researchers call the “martyrdom effect” in our charity will actually make us more willing to be giving.
In a set of five experiments, researcher Christopher Olivola of Carnegie Mellon University found that the idea of suffering or struggling to reach a particular goal as part of a charity made the giving feel more meaningful, and the people who gave in this way often gave more money.
Find a way to record just what you could have gotten with the money, resources, or time you give to charity.
Write it down, list it, make it clear to your own mind just what it is your giving.
Is there some place he mentioned he would like to travel? Does he have an interest or hobby that he can enjoy while on the trip? Think of things like golfing, hiking, skiing, fly fishing? The possibilities are endless. You can rent a boat or go on a winery or brewery tour.
Whatever you do, take the time to carefully plan it in advance. Make sure that he is unaware of the trip.
You can make it more fun and interesting by revealing it in the last moment.