Immaculate Blue Hues . . . San Juan, Puerto Rico – May 2016

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

I escaped to Puerto Rico immediately after the termination of spring semester. In dire need of a break, Puerto Rico offered a quick getaway at an affordable price. I was fortunate enough to stay at the Caribe Hilton in San Juan. The resort was nothing short of magnificent; fully equipped with three pools, beach access, bars, and a fitness facility among other amenities. Fabulous weather greeted me allowing me to venture to the neighborhood of Condado. A area mirrored with vacant and occupied hotels ready for a swarm of tourists. The picturesque sunset was a great premise for the vibrant hues I would see on the island.

Old San Juan is a treasure in and of itself. Colorful buildings of all sizes and styles fill the viejo town like no other. Rustic cobblestone streets paired with immaculate blue hues from the cloudless sky made Old San Juan extraordinary. This city was a myriad of spectacular colors. Climbing up hill then down hill, waking one-way streets that led to the ocean, Old San Juan was nothing short of a mini adventure. Bars and restaurants littered every corner to no avail of being disappointed. Above all, Old San Juan was charming in it’s character with friendly merchants and police officers willing to help with just about anything. A very short trip from my hotel this city was a great destination.

Far from a nature enthusiast, my trip to El Yunque was captivating. The rainforest was definitely intimidating at first glance. The trek towards the waterfall was serene. I felt as if I literally escaped the world in which I was accustomed. Tree branches towered over me with the sun glistening behind; a collection of forest green emanating everywhere. The cloudy skies that taunted me on the journey soon dissipated once I was inside nature’s glory. Fearful at first, I left the rainforest more than thankful for the opportunity to see such a tropical beauty. The waterfall didn’t fall short of my expectations as it stood out amongst the rocks that entrapped it .

Puerto Rico was undeniably amazing
Advertisements

7 Money-Saving Tips For Your Next Trip

The reason I’m able to afford trips is not because I have a reserve of travel money but it is because I utilize a combination of money-saving techniques.

The following are 7 tips on how to save for your next trip.

  1. Know Where You Want To Go
    • At least a year in advance I have blocked out vacations days to travel using my calendar on iCal. Knowing when I want to travel makes it easier to not only pick a destination, but to also save towards that trip. This way I know when to start focusing my search efforts in order to find a great deal.

IMG_2126

  1.  Download Qaptial
    • This is a money-saving app that I used to save for Puerto Rico!
    • One feature that makes it great is the Save & Forget Rule. 
      • It allows you to save X amount of money every week which gets withdrawn from a checking account automatically.
    • The Round-Up Rule allows you to round-up all your transactions to $1 and save the change.
      • For example if you spend $1.50 and $0.50 gets saved or spend $3.67 and save $0.33. It may seem small at first but it definitely adds up if you use your card a lot (like me). Think about transactions from Target, convenience stores, or simply eating out. After a week it’s possible to save a significant amount of money.

Get $10 for free when you download Qaptial: http://get.qapital.com/bzAc/L8bCy58ISs

  1. CASH BACK From Any Major Credit Card
    • Most credit card companies offer a cash back option. For example at Bank of America, I get 2% cash back on grocery and gas purchases.
    • Again this may seem small at first but it adds up in the long run. Logging into your bank account shows how much cash back you’ve earned and options you have to retrieve it.
  1. Save $1 Everyday
    • Literally take $1 from your wallet and place it in a mason jar or unused glass bottle every morning, evening, or night. It is another form of the Save & Forget Rule but you’re doing this voluntarily
    • Place the bottle somewhere you always walk past but not somewhere you will be tempted to easily remove the money.
Starbuks jar
The Starbucks jar I keep on my desk to save $$$
  1. Save Change From All Cash Transactions
    • Using the same mason jar or glass bottle save all those coins that you find at the bottom of your purse, in jean pockets, or in-between seat cushions. It is another form of Round-Up Rule. Think of it as having an adult piggy bank.
    • I actually keep an empty plastic Starbucks cup in my car where I save all my change. I use it to pay tolls though it is a convenient way to store extra change.
  2. STUDY Abroad Anyone?
    • You can find scholarships for both merit and need-based on sites such as: FastWebScholarship AmericaGilman Scholarship, and Study Abroad
    • I was given the prestigious Gilman Scholarship that allowed me to study abroad last summer in Paris, France.
    • You should also check your own institution’s study abroad and financial aid office. There might be scholarships available specifically at your school.
  1. Sell Your Unwanted Items On Ebay or Postmark
    • One man’s trash is, in fact, another man’s treasure. Selling anything that is of no use to you is a great way to make spare cash.
    • EBAY allows you to sell just about anything and ship it everywhere.
    • Poshmark, on the other hand, is geared towards selling clothes, shoes, and accessories
    • Both sites do keep a small percentage of the profit. However, they are both very easy and offer free accounts. They can even be manuvered from your smart phone.

Understand that paying for your trip won’t happen overnight but applying these rules can definitely help you reach your travel goals faster.

It is the culmination of all these tips that will get you to your destination!