How a College Student Can Save for an International Trip

I had never thought about going on an international trip when I was younger. I had done it before with my parents, but I hadn’t planned to do it on my own. Part of the reason was because it seemed expensive; the other reason is because I didn’t know how to plan for an international trip. What I learned is that getting money together as a college student for an international trip is definitely possible, if you know how. It takes a combination of knowing how to generate money and how to save money in a short period of time.

Here are six helpful things that I learned on how a college student or anyone else low on funds can save for an international trip.

Sell Things

Starting when I was in high school and all the way through college, I had a habit of buying things that kept me entertained. These were different books, DVDs and CDs. What I thought about it, these things were mainly collecting dust, but at the same time were a great potential source of income.

If you have left over textbooks from college and haven’t sold them, you should definitely sell them now. They’re potentially hundreds of dollars sitting around and not being put to use.

When I finished selling my textbooks, books and DVDs, I made over $400 in easy cash for an international trip.

The key to selling books, DVDs and CDs is to compare all the websites and see who is willing to offer you the most money for each book or DVD. Some places give better offers for personal finance books, while others give better offers on film and media books.

Find what the ISBN numbers are for your books, and check which websites pay the most for each book. Do the same for your DVDs and CDs. The places will pay for you to ship the items to them, so it’s just a matter of figuring out whom you want to sell them to.

Save Money

It is possible to save money and eat well at the same time.

You don’t have to eat Top Ramen and canned beans for the next 6 month in order to save money for an international trip, even as a college student.

I found that the most expensive habit I had, was actually eating out and drinking alcohol. Cutting these things down made a big difference. Even if you still drink, you don’t necessarily have to always drink at a bar or drink a lot every weekend.

When I traveled to Thailand, I was eating and drinking at 5 star hotels and sitting on sandy beaches, instead of being at home and hanging out at smoky dive bars. Thinking like that is a great motivation for saving money for an international trip.

Find Another Source Of Income

I worked during my time as a college student, but I also did other things to save money. At this time, poker was a big deal and I saved about $1500 from playing.

Now, I’m not saying that you should go out and develop a poker habit in order to get money for an international trip, but you can still make money through other ways.

For example, you can start a free blog and generate money through Google Adsense, or publish articles on places like Yahoo Associated Content, and get paid upfront for articles and get performance bonuses.

Some people make hundreds and some thousands through writing articles, and this is reliable money for an international trip.

Be Smart On Booking Discount Flights

What I learned was that online sites, like Expedia, don’t always give you the lowest price right away.

Sometimes I had to do a price query for certain dates 6 – 7 times before it rotated to the lowest one. Don’t be so quick to buy the first offer they give you.

Also, when you leave and when you come back affects your ticket price. In general, leaving and coming back on the middle of the week saves more money. Make sure to also book early. There are many ways to save money on a discount international flight and you should learn the different tips and tricks.

I Traveled During the Offseason and for Longer Periods

I mentioned earlier that I was able to stay at 5 star hotels and places by the beach because I traveled during a non peak season for tourists.

If I traveled during high season, the costs would have been 3 – 4 times higher, so this makes a big difference. Also, when I was in Phuket, Thailand, I booked at the same 5 star vacation spot for 4 weeks. By doing this, I got a discounted rate. When booking a place for a long period of time, you should look into this because this might save you a lot of money on an international trip.

Traveling during offseason doesn’t necessarily mean it’s raining the whole time either. It actually was really sunny.

Rain season in Thailand is near September. It wasn’t much of a rain season. Out of 5 weeks there, it rained maybe 6 – 7 days. When it did rain, it was maybe in the middle of the day for 2 – 3 hours, and then the sun came back. There was also less tourists, so we had the beaches to ourselves and didn’t have to wait too long to get into restaurants.

Traveling With a Friend Saves Money

I traveled through Thailand with someone who would eventually be my wife. You don’t have to travel with your future significant other, but having a travel friend saves money.

You can split money on costs at hotels, transportation on things like taxis, and sometimes even meals. Sometimes I would order dinner, and a huge plate of fish or something else would come out that was really meant for two people. You can also share luggage and split costs between goods such as travel pillows.

Why not split the costs instead?

Healthier Coffee with the Hourglass Coffee Maker

I discovered the Hourglass Cold Press Coffee Maker after reading a headline in a Better.tv e-mail newsletter that touted “Acid-free Coffee.” Hardly believing that this could be true, I clicked on the link to watch the video. Well, Mr. Rinaldi, the president of Hourglass, always used the qualifier “virtually” when he said “acid-free” during this interview and demonstration. But he allowed the interviewer, Brook Carlson, to repeat the acid-fee claim without the qualifier. The Hourglass website states clearly that their coffee maker brews coffee with 69.6% less acid than hot brew coffee, and they have lab test results to prove it. The Hourglass coffee maker is also promoted as being eco-friendly because it uses BPA free plastic, and also because it uses no paper filters or electricity. Sounds great, and personally, I love cold brew coffee. I also agree that it can be a healthier alternative for those who have medical conditions that make the acid in hot brew coffee an issue for them. But I see a few problems with this product.

First of all, there is the price. The Hourglass Cold Press Coffee System costs $69.95 plus shipping. Not only are there cheaper cold brew coffee systems for sale, but there is an inexpensive alternative to buying a specialized cold brewing system at all. My article, Making Cold Brew Coffee in a French Press (Associated Content), explains how to make delicious cold brew coffee using a simple French press. You can purchase a basic French press for around $15 from almost any store that sells other types of coffeemakers. If you cannot find one locally you can always find one on Amazon.com.

Second, there is the size of the Hourglass Coffee System. From the video on Better.tv the Hourglass brewing system looks about as tall and wide as an average coffee maker. However, since you don’t usually need to make cold brew coffee everyday this is something most people will want to store inside a cabinet and not on their countertop. This product will definitely require more precious shelf space than a French press. And for its size, it still only makes half as much coffee concentrate as my 32 ounce French press.

Finally, this product is still made of plastic while my French press is made mostly of glass and stainless steel. (The handle and lid of my press are both plastic, but neither of these parts touches the coffee while it brews.) BPA free plastic may be safer than other plastics, but it still cannot beat glass and stainless steel for being eco-smart. Also, once the coffee has been brewed, you will need to clean your coffee maker. Since the Hourglass Coffee System has more and larger components, a simple French press requires less energy and water when it comes to clean up.

So, if you would like to try this healthier way to brew coffee, my suggestion is to buy a French press. And as an added bonus, a French press can also be used to brew hot coffee or even loose leaf tea.

The Ideazon Zboard Gaming Keyboard Reviewed: The Best Gaming Keyboard for the Money?

If you’re still using a standard, traditional keyboard for your gaming, then you’re likely missing out on many of the features that modern gaming keyboards offer. Serious PC gamers know that while the standard keyboard that most people are accustomed to may be fine for internet use and word processing, it’s often less than ideal for the demands of hardcore gaming sessions.
As more and more PC users spend time honing their skills as gamers, a variety of specialized gaming keyboards have become available to meet their needs. Perhaps one of the best known is the Zboard offered by Ideazon. Marketed as the “Ultimate Gaming Keyboard”, the Zboard offers a wide range of features specifically designed for gamers including a unique modular keyset system.

That the Zboard remains a popular keyboard despite the fact that it’s been available for some time is perhaps an indication of its versatility and quality. While other keyboards are available from brand names that might be more recognized by average consumers, the Zboard was arguably the first keyboard of its kind specifically tailored for and marketed to gamers and gamers alone. If you’re wondering just what makes the Zboard an excellent choice for gamers, here are some of the features that set it apart from any other old plain keyboard.

Modular: Swap out keysets on the fly

The feature that may initially surprise most consumers the most is the Zboard’s modular design. The keys of the keyboard are actually part of two distinct detachable sets that can easily be removed and attached any time you want. The keysets are distinguished by their alternate layouts with one keyset having the traditional, classic keyboard layout that all computer users are familiar with, and a second keyset specifically designed for gamers. Each section conveniently folds for ease of storage and transport, and swapping out the keysets is a cinch.

The standard keyset is ideal for typing, word-processing, and standard computer and internet tasks, so the Zboard is perfectly functional as a standard keyboard. The second keyset is where the action is and it’s what PC gamers will find themselves using during gaming sessions.

The Gaming Keyset

This keyset features a set of directional controls which correspond to the the “WASD” keys, well-known as the classic movement configuration for games of all kinds, in large red colors as the central focus of the left hand side of the keyset.

More than just WASD…

The movement keys are surrounded by an extremely convenient layout of numerical keys which would map to the classic weapon layouts that are ubiquitous in PC gaming these days. To the right and left of the movement keys are clearly labeled buttons intended to be mapped to run/walk, reload, use, and crouch functions which are essentially universal and extremely handy to have quick and easy access to. Since it can be a major annoyance to memorize letters that are assigned to various functions in any of the games you might play, the Zboard’s clearly labeled and cleverly placed keys make in-game control a real breeze.

Currently selling for $49 USD via thetechinsider.org, the Zboard really is a must-own for any serious PC gamer. Once you use it, you’ll wonder how you ever played without it.