How I Traveled Around Asia For Cheap

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I've spent the last two months traveling around Southeast Asia on a budget and you'd be surprised at how little money I've spent. Many people dream of packing a bag, booking a flight and traveling across the world for a few months, and that's exactly what I did.

Earlier this year I was fed up with my job and living situation and really wanted to travel so I could see more of the world. I was in no means extremely well off financially, but I had the drive to get out of my city and comfort zone and travel somewhere completely new where I've never been before, specifically, I wanted to travel around Asia.

The one thing that kept stopping me from traveling, like a lot of others, was money. I didn't want to just go on a week-long holiday to Spain, I wanted to spend a few months traveling around Southeast Asia, and I just needed to find a way to travel cheaply. I didn't have a huge budget or a pot of money to rely on, so I knew I had to find a way to travel on the cheap, which is exactly what I did.

If you're unsure of how to afford to travel the world for cheap, if you're on a gap year or want to travel around Asia, these are some cheap travel hacks I used while traveling through Southeast Asia for two months and the best money saving tips for traveling around Asia cheap.

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Why Traveling Is Great For Your Mental Health
1. Use Skyscanner To Book Your Flights

Skyscanner gives you cheap and affordable flight options and is the easiest, quickest and most reliable way to book flights for traveling. I booked my return flights to Bangkok from Ireland and booked all of the additional flights to Vietnam and Cambodia through Skyscanner so you can choose your flights from anywhere in the world with them.

2. Book Your Accommodation Through Affordable Apps

I stayed in two types of accommodation while in Asia to keep costs down and that was by staying in hostels and hotels. Accommodation is incredibly cheap in most parts of Asia and you can get a four-star hotel from as cheap as $15 dollars per night. The two apps I used to book all of my accommodation were Booking.com and Hostel World. I  would stay in a hostel for a week, followed by a few nights in a hotel, so I really got the backpacker experience as well as a bit of luxury, which is needed when traveling around Asia for two months. I booked all of my hotels through Booking.com and booked my hostels through HostelWorld.

3. Go Backpacking Instead Of Traveling With A Suitcase

Traveling with a backpack is a lot easier than traveling with a suitcase because not only do you look less like a tourist with a backpack instead of turning at with a big suitcase, you have limited room to carry things around in your backpack. It's easy to get carried away with buying fakes and souvenirs when traveling, but having limited space to pack stops you from overspending on unnecessary things. 

4. Use A Currency Card To Pay For Things

Travelers often get caught out with big credit and debit card fees when spending abroad and I avoided this by using a currency card. I used the FairFx card to get money out in Asia and I usually withdrew my money for the week in one go so as to keep card fees low. Many banks charge a high fee no matter how much money you withdraw so a currency card is a much more affordable way to manage your money when traveling abroad. Also in Asia, your money comes out of the cash machine first, so don't leave your card behind! 

5. Book Tours Through Your Hostel or Hotel

There are a lot of companies that scam tourists into booking tours with them at extortionate prices and try to make them think that they offer the best service. It's always safest to book tours through the accommodation you're staying at and your hotel or hostel will usually always have the cheapest prices and won't rip you off. You'll see lots of travel agencies but the prices are usually always very high so it's best to steer clear from them. I booked all of my tours and excursions through hostels I found on HostelWorld.

6. Eat Locally

I always ate in our hostel or in local nearby restaurants because the food is incredibly cheap in Asia. You'll find many streets buzzing with restaurants and the prices are so cheap that we ate out every night of the week for two months! In Vietnam, it's custom to eat on miniature tables and chairs along the street which is a really nice and authentic eating experience.

7. Learn How To Barter

You can't travel to Asia without visiting the vast array of night markets which sell amazing quality fake clothes, handbags and shoes. The key to visiting the markets in Asia is to barter hard and haggle your way to the lowest price. I was hesitant at first when bartering in markets but I soon realized that the locals will try to charge you the highest price but with a bit of haggling they'll go very low from their first offer. In Vietnam, I was able to get two handbags down from 3.5 million Dong to 1 million Dong! You'll often get cheaper goods if you buy more than one so find a stall that you can buy a few things from. 

8. Don't Get Scammed By Taxis And Tuk Tuks

If you travel by bus or train throughout Asia, you'll be met with a big group of taxi and tuk tuk drivers once you reach the station at your destination. Always agree on a price before you step into a tuk tuk or taxi because they will charge you whatever they want if you don't. We made this mistake when arriving in Hoi An in Vietnam when two motorbike taxis grabbed our bags and put us on bikes without agreeing on a price and we were forced to pay them an extortionate amount of money for the short journey. So always agree on a low price before getting in! If a driver refuses to agree to your price then don't take the journey with him, you'll find another tuk tuk within seconds who will.

9. Take Sleeper Buses Instead of Flights

You'll soon get used to the luxury of sleeper buses (there's not much luxury with them at all) instead of spending hundreds on flights. Sleeper buses run every day to pretty much anywhere and are a fraction of the price of flights. They have reclined seats and blankets and usually provide water too. You can also get sleeper trains which are slightly more expensive but also a very affordable way to travel through Southeast Asia.

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Why You Don't Need Pinterest Followers To Make Money

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Many bloggers who want to make money from their blog and make a business from blogging ask themselves, 'Do I need Pinterest followers to make money?' The simple answer is no, you don't need as many Pinterest followers as you think. There are other more important tips you should be focusing on Pinterest, so don't stress out if you don't have lots of followers.

You don't need Pinterest followers to make money and be a successful blogger. Many bloggers think you need a huge following on Pinterest to make an income from blogging, and although many big bloggers do have a lot of Pinterest followers, it's not their followers that gain them page views, it's engagement.

If you don't have a Pinterest account for your blog, website or business, make one now. I offer Pinterest management packages where I can set up your Pinterest account from the beginning or offer coaching and Pinterest management if you're already using Pinterest but aren't seeing results yet. You can hire me on my contact page and we can discuss the best option to transform your Pinterest traffic and hugely increase your engagement.

Pinterest is my No.1 driving force for getting traffic to my blog. From SEO, long tail keywords and advertising, Pinterest is still my top referral source for driving traffic to my blog. I focused on Pinterest from day one of starting my blog and it's really paid off. I don't use twitter or Facebook much to drive traffic to my blog, but instead focus solely on Pinterest.

You can see the results below from when I implemented my Pinterest strategy, my page views skyrocketed through the roof!

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And I did this all with less than 1000 followers to start with. Once I discovered tactics and a strategy that worked for me, I saw my Pinterest engagement continue to grow each month and it's still increasing!

In my eCourse Pinterest Millionaire, I lay out my exact strategy for getting hundreds of thousands of page views from Pinterest and the steps I took to increase my engagement and traffic and start making good money from pinning. The course takes your through the steps that other bloggers miss out on and will teach you how to make Pinterest your number one traffic source, no matter what your niche is so make sure to check out the course!

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Some of the modules from Pinterest Millionaire course

Do Pinterest Followers Really Matter?

In short, no. Pinterest followers don't matter as much as you think. Of course it's important to continue to grow your following on all social media platforms as your blog grows, but gaining  followers should not be your main priority. Many bloggers think that they can't succeed without lots of followers on Pinterest, this is simply untrue. 

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Follow me on Pinterest here

I started making good money and getting great traffic from Pinterest with only a few hundred followers. I currently have around 3,000 followers on Pinterest and while this doesn't seem like a huge amount, my traffic is around 1 million page views per month. You see, it doesn't matter whether you have 100, 1000 or 100,000 followers on Pinterest, the one thing you need to focus on is engagement.

Why Engagement Is More Important

Engagement is more important than followers, period. It's no use having thousands of followers if you don't have a good pinning strategy to increase your engagement. Engagement is when people click on your pins and visit your website and repin your pins to their boards and group boards, which leads to more people visiting your website and engaging with your content. 

You could have 100 followers who are highly engaged with your Pinterest profile and constantly repin your pins and visit your website, which in turn increases your page views and makes you more money from ads, or you could have 1,000 followers who rarely click on your pins and never visit your site and make you no money. Which would you prefer? 

Clearly it's incredibly more important to focus on engagement from the start rather than having lots of followers. That's why it's so important not to get disheartened by bloggers who have hundreds of thousands of followers, because it really doesn't matter! Especially if those bloggers have paid for their followers, they're making a lot less money thank you think compared to the small blogger who gets lots of visitors from higher engagement.

How To Get More Pinterest Engagement

There are several strategies to increasing your Pinterest engagement, including:

  • Having bright and colourful pins
  • Detailed pin descriptions utilising SEO
  • Using keywords in your pin descriptions 
  • Creating 'Rich Pins'
  • Branding Your Content
  • Following and repining constantly (that's where Tailwind comes in handy)
  • Being active and part of at least 30+ group boards on Pinterest
  • Optimising your profile with keywords to get found

If this all sounds like a lot of work then I can help you out with your Pinterest strategy and get your traffic increasing with my Pinterest management services. Just send me an email on my contact page and we can have a chat to see what will work best with your blog and business.

Even if you create beautiful graphics and pins, no one is going to notice them or repin them without a good Pinning strategy. That's where I break down my own strategy to going viral on Pinterest in my course Pinterest Millionaire. Whether you're a new blogger or experienced, each chapter will teach you new tips to mastering a successful pinterest strategy, so make sure to check out the course!

How To Make Money On Pinterest

Firstly I want to address the misconception that you need to pay for advertising to get seen on Pinterest, this is simply false. You do not need to spend money to make money on Pinterest. I've never paid for advertising on Pinterest and my traffic is completely organic. I use manual and scheduled pinning to reach my target audience and I use Tailwind to do this. Tailwind is the most crucial step in getting traffic from Pinterest and I would not be making any money today without it. So if you're a blogger who is serious about making your blog into a business then Tailwind is the one thing you must invest in.

I spend about 15 minutes per week scheduling my entire pins for the week (we're talking about saving 3-4 hours a day pinning 100's of pins manually, so save yourself a heck of a lot of time with Tailwind.) It costs roughly $10 a month and I use the Plus Plan. This allows me to focus solely on creating great content for my blog instead of spending hours and hours promoting my blog posts manually.

So essentially, it all comes down to your pinning plan. Followers won't get you the results you want unless you have a practical plan to increase your engagement. Make sure to check out my Pinterest Millionaire course if you're serious about getting lots of traffic from Pinterest and turning them into customers to increase your earnings.

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12 Signs You're Falling In Love With Him

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Falling in love is like letting go of everything that scares you and embracing that something incredible is about to happen; you don't know what, or where it's going to take you but you're letting yourself go on this ride and allowing yourself to enjoy it to the fullest. It's the excitement of the unknown and the apprehension of not wanting to get hurt, but trusting that this is meant to happen.

You may have been in love before, or thought you've been in love, but when you're falling for someone, you start to notice things that are different from past relationships and you start to feel a certain way that you haven't felt before. These are 12 signs that you're falling in love.

Read Next: Why You Should Go Travelling Without Your Partner
How To Make A Long Distance Relationship Work
Signs To Watch Out For That You Need To Break Up

1. You Feel So Happy Around Him

Any time you're in your partners company, you feel an immense happiness and comfort being with them. They make you laugh, you share jokes and it's a sure sign you're falling for him when your mood is instantly lifted by being with them. They have a positive effect on your mental attitude and they make you feel so happy and uplifted.

2. You're Really Attracted To Him

You always catch yourself staring at him and are instantly attracted to him every time you see him. You find him more attractive each time you're together and can't help but notice how handsome he is.

3. You Get Excited About Seeing Him

You know those butterflies in your stomach too well when you're on your way to meet up with him and you get nervous about what you're going to say or how to act. You get genuinely excited to see him and spend time with him and you can't wait to be in his company so you can have lots of fun together and have  a lot of laughs. You put extra effort into your appearance and try on about three different outfits before seeing him so as to make a good impression, even though they'd be happy with you any way.

4. You Miss Him After A Short Time Apart

A clear sign that your feelings are developing into love are when you start to miss him shortly after you've spent time together. A few hours have passed and you're already missing his company. You love being around him and you want to be with them as much as possible. 

5. You're Open To Doing New Things With Him

Activities that you never would of thought of doing before now seem like a fun time because you're with him. You're open to trying out his hobbies and doing things you've never done before because you want to experience the things he's interested in too. Adjusting and accepting their way of life is a definite sign you're falling for him.

6. He's Always On Your Mind

You find yourself thinking about what he's doing throughout the day. You see things that you think he'd like or go to a place you know he'd love to visit. He's always just at the back of your mind and you tend to notice things that remind you of him. You want to tell him about fun things you're doing and you find yourself smiling like an idiot sometimes when you remember things he's made you laugh about.

7. You Feel Comfortable Being Yourself Around Him

A sign you're falling in love is when you start opening up more around him and feel comfortable being yourself completely. You don't mind being silly around him and having fun. You feel comfortable talking to him about anything and don't feel like you have to constantly impress him.

8. You Love His Quirks

That little laugh he has or those funny jokes he always makes turn into the things you love the most about him. He feels very special to you and you love that he's different to anyone you've ever been with.

9. You Love Hearing From Him

It's not uncommon to feel like a giddy teenager when you're falling love, like when your heart beats a little faster when their name pops up on your phone screen. You check your phone often to see if they've been in touch and you love just keeping in contact with them wherever you are.

10. You're Not Interested In Dating Anyone Else

You know you're falling in love when you completely forget about any other guy you've dated before and you don't even think about your ex anymore. No other guy catches your eye and you have no interest in talking to any other man in a dating sense.

11. You Feel Like You Can Trust Him

A big sign of love is when you feel safe around him and you can trust him. Whether it's with personal details in your life, or just trusting that he'll be there for you through difficult times or trusting him to be faithful, you'll find yourself falling in love with him when you know you can trust him more than other people in your life. Everything just feels good when you're with him.

12. You Feel Excited For The Future

A sure sign you're falling in love is when you can imagine him in your life in the future. You might not know when or how but you like the idea of him being around in your life for a long time and you get excited about the adventures you both could go on. Maybe you've mentioned that you'd like to travel together or visit certain places, which are signs that you can see yourselves in each others lives in the future.

These are some emotional and scientific signs that your body shows when you're falling in love with someone. If you're asking yourself, am I in love? Or If you're not sure whether or not you're in love or how to know if you're falling in love with someone, then look out for these signs of falling in love.

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Should You Break Up Before You Go Traveling?

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The dilemma of whether you should go traveling or stay at home with your partner is a tough decision that many couples face. You've dreamt of travelling the world but you don't want to jeopardise your relationship with your significant other by going travelling without them.

I went travelling around Asia for two months when I was in the early stages of a relationship and it still worked out. So you may be asking yourself, 'How can I travel while in a relationship?'

If you've decided that you definitely want to go travelling but your boyfriend or girlfriend doesn't, then you have two options:

1: Go travelling alone without your other half but remain in your relationship
2: Break up with your partner to go travelling solo

If your relationship is strong, then your partner will completely understand your decision to want to travel and will be excited and happy for you. It's understandable that they'll be sad that you're leaving them for a certain amount of time but they should want you to have amazing life experiences.

Read next:
How To Break Up With Someone Nicely
Travel or Relationship?

You can have both.

When I decided to go travelling around Asia for two months, I'd just started seeing a guy who I really liked but I knew I needed to travel for myself and get out and see the world. I was nervous about telling him I was going travelling, because who wants to start dating someone and have them jet off to the other side of the world for a few months?! 

Thankfully he'd travelled himself quite a bit in the past and he saw it as an amazing opportunity for me, but he was understandably slightly annoyed that I was leaving out of the blue for a few months. 

I went travelling with the expectation that he'd meet someone else while I was away and I never assumed that he'd be waiting for me when I came home. After all you can't expect someone to put their life on hold for you. But I actually felt we became closer while I was travelling in a sense. We texted most days and had phone calls now and again and we kept in contact for the entire time. When I returned home we picked up where we left off and I couldn't of asked for anything more.

So my advice for going travelling while in a relationship is that you shouldn't expect your partner to wait for you and be understanding if they don't want to continue the relationship because you're going travelling, especially if you're traveling for a long time. However, if you're relationship is strong enough then your partner should be there for you and respect your decision to want to go travelling. If they really care about you they won't automatically want to break up just because you want to go and travel the world.

If you feel like you won't be able to stay faithful to your partner while you're travelling then you should definitely break up with them before you go travelling because it's only fair to them. You can't leave them waiting at home for you if you don't think you'll continue the relationship when you return.

If you're paranoid about whether they'll stay faithful to you while you're travelling then you need to ask yourself whether it's the right thing to continue this relationship or if you should end it before you go traveling. Long distance relationships can be tough while travelling, so speak with your partner and come to a decision that suits you both.

Traveling while in a relationship is definitely doable and the relationship can succeed if you have regular communication with your partner and show interest in each others lives throughout your travels.

It's hard being apart from each other but it's so nice to have someone to tell all the fun things you're doing and to have someone you love to come home to.

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22 Things I've Learned In 22 Years

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Turning 22 this year has made me realise that I have a whole lot of learning to do but also that I've learnt so many lessons in my life so far. I've made plenty of mistakes and I've learnt from them. I've trusted the wrong people and gotten hurt because of it. I've started making the right decisions for myself and putting myself first. I definitely don't have it all figured out yet but I've learned some valuable life lessons in my 22 years.

1. Its' 100% ok to not have your life figured out in your early 20s

Your 20s are for discovering who you are and the things that make you happiest. Don't get stressed about not having a perfect relationship, perfect job and life in your 20s. You'll figure it out someday, but this is your time for learning.

2. You're definitely not going to be married with kids by the time you're 24

You have to laugh at all those times in primary school when you're teacher would ask you what age you wanted to get married at and the majority of your class said 24 or 25. Yep, that's not going to happen. Maybe for some people it does but 24 comes around a lot quicker than you'd expect! 34 is probably a much more accurate estimate for it.

3. You're going to let the wrong people into your life

This is a given. The important thing is to learn not to let those types of people into your life again. These people will hurt you, take advantage of you and not value the amazing things about you. The wrong people will lead you to the right people.

4. Never feel guilty for putting yourself first

If you're a people pleaser like me, you'll know that it's hard to put yourself first instead of doing everything for others. Never feel guilty for not wanting to do something or deciding that something isn't right for you. You don't always have to make decisions based on how it will effect others. It's so important to put your own happiness first at times.

5. You'll learn how to say no

If you're someone who finds it hard to say no to things incase you complicate plans for someone else or don't want to put someone else out of their way, you'll learn that it's so necessary sometimes to say no to things that you don't want to do and not feel guilty about it. It's great to say yes to opportunities but it's also completely ok to say no to things you really don't want to do.

6. You'll fall in love with the wrong people and have your heart badly broken

You're going to fall for some jerks, no questions asked. You're going to fall for a guy who tells you he loves you but really couldn't give a crap about you. You're going to get badly hurt but you're also going to get through it and learn to never let the same horrible people hurt you again like that.

7. You'll learn to stay away from those types of people

You learn from your mistakes, simple as that. You learn to stay away from shitty people and you'll not let anyone hurt you like that again. You'll rise above it and be stronger than before.

8. You'll lose friends who don't agree with your choices, and that's ok

You don't exist to please other people. You're not here to make other people happy and conform to what others think you should be. Don't change yourself because someone doesn't agree with your decisions. Be you and if a friend is unable to accept that you're different to them then maybe they're not a friend after all. Your real friends will stick by you no matter what so only focus your time and energy on them.

9. A lot of people are out for themselves

Trust is something you'll learn to give sparingly and cautiously to people. A lot of people don't care about others wellbeing and will do what it takes to succeed. Be wary of people that you think aren't 100% genuine because in most cases, they're not.

10. It's so so so important to do the things you love on a daily basis

Your happiness and mental health comes from the things you love. If you do the things you love daily, your happiness will improve so much. Make time everyday to work on that thing that gives you happiness. It's very important to look after your mental health in your 20s.

11. Don't stress about things that are out of your control

If you can't change it or control it, let it go. If it's out of control, release it from your life and forget all about it. Don't dwell on it and erase it from you mind.

12. Don't try and make peace with a guy who screwed you over

Forgive if you can and forget that a**hole immediately. Don't stay friends with someone who didn't respect you or treat you like the amazing person you are. Let them get on with their life and be glad that you escaped that mess.

13. Casual dating is good to discover what type of person you want to be with

The more you date people, the more you'll find out what you're attracted to and what type of person you get on best with. Go on dates for fun and enjoy every experience you have with people. Don't be afraid to go on a few dates with different people to find out what your 'type' is.

14. One of the worst things you can do is compare yourself and your journey to others

Social media is fake. People post highlight reels of their lives and we can't help but compare how crap our lives seem to theirs. It's great for people to be proud of their accomplishments but not when it seems all too good to be true. Unfollow that person who constantly posts about how amazing their life is. It's having a negative effect on your mind and putting you in reverse rather than making you motivated. I advise to not follow anyone, but instead walk alongside the real ones.

15. Travel while you have the money and time to do so

Don't be scared to invest money in yourself by travelling and seeing the world and gaining amazing life experiences. There's no rush to have a house, mortgage, car etc. in your early twenties so make the most of this valuable time and see as much of the world as possible.

16. It's OK to try things and quit them if you realise they're not for you

If you got a new job and realised that it was the complete wrong thing for you, don't feel guilty about quitting to find the job that is right for you. If you take up a new hobby that you're not actually keen on, don't feel like failure for not continuing with it. Try as many things as possible until you find the things that make you happy.

17. Put yourself in new situations and try as many new things as possible, even if it's nerve wrecking

You'll grow so much as a person by putting yourself in uncomfortable situations. Do the things that scare you the most. Take risks. Tick off all of the things on your list of things you've wanted to try. You'll thank yourself for pushing yourself to do new things.

18. Remind yourself that things will get better

Even if it seems like they won't, things will get better. In the darkest of days when you're finding it a struggle to keep going, just remember that this is temporary and amazing things are coming when you make the choices to do so. The pain and suffering is tough but you will get through this and you'll be so much stronger for it.

19. Don't apologise for being you

Don't change for someone else just because they don't like something about you or don't agree with your choices. As long as you're not hurting anyone and are happy then don't apologise for doing things that you want to do. 

20. Don't rush into relationships and enjoy being single

People who constantly need to be in relationships are usually lacking in something big in their own lives. If you can't go six months being single then you need to seriously look at what your missing in your own life and why you can't cope on your own. Never rely on someone else for happiness and you should be able to be 100% as a single person on your own without needing anyone else. You need to be able to love yourself before you can love someone else.

21. If you have a gut feeling that something isn't right, then don't do it

Always follow your gut. If you have a bad feeling about something, then  you shouldn't go for it. Don't hope for the best if you know somethings not right. Assess every situation and make sure that it won't negatively effect your life.

22. Never ever give up on the things that make you the most happy

The one strength you have that will get you through the toughest of times are the things that make you genuinely happy. Whether it's playing an instrument, sport, cooking, dancing, writing, or anything that takes away your stress and pain, never give that thing up because it's what will get you through the toughest situations in life.

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