Affordable Travel

The Wanderlust Generation: Why Millennials Travel So Much

There has been a lot of talk in the past few years about millennials and what lies ahead for our generation. The reason for all this discussion is that it is a very important topic. There are 83.1 million of us millennials in the US, which makes up more than a quarter of the entire population. When you compare this to the 75.4 million baby boomers you see that our generation is a force to be reckoned with.

New businesses are springing up to meet our needs that change entrie industries. Old businesses are scrambling to connect with our generation in an authentic way.

There are also plenty of stereotypes about millennials. Some say that we are entitled, lazy, or we just think we know everything.

Instead of focusing on these negative stereotypes that our previous generations have so kindly donned upon us with, I’d like to focus on one simple fact.

This fact is that millennials travel more than any other generation.

In 2013 Expedia did a study that analyzed how often people from various generations travel. This study found that people under 30 years old travel 4.7 times per year for business versus only 3.6 times per year for 30 to 45-year olds and 4.2 times per year for 46 to 65-year-olds.

[bctt tweet="Millennials travel more than any other generation."]

It also found that millennials take 4.2 leisure trips per year versus 2.9 trips for 31 to 35-year-olds and 3.2 trips fro 46 to 65-year-olds.

The United Nations estimates that about 20 percent of all international tourists, nearly 200 million travlers, are young people.

According to a study conducted by Boston Consulting Group, 75% of millennials are interested in traveling abroad as much as possible. For non-millennials this number was only 52%.

As you can see, there are plenty of statistics about millennials and our constant wanderlusting desires.

But what is the story behind these numbers? Why are we so eager to explore the world?

Simply put, why in the world do we love to travel so much?

In this article we will take a look into the story behind why we travel.

The Impact of Social Media on Travel

Forbes and Elite Daily recently partnered up to do a study of millennials. This study found that we are not influenced at all by advertising.

According to Forbes, “only 1% of millennials surveyed said that a compelling advertisement would make them trust a brand more. Millennials believe that advertising is all spin and not authentic.”

Social media and technology changed advertising forever. Instead of allowing TV commercials to shout at us to buy, buy, buy we fast forward. Instead, we pay attention to people we look up to and to our friends for guidance on what to do, what to buy, and where to go.

The Influencer Effect

Don’t get me wrong, advertising is still going on. However, the smart companies are going about it differently. Instead of telling us what to do themselves, they show us what to do by paying someone we admire.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide recently hired social media influencers to visit it’s new line of hotels and post about them on social media.

If our favorite Instagram celebrity visits a hotel and posts awesome photos we are much more likely to see ourselves there than we would if we saw a commercial about the new resort.

Similarly, when we see these people going on adventures it inspires us to have an adventure of our own.

The Perfect-Life Perception

We are not only influenced by ‘social media influencers,’ but we are also influenced by our friends.

Every day we log into Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat we are bombarded by pictures of our friends doing amazing things. It’s as if everyone is living an incredible life 24/7.

Yet, when you think about it, you don’t find yourself sharing the boring parts of your life because no one cares. You won’t get hundreds of likes with a picture of yourself doing laundry. But, you will get plenty of likes when you post your selfie with Mona Lisa.

Over time, through trial and error, we learn to only post things that will get maximize our likes. This creates the effect of everyone looking like they live a perfect life, leaving us to try to do the same.

Although this isn’t always a good thing, I’d argue that it pushes many of us to try new things. We see our friends doing something fun that we never even thought of before, so we go try it out too.

Crowdsourcing and the Sharing Economy

Where before we could only deal with companies, we now can deal directly with people. Crowdsourcing and the sharing economy are bringing the best of the best of traveling to light as other traveler’s share their experiences.

Crowdsourcing Knowledge

When most people hear the term ‘crowdsource’ they think of Kickstarter or IndieGoGo where people go to crowdsource money in order to launch a product or project.

Yet, you can also think of crowdsourcing in the form of knowledge. Think about TripAdvisor, Wikipedia, FourSquare, and HostelWorld.

All of these websites and apps have one thing in common: they are created or enhanced by the sum knowledge of other people. You have hundreds of people’s opinions and advice at the tip fo your finger tips whenever you want it.

This can make your travel experiences consistently incredible.

Instead of listening to one person’s advice on where to stay, such as your travel agent, you now can read the advice of others and find the right place for you.

Instead of just listening to your hotel concierge for advice on a restaurant, you can now look up the top rated place around and eat delicious food at every meal.

Our chances of having a bad experience seem to go down dramatically when we take advice from the masses. I mean if over 1,000 people rate a restaurant over 4.5 stars, it’s probably going to have delicious food.

This also pushes companies to improve so that they can be the ‘go-to’ place whenever someone visits. For example, Red Roof Inn just spent $150 million to renovate it’s properties based on TripAdvisor feedback.

Never before have we, as consumers, had such a massive direct impact on companies. We no longer have to settle for something that doesn’t meet our requirements.

The Sharing Economy

Not only do we have more of a say in what companies do, but we can also stay away from the ‘corporate’ side of travel if we choose.

Instead of walking into a hotel, checking in, and feeling like just another transaction, we can have a place to call home. By using AirBnB instead of a hotel we are more likely to save money and get a more local experience.

The sharing economy has flipped massive industires on their heads and us millennials are absolutely loving it. Sixty percent of American travelers ages 18 to 34 say they put their faith in services such as AirBnB, Home Away, Uber and Lyft, whereas other travelers only came in at 37%.

We no longer need to hire a shady taxi driver to drive us around. We can now hire a cool local as our personal driver with Uber or Lyft.

Once again it is innovations like these that are making it incredibly easy to have an amazing experience while traveling. One great experience leads to another and another as you are constantly seeking to learn more about the world.

Digital Nomadism

The beauty of the internet is that it allows us to work from anywhere at anytime. We are no longer chained to a desk if we don’t want to be. Digital nomads are a new type of entrepreneur that have sprung up around the world. Rather than optimizing 100% for income, they are also optimizing for lifestyle.

[bctt tweet="We are no longer chained to a desk if we don’t want to be."]

Tim Ferriss and The New Rich

In 2007 Tim Ferriss unleashed a book that would change the way thousands of people viewed their lives. The 4-Hour Workweek is a book that brought to light a new idea to what it means to be rich.

As Tim Ferriss says, “Gold is getting old. The New Rich (NR) are those who abandon the deferred-life plan and create luxury lifestyles in the present using the currency of the New Rich: time and mobility. This is an art and a science we will refer to as Lifestyle Design.”

People associate the word ‘rich’ with things like mansions and sports cars. Tim, on the other hand, associates ‘rich’ with freedom.

Now, many people get the wrong impression of The 4-Hour Workweek saying that working a 4-hour week is just not possible. But they are missing the point. The point is that money is not the only thing that matters, especially if you can never use it since you’re stuck in an office for 60 hours per week.

This opened the eyes of thousands of people who decided that maybe they don’t need to be working for someone else. Maybe there is another way to lead an awesome life.

When this clicked for me I quit my commercial real estate job, backpacked around Europe, and started Travel This Planet as a result.  

Digital Nomad Hubs

Overtime this sparked the creation of hubs around the world of people living the life of the New Rich. Entrepreneurs, now referred to as digital nomads, congregate in amazing cities around the world to build businesses.

What most people don’t realize is that many of these entrepreneurs are actually making more money working for themselves than they would have if they followed the traditional corporate route.

Joel Runyon, a digital nomad and founder of Impossible, recently said, “The type of entrepreneur first defined by Tim Ferris in the 4Hour work Week has grown up with real multi-million dollar businesse and they’re covering the globe.”

Us millennials now have the ability to work, travel, and live wherever we please. If we choose to we can get away from the typical corporate path and start something ourselves.

Although this lifestyle isn’t for everyone, the romanticism of this type of lifestyle leads others to at least want to experience the travel side of it. When you read stories about people making a million dollars in five years while traveling the world, you can’t help but think “mabe I could do that.”

There are entire communities built around building location independent businesses. The most prevalent one is Tropical MBA’s Dynamite Circle, which connects thousands of these digital nomads across the globe with the purpose of helping each other grow their businesses.

Distributed Teams

Tim Ferriss’ book not only inspired individuals to go start their own businesses, but it seemed to also create a shift in company culture.

More companies are realizing how important travel is to millennials and using this as a perk to woo them into a job. Instead of requiring employees to come into the office there are now virtual work forces and distributed teams where employees can work from anywhere.

Companies such as Mozilla, Upworthy, Basecamp, and Buffer all utilize some form of this to run their companies.

This was not an option when the other generations were growing up. For millennials it’s a different story. We can travel the world and work at the same time to optimize for work-life balance.

A Shift in Values

The Economic Downturn

The economic turmoil of 2008 and the great recession that followed appears to be a blessing in disguise for millennials.

Some argue that millennials got hit the hardest by the great recession. Employment opportunities, income, and what the future held for us seemed to be at an all time low.

Yet, I argue that this was all a great lesson for us at a young age.

All of the families around us were trying to keep up with the Joneses. Big houses, fancy cars, and new boats seemed to be everywhere. Everyone was upgrading and going for the bigger and the better.

When the economy collapsed we saw foreclosed signs on every street. We saw families lose all of their new toys. We saw our parents investment accounts get sliced in half.

This changed our generation’s view on what’s important. We started to treasure experiences over material goods. We began to value memories that can last a lifetime rather than big houses that can be taken away from us and sold at auction.

What Happiness Means

Fast Company recently published an article that seemed to strike a nerve within our generation. With over 1.65 million likes and ten thousand shares, it’s been making it’s rounds to everyone’s newsfeed.

The article is titled, “The Science of Why You Should Spend Your Money on Experiences, Not Things.” It finally puts science behind what many millennials strongly believe: we should spend money on experiences and not material goods.

According to the article, people who don’t agree with this premise seemed to argue “that because a physical object will last longer, it will make us happier for a longer time than a one-off experience like a concert or vacation.”

Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a Cornell University psychology professor who has studied this subject for over two decades explains why this isn’t the case. He explains that people adapt to things over time.

You will get used to your big new house and your fancy car and they will eventually lose their impact on you. However, memories of experieinces will grow on you over time. You get to share these experiences with others in a way that doesn’t feel like a competition.

Final Thoughts

At the beginning of this article we set out to answer the simple question: Why do millennials love to travel so much?

The answer: Because we can.

Technology has provided us with an opportunity that no other generation got to experience. We are influenced by our friends to go travel and have amazing experiences. We then find ourselves posting about how amazing of a trip we had, which influences others to do the same thing.

Our ability to crowdsource knowledge and use the sharing economy to create consistently amazing experiences pushes us to continue seeking out new adventures.

Our ability to work from anywhere that we have an internet connection is a gift that we will continue to take advantage of. Whether we want to start our own company or work for a company there are plenty of options and communities out there that will help us do just that.

Our generation believes more in the power of experiences over material goods. We buy plane tickets over Porsches in order to seek out adventures that create memories of a lifetime.  

[bctt tweet="We buy plane tickets over Porsches in order to seek out #adventures. "]


 

Brian Kidwell "I started Travel This Planet to provide the best travel tips, hacks, and inspiration. You can call it a travel blog, but it is by no means about me. It's about you and providing you with the tools and inspiration to go travel. I've been fortunate to have experienced many different types of travel throughout my life and I hope to share the lessons and tools I've learned along the way."

 

Explore Turkey and Get Your Yoga On Along the Way!

Image credit: Matthias Rhomberg


 

Located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Turkey offers a unique spiritual journey for yoga enthusiasts.  I, along with a group of almost 30 individuals, experienced that unique spiritual journey first-hand on a yoga retreat organized last summer by Sun & Moon Yoga Studio in Arlington, Virginia.

Infused with centuries-old history, diverse cultural heritage and a beautiful landscape, our more than 1,600-mile journey took us to several amazing places, but I’ve listed below the top 6 destinations as a sample itinerary so you can explore Turkey for your next yoga adventure.

Image: Filip Knežić

1.  Start your journey in Istanbul

A natural bridge between East and West, Istanbul has been home to many civilizations, from Romans to Byzantines to Ottomans. Imprints of these diverse civilizations makes the Istanbul skyline an ideal backdrop for outdoor yoga sessions. When arriving in Istanbul, don’t forget to cruise the Bosphorus, a great way to adjust to a new time zone. After a morning yoga session, start your day with a visit to Spice Bazaar and awaken your senses further with hundreds of colorful flavors from all over the world. Complete your cultural immersion by visiting one of the many historical mosques.

2.  Gallipoli

Gallipoli is right at the Dardanelles Straits, which is also an important site for Australians and New Zealanders whose family members fought there during the First World War. Surrounded by ancient and contemporary history, our group held a sunset meditation for world peace and harmony atop remnants of a Turkish bunker at the tip of Eastern Europe right where the Dardanelles meet the Aegean Sea. 2015 is the 100th year Anniversary of Gallipoli Campaign, a perfect opportunity to wish for peace and harmony through yoga.

Once you are in Gallipoli, cross the Dardanelles by ferry to Asia and check out the site of the legendary city of Troy, an ideal location to have another yoga session on the soil on which Helen once lived!

Photo Credit: Lincoln McCurdy

3.  Temple of Athena

Assos, home of the Temple of Athena is just an hour drive from Troy. Our group visited the Temple of Athena right before the sunset. We held a meditation near the Temple of Athena, overlooking Edremit Bay and the Greek Island of Lesbos. Following our yoga session, we swam in the enchanting waters of the Aegean Sea.

4.  Hot springs in Pamukkale

Translating to “Cotton Castle” in Turkish, Pamukkale is one of the most fascinating destinations in Turkey with its white terraces filled with thermal water. Together with the nearby ancient city of Hierapolis, Pamukkale is a World Heritage Site. The ancient Roman baths in Pamukkale, where Cleopatra is

Image: Lincoln McCurdy

reputed to have swum, turned out to be the perfect spot for our group to experience how the thermal hot springs provide buoyancy to the body and ease the stretches of some favorite yoga poses.

5.  Cappadocia

Our group continued from the Aegean Coast to the mystical lunar landscape in Cappadocia in central Anatolia after passing through Konya, where 13th century poet and Sufi mystic Rumi’s tomb is located. Our meditation sessions throughout central Anatolia embraced Rumi’s peaceful poetry and philosophy, and we were able to squeeze in a live performance of whirling dervishes.

6.  Back to Istanbul

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To recover from the last bus ride, start your day in Istanbul with a restorative yoga session facing the beautiful skyline view of old Istanbul from a rooftop near the Golden Horn.

Continue your Istanbul tour at the magnificent Hagia Sophia, a true fusion of East and West. The symbols of Christianity and Islam adorn the walls of Hagia Sophia, which is now a museum. Topkapi Palace is another must see before departing Istanbul. Check out the living quarters occupied by Ottoman Sultans for nearly 400 years. Then experience centuries-old Ottoman culture at the Blue Mosque through the bright blue tiles that give the historic structure its name. After tasting Ottoman cuisine in Nar Restaurant, shop your way through Grand Bazaar, one of the world’s largest and oldest covered markets with 61 covered streets and over 3,000 shops. Before relaxing with an afternoon yoga session, visit the Basilica Cistern from the 6th century and wonder how and why one of the Medusa pillars was placed upside down. End your day with a rooftop meditation listening to the night-time sounds of Istanbul. On the day of your departure, relax in a Turkish bath and enjoy a massage.

Air travel for the entire group was made on Turkish Airlines, which has been voted as the number one airline in Europe. Turkish Airlines offers direct flights from several points in the U.S. to Istanbul.

 

Amir Tahami and Annie Moyer, directors/instructors at Sun & Moon Studio, in collaboration with Lincoln McCurdy, a dedicated yogi and president of the Turkish Coalition of America, organized the spiritual trip through Turkey in the Summer of 2014.

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How Much Should You Spend on a Yoga Teacher Training?

  It seems like there are hundreds of Yoga Teacher Trainings to choose from these days, all over the world! It can be very tricky to determine the value of these trainings and to decide which is the best training for you. Before you continue on, consider what your goals for taking the training are, and what your dream job would be. Do you want to teach at your local studio, do you want to travel and teach retreats, do you want to teach at big-name studios, and/or do you want to teach workshops around the world? Perhaps you want to teach at yoga festivals or perhaps you simply want to learn more about yoga! It’s important to be clear on what you’d like to accomplish, so you can make an informed decision when choosing your training. Using a similar scoring system that we used to help us gauge the value of a yoga retreat, below are 6 contributing factors to help you pick the right teacher training program for you! [wp_ad_camp_1]

 

1. The Trainer(s)

The trainer(s) of the teacher training program will have a large influence on the price of the training. There are many “big” names in yoga nowadays, and that can be important for you based on your goals with your teaching. If you have big dreams to become a world-renowned yoga instructor, it might be important for you to seek out a training with a well-known, or well-trained teacher who has studied with top yogis and/or who has many credentials/trainings under their belt. Alternatively, you may just be interested in teaching locally where you live or learning more about the practice of yoga itself, in which case the “name” behind the training won’t be as important, but always make sure your trainers have the right credentials! The more hours, the better.

Give the training...

  • 2 points - if the training is held by a well-known name in yoga or has 800+ hours of training.

2. Yoga Alliance Registered

Many studios require that you do your training with a Yoga Alliance Registered School. The Yoga Alliance has specific curriculum standards for programs to meet this registration, and you will be registered with the Yoga Alliance as a teacher if you go through such a program. It's a standard for yoga teachers and is said to increase credibility for teachers. This may be important for you, depending on your overall goals. Determine if this registration will aid you in your career.

  • 2 points - if the training is a Yoga Alliance Registered Program.

3. Location

How Much Should Your Yoga Teacher Training Cost? - www.YogaTravelTree.com

Some trainings like to combine travel with the program. This can be a fun way to step outside of your comfort zone and immerse yourself in your program and your surroundings. You'll have to make sure you can afford to spend this time away from work and home, of course, which can be tricky! If you'd love to visit Bali or Costa Rica for an extended period of time, a teacher training program abroad might be perfect for you. It's important to determine what the overall costs of your time abroad will be, including the training itself, accommodations and lodging, travel there/back and within the country, and food/drinks. Is any of this included? That will bump up the price, of course! If these factors aren't included, the training itself might still be more based on the novelty of such a training. Determine is this is desirable for you!

  • 3 points - Training is in an exotic vacation location & includes lodging or other things in the price,
  • 2 points - Training is in an exotic vacation location but doesn't include anything else in the price, or training is in a well-known city that could help foster connections.
  • 0 points - Training is close to home and doesn't incorporate vacation.

 

4. Reputation of the Studio & School

Is the reputation of the studio and the school important for your needs? Trainings at places like YogaWorks, for example, enable you to teach at many studios and come backed by the reputation of the studio. In fact, you can only teach at YogaWorks if you've done their training, because of their high standards and focus on alignment and safety. If you're not certified by them but want to teach there, you would have to take a bridge program or retake their training to qualify. This could get even pricier than opting for their training in the first place, so it's important to consider where you want to teach. Do research on the places you're considering and seek out reviews from past students, or find out what past students are doing now. The bigger the name of the studio, the costlier the training will be, and with good reason! It's like with universities and colleges - you may pay more to attend a big name university, but being an alumni of that university may carry perks for your entire career.

  • 3 points - studio and school are well-known internationally and you can teach almost anywhere if you take their training,
  • 2 points - studio has high standards, but may not be internationally known or may only have one studio,
  • 1 point - studio and/or training program are new and not as known/recognized.

 

5. 200, 300, or 500 Hour Training

As far as the standard for yoga teacher trainings go, there are different levels that you can take. You can do a 200 hour, a 300 hour, or a 500 hour training. While there are many different kinds and focuses of trainings that you can do, these are the main ways that the trainings are categorized. A 200 hour is a great introduction to teaching and will enable to teach at many locals studios. To teach at the well-known studios, most require a 500 hour training program, which you can do all at once if you're able to. Or you can break it up and do the 200 hour first, then a 300 hour later to equal to a 500 hour program.

  • 3 points - 500 hour teacher training,
  • 2 points - 300 hour teacher training,
  • 1 point - 200 hour teacher training.

 

6. Special Niche or Specific Type of Yoga

How Much Should Your Yoga Teacher Training Cost? - www.YogaTravelTree.com

The final thing I would consider when determining how much I should spend on a teacher training is what the focus of the training will be. There are many different schools of Yoga these days that offer trainings to get into their studio, and you must determine if this is important to you. The sticker price on these specialized trainings can increase dramatically depending on what it is, so be sure this is in line with what you want to teach or learn moving forward. For instance, the program may be focused on yoga for pregnant women, on the psychology of yoga, on Jivamukti Yoga, and more!

  • 3 points - training is highly specialized and can't be found in many places, and is required to teach a certain style or in a certain studio.
  • 2 points - training focuses on a specific skill or philosophy,
  • 1 point - training is a general, well-rounded curriculum.

 

Points Breakdown: How much should you be paying?

  • 0 – 4 = $999 – $1999 A training that gets 1 – 3 points using this system is perfect for the future teacher that might want to teach locally in their community, just learn about yoga, and/or is on a budget!
  • 5 – 7 = $2000 – $2999 A training that carries some special features but is still affordable for most!
  • 8 – 10 = $3000 – $3999 A training that is probably with a well-recognized school and/or a known teacher, or offers something unique in it's program.
  • 11 + = $4000 and up - I've seen trainings go for even $6500 - $10,000 so it can really vary based on your goals. If your potential program landed in this category, you most likely have specific goals and needs and probably know what you want to do with your training. Or perhaps you've taken a 200 hour training and want to invest in a better 300 / 500 hour training to take you further in your career, and so you're willing to invest a lot to go after it.

 

This system should be used as a guide to help understand the general value of teacher trainings. There are a variety of factors to consider when pricing a training and some aren’t mentioned here. This is a starting off point, and keep in mind that low scores don’t imply anything about the quality of the training or experience! All have something to offer, depending on your budget and preferences, so don’t be deterred by a “low score” using this scale.

 

Images via: @olya_barbie, @erikalimayoga

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Smart Travel: How Much Should a Yoga Retreat Cost?

Yoga retreats are a great way to maximize your travels without putting in a ton of extra work! There are retreats in every country, at all times of the year, offering many unique options or specialties. Whether you’ve gone to many or are looking into attending one for the first time, it’s hard to know how much to spend on a yoga retreat. The prices range tremendously and you want to ensure you’re getting a good deal, so how do you know what's a great value and what's a rip off? [wp_ad_camp_1]

Below are 8 contributing factors to help you determine how much a yoga retreat is worth, and a scoring system to help you decide how much you should spend on a yoga retreat.

 

1. Destination/Setting

Is the retreat held in an exclusive or highly sought after travel destination? Is it in a remote and secluded area of the world? The harder it is to get somewhere,  or the more expensive it is to travel somewhere, the higher the sticker price of a retreat will be. There are yogis that have traveled before you to set up an awesome and safe experience, and you're also paying for the work and time they put in paving the way for others to enjoy the area as well. It can be intimidating to travel alone to a new or distant place, so doing so with a group that has been there before has many advantages! In contrast, if a retreat is in your home country, is somewhere that is easy to travel to, or is over-saturated with yoga retreats, it should be more affordable.

Give the retreat...

  • 2 points - if the destination is very exclusive or private,
  • No points are given to local or cheap destinations,
  • 1 point -  anything in the middle.

 

2. Style/Emphasis

Does the retreat offer a special service or skill that isn’t found in typical retreats? Think of hot topic retreats like AcroYoga (partner yoga), stand up paddleboard yoga, surfing and yoga, meditaiton, acupuncture, and fasting/cleansing services, and also take into account whether or not the teachers have a huge following. Are any special ceremonies held, like plant medicine ayahuasca ceremonies? Will you participate in unique lectures or workshops? These factors will all bump up the price of a retreat, and with good reason. If you’re looking for a distinctive experience, you can expect to pay more. If you’re just looking to experience a general yoga retreat in another location, you can expect to find a lot of affordable options.

Give the retreat...

  • 1 point for each special service offered,
  • 2 points for any special kind of ceremonies, as a lot goes into these events before, during, and after.

 

3. Accommodations

Find out if accommodations are covered for the entirety of the trip and what is included (a pool, daily maid service, WiFi, etc.). This can vary widely based on area and cost. High-end retreats will include a 4 or 5 star hotel or private villas, for example, and you can expect to have private lodging. More affordable retreats will offer an option to pay more for private lodging, but will typically have shared housing in a safe and comfortable environment. Similarly, the high-end retreats can have shared accommodations as an option to lower the cost, if you choose.

  • 3 points - 5-star, private lodging,
  • 2 points - retreat offers many options (including private lodging),
  • 1 point - retreat only offers shared, community housing.

 

4. Meals or Special Food

Smart Travel: How Much Should a Yoga Retreat Cost? - www.YogaTravelTree.com

An important consideration to keep in mind is how food will be provided on the trip. Many retreats will include all meals and snacks in the price. You might expect retreats that give attention to special diets or eating beliefs (vegan, gluten-free, raw, Kosher, etc.) to cost more. If food is not included or paid for in some way (vouchers at local restaurants, for example), you want to consider the following questions. Is there a kitchen/fridge available for you to use? Are there grocery stores or restaurants close by? How much would it cost to travel to and from stores or restaurants? All of these questions are important to consider when determining the value of a retreat. A well-planned retreat will include food or a specific food plan to ensure smooth transitions between activities. Otherwise, you risk spending a lot of time, energy, and money you might not have planned to spend in the pursuit of food.

  • 3 points - all meals are included and attention is paid to special diets or lifestyles,
  • 2 points - some meals are provided and there is a plan for the other meals,
  • 1 point - there is a plan for food, and some of it is included in the price,
  • No points if there isn’t food provided in the cost and no plan exists for how you will eat.

 

5. Transportation

There are important considerations when it comes to transportation to and from a retreat location, as well as during the trip. A well-planned and high-end trip will have shuttles or cars planned in advance for transportation, eliminating potential stress and guess work when on the trip. If transportation isn’t included, ensure there are clear instructions or plans on how you will move around. You can expect to pay more if every detail is taken care of in the price, and less costly, local retreats won’t necessarily include transportation. On rare occasions, airfare is included in the price of the retreat. Do a quick on-line search to determine the value of airfare to this locale, and you can have an idea of the value of this added feature.

  • 2 points - the retreat that handles all transportation (to and from airport, and during the trip),
  • 1 point - the retreat has some transportation but not all (for example, no ride to or from airport),
  • No points are awarded to retreats that don’t mention transportation,
  • 2 extra points - the retreat includes airfare.

 

6. Excursions, Activities, and Classes Included

Smart Travel: How Much Should a Yoga Retreat Cost? - www.YogaTravelTree.com

Find out exactly what is included with the cost of the retreat. Fun excursions like zip lining, extra activities like surfing, spa or massage services, and the number of yoga classes included will influence the value of the retreat. Pay attention to whether these special amenities are included in the price, or options that you can purchase once you’re there. A high-end retreat will include activities all day, every day, whereas a yogi on a budget might consider a bare bones yoga retreat, which is sure to be more affordable.

  • Add a half point for each extra activity or excursion included in the price. (No points are given if you have to pay separately for these services).

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7. Duration

Is the retreat 3 days, one week, or two weeks? This will obviously have an effect on the price you should pay. A long retreat will have a lot of activities included and will surely have a higher sticker price than one that is less than a week. For retreats that are less than 3 days, no points are awarded in this category.

  • 1 point - 3 days to 1 week,
  • 2 points - anything longer than 1 week.

 

8. Exclusivity/Group Size

Smart Travel: How Much Should a Yoga Retreat Cost? - www.YogaTravelTree.com

The size of the group will play a large role in the price. Private, exclusive retreats with personalized instruction and attention are sure to cost more. Certain weight loss retreats, for example, are a week long with only 4 people maximum in attendance. These retreats, that include pampering, can be very expensive – but worth it if you are looking for a unique and personalized experience! Alternatively, more affordable retreats will likely have anywhere from 8 to 30 people in attendance.

A retreat with..

  • 3 points - 1 – 4 people,
  • 2 points - 5 – 8 people,
  • 1 point - 9 – 20 people,
  • No points for anything over 20 people.

 

Points Breakdown: How much should you be paying?

  • 1 – 3 = $499 – $999 A retreat that receives 1 – 3 points using this system is perfect for the yogi on a budget! There are many awesome retreats you can find in this price range, and you are sure to have an amazing experience.
  • 4 – 6 = $1000 – $1999 A retreat in the 4 – 6 point range should be within this sticker price, and should include a fair amount of extras and perks.
  • 7 – 9 = $2000 – $2999 A retreat scoring 7 – 9 points should be all-inclusive for the most part, and fairly exclusive.
  • 10 + = $3000 and up (some exclusive, high-end retreats can run for $10,000!)

This system should be used as a guide to help understand the value of a yoga retreat. There are a variety of factors to consider when pricing a retreat and some aren’t mentioned here. This is a starting off point, and keep in mind that low scores don’t imply anything about the quality of the retreat or experience! All have something to offer, depending on your budget and preferences, so don’t be deterred by a “low score” using this scale.

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Images via: @lady_yogaga , @ghitaabihanna, @kaelathu, @truenatureeducation

10 Insider Tips for Getting the Best Flight Deal

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There is so much varying advice out there on how, when and where to purchase airfare online. It takes a lot of research to find consistent tips and even then it’s a game of roulette, playing the complicated and constantly changing algorithms. The best thing you can do for yourself when it comes to playing the online airfare game, is to bring patience and calm to the table. Here’s my advice for finding the best fare while maintaining some semblance of sanity and peace.

 

1. Collect Tips from Experienced Travelers

Start talking about your travel plans early and collecting tips from other travelers. Keep your ears open and listen for websites or travel planning methods you've never heard of or considered before. Keep a notebook with you or a memo pad in your phone dedicated to travel data collection.

 

2. Know Your Budget

Outline your total trip budget, including airfare. I always budget at least $1,000 for an international flight and about $400 for a domestic one. I’m usually able to meet those numbers, give or take, and any overage or underage comes from or gets added to my overall trip budget. This way you’re still on track with your budget even if your flight costs a little more than you anticipated; you’ll just have a little more or less to spend on Italian coffee.

 

3. Set Aside Time for Research

If you only have 15 minutes to peruse and compare the sites, you’re not going to get anywhere. Clear your computer’s desktop and close all the open tabs. Create space and time for your search (and for all those pop up search windows). Once you get serious, consciously set aside anywhere from one to three hours to comparison shop the sites and narrow down your flight options. Take notes on what site you found what fare on, or copy and paste the itinerary to a separate document so you remember what options you’re comparing. Get organized so you don’t go crazy. Be prepared to book when the reasonably priced, ideal fare within your budget comes along.

 

4. When to Buy

Consistent advice says to book 6-8 weeks in advance. Don’t book too early and don't wait too long. The old rule about booking far out in advance is obsolete unless you're traveling during a holiday or at the height of peak season. In fact, ticket prices will be higher a year out than they will be as the flight gets closer. When it gets to be about a month from the flight, prices will either dip low or shoot up high. I prefer not to take the chance of rates going way up and miss my window for a reasonable fare, but that gamble can certainly pay off.

There is a lot of speculation about what day of the week to book your online ticket. I’ve read articles that say to book on Wednesday at 1am, to only book in the morning, to book on Tuesdays and even research as specific as recommending to book on Tuesdays at 3pm. The only consistent advice I've found, is to book midweek after the weekend rush. Tuesday through Thursday seems to be the best time to find good deals.

 

5. How & Where to Shop

Have a go-to first search, on a site like kayak.com. This is your comfort zone search and where you'll go to get a frame of reference. Choose an aggregator that will comparison shop for you. For instance, Kayak automatically compares with sites like Orbitz, Travelocity and Priceline among many others to bring up the best fares among that collection. Once you’ve identified the best fare on Kayak, you’ll have a place to begin your own comparison shopping.

For your next step, choose an international aggregator like Skyscanner or Momondo. This ensures your search will include international budget airlines like Ryan Air and others that don’t come up on US based booking sites. No booking sites offer all the information, so your best bet is to use several different engines.

 

6. Things to Know Before You Book

Once you've identified one airline as having the best fare, you should go directly to the airline’s website to compare. Often, that fare will be offered at the same price as the aggregator, possibly even cheaper. When booking directly through the airline website, I have found future communication and changes/cancellations easier to deal with. But even then, it’s a benefit I spring for only when it saves me money or costs the same as purchasing through the aggregator.

If you find two flights with the same or similar fares on different airlines, choose the airline that offers your miles or affiliate miles rewards program so you can get added frequent flyer benefits. Often airlines will have an alliance or family of different airlines whose miles can be used in tandem, for instance American Airlines miles can be accumulated when flying British Airways, etc.

 

7. Recommended Travel Sites

The following sites seem to be the most popular and, from my experience, the best to compare when booking international flights. Again, keep your ears open for sites friends have used and had success with and add them to your list:

 

8. Search Tools & Tricks

On Kayak and other sites, you can search itineraries with anywhere from zero to 2+ stops. Pay attention and make sure all options are checked to increase your fare options and comparisons. Sometimes flights with two or more stops are cheaper, sometimes they’re more expensive.

  • Most sites, including Kayak, allow you to search fares based on your flexibility with a fare calendar or +/-3 days option.
  • Kayak also offers advice and price trends, but remember, it's still a gamble. There is no sure way of predicting when trends will shift.
  • Make sure to check the option for nearby airports if you are at all flexible with your travel destination.
  • Plan your trip for the off-peak season.
  • Fly midweek, not on peak weekend travel days like Friday or Sunday.
  • Extend your long layovers to maximize time on the ground and see the cities in between your destinations.

 

9. Other Advice

Know how many stops your chosen itinerary has and make sure the cost of money versus time is worth it to you.

Pay attention to the number of travel hours on your itinerary. In one search I did, itineraries to and from the same destinations were anywhere from 16-42 hours. Even if the cost of the flight is much cheaper on the 42 hour journey, you may end up with an overnight layover and have to spring for transportation and hotel stay in your layover destination.

Budget airlines in Europe, like Ryan Air, offer very cheap flights but severely limit luggage allowances, sometimes only allowing one piece of specifically sized carry-on luggage. Make sure to check luggage regulations and pack/prepare accordingly.

I find it worthwhile to compare one-way tickets against round trip fares. I highly recommend searching one-way tickets, but know that you may be selected for additional security screening on a one-way ticket and plan accordingly.

Know the tourist visa guidelines and limitations in the country you are visiting. I once booked my travel for a 32 day stay in Bali and then found out my tourist landing visa was only good for 30 days. Overlooking things like this can end up being very expensive, even dangerous. It’s also important to know which countries, like India, require advance visas. You’ll need to have proof of a booked itinerary in order to procure these visas and you want to allow plenty of time for that process.

 

10. Don't Drive Yourself Crazy

10 Insider Tips for Getting the Best Flight Deal - www.YogaTravelTree.com

You've chosen travel as a way to enjoy and experience the world. Keep in mind that how you treat this process is the beginning of how your journey will unfold. Do your due diligence, find a great deal and pull the trigger. The sooner you buy your ticket, the sooner you get to move on to the fun part of planning your trip. So, if it's within your budget and doesn't cost you tens of hours in layovers, consider it a good deal, buy your ticket and start getting excited about your trip instead of spending hours on the internet playing this infuriating game.

Once you've booked your flight, stop looking. Know that there will always be cheaper flights, that's just the reality. Don't beat yourself up over it. Settle into your choice and head to the bookstore to begin your mission to find your destination's best travel guide…

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Kristin Daemon is a yoga teacher, freelance writer and owner of Seaside Yoga, the first yoga studio in the small town of Seaside, Oregon on the rugged, Pacific Northwest coast.  You can find and friend her on Facebook or check out and follow her blog, kristindaemon.com.

Images via: @dana_nicole11, @kinoyoga

10 Quick and Dirty Tips for Last Minute Travel

As the Summer of 2013 winds down this Labor Day weekend, the urge ramps up to jet set one last time before the weather gets frosty! Indulge your last-minute wanderlust with these tips for impromptu trips.

1) Keep It Simple, Stupid

Map Pin - Tips for Last Minute Travel Yoga Travel Tree

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Make it easy; don't book a complicated stay and multi-flight itinerary. Try and stick to direct flights and one hotel in a single destination. Hat tip Fodor's.

2) Go With What You Know

Where I've Been - Tips for Last Minute Travel Yoga Travel Tree

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If you want to hit the ground running, sojourning at a spot you've already visited eliminates lost time (i.e. more time for umbrella drinks by the sea), and saves you travelers regret - “I didn’t know that was there! I missed it!” Also a great opportunity to explore a place even further - and see the stuff you missed the first time around.

3) Carry It, Don’t Check It!

Carry On Luggage Tips for Last MInute Travel Yoga Travel Tree

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Pack a carry-on to maximize your precious time on the ground. Suddenly, you don't have to wait for your bags at the airport, rely on a porter, or spend an hour packing (and unpacking) your entire resort-wear collection.

4) Stay Flexible

Stay Flexible Yoga Tips for Last Minute Travel

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Both literally and figuratively! Keeping a flexible itinerary lends itself well to last minute travelers. Keep an open mind on where you’re willing to go. Flights to Vegas are astronomically, but flights to Santa Fe are dirt cheap? Get your booty to Santa Fe! Keeping flexible physically is important as well, so find a yoga studio in your area, blow off some steam and work some of the traveling kinks out. This post is a great list of postures you can do on your own before and after travel.

Technology is Your New Best Friend!

The following tips include some websites and apps to help your last-minute vacation stay a vacation!

5) Book Hotels When You Arrive

Hotel Booking Tips for Last Minute Travel Yoga Travel Tree

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The App Hotel Tonight is a great way to save some cash on your last minute hotel. The staff are working on them right until the second they are posted at noon local time. Offering hotels from hip to luxe to basic in major cities across the US, Canada, Mexico, and Europe, the booking process is so simple, it's scary, all you have to do is enter your credit card and voila. At the time of writing, we found rooms in Vegas from $35, Palm Springs from $74, and Miami from $90.

6) Fly On The Cheap - It Is Possible!

Fly Cheap Tips for Last Minute Travel Yoga Travel Tree

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Kayak wins in the flight category because it is easy to use, and has the most filtering and sorting options to find the cheapest fare whether you fancy a direct or a one-stop flight in economy, business, or first class. The app is almost easier to use than the website, making that March getaway even more palatable!

7) Please the Veg*n

Vegan Food Tips for Last Minute Travel Yoga Travel Tree

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Happy Cow is a website and app that uses your current location to find restaurants nearby that are vegetarian friendly, vegan friendly, or health food stores that have options for hungry veg-heads.

FUN FACT: Did you know that “Veg*n” is the universal term when referring to vegans and vegetarians? Well now you do! Boom!

8) Daily Deal Sites are There for You

Daily Deal Website Tips for Last Minute Travel Yoga Travel Tree

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Using deal sites like Groupon, LivingSocial, and DealChicken can help you save on everything from restaurants to hotel packages, and offer experiences that you may not have found on your own. Yelp and Foursquare also have deals options for your saving pleasure.

9) Shh.. It’s A Secret!

Secret Shh Tips for last Minute Travel Yoga Travel Tree

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Hotels.com, Travelocity.com, and LastMinute.com offer hotel stays for up to 50% off with their “Secret Hotels” options. The only catch is that they’ll tell you everything about the hotel you’re booking, except the name and exact location. If you’re not too picky about the precise location of your hotel, this is for you.

10) On the Road Again

Gas Price App Tips for Last Minute Travel Yoga Travel Tree

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Use a fuel-tracking website like GasBuddy.com to help plan, and keep you under your budget, and check out HowStuffWorks.com’s list of 10 Best Snacks For Road Trips.

Do you have any great travel tips that we forgot to mention? Leave them in the comments section below.

Images via: @caitmnoilan