Investing to Fund Your Travels

Traveling is full of adventure, memorable experiences, margheritas, romance, new opportunities, and bliss. You either make it to that landmark you’ve always wanted to see or you discover something incredible. But traveling is also expensive. Even with incredible fare deals and extreme budgeting, you still need money. Sometimes a lot of it.

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I work hard like anyone else, but with that work comes expensive maintenance costs. Reliable transportation, student loan payments, gifts, it all adds up. That’s why passive income can be a huge help when you’re planning that next trip to Jamaica or Sweden.

Here are three steps to earning enough dough through investments, even if you have no experience in the market.

1. Save

You need a base sum to set aside for investment. Easy for some, difficult for all of us 🙂

To make any significant gains (without taking wild risks), you need at least $1,000. Hoping that you would grow your fund by 10%, this could bring back a return around $100. Ideally you should be able set aside $3,000-$5,000. A 10% return on $5,000 brings you a beautiful $500.

This is really the hardest part. If you’re having difficulty saving, you need to do one of two things: cut your expenses or grow your income.

2. Download Robinhood

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Robinhood may be your best avenue for one simple reason: no commissions. A commission is a fee charged to you for buying or selling a security (stock/bond/mutual fund). E-trade charges $6.95 every single time you buy or sell. I’ve been suckered into paying over $40 in a day just to get my money back.

Robinhood works on selling their premium plans rather than commissions. And you don’t even need the premium plan. I’ve made over $620 using the standard free Robinhood platform. Pair that with a vacation package deal, your trip is paid for!

3. Geek Out

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Making a good investment takes some research and evaluation. Here are some good questions to ask before buying a stock:

– How much has it gone up in the past year? (As opposed to the past few months. You can buy something while it’s down, but look at the trends over the past year.)

– What is the risk vs. reward? In Robinhood, there is an indicator telling you the volatility of a stock. High volatility may mean more risk.

– What are others saying? Check Seeking Alpha, StockTwits, Yahoo Finance to see various perspectives.

Quick tips:

– Buy various stock to diversify your portfolio. One small loss in a mix of investments is much better than banking on one stock’s performance.

– Use investopedia to look up terms you are unfamiliar with.

– Don’t panic when a stock is down. It may take a while for it to come back, but they usually do come back (unless crashing).

Sign up to get free stock!

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Carnival Cruise Hacks for 2018

Carnival cruises can be pretty incredible. You have a literal boatload of food available to you, full days of entertainment, 24 hours of ocean views available to you, and a crew that works their asses off for you. Once you’re on board for your second or third time, you start to realize some tricks and hacks that enhance the experience. Here is #HMPYG’s 2018 list of hacks for your next cruise with Carnival.

1. Packing shampoo flasks

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The security coming onto the boat is fairly tight. Over the years, Carnival has become quite keen on busting people who sneak booze onboard. It happens all the time, and the company can lose thousands on drink sales. One thing that has never failed me are shampoo flasks.

Carnival Cruise Hacks 2018
Click the pic to be linked to this product on Amazon.

 

Now you should never be thinking of bringing liquor onboard, of course. It’s strictly against policies. But, sometimes you need to get some special “shampoo” and “conditioner” that really nourishes the soul. The seals work really well, and as long as you keep the bottle clean, you should have no problem using them in your checked bag.

2. These things? They come out

Most of the time, the shower gel and shampoo are unlocked, allowing easy access for removing the attachment. If you’re like me, you can’t get enough of the gel while in the shower, and it helps to make the dispenser portable so that you can get total coverage. Or maybe you want to bring it with you to the pool if you prefer baths (just kidding).

3. Bypass the no-candle/open flame policy.

2018 Carnival Cruise Hacks

If you want to set the mood, make things romantic, or just make your room smell good, purchase a set of scented flameless LED candles. They run the same price for a good wax candle (about $25), can be re-used over and over, and look just like the real thing.

Never try using real candles or incense on board. They will confiscate them, and it is a huge fire hazard.

4. Bypass the ATM fees.

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With overpriced drinks, taxes, gratuity charges, and other expenses, it’s stupid to pay an ATM fee on the ship. At some of the tourist spots on land, the ATM fees may be even more exorbitant than onboard. But, you need cash.

Here’s what to do: go to a slot machine, charge however much you need to your Sail & Sign card. Resist the temptation to blow it all on the machine. Take your card out, and head to the cashier. Request a payout, and bam, say hello to the cash.

5. Turn one plug into three.

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Many cruisers get to their stateroom surprised to find only one or two power outlets. Electricity is apparently a commodity on the ship (though that casino seems to be very well-powered).

If you need outlets for your phones, cameras, hair dryers, laptops, disco lights, then do yourself a favor and pick up this outlet adaptor.

Also, the TV’s have a USB plugin that may serve as an extra charger.

6. Take plenty of naps!

Enhance your cruising experience with plenty of napping, and then tweet us your vacation photos!

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P.S. If Carnival reads this, please don’t sue us.

Rockin’ in Nashville TN

If you are a music fan at all, Nashville is a must-visit. Here’s why:

  • It’s home to the Grand Ole Opry.
  • Cathy’s Clown by the Everly Brothers and dozens of other classic records were recorded at RCA’s Studio B.
  • You may be blown away by the immense amount of talent in the famed Bluebird Cafe.
  • You may be blown away by the immense amount of talent found in any other bar in town.
  • Roy Orbison spent extensive time in the area building up the “Nashville sound.”
  • The Music Mile, an agglomeration of various musical attractions, can keep you busy all day.
  • You can stand on the stage of The Ryman, a legendary venue that has hosted the likes of Aretha Franklin, the Foo Fighters, James Brown, and countless others.

When my buddy and I ventured to Nashville in the summer of 2011, we saw amazing things. Amazing, both in the great and negative sense. One notable memory is a rockabilly band playing Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance in an old beaten-down dive bar. What was also amazing was the junkie that locked herself in our motel bathroom for a couple of hours. She left without explanation at about 3:10 p.m.

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A view inside of one of Nashville’s most notable venues, the Ryman.

You see a town that’s filled with music, legends, love, labor, and the spirit of a nation that once held harmony as a high priority.

In Nashville, you also see an aged, weary sunset that throws tarnish on the economic depression that spans below.

Nashville is both excitement and despair. It’s a town that has notes upon chords to offer, but can also be cacophonous. People are desperate and may rob you if you get into some shady shit. They will also treat you with Southern hospitality that makes you feel incredibly warm and welcome.

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The Bluebird Cafe hosts some of the most talented songwriters on the East coast.

Bottom line: Nashville rocks. Keep the term “rock and roll” in mind when you visit. It’s not just a reminder about the incredible music, but also a way to know your limits. If you’re fine with getting into drunken fights in the parking lot with strange-looking people, you’ll be fine. If you wanna take it easy, throw on some Eagles and peruse around town. Be mindful that this isn’t a glamorous town, it’s a rock and roll town.

What to bring:

Shades

I’m really excited to announce that there is an exclusive code just for HMPYG readers to get a huge discount on sunglasses. Our partner, SunglassWarehouse, has just created the code “HMPYG20” to give YOU 20% off sunglasses. You’re welcome. Just click the picture below and put in the code at checkout.

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Rockin’ the “Desert” aviators I recently acquired.

Wantdo Men’s Leather Jacket

Check out this leather jacket made by Wantdo. The style will look good in a rock and roll town. It’s very affordable ($61) and comes with a removable hood. It’s faux leather, but pretty high quality and water-resistant.

This makes an awesome gift!

Wantdo Men’s Leather Jacket

Fender Deluxe Nashville Telecaster

Maple fingerboard, vintage pickups, and the Nashville sound. Over in Nashville, you can bring this bad boy to many bars and plug in. The musicians are very accommodating to visiting guitar players. Just be sure to understand the etiquette, tips go to the player that’s booked.

The link above brings you to Amazon, where you can get the guitar for $769.99. That’s $30 cheaper than Guitar Center’s price. It has 100% 5-star reviews, probably because of the superb noiseless pickups.

Bonus Attraction

Little did I know when visiting, Nashville has a full-scale replica of the Parthenon in Athens. This is because the city was dubbed the “Athens of the South.” It’s pretty amazing, as all of the details of the original can be seen in the Nashville version.

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It even includes a 42 foot high statue of Athena, the goddess of wisdom and war. It was built for the 1897 Centennial, and is now an art museum.

If you have rock, blues, or country in your blood, plan your trip now!

Yachting in Greece

You wake up to the sound of cicadas as the sun rises. The morning glow begins to illuminate the hillside and you take off to the south of Athens. Fueled with coffee, you begin to anticipate the oceanic day ahead.

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Cruising the sea is one of the greatest ways to see Greece. Not only does it give you great panoramic views of the many coasts and islands, it’s friggin’ fun. Whether it’s a romantic getaway with your loved one or a big social partaking, you will appreciate the experience, and you will be better for it.

Of course, no Greece cruise is complete without the ouzo.

Another nice touch is wine from Lemnos. It’s pretty dry, robust, and flavorful.

A Greek yacht excursion obviously costs much, but valuates high. You get what you pay for, and you get a lot. Be sure to negotiate before chartering, ensure that the wine/beer/ouzo is unlimited, and make sure there’s shuttle service included. If you have everything you need, you’re bound to have some wild times. Take, for instance, front-flipping off the back plank:

Control Your Adventure

Yachting has a controllable level of adventure travel to it. You can lay back with the ouzo all day if you wanted to, and relax casually while you trail past the islands. You can get off the boat, swim to one of the secluded islands, and go cliff-jumping. Our group leaned toward the more daring excursion, and jumped 140 feet off the jagged rock edges. The captain wasn’t too thrilled, but I’m sure it formed unforgettable memories for some. The Wedding Therapist and I stayed in the middle of the adventure continuum. Though we ventured off the boat with a snorkel mask and dove off the plank, we left the cliff-jumping to others.

You don’t need much to be prepared for a Greek yacht ride. Here are some travel tips, however, to get the most out of your day trip:

    1. Take the Dramamine if you need it.

      This is pretty straightforward. The yacht ride can be a little rocky, so if you’re prone to motion sickness, I definitely suggest bringing the Dramamine for good measure. 

    2. Use trekking sandals, as much of the land in Greece is rocky.

If you’re venturing off the boat and onto the islands, consider hiking sandals. The land is rocky and full of rough foliage. For both men and women, I’ve heard many great things about KEEN sandals. They’re built to last, they’re comfortable, and are sure to protect the feet.

For women, you have this option:

And for the guys:

3. Take this immunity formula 3x/day beforehand to ensure good travel health.
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Airports, airplanes, hotels, buses, trains, hostels…what do these all have in common? They’re all full of people spreading their pathogens. You should absolutely be fortifying your immune system to reduce risk of getting sick on vacation. I use this and a multivitamin supplement.

4. Bring sunglasses that look good, but you aren’t attached to.

Chances are, your shades will be fine. However, I still wouldn’t take chances with expensive designer sunglasses. Here’s what I brought:

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I got those aviators (the “Desert” model) from SunglassWarehouse. They’re stylish, resistant to scratches, and only cost around $13. They’re even cheaper with code “SAVE15.”

5. Pack the sunscreen.

You’re on a boat in direct sunlight all day. Even if you don’t burn easily, have a little protection!

 

You’re going to be getting up early for this, so another suggestion is that you get plenty of rest the night before. A couple of more travel tips:

  1.  Try to power-nap as you adjust to the time difference/jet lag. Don’t sleep for more than 30 minutes during the day. If you want to be awake and alert for your excursions, try to get your body adjusting to the new rhythm.
  2. Use natural sleep aids to rest at night. I don’t like pharmaceutical sleep aids at all. I don’t even use melatonin. But a natural sleep formula lets your body settle into rest without putting you into an hours-long stupor. Natural herbs like passion flower and lemon balm are great for this, and are significant components of Desert Willow Botanicals’ Stress/Sleep formula. Passion flower is clinically implicated to calm the mind and assist with better sleep cycles (this article talks a bit about this).

Enjoy the ride

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You are the Earth’s audience. Every mark of beauty and every occurrence of joy is an invitation to your own personal bliss. This is why I feel excursions like this are worth it. It does require saving up your funds, but it’s a much better purchase than buying a brand new game system or Armani jeans. It does help, of course, when you have a large group to split the cost.

The service we used was Hellas Yachting. And (I can’t help myself here), it was “Hellas” good. The crew was fantastic, the food was fresh, and the ouzo was abounding. The chance to see Greece from the sea was amazing, and brought us up to “baller” status.

So, even if you can’t do an excursion like this, I hope some of the information and traveling tips were helpful. Whether you’re taking on a yacht cruise, just enjoying the beach, or sticking to the tour bus, here’s one final suggestion: enjoy the ride.

 

Stay up to date with us as we travel Greece and Ireland by following us on Facebook or Twitter. 

Musica a Palazzo

Musica a Palazzo is essentially a way to see intimate operatic performances for less than opera prices. Not only is it affordable and abounding with insane talent from the performers, it takes place in a Venetian palace.

The performances occur in various rooms of the Palazzo Barbarigo Minotto. This aristocratic residence of the past is tucked away canal-side within the San Marco neighborhood of Venice. It doesn’t look like much from the outside. In fact, you should plan on arriving early just to find the right building. This may be your only signal:

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But once you step inside, you step into a beautiful Baroque scene of antiquity…

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The Wedding Therapist and I came here for a special abridged performance of La Traviata. (This is another added benefit of Musica a Palazzo by the way: the fact that performances are shorter than conventional opera). Each act takes place in a separate room. Our performance consisted of approximately 25 audience members, 3 singers, 3 strings players, and a pianist. Despite the small gathering, the performance had almost all the power and emotion of the original work. The overture led straight into Libbiamo dei calici, followed by a wealth of unbelievable vocal solos and arias. The singers brought about a cyclone of cathartic misery and drama in the most beautiful tones. We experienced La Traviata as we never have before (we’ve only studied it in music school and casually listened to recordings). It was a perfect event for getting to know Venice at its core.

Not only did Musica a Palazzo enculture us and leave me full of tears, they hooked us up with sparkling wine as well.

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Some tips for experiencing Musica a Palazzo

  • As with all travel experiences, try to book well in advance. You gain access by buying a membership card (pictured as the cover photo). Right now it is 85 euro per person. This is pretty reasonable since tickets to an opera at La Fenice may cost upwards of 280 euro. 
  • Dress up, but remember it’s still not the opera. You don’t need the ball gown or tuxedo. Even the tie isn’t fully necessary, but encouraged. The dress code was semi-formal overall. A nice cocktail dress, button-down dress shirt, formal sweater, khakis, sweater-dress, casual blazer, etc.; all of these would suffice. 
  • As previously mentioned, allow yourself ample time to locate the venue.
  • If you want seats close to the performers, arrive early. Seats are not numbered.
  • Don’t bring children. Children under the age of 15 can get in for a reduced price of 30 euro. Unless they are one of those genius kids that appreciates opera and Italian lyrics, however, they will probably get fidgety. There’s not really a way to excuse yourself from the performance without calling attention to yourself.
  • If you will be out all day, consider picking up a portable phone charger. This myCharge is a great one:

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A Final Romantic Note

Venice is saturated with historical architecture and design. Every street is picturesque and visually stunning, regardless of the time of day. Between the seafood lunches and our peaceful gondola ride, I contemplated our privileges and the relativity of beauty. What I witness with my eyes, another tastes from a spring. 

As our time in Venezia came to a close, we drank our final vin brulĂ©. I listened to music on the train and remembered watching stars in Sedona (Arizona). I recalled the experiences that led to my life with my wife, and imagined what will follow. I visualized her hands, old and aged, and thought of how beautiful she will always be to me. 

Six Signs You’re a Classy Traveler

There are essentially six signs that you’re a classy traveler. Classy ladies and gentlemen adhere to these important guidelines all over the world. They travel from England, China, Argentina, Russia. And, despite some ugly stereotypes, I sincerely believe a good number of Americans travel with this type of respect and dignity. Check the list, and see how you compare!

1. You tip generously.

In this day and age, there’s little reason to tip under 20%. Unless the service was truly sub par (and not just the server forgetting a lemon wedge for your lemonade), tip well. 

As a former server myself, I experienced a lot of gratitude toward people who took care of me. I remember people like Carl, the aging workaholic who would give a few extra dollars because I refilled his coffee often. It’s a classy move, and if you can afford to travel, you can afford the gratuity. If you truly cannot, consider street food, packing lunches, ordering less expensive items, or sacrificing that second glass of vino.


2. You research some basic customs and etiquette before arriving at your destination.

Courtesy of TripSavvy.com

The classy traveler knows that shoulders should be covered in most cathedrals.

The classy traveler knows that in some Arab and Asian countries, it’s rude to point your foot at someone.

Part of what makes traveling great is the consciousness you build after being exposed to other societies. It also requires a little pregaming in the consciousness department. A little research goes a long way in excursions. Know how to act, and the people will (usually) respect you for it.


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3. The hotel room isn’t trashed.

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My wife takes this seriously. Yes, you are paying for a housekeeping service. This doesn’t warrant a free pass for leaving a pig sty though. Not only is it courteous to the staff, it is helpful to other guests as well. We had to wait almost two extra hours for our room because a family left the place in disarray. Don’t be that guy.

Some specific tips:

  • Use the trash bin.
  • If it gets full, call management.
  • Don’t flush your pants down the toilet.
  • Save the blowing of snot-rockets for the woods.
  • Wine goes in the mouth.
  • Anything rotting should be tied in a bag immediately and taken outside the building.
  • Don’t conceal vomit. Be a big boy/girl and ask for help.
  • Dogs that can handle their s— (no pun intended) are ok. Cats are another story.

4. You rock classy travel gear.


5. You keep your shoes on.

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This specifically applies to planes, trains, and automobiles. Even if you had a pedicure last week, keep those metatarsals to yourself. If you haven’t washed your feet since packing, definitely keep that funk contained.

I spoke to a flight attendant close to me, and she revealed some of the in-flight atrocities she’s seen. She spoke of the minor offenses, like people walking barefoot to the lavatory as if it were their own home. But more disgustingly, she spoke of jamokes setting their feet up on the armrest in front of them. This is not classy.


6. You have at least one black-tie affair on the itinerary.

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You don’t have to wear an Armani suit or dress like Sophia Loren every day of your trip to breathe class. But it’s good to have at least one chance to look elegant. Even after you take the dress socks off, you’ll likely remain in a sagacious mindset.

Also, don’t take this as “I need to spend a lot of money on formal wear and spend a lot of money on an expensive restaurant.” Adapt. If you’re low on cash, who says you can’t wear a tie on a picnic? Who says a tie from Goodwill isn’t formal? 

Another note: this is not a point of condescension. There are more reasons to embrace sophistication than there are excuses for disposing your own pride. I want everybody in this world to feel good. We all owe it to ourselves!


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