Everybody aspires to live the “good life” but, unfortunately, it comes with a price tag. Vacations are a great way for us to relax and get away from the stresses of everyday life. While traveling is often a “want” or luxury, it is possible to take the trip you’ve been yearning for without breaking the bank! Sticking to a budget plan is essential in order to be financially stable. In fact, budgeting can be the very reason you have funds allotted to take your trip.
Here are some tips that can help you get the rest and relaxation you’ve been looking for without plunging yourself into debt.
Most of the time, doing anything last minute means spending more money. Booking a trip the night of or even a week before will cost you. Give yourself time to really research different destinations so you can compare and contrast pricing. You may want to consider hospitality services such as Airbnb or research on booking.com, so you are not paying hefty commercial hotel prices. Also, try plotting out any excursions you plan on doing beforehand to ensure they fit into your budget. You can go on sites like Expedia to see what excursions are offered in the destination you choose.
You want to comprise a game plan, so no unexpected surprises are thrown at you! Take a little time and do your research beforehand on local restaurants if your trip isn’t all inclusive to get an idea of what your daily spending should be. Additionally, flight prices are normally significantly cheaper when booked ahead. You should consider vacationing on an off-season month. December and January tend to pricier months since schools are closed for winter holiday vacations. Just be sure to check you are not going during hurricane season if you plan on jetting to warmer areas.
Create a Vacation Budget
By planning ahead, you can create a budget that can make managing your vacation money a breeze. Once you have your destination and travel date, think about starting a vacation fund and put some money towards it every month. You won’t have to come up with a large sum of money at one time. Examine your spending and make adjustments where necessary. If there are things that you can do without, cut them from your budget. For example, if you purchase a daily coffee, consider skipping it for a while. You can take the cash you would normally spend on coffee or takeout food and put it toward your vacation fund. Making small sacrifices to allocate funds for your trip will enable you to vacation without financial stress.
Don’t Charge All your Expenses at Once
What many people fail to do when planning a vacation is spread out the costs associated with their trip. This could spell financial trouble. Even though using a credit card can be a great way to finance a vacation, they should be used responsibly. Consider spreading out your pre-vacation expenses.
You may want to book your flight one month and your hotel the next. This can help you avoid getting hit with a large bill that may force you to deplete your savings or pay the minimum resulting in paying more interest and losing money in the long run.
Consider a Staycation
Who says you have to go far to enjoy some time off? You don’t have to travel to another country or state to get away. You could take advantage of the sights and attractions near you and end up having a wonderful vacation – and save money, too. You don’t want to put yourself into debt just to be able to afford a vacation. Do some research to find out what your area has to offer; a hike in the mountains, landmarks, beaches, national parks, etc. A staycation could be just what you need!
While a vacation is a great time to relax and enjoy yourself, too many people swipe their credit cards for the sake of being “on vacation.” Smart credit habits should not be thrown out the window when planning your trip. There are plenty of ways to take a budget vacation without going into debt!
This post was first published on 2/23/2018
Women in the workplace have always experienced a certain degree of discrimination from male colleagues, and according to new studies, it appears that it is becoming even more difficult for women to get acclimated to modern day work environments, in wake of the #MeToo Movement.
In a recent study conducted by LeanIn.org, in partnership with SurveyMonkey, 60% of male managers confessed to feeling uncomfortable engaging in social situations with women in and outside of the workplace. This includes interactions such as mentorships, meetings, and basic work activities. This statistic comes as a shocking 32% rise from 2018.
What appears the be the crux of the matter is that men are afraid of being accused of sexual harassment. While it is impossible to discredit this fear as incidents of wrongful accusations have taken place, the extent to which it has burgeoned is unacceptable. The #MeToo movement was never a movement against men, but an empowering opportunity for women to speak up about their experiences as victims of sexual harassment. Not only were women supporting one another in sharing to the public that these incidents do occur, and are often swept under the rug, but offered men insight into behaviors and conversations that are typically deemed unwelcomed and unwarranted.
Restricting interaction with women in the workplace is not a solution, but a mere attempt at deflecting from the core issue. Resorting to isolation and exclusion relays the message that if men can't treat women how they want, then they rather not deal with them at all. Educating both men and women on what behaviors are unacceptable while also creating a work environment where men and women are held accountable for their actions would be the ideal scenario. However, the impact of denying women opportunities of mentorship and productive one-on-one meetings hinders growth within their careers and professional networks.
Women, particularly women of color, have always had far fewer opportunities for mentorship which makes it impossible to achieve growth within their careers without them. If women are given limited opportunities to network in and outside of a work environment, then men must limit those opportunities amongst each other, as well. At the most basic level, men should be approaching female colleagues as they would approach their male colleagues. Striving to achieve gender equality within the workplace is essential towards creating a safer environment.
While restricted communication and interaction may diminish the possibility of men being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment, it creates a hostile
environment that perpetuates women-shaming and victim-blaming. Creating distance between men and women only prompts women to believe that male colleagues who avoid them will look away from or entirely discredit sexual harassment they experience from other men in the workplace. This creates an unsafe working environment for both parties where the problem at hand is not solved, but overlooked.
According to LeanIn's study, only 85% of women said they feel safe on the job, a 5% drop from 2018. In the report, Jillesa Gebhardt wrote, "Media coverage that is intended to hold aggressors accountable also seems to create a sense of threat, and people don't seem to feel like aggressors are held accountable." Unfortunately, only 16% of workers believed that harassers holding high positions are held accountable for their actions which inevitably puts victims in difficult, and quite possibly dangerous, situations. 50% of workers also believe that there are more repercussions for the victims than harassers when speaking up.
In a research poll conducted by Edison Research in 2018, 30% of women agreed that their employers did not handle harassment situations properly while 53% percent of men agreed that they did. Often times, male harassers hold a significant amount of power within their careers that gives them a sense of security and freedom to go forward with sexual misconduct. This can be seen in cases such as that of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and R. Kelly. Men in power seemingly have little to no fear that they will face punishment for their actions.
Source-Alex Brandon, AP
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook executive and founder of LeanIn.org., believes that in order for there to be positive changes within work environments, more women should be in higher positions. In an interview with CNBC's Julia Boorstin, Sandberg stated, "you know where the least sexual harassment is? Organizations that have more women in senior leadership roles. And so, we need to mentor women, we need to sponsor women, we need to have one-on-one conversations with them that get them promoted." Fortunately, the number of women in leadership positions are slowly increasing which means the prospect of gender equality and safer work environments are looking up.
Despite these concerning statistics, Sandberg does not believe that movements such as the Times Up and Me Too movements, have been responsible for the hardship women have been experiencing in the workplace. "I don't believe they've had negative implications. I believe they're overwhelmingly positive. Because half of women have been sexually harassed. But the thing is it is not enough. It is really important not to harass anyone. But that's pretty basic. We also need to not be ignored," she stated. While men may be feeling uncomfortable, putting an unrealistic amount of distance between themselves and female coworkers is more harmful to all parties than it is beneficial. Men cannot avoid working with women and vice versa. Creating such a hostile environment is also detrimental to any business as productivity and communication will significantly decrease.
The fear or being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment is a legitimate fear that deserves recognition and understanding. However, restricting interactions with women in the workplace is not a sensible solution as it can have negatively impact a woman's career. Companies are in need of proper training and resources to help both men and women understand what is appropriate workplace behavior. Refraining from physical interactions, commenting on physical appearance, making lewd or sexist jokes and inquiring about personal information are also beneficial steps towards respecting your colleagues' personal space. There is still much work to be done in order to create safe work environments, but with more and more women speaking up and taking on higher positions, women can feel safer and hopefully have less contributions to make to the #MeToo movement.