Author: mindofai

No Money? No Problem. Check out these cool destinations near you and start planning!

Since I was a child I’ve been consumed by Wanderlust. The internet has only made this feeling worst, and being a poor college student definitely doesn’t help my situation. I’ve travelled throughout California, explored my home state as much as possible, and saved up to spend plenty of time on the east coast. I’m not even done exploring the United States, and I still have 195 more countries to go!

I’ve been keeping a list of places I plan to visit and I’ve realized that all of these locations are spread out all over the world… therefore if you wanted to see at least ONE of the beautiful places on this list, it might actually be possible without you having to break the bank.

If you do have the money to travel outside of the country at this very moment, get going! What are you doing here? There’s a whole world out there you lucky sun of a gun!

For the rest of us, like myself, here’s a couple of realistic travel options, near your current city, and what the cost might look like:


1. Canola Flower Fields – Yunnan, China


If you happen to live in Hanoi, Vietnam you are just south of some of the most beautiful flower fields and waterfalls in Asia.

  • Travel Cost: Flying from Hanoi, Vietnam to Kunming, China (closest airport to Luoping) will cost you about $410.00. Keep in mind you will have to travel into Luoping County by either renting a car or taking public transportation.
  • Hotel: Several of the hotel websites are completely in Chinese, making it difficult for me to figure out pricing. After translating some reviews one customer mentioned staying at a hotel for 120 Yuan a night (about $19.79 USD).
  • Food: Due to exchange rates, the American dollar goes far in Asia. You should be able to purchase a days worth of food for under $10.00.
  • Total Cost: 5 Day Trip to the Canola Flower Fields from Hanoi Vietnam will cost you about $580.00.


2. Antelope Canyon : Page, Arizona


Itching to get away from LA for a weekend? Check out these amazing geological transformations in Arizona.

  • Travel Cost: Driving from Los Angeles, CA to Antelope Canyon Page, AZ is going to cost about $70.00 in gas – one way. Driving time will take you about 8.5 hours, depending on traffic.
  • Hotel: An overnight stay in Page is going to cost you anywhere from $40.00 a night and up. Check out for hotel rankings.
  • Food: Page is a relatively small town. Food prices are average, expect to pay $8.00 and up per meal.
  • Total Cost: 3 Day Trip to Antelope Canyon from Los Angeles will cost you about $350.00.


3. Haiku Stairs of Oahu: Oahu, Hawaii


If for some reason living in the beautiful city of Honolulu just isn’t doing it for you anymore, take the wondrous hike up Haiku Stairs

  • Travel Cost: From Honolulu to Kaneohe it will be about about a 20 minute drive. Gas shouldn’t be more than $5.00. A flight into Honolulu from Los Angeles is going to cost you at least $600.00 depending on how early you purchase tickets and the time of the season.
  • Hotel: Luckily visiting the Haiku Stairs doesn’t require an overnight stay. It’s a free hike you can complete in about 4 hours. Keep in mind police try to steer people away from hiking. Don’t be surprised if you’re shut down.
  • Food: There’s a small place called Dean’s Drive Inn nearby which offers burgers for $3.00 – $4.50! Woah.
  • Total Cost: A trip from Honolulu to Haiku Stairs will cost you about $12.00. This doesn’t include flight cost for those of you who don’t live on the Island, but it is something fun – and cheap – to do!


4. Mendenhall Ice Caves – Juneau, Alaska


Getting bored in Anchorage? Good thing you live near some of the most amazing ice caves on earth.

  • Travel Cost: Driving from Anchorage to Juneau is not a short drive – 21.5 hours! Luckily gas is cheap in your neck of the woods. A one way trip will cost you about $60.00
  • Hotel: An overnight stay in Juneau can go for $70.00 and up
  • Food: Since most restaurants specialize in seafood, expect to pay $25.00 for a meal, unless you choose to enjoy a sandwich from a local cafe (8-10$).
  • Total Cost: 3 Day Trip to the Mendenhall Ice Caves from Anchorage will cost you about $480.00


5. Mount Roraima – Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana


Living in the beautiful city of Sao Paolo, Brazil puts you next to some of the oldest geological formations on the planet. Take the time to go check them out.

  • Travel Cost: Flying from Sao Paolo, Brazil to Caracas, Venezuela (the closest airport to Mount Roraima) is going to cost you: $800.
  • Hotel: Luckily, you wont have to be dealing with hotel cost. The trip up to the top of the mountain is all camping and hiking which will take you about 3 days. Supplies, food and gear will be about $250 depending on how much gear you already own.
  • Food: You’ll be bringing your own food to make. This trip requires plenty of pre-planning. Websites have suggested purchasing all your food beforehand in Santa Elena.
  • Total Cost: 4 Day Trip to Mount Roraima from Sao Paolo, Brazil will cost you about $1,100.


Not Completed!! There is still a huge chunk of the list to do!

Keep in mind:

The more people you travel with, the cheaper your trip becomes. You don’t need to be a math professor to know that dividing gas between 4 people instead of 1, makes a huge difference. The same thing goes for food and hotels. Plus it is much safer to travel as a group then to travel alone.

Always overestimate how much money to bring with you. When I calculated the total cost for the trips I made sure to overestimate by at least $20.00. That’s nothing. You should really be bringing extra cash with you just in case something happens. It will make you feel much more confident traveling if you know all your bases are covered.

RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH. I cannot tell you how important this is. I have saved hundreds of dollars, simply by doing research on coupons, purchasing tickets early online and reading reviews from other travelers. It makes a difference. Don’t let people make money off of your failure to plan.

If you’re driving, be aware of the car you’re taking. I’m sure your rust bucket has been there for you through thick and thin. Mine has too. That doesn’t mean I’m going to drive several hundreds of miles, and hope that my car doesn’t start having problems on the way there. If you have had car issues in the past or feel hesitant to take your vehicle on a long trip, rent a car. Don’t risk it. If you happen to have bad luck and break down on a dark cold road in the middle of the night, waiting for triple A, you are really going to regret bringing the rust bucket.

Renting a car sound like too much? Check out Greyhound, Megabus or any other public transportation options. Megabus can offer some great deals if you purchase your tickets ahead of time. Other countries, such as Europe, have amazing public transportation, that allow you to move from country to country in a breeze.

Talk to the locals. People from the area know the cool facts: who offers the best food for the best price, and locations the tour guides wont show you. You will be surprised how much you can learn from someone in a conversation over some lunch. Do not stay in your bubble. Encourage yourself, and your friends, to understand the amazing area you’re staying in and the history behind it.


I’m going to be honest with you. I didn’t decide to write this until about 12 hours ago yesterday when a friend of mine called me. She told me about this article ( and how much it hurt her to see someone say that young marriages were “a way for young people to hide… an admission that the world is just too big and scary to deal with on your own; thus, you now have someone that is legally obligated to support you till one of you dies or files for divorce.” Wow. Sounds like someones a little bit angry?

Somehow this discussion lead to the ever so frequent conversation about what is right.

Think about it. Especially for those of us in our early 20’s, how often have you contemplated what is ‘right’? Am I choosing the right major? Have I made the right career choice? Did I choose the right school? Is he the right guy? Is she the right girl? IS THIS THE RIGHT CHOICE?

Doing what’s right has become a whole new stress of its own. I find myself worrying about it incessantly, pondering whether or not the decisions I’m making are the decisions that have been chosen RIGHT by the Gods of Right. We all do it. We comb the internet looking for articles, we ask our friends and our parents for confirmation. Failing is not an option… Oh Gosh! What is right?

I’m going to go ahead and lift a huge weight off of your shoulders:

There is NO RIGHT. That’s right (ha-ha). It’s one big lie. A piece of phony bologna. Right has been created to sell you stuff. Every company will argue that they have the right clothes, the right makeup, the right tools, the right appliances just for you. These are the correct choices. These are the RIGHT choices.

But in reality they’re not.

In fact, all choices are just that : choices. Each choice comes with a list of potential consequences. Some of those consequences might be good, and some might be bad. You never know what you’re going to get.

Even if you make a choice that offers plenty of good consequences… you may be so unlucky to end up with all the bad ones. That’s just life. Fail. F-up, get angry, yell at your cat, cry on the floor with a tub of ice cream, ask ‘Why’ out loud and then start all over again. It’s okay to make a mistake. It’s okay to not choose what you’ve been told is right. You’ll survive. No one will tape a scarlet F to your chest to let everyone know you failed. Life will go on, and you learned.

The beauty is you get to choose. You have the luxury of choice.

For example: As much as I’m sure a 23 year old female single blogger knows plenty about marriage (100% not sarcastic) being in a relationship and getting hitched early might be the choice for you. For others, like myself, we have some exploring to do. It’s a choice we are actively making everyday. I don’t doubt that there are things I’m missing out on by choosing to not be married. I accept that consequence, but trying to pressure people to do either one because it’s the ‘right’ thing to do – that’s just flat out ignorant.

Tomorrow don’t let your list of 2014 New Years Resolutions be a list of things you’ve been told are right. Choose things that make you happy. Choose things you want to do. 

Write down your list and consider all the possibilities that come along with that list. The Good. The Bad. The Downright Ugly.

and then get out there and do it all.