This keeps your clothes smelling fresher, and if you’re in the middle of a long-term trip they can be a life saver when you need to catch another plane before washing all of your socks from the past week.
While this isn’t a replacement for doing actual laundry, they can absorb a lot of the used clothes smells and sweat stains so your washed clothes don’t pick up these unpleasant scents.
Consider A Dummy Wallet
This is an area-situational one but in many really amazing tourist destinations pick pockets can be a problem.
Hiding your actual wallet well while carrying a fake dummy wallet in your pocket can be an extra layer of protection.
You can even have some fun with it by having a note in the wallet with a face with a tongue sticking out or a rude comment in the native language, if that’s your style.
Minimize Your Packing
Needing to locally find toothpaste, a nice shirt, or shaving accessories can result in talking to locals, finding local resources, and finding neat little hole in the wall places you might otherwise never have found or had any experience with.
Over-packing is one of the most common mistakes even experienced travelers make but you will see more and meet more people by packing just a little bit less!
Take A Cooking Or Craft Class
Why do this?
Because by learning how to cook some favorite local dishes or create a local craft, you will have the skills to do something interesting, and whether weaving a basket or cooking a four dish foreign meal, you’ll be able to remember everything you enjoyed about the vacation as familiar smells, sights, or actions combine to bring back memories of that trip months or even years down the line.
Plus who doesn’t like learning a new skill or dish?
Ask For Extras
This doesn’t mean be a jerk or a pushy demanding tourist, but polite inquiries will often get you more than you would imagine.
There are many cultures which are extremely service oriented, and in these cultures it’s not only acceptable form to politely ask for something, but often times when done respectfully people are extremely happy to be able to make a great impression by helping you to get your perfect vacation visit.
While green living has become second nature in many ways, sometimes we want convenience. Other times, we don’t know there are sustainable options or earth-friendly products available. And as much as we want to use what we have, we still shop. We are consumers.
The great news is we can shop and still be environmentally conscious. We can buy products which will minimize our impact. There are some purchases which eliminate the need to buy other products. Others extend the life of products.
We will continue adding to this list as we find more innovative eco-friendly products. There are many things we can do to live green. Here are our favorite eco-friendly products for home. Some will be good for traveling as well.
Sustainable paper towels
Bambooee The unPaper Towel
Many of us use paper towels — a lot! While we love the idea of dish towels and cleaning rags, it is often more convenient to grab a paper towel. They are handy for spills, to clean counters and floors, to clean bathrooms and to dry hands.
We tuck them into our kids’ lunch boxes in place of napkins. Sometimes we use them at the dinner table. It’s sometimes more sanitary to use a paper towel than a regular towel.
They’re typically inexpensive so it’s easy to grab one, use it, and toss it… without giving much thought to what goes into making a roll of paper towels.
Unfortunately, we don’t love the waste and the materials and how most of us use them once and then throw them away.
Bambooee makes washable, rayon from bamboo, paper towels. Each roll comes with 20 sheets.
Because you can wash and reuse them, a roll with the 20 unpaper towels is the equivalent of 286 paper towel ROLLS!
Wow! We were happy to find this product and anxious to try them. This is what we learned:
Each sheet is 11.5″ x 11″.
Bambooee makes them from a certified organic bamboo source.
They are soft, absorbent and durable.
With every roll you purchase, they plant a tree.
Bambooee was featured on Shark Tank.
Reusable paper towels
It’s remarkable you can wash each sheet up to 100 times. What does this equate to?
This small roll of unpaper towels is the equivalent of 2,000 paper towels.
What does that really mean? If you use up a typical paper towel roll each week, replacing them with Bambooee will equal almost 5.5 years.
We’ve used them to clean our kitchen counters, stove top, windows, and bathrooms.
In addition, we’ve found them to be ideal to bring on trips. They are easy to wash, hang to dry, and reuse. These reusable paper towels take very little space in the suitcase and are handy to have for whatever comes up. When you want to travel green, it helps to have some easy habits in place. Packing these is easy!
They are sturdy and strong, even after washing. The only downside to these is you have to remember to air dry. So if you put them in your washing machine, be sure to remember how many to find and air dry before putting the items in the clothes dryer.
The other negative is they are made in China. While it’s rare to find products made in the USA, it’s always our preference.
However, these paper towels are innovative and eco-friendly. In addition to being reusable, what makes Bambooee earth-friendly is the rayon from bamboo is grown without fertilizer and pesticides.
Eco-friendly floor cleaner
Bambooee also makes sweeps with scrubbing dots. Put one on a floor sweeper and you have a reusable floor mop to use wet or dry.
Just like their Unpaper Towels, these sweeper pads are machine washable. In addition, the rayon is made from a certified organic bamboo source.
Each roll includes 15 Bambooee Sweeps. What’s great is these 15 sweeper pads can replace up to 1,500 of the disposable floor wipes and sheets. They are versatile as well. You can use them dry — they do an excellent job of picking up dust and hair — or wet (run one under the faucet and ring it out so it’s damp) — like you use other wet wipes for mopping.
You can wash each sheet up to 100 times in the washing machine. You have to pull them out so you don’t put them in the dryer. They measure 11.5″ x 10.1″ which fits well on regular floor sweepers that use disposable pads and wipes.
In addition, for every roll you purchase, they plant a tree.
We don’t like the disposable, one-time use floor pads because they aren’t sustainable. Plus, they are filled with chemicals. Instead, we were using microfiber cloths on our floor sweeper in an effort to be more environmentally-aware.
However, now that we have Bambooee Sweeps, we are only using these on our floors.
Soap holder extends life of bar soap
We mostly use bar soap in our home because of the chemicals in liquid soaps. We have found bar soap with safer ingredients but we want it to last as long as possible.
We also like being able to use less soap. In the past, when we used liquid soap, we were using a lot more than necessary which was drying out our skin.
In addition, liquid soap comes in plastic containers which we try to avoid. When we heard about SOAPSTANDLE, we were excited to try it out.
Other soap holders
In the past, we used a soap stand but it mostly served as a placeholder for the soap. It didn’t help circulate air around it.
Also, it was often a gooey mess to clean. It was rather unappealing to pick up the bar of soap from the holder.
After that, we found another soap holder and bought several for our showers. There was a suction cup which stuck to the wall. You put a magnetic disk into the soap and it would hang from the wall. They worked well except you had to really gauge the soap with the holder so it would stay in place.
It helped to dry out the soap which is what we wanted. However, the soap would often fall down if it wasn’t wedged in the soap enough. Other times, the suction would loosen from the wall and everything would fall into the tub. We did like the concept of them because it worked to air dry the soap.
Extending the life of your bar soap
We have bar soaps and shampoo bars in our showers. Before using SOAPSTANDLE, in addition to trying the above holders, we would do a lot of different things to dry them out.
We want our soap to last as long as possible and not waste away because it’s sitting in water. We would tip the soap on its side, prop the bar on a cup, or prop it on one side and leave it on a towel.
For our soap bars in the shower, this would mean we would need to take it out of the shower stall/tub and move it to the counter by the sink.
SOAPSTANDLE is a practical and eco-friendly solution. These soap holders help extend the life of your bar soap.
You won’t need to buy liquid soaps which come in plastic — even if you refill them, it still comes in plastic containers. Much of it is water which is heavy and takes up extra room during transport from the manufacturers to the stores.
Eliminates the soap mess
We use SOAPSTANDLE for each bar of soap and for our shampoo bar and conditioner bar. These soap holders prevent the soap scum and goo and extend the life of your soap.
You won’t need to clean the soap holder like you do with other soaps. When you finish the bar, you use SOAPSTANDLE again.
This soap stand makes it much more convenient to use bar soap and will hopefully encourage consumers to not buy liquid soaps which come in plastic containers.
SOAPSTANDLE is made in the USA.
We are very pleased with this simple solution for your soap.
Clothing to help homeless youth
This Minneapolis-based company supports homeless individuals in many ways. Hippy Feet helps homeless youth by using a portion from each sale to provide transitional employment through their Pop-Up Employment Program.
Hippy Feet’s program gives its participants the opportunity to do all the embroidery, screen printing, and packaging for their products. In so doing, they earn a wage as well as learn skills and basic job training. Hippy Feet has a goal to get homeless youth into stable housing and eventually into full-time employment at other companies.
In addition to all of what they do to help homeless youth, all of Hippy Feet’s products are made in the United States using environmentally friendly materials.
Hippy Feet long-sleeve tees for adults
Let Love Grow in green and blue
They sent us a large Let Love Grow long-sleeve tee shirt in the light blue. It’s made with 100% organic cotton.
We machine washed and dried it in the dryer without it shrinking. The organic cotton is very comfortable. It’s fun and easy to wear and runs true to size. This shirt has three small flowers embroidered on the front and “let love grow” is screen printed on the back up near the collar.
Vintage Hippy Tee
This short sleeve t-shirt is made with 100% organic cotton. Homeless youth do the screen printing for each shirt. Check it out on their website — it looks to have a flattering cut and the colors are neutral yet retro and bold at the same time.
Hippy Feet socks for adults and youth
Check their website for all of their fun patterns and solids. Hippy Feet makes their socks with eco-friendly materials. Their adult socks include recycled cotton. They make their youth socks with recycled cotton and recycled polyester.
Hippy Feet socks with signature from person who packaged them.
We asked to try their solid black and white socks. They sent an adult pair in S-M and a children’s pair in S-M. We’ve never tried eco-friendly socks before and have been using them for active pursuits. They wick away moisture well. We love them.
It was also interesting to see the company gives their employees additional opportunities to feel proud of their work. On each sock, there is a “Packaged by:” area, and the person who packaged it signs it.
Also, there is minimal packaging made with eco-friendly materials.
Hippy Feet hats
Green twill cap
They sent us the green twill cap which has a great fit and feel. It’s adjustable as well. It’s lightweight and also made with environmentally-friendly materials. The embroidery on it is through a nonprofit that provides job training to youth who are dealing with homelessness.
Homeless youth do the embroidery on Hippy Feet’s products.
This is really a perfect example of an eco-friendly company: Hippy Feet provides transitional employment to homeless youth; they use eco-friendly materials and packaging; and they make everything in the United States.
Sustainable option for beverages
Our family isn’t one for gadgets. We don’t want to have to store extra appliances nor do we have room on our counters to leave them out. That said, we do own a few so that we can make things from scratch, like our bread maker.
Until we learned about SodaStream, we didn’t know you could make soda and carbonated water at home. We don’t buy soda often. Much to our kids’ dismay, we only buy it — mostly in 2 liter bottles — when we have parties.
However, we do regularly purchase sparkling flavored water. We go through a case of 24 cans every three weeks.
After hearing about SodaStream and how it could be an environmentally-friendly option, we did the math. We buy and use approximately 417 aluminum cans a year just from flavored water.
That adds up to a lot of one-time use cans as well as the cost of buying the drinks and the hassle of carrying them home from the store.
SodaStream eliminates plastic bottles and aluminum cans
Sure, cans and bottles can be recycled; however, recycling is expensive and taxing on the environment.
It also takes costly steps and materials to make the cans and bottles. They use a lot of raw materials. It also is a burden on the environment to get the drinks from the manufacturing plants and distributors to the stores. It all adds up.
Also, once you finish the drink from a canned beverage and one-time use plastic bottles, there’s not much you can do with it to reuse or re-purpose them. So at best, you recycle it.
The SodaStream machine lets you make drinks right at home — eliminating the demand for aluminum cans and glass and plastic bottles. They sent us their SodaStream Fizzi One Touch Electric sparkling water maker. We are reviewing the Starter Pack.
SodaStream One Touch Electric
We were happily surprised with how narrow and streamlined the SodaStream is. We can store it easily in one of our taller cabinets.
Also interesting is there are three carbonation — aka fizz — levels. We didn’t realize that would be something that you could customize.
The Fizzi One Touch comes with a one liter plastic bottle which is customized to use with the machine. It also includes a 14.5 oz carbonating cylinder. There is enough CO2 to make 60 liters. For our purposes, this means we can use one CO2 cylinder to make and replace 169 cans of the sparkling water we were buying.
We learned we can bring our empty cylinder to a SodaStream retailer and get a full one for a discounted price. On their website, there is also an easy way to exchange them with a delivery person. You return the empty cylinder, and they trade you for a filled one for what-seems-to-be half the price of a filled one at a store.
The SodaStream is really easy to use. It’s fast too. You just fill the bottle with tap water, place it in the machine, and press the button.
Fun to make drinks at home
It’s also been something fun to do with our kids. We made carbonated water with the SodaStream and added lemons and raspberries to our glasses. Another time we used lime. And the third time we used lime and fresh mint.
We have only made carbonated water so far with it. The next time we go to Target or Bed Bath and Beyond, we will look for the Drink Mixes to make soda. Each small bottle of their soda mix makes up to nine liters. This small bottle will be a lot less wasted plastic than the 2-liter bottles we usually buy. We hope to find their root beer and ginger ale. (They also sell bottles of Fruit Drops in lemon, orange, cucumber, watermelon, etc., but we plan to use whatever fruits we have on hand.)
We are looking forward to our kids using it as something to do with their friends when they have play dates. We are also thinking it will be a hit when we have parties. Our friends and family will really enjoy making their own drinks.
Already we are planning to have it out for our Summer Solstice party with our neighbors and will include a lineup of fruits so they can customize their beverages. And we know our kids will be proud their friends will be able to make their own soda as well. (We will update in June!) We plan to have a “bar” set up with cucumbers, mint, rosemary, lemon, lime, pineapple, berries, oranges, etc. It will be perfect for the summer.
Instructions for SodaStream
Again, it’s really easy to set up and easy to use. It was interesting there wasn’t a written instruction manual but rather an easy-to-follow insert with illustrations.
Sparkling water maker choices
We have the “middle model” which is the One Touch Electric. It comes with a one liter plastic bottle.
There is also the Fizzi Classic which is more compact and also cordless. It comes with a one liter plastic bottle as well.
The Aqua Fizz comes with dishwasher-safe glass carafes. We really love they are glass instead of plastic. However, according to the website, these carafes are .62 liters (620 ml) instead of the liter the other two models come with.
Sustainable option for beverages
Think of the cans and bottles of specialty drinks you buy. For the most part, these 2 liters of soda, and 12 and 24 packs of soda are used once — you drink it — hopefully recycle the bottle or can — and that’s it.
The waste from these receptacles — even if you recycle — really adds up as far as the raw materials used to make them and the cost to transport them and then to deal with them in the landfills or the costs involved with recycling them.
We love our SodaStream and how it will eliminate us buying one-time use bottles and cans.
Sustainable undergarments from a company that gives back
Here’s a perfect example of eco-fashion — underwear!
Did you know you can buy sustainable underwear using organic Pima cotton and water bottles? The elastic from every pair of Marc Skid underwear is made from one plastic, recyclable water bottle.
Also, each pair of Marc Skid underwear is made with organic Pima cotton. It’s grown on family farms and is non-GMO. According to their website, less than 2% of the world’s cotton is Pima cotton. And just .0005% is organic Pima cotton.
In addition to being made with environmentally-friendly materials, this eco-unders company supports non-profits.
Marc Skid donates $4 from each sale of underwear to a charity. Depending on which pair you purchase, there are three non-profits you can choose to support. These charities are in three groups: feeding, curing, or saving. They support nine non-profits in total. And just by going to their website and entering your email address, they will donate $1 to a medical clinic in Honduras.
Cure the World Joan Bikini
Marc Skid sent us their Cure the World Joan Bikini underwear. They are soft, comfortable and hip in a bright orange/red. They held their color and shape after washing them and putting them in the dryer. In addition, they are true to size. They seem like they will wear well and last a long time.
Marc Skid supports charities
You will be able to choose to support the charity based on the color of underwear you purchase.
Feed the World
Choose green and will get to choose to Feed the World. You will be able to support one of these charities: Action Against Hunger; feedONE; or The Hunger Project.
Cure the World
Orange/red is Cure the World. You can choose to support one of these organizations: Catholic Medical Mission Board; Concern Foundation; or Project C.U.R.E.
Save the World
Blue is Save the World. By choosing blue, you will get to select to donate to: Amazon Conservation Association; Carbon Fund; or Water.org.
White is Open World. When you choose underwear in white, you get to select to donate $4 from the purchase price to any one of the nine charities.
Donating $4 from each pair
Something different about Marc Skid is that not only are they donating from every pair you buy, they tell you how much they are donating.
Many companies who donate often state they are donating “a percentage” from every sale. But what does that mean? How much is it? You won’t have any way of knowing how much that amounts to. Even if they state they are giving “1% of the profit” to a cause, how much is that?
In addition, the nine charities Marc Skid supports are fully vetted by Charity Navigator. In this way, you know they are responsible charities who are making a huge impact in the areas they serve.
They offer three styles — Joan Bikini, Laurinda Hipster, and Philip Boxer Brief — in green, orange/red, blue, and white. Their John Boxer pair is available only in white.
Organic, sustainable underwear
As you learn more about environmentally-friendly clothing, you may learn how manufacturing clothing uses many man-made resources which contribute to burdening our environment.
Choosing organic cotton underwear — even better: organic Pima cotton underwear — becomes an easy choice.
Best earth-friendly products
Be aware of companies who make green claims. Dig a little deeper to find out in what ways their products are sustainable, low impact, etc.
There are many ways to think about eco-friendly products.
Sometimes they are products you can use again and again. They use sustainable materials and often eliminate the need for consumers to buy replacements. Other times, environmental products may extend the life of a product you use and cut down on waste.
In addition, environmentally-friendly companies may make a difference in their communities and contribute to non-profits.
This is important to remember even when you travel. If you enjoy buying souvenirs, try to buy something that is made locally and supports the local economy. Also, depending on where you are, you will want to be sure whatever you buy is sustainable.
We have choices in how we want to shop. Likely, there is a company who is offering a better solution, making less of an impact, and making a difference in the world.
Overall, consumers have become really good at recycling and reusing. Now it’s time to think of other ways to lessen our impact and to do good. These product are among the best earth-friendly products available.
Before you grab your ehic card and hop on the next flight, read our guide to environmentally friendly travel below.
Use Public Transport
One of the ways that you can travel greener is to use public transport.
By travelling around major towns and cities using public transport you are reducing your carbon footprint as you are travelling from A to B with multiple people.
This then reduces the amount of fuel that you are burning as there will be fewer trips made to one destination.
This is particularly beneficial in cities such as London that have an expansive network of bus and train routes to help make your commute easy.
Another way for you to be eco-friendlier when you travel is to reduce the amount that you are traveling with.
Not only is it easier for you to travel around with, but it will then take less energy for the plane and will, therefore, burn less fuel.
If everyone follows this very simple rule, flights will be able to make twice as many trips in the same amount of fuel making this a much more efficient way to travel in the long term.
Although this is also dependent on the length of the flight that you are taking, this the perfect way to begin reducing our carbon footprint as we travel.
Avoid Transfer Flights
Another way to reduce your carbon footprint is to travel without the need for connecting flights.
Although this is often more expensive as a result a single flight will burn less fuel and make your travel plans far more eco-friendly.
Although this can sometimes not be possible depending on where you live in the world, finding a flight that is direct is the perfect way to reduce the stress of traveling whilst reducing the number of carbon emissions that you produce which is beneficial when it comes to reducing the effects that this is having on the atmosphere.
Another way to reduce the number of emissions that you create whilst on your travels is to opt for local food that is near to the hotel.
This not only allows you to find some hidden gems with some of the best food, but it also allows you to walk to and from your hotel every night.
This is perfect for those that love to travel as you are likely to see more when travelling on foot and are also bound to lose some weight as a result of the walking.
Regardless of which of these you choose to incorporate into your holiday, you can be sure that you will have an amazing time away whilst doing your bit to help repair the environment and begin caring for our planet.
Best Ways to Make Money While You Travel – More and more people are choosing to travel through “gap-year experiences”; that is they are choosing to travel for months or even years to fully get to know a place instead of just stopping in for a few days or weeks.
However, to do so it is often wise to keep some sort of income coming in so you are able to travel as long as you want to.
Here are some of the best options available to you.
Best Ways to Make Money While You Travel
Do you like playing online games?
There are many amazing slots out there which allow you to have fun while also potentially earning a little money.
These sites also often have great deals like free spins which can help you grab even more for your money.
Just make sure that you are aware of gambling laws wherever you happen to be.
If you are in a country with some extremely strict gambling restrictions, you won’t be able to earn money this way.
Many people choose to fund their travels and adventures by starting a blog.
Whether you choose one of the traditional blogging sites like WordPress or you go for one of the more modern opportunities like Instagram, there are plenty of ways you can blog online.
Focus on your adventures or collating travel tips for others.
If you get enough traffic, you can even begin to host guest spots and build up affiliate links.
There are many ways to monetize your travel blog and your travels easily.
Europcar hire says that preparing for travel also means deciding whether to purchase comprehensive travel insurance, travel medical (health) insurance, a medical evacuation policy, or to take a chance and go without any additional cover.
Travel insurance presents several issues for senior travelers, primarily because the older you are, the more expensive it is and the harder it is to get.
Even for a journey of a few weeks, travel insurance can add substantially to your costs, and a multi-week or multi-month trip makes it even pricier. Let’s take a look at the options.
What kind of insurance do you need?
Comprehensive travel insurance covers not only emergency medical charges but also such things as trip cancellation, lost luggage, trip delays, and medical evacuation, along with other losses that you may incur while traveling.
Although you can sometimes buy individual coverage’s for specific items (for example, for trip cancellation), most people buy comprehensive travel insurance.
If you want that coverage, however, you often need to buy it as soon as you have booked (or shortly thereafter) to qualify for reimbursement of your expenses.
By contrast, travel health/medical insurance, which covers only emergency medical care (and sometimes repatriation of remains), normally only needs to be purchased before you leave for your trip.
What will Medicare cover?
If you’re only going to be gone for 60 days, some Medicare policies will reimburse you for emergency medical care for the first 60 days outside of the country.
Check your own Medicare plan.
But for longer travels, 60 days is obviously not enough.
Deciding what type of insurance to buy, if any, is not an easy task and one that we can only answer for ourselves.
Check out the information below before you decide:
Do a web search on “World Nomads Travel Insurance” to reach the quote engine for this site.
We found good comprehensive travel coverage through them at a reasonable price for our RTW trip.
However, they will offer you coverage only if you are under the age of 70.
If you are older, they will refer you to another company.
SeeBootsnAllor do a web search for “BootsnAll + travel + insurance” for a handy guide to compare quotes from five plans, which offer a variety of options.
Some even cover pre-existing conditions, with caveats, although you can expect to be hit with high deductibles of several thousand dollars.
See the page for Expat Insurance if you will be gone from home for more than six months. (Click “Expat” near the bottom of the page under “Find Insurance For Your Travel Style.”)
Two other good sources for finding travel insurance are InsureMyTrip and Squaremouth
Read the reviews and the fine print for each offering, as you would for any insurance product.
You can sometimes save money by buying a travel medical policy that excludes coverage in the United States.
If you are a US resident on Medicare, that may make sense, although you still take a risk if you’re ill or injured abroad and are unable to travel home.
Allianz Global Assistance offers several plans, including per trip or annual plans available to those over the age of 70.
WEA health plans , a division of the PA Group — rated A by independent insurance company analyst A.M.
Best?—?also provides long-term plans for expatriates and long-term travelers.
Consider evacuation services.
What do you do if you just feel that comprehensive travel and travel medical insurance are both too expensive or the coverage for your pre-existing condition is too high?
You could decide to shorten your trip to obtain affordable coverage, particularly if you have a life-threatening condition.
Or you could choose an evacuation service.
Because medical costs in the United States are the highest in the world, many travelers plan to pay for minor ailments abroad out of their savings.
If you do that, then you could sign up for a medical evacuation policy that will bring you home if you are seriously ill or injured and admitted to a hospital.
Note, however, that these services typically require admission to a hospital before you can be evacuated.
It’s still somewhat risky, because you might not be stable enough to be moved.
However, if you have enough savings, that’s a chance you may want to take, given the extremely high costs of travel insurance for mature travelers.
Learn about evacuation policies available through Medjet Assist.
Medjet Assist provides medical transport to the hospital of your choice if you are injured or become ill abroad?—?as long as you are admitted to a hospital first.
It’s important to note that Medjet Assist takes you to the hospital of your choice, because some other evacuation policies will only take you to the nearest hospital that the company deems adequate.
With Medjet Assist, your annual membership is all you’ll pay.
The service will also cover you in the United States when you are more than 150 miles from home.
If you are a member of AARP, you can get discounts; for example, an individual membership that is normally $270 will cost $235 and a family membership, which is normally $395, costs $345 for members up to the age of 75.
Medjet Assist also covers repatriation of remains.
Decide how you want to handle things back home.
For peace of mind, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve completed your arrangements at home before you leave.
Will you leave your residence vacant, asking a friend or family member to check up on it from time to time?
Will you move out of rental accommodation and put your worldly goods in storage?
Or will you lease or sublet?
Should you rent or sublet?
If you’re away only for a few weeks or if you’re involved in a home exchange, you won’t need to worry about renting or subleasing your home.
But if you decide to rent or sublease, you’ll need to check with your landlord.
Do you own a condo?
You’ll need to review your association’s rules and covenants, including any time requirements or rules about pets.
For example, our own condo association only allows rentals of more than six months, does not accept dogs, and charges a hefty nonrefundable fee for the privilege of renting, in addition to deposits, which we had to add to our budget.
If you rent or sublease, you’ll also want to have a property manager or someone who can be contacted in case of an emergency at your rental.
If you’re lucky, a responsible family member or friend will play that role, especially because paying the fees of a professional property manager might add considerably to your expenses.
You will need to set up a separate account for your rental, for ease of use and for tax purposes.
The IRS does not want you to co-mingle your personal and business funds, and even though you’re renting your own residence, your rental will be considered a business.
Ask your accountant.
It’s a good idea to keep a deposit in the rental account at all times to cover emergencies such as appliance repairs.
Many municipalities also have strict requirements for landlords that typically favor the tenant, so you’ll want to research your legal rights and responsibilities.
For example, in our area, there are limits on how soon landlords must respond to emergencies, as well as the procedures they, or their property managers, must follow to respect tenant privacy and rights.
Finding a renter can seem like a daunting task, but it need not be.
However, you want to be very careful about whom you trust with your home when you are far away.
If you do not use a property manager’s services and are renting yourself, check online with your local housing office to find out what you legally can and cannot do.
For example, where I live, you can’t advertise for a “mature” renter, because that could be construed as age discrimination.
And, indeed, we could care less about the age of the tenant; we simply didn’t want partiers!
So when I advertised our condo, I described the condo complex as one that was “very quiet and had a high percentage of residents who were over 55,” which was all true and helped us to attract the type of renter we wanted.
If you’re not using a realtor as a property manager, who can advise you on all aspects of renting, how do you find out what to charge? Start with the local listings.
You can see what similar places in your area are renting for.
Just be completely honest with yourself: Is your property truly comparable?
Does it have all the amenities described in the listings you’re using as a reference?
Are your appliances, kitchens, and baths as up-to-date as the ones in the listings?
It’s helpful to visit those rentals, if you can, and put yourself in the mind of a prospective tenant.
Craigslist, Zillow, and other online sites allow you to place free advertisements for renters.
However, always?—?always?—?check your prospective tenants carefully.
You can download standard legal rental agreements for your state online, which should include a notice to the prospective tenant that, by signing, they are authorizing a credit check.
Ask for references as well?—?and call them personally.
It is worth using a reliable service, such as Experian or TransUnion SmartMove, to do a credit check.
There will typically be a charge, which some landlords pass on to the prospective tenant.
Some services actually require prospects to order their own report and make it available to you.
If you have friends who rent properties, you can also ask for their suggestions on which credit-checking services they use.
Whatever you do, do not skip this very important step and be sure to ask for references.
Requiring a damage deposit and asking for the first and last months’ rent helps with tenant-screening too, because those with financial difficulties may well have problems coming up with required funds which can be a red flag.
If you’re going to be gone for months, you want a tenant who is reliable and pays on time.
What’s more, if you rent out your home, be sure to get insurance on the residence itself, just in case something happens while you’re gone.
Your tenants can get renters insurance for their goods, and insuring your premises will be inexpensive compared to a homeowner’s policy.
Consider utilities, whether you rent or not.
Most of the time renters are responsible for all utilities, but there are situations when you may want to pay a utility and simply increase the rent to cover it.
You can then advertise it as a benefit. For example, some landlords prefer to cover items such as trash collection and landscaping to keep their properties looking attractive.
Also, some utilities will charge an owner if a tenant fails to pay a bill.
So take time to think about which, if any, bills you want to pay and make sure those utility payments are clearly stipulated in your rental agreement.
If you’re going away for only a few months and you can afford to leave your place vacant, ask your utility companies if they have a vacation plan.
Cable and telephone companies will often let you pay a substantially reduced rate while you’re away, which means you can avoid the hassles and expenses of reconnecting when you return.
If you plan to be gone for a year or more and want to keep your phone number, it’s also worth asking your landline provider if you can pay a small fee to retain the number.
It probably goes without saying that the furry, feathered, or finned members of your family need to be considered when you plan your trip.
The best arrangement for them is staying with family or friends who adore them.
If you do a home exchange or are advertising for a housesitter, find out if your exchange partners or housesitters will be comfortable caring for your pets.
If those options don’t work, check with your vet, who may have some contacts for pet care.
In any case, make sure they are well provided for, or postpone your trip.
Editorial: Animals are not disposable! They have their own needs and emotions.
I have no respect for anyone who would surrender their pets just to travel, but if you believe that is your only choice, then find them a good home or place them in a no-kill shelter and contribute funds to their care.
You owe it to them!
Get tips on storing your vehicle.
Are you planning to store a vehicle for the duration of your long-term trip?
Edmunds has some advice on “How to Prep Your Car for Longterm Storage” on its website.
Among the tips for storing your car:
Keep your car in a garage, if possible. If it will be outdoors, get a weatherproof car cover.
Clean your vehicle before storing it. Bird droppings or water stains can damage the paint over time.
Change the oil if you are storing the vehicle longer than 30 days.
Top off the tank to keep moisture from forming inside the fuel tank, and keep seals from drying out.
Make sure that the battery stays charged. Have someone start the car and drive it for at least 15 minutes every two weeks. Run the air conditioner too. If you can’t get someone to drive it, then either disconnect the negative battery cable or use a trickle charger. (If you disconnect the battery charger, you’ll lose the electronic settings for your radio, clock, and other settings.)
Don’t use the parking brake?—?use a chock to keep your vehicle in place.
Check to see if your tires are properly inflated.
Try to cover gaps where mice or other creatures can enter. Also try scent deterrents.
Maintain your auto insurance. You may need only to keep the comprehensive insurance if no one is going to be driving it, but it will help protect you from damages that could result from problems at the storage location.
If someone is going to be driving your vehicle, make sure that you not only have the right insurance, but that you also keep the license tabs current.
Most localities now allow you to pay your license fees online.
Find the right place to store furniture and personal items.
Unless you are going to rent your home furnished, you will need to store your furniture.
In any case, you’ll want to have a place to keep your personal items.
If you have a family member or friend with extra space, they might just become your favorite person, because storage can be expensive.
Before our RTW trip we chose a storage facility that was close to our son’s house, because he acted as our property manager.
What made that choice even better was that his house was farther from an urban area, so the prices were lower there too.
We chose a controlled atmosphere storage facility, which helps prevent problems due to heat, cold, or humidity.
Before you store anything, use your trip as an opportunity to get rid of the items that you “might need some day.”
It can be liberating to get rid of the “junk” that seems to multiply in our closets.
Take photos of the items that you treasure for sentimental reasons but you never use, and then donate them. You’ll have the photos to recall those special memories.
Give some of your best things to your friends, or ask them to keep treasures like Aunt Hattie’s silver fruit bowl until you return.
Put small items such as watches and jewelry in a safe deposit box at your bank.
Take advantage of charity shops. Give away your serviceable items, and get a receipt for a tax deduction. Do good for others as you free yourself for your adventure.
Host a garage sale or use Craigslist to sell items and get some extra cash.
Consider consignment furniture stores, but make sure you know how long they will keep your items for sale and what they do with items that do not sell.
Also, if you have a relative whose place is serving as your temporary address, you may be able to get a policy from your own insurance company to cover your goods in storage.
That policy may be cheaper than the insurance offered by the storage company.
Top Green Hotels For Honeymoon – Are you looking to go green on your honeymoon without sacrificing comfort and luxury?
If you are, then you’ve come to the right place.
While traditional honeymoon getaways are great, they can have some seriously negative environmental impacts.
Over the last decade, travel destinations and resorts all over the world have been working to reduce waste and utilize the natural splendor of their surroundings in an ecologically-friendly manner.
Top 5 Most Impressive Green Hotels for Honeymoon Vacations
Since green hotels are becoming more and more prevalent, it’s easier than ever to find hotels working to accommodate the needs of travelers with eco-friendly mindsets.
Those who are to planning a green honeymoon will likely find that they have plenty of impressive hotel options to choose from.
Here’s a list of 5 most stunning green hotels getaways with honeymoon accommodations for newlyweds.
Chabil Mar Placencia – Belize
Stunning Ocean Views and Authentic Mayan Ruins
This charming boutique resort of Villas and honeymoon suites is located on an oceanfront property outside of Placencia Village in Belize.
Since each Villa has been designed to minimize waste while maximizing oceanfront accessibility, minimal environmental footprints are easy to maintain.
Village restaurants, shops, and nightlife are available within walking distance so guests can enjoy leisure activities on their own schedules.
This resort is also located near the World’s only Jaguar Preserve.
Each unique Villa is situated on a lushly landscaped property and Villas contain uniquely designed paintings, furnishings, and accents.
You’ll be able to take in exceptional views of the Caribbean from your own personal veranda while listening to the waves lap against the sand.
In addition to all of this, Chabil Mar Placencia offers guests access to beach-side infinity pools that are nestled into the lush tropical gardens that decorate the resort’s inner courtyard.
Chabil Mar Placencia Offers:
Explore Nearby Placencia Village
Maya archaeological sites
Hiking in the World’s only Jaguar Preserve
Eco-Hotel Lepota – Tarusovo, Russia
Thermal Spas and Authentic Steam Rooms Along the River Dubna
Looking for something a bit farther north to take your bride on your honeymoon?
Just 45 minutes outside of Moscow is the Eco-Hotel Lepota.
This gorgeous resort in picturesque Tarusovo has been built in a stunning setting with views of the river and forests.
Its countryside location makes it an ideal option for Russian destination weddings.
The Eco-Hotel Lepota is quite diverse and offers many services so you only have to purchase what you need.
All dishes in the hotel’s restaurants have been prepared from fresh locally sourced and environmentally friendly products.
Many of the ingredients have been purchased directly from localized farms in the Taldom district.
Other fresh ingredients come directly from the gardens located on the hotel’s property.
Other hotel features and amenities include an exclusive steam room, cold and hot thermal water fonts with a view of the river Dubna, a refectory with a real village oven, Russian billiards, designer lounges, and fireplaces.
Eco-Hotel Lepota Offers:
Forest and river views
Locally sourced fresh hotel ingredients
Thermal water fonts on the river
Pay as you go for services
Turtle Island – Fiji
Solar Powered Private Island Getaway Steeped in Local Fijian Culture
Imagine spending your honeymoon on a private tropical island that’s environmentally-friendly and locally sourced.
Your dream can become a reality if you choose to visit Turtle Island in Fiji.
Turtle Island is a 500-acre privately owned island located in Fiji’s Yasawa Island chain.
It offers visitors a completely sustainable and entirely authentic honeymoon experienced that’s steeped in local island tradition and culture.
Since only 14 couples are allowed on the island at a time, you’ll be able to tap into the island’s tranquility and serene scenery in peace.
Choose from 10 private beaches for picnics, snorkeling, or simply relaxing and watching the waves roll in.
The entire island and resort are powered by solar energy while the handcrafted Villas offer a sense of artesian style.
If a green and serene escape is your bottom line, Tuttle Island may be right for you.
Turtle Island Offers
Supports local Fijian village
Emirates One&Only – Wolgan Valley, Australia
Luxurious Australian Resort on a Conservation Land in Wollemi National Park
If you’ve been looking for a way to combine natural splendor and luxury, this may be the way to go.
The Emirates One&Only is located on Australia’s Great Dividing Range between the Wollemi National Park and the Gardens of Stone National Park, within the World Heritage-listed Greater Blue Mountains.
Steep cliffs contrast with the gentle curve of the valley floor creating a picturesque resort location.
The tranquil location and one of a kind views extend throughout 6 separate exceptionally private double treatment spa rooms.
Holistic therapies are dispensed using Australia’s exclusive Sodashi skincare line, regarded internationally as the world’s purest spa brand.
Exceptional six-course dinner menus and à la carte selections are available.
Signature experiences embrace the resort’s wide-ranging conservation efforts with wildlife safaris, horse riding adventures, and heritage tours, whilst hands-on Conservation Activity excursions are focused on preserving the surrounding wildlife sanctuary.
This is an idyllic venue for weddings or honeymoons.
Emirates One&Only Offers
Luxurious and unique world-class amenities
Conservation focused activities
Five-star Fine dining
Private Luxury Spas
Mashpi Rainforest Reserve Hotel – Ecuador
Ecuador is a Conservationists Dream, Bursting With Living, Breathing Beauty
This is a hotel like no other.
Featured on “The World’s Most Amazing Hotels” and listed by National Geographic as one of the most unique lodges in the world, this hotel is the pinnacle of conservation, luxury, and beauty.
Stepping onto this green hotel is like stepping into another universe where, from the micro to the macro, flora, and fauna surround you like never before.
Enjoy the palpable beauty and serenity of the Mashpi Rainforest Reserve and its raw, untouched essence.
The best part?
A stay in this splendid Mashpi Reserve hotel supports efforts to preserve the surrounding local Mashpi Reserve rainforest and all of its many natural wonders.
Through the large and architecturally innovative windows in each room, you’ll be able to experience the greenery, wildlife and natural splendor of the rainforest up-close and in person for the entirety of your stay.
Yaku suites are available for honeymooners as well as a wellness center with a full-service spa, and various excursions and activities.