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GUIDE TO PLANNING WEEKEND TRIPS WHILE STUDYING ABROAD

GUIDE TO PLANNING WEEKEND TRIPS WHILE STUDYING ABROAD - sincerelykenz

For those of you who don’t know (I feel like I talk about it in every other post), Rob and I will be studying abroad in Prague, in the Czech Republic next semester! We’ll be in Prague from late January to late May. During this time well be taking classes, and hopefully traveling on some weekends as well.

 

It wasn’t until recently when I realized just how soon we will actually be leaving. I got one of those “oh shit” moments, that we are probably all familiar with, and realized that I had to start getting a move on planning our weekend trips.

 

Believe it or not, planning weekend trips can be more tedious than you think. There are a lot of factors that go into traveling, especially to places in foreign countries that you have never been to. Here is a guide that I created which will hopefully aid you in planning your weekend trips (or any trips really) when you are studying abroad:

 

PICK A DATE:

Personally, I think selecting the dates that you would like to travel is the first and foremost important part of your trip. Different areas of the world have different things going on at different times. For example, you may want to visit Amsterdam during tulip season, and you may want to visit Dublin during St. Patrick’s day. Keep in mind traveling during important events like these may lead you to have more trouble finding available rooms, and flights. It’s always a good idea to plan super early if you are looking to visit somewhere at a busy time.

 

PICK A DESTINATION:

This may be kind of obvious, but a major factor of planning a weekend trip is to actually choose where you will be traveling. There are so so many amazing places across the world, and it can be tough to narrow it down to one single place. My best advice would be to check out Pinterest and see where others went and loved.

 

PURCHASE A FLIGHT:

You can’t exactly travel anywhere if you don’t have a flight to get yourself there. Some of the simpler ways to save money on flights include:

  • Booking the earliest or latest flight in the day:
    • The latest and earliest flights during a day are usually the cheapest.
  • Book your flight as far in advance as possible:
    • This is an easy way to save a ton of money. If you know where you would like to travel in advance, book your flight right away! This especially goes for busy time periods (tulip festival, St. Patrick’s day, etc.)
  • Use websites like Skyscanner or STA travel:
    • Skyscanner is a website that does the tedious work of searching for cheap flights for you. Skyscanner sometimes mixes and matches flights, so keep in mind that you could be traveling on two different airlines. I also recently found out about STA travel, a site for students and adults that have crazy cheap airline prices. I was able to book a round-trip ticket to Prague for only $400 on this website.
  • Sign up for rewards credit cards:
    • I have yet to do this, but these rewards programs can hold amazing benefits, especially if you plan to travel frequently. Every mile you spend in the air will add up into points, or essentially money off your future flights.

 

FIGURE OUT WHERE YOU CAN STAY:

When it comes to traveling, there are a variety of different places where you can choose to stay overnight. Some of my favorite websites to use for finding places to stay include Hostelworld.com and Airbnb.com. I have found that AirBnB and Hostels are a lot cheaper than standard hotels. If you click this link you can receive $40 off of your next AirBnB stay! Yep, I just basically handed you an $40 gift card– you’re welcome!

 

CREATE YOUR ITINERARY:

Instead of creating a very specific itinerary, I would just create a few different lists of possible things to do. Some examples of these lists include:

  • Cheap Eats (cafes, street food, etc.)
  • Restaurants
  • Things To Do (that cost money)
  • Things To Do (that are free)
  • Tours
  • Parks/Nature

Obviously, the lists that you decide to create will depend on where exactly you are going, so feel free to adapt them to your destination! I find that Pinterest and Trip Advisor are both awesome sites to check out things to do, places to eat, etc. I also found that companies with weekend trips that are already planned out for you have pre-made itineraries which are usually open to the public. Some of these include Bus2Alps and WSA Travel!

 

 

I hope this post eases at least some of the stress that comes along with planning weekend trips. Are you planning to travel anywhere during 2017? Let me know in the comments below!

 

 

What I Hope The New Year Holds For You

 

What I Hope The New Year Holds For You - sincerelykenzWhile entering the New Year, life threw me a few setbacks. Now, I won’t discuss these setbacks because nobody wants to hear about them and I wouldn’t want to get that personal with you all; that’s just not how I roll.

 

I have thought long and hard about some of my new years goals, or resolutions…. heck, let’s call em’ intentions. I spent some time sitting down last week and thought about all of the goals and yes, intentions, that I had for 2017. I revised these intentions a few days later, after life decided to throw a lot at me.

 

With that being said, this is what I wish the New Year holds for you:

 

I hope that you are able to set resolutions for this New Year that you are able to keep, and actually achieve. Stay away from the basic resolutions that most people go for, and think deep and hard about what you are capable of achieving throughout this year. You’re capable of a lot more than you think, you know… you just have to push yourself to see that.

 

I hope that you focus on the positive things in life, and withdraw yourself from the negative. Cut ties with the undesirable aspects of your life and get rid of people and things that bring you down. Life’s too short to be unhappy- learn to stop crossing oceans for people who wouldn’t jump puddles for you.

 

I hope you are able to live each day like it is your last. Take in all of the beauty that life gives you; it’s one of the few amazing things that are free in this world.

 

I hope you smile more, and laugh too. I hope you are able to make an immense effort to be conscious of the good in every situation and work on finding reasons to be happy each and every day. Instead of becoming angry over the small things, think about how blessed you are to actually run into those small things each day. There are much bigger things in the world to worry about.

 

I hope you allow yourself to have down days; days where you don’t leave your bed, days when you have candy for breakfast and Taco Bell for dinner, days when nothing matters but your own happiness and comfort.

 

I hope you are able to find happiness in every situation that you come across. Sing at the top of your lungs while driving to work, belch out your favorite song and dance like no one is watching. Don’t let anyone tell you that your musical talent is horrific (even if it truly is).

 

I hope you make the time each day to look at yourself in the mirror, and feel totally perfect in your own skin. You’ve accomplished so much and come so far in this life and it’s time you start giving yourself some credit for it.

 

I hope you put yourself in situations where you are afraid. Situations where you are so afraid that your stomach drops and your heart hurts. The kind of afraid where you don’t know what to do with yourself, the kind of afraid where at that given moment in time, you’re completely paralyzed. You should learn how to master this deep kind of fear and conquer and accept it. I hope you can learn about what scares you.

 

I hope you start living actively. Your bedroom should be a disastrous mess because you’re too busy gallivanting around doing wonderful things with wonderful people every chance you get. I hope you are able to be so busy enjoying every small detail about how amazing your life is. I hope you have the chance to live your life to the fullest and loose track of time to the beautiful things life entails each and every day.

 

I hope you have everything you need, but lack everything you want. How could life possibly be any good if you have nothing you want to wish or work for?

 

I hope you become happier, braver, less focused on what other people think of you, open minded, and more willing to open your eyes up to the little details in life that make it count. You should tell the ones you love that you love them and make a generous effort to make that noticed. You should battle whatever challenges may come over you and be thankful for whatever blessings that may be brought to you.

 

 

I hope you can disregard your basic resolutions, but instead make an effort to become a better person each day. You should achieve endless goals and be mindful of all the possibilities this wonderful world holds.

 

I hope you are able to do it all.

 

 

Blogger Secret Santa

Hello beautiful human beings of the Internet, I am finally back after dropping off of the face of the Earth for the past few weeks. The last post you probably read from my blog might have been from my “Blogmas” series. Blogmas was the time period from December 1st to December 25th where bloggers post every single day. Blogmas is kind of like a challenge, and it’s a fun way to connect with other bloggers during the holiday season. Buuuuuuut stuff happens, and I ultimately had to prioritize my finals and schoolwork over my blogging goals. Hey there’s always next year, right?

 

After returning home from school on the 21 of December, I headed out of the country, to the Dominican Republic with my family to celebrate Christmas. Thus, I am a tad late on my Secret Santa Post! You probably have no idea what I am referring to, but don’t worry I’ll explain:

 

This year, I took part in the Blogger Secret Santa! Abigail and Cathleen hosted this amazing lil’ gift swap this year!

 

I was fortunate enough to receive a gift from Victoria of OhMissEngineer. Victoria gifted me a ton of different things that I was excited about!

 

One of my favorite things that Victoria gifted me was the cute notebook! You could kind of call me a notebook hoarder I guess, but I seriously love notebooks. I always look forward to using up all of the space in an old notebook so that I can move on to a new notebook.

sincerelykenz- secret santa sincerelykenz- secret santa

I also loved the samples that Victoria gifted me! I love trying new products and samples allow me to determine whether or not I actually want to purchase the full size of the product.

sincerelykenz- secret santa

Overall, I was very happy with the secret santa present that I received from Victoria! It’s always fun to connect with other bloggers and spread some holiday cheer. The one thing I found so funny about this Blogger Secret Santa is that we all are so similar, and have such similar tastes/gift ideas!sincerelykenz- secret santa

I hope you all had a fabulous holiday season and are ready for the new year!

10 Productive Things To Do In Less Than 10 Minutes

10 Productive Things To Do In Less Than 10 Minutes- sincerelykenz

It’s that time of year again where things get stressful… really stressful. For me, doing a ton of small productive things help me when I am feeling completely overwhelmed. There are so many instances throughout the day when I find myself having a gap of a small amount of time. Time like when I am waiting in line at the grocery store, have a 20-minute break between two classes, or am waiting to attend a meeting. These small gaps of time should not just be wasted. Ultimately, these gaps of time add up. Here are ten different things you can do to boost productivity during short periods of time throughout the day:

1. Organize Your Phone Or Computer:

As odd as this might sound, this is actually one of my FAVORITE things to do if I have a bit of free time on my hands. I love going through pictures/apps/documents on my computer and my phone and decluttering a bit. A lot of times, half the stuff I end up with on these two devices are just junk. It’s very refreshing to clean them out, and organize them.

2. Write Out A To Do List:

In my eyes, to do lists are the ultimate key to being productive. Writing out a neat and organized to do list doesn’t take much time at all, but can actually make you feel so much better about yourself after the fact. I love planning out my day hour by hour. This may seem a bit extreme but it keeps me on task throughout the whole day.

3. Clean:

Cleaning something can make any day feel a bit better. Even something quick like wiping down a countertop or organizing a drawer of clothes can go a long way!

4. Drink Coffee:

Coffee is like a giant cup of productivity in itself. If all else fails, grab a hot cup o’ joe and let it ignite your productivity juices. Fun fact: Starbucks Americanos are my new favorite, and I totally recommend them to anyone who is looking for a kick of energy!

5. Work Out:

Working out doesn’t always have to take up a big chunk out of your day. There are a ton of different workouts that you can do in the comfort of your home, that don’t even take long at all! I love heading to YouTube and finding quick workouts on there when I don’t have time to head to the gym.

6. Meal Prep:

Spend some time brainstorming meal ideas for the next couple of days. Make a list of the meals you would like to eat along with the ingredients you will need to prepare them. Pinterest is an awesome place to search for fun meal ideas!

7. Laundry:

Okay, so maybe laundry takes a little bit longer than 10 minutes, BUT the time it takes to put your clothes in the washer/dryer takes less than two minutes. I usually do laundry while I am at the gym, so that I can still do something productive while I am doing my laundry- kind of like killing two birds with one stone if you ask me!

8. Meditate:

I can’t say I have ever tried this myself, but I have heard from SO many people that meditating is amazing for you. There are a ton of different apps out there that “talk you through meditation”. I personally love the last few minutes in yoga classes, where you lay and meditate for 10-15 minutes. Meditating allows your body to come to peace, and definitely minimizes stress.

9. Power Nap:

I’ll admit it; I am a napper. I am a power nap advocate, and think that quick 10-15 minute naps are much more beneficial than elongated 1-2 hour naps. It is actually scientifically proven that power naps make you feel more energized and awake, than long naps.

10. Read:

Read whatever you can get your hands on. The news, blog posts, magazines, anything! It’s important to read as much as possible, and is actually very good for you. Spending 10-15 minutes of free time reading and gaining new knowledge is much more beneficial than spending 10-15 minutes scrolling through social media.

 

Think about it, these are only 10 ideas- I bet you can think of a TON more. There are so many little things to do every day during the small gaps of time that we usually waste away. You will be amazed at how much more you can get done when you start taking advantage of all of the time during the day. What do you do when you have some extra time to be productive? Let me know in the comments below!

GIFT GUIDE FOR THE FITNESS FANATIC IN YOUR LIFE

GUIFT GUIDE FOR THE FITNESS JUNKIE- SINCERELYKENZ

 

I geared this gift guide for those people who just can’t get enough of fitness! These gifts are all relatively cheap, and would be perfect for anyone who eat, sleep, breathes fitness!

  1. Nike Roshes 
  2. Yoga Mat
  3. Gym Bag
  4. Rose Gold Head Phones
  5. Foam Roller
  6. Water Bottle
  7. FitBit
  8. Workout Tank
  9. Jump Rope
  10. Bath Detox
  11. Sports Bra

Case App – Blogmas Day 8

Think about the few things that you constantly have with you- for me they would probably be my ID, a hair tie, a snack (duh) and of course, my phone. Phone’s are capable of so much, and have the ability to allow you to not only connect via phone calls, but now have options such as texting, apps, and even high quality cameras.

Case App - sincerelykenz Case App - sincerelykenzCase App - sincerelykenzCase App - sincerelykenz

Because I use my phone so much, and always have it with me, it’s important for me to keep it protected and make sure it doesn’t get damaged. Keeping my phone in a case is a win win; my phone is protected in a durable case and it looks super cute. It really can’t get much better than that.

 

When CaseApp reached out to me and told me to check out their latest design software, I was thrilled! I love phone cases (may have a slight obsession TBH) and was very excited to design my very own case.

Case App - sincerelykenz

CaseApp has customizable cases for iPhones, Galaxies, and even laptops! CaseApp’s design lab is efficient and very easy to maneuver. The possibilities are really endless, as you can basically put whatever you want on your case.

Case App - sincerelykenz Case App - sincerelykenz

I ended up choosing this cute lil’ cactus because it was fun and adorable. CaseApp would make a perfect gift for the upcoming holiday season. You can really create a gift for anyone, because the customization is all up to you.

 

Because I didn’t want you to miss out on all the fun, I snagged a discount code for you: SINCERELYKENZ20

HOW TO TRAVEL ABROAD FOR CRAZY CHEAP- BLOGMAS DAY 5

HOW TO TRAVEL ABROAD FOR CRAZY CHEAP- BLOGMAS DAY 5- SINCERELYKENZ

The travel bug bites everyone once in a while. The world has so many great things to see and so many memories to create, it’s hard not to want to explore and see everything it has to offer.

This is my very first post in my new study abroad series and I couldn’t be any more excited to write it. Ever since I got accepted into my study abroad program, I have been doing research whenever I have some extra time on my hands. So far, here are some tips that I have learned about saving some pretty pennies when you are studying abroad, or traveling in general:

 

TRANSPORTATION:

One of the most expensive parts of traveling is the process of actually getting to where you want to be. We have all had to deal with the overwhelming, tiresome, time-consuming process of trying to find the cheapest flights/means of transportation possible.

GOOGLE FLIGHTS:

Whether it’s a flight or a car ride, traveling costs both time and money. I don’t travel very much via planes but I have seen a few different websites with tools for finding cheap flights. One of which being, Google Flights. Google Flights is a search tool that pulls up flights from every airline after you type in the important details of your trip. These include things such as where you’ll be going and when you’ll be going.

PRIVATE BROWSING:

Another awesome tip for finding cheap flights is to always search for them on private browsing mode. Believe it or not, the prices of flights increase when they are repeatedly searched in the same browser.  Using a private browser is simple, in Google Chrome or Safari, hit Command (or “Control” if using PC), Shift, “N”. If you are using a different web browser such as Mozilla or Internet Explorer (lol talk about a throwback), hit Command (or “Control” if using a PC), Shift, “P”. Doing this will allow you to complete a “private” search and erase all of the old cookies from your last search.

REWARDS PROGRAMS: 

Another awesome way to save money on flights is to sign up for certain reward credit card programs. A bunch of different companies take part in these credit card reward programs- basically, for every dollar, you spend you receive a set amount of points, these points can be used towards the prices of flights. In the long run, you could be getting a free flight somewhere!

STATRAVEL.COM:

When I recently booked my round trip flight for Prague I was fortunate enough to score an astonishing price! I used the student traveling website titled, STAtravel.com. This site definitely beats all other flight prices, without a doubt. Although any one can purchase flights from this site, I believe you receive the best deals if you are a current student (you need documentation to prove this).

 

ACCOMMODATIONS:

HOSTELS:

Figuring out where to sleep can be a hefty expense when it comes to traveling. Hostels are probably your best bet if you want to stay somewhere for cheap. Hostels are like giant dorm rooms that sometimes house even up to 10+ people per room.  Hostels range in budget and can sometimes even be as cheap as $10 USD. Hostels are a great opportunity to meet new people and stay in city centers without having to pay the pretty penny that other hotels charge.

LOOK FOR EXTRAS:

When searching for accommodations something important to look for is the “extras” that may or may not come along with your stay. Things like Wi-Fi, clean towels, airport pickup, and complimentary breakfast are all beneficial when it comes to saving money. Fun fact: if you take some extra fruit/granola bars at complimentary breakfasts you can eat them for lunch later on in the day!

 AIR BNB:

Air BNB is a website where people come together to rent out their houses, and spare bedrooms to fellow travelers. The website even has a review section so that you can get a feel of where you’ll be staying. This option allows you to stay in a comfortable location without the hotel price tag! Weekly and monthly rates on Air BNB are quite competitive against what locals pay in terms of rent, and are almost always much cheaper than hotels.

 REWARDS PROGRAMS:

Signing up for rewards programs can also help to save a chunk of change when it comes to staying in hotels. A lot of booking sites and even hotel agencies offer these rewards programs, where you basically earn money for every dollar you spend. This is similar to those airline programs that I touched upon before. Booking.com is just one of the many websites that has a rewards program.

COUCH SURFING:

If worst comes to worst, contacting an old family friend and asking to crash on their living room floor isn’t the worst thing that could happen to you! Some places in Europe, such as London, or Dublin are crazy expensive to stay overnight in. Don’t be afraid to ask around for a possible sleepover!

 

COUPONS:

One of the great things about being a college student is all of the perks that come along with it. A lot of companies have college student rates because they understand how poor we are.

STUDENT UNIVERSE:

One specific website to check out is  StudentUniverse. This website has some discounted flights and some tips and tricks on saving money when it comes to traveling via public transportation. Make sure to ask about student discounts wherever you go, because for the most part a ton of companies have programs for you! Sometimes receiving these discounts is as simple as showing a form of your college ID, but other times it can be much more elaborate where you need to show your full-time class schedule. Always have both of these on hand when asking for student discounts because you never know what will be needed.

GROUPON/RETAIL ME NOT: 

Other great resources for coupons when traveling are Groupon and RetailMeNot. Always check these websites before booking vacations because more so than not, they have special deals and discounts. Sometimes they even have full travel packages at a discounted price. A friend of mine once booked a cruise for nearly half the regular price because of a deal she found on Groupon!

 

PLAN AHEAD:

DO RESEARCH:

 Familiarize yourself with wherever it is that you are going and make sure you are acquainted to the daily cost of living in that specific place. When planning out trips and activities, try (if at all possible) to rule out the unnecessary, crazy expensive tourist traps. This may come along with sacrificing a few things, but in the end you’ll still be traveling for extremely cheap.

MAKE A BUDGET:

If there is one thing that I have taken away from saving money when studying abroad it is that you must must MUST make a budget for yourself. Creating a budget, and sticking to it everyday will save you a ton of money in the long run. There are a ton of different apps, which make daily budgeting extremely simple. I’ll be writing a whole blog post about these apps in the near future, so stay tuned!

DO THE LITTLE THINGS:

PACK FOOD:

The little things really do add up, especially when you are trying to save some money while traveling. Things such as packing your own lunches from home, or avoiding eating out for every meal, can help you save a ton of money.

AVOID SOUVINEERS (if possible):

Souvenirs are awesome, we know. BUT souvenirs can also be expensive, and can hurt your budget. My recommendation would be to only buy souvenirs that you absolutely need- like really need.

 

So there you have it, a bunch of ways  to save some cash when it comes to traveling. Seeing the world doesn’t always have to cost you your life savings! As long as you take the time to do your research and use rewards programs and coupons to your benefit, you’ll be very pleased with the amount of money that you’ll save in the long run. What are your money saving tips for traveling?

GIFT GUIDE FOR THE TRAVELER

GIFT GUIDE FOR TRAVELER- SINCERELYKENZ

Blogmas Day 4- we made it! Today’s post is all about gifts for the traveler in your life. I am studying abroad next semester and would personally enjoy all of these gifts! Let me know what you think in the comments below!

SWELL BOTTLE

BEATS HEADPHONES

SCRATCH OFF MAP

KATE SPADE LUGGAGE TAG

PORTABLE GOLD CHARGER

ONE LINE A DAY JOURNAL

PASSPORT HOLDER

FUJIFILM CAMERA

LEATHER DUFFEL

10 SLEEP MASK

11 RAYBAN

HOW TO GET AN ACTIVE AND ENGAGING AUDIENCE ON INSTAGRAM- BLOGMAS DAY 3

HOW TO GET AN ACTIVE AND ENGAGING AUDIENCE ON INSTAGRAM- BLOGMAS DAY 3- SINCERELYKENZ

Out of all of the social media outlets that are prevalent at this point in time, Instagram is by far my favorite. I personally think that Instagram is the most creative of Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook. Whether you utilize Instagram for personal use, or for a company or business, it is can provide you with a vast amount of exposure, and lead you to an extreme amount of success.

 

Believe it or not, a ton of companies pay influencers to collaborate with them through Instagram. Companies generally look for users who have a vast amount of followers, and an actively engaged audience.

 

Both of these things are easily attainable if you work for them. I personally increased my Instagram following by almost a thousand through the course of about 6 months. While this may seem like a long time, the work I put in to achieve this has helped me score more sponsorship opportunities and a greater chance of being seen by others.

 

Here are my go to ways to gain followers and a more active audience on Instagram:

 

USE #HASHTAGS:

Hashtags are awesome ways to connect with other users on Instagram who share similar posts to yours. Hashtags are like a door to promotion, and allow users to easily have access to your posts. Hashtags are also an awesome way to work in communities. If there is one thing I have learned from blogging so far, it is how important communities are. Think about it, you can only do so many things by yourself. Buttttttt, when people who are constantly supporting you, and sharing the same goals as you surround you, the possibilities are endless.

 

There are a million Hashtags out there. I personally utilize some of the ones that other lifestyle bloggers use as well. This allows me to connect with other bloggers and companies that are in my niche.Here are my top uses for Hashtags:

#bandofun

#photosinbetween

#abmlifeiscolorful

#collegeblogger

#candyminimal

#theeverygirl

#peoplescreative

#visualcrush

#proptoit

An important aspect of Hashtags is to utilize the ones that are used most often. I know, this sounds a bit odd, but using popular Hashtags actually does make sense. The more popular the Hashtag is, the more people are searching it. Utilizing popular Hashtags will give you the opportunity for a greater reach.

 

ENGAGE:

Wishing for your followers to engage with you while you’re not making any effort to engage with them isn’t exactly fair, is it? It’s important to comment and like other people’s posts. Sharing your insightful opinions about other people’s profiles will put your name out there (giving you more reach)  and will also encourage the users to connect with you in return. I found that searching for Hashtags, which are relevant to my profile and commenting/liking, those photos were the most beneficial when I was trying to gain a stronger audience.

 

Strategically following accounts that have similar posts as you is another way to gain an engrossed audience on your posts. To achieve this, I usually head to a Instagram user with a strong following, and click “profiles similar to this” under his or her username. This allows me to follow users that have profiles just like mine, and will give me a greater chance of getting people to follow my profile in return for my following of theirs.

 

CREATE A SCHEDULE:

Like most other things in life, creating a schedule that is pinpointed and planned precisely will help you a LOT. If I have the time, I will usually try to plan out my posts weekly prior to actually posting them. Posting every day on Instagram is harder than you think! It’s definitely tough to generate new content daily, so I would recommend spending some time planning out your posts to ensure that you are posting every day. Websites such as Buffer and Latergram are both great tools to schedule your Instagram postings.

 

CREATE YOUR OWN BRAND:

 

People will agree and disagree with this, but I think that having an Instagram “theme” is extremely beneficial. I personally have a white theme on my profile, and believe it or not, it is tough to maintain! But, I have learned that when I am contacted for most sponsorship opportunities, it is usually because of the theme that I utilize. Having a theme for your profile gives your page a more professional feel, and makes everything come together in a much more organized way.Creating a theme for your profile is not very hard, you simply have to decide on a few filters, and edit all of your posts the same way.