The Clever Travel Companion Updates

10 Surprising Risky Destinations - According to the State Department January 16 2018, 0 Comments

The U.S. Department of State recently assigned every country in the world a "travel safety rating". The safest places are ranked Level 1, while the places that Americans are advised to avoid are considered Level 4:

travel safety department of state ratings 

Many tourist-frequented countries were highlighted for travel safety concerns as Level 2, meaning Americans should “exercise increased caution” and “be aware of heightened risks to safety and security.” Many of the advisories stem from threats of terrorism, while others are due to crime or weather.

Surprising Countries with Level 2 Travel Safety Ratings

Here are some countries you might be surprised the State Department gave a lower travel safety rating to, and why the agency says you should exercise caution when visiting them.


“Exercise increased caution in Denmark due to terrorism,” the travel advisory states. “Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Denmark. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning.”


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“Exercise increased caution in Belize due to crime,” the travel advisory states. “Violent crime, such as sexual assault, armed robbery, and murder, is common. Local police lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents.”


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“Exercise increased caution in France due to terrorism,” the travel advisory states. “Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in France. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning.”


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“Exercise increased caution in Antarctica due to environmental hazards posed by extreme and unpredictable weather,” the travel advisory states. “The U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Antarctica.”


Italy warnings and dangers

“Exercise increased caution in Italy due to terrorism,” the travel advisory states. “Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Italy. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning.”

The Bahamas

(Photo: Shutterstock)

“Exercise increased caution in The Bahamas due to crime,” the travel advisory states. “Violent crime, such as burglaries, armed robberies, and sexual assault, is common, even during daylight hours and in tourist areas. U.S. government personnel are not permitted to visit the Sand Trap area in Nassau due to crime.”

The United Kingdom

“Exercise increased caution in the United Kingdom due to terrorism,” the travel advisory states. “There is also a risk of isolated violence by dissident groups in Northern Ireland, focused primarily on police and military targets.”


Cologne, germany

“Exercise increased caution in Germany due to terrorism,” the travel advisory states. “Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Germany. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning.”

The Maldives

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“Exercise increased caution in Maldives due to terrorism,” the travel advisory states. “Terrorist groups may conduct attacks with little or no warning … Attacks may occur on remote islands which could lengthen the response time of authorities.”


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“Exercise increased caution in Spain due to terrorism,” the travel advisory states. “Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Spain. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning.”

Planning Your Student Holiday on a Budget December 31 2017, 0 Comments

Financing your travel plans when you are a student is a case of planning and organization. But it’s perfectly possible to have an amazing trip, without having to live off of canned food the entire time you’re away. Budgeting for your next big trip starts here, you’ll just have to decide where you’re going, and what to pack. It's really worth investing in an anti-theft device for your travels. After saving and planning your trip, it's important to keep your money and valuable possessions, such as passports and cameras safe. 

Part time work and student loans 

Getting a student loan and part time work is the most common way of raising money for a student holiday. Be strict with yourself and try and put by a set amount every month, and you will soon find that a little regular amount becomes enough to have a trip away. Using your leisure time to earn a little money will also mean that you’re not out spending it. Research how much it is going to cost for travel and accommodation and then factor in spending money. Give yourself a goal to save for and you can make sure you have enough for your dream trip. 

Volunteering holidays

Combining your holiday with a volunteering is a great way to see the world and also making a difference to other people’s lives. You could be helping to improve community buildings in Cuba, or teaching English to children in Peru. There are some amazing student volunteer programmes that will allow you to get away and do something incredibly rewarding and fulfilling at the same time. Often there is lodging in bunkhouses, so you will be sure to make some like-minded new friends. 

Take the bus 

If you want to see America, taking the bus is wonderfully cheap. The Greyhound (a.k.a The Dirty Dog) covers the entire country and is a great way to travel across such a diverse county. There are some good discounts for students that will help you to budget for travel. If you want to go off exploring, The Greyhound will store your luggage for you for 24 hours, allowing you to get out and about, without worrying about carrying around heavy bags. You can easily camp your way around the U.S.A with a bus ticket and a small tent. 

Become a house sitter

Becoming a house sitter means that you won’t have to pay for your accommodation, plus you will be helping someone that needs to know that their home is secure and looked after while they are away. No money is exchanged for services, but you will have somewhere to stay for free. Often you will be responsible for looking after pets, and doing small jobs, such as watering the plants and looking after the garden. You will have plenty of free time to explore the area which you are staying in. Plus house sitting can take you all over the world, you will just need to cover your travel costs and spending money. 

Going on holiday when you’re a student needn’t cost the earth. You can see the world on a budget and still have an amazing time.

How To Budget For Your Next Big Trip December 11 2017, 0 Comments

72% of millennials value experience
 over material possessions. Business thought leaders coined the term “experience economy” to capture this value system. If you’re someone who spends more on experiences than possessions, you’re probably more interested in budgeting for your next trip abroad than for a house or car. Here’s how you can budget for your next big trip.

Brush Up Your Organizational Skills

Steph Jagger, who traveled around the globe and skied more than 4 million vertical feet, has some insight into what it takes to plan a dream-come-true trip. These kinds of trips take significant organizational effort. If you don’t organize first, you’ll end up pouring money down the drain at some point or another along your journey.

How are your organizational skills? It’s time to take them to the next level. Steph Jagger, who managed to save 31,000 dollars and take a year off from work to pursue her dream, planned her trip down to the nitty-gritty details -- even the weight of her toothbrush. Take a page out of Jagger’s book and channel all of your excitement for your trip into organizing.

As you organize, aim at creating a stable itinerary for your trip, as well as nailing down the most expensive items. Then estimate the amount you will need for the things you can’t plan for accurately. Tack on money for unexpected costs and emergency situations. Next, divide the total by the number of months you have until your big trip. This is how much you need to save each month.

If the number seems unattainable, reconsider your costs. Research ways to cut travel costs, and work with your budget until you reach a number that is realistic.

Work Hard Beforehand

Consider taking on a second job while you save for your trip. Not only will you be able to put aside extra cash, but you will also be using up a chunk of your leisure time, which can create even more savings. One travel expert at the “Travel Latina” puts it this way, “(A side job is) also a great way to keep yourself from having the time to go shopping or to go out drinking with friends”.

A Word On Debt

When you work hard beforehand and accumulate a portion of the money you will need for your trip, you will be less likely to slide down the slippery slope of credit card debt. If you do need to put some of your trip expenses on credit cards, commit to a plan that will allow you to pay off the cards responsibly. 

Look for cards that have a deferred interest plan, which will give you a window of time for paying off the debt before interest rates kick in. Create an automated deduction from your weekly or monthly income, which you can comfortably put towards car payments once you return from your trip.

Now that you know how to budget for your next big trip, let the dreaming begin! Researchers have found that the mere act of planning out a trip increases happiness. Enjoy planning your trip, down to the minute detail. Figure out how much you need to set aside each month. If you can’t save up enough beforehand, use credit cards wisely.