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5 International Bargain Vacations

I don't take international trips very often… at least, not as much as I would like to. Like most of you, I worry about the high expenses attached to island getaways and their posh nightlife. Unbeknownst to us, there are plenty of discount locations that cost as much as a trip in the continental US.


With the current debt crisis paired with Brexit, Greece's weakened economy allows luxury at low prices. For less cash than a tropical visit to the Caribbean, lounge on the beautiful white sand of a Greek beach. Greece also boasts a fascinating and historic culture with monuments such as the Acropolis of Athens, Delphi, Minoan Palace of Knossos, Epidaurus theatre, Sanctuary of Dion, Ancient Theatre of Dodona, and the site of the first Olympic Games. Travelers can also select from a variety of water sports: fishing, windsurfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, and sailing.


The euro is currently very close to the cost of an American dollar which has made flight prices and hotel costs decline. Most historic sites in Hungary cost nothing. Other must-do activities include the Great Synagogue, Great Market Hall, "ruin" pubs, and the House of Terror museum. Save money by using public transportation, and put it towards staying a night in the Corinthia Hotel (which inspired Wes Anderson’s "The Grand Budapest Hotel").


Skip the over-crowded all-inclusives near Montego Bay, and you'll find unique and reasonably priced lodging. Negril, once populated by hippies, still exudes a laidback atmosphere far from the bland American owned resorts. Also, Montego Bay itself suffers from a barrage of aircraft noise due to the adjacent airport.


It’s close enough to smell! Because of its proximity to the US, airfare runs less than most other flights on this list. Cancun offers a variety of all-inclusive resort prices, and Playa Tortugas provides a festive Mayan scene with bungalow restaurants and beachfront ruins. Visit Playa Delfines white beaches or Coba’s jungle temples during the day, and then hit Coco Bongo for a raging nightlife.


Visit Thailand for beautiful beaches but moreso for the affordable lodging and inexpensive food. It's the travel hub of Southeast Asia for a reason. You can score street food for 60 cents/plate and public transportation for a quarter! Travel specialists suggest avoiding summer, because it rains a lot. Take a round-trip ferry ride from Phuket to the Phi Phi Islands (only $30) to see jungles with no inhabitants, no roads, and no stress!

How to Keep Your Lawn Green this Summer

Maintain a plush lawn to increase your curb appeal and be the envy of your neighbors. Fortunately, growing thick, beautiful grass does not require costly landscaping services. Follow these tips for the perfect lawn this summer.

What's the pH?

Test your soil's pH and determine if it's missing vital nutrients. Most local home improvement stores sell DIY kits, or you can take a sample to the nearest nursery for a professional opinion. You can begin to correct the issues with the correct fertilizer once you know the pH level. For substantial acidity, add sulfur; to reduce it, add lime. 

Have you seeded?

Get rid of bare or brown spots by seeding. Aerate your soil before spreading the seed evenly over the area. (You can accomplish this by hand or via a seed spreader.) Finish by covering the area with a light layer of soil. Don't water too much, or you risk drowning the seed.

Is it properly fertilized?

Think of fertilizer as a vitamin for your grass. A healthy and active lawn requires nutrients that most soils cannot provide on their own. It's imperative to spread your fertilizer evenly, or you'll see grass burning/uneven greening. Feed your lawn twice a year for ideal results; the key is to strike when your grass shows the most natural growth. Southern areas feature warm-season grasses which go dormant in winter months; they need fertilization in late spring with a second application in late summer. Cool-season grass appears in the Northeast and Midwest and should be fed a late spring treat and an early autumn snack.

Are you mowing and watering?
The more you fertilize, the more you have to mow. The length of your grass affects its health and appearance. Although leaving your lawn long seems counterproductive, mowing grass too short stunts growth and causes dry, yellow patches. The same goes for watering. Balance is essential! Watering your grass too much drowns the roots; not watering enough leaves brown, dry grass. A thorough watering with the hose or sprinkler once a week should be sufficient for a beautiful lawn. However, if you have planted new seeds, water lightly once a day for about five to ten minutes.

6 Tips for Surviving IKEA

If you're a college student, unwed, or simply moved into a new home and can't afford high quality furnishings, you're planning a trip to IKEA. The Swedish home store peddles modernist, ready-to-assemble furniture to the eco- and cost-conscious individual.

Also, they sell meatballs. (Did you know the world consumes 2 million Swedish meatballs at IKEA on a daily basis? Germans eat the most!)

IKEA appears throughout pop culture as a catalyst for misery -- from television to music to this horror comedy novel. How, then, do you make it out alive with your dignity still intact? Try these tips!

1. Browse ahead of time

You can spend hours arguing with your roommate whether to purchase the BESTÅ or the MALSJÖ for your living room, but... they're both just television stands. By searching their website beforehand, you can pick out products and discuss them before visiting the show room. Save time, energy, and your relationship!

2. Know your measurements

Do you know how wide the space is you need to fill? Do yourself a favor and record measurements before leaving your home. Nothing's worse than bringing home a piece you love and discovering it's too large. Document the width as well as the ceiling height, and how far out the furniture can stick out into the room.

3. Choose an off-peak day

IKEA will be overrun with crowds on the best of days, so try a weekday during work hours if possible. Don't get flustered if there's still expansive lines. Take a breath, and remember you aren't the only one searching for steals.

Tip: The As-Is section for mark downs is restocked on Monday.

4. Feed yourself

Did you know every IKEA houses a food near their checkout and a full-service restaurant near the show room? According to founder Ingvar Kamprad, "It's difficult to do business with someone on an empty stomach." Their food is as inexpensive as their furniture ($2 breakfast, $3 lunch, $4 dinner). They serve Swedish-style dishes as well as local cuisine, depending on your country. Kids eat free on Tuesdays!

5. Study the map

Don't burn out before you find anything. IKEA is designed to be a labyrinth. Unless you want to encounter the Goblin King (he's hiding inside the FÖLJA), check the lobby map and head directly to the department you need. We do not suggest walking the whole store unless you have a death wish.

6. Drop off your kids

IKEA offers an hour of free child care for all potty-trained kids between 4-10 years old. Småland is a supervised, forest-themed play area. You receive a store-provided pager that alerts you when your time is up.

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