How To Be More Productive When Working From Home

When you finally take the plunge and decide to start working from home, it can be difficult to adjust. Working from home has many benefits but finding the motivation to be productive can be hard and many people struggle to adapt to their new routine. This is why we have put together some tips on how you can be more productive when you are working from home. Keep reading this article if you’d like to find out more.

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Get Dressed

You might want to take advantage of the fact that you don’t need to wear smart business attire when you are working from home, but this is often a mistake that people make. Of course, you don’t need to get dressed up to work from your spare room, but you should make sure to get out of your pyjamas. This will help you to be more productive and you will get more work done.

Create A Home Office

If your current working from home set up involves you working from your bed or your dining room table, you should think about designing your own home office. This will help to recreate the office atmosphere in your home, but you can design it to match your own personality. Think about converting your spare room or even investing in an outdoor steel building. If you don’t have the space inside, a steel building can be the perfect office solution and will make you feel like you aren’t just working from home. If this is something you want to look into, you can view the options available at armstrongsteel.com who are one of America’s leading providers of steel buildings.

Set Hours

Do you often find that you do some work and then get distracted by the TV or your kids? It might be time to set yourself some working hours for when you are working from home. This might be difficult, especially if you are working from home because you need a flexible schedule, but you should be able to make something work. The stricter that you are on yourself, the more productive you’ll be.

Take Breaks

When you work in an office, you get a lunch break and maybe even 10 minutes or so to chat with others. These breaks give you time to clear your head so that you are ready to return to work when your break is over. You might find that if you are working from home you are not giving yourself the necessary breaks and so your work is not the best it can be. Make sure to give yourself some breaks and you will be a lot more productive when you return to work.

Take Breaks

When you work in an office, you get a lunch break and maybe even 10 minutes or so to chat with others. These breaks give you time to clear your head so that you are ready to return to work when your break is over. You might find that if you are working from home you are not giving yourself the necessary breaks and so your work is not the best it can be. Make sure to give yourself some breaks and you will be a lot more productive when you return to work.

Get Rid Of Distractions

Our final tip for those who want to be more productive when working from home is to make sure that you get rid of any distractions. If you need to use your phone for work then you cannot avoid this but make sure to remove things like TVs, books and anything else that might distract you. This is your time to work and the more distracted you get, the longer it will take you to get it done.

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Dealing With a Job You Hate

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If you’re in the position of having to deal with a job you hate then it’s likely that many friends have given you the advice to leave the job, and find something better, yet – you remain in the job you hate, and might even question yourself as to why this is the case.

The reality is that people value security and stability in their lives; it’s a nice feeling to know you can afford to live, whereas the idea of letting go of something that provides an element of financial security can feel very uncertain. Then, there’s the fear of change.

Indeed, many people choose to stay in jobs, or even relationships, that don’t serve them because they are afraid of change – meaning they fear that they will lose the benefits of what they currently have in their life (however minimal) in fear that they might exchange it for something worse.

For instance, in a relationship context, people fear that if they leave a bad relationship they will end up alone and nobody will ever love them again… this tends to be the reason so many people stay in unhappy relationships, and why many people have affairs, or don’t leave a relationship until they have something else lined up – like Tarzan swinging from one tree to the next, it can be a scary prospect to be flying through the air without a branch to cling to.

This is particularly true with jobs, even jobs you hate, as the sense of certainty and stability that comes from it is addictive.

The truth is, people often feel trapped and like their options are limited – but this is like a horse with blinkers; it cannot see the whole landscape because it is focused on only one aspect of a much larger picture.

In reality you could do anything, for instance, you could spend your time learning to compare trading styles when it comes to spread betting and the stock market; meaning you might not even have to work in any job, presuming you invest wisely and follow a solid strategy.

The point is, you don’t have to live a miserable life where you feel trapped and limited; you could find a way to create passive income that allows you to go on travel adventures with your family rather than beholden to an unappreciative boss.

As humans we are limitless in our potential to achieve anything – we don’t always feel this way, as we are subject to fundamental limitations; for instance we cannot sprout wings and fly – but we don’t have to… instead, we find a way to fly, by use of coming up with the idea of an aeroplane, an air balloon, and even a spaceship!

In summary, if you’re having to deal with a job you hate then the most fundamental principle is to reconnect with the possibility of life; and remember you’re not limited in your options – the world is your oyster, but only if you allow yourself to perceive it in such a way.

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How to Make Your Garden Appear More Spacious Than It Really Is

Not too long ago, we discussed how to refresh your outdoor seating space just in time for summer. Well, summer is almost over, but that doesn’t mean you should stop maintaining your garden. Your garden can still set a tone when you design it correctly. Besides, you can have a beautiful space to look at in the winter.

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One of the things you can do to improve your garden is making it look more spacious. With a few simple tweaks, you can create the appearance of a larger space, even when you have a relatively small garden. We have just the tips and tricks on how to make your garden appear more spacious in this article.

Make Space

The end of summer is the perfect time to do some garden modifications. You’ll be surprised by how even the smallest tweak can alter the way your garden looks entirely. Before you start adding things to the space, however, decluttering is needed.

The last thing you want is a cluttered garden. Even a big garden can appear small when there are a lot of things in it. It is even worse when the plants and other items in the garden are not arranged properly.

To start with the decluttering process, move everything that can be moved to one corner or outside of the garden. This includes the furniture you add to the space as well as plants and garden accessories. Decluttering lets you get a good look of your space and allows you to start from the beginning.

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Create Areas

One of the ways you can make the garden appear bigger is by adding different areas to the space. This doesn’t have to be a particularly complex process either. Space – or the illusion of space – can be added by elevating a portion of the garden or introducing lines to the landscape.

A pathway is a functional way to divide your garden. You can use the pathway to reach different parts of the space. The lines and curves you add to the landscape also helps make the entire garden appear bigger.

Another way you can add areas is by using fencing. Garden fence panels are not only affordable, but also very functional. There are fencing panels in different designs and colours that you can choose from too.

When you do use fence panels to add a firm border to the space, make sure you think about the rest of the garden. Choosing a design and texture that complements the space amplifies the effect further. Be sure to browse this range of fence panels for some great options.

Play with Heights

You can also add dimension and depth to your garden by playing with height. There are two ways you can do this. You can use platforms for potted plants and introduce heights to the space this way. You don’t need bigger plants to achieve the desired effect.

Doing it the natural way is an option too. Plants naturally come in different sizes and adding height and dimension to your garden is only a matter of choosing the right plants to use. If you are not sure about which plants to use, consult the local gardener about how big your plants can grow.

Use Lights to Your Advantage

Lighting is a mix between art and science. On the one hand, you want the space to be lit in a way that makes it moody and comfortable. On the other hand, you also have the option to use lighting to make the garden more spacious than it really is.

Lighting is an instrument you can use to your advantage. During the day, using shades and natural light to accentuate certain parts of the garden can really make the entire space feel more comfortable and warmer.

For the evening, use LED lights of different shapes to achieve the same goal. Aside from the usual LED bulbs, there are also LED strips and lights in other different forms that are meant to be used in the garden.

That last part is important. When lighting the garden, make sure you use lights, cables, and fixtures that are designed to withstand the elements. The garden isn’t that harsh at night but remember that those items still need to stay out during the day.

Fake It ‘Till You Make It

Everyone wants a big garden that looks beautiful and spacious, but not all properties have the space for one. Another trick you can utilise to make your own garden look bigger is by faking the available space. Yes, you can fake it.

Many landscapers and designers use mirrors to add more space to a relatively small garden. A well-placed mirror can change a lot of things about your garden. Another thing you can do is to add faux doors or windows to your fence panels.

You can also create the illusion of space with water features. Water reflects things around it, which means a well-placed water feature or pond can be just as effective as mirrors. On top of that, you also make the garden look fresh and welcoming by adding water to the space.

Make It Functional

Last but certainly not least, add areas that are meant to be functional to the garden. Your own potting station, a comfortable sitting area, or even a nice outdoor lounge is easy to set up. These areas don’t need to be excessively big. In fact, it shouldn’t be too big.

When thinking about adding a seating area or a functional space to the garden, make sure you also consider scale and proportion. You want the area to match the rest of the garden nicely. You can then add elements like plants to act as a frame for the space to further enhance the effect.

Proportion is also important when it comes to the garden furniture you add to the garden. As mentioned before, the last thing you want is a garden that looks cluttered and too full of things. Using scale, you can avoid this entirely and have a garden that looks much, much bigger than its actual size.

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8 Ways To Make More Money Without Working More Hours

Whether you’re trying to save for something special or dealing with a difficult financial situation, there is always a good reason to make more money and boost your income. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have the time, energy, or motivation to work any more hours than you already do. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways you can make some extra cash without the extra effort. Here are eight popular methods to flip your work to earnings ratio on its head and make some more money.

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1. Open A Better Bank Account
One of the easiest ways to boost your income is switching bank accounts. If you’re anything like most people, then your current savings account interest rate is far from the best, but that doesn’t mean that you have to settle for it. By taking ten minutes out of your day and moving to a bank account with a decent interest rate, you can easily earn several hundred dollars more each year. Of course, this won’t appear overnight, but it will make things a little easier in the long run.

2. Opt For Less Desirable Shifts
You may not want to work any more hours than you already do, but that doesn’t mean that you have to stick with the shifts you’ve got. Most companies offer financial incentives and rewards to employees working shifts they deem undesirable. These include overnights, weekends, and public holidays. If you were to switch over to one of these less desirable work patterns, you could earn significantly more than you already do, even though you still have the exact same job.

3. Drive Around In A Billboard
The long commutes to work each morning may seem like a huge waste of time, but there is a way you can make these tiresome journeys completely worth it. Depending on your car and how long you drive for each day, you could use your vehicle as advertising space for companies and businesses. This can seem a little tacky, and sometimes even embarrassing, but considering just how much you can earn, without any effort whatsoever, it’s worth thinking about.

4. Sell Your Body To Science
When most people imagine selling their bodies to science, they think about the various organs you can buy on the black market. Thankfully, the reality is a whole lot different. While some procedures, like sperm and feces donation, can earn you some pocket money, egg donors and those partaking in sleep studies can easily make thousands. Of course, there are requirements and restrictions, but, if you were to be accepted, the rewards are much greater than the work.

5. Set Up An Online Store
Crafty hobbies, like painting and knitting, offer plenty of fun and stress relief, but what most people don’t realize is how easy it is to make money from them too. There are plenty of places that you could sell your creations, from online stores, like Etsy, to local craft fairs and car boot sales. Selling your products online is probably the easiest way to go, as you’d only need to post them to your customers, rather than manning a stall every weekend.

6. Rent Out Your Spare Space
When you have a spare room in your house, it can be tempting to turn it into a games room, guest bedroom, or even just storage. Unfortunately, none of these ideas are going to make you any money. Instead, you should consider renting out your space on a short-term rental platform, like Airbnb. The room will need to be cleaned and kept in good condition, but, other than this, there’s no real work you need to do.

7. Invest In Local Real Estate
Of course, you might not like the idea of having strangers staying in your home, in which case, you could invest in real estate and have them sleep in another one. Unfortunately, this investment opportunity is far from cheap, but, if you have the money spare, you could gain a steady income with very little effort whatsoever. All you’d need to do is hire a property management company to do all the work.

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8. Use Cashback And Reward Cards
Every time you visit a store or restaurant, make sure that you check to see whether or not they offer some sort of reward card or loyalty programme. These days, most of them do. All you’d need to do is present your card every time you shop, and you’ll receive points, which you should be able to exchange for a discount, freebie, or another reward. You may even get the odd surprise throughout the year. This will save you some cash and inevitably boost your income.

If you want to make more money without working any more hours, then consider the methods listed above.

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Satisfaction Boost: Give Your Career The Push It Deserves

You’ll probably spend more time in your job and with those your work with than you do at home with your family, or out and about with your friends. Therefore, it’s important that you’re able to find fulfillment and satisfaction from your job role so that you don’t go to bed with a headache every night of the working week. It can be easy to get stuck in the habit of just getting on with it; you have rent and bills to pay, so it can be a challenge to question your job role because of the income it gives you. However, years in a career or job that you don’t enjoy will start to take their toll. Stress and fatigue can become an issue, and these may lead to having an impact on your life, health and well-being.

Surely, t’s time to think about your options, and what sort of career journey you want to have. It’s never too late to make a significant change, and it will lead to a new lease on your working life and an array of potential opportunities. People leave their jobs to apply for new ones in the same field all the time, and you’d be surprised how many decide to head in a completely new direction regarding their career. As long as you’ve still got a job paying your bills; you’ll have the means to utilise some of your free time to look elsewhere, and to do what you need to achieve job satisfaction. Keep reading for some ideas on getting the career and job change that you deserve.

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Invest In The New

As with any new job role or career move; you’ll need to put in the time and training that’s required to make you an appealing candidate. Nobody said that it would be easy to train, gain qualifications, and look for potential new opportunities while you’re still working. However, the reward will be a bright future ahead, so it’s worth the effort. Start by focusing on your resume and ensure that it shows off your best attributes and skills to your potential new employers. If you feel like your best chance of furthering your career is new qualifications, whether that’s a masters in education or a certificate in first aid; it’s time to look into how to achieve them. There’s plenty of options to train online, or, perhaps you feel like you want to head back into a college environment. The opportunities are h=there; it’s time to grab some!

Know Your Potential And Worth

All too often, women apply for work and jobs that they’re either qualified or overqualified to do. This can mean that they become restless and bored in their job role within the year, and get itchy feet again. Therefore, try to aim a little higher than you have the training for; these are roles you have the potential to grow into. Employers want to see confidence and drive, and if you have those attributes; utilise them to learn the ropes and get stuck into your role. Even if you’re not chosen for a job; you’ll gain experience from the interview, and you’ll be able to ask for feedback from those who interviewed you. You can bounce back with the knowledge of where and how you should improve, and your fresh start will be just around the corner.

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What Does My Business Plan Need to Include?

When people create a strategic business plan there needs to be substance behind this in order for it to be credible and a chance to be successful. Anyone can create a pie in the sky plan that is full of ideas and unrealistic targets and outcomes. If you are looking for funding to support your business plan then the credibility of it will be challenged therefore the more detail you have in order to satisfy any potential funding requests – the better.

Financial Support

One of the first things that are challenged on a business plan is how much money is initially required in order to implement the project – this could be zero but highly unlikely. If you are then looking for funds this plan needs to detail exactly how much you are looking for and what every penny is going to be used for. You then clearly need to articulate what is the desired outcome of this and what the business benefits of this would be (at least recovering the initial offset in spending). Where you then get this money from raises another question. If you have a business bank account then you could approach the bank that you have already established a working relationship with. This is probably one of the most common and successful methods to get funding as the bank will have the history on your cash flow status and some credibility around your payments. Generally they will go beyond this and look for not only the detailed project plan but may look at your credit history and footprint. Other options may be to get an extended overdraft for a period of time which your business bank could support you with.

Stakeholders

Generally a business plan involves more than just you and will include others that are key to its success. It is important that when developing the project business plan that you have the correct engagement of these people or departments before execution to ensure they are aligned and in agreement. If you don’t engage others correctly, effectively your business plan is just words that may not get to a successful outcome. Ensuring that other stakeholders also commit to the time scales that you are looking for needs also to be aligned beforehand as this actually may required additional resource or help that the departments or people do not have.

Success

Your business plan needs to demonstrate success. If people are going to invest in the plan they expect to see a good return at the end of it. It does not need to be financial but it could be cost avoidance, quality improvements etc. Whatever your individual reason for having the plan in the first place just needs to properly articulate the desired outcome in a data mindset. If you then get funding for this project plan and it does not achieve the desired results, this clearly then affects your credibility if you were to go back to investors or people for additional funds.

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Things You Are Forgetting to Consider When Creating Your Home Office

According to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace, in 2017 nearly 43 percent of Americans said they spent at least some part of their work week working from home. That’s up from 39 percent in 2012.

With more people working from home, the design of the home office is becoming more important. Your home office needs to be a place that you are comfortable, but also a place where you can do your work efficiently.

Is your home office designed in a way that allows you to get the most out of your work day? Here are three things you are likely forgetting.

Lighting
The light coming into your room, whether it’s from windows or light fixtures, needs to be directed away from your computer screen. This will minimize the glare on your screen and stop you from having to squint when working on your computer. You also need to make sure the light is not coming in from directly behind your computer either, that way you are not squinting as the light would be directly in your line of sight.

Instead position your computer so that the light is coming in from the side of your workplace. You can also position a desk lamp going towards the paper work on your desk and not towards your computer screen.

Furniture
Your furniture needs to be both practical and comfortable. Consider what your workday requires of you and base your furniture needs on that. For example, if you have to keep track of a lot of paperwork, you will want to choose a desk with more storage space. Or if you hold meetings in your office you will want to have a comfortable place for you clients to sit.

Another thing to consider when it comes to office furniture is your office chair. Sitting in the wrong type of chair can cause back aches, fatigue, poor posture, and lead to trouble concentrating and headaches as well. You want to pick a chair that is comfortable, allows your feet to sit flat on the ground, and offers lumbar support. More information on ergonomic chairs can be found on Office Worthy List.

Don’t Be Afraid of Change
One of the fun things about working from home is that it allows flexibility (hello working in your pajamas), your office needs to have flexibility too. As time goes on your needs might change when it comes to your job. Whether it’s a different role in your workplace, or different needs for your home and your family. You should design your office knowing that it probably will not be permanent.

This might mean having furniture that’s on wheels, or not built into the walls. You might need to add storage options or turn a closet into an organized storage place. Shelves should be able to be added, taken down, or spread apart depending on what you need to put on them. You want it to be a fluid design that can transform as your needs do.

Your home office is a place where you will spend a lot of your day. You want it to be an area where you are comfortable, and that promotes productivity. Take some time to think about what you really need out of your office space, follow these tips, and create the home office you’ve always dreamed of.

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Luxury Travel That Doesn’t Cost a Fortune

The idea of what constitutes luxury is clearly subjective, yet for most people it involves jetting off to a faraway place in opulent surroundings. Of course, it depends what you’re used to, as some people wouldn’t consider a trip to be luxurious unless they were flying first class, or perhaps even in a private jet – this article isn’t quite for that demographic.

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That said, if you’ve ever looked into how much does it cost to charter a private jet, then you’ll know it’s not actually as much as you might think. Indeed, if you’re travelling as a large family or group of friends, sometimes chartering a private jet can even save money – rarely – but it’s possible!

This is particularly the case if you’re flying from quite a remote location, or somewhere that isn’t particularly well connected – particularly in the US, where for instance, a 30 minute plane ride from Huntsville (AL) to Atlanta (GA) can cost $200!

Now we’ve established that everyone’s idea of luxury is different and this article isn’t going to be all about caviar and champagne, let’s dig into some of the best destinations to live a luxurious life on a budget.

However, before we do that, let’s look at a few principles of squeezing the most from your budget in order to have a more luxurious experience.

    1. Don’t Fly Business Class
    If you want a luxurious experience without paying the steep fares for business class, then you can follow this simple trick and get a business class-like experience that will feel much more VIP than your regular travels without costing a fortune.

    Most airports have premium lounges, where First Class and Business Class customers get access to food, alcohol, super fast WiFi, massage chairs and sometimes even real-life masseuses. Did you know that you can pay to access these lounges, as a normal passenger of any airline – even low cost airlines?

    There are a number of passes available that allow you to use premium airport lounges throughout the world, for a very reasonable amount of money, in fact, sometimes these perks are included for free with a premium bank account or credit card.

    2. Be Flexible
    The more flexible you are with your flights, the cheaper they will be, as flight seats are sold off in bands; for instance, Band A might be $100, then Band B is $120, with Band J priced at $240. Once Band A tickets have been sold, Band B g on sale, and so on… meaning, the earlier you book the cheaper the flights tend to be.

    Of course, sometimes, airlines will discount a significant number of tickets close to the time, as the plane does not have the occupancy it should do by that point – but the general rule is to book in advance, and be as flexible with dates as you possible can be.

    There’s nothing more frustrating than paying $300 for a flight, that you know, the next day is being sold at $120! That said, you can’t always be flexible with your dates, as flights must fit around life rather than the other way around – and most people travelling, are doing so as a vacation from work, meaning they have a specific window.

    3. Compare
    You should get yourself onto a flight comparison site such as Momondo or SkyScanner that compare routes and prices for most major airlines. This way, you can save a small fortune on the cost of your ticket… and it’s particularly helpful if you’re not too sure where you want to go, as you can search by country rather than city, or simply search “Everywhere” as your destination – meaning the cheapest flights from your departure airport will be shown, to everywhere in the world!

    You also want to use sites such as TravelSupermarket to compare hotel prices – as whilst you might have a favourite platform such as Hotels.com or Expedia, often the same hotel will be sold off at different price points by each of the OTAs (online travel agents). Therefore, using a comparison engine like this will transparently show what each OTA is charging for the same room.

    Moreover, with comparison sites, you tend to find a much broader range of properties to choose from as they are searching most major bed banks and online travel agents to bring you the best deals.

    4. Save And Splurge
    The concept of save and splurge means you want to save on certain things, that don’t matter too much (e.g. car rental) but then splurge on once in a lifetime activities such as swimming with the dolphins or skydiving. There are many ways you can save money whilst travelling, particularly when it comes to food – yet it shouldn’t be all about saving money, as, after all, there should be an element of luxury to this trip.

    Therefore, what if you were to have picnic lunches for two days (rather than eating out) so that with the money saved, you can afford a Michelin starred tasting menu! That is the perfect example for save and splurge.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s take a look at three destinations to live life like a king (or queen) without it costing a fortune.

1. Morocco
Morocco has been somewhat of a mecca for tourists looking for something a little more edgy, for decades, yet nowadays the market has turned very upmarket with a number of elite riads (palatial houses) catering to an affluent audience.

A riad experience is not like anything you’re likely to have encountered before – there’s a certain intimacy yet refinement that makes one feel very much like ‘king of the castle’. Indeed, some riads come with a ‘house boy’ that acts as a concierge though the dynamic is such that it can feel like something from Arabian Nights, where you are the master of the house.

Marrakech is a great place to visit in Morocco, albeit intense, particularly in the summer heat that can get up to fifty degrees celsius! Here, you’ll find the souks and cultural hub that is Morocco’s most frequented tourist town – whilst retaining a very traditional and authentic feel to the city.

Then, if you wanted a little more adventure you have the Sahara Desert at your doorstep, or the coastal town of Essaouira, just a couple of hours drive away, which is a cooler and more relaxed place to chill out than Marrakesh.

2. Thailand
Thailand has something to offer everyone; as a culture, Thai’s are known for being great with children and are very accomodating of families. At the same time, they welcome all types of travellers from budget backpackers to hedonist honeymooners.

The great thing about Thailand, from a cost perspective, is that even though it’s relatively expensive when compared to places such as Indonesia, it has good infrastructure and the quality of five star accommodation tends to be of a five star standard. Indeed, there’s nothing more frustrating when travelling to different countries and their rating system isn’t on par with what you’re used to.

In Bangkok, for instance, you can get a decent five star hotel of a recognised brand such as Westin or Le Meridien for less than $100. If you go for a less well known brand, that is of a five star standard, then you could bag a bargain in the region of $50 – which is the same price as many rundown motels in the states.

Then, we have the food. Thailand is known for its food, and when you consider the price of something such as prawn fried rice in most countries being in the region of $10, in Thailand, you can find this for just $1 (if you know where to look). Most tourist places, of good quality, will charge more in the region of $3, yet, given the freshness and size of the prawns in question – it provides exceptional value.

3. India
Whilst India isn’t at the top of most people’s luxury travel bucket list, there are some really good options for luxury travel to be found in India. The prices are cheap, which means you can live very well for very little – and in India, there is the option for extravagant places, unlike neighbouring Nepal or Pakistan where very few options exist for people seeking luxurious comfort.

If you head down toward Kerala and Goa, for instance, there are a number of wonderful properties that you can find on Mr and Mrs Smith which will set you back a fair amount, but provide phenomenal value.

And, when you think about luxury travel that doesn’t cost a fortune – that’s what your focus should be – value. We often focus way too much on how much something costs, when it tends to be a more sensible approach to look at the value that’s offered. For instance, a hotel that costs $100 but provides a phenomenal service and opulent experience versus a hotel that costs just $20 but is next to a busy road with horns honking all night long – the more expensive option tends to provide much better value.

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