You Need Money to Make Money

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Let’s break the myth about becoming wealthy. No matter what people say, you will always need money to make money regardless where you are and what you do. Life coaches and business millionaires love to give advice how to make money and how they became wealthy. The problem is that they usually start their story from when they were already wealthy. If you are completely broke, unemployed, single, living on social benefits, it’s impossible to save money to start a business. You also need FRIENDS. Nobody became an overnight success by themselves. You need money, customers, and business support to succeed. Kylie Jenner is NOT a self-made billionaire, she had seed money from her family to launch her make-up brand.

People who encourage you to quit your full-time job and “risk it all” shouldn’t give business advice. I tried to succeed ALONE without ZERO help and ZERO money and here I am, writing a blog that nobody can find because I can’t afford advertising. When I started writing my blog, I used WordPress’ free platform, but then soon realised I need a paid version to start somehow monetising my blog. I found a friend to invest the minimum seed money for my blog. Before that, I was searching online with a super nerd for FREE website platforms with online store features and surprise surprise, there are NONE. So forget about the advice that you just need to risk everything to become successful and you’re so brave if you do it alone without friends’ support. They are NOT your friends who give you this useless advice. They do not want to see you succeed. So here’s what you need to make money:

  1. A well paid job/ investor/ seed money from friends or family. If you’re working one day per week and suffered from many years of unemployment, forget about a bank loan. You need to get your seed money from the above sources and yes you need money. Everything costs money, when you want to become an entrepreneur.
  2. A business mentor. Even if you went to the best business schools, nothing prepares you better for entrepreneurship than talking to other entrepreneurs. Just make sure you don’t pick someone who says you will get your seed money by buying real estate and collecting rent money from the real estate. πŸ˜† Surprisingly many people don’t want to share their secrets for success. Don’t buy their “I started my billion dollar business with only five dollars”. It’s a fantasy they’re trying to sell you, reality is something different.
  3. A team. Even for solo entrepreneurs, such as bloggers, Youtubers, hairdressers etc., you need some kind of help in things like website management, accounting etc. You need a small team, even if they’re not full-time.
  4. Customers. Again you need people. Nobody will become successful ALONE. I’ve been left alone to “succeed”, even people have refused to help me do promotion videos for my blog that costs them nothing but one hour of their time. It’s a no-brainer that every business needs customers, so make your product, service or social media channel attractive for your target market and forget about the people and their “advice” who are NOT your target market.
  5. Mental healthcare. Entrepreneurs are more likely to suffer from mental health problems than non-entrepreneurs. In an American study conducted in 2019, 72 percent of all entrepreneurs are affected by mental health problems. (https://www.forbes.com/sites/danmurrayserter/2020/10/04/why-entrepreneurs-need-to-talk-about-their-mental-health/?sh=184b6c3437d0) So it’s very important to take care of your mental health, seek help and build your mental resilience with supportive people. Entrepreneurship is more stressful than having a normal day job (unless you worked for a psycho). πŸ™‚πŸ™ƒ

Entrepeneurship is an exciting challenge, an opportunity and in best cases, you will earn much more money than any day job could offer you. Just be smart about it and don’t quit your day job.πŸ™‚πŸ™Œ (My Youtube video for this blog post: https://youtu.be/i9LsWrE4uFI)

Glamorous Sonia’s Quick and Easy Styling Tips

When I was a student, I had friends who literally had like 50 pairs of shoes and 100 tops and dresses. None of them lasted more than six months however. I have always tried to invest in quality instead of having hundreds of pieces of clothes. Probably also because I have moved A LOT in my life, so I’ve always got rid off extra clothes and never bought too much. I like quality and prefer to own one or two pieces of good quality instead of twenty pieces of low quality. In the end, if you buy 100 pieces of 10 euro ($12) shirts or one 100 euro ($120) shirt, your 100 euro shirt will last longer. Quality over quantity.

So I made this quick post for styling tips, because I was initially supposed to style a female model, but they cancelled on me. Here’s a short list of my styling tips:

1. Invest in quality, you will save more in the end.

My 40 euros ($48) Zara sweater vs. Hugo Boss 199 euros ($240) sweater (on sale 140 euros/ $169). I didn’t buy it though since I’m poor and the smallest size (which I’m wearing) was Large.
I’m wearing a grey wool Hussein Chalayan sweater, a gem I found from a second-hand store. Photo by: Dario Tortone

2. You can find great quality in second-hand stores. If you’re poor like me, you can go bargain hunting in second-hand and thrift stores. Even though I prefer to utilise sales sections and outlets from big brand stores, sometimes you can find amazing gems from second-hand stores. I found once a 200 euro ($241) Hussein Chalayan sweater for 5 euros ($6) in perfect shape!

Don’t be lazy, donate or sell your old clothes.

3. Donate your old clothes to charity if you’re too lazy to sell them online/ second-hand store. I had a roommate from Hong Kong when I was studying in Ireland who was going to throw away in the GARBAGE all her old clothes. So I stopped her and dragged her with me to nearest charity container for recycled clothes. She was surprised this system even exists because apparently in Hong Kong people don’t recycle old clothes.

Your winter shoes should be invisible.

4. Buy neutral color winter shoes. Cute winter shoes that can handle Nordic freezing temperatures (can go as below as -30 Celcius degrees/ -22 Fahrenheit in Finland) is very difficult to find. So buy grey/black to make them as invisible as possible so you can wear any colors and styles you like with them. I see a lot of camel brown winter shoes and they are very noticeable and do not match with colors like green and red.

I’m too short for below the knee skirts.

5. If you’re short, don’t wear below the knee skirts/ dresses. Your legs will look even shorter. I personally don’t think even tall women look good on below the knee skirts. It’s either full length or above the knee/to the knee. I’m 163cm/ 5 feet 4 inch and always wear skirts that make my legs look longer.

Too tight sweaters aren’t cute.

6. Avoid short sweaters. This grey sweater is size M. Otherwise it’s a perfect fit, but it’s too short. Sweaters should be a bit large, because you don’t want to freeze your stomach in winter. πŸ˜ƒ It also looks better if your sweater isn’t too tight.

Here’s a long bronze Finnish Kalevala necklace from my mother. It’s a very simple style that goes with many different outfits.

7. Less is more when accessorizing with jewellery. You don’t want to look like a Christmas tree. There are many posts online about which neckline goes with which type of jewellery. Here’s a quick summary, short necklaces and heavy big pieces with open neckline, long necklaces with closed neckline like I have on the picture.

Move Smartly Within a Budget and Without Stress

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We all know moving is a pain. I should know as I have moved more times in my 35 years of life than most normal humans on this planet.

Jetsetter lifestyle can be exciting and fun when you’re young, especially for students. It does, however, get exhausting the older you get. So since I have moved nationally too many times for my age and internationally to eight different countries, I have created a short list how to move with the least amount of stress, spending extra money and avoiding drama and illegal stuff. Especially moving abroad alone can be challenging for many young people.

Here is a short list to keep in mind when you move to a new apartment/ city/ country:

  1. Don’t rely on advertising. When I moved to Dublin to do my Master’s degree, I found an apartment online. Very expensive, brand new building with a jacuzzi on the roof. So I asked my friend in Dublin, Ireland to go check the neighbourhood, if it’s shady or not. He said, it’s a good neighbourhood. Once I arrived (and had already paid for full semester rent), I realised the “good neighbourhood” started from the end of the road. The other end was full of crackheads and drug dealers. πŸ˜† This was a developing part of Dublin, they were cleaning out the bad neighbourhoods by building new fancy buildings, but failed to mention that 200 meters from the fancy area, you might get mugged by a crackhead. Obviously, my friend NEVER went to check out the neighbourhood hah. Also, there was no jacuzzi in that building. It was from the gym in the NEXT building. So don’t rely on advertising or your (lazy) friends. Similar false advertising fiasco happened to me in Barcelona too. A brand new luxury hotel I booked online, looked amazing in pictures, but once I arrived with my friend, we realised it was built in the middle of a shady neighbourhood. So instead of walking to the city, we had to take a taxi everywhere.
  2. Visit a country before you decide to move there. Don’t rely on your friends’ opinions. I moved to Ireland without ever being there, though some female friends warned me of some stuff. I also moved to Sofia and Malta without ever been there before. So to avoid disappointment, I would suggest to first visit once or twice a country you plan to get a permanent job in. It can be adventurous to move randomly somewhere new and exotic, but it is also very expensive to move around a lot and starting from scratch many times is exhausting.
  3. Get a proper moving contract. Movers can try to trick you by adding extra hours AFTER the job is done, so make sure you have a valid contract from a REAL moving company. Check their website. Don’t go for cheap and shady. Ask for references if possible.
  4. Get a crime report of the area. Even in “safe” countries and areas, there can be criminal activity and violence. In the States for example, there’s a great website to find out if your area has hate groups based on different ideologies, such as Neo-nazis, anti-immigrant, anti-LBQT, male supremacy etc., it’s called SPLC Southern Poverty Law Center. (Resource: https://splcenter.org/hate-map) In the States, there’s also a national sex offender public website, where you can check if your area is safe to raise children. (https://www.nsopw.gov) Unfortunately, most countries aren’t so organised with public safety, but you can always try to investigate on your own.
  5. Check local hospitals. In Europe, it’s relatively easy to move around because EU and ETA countries and Switzerland have a unified European medical card that permits EU members to receive medical care in another EU country like a local.
  6. Be cautious with Airbnb. It’s great for short term stays and sometimes even for longer terms, but make sure the apartment and landlord are real. In Airbnb, trust the reviews. The more the better. Also make sure if you are a female solo traveler that your Airbnb host is reliable.
  7. Do your research on subletting laws. When I moved to NYC for job-hunting, I was recommended to search for apartments in Craigslist. So I found a relatively cheap place in Manhattan, just to find out that it was actually an illegal sublet. In NYC, it was VERY common. You need to make sure that the apartment owner or the original rental contract permits subletting. Also, be aware that in NYC they also try to trick you with illegal rental apartments. If you find “a room in Wall Street for 1000 USD/ month” and go there to see the room and the “room” is a corner of a shared apartment without a window, it’s ILLEGAL. You are not allowed to rent a divided space (sometimes separated with just curtains) of another room or of the apartment as a room if it doesn’t have a window. You might think that 1000 USD/month is cheap in Wall Street, but even for that price, you really need to have a window.
  8. Ask for electricity bills before you move in. There are huge differences in electricity prices in different countries. So don’t assume anything when you move to a new country or even a new apartment. Even if it’s the same size or smaller, there might be some hidden costs that you need to check before moving in.
  9. Check if there is a water meter in the apartment. Read the small print in your rental contract. It came to my surprise that my tiny studio had a water meter. I was used to paying fixed monthly water costs in rental apartments in Finland, but then I was shocked when in my new apartment I got a HUGE water bill. I thought it was a mistake since I was already paying 20 euros/ month for water for one person, but then realised they charge based on the water meter (which is very rare in studio apartments).
  10. Check local laws and customs from local people AND expats. Local and expat reviews clash REGARDLESS of the country. πŸ˜„ Trust me, I’ve travelled enough to know this. So to get a full picture, ask both sides about your future homeland or city.
  11. Use a taxi instead of hiring movers. This obviously only works if you don’t have big furniture or a lot of stuff. It’s perfect for in-city moving, like NYC. It’s expensive to hire help, so just give your taxi driver a generous tip and you’re good. Especially in big cities like NYC, everything is expensive and distances are far, so be smart.
  12. Do your OWN personal research on the new country/ city. As I mentioned before, don’t rely too much on your friends or other people’s opinions. It’s good to ask questions and get advice, but then also keep in mind that a wealthy Western single man will have a different experience than a single young woman or a Middle Eastern male student, or a family with young children. So ask questions from people you can relate to and also do your own personal research. I was once recommended to stay in a hotel in the financial district in Bangkok. It was a very safe and comfortable yet affordable hotel, but also super boring for a female solo traveler. The hotel was full of families, couples and older tourists. I met some young tourists when I took a guided tour to go sightseeing and they told me that they are also traveling solo, but booked a hostel where they could meet other young solo travellers.

For Smart Budgeting Try to Utilize Everything Free

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When you’re trying to save pennies, utilizing free things can turn out to be very lucrative. Free trials, free parking, free museum entrances, free food (at public events), free (legal) movies etc, just to name a few. Be smart enough, however, to not rip off people who are already broke, such as living for free at someone’s house while earning money for yourself. πŸ˜† You might just end up loosing more money than you saved on your free rent. πŸ˜† I personally don’t like to buy used clothes because nowadays you can great quality for 80 percent discount and I tend to buy last season from outlets. They are brand new timeless classic pieces, but of course not the latest season for the most precise eye, but I don’t mind. Especially with second hand shoes you should be careful, because feet bacteria is more difficult to remove.

So here are some good things to utilise for free so you can spend your money on clothes/shoes instead:

  1. Online trials. Instead of renting/ buying a movie, you can sign up for a 14-30-day free trial for the online provider, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. Once you have watched the movie, cancel your subscription before they charge you.
  2. Face masks. Face masks can be expensive, but in public places, such as health centres and some schools you can get some for free. Check also your local library.
  3. Beauty treatments. Spas and beauty salons can sometimes offer free facials, massages and other beauty treatments as an introduction to their salon. They often advertise on social media.
  4. Haircut/ hairdo. My friends used to go for hair modelling a lot when we were 16-25 years old. They do your hair for free, just make sure you don’t leave the cat walk with bright red or orange hair.😝 Some salons don’t require professional models or model hight, check with them first.
  5. Coffee. Many places offer free coffee, especially at events and trade fairs. Nespresso boutiques are great because they have good quality espresso and a comfortable place to sit and enjoy your free sample coffee. I noticed that some student cafeterias have very expensive coffee, so go for the free coffee whenever you can.
  6. Business consultation. Many consultants offer free 30-60min sessions to introduce and sell their services. Pick the most suitable for your needs, such as coaching for entrepreneurship or personal branding.
  7. Workspace. Many startup hubs and co-working spaces can actually offer free meeting rooms and space for a couple hours. Do your research and check with big corporations first such as Google, IBM and Microsoft.
  8. Internet. Libraries, startup hubs, and railway stations are a better option than cafes, so you are not obligated to buy anything.
  9. Online courses. If you’re unemployed or just looking to change careers, doing some free online courses might be a good start. For example, Google offers free digital marketing courses with a certification and some prestigious universities also offer free courses. Define first what you would like to pursue.
  10. Books. I don’t read traditional books anymore, but for traveling it’s a safe choice when you’re unsure of Internet connection. You can get free books from bus stations, libraries, vintage book stores, second hand stores, online market places, and friends, family and neighbours.

So as a thumb rule, don’t use or rip off ANYONE for free stuff, simply utilise what people themselves offer to you. Trust me, it’s not worth it in the end. πŸ™‚

You Can Never Be Overdressed or Can You?

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A funny story about styling came to my mind when a friend posted a joke on Facebook about the Capitol riots in the States. There was this meme that it’s easier to get into the US Capitol than into Berghain, a nightclub in Berlin. πŸ˜ƒ

So then I remembered when I TRIED to get into Berghain in 2007 when I was studying in Berlin. Nobody told me how to dress there and I went with a group of students directly from another nightclub. We patiently waited the long line, I was judged head to toe by the bouncer and finally he said NO. I was crushed haha. Until the next day some of my friends told me that you need to wear all black to get in. So I guess I wasn’t cool enough, but lesson learned. Not all outfits fit into all places even when you think you’re wearing a stylish dress. I like to dress well in a classic clean cut style most of the time. It doesn’t unfortunately work everywhere, even though smart casual is supposed to be the “neutral” look for every occasion.

I also learned my lesson when I used to hang out in startup parties. Slush is one of the biggest startup events in Finland and of course they like to party, but weirdly I was also overdressed to their parties too.πŸ˜„ Startup scene is not the most fashionable scene, because they go for VERY casual looks, such as hoodies, jeans and sneakers, both men and women. It’s not a problem as long as you do your research how to dress to events/ nightclubs/ meetings before hand, because cocktail dresses and suits aren’t safe choices after all. Happy styling everyone! πŸ‘—πŸ‘•πŸ™‚

What you’re supposed to wear to Berghain nightclub in Berlin vs. what I was wearing (I bought this colourful Zara dress for less than 30 euros) when I tried to get into the club in 2007. πŸ˜„ (Reference: https://xceed.me/blog/en/28-looks-that-will-get-you-into-berghain/)

It’s All About Interest Rates

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If you want to save money, you need to look at the interest rates. Reducing debt with the highest interest rates is the first thing you should look at. It doesn’t matter if it’s a credit card, a house loan, or a monthly instalment for a new TV/ phone/ laptop/ car, you need to eliminate the highest interest rate FIRST. High interest rates are only good for your investment savings account.

For unemployed people, struggling entrepreneurs and women with low paying part-time jobs it can be a real challenge to pay off your debt and prioritise bills with the highest interest rates as their payment date isn’t scheduled according to the highest interest rate unfortunately. Wouldn’t it be great if your first monthly bill was the one with the highest interest rate. πŸ˜›

Don’t fall for despair though. There are some tips and tricks you can do to keep track of your bills.

  1. Go through the interest rates of ALL your bills. When I had a full-time job, I didn’t pay attention to interest rates, bank fees, and other extra costs but these things matter more than you think.
  2. You can’t avoid credit card payments. Some bills can be postponed and negotiated with the bank, but unfortunately most credit card payments can not. Keep this in mind when you use your credit card.
  3. Negotiate mortgage loan payments with the bank. Another bill you can’t postpone, but of course it also depends on the country, bank and type of loan you have.
  4. Avoid buying stuff with monthly instalments. Check the interest rate first! If you buy a new phone, check how much you’ll actually end up paying in the end of your one or two year contract. (It’s A LOT more.)
  5. Avoid getting a loan to pay off your bills. These high interest loans that private companies offer to EVERYONE without checking your credit score are tempting and easy to get, but as usual, when something comes easy there’s a catch. They charge huge interest rates. Calculate how much your debt is, your interest rate on that debt and is it worth paying off that debt with another high interest loan.

For more information and tips, you can buy my Budgeting Tips 2020 from my Shop. (Also available in Finnish.) This post wasn’t sarcastic by the way. πŸ™‚ These tips are real and serious. Be safe, happy and don’t spend your pennies on stupid crap my dear readers. β˜ΊοΈπŸ’°

In Loving Memory of London

My dear cat London passed away two weeks ago. Love you forever. ❀️

The inspiration to this blog’s amazingly stylish logo, my best friend, my only friend in Finland in dark times, and my furry grey baby cat London passed away two weeks ago. ❀️ I had a little break from writing as my cat’s death hasn’t been the only struggle I’m currently dealing with, but I’ll be back soon with my sarcastic posts about dating and useful budgeting tips. ☺️

Cats are furry little angels that touch our hearts in a way people who don’t like cats will never understand. They are intelligent, charming, temperamental, stubborn and filled with love. Different cats show love in a very unique way and I always had cats since I was a child. London has, however, by far been the best cat so far. She passed away in suspicious circumstances, her breed is Scottish Straight but generally she was very healthy and vibrant. My other cat Bronx misses her dearly, but I’ll get another cat friend for him soon. Cats are group animals and need each others company. Even though London and Bronx had their disputes, Bronx loved her so much. ❀️ If you have any pet stories, let me know! πŸ™‚ Oh and for the funny part, cats are the the funniest furballs you can find, just Google “funny cat videos”. The cats will speak for themselves. πŸ˜‰πŸ˜»πŸ˜½

GUEST POST: Big Brands are Irrelevant When You’re Shopping for Healthy Food

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Being on a budget is not synonymous with eating poorly. Although this is a common thought, here you will learn about eating well on a budget. Many useful tips help with eating well on a budget that you might have never realized.

Eat Healthy And Spend Less

Eating well on a budget helps you think better and make better decisions. In this matter, it becomes a circle: you eat well and make the right decision of not wasting on lousy meals. It is a virtuous circle. For example, if you are studying, you need to be able to think straight, and we will teach you that eating well on a college budget is possible.

Sometimes you are hungry, and with little money, you think that fast food or processed food will be cheaper than getting some healthy ingredients and cooking a meal. Eating well on a budget is not hard, and we will show you how to accomplish that. To be sure, eating well on a budget is just a matter of knowledge and making decisions. You can rest assured of that.

Below you will see some tips that should help you spend less on food and, at the same time, eat better food. You will soon be eating well on a budget.

Plan Ahead For Eating Healthier On A Budget
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Among the tips for eating well on a budget, the first one should be obvious, but for some, it is not. Simply plan. What does this involve? First, do not eat out or order if you are already on a budget.

Then, prepare a meal list for the whole week to start eating well on a budget. What are you going to eat each day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? You just need to be aware of how much you are going to eat and then find a way to balance things out. This way, eating well on a budget becomes a simple task.

When you know what you will eat, it becomes easier to put up a concise shopping list that helps with eating well on a budget. Add everything you need, and only that.

Some ingredients you should always have at home include olive oil, flour, tomatoes, frozen vegetables, pasta, rice, and potatoes (you can do almost anything with potatoes). They are cheap and help you with eating well on a budget.

Finding recipes online helps a lot with eating well cheaply. There are many sites dedicated to teaching how to cook certain healthy dishes that are made of cheap ingredients. They are a big help when you aim to eat well on a budget.

Another helpful tip is to take your Saturday or Sunday to prepare your meals for the week. That should help you start eating well on a budget. You will save a lot of time during the week if all you need to do every day is just heat your food. Better than that, you will be eating well cheap dinners.

Making Smart Choices Help You With Eating Well On A Budget
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First of all, do not buy anything out of impulse if you want to start eating well on a budget. Save money to buy what you need and prepare a dish at home. This helps with eating well on a budget.

Do not buy food the way you buy gadgets if what you want is eating well on a budget. When you are shopping for food, avoid big brands, and this can help you with eating well on a budget. Big brands put a lot of addictive substances in their food. Go for some generic brands and read their labels when available, and you will find out ways to aid eating well on a small budget.

Conclusion

With our tips for eating well on a budget, you now know that it is not too hard to eat healthy.

Also, we understand that sometimes you might not find options that help you with eating healthy on a budget diet. There are places where good food simply does not arrive, and that is sad. Still, try to aim for the best options as possible, and you will be eating well on a budget easily.


Author’s Bio:

Sherry Kimball is a consultant and been involved in many successful projects with a range of companies throughout the States. She enjoys researching, discussing, and writing on the topics of relationships on the best online dating sites, when not absorbed in the latest gripping articles. Sherry loves cooking, doing sports, and otherwise spends far much time at the computer.

My Travel Ratings As a Solo Traveler for 15 Cities

Paris is great even as a poor student. I studied business management there for one semester in 2011. Everyone is stylish, food is great and the atmosphere is super chill. Photo by: Julien Brault

I can adapt to many countries and locations since I come from an international background. In many cities people have mistaken me as a local like in Paris and NYC. It’s cute, but then there are cities that are not so friendly towards solo female travellers with an international background. I chose these 15 cities because I have either lived there, spent enough time to get a good understanding of the atmosphere or applied/ looked for work there. I didn’t include my short tourist/ work trips, such as Tallinn, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Nice and Prague because I wanted to make a list of cities where I have experience of most of the things below. One to five day trips don’t really give a realistic idea unless you have time to do all of the things below. πŸ˜ƒ

If you are planning to move abroad as a solo person, I have listed these factors below to consider when planning to relocate to another country. Here’s my PERSONAL list of cities where I have received hostile treatment vs. friendly and which cities are affordable. Thumbs up is friendly, fun and affordable. Thumbs down, hostile, maybe even racist, very expensive. Both thumbs is either or, good and bad. Maybe it’s super fun and friendly but way too expensive or it’s an affordable place but super boring and impossible to find a quality partner. I’ll write a separate post of finding quality partners in different cities.

Airport/ Train/ Metro:
  1. πŸ‘πŸΌ New York City, United States. Airport security and police were friendly and “welcomed me back home” and gave me chocolate. πŸ˜„
  2. πŸ‘πŸΌ Barcelona, Spain. I had extra kilos and I didn’t have to remove stuff thanks to the friendly lady.
  3. πŸ‘πŸΌ Bangkok, Thailand. Amazing customer service, felt safe as a female solo traveler and no hostility towards foreigners.
  4. πŸ‘πŸΌ Vienna, Austria. Friendly, great public transportation, no problems.
  5. πŸ‘πŸΌ Milan, Italy. Friendly, no problems.
  6. πŸ‘πŸΌ Malta. It’s a very tiny island, but well organized and safe for solo travelers.
  7. πŸ‘πŸΌ Sofia, Bulgaria. I never took the metro, but people were helpful in the tram when I asked for directions.
  8. πŸ‘πŸΌ Berlin, Germany. First time I arrived in Berlin as an exchange-student, a man helped me with my heavy suitcase (though he wasn’t airport staff). Same thing happened at a metro station, some man offered to carry my luggage up the staircase.πŸ˜„ In Munich airport the cafe guy gave me a candy bag for free and that was just three years ago. πŸ˜„
  9. πŸ‘πŸΌ Lisbon, Portugal. Friendly, welcoming and chill atmosphere.
  10. πŸ‘πŸΌ London, UK. Airport and public transport was normal, nothing especially alarming.
  11. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Dublin, Ireland. Friendly, but what annoyed me was that you had to buy the little plastic bag for your cosmetics for 1€! The airports always give it for free so this was ridiculous.
  12. πŸ‘πŸΌ πŸ‘ŽπŸΌParis, France. The airport lady didn’t charge me for extra kilos or ask me to remove stuff. Though, some metro lines and Gare du Nord train station are full of beggers and you really have to watch out for your bag. It took a while to get used to police men carrying semiautomatic rifles at train stations. πŸ˜„
  13. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Luxembourg. Taxi drivers were very helpful towards female solo travelers. Airport people were WEIRD as fuck to say the least. I think they are either bored or don’t have too many brown people coming around. A blonde woman with a baby and some older man were trying to peek at my phone and were staring at me like a criminal when I was waiting for my plane. Also all the signs were super confusing so I got lost and did the security check twice. In comparison to Paris where tourist signs were very clear and directions were clearly marked.
  14. πŸ‘ŽπŸΌ New Delhi, India. People are friendly, but as a female solo traveler it can be very dangerous. Men stare in a primitive way and I have actually never in my life taken public transportation there, just private cars with drivers. For female solo travelers it’s a big NO.
  15. πŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Zurich, Switzerland. Nobody helped me with my heavy suitcase even though people saw me struggling at the train station. I changed my train twice and nobody helped, just stared. Very cold atmosphere.
Nightclubs/ Restaurants/ Beauty and Hair Salons:
Malta was a fun place to live for four months in 2017. Many international students and young professionals. I’m here with French and Italian new friends. Photo by: Bacco by Hugo’s
  1. πŸ‘πŸΌ Milan. Super friendly atmosphere, easy to meet people. Though I knew people when I went there so it made easier. I got in to all the clubs and even to a private fashion party with my male model friends. πŸ˜ƒ Nice times.
  2. πŸ‘πŸΌ Bangkok. Friendly, though I didn’t visit too many nightclubs. Tourist areas were HORRIBLE. British drunks ruined that place for sure, but there were some quiet bars to sit, talk and have a drink. Tourist guided tours are good for solo travellers to meet people. Hanged out with British and German young tourists.
  3. πŸ‘πŸΌ Barcelona. Very hip city. Even though I went there for work, I spend a couple days with my friend touristing around. Easy to get around alone, safe, affordable and nice sophisticated clubs.
  4. πŸ‘πŸΌ Lisbon. Super chill, friendly and vacay mode. The beach is not far from the city, so you can chill at the beach and enjoy the nightlife in the city. Clubs are sophisticated and safe.
  5. πŸ‘πŸΌ Malta. Very young and extroverted. It’s full of foreigners. My landlord was almost the only Maltese person I hanged out with. Clubs are very cool, friendly and safe. A bit pricey however.
  6. πŸ‘πŸΌ New Delhi. Never went to a nightclub in India, but beauty salons are really good. Restaurants are amazing and yes the food is different than you get in Europe. They use very strong spices, Western stomachs need to be prepared. Indian bakeries are totally worth trying.
  7. πŸ‘πŸΌ Vienna. Small but sophisticated city. Elegant, international and calm. Nightclubs have an age limit 15, so it was fun to go when I was teenager. The Donau river is super cool in the summer. It’s like mini Miami Beach or something. πŸ˜„ You can do sports, rent a pedal boat, have delicious cocktails and enjoy life.
  8. πŸ‘πŸΌ Sofia. Friendly, top notch beauty treatments, manicures, pedicures, and cellulite salons. Nightclubs are cool and fun, but don’t go in with too many dudes. πŸ˜† Restaurants are nice and peaceful.
  9. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ London. People stare at Indian people in restaurants. It happened in two different trips with different people. Very expensive prices too, but then again it’s London. It’s worth paying and experiencing.
  10. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Zurich. Nightclubs are safe and relaxed, very empty during the week though. Restaurants are very expensive, not for budget traveling. I stayed and cooked at a friend’s house, but for normal solo tourists I don’t recommend. It can be a bit boring because it’s very career oriented city.
  11. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Paris. When I went with an Asian female friend to a nightclub, they let us in for free and the male bouncer complimented us. When I tried to go with a black guy, Moroccan guy and a Jewish guy to a club they refused to let us in. πŸ˜‚
  12. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Berlin. Good is that bartenders always serve women first. Bad is racism and my Turkish guy friend didn’t get in to a club because he was Turkish. They told him “we have too many Turkish people in already”. Omg. I also didn’t get in to a club because I was “dressed too fancy”, though I heard from my friends that everyone had tattoos and black clothes in that club. 🀣
  13. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ NYC. It’s not for the poor. I had savings and friends when I went there, but nail salon ladies laughed at my discount coupons.🀣🀣 I guess Manhattan people don’t use coupons but I went as an unemployed single tourist. No rich man to give me money. 🀣 Though in my favorite salad bar Chopt Creative Salad in Manhattan, the guy making my salad noticed an older posh lady was trying to skip ahead of me and he got pissed off at her haha. A+ for his customer service and their salads!
  14. πŸ‘πŸΌ πŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Dublin. Even though the Barbie hairdressers all had dirty looks when I walked in lol, they were PROFESSIONAL enough to tell me that the highlights that I asked won’t look good on my dark base and I ended up leaving the salon looking fabulous. πŸ’‡πŸ½β€β™€οΈ Though I did have a bad experience with a hotel. I asked for dry cleaning, paid for it and they gave it to me in a laundry bag still DIRTY claiming it was clean. 🀣 I got food vouchers as compensation though.
  15. πŸ‘πŸΌ πŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Luxembourg. A chill small country, but also very expensive. I didn’t actually eat out at all except in McDonalds. πŸ˜‚ I bought fresh ready made salads from the supermarket and bakeries had affordable bread and pastries. Not for budget traveling.
The Donau river in Vienna is fun and affordable. Great sports options, holiday fun and chill bars and clubs. I’ve been to Vienna several times. This picture is from 2003 and I rented a pedal boat with my friends. Photo by: Karin Ruotsi
Quality of Life/ Safety/ Career Opportunities:
Sofia is a friendly city with very affordable apartments. The balconies are huge and you can find big places for less than 400 euros rent in a good and safe neighbourhood. Photo by: Sonia Jain
  1. πŸ‘πŸΌ London. If you can get a job, it’s a great city. Without a job not very affordable. The good thing is that you don’t need any extra languages, but also a lot of competition.
  2. πŸ‘πŸΌ Bangkok. Safe, friendly and clean, weather is good and food is awesome. Not sure about career opportunities for foreigners, but they are friendly towards foreigners.
  3. πŸ‘πŸΌ Sofia. You can have a good quality of life for a very affordable budget. Career opportunities are better for foreigners than for locals. Something you don’t see too often in Europe. πŸ˜‚
  4. πŸ‘πŸΌ Vienna. Safe, affordable and surprisingly fun! There are big organisations such as IAEA from the UN ( behind me in the pic), so foreigners don’t necessarily need to speak German to get a job.
  5. πŸ‘πŸΌ Lisbon. Very relaxed, friendly and clean city. Many foreigners’ favourite. Never applied for work there though.
  6. πŸ‘πŸΌ πŸ‘ŽπŸΌDublin. Depends on the neighbourhood, but my student apartment was very expensive and brand new, next to the new tram line and my college. In the end of the road, however, were drug dealers. πŸ˜†It was very scary at times and there were many young hooligans. One of my Asian classmates had kids throw rocks at her. Career opportunities are really great though, many big corporations such as Microsoft and Oracle.
  7. πŸ‘πŸΌ πŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Berlin. Very vibrant city, super cool, fun, affordable and safe, but a bit hostile towards foreigners. A lot of punks with big dogs. It’s better to know German if you look for work.
  8. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Paris. I LOVE Paris, but career opportunities are a bit narrow if you don’t speak French.
  9. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Zurich. Safe, clean and rich, but you need to speak German, French or Italian for job opportunities. Not a place to live with a small salary.
  10. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Luxembourg. Safe, clean and rich, but you need to speak French for better career opportunities. Not a place to live with a small salary.
  11. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Malta. Super cold inside the apartments in winter. The apartments are built from some rock material, the moisture builds in and most of them don’t have heating in all rooms. I lived in two different apartments and my bedrooms didn’t have heating! Career opportunities for foreigners are good but a bit limited to online casinos and banks.
  12. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ NYC. NYC is one of my favourite cities with amazing food, people and fashion, but it’s a SUPER competitive job market. It’s a challenge to look for work there because it’s also very expensive. The customer service jobs don’t pay enough for rent. You need a really good job to survive and then it’s great.
  13. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Milan. Friendly, fashionable and chill. Not very cheap either though. Salaries are not very high compared to Finland for example, yet the prices are almost the same.
  14. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Barcelona. It’s a safe city, but again, expensive and salaries are small. Never applied for a job there but heard complaints from locals. Many (corporate) jobs require you to speak Spanish.
  15. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ New Delhi. It’s friendly and amazing for tourists, but for settling down for Westerners it might be a bit much. Women can’t walk around alone late in the evening and there’s generally less freedom than in Europe. Never applied for work there, but Indians are very friendly, open-minded and respectful towards foreigners.

So as a conclusion, the winners for the most thumb ups are Bangkok, Sofia and Vienna! Vienna was actually my favorite city for a long time until I went to Paris and NYC. πŸ˜„ Sofia is a place I could definitely live in, the weather is great and I blend right in as people are very mixed. Thailand is a favourite for many people. The perfect city is very hard to find and of course everything is more fun with a good job and money. For more fun, avoid going to nightclubs with a bunch of dudes! πŸ˜†πŸ˜‰ If you’re a dude, go with five girls and you’re good! ☺️

Thailand was great as a solo traveler! It is safe, friendly and affordable. This was my first SOLO trip abroad without any friends, family or colleagues in 2015. People are very friendly and lots of cultural activities to see and do. Be aware of how to dress though. Trashy tourist look with micro shorts and a tank top isn’t acceptable in temples.

Travel with a 100€ ($117) budget to Tallinn

Tallinn city view from Sokos Hotel Viru rooftop, 23rd floor, KGB Museum. Photo: Sonia Jain

Depends where you live, but a quick trip to one of your neighboring countries or states refreshes your mind and makes you happy. In Europe, it’s relatively easy and affordable to visit your neighboring countries. So I decided after a dreadful 2 YEARS 4 MONTHS without a single trip abroad that I’m going to Tallinn, Estonia with a 100€ ($117) budget. I went alone because I don’t have many friends and the ones I have were working. πŸ€“ It was a quick one day trip, left my house at 8.30am in the morning and came back at 11pm.

I think not travelling for almost two and half years blurred my brain and I fell for all of the tourist traps in Tallinn. LOOOL. I was like a countryside person traveling for the first time.πŸ˜‚ Anyhow, here’s how I spent my budget and you can also watch my travel vlogs (links in the end):

  1. 14€ ferry with return. Day trips are cheaper from Helsinki to Tallinn. Book in advance.
  2. 12€ bus/ tram with return to go to the ferry from my apartment.
  3. 2,90€ Coke Zero in a cafe in the ferry. I quit drinking alcohol three months ago.
  4. 15,50€ lunch with tip. I had black truffle risotto with sparking water. I went to one of the most expensive tourist areas because I was a hungry tourist.🀣 Another tourist trap, because you can find much cheaper places if you search a little. Though I really loved the food, service and interior design of Rado restoran. Even the bathroom was like an art gallery! You can check my Instagram for pictures.
  5. 5,60€ coffee and cake in a cute little cafe, Saiakangi kohvik. Also in the Old Town tourist area, but very relaxed and peaceful atmosphere. Nobody stares at you even as a brown woman!! πŸ˜‚
  6. 5,50€ vegan wrap take away dinner. After my coffee and cake, I realised I don’t have much time to sit down for dinner before my ferry left, so I just decided on the quick and easy option and ate my vegan take away wrap in the ferry. I found a nice public sitting area with tables and a window view.
  7. 10€ bike taxi. It’s a tourist trap! The price depends where you go, but going to the Old Town can be up to 25€ for two people. Solo travelers don’t have boyfriends to pay for their travel costs, but we do have the advantage of negotiation skills.πŸ˜ƒ By the way, you can walk to the Old Town from the harbour in 15-20min.
  8. 12€ KGB museum at Sokos Viru Hotel. It’s a tourist trap! Even though you get a guided tour for one hour, the museum itself is very small, only one room, lobby and two rooftop balconies that are worth the view though. You also get a soft drink for 1€ from the hotel lobby. If you’re tight with time and money, skip this one. The tour guide was very funny though, so if you feel lonely as a solo traveler, this is a good option to spend your time and possibly make new friends! πŸ™‚
  9. 5€ KGB prison cells. Definitely worth it. It’s also a small museum, but very informative and you can read all the information from the info boards on the walls and listen to the info videos. If you have any questions, the museum person was a very friendly young Estonian guy. Bonus, a creepy prison toilet for tourists! πŸ˜„
  10. 8,80€ for candy!! The ferries are full of booze, cigarettes and candy. Very healthy haha.πŸ˜… Sometimes you can treat yourself though and candy was kind of my only option. Maybe my next trip will be to Bali beach with fresh fruit and smoothies. Though that won’t be budget traveling and for my current budget. Unless you buy my budgeting guides I can start saving. πŸ˜‰

Here’s my short Youtube video (1min 52sec) of the trip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDxc5LnJluc . If you don’t want to hear me speak, I made one with music (1min 34sec). πŸ˜ƒ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYAnZGXNSuA . πŸ˜‚πŸ‘πŸ½