Entertainment

18 Easy Ways To Save Money For Your Trip To Latin America

You’ve got the travel bug and we get it. There’s nothing like exploring Latino cultures where they live–the flavors, la lengua, those warm tropical ocean waters.

First thing’s first: where do you want to go? Do some research on the cost of the trip overall–that means flights, food, on-the-ground transportation and any experiences you want to have while you’re there. Don’t forget to consider the cost of rent back home, loss of income if you don’t have benefits, pet boarding, and whatever else you can think of. Once you have a number, you have a goal. Time to start saving.

Don’t forget. *This* is what it’s all about.

Those casual lunches out and time you would have spent binge-ing “Queer Eye” (highly recommend) are far less memorable than a week on warm, sandy, Spanish-speaking beaches. Here are the best tricks up our sleeves:

Sell your old crap.

@thredup / Instagram

Your tía bought you some bedazzled latest trend thing that is just so not you. Sell it on ThredUp! Just don’t tell your tía, and put that extra money in the bank.

Make Airbnb a side hustle.

@Airbnb / Twitter

It doesn’t matter where you live in the country, you can always put your place up for Airbnb, especially once you have your vacation dates booked. Arranging for someone to essentially housesit for you can pay your rent that month. Be sure to talk it out with the roomies first.

The only side trips you take this year are gratis.

@zpacks / Instagram

Camping is a virtually free way to get out of town and get a new perspective. Borrow gear from friends or head to an REI Garage Sale for major markdowns on a one-time investment in a decade of free vacations.

Pro tip: Put your place on Airbnb year round and when someone bites for the weekend, head to your local mountain/desert/lake.

Get paid to cuddle doggos.

@naftibaby / Twitter

Do not, I repeat, do not adopt a dog if you’re planning a big trip. They’re a lifetime of personal and financial commitment and they deserve all your attention. That said, you can make your side hustle be all about loving on animals. Rover sitters make an average of $40 per night in the Los Angeles area.

Be open and honest with your comadres about what activities you’re up for.

If you have the will power, you can still participate in shopping sprees and playing video games. Just don’t buy any new clothes or video games and think about all the treasures you’ll find this summer.

Cancel your most unused subscriptions.

@fitgurlmel / Instagram

Only get to the gym once a week? Count up the monthly savings and invest in some at-home weights if that’s your thing. Unpopular opinion: canceling your streaming subscriptions will also free up your money and time for that side hustle.

Take up hiking.

@naturechola / Instagram

It’s a free way to get a workout in and you’ll have a chance to meet people who like doing free things as well. If you do some digging, your city might have recreational dodgeball, softball and tag football teams that you can take up for your fitness and social needs. Try something new!

K, if you don’t want to try something new, then pre-game is your new BFF.

@josecuervotequila / Instagram

Going out is a money drain. Once you’re drunk enough, you’re extra spendy and likely don’t even know how much you’re spending per outing. Take a look at your monthly costs, make a Jose Cuervo Costco run for your solo pre-game and plan to take only enough cash for emergencies.

Only drink water.

You heard me. Give up the Diet Coke, the coffee runs and that maca-infused raw cacao coconut drink that’s so tasty. You’ll be shocked to see the savings add up.

While you’re at it, ditch the disposable water bottles and go green.

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Spend $10 on a reusable water bottle and save mad money. People spend an average of $1095 on pre-bottled tap water. Get it from the source, mi gente.

En serio, hay frijoles en la casa.

@GezindabaZA / Twitter

I hate to say it, but we both already know it’s true. It’s so easy to just wing it for lunch, and grab happy hour after work, but a little meal planning can save you $50 a day.

Buy in bulk.

@thesourcewollongong / Instagram

We’re Latino. We have to talk about saving money on food because food is life. You’ll be surprised to learn that you can save money shopping bulk at a health food store versus at a cheaper chain. And they often have plantain chips. 🤤

Reuse everything.

We were bred to budget. Don’t even use trash bags, people. Just toss your trash in the bin and then straight to the dumpster. You’re saving plastic and pointless spending.

Check out travel books from the library.

@ExperienceMiles / Instagram

The library has become a magical place for me as a freelancer. If you’re looking for a place to work, bring your café and bagged lunch to the library and receive zero stares.

Also, don’t drop $50 on travel books you’ll end up donating to Goodwill next season of Marie Kondo. Check them out at the library and return them on time.

Yup. I’m about to talk coupons with y’all.

Apple Store

I don’t know about you, but Target was the land of luxury shopping for me growing up. It’s where we all got our swimsuits and school supplies and just overall brings us joy as adults. You know you’re adulting when newfound joy comes in an iOS app stuffed with coupons. It’s automatic savings, for free.

If you have the cushion, invest some money.

Apple Store

Acorn is an app that rounds up your dollar on every purchase made and automatically invests it for you. You can withdraw your investment for free whenever you want, and the investments are so tiny, that you’ll barely notice a difference.

Pavlov yourself.

@StreetTastyfood / Twitter

This experience doesn’t have to be so bleak. If there’s something on this list that you simply cannot imagine your life without, then use it as a treat for good behavior. Por ejemplo, if I can make it two whole weeks without eating out, then I’m taking myself out to Starbucks/SoulCycle/a movie.

Make it fun.

Get into some positive mental thinking.

@NDivhundivhu / Twitter

Planning a trip to Latin America isn’t coded with feelings of scarcity. It’s all about abundance. You’re doing this for yourself. So when your mami or your friend speaks negative thinking into existence that you’re too strict, or are missing out on life, you’ll know in your heart that you’re living your best life.

Final tip: follow some travelers to remind you that this is about to be you in 6 months time.

@aalmodovar_alexis / Instagram

Your feed should be aligned with your goals. If your goal is travel, give yourself the inspo you need to remember that when you’re waiting in line with your work friends at Starbucks and not ordering that $8 drink. It’s just not for you this year, and that’s great. Do you, boo.

READ: Here Are Some Hikers Of Color Who Will Inspire You To Travel The World And Explore Nature

Here’s Why Chicago Should Be On Everyone’s List Of Must-Visit Cities

Culture

Here’s Why Chicago Should Be On Everyone’s List Of Must-Visit Cities

noorhalii / Twitter

If you don’t have Chicago on your bucket list, you’re sleeping on the vibrant metropolis.

The city has an enviable lakefront that runs 18.5 miles along the city skyline, a museum campus (and a number of other art and educational institutions nearby) that you could visit for years and still find something new, and dining options that run the gamut from Michelin-starred to hole-in-the-wall mom and pop shops. 

If that’s not enough to get your there, this might be:

For $2.25, you can take the CTA train into the city.

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Whether you’re flying into O’Hare or Midway, each airport offers a direct route into downtown Chicago. From there, you can easily transfer to any of the other train lines, buses or Metra (servicing the suburbs) to get where you’re going and oftentimes, get downtown just as fast as driving. Save yourself the headache of traffic and trying to find your rideshare—as well as cash—by taking the train into the city. Once you’re there, hop into a cab or transfer like a local.

Speakeasies and Cocktail Bars Aren’t Just a Fad

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They’re a historical part of the city. In 1921, the bar now known as The Green Door Tavern opened as a restaurant. Over the years, the restaurant was sold and renamed the Green Door Tavern. During prohibition, a green door would let people know that they could find a speakeasy inside. According to the Green Door Tavern’s website, many of the original fixtures found at the bar are from the 1920s. It’s easy to get caught up in the history of the first floor, but if you keep walking towards the back, and take the steps into the basement—you’ll find a woman with an iPad next to a bookshelf. Leave your name, head back upstairs and wait for The Drifter to call you. Once IDs are checked (again) you’ll find yourself in a tiny room that feels like you’ve stepped into an old-timey circus. Tarot cards are used as drink menus, you can play drink roulette by selecting a $10 fortune cookie that contains your drink order and every hour a different performer takes the stage. It’s easy to imagine one of Al Capone’s cronies posted at the bar grabbing a drink between jobs.

But The Drifter isn’t the only speakeasy worth visiting. In Wicker Park, The Violet Hour, considered the birthplace of artisan cocktails in Chicago, is worth the wait. Just be sure to follow the house rules.

Comedians Are Made in The Second City

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Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Mike Meyers, Steve Carrell, Chris Farley, John Candy and most of the funniest names in entertainment came out of world-renowned The Second City, a comedy club, theater and school of improvisation.

To date, it has not produced a Latinx show on its mainstage (a disappointing trend in entertainment). However, actress/producer Vanessa Garcia is working to change that with “La Carne Asada 2: The Seasoning,” performed inside the venue’s Judy’s Beat Lounge. The sketch show for Latinos by Latinos is performed mostly in Spanish with deeply Latino characters and tropes. It sold-out its summer show dates and recently added new fall dates.

Garcia was inspired to write a sequel to last year’s sold-out run of La Carne Asada after a conversation that implied that Latinx content was not headlining stage material. With that in mind, the show is a statement about quality Latinx-centric and minority-centric content being as entertaining, engaging and mainstream as any headline show.

It’s a Magical Place—No Really, Magicians Are As Common As Bartenders

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In a profile piece on magicians for Chicago, Kevin writes about how the art of magic is taught mostly from books, and Midwest Magic in the suburbs is one of the largest magic shops in the world. It’s no wonder there’s been an uptick in magic-themed venues and entertainment. For an intimate, upscale experience head to the Magic Parlour at the Palmer House Hilton. In one of the gilded rooms, you’ll see close-hand magic performed by Dennis Watkins.

To see several acts in one place, head north to the Magic Lounge. The entrance is marked by a sign that reads ‘laundromat.’ Walk inside and start enjoying your night with a drink at the bar where a raised platform features a magician while you wait for your show to begin. Once ushered into the seated venue, various magicians will rove the aisles to keep guests entertained before the start of the first act.

Latino fans will get a kick out of Luis Carreon. The award-winning magician peppers his act with jokes that riff on Mexican culture.

It’s A Sports Fan’s Dream

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Between the Cubs and Sox (MLB) rivalry, Bears (NFL), Bulls (an NBA franchise synonymous with Michael Jordan and six league titles), the Sky (WNBA) and three recent titles between the Blackhawks (NHL), sports are an integral part of the city’s DNA—and that’s just the professional teams found within the city limits. Head to the suburbs if you want to see the Red Stars (MLS) play. It’s worth the drive considering four members of the Women’s World Cup Championship team play for the local league. The Chicago Fire, the men’s team, also plays at the same venue.

Even if you prefer a different type of entertainment, you’re not really experiencing the city if you don’t have some kind of sports encounter. Worst case scenario, you can eat really well since all the stadiums have local dining options in-stadium—like Big Star at the United Center where the Bulls and Hawks play— which is also across the street from the Cubs’ Wrigley Field.

READ: A New Incubator Is Opening Up In Chicago’s ‘La Villita’ And Will Embrace The Neighborhood’s Mexican Heritage

A Group Of White Supremacist Unwittingly Raised More Than $36,000 To Help Undocumented People

Things That Matter

A Group Of White Supremacist Unwittingly Raised More Than $36,000 To Help Undocumented People

White supremacists might be getting louder and mobilizing in larger numbers, but they’re not getting any smarter. On August 17, the alt-right group called the Proud Boys organized another rally, misleadingly called “End Domestic Terrorism” in the streets of downtown Portland, Oregon. Before “End Domestic Terrorism,” the last time the Proud Boys organized a “rally,” it turned into an outright brawl with Antifa (a left-wing Anti-Fascist group). So when the Proud Boys announced their follow-up August 17 rally as an attempt to bait and classify Antifa as a domestic terrorist organization, Portland police prepared by spending $2 million on preventative security measures. 

Meanwhile, Popular Mobilization (PopMob), a Portland-based coalition of anti-fascist groups, decided they would prepare by soliciting donations to help fight deportation based on the number of white supremacists who show up to the rally.

By showing up to their own rally, white supremacists raised $36,017.69 for undocumented immigrants thanks to the quick thinking of Popular Mobilization.

Credit: @letsgomathias / Twitter

PopMob said that donations “flooded in from all over the country, and even as far away as the UK, ranging from two cents to five dollars a fascist.” At 300 fascists, that means people donated between $6 to $1,500 each. PopMob said its fundraiser was “in direct opposition to the anti-immigration rhetoric of the far-right and the current administration that emboldens them, showcasing the resilience and strength of a community coming together against hate.” 

All the donations went to Causa, a Portland-based Latino Rights organization that helps defend undocumented people in deportation proceedings.

Credit: Causa Oregon / Facebook

Causa works to improve the lives of Latino immigrants and their families in Oregon through advocacy, coalition building, leadership development, and civic engagement. They call themselves “Oregon’s Latino immigrant rights organization,” and they’ve earned the name for all the work they do to coordinate legal representation for undocumented people. Their mission is “to create a world where all people have the opportunities and resources needed to thrive.”

That means that every fascist who showed up personally raised $120 to help fight the deportation of the very people they protest.

Credit: @QuotesGavin / Twitter

The founder of Proud Boys, Gavin McInnes, was legally advised to step down from his post after his involvement in the Charlottesville, Virginia “Unite the Right” rally that left one counter-protester dead. McInnes spends his podcast air time dehumanizing immigrants.

“It’s such a rape culture with these immigrants, I don’t even think these women see it as rape. They see it as just like having a teeth [sic] pulled. ‘It’s a Monday. I don’t really enjoy it,’ but that’s what you do,” Gavin McInnes said on Get Off My Lawn. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t have the same trauma as it would for a middle-class white girl in the suburbs because it’s so entrenched into their culture.”

Some Latinos were scared to even go to work on the day of the rally.

Credit; @ThisisHans / Twitter

Thankfully, Portland police tricked the Proud Boys into crossing a bridge and then barricading it to put an entire body of water between the two sides. Officers confiscated several weapons on the day of the event, and wouldn’t allow flag poles in the crowd for fear of it being weaponized.

PopMob’s counter-protest fundraiser was inspired by the residents of Wunsiedel, Germany.

Credit: @ER_Bayern / Twitter

Neo-Nazis had been marching through their town every November for years. Usually, the town ignores the haters. Last November, the town flooded the streets to mockingly cheer the Neo-Nazis on. That’s because the town had pledged to donate ten euros for ever meter the Neo-Nazis marched to EXIT Deutschland, an anti-Nazi organization that helps folks escape white supremacist organizations. By the time the Neo-Nazis crossed the finish line, they were dazed and confused by the cheering, and the cheerful banner that notified them that, by marching, they had donated 10,000 euros to EXIT Deutschland.

You can participate in the cause and make a donation for every white supremacist who attended the alt-right rally.

Credit: @exitdeutschland / Twitter

This is the kind of counter-protest that might actually prevent future white supremacist rallies. If the Proud Boys know that, next time they show up in Portland, their presence might help even one undocumented person stay in the US of A, they might reconsider. Might as well put their presence to some good.

In the words of PopMob’s fundraiser itself, “Let’s take their hate and use it to fundraise for Causa so they can protect more immigrant families. Together we can build an Oregon that welcomes ALL Oregonians!”

READ: An Alleged White Supremacist Took The Life Of 6-Year-Old Steven Romero At California’s Garlic Festival And Our Hearts Ache