Browsing Tag


Fall 2018

How to Travel on a Budget

By Dina Merani

Howdy…  I know we all have a lot of things on our plate this semester. I hope everyone is doing well so far this semester. Don’t stress about your college life. iIf you find something in your life that you don’t like, or you’re having trouble achieving what you want, hang in there. Keep fighting for it and I believe you can do it. No matter what happens it’s life, and this is how the cookie crumbles. If you cannot do one thing that you want, try another thing that you like or something else that makes you happy. What makes you happy will make your life way better than what you had lost before. Exploring the world and traveling can be the best way for you to make you happier. While you’re traveling, you might find some new things. Speaking of traveling, you might say traveling is my Middle Name, and I always looking for new places to go. You may think that traveling costs so much money because you need a hotel and good food. First, if your goal is just to see that place, you are in the right place, because I am going to give 5 ways to travel on a budget.

Dina in an airport with luggage and stuffed animal

Dina in an airport, sitting at a gate

Photography by Zac Clough

1. Travel with friend

Dina and friend on railroad tracks

Dina and friend at Golden Gate Bridge

A friend is someone who is always there for you when you are happy and sad. They always support you no matter what happens to you. If you have that kind of friend (bestie), you can ask your friend to go traveling with you. Why your friend? By traveling with your bestie, you and your bestie and share some things together. For example, looking for a cheap hostel that you and your friend can stay in together. If you want a cheaper option, there is Airbnb. This type of accommodation is often way cheaper than hostel. You can look for the cheapest one and you and your friend can stay in same room and split the price. This is I did when I went to Seattle and San Francisco for the first time. I always go with my bestie and we always share everything, and if either of us needs food or money, we can help each other.

2. Make Friends

Dina and friends posing outside airport with luggage

Photography by Zac Clough

Make as many friends as you can, especially make friends from different countries. By making lots of friends you can travel to where they live more easily. They might help you with food or accommodations when you come visit them. Which means you don’t need to pay lot of money for accommodation and food. I did the same thing when I visited Portland. I have friends there, they helped me with accommodations (I stayed with them) and cooked for myself in their place, and it was so exciting that I could spend some time with them as well.

3. Join Club on Campus (Group Tour)

Dina and friends walking into airport with luggage
There will many different clubs on campus, and in those clubs there may be a trip to go somewhere. By joining and becoming an active member in your club, you might get a chance to go to a new place for a small amount of money and people in your group may help you with that. For example, I joined the University of Montana Pacific Islander Club last year and became active in it this semester by get involved in meetings and others club events. Through this club, I might get go to Hawaii next year over Spring Break. How fun and exciting! Oh my… I can’t wait for this trip. See? Some clubs at the University can give benefits for you and who knows? You might get the same chance like me .

4. Cook by yourself

If you don’t have enough money to buy food while you’re traveling, you can cook by yourself. That’s cheaper than you eating at a restaurant. Not only that, but  food that you cook by yourself can be more delicious than the food in five star hotels or restaurants.

5. Be brave

Oh yeah, without bravery, you cannot go traveling. You should have that bravery in yourself. Just makes sure you’re brave when you get stuck somewhere or your bestie is not with you. In my experience, I didn’t have enough money to buy an airplane ticket and I really wanted to travel. I decided to travel 11 hours by myself by bus and I did it. I arrived safety. All that I needed was to be brave.

Dina with coffee on a subway

Dina on a subway

All these experiences are just so amazing to me and I’m so happy that I got to share this with you all. Hopefully there is one or two tips that you can try on your trip whenever you wanna go. Thank you so much to spend time reading this. XOXO @dMerani95.

Fall 2018

5 First Apartment Life Savers

This past summer, my best friend and I moved into our first apartment together so that we could live in Missoula year-round. I am so excited to be living here! I have a job that I love and the cutest little apartment. But once Sara (roommate extraordinaire) and I moved in, we both realized that neither of us actually knew what we were doing. It’s taken me a few months, but I am starting to figure it out. So I thought I’d share with you all 5 things that have become total life savers for my life in an apartment, and don’t worry- I’m linking them for all of you that are about to move into your own place!

1. Electric Throw BlanketErin cuddled up in her throw blanket

A few weeks ago, I learned the hard way that the heat in our apartment wasn’t working. It was snowing outside and we were freezing inside, but my landlord couldn’t send someone over for a few days. I was basically always wrapped up in my electric throw blanket. Honestly, it was pretty hard to get out of bed every morning. This thing is so cozy! For everyone about to endure a good ol’ Montana Winter, this is for you 😉

2. The Bullet BlenderErin holding up her blender

Ok, for real: This is the best thing I’ve ever purchased. Holy cow. I drink smoothies so much, it’s ridiculous, so I’ve been wanting one of these bad boys for a while. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint. I love the size, because I am terrible at measuring portions in regular-sized blenders, so now I’m not wasting food. But the best part is how quickly it blends all of my ingredients. I know I probably sound like an infomercial right now, but this blender blends FAST. I am literally always running late, and at least now I can make a smoothie in like 3 minutes. (ok also sidenote: I know that the one I own is technically a Ninja, but Bullet Blenders are cheaper. You’re welcome.)


3. Shower ShelvesShower shelves with soaps, razors etc on them

I’m pretty sure that you all can guess that this is pretty important. Sara and I both have so many different hair and body products (and peep all the razors, we have NEEDS). These are so great because all we had to do to install them was create enough tension between the top and bottom to keep it standing. It is kinda hard to do it right the first time, but hey: it’s a roommate bonding activity. You can buy one here.


4. Three Tier CartThree tiered cart next to bed with books, lamp and stuffed animal

This cart has been my saving grace, and lets be real: it feels like it’s straight out of a pinterest room design post. I love how cute it is! Its a great bedside table because it has so many places to put stuff, and I love that it’s not a traditional table. I have to keep our wifi modem in my room, so I can hide it on the bottom shelf and keep my books and lamp in the same space. Here’s where you can find one!



5. String LightsString lights hanging in bedroom with bed and tapestries

Ok, I get it: lights aren’t really a “life saver” per say, but aren’t they so beautiful?? I hate bright florescent lights because they give me headaches, and these are so much more cozy. They also do a great job of making impromptu photoshoots for blog posts so much more cute! Here’s a good set.


***The Best Roommate***

Erin and roommate Sara standing on Higgins St bridge

She’s a person, so you can’t buy her, but I couldn’t do any of this without her! She has been there for me like you wouldn’t believe. She lets me eat her leftovers and she agrees to take photos for me because she’s a great photographer (check her out on Instagram @sara_digginsphoto, she took all of these for me!) If you’re planning on moving into a new place, make sure you’ve got a killer roommate by your side.