How to Build a Resources Page with Elementor

Have you ever thought about making passive income with a resources page? This tutorial walks you through how to create a Resources page using the free Elementor plugin. | small business marketing, blog, make money blogging, affiliate marketing, landing page | RerouteLifestyle.comImagine this: you wake up, fully recharged and rested after a good night’s sleep. One of the first things you do after your morning routine is open your email inbox.

New Email: A referral commission from your favorite affiliate program!

And in the email, you see where the referral came from: your Resources page!

Which is incredible, because you haven’t needed to update your Resources page for 6 months.

Life is good!

What is a Resources Page?

A Resources page is just that: a collection of resources and tools you recommend. There are benefits for you, and your website visitors, for building a resources page!

  • Place of reference for your website visitors
  • A way to flex your expertise and build relationships
  • Source of passive income

Maybe a potential client is visiting your website but not quite ready to work with you yet. What resources can you direct them to that will put them in a position where they’re ready to work with you?

Or maybe someone just found your website and love the content they’ve found so far! They want to learn more about you do and how you work. Your Resource page can help guide them in the right direction or act as a page for them to regularly reference on their journey.

To create a successful Resources page, put yourself in a beginner’s shoes: what did you want to know when you first started your journey?

  • Travel blogger? What are your favorite travel resources, books and blogs?
  • Freelance writer? What are essential tools you use for your career? Did you read any books or take any courses to improve your skillset?
  • Social media manager? What tools or software do you use to schedule social media? Edit graphics?

When I first started vlogging, I wasn’t knowledgable about photography or cameras or film. It’s a subject that has so many complexities (for me) that I don’t really understand the jargon or all the features of a product. So I looked to my favorite vloggers on YouTube and read about what they recommended and why.

Like I said, the complicated vocabulary means nothing to me. So I bought a camera vloggers recommended with the two prerequisites I had: the capability to record video and a selfie camera.

Vlogging isn’t really my cup of tea (I’m SO shy when it comes to recording videos in public), but the camera I use has a really nice selfie mirror.

But here’s the moral of the story: your website visitors see you as a resource, maybe even an “expert”. They might not want to do all the research you do. So help them take a few steps forward by showing the results of your research.

What to Include on Your Resources Page

  • Affiliate links to your favorite softwares, tools and products
  • Links to your favorite industry podcasts, blogs and Instagrams
  • Blog posts for someone just starting out that you’ve written or read
  • Link to your lead magnet or email opt-in

Communication is important! Sure, you can easily create a list on links to your favorite resources. But remember that people go to your Resources page to skip some parts of the research. So you should be able to communicate to a visitor why something would help them on their journey. 

Related Reading: 3 Lessons from Sales to Increase Affiliate Sales on Your Blog

How to Build a Resources Page for Free on WordPress Using Elementor

As a designer, I exclusively use the Elementor plugin for WordPress to build and design landing pages and websites! I use the paid version but you can actually use the free version of the plugin to build a very nice Resources page!

The extra time you put into designing your Resources page will help your calls-to-action stand out, which will thus help increase conversions from your page!

This tutorial requires a version of WordPress on a paid, self-hosted website. Click here to learn more!

1. Download Elementor Plugin for WordPress

The best part about the Elementor plugin is you can use it with any theme! So the first step is to download the Elementor plugin and install it on your WordPress website.

How to Build a Resources Page for Free on WordPress Using Elementor

As a designer, I exclusively use the Elementor plugin for WordPress to build and design landing pages and websites! I use the paid version but you can actually use the free version of the plugin to build a very nice Resources page!

The extra time you put into designing your Resources page will help your calls-to-action stand out, which will thus help increase conversions from your page!

This tutorial requires a version of WordPress on a paid, self-hosted website. Click here to learn more!

1. Download Elementor Plugin for WordPress

The best part about the Elementor plugin is you can use it with any theme! So the first step is to download the Elementor plugin and install it on your WordPress website.

2. Create a new page and build it with the Elementor plugin

Next, create your resources page (if it doesn’t already exist). From the page editor, click the blue “Edit with Elementor” button.

3. Use Elementor’s widgets to build your Resources page

Once you’re in the Elementor page builder, you’ll see two buttons you can start playing with! The red “+” icon (pictured below) lets you choose how many columns you will want in the section. The folder icon (also pictured below) lets you choose from templates. 

  • Inner Section: A widget that allows you to have sections within sections
  • Text Editor: Basic text editor
  • Image Box: Add and style an image
  • Button: Easily add a buton to your page
  • Toggle: This is a dropdown/accordion styled menu

Protip: Interested in changing the background color of columns or rows? Click here to learn more about customizing sections using Elementor.

4. Start laying out the content on the page

Finally, you can easily start laying out the content on the page! Start with a thoughtful description at the top. If you’re appealing to multiple audiences, consider separating your resources (e.g. travel, freelance).

And if you’re promoting affiliate links, don’t forget to include an affiliate disclaimer on the page! 

For the actual resources, you can either list them out or build them similar to my Resources page.

As you can see in the image below, every row on my Resources page is a different section

Then, I use the Image Box widget to display the logo, the text under the logo, and the company name. In the same column beneath each widget box, I describe the Resource a bit more using the Text Editor widget. At the bottom of the column, there is a call-to-action Button widget.

It is super simple to build!

Protip: After you make your first row, make sure your coding is mobile responsive before moving on! Click the “Responsive Mode” icon in the bottom left corner of your screen to view the tablet and mobile editors.

Once your section is mobile responsive, you can Duplicate the section you just built for additional sections on your page! Voila!

5. Add ways for people to share the Resources page!

As a bonus, add ways for people to share your Resources page!

  • Set a Featured image for your page
  • Add a Pinterest image (600x900px) to the page
  • Add social media sharing icons (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
  • Encourage people to tag you on social media if they share your post

Are you ready to start building your Resources page?! Click the button below to download the free version of the Elementor plugin!

Promote products you love on an optimized Resources page!

Sure, you can have a list of links of resources you approve and recommend. But it can take you less than two hours to build an organized Resources page that communicates why someone should make a purchase!

So let me know, are you going to build a Resources page?!

Related Reading:

Drop a comment below if you have any questions.

Affiliate Marketing for Beginners

Check out these tips on affiliate marketing for beginners so you can start implementing these passive income strategies and make money from your blog. Affiliate marketing strategies & companies so you can monetize your blog and work from home. affiliate marketing 101, wordpress, affiliate marketing for dummies, how to start affiliate marketing, entrepreneur, affiliate marketing for bloggers, blogging 101, how to make money blogging, monetize your blog

Check out these tips on affiliate marketing for beginners so you can start implementing these passive income strategies and make money from your blog. Affiliate marketing strategies & companies so you can monetize your blog and work from home. affiliate marketing 101, wordpress, affiliate marketing for dummies, how to start affiliate marketing, entrepreneur, affiliate marketing for bloggers, blogging 101, how to make money blogging, monetize your blogWe’ve grown up learning to work for an hourly wage. It’s simple: we’re taught to exchange our time for money.

But there is actually an alternative to exchanging your time to a set amount of income.

Another way to work and earn money is by building passive income streams. With passive income, you put in the work to build something upfront. And then, the money that comes in feels totally passive because you’re receiving payments days, weeks, months, even years after you put in all that work.

All of the sudden, you’re earning money while you sleep.

So, how can you build passive income? One way to make passive income is by using affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways to make money blogging. Why?

  • You start building your relationship with the reader.
  • Affiliate marketing helps you practice your sales skills.
  • It’s typically easy to sign up for, and easy to implement, affiliate marketing.
  • Once you set everything up, the income feels super passive.

And, yes: affiliate marketing can be incredibly passive.

In 2017, I took my first trip abroad. I’m used to always having access to wifi or data, but this wasn’t the case in France. I had a very limited time to work on my blog, post to social media, etc. And yet – I’d still come back from a day of exploring and see that I’d made affiliate sales during my trip.

Like, what?! It felt like I didn’t have to do anything, when in fact we just put in work before we left.

And you can achieve this, too.

This guide introduces affiliate marketing for beginners, along with strategies anyone can implement on their blog to start making money from affiliate marketing.

What is affiliate marketing?

First, you might be wondering: what the heck IS affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is when you promote a company’s service or product and that promotion is tracked via a special link. Every time you inspire a reader to click your link and do something, like make a purchase, you receive a small commission or some form of compensation.

Affiliate marketing is a “cost-per-action” type of advertising. This means that advertisers/companies pay YOU a cost-per-action. For example, you can get paid a commission if someone clicks your link and does something like enter their email address or complete a survey. Alternatively, you can get paid a commission when someone clicks your link and makes a purchase after a certain amount of time.

The terms are different for each advertiser, so when you sign up for a program it’s best to read the fine print of the agreement to see what your audience would need to do in order for you to earn that commission.

Still, affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways to start making money blogging. You’re basically promoting other companies’ services or products, so you don’t have to spend all the time it takes to create your own. It’s a great way to start learning what may or may not work with your audience.

Are you afraid you may seem inauthentic to your readers by promoting products?

  • Promote companies and products that will benefit your audience
  • Show your readers how a product can benefit them by writing a “how-to” guide
  • Write informative, helpful posts that give readers a wealth of information (beyond the product)
  • Connect with readers by providing a personal experience with the company, or a photo of you using the product!

So, how do you start helping your readers and monetizing your blog?

  • Brainstorm a list of companies you want to promote in your niche
  • Google “company/brand affiliate program”
  • If they have an affiliate program, follow the steps to apply for their program

Can I use affiliate marketing on my blog?

If you’re using a free host (like Blogger, WordPress.com, or Wix), you have to adhere to your host’s Terms and Conditions. So while they may allow affiliate links, they may also restrict your use of them. If you are on one of those platforms, you should refer to their Terms and Conditions regarding using affiliate links.

Self-hosted bloggers have more freedom to use affiliate links. To be self-hosted means a hosting company like Siteground or Bluehost hosts the servers of your website.

(This can be confusing! If you want to learn more, click here to read the difference between free WordPress and self-hosted WordPress.)

Starting a self-hosted and profitable blog is actually pretty affordable compared to the start-up costs of any other business.

It’s easy for a non-tech-savvy person (trust me, that’s us) can start a blog at less than $3 per month and still get access to 24/7 customer service that walks you through any troubles you have. I recommend Bluehost as a great company to start an affiliate marketing blog – in addition to great, 24/7 customer service, you get a free domain with your purchase of website hosting!

Regardless of what platform you’re promoting affiliate links, in the spirit of having a marketplace free of deception (aka a marketplace free of people promoting products just because they’re getting something from it, not because it’s totally awesome), there are some guidelines we bloggers have to follow.

Yup, there’s a legal side to affiliate marketing – but don’t let that scare you away!

The Legal Side of Affiliate Marketing

First and foremost, I am not a lawyer, so my recommendations should not be taken as legal advice. I’ve simply done general research on FTC Endorsement Guidelines and summarized what I understand.

The American Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires marketers/bloggers to disclose their relationships with companies if they receive something in exchange for something like an affiliate link, for example:

  • If you receive a commission if someone uses your affiliate link,
  • Any product or compensation a company gives you in exchange for posts on social media or your blog.

Don’t let your any fears you have stop you from the potential of making money blogging.

On this blog, Reroute Lifestyle, I monetized from the beginning and started making money before this website even launched. I monetized my first lifestyle blog from the beginning and made my first $0.44 commission from Amazon Affiliates within one week of starting my blog.

For some people, it’s scary to make money blogging or writing. But why? If you’re making money from your blog, that means you’re providing someone with enough value and inspiration to make a purchase. Give your readers valuable and helpful content so they walk away from every post a better person.

Best Affiliate Marketing Programs for New Bloggers

1. ShareASale

This is my favorite affiliate network! ShareASale connects bloggers with companies like Etsy, Missguided, Tailwind, and Freshbooks. They have programs that are both commission-based and pay-per-lead, so there are always opportunities to make money via ShareASale.

The minimum you must make from ShareASale is $50 before you receive payment. Payments with ShareASale are sent via direct deposit or check via mail.

2. Awin

Awin connects bloggers with companies like Etsy, Trusted Housesitters, Fiverr, and Swagbucks. They also have programs that are both commission-based and pay-per-lead which makes it easy for bloggers to meet their minimum $20 threshold.

They ask for $5 for you to sign up with Awin, but you get the $5 back in its entirety when you receive your first payment. Awin sends payments via direct deposit (US), check, or international wire.

3. Ebates

If you don’t use Ebates, you’re missing out! First of all, bloggers in practically every niche can partner with Ebates – fashion, food, travel, personal finance, books… Your readers will love that Ebates is a totally free website where they can make money when they shop online.

Plus, your readers get $10 for using your referral link and making their first purchase (you can click here to use ours). And you get $5 per referral which scales as your amount of referrals grow per quarter.

Ebates sends quarterly payments via check, or Paypal.

4. Flexoffers

Flexoffers is an affiliate network that offers something for everyone. From surveys, to partnerships with personal finance companies, to shopping or travel affiliates, they definitely have something for everyone.

Their minimum payout threshold of $100 is sent via direct deposit (US) or Paypal.

5. Amazon Affiliates

There are products in every niche available via Amazon Affiliates – whether you’re writing about fitness, parenting, lifestyle, travel… yup, the list goes on! Amazon typically pays its affiliates 4% of sales for most products, and $5 for qualifying Audible subscriptions. No matter your niche, you can really make Amazon work for you and your audience.

Amazon’s $10 minimum payout threshold is paid via direct deposit (US) or Paypal.

6. Shopstyle Collective

Shopstyle Collective works best for fashion, lifestyle, and maybe even travel bloggers. You can create pretty widgets full of products and add the widgets to your blog posts. If someone clicks on your link, Shopstyle Collective pays a $0.05 commission. And if they make a purchase, you get a percentage of the sale!

Shopstyle Collective does require a minimum payment threshold of $100 payable via Paypal.

7. Creative Market

If you’re obsessed with creative digital products and have an audience of readers who love digital products (we’re talking themes, fonts, graphics packages, Photoshop brushes, etc.), they will LOVE Creative Market. They even give sets of free goodies every week, so you can keep your eye on them and let your audience know when you see something they’ll love.

8. Ultimate Bundles

Ultimate Bundles are bundles of products (eBooks, audiobooks, eCourses, etc.) you can offer to your audience at 90% off or more. These bundles go on sale during specific parts of the year. Even better, for every bundle you sell, you receive 40% commission. There are bundles for a variety of niches, including fitness, blogging, entrepreneurship, healthy living, and even travel.

Ultimate Bundles sends payments via Paypal on the 11th of the second month after the sale date.

9. CJ Affiliate

CJ Affiliate are another network of various affiliate programs. They have affiliates for every niche, but I know them for their excellent network of travel programs including TripAdvisor, Lonely Planet, Expedia, and City Pass.

CJ Affiliate sends payment via direct deposit or check with a minimum threshold of $50.

How can I promote affiliate products?

Okay, so you’re set up with affiliate marketing programs. Now, how are you going to promote these products? There are probably countless ways to do so, but here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Write a step-by-step tutorial on the product
  2. Include products or companies in a list (gift list, tools list, etc.)
  3. Create a resources page with links to products and services you use
  4. Send affiliate promotions to your mailing list
  5. Use Pinterest to circulate affiliate links
  6. Write an evergreen article, and add a section on a relevant affiliate to it

And it’s always fun to get creative. For example, Ebates is well known as a way to get cash back in the personal finance niche. But, travel bloggers can promote Ebates to their readers when they’re writing about booking accommodations, hotels, or even rental cars!

Think out of the box and you’ll inspire your readers to use your affiliate link!

So… you monetized your blog with affiliate marketing. Now what?

So, you’ve created your incredible content and added affiliate links to it. Now what, right?!?! It’s totally possible to generate affiliate income as a small blogger, but regardless of such, you still need to drive traffic to your posts.

  1. Circulate your posts via Pinterest (if you’re not driving traffic with Pinterest, click here for our Pinterest guide for beginners)
  2. Promote your posts on Twitter
  3. Add your posts to promotional threads in Facebook groups
  4. Let your Instagram followers know by promoting the post in your Insta story

Most importantly, remember to consistently promote your posts. I have posts that still make money five or six months after they’ve been written. So always keep your money-making posts in your promotional rotation!

I actually use Tailwind to really boost our blog’s Pinterest exposure. For one, you can maintain and manage your pinning schedule (this way, you can even pin while you sleep). Also, you get access to Tailwind Tribes regardless of whether or not you pay for a subscription. Tailwind Tribes are every blogger’s dream – you are part of a community of people who pin your posts to their audience. And you get access to a community full of quality content to pin to your own boards.

Win/win, right?

And most importantly, stay true to you.

The combination of affiliate marketing and blogging is a great way to start telling others about products you love. When we love something, we rave about it. If you’re that type of person who can’t stop telling all your friends about the latest gadget or product you bought, you should definitely consider pouring your passion into a blog! We’ve written this guide on how to get started with your profitable blog.

Or maybe you’ve already started blogging, and you’re looking for a little more guidance. Here are other blogging-related posts:

Blogging is an incredible way to write about something you feel passionate about, share that passion with the world, and even make money from it. But it’s definitely a learn-as-you-go activity.

My favorite part of the discussion happens in the comments. What are ways you’re using affiliate marketing? This guide is affiliate marketing for beginners, which means we’re definitely working on bringing out an advanced guide. So, if you’ve been trying affiliate marketing, where do you struggle? What can we help you with?

How to Use Elementor for WordPress

How much time do you spend customizing your WordPress blog theme? The best theme for WordPress blogs and website actually comes in a plugin form - Elementor Pro! Read this step-by-step Elementor Pro tutorial to design your first page on your website. | Design beautiful websites with RerouteLifestyle.comI’ve designed WordPress websites with the Elementor Pro plugin for over one year now. And what I love most about Elementor is that it creates beautiful web layouts with little or no coding knowledge necessary.

This tutorial was actually the first blog post I built using Elementor (normally I just design pages and the general design of blog pages). After this experience of adding boxes and buttons into this post, I’m genuinely so excited to build more blog posts using the Elementor page builder!

This post will walk you through some of Elementor’s basic features, with some protips I’ve learned along the way! I’ve used other page builders and talked with others about their experience with Elementor. I can confidently say that Elementor is the most intuitive and advanced option!

You can follow this guide to create your very first page using Elementor (:

What is Elementor?

Elementor is a freemium WordPress plugin with a customizable, drag-and-drop interface. I’ve used it to design and build landing pages, virtual summits, thank you pages, full websites.

With the Elementor Pro version, you can also customize things like your individual blog page design. With all the customization options available, this plugin turns WordPress into your oyster (is that how the phrase goes?).

Incredible elementor features

  • Intuitive drag-and-drop pagebuilder
  • Create a Table of Contents within a post
  • Add FAQ to your pages
  • Optimize pages for tablet and mobile
  • Create social icon sets
  • Use custom fonts!

Because this is a freemium plugin, that means there is a free and paid version of Elementor. The free version is great to start with when you need to build a quick landing page. And, the customization options of the paid version, Elementor Pro, allow you to build full websites.

Pssst. You do need to have a self-hosted WordPress website to use Elementor. If you don’t have one, click here to claim an exclusive offer I have from Bluehost!

Difference between Elementor Free and Elementor Pro

You can easily use the free Elementor plugin to build a landing page. Because Elementor Pro is so advanced, I recommend upgrading to the pro version! You can use Elementor Pro to design the full theme for your website and its various features allow you to easily maintain a custom, branded look. 

Plus, using Elementor reduces the need for many plugins which declutters your website!

Free Version

  • Page Builder
  • 30 widgets

Pro Version

  • 50+ widgets
  • Popup builder
  • Visual form builder
  • WooCommerce plugins
  • Theme builder

Resources Mentioned in this Tutorial

Before we get started, here are some resources I mentioned in this tutorial you might want to reference later: 

How to Start

Step 1: Download & install essentials

Decide which theme you will use! I use the free version of GeneratePress because it is lightweight. But you can also use the Hello theme, which was a lightweight theme built specifically for Elementor. Because Elementor Pro is such an advanced tool, you don’t need a theme with extra frills.

Next, download and install the Elementor plugin. 

Step 2: Customize the backend of your website

The next step will be to customize your website settings. 

  • Set any typography and display settings  from your WordPress Dashboard “Appearance > Customize”
  • Open the first page you will be building with Elementor. Click the “General Style Settings” icon in the top left corner of the page.
  • Click “set default colors” to customize the color palette you will be working from!
  • From the same “General Style Settings” menu, set your default fonts. 

Step 3: Build your first page!

Yay! Once you’re all ready to build your first page, set your page settings! Click the “Settings” gear in the bottom left corner. 

  1. Title your page
  2. Set its status (Draft, Private, Published)
  3. Add the featured image
  4. Decide if you want to hide or display the Page Title
  5. Choose the page layout (Elementor Canvas or Elementor Full-Width)

Elementor Full-Width displays the page with your navigation bar/header and footer. 

Elementor Canvas creates a completely blank page for you to build from. It automatically hides your navigation bar and footer. 

How to Build Your First Page

Page Structure

The basic foundation of Elementor pages rely on sections, columns and widgets. You start by creating your first section.

  • Section: Sections are the parents of columns. You can save section templates! To create a new section, you normally click a “+” sign on the page.
  • Column: Columns live within a section. You can have one, or more, columns in a section. To add a new column, hover over your column and right click the icon. From there, you can either “Duplicate” the current column or “Add New Column.”
  • Widget: These are the functional applications from the Elementor plugin. Each widget performs in a different way on your website. For example, there are text widgets, image widget, testimonial widgets, social icon widgets, etc. You can tell something is a widget on your page because when you hover over it, the top right corner shows a blue pencil icon .

Elementor is a drag-and-drop plugin, so from the Elementor page builder you can just drag a widget into a section or column on the page!

Customize Sections, Columns and Widgets

As you move through customizing pages on Elementor, you’ll notice that there are 2-3 customization columns: Layout/Content, Style, Advanced.

Elementor Tutorial - WordPress Section Settings 1
Elementor Tutorial WordPress - Section Settings 2
Elementor Tutorial WordPress - Section Settings 3
  • Content: Your widget content will go here! For image widgets, this is where you would add the image. For text widgets, this is where you would add text. And so on and so forth.
  • Style: Customize how the section, column or widget will look, e.g. typography, background, spacing. This is how you change the background of a section, column or widget!
  • Advanced: Customize margins/padding, device responsiveness, motion effects, and custom CSS.

I also love how you can adjust the margins and padding for everything in the Advanced column. They seem like they do similar things, but I drew something to help you understand the difference between margins and padding.

Global Widgets

Global Widgets are widgets displayed on multiple parts of your site. A single global widget can be displayed across multiple pages. So when you update that single global widget, all linked widgets across your website are also updated!

This is great for newsletter opt-ins, repeating text boxes (like for an event or webinar), or buttons you frequently use.

Global widgets are a Pro feature.

To save a global widget, right click the widget ​ and select “Save as Global”.

Then, the widget will appear in your “Global Widgets” section.

When you’re in the Elementor Page Builder, you can access your Global Widgets section and drag a global widget like a normal widget onto your page!

Protip: To avoid customizing typography styles over and over again, save your website typography settings as global widgets.

When you’re ready to make a new text box, drag your global “text widget” onto the page.

Then, right click the global widget and press the red “UNLINK” button to edit the widget. This saves some extra time when you need to make a quick text box!

Different Types of Widgets

Again, widgets are functional applications within the Elementor plugin. Each widget performs in a different way on your website.

Free Elementor Widgets

Since Elementor is a freemium plugin, they offer a lot of options for you to use! Here are some of my favorite free widgets:

You can use Heading widgets to display your custom heading typography!

The text editor is a separate widget where you add text. There is both a WYSIWYG editor and a bare text editor.

Inner sections allow you to build sections within a section (this menu is built in a two-column inner section). 

Display videos from YouTube or Vimeo using this widget!

Display custom social icons with this widget! This makes it easy to add social icons to a page without needing to rely on another plugin to do the job.

Easily add custom-coded buttons to your website! In the past, I’ve used CSS to create and customize buttons. I love how Elementor empowers the no-coding approach (:

Create a simple but sophisticated image gallery! This is great because you can customize the look of the gallery (image size, columns, border radius, etc).

An anchor is a page jump, so when someone clicks your anchor they are led to a specific part on your page (that you set). You can set anchor links, code-free, using Elementor! 

This is a “Toggle” widget using Elementor! It makes it easy to set up FAQs, or areas where you have a lot of information but do not want to clutter a page.

Elementor Pro Widgets

I obviously love Elementor Pro. Its paid features allow for that extra level of customization and sophistication. Here are some of my favorite Pro widgets:

Add a fun, personalized level of sophistication to your pages with an animated headline!

Have you ever felt frustrated by the limited ways your theme displays blog posts? The “Posts” widget allows you to customize how the feed of your blog posts will be displayed… without have to worrying about custom code or CSS.

This is one of my favorite Pro widgets and it’s such a simple concept. The custom forms widget allows you to customize any form – contact form, email optin form, login form – on the page. 

Have you ever felt frustrated trying to build a pricing table for your website? Elementor actually makes this so simple – plus you have the option to add a ribbon to the top of your price tables!

The Countdown widget is great for when you need to display a countdown on your website (like for an event).

Other notable Pro plugins: Navigation Menu, Testimonial Carousel, Share Buttons, Media Carousel, Facebook Embed

How to Build Forms Using Elementor Pro

Again, the forms widget is one of my favorite features, even though it’s simple and a small touch. They are also very easy to create.

Forms are a Pro feature.

Two of the most common examples for forms would be to build a contact form or email opt-in form. The modern, branded forms look much more professional than the generic default forms. 

To build both forms, drag the “Forms” widget onto your page.

Build a Contact Form Using Elementor

For every item on your form, you can select the type of display (text, email, URL, file upload, checkbox, etc. – there are many different options!) for each form field.

After you build the form fields, you decide if you want to display the labels (the labels appear above each form field). You can also make edits to the “Submit” button.

Then, go to “Actions After Submit”. This dictates what you want to happen after someone successfully completes your form and presses “Submit”.

For Contact forms, make sure the “Email” action is selected.

You can also set up this form to send information via Discord or Slack. This is a neat feature that could declutter your inbox or help your team stay on the same page regarding contact inquiries you receive.

Then, click the “Email” section and confirm accurate information is completed. You can style your form to totally match your brand!

Build an Email Opt-in Form Using Elementor

Elementor’s form builder comes with some CRM integration. If you use a CRM like Convertkit, ​you can integrate it with Elementor by installing the Mailoptin plugin and integrating it with your CRM.

Building an email opt-in form is similar to the contact form above except instead of “Email” being an Action after someone inputs their information, you would choose an action like “Mailchimp” or “Mailoptin.”

From there, a new section will pop up (e.g. “Mailoptin”) for you to confirm which List you want people to be linked to when they enter their information!

This is an example email opt-in section built using Elementor:

Do you want an email opt-in section done for you like the one above? Click the button below!

Elementor Pro Templates

As a branding supernerd, I love how you can save templates for use with Elementor Pro! The idea is you build something once, save it as a template, and reuse the template to build your next pages in the future!

  • Build an entire Homepage or landing page, save it as a template, and reuse elements again on other pages!
  • Save a single section and use it again as a template.
  • Download someone else’s template and customize it with your own copy, images and branding.

This saves so much time in the long run because you are only designing or building something once. This also helps ensure your website maintains a consistent look across all pages. 

To customize your templates, go to your WordPress dashboard and find the “Templates.”

Here, you can upload templates, create new templates, and modify templates.

Protip: Before saving something as a template, check to make sure it’s coded for tablet and mobile!

Elementor Pro Theme Builder

The Elementor Pro Theme Builder is incredible! You can basically design your own navigation menu, footer, blog archives pages, and blog post pages. 

  • Set a custom navigation bar or footer across your entire website.
  • Use “Display Conditions” to customize the look of each blog category.
  • Totally customize the look of your blog page (add an email opt-in form!).

This feature alone makes Elementor as more than a plugin… it basically acts as a fully customizable WordPress theme. 

Elementor Pro Pop-Ups

Another incredible Elementor Pro feature are Elementor Popups. These are another great way to capture your visitors’ email addresses. You can customize the popups to display after a certain period of time, as they’re exiting the page, etc.

Do you want an email opt-in section done for you like the one above? Click the button below!

Ready to get started?

I remember the frustrated feeling of feeling limited by my own blog theme. Or going into the back end of a client’s website trying to navigate their own theme!

Elementor Pro paves the way for the future of customization. And they keep adding more features.

I highly recommend using Elementor Pro to build your website!

“I want to switch to Elementor, but moving and customizing everything is a lot of work.

I totally understand the pain and anxiety around switching from one website solution to another. Is it even a good fit? 

I’ve helped others in the same boat switch over from Divi, Blogger, and Visual Composer! This switch means a less clunky website backend (which improves site speed, yay!) and an easy-to-edit front-end (you can actually feel empowered to make your own changes… without the fear of messing anything up!).

Do you want help transitioning your website to Elementor? Click here to get in touch so we can see if this would be a good fit!

What’s your Elementor experience?

Did you learn anything from this tutorial? What has been your experience with Elementor so far? 

I am so passionate about this plugin (I use it EVERY day), so let me know in the comments below what other questions you have about Elementor!

Thinking of Quitting Your Job? Here’s How to be Financially Prepared

Are you financially prepared to quit your job? The work from home life is glamorous, but before you start freelancing or blogging you should make sure you have your finances prepared! Here are some personal finance tips that will set you up for success.You’re on Cloud 9 daydreaming of quitting your job, along with other millennials pursuing a life where they work for themselves. Maybe even running their business while they travel the world.

Working online from home is something you dream of doing.

But there are a million questions going through your head:

  • Can I do this?
  • When?
  • How soon?
  • Am I financially prepared to quit my job?
  • …and, can I travel the world whilst I do it?

Maybe you’ve read a horror story about someone who’s quit their job with no idea how to bring in income. They do something like move abroad and, with no idea how they’ll make money, they run their savings dry.

But speaking from experience, there are many more people who support themselves whilst working from home.

The world of working online from home surprised me when I first discovered it in 2017. Before then, I thought “freelance” or “self-employed” was a synonym for “unemployed.” Since then, I’ve started a freelance business of my own and have visited countries like Thailand, France, England, New Zealand… even Japan.

Before I moved abroad, I prepared a safety net that would keep me going during the turbulent ride of freelancing. I honestly love talking about money, so… here are three simple steps you can take to financially prepare to quit your job.

Of course, I don’t know everything and I can’t offer financial advice for your own specific, unique situation. But based on my own journey of financially preparing to quit my job, these are the steps I recommend to start your journey.

1. Estimate your expenses.

First of all, figure out what expenses you’ll have from month-to-month. I used a spreadsheet to do this!

If you’ll be traveling as a digital nomad, factor in estimated costs of traveling from place to place, and of course visas.

Here are some expenses you can plan for:

  • Lodging/Accommodation
  • Food
  • Fun (going out, excursions)
  • Fitness
  • Business Costs (taxes, monthly business expenses, cell phone, etc.)
  • Travel (flights & visas)
  • Transportation (ubers, taxis, scooter rentals, etc.)
  • Insurance
  • Other (debt, unexpected costs, etc)
  • Savings
  • 401k

You can even look to websites like VentureCost where working travellers log expenses from their trip. Seeing how other travellers spend their money in places can help you start to estimate what you’re going to need month-to-month.

Lodging & Accommodation

Decide how much you’ll need to spend on rent month-to-month!

I travel regularly throughout the year, so it helps me to have a basic budget of how much I want to spend on lodging every month.

If you’re working and travelling the digital nomad way, you have many options:

  1. Book a long-term Airbnb. Oftentimes, you can book a long-term Airbnb and get discounts the longer you stay in one – weekly, monthly, etc. Airbnb owners make more when you stay in their accommodation for a longer amount of time, as opposed to needing to fill in the brief empty periods. Click here to use our link to sign up for Airbnb, and receive a $40 travel credit that never expires.
  2. Housesit with Trusted Housesitters. Housesitting as a digital entrepreneur bears a huge benefit to both parties. You’ll be working from your laptop. So basically you’re able to watch a person’s pets and home while you work. And in return, you get practically free accommodation. The membership cost is $119 for one year, which would really pay for itself with one week of housesitting… and the benefit just multiples with every housesit you get. Click here to start browsing housesitting opportunities with Trusted Housesitters.
  3. Stay in a hotel, and then find an apartment. Alternatively, you can book a hotel for a few nights or a week and then go apartment hunting once you get to your destination. I normally use Booking.com to search for and look for nice hotels in an area.
  4. Volunteer via Workaway in exchange for accommodations. You can also exchange a few hours of your day of work for free accommodations. Workaway partners travelers with people looking for different kinds of help around the world – babysitting, teaching yoga or English, web design, etc. It’s only $32 for an annual membership ($42 if you’re traveling as a couple), and well worth every penny even if you only use it once or twice.

The 3 Fs (Food, Fun, Fitness)

Always leave room in your budget for food, fun, and fitness.

For me, fun things are like booking excursions or tours (like a guided pub crawl or guided mountain tour). When it comes to fitness, maybe a gym membership is important to you, or you want to leave room in your budget to take yoga classes throughout the month.

Business Expenses

Whether or not you’ll be running your own business, budget for any work-related expenses you’ll accrue on the road.

  • Coworking spaces or coffees at cafes
  • Books, courses, or even business coaching
  • Advertising and marketing costs
  • Taxes (if self-employed, set aside 20-30% for taxes)
  • Technology upgrades

Think about what you will need to work while you travel.

Related Listening: Managing Your Biz Finances as a Freelancer with Amanda Altman

Travel and Transportation

Whether you’re going to be a digital nomad, or you’re staying in one location, you still need to think about travel and/or transportation costs.

  • How are you going to get around? (Uber, Lyft, public transportation, vehicle, scooter rental, gas)
  • What will the monthly cost be?

For us, we have to think about flight costs (if any), the cost of any visa extensions if we want to stay in a country for an extended period of time, the ride to/from the airport, and of course how we’re going to get around every month.

Insurance

If you have insurance through an employer who provides benefits and allows you to work remotely, you can probably skip this step.

Otherwise, you should think about the cost of dental/vision insurance, health insurance, and maybe even travel insurance as you start traveling the world managing your own business.

Other (debt, monthly payments, annual payments, unexpected expenses)

Then think of other costs, and allocate money for that.

  • Student Loan or Credit Card debt – what are your monthly payments for these?
  • Annual or monthly payments – like car registration, Amazon Prime membership, and those other subscriptions you have
  • Unexpected expenses – maybe you have to go to the hospital, or you have to buy something while on the road. Always prepare for the unexpected.

It’s just wise to be as prepared as possible, especially financially, if you’re about to pick up and travel the world. Think about the year ahead, and any possible expenses that could come up. By thinking ahead like this, you won’t be surprised and fishing for $100 when it comes time to renew your Amazon Prime subscription.

It’s important to be credit smart before you hit the road. Click here to check your credit score for free with Credit Sesame.

Savings & Your 401k

Lastly – it’s so important to continue saving. Skip that coffee if you have to. And even if it’s a small amount, contribute to your 401k.

When all else fails, it’s important you have an emergency cushion to fall back on.

  • Don’t steal from your future by withdrawing from your 401k. Contribute when possible, as much as possible.
  • But at the same time, save enough to fall back on when emergencies come up.

Allocate a certain amount to be set aside each month – divide that (however you wish) between your savings account and your 401k.

2. Determine how much you’ll need to save.

After you figure out your expenses, determine how much you will need to save to start chasing your dreams and living abroad.

Some costs you’ll need to factor in:

  • The cost of flights to and from a location,
  • The cost of a passport (if you need one, and if you don’t have one),
  • Any costs of visas, or visa extensions, while you travel.

Honestly, this amount is different for everyone. Some people have families, or maybe even mortgages, to pay. I am still pursuing the debt-free life and paying off my student loans.

So, do you save for a month? Three months? Six months?

If you do not have a guaranteed full-time income, save for three months of expenses at the absolute least. And if you have a family, you should save for at least six months of expenses.

No one can really tell you how much you need to save except yourself.

3. Start your side hustle. Or find a remote job.

Don’t quit your job unless you are beginning to have a steady source of income from your side hustle.

Some people can do it: quit their job, live off their savings, and start making everything work for them. Maybe you’re one of them.

But to veer on the safe side, prove to yourself you can make a consistent monthly income before you quit your job.

At the same time, don’t watch yourself succeed at your side hustle, only to prevent yourself from taking the leap to pursue it full-time.

Find that sweet spot.

This is how I started my own path to self-employment:

  1. started a blog (actually, at one point I had two blogs).
  2. My blogs started making money from affiliate marketing, as well as from services offered.
  3. I saved as much as freaking possible, all the while working on this blog on the side.
  4. After a few months, I had enough money set aside to comfortably quit my job in order to commit to this business full-time.

If you plan to work remotely for a company, that might be enough of a structured environment you need to be productive. But if you’re trying to build a business – being able to work on your side hustle after work proves whether or not you have the work ethic it takes to build a business.

So take the time to think about the side hustle you want to start. And, trust me, there are tons of ways to make money online.

So either: start working on your side hustle and prove to yourself it’s profitable before you take the risk of quitting your job; or, find a job where you can work remotely.

Related Reading: Put in the Work to Change Your Life: An Interview with The Savvy Couple

It’s okay to be scared.

Quitting your job to work from your computer goes against everything we’re taught about growing up. Because we’re taught to go to university, start a career, and settle down.

So going against that is scary.

But, it’s okay to be scared and feel afraid. You’re not alone, and you can do this.

Even though I proved to myself I could make money online, as the last day at my job approached, I was scared. But, before the end of my last day, I also landed my first web design client. We’re not where we want to be. But we work hard as heck, every day, towards it.

Success doesn’t come to those patient enough to wait. It comes to those who work hard for it.

If my dream can come true, so can yours. Just know you have to put in the work to make it happen.

If you haven’t started your blog yet, or you want to take your blog to the next level and go self-hosted, click here for a step-by-step tutorial with an incredible deal on website hosting.

Want to Keep Reading?

Are you preparing to quit your job? What do you want to do for income, and how do you plan to get there?

How to Start a Lifestyle Blog

Do you want to start a lifestyle blog, but don't know where to start? If you're a beginner blogger looking for tips on how to start your first blog, you'll love this guide! You even get an exclusive deal that you may as well start a blog for free. #startablog #blogging101

Do you want to start a lifestyle blog, but don't know where to start? If you're a beginner blogger looking for tips on how to start your first blog, you'll love this complete how to start a lifestyle blog guide! You even get an exclusive deal that you may as well start a blog for free. #startablog #blogging101 | Start A Blog, Blogging Tips, Blogging for Beginners, Blog Tips for Beginners, Blogging Newbies, Blog Newbies, How to Start A Blog, How to Start a Lifestyle Blog | RerouteLifestyle.comDo you want to start a lifestyle blog, yet feel overwhelmed with where to start?

When I first started a lifestyle blog in February 2017, I felt the same way. Starting a blog feels like you’re tackling an endless to-do list! On top of that, putting yourself and your writing out there is intimidating. Plus, how do people niche down on a topic? I’ve rebranded what feels like one million times until settling on writing about working while traveling.

But one of the most important parts about my journey is that I just started.

Finally starting my blog helped me:

A big decision I made when I first started my lifestyle blog was deciding whether or not to pay money upfront. I’m a penny-pincher by nature, so I felt scared about taking a leap and investing in my blog.

Given that I’ve just experienced the best year of my life (so far!)… I don’t regret a second of it.

SO many of you pop into my Instagram DMs asking me about how to start a blog of your own. Well… here’s the answers to all of your questions!

Reasons to Start a Blog

  • Create a space where you can share everything you’re passionate about;
  • Start writing amazing, influential content;
  • Connect with the supportive blogging community;
  • Empower you and give yourself confidence;
  • Inspire others through your content;
  • Grow your skillset, including social media management;
  • Open opportunities to collaborate with other businesses.

The list of why you should start a blog goes on and on. A blog can be a creative outlet, a marketable skill-builder, a living resumé…like all things, it will be what you make it.

Reasons NOT to Blog

I can think about a few reasons you shouldn’t start a blog.

  • You don’t feel passionate about the subject(s) you want to write about;
  • You don’t REALLY like writing;
  • Time is something you never have, and you’re unwilling to make time to write;
  • The only thing that’s exciting to you is the money, and nothing else.

Granted, the reasons are different for everyone. But if you don’t enjoy writing, you don’t feel passionate enough about your subject, or you’re only fueled by the potential of profit… maybe you shouldn’t start a blog.

Like all things in life, blogging can have its days of excitement and days of low self-worth. So growing a blog that fuels you will help you get through any unmotivated days!

What you need to know about starting a lifestyle blog

Starting a lifestyle blog is one of the easiest ways to start blogging because you are literally starting a blog based on your life.

That also means that you have to make the extra effort to stand out beside everyone else in that niche.

But…how, right?

  • Narrow down your audience. What kind of lifestyle content do you want to write? Who do you want to write for? Millennials? Women? People with wanderlust?
  • Write down what brought you to where you are. One of the most powerful ways to stand out apart from the rest is through your STORY. So, what lifestyle transformations helped you get to where you are today?
  • Take time to design your aesthetic. Choose a blog theme that represents you. Likewise, choose fonts and colors that really give off the vibe you want others to feel about your brand. Are you edgy? Feminine? Rebellious? Professional? Choose photos, colors, and fonts that communicate that.
  • Connect with other lifestyle bloggers. Once you know what type of lifestyle content you want to write, connect with bloggers who would have audiences similar to yours! It’s easy to talk to someone when you have the same interests. And it also opens potential opportunities for collaboration in the future.

Still interested? Let’s start building your lifestyle blog.

What’s the difference: free vs. self-hosted?

When you have choice between a free host (like WordPress.com or Blogger) and a paid host (like Siteground or Bluehost) is in front of you, the choice seems obvious. Who doesn’t like the word “free”?

Actually, free hosting isn’t all it’s cut out to be.

  • Your host can shut your site down at any time.
  • Your host may have restrictions when you start monetizing your blog.

It might be confusing, but yesWordPress.com and a self-hosted WordPress blog are different. WordPress.com starts as a free hosting service. Self-hosted WordPress blogs (or WordPress.org software) can be installed to your very own WordPress website. With a self-hosted WordPress blog:

  • You can have a personalized and professional e-mail address (for example, us@reroutelifestyle.com).
  • Your website will perform better on search engine searches (thus increasing traffic and money to your blog).
  • You have far more control over the customization of your blog.

If you are serious about blogging, the small investment to start your own self-hosted blog will be the best decision in the long run. It will be a time-consuming pain to transfer your content from a free service to your own.

Plus, if you own your content from the get-go, you can start earning the most money possible from your blog immediately. I am going to guide you through the process of purchasing your very own self-hosted blog from Bluehost, and installing WordPress on your blog (don’t worry, it’s easier than you think!).

Get a domain and hosting

Starting your self-hosted blog requires two things: a domain, and hosting for that domain. I recommend Bluehost if you are looking for a host with great uptime, and 24/7 customer service.

Benefits of Using Bluehost

  • Bluehost offers helpful, fast 24/7 customer service
  • They install WordPress for you for free in one click!
  • If you already have a website, they offer free website setup and transfer
  • Industry leading in terms of uptime
  • You get a FREE domain with purchase!

Is your domain available for purchase?

Bluehost offers three options for hosting plans. You can use this link to sign up and get hosting for as low as $2.95/month! To be honest, I regularly wish that I started blogging with Bluehost. Their discount only applies to the number of months you pay for upfront, so I recommend paying for as many months in advance as possible.

(I purchased two years upfront and it only took me less than two months of blogging to earn my money back for my domain and hosting, but it’s different for everyone).

After you select your plan, you can either claim your free new domain, or use a domain you already own.

After you either purchase or transfer your new domain, all you have to do is take a few minutes to fill out your information.

Seriously, you can start a website at $2.95/mo! It’s one small sacrifice (like skipping a coffee) every month in order to start the a website that works FOR you.

How to install WordPress

Immediately after you set up your domain and hosting, you can set up WordPress!

Take advantage of Bluehost’s easy, one-click WordPress installation right after you purchase your plan.

And, if you ever run into any trouble, Bluehost has help, quick 24/7 customer service who are more than prepared to answer any questions you may have (trust me, I’ve taken advantage of this, too!).

I’ve worked with other hosts who charge MORE than Bluehost does – hosts who don’t offer 24/7 customer service … and when you finally do get in touch with them, you get in touch with snarky agents who make you feel like you’re burdening them.

Once you install WordPress, you can access your WordPress Dashboard by typing in:

YOURDOMAIN.COM/wp-admin

How to navigate your WordPress Dashboard

If you’re new to WordPress you might be overwhelmed by its Dashboard. Don’t worry, once you learn all the terms, you’ll realize how simple it can be. Let me walk you through the WordPress dashboard options on the sidebar.

Start Your Lifestyle & Travel Blog with this Guide at KristaAoki.com, a lifestyle & travel blog

1. Posts

The “Posts” option helps you organize your posts, including your post categories and tags. You can view “All Posts” including drafts and edit your posts from here.

When you add a new post, you can also manage its categories and tags.

Please, please make sure “Uncategorized” is unchecked. Give each post the love and recognition it deserves. Assign it to a category.

Categories are your blog’s overarching concepts. Like, for example, my categories are lifestyle, travel and blogging.

As for tags, you can think of them like subcategories or hashtags. If you link your blog to Bloglovin, your tags will show up whenever you post a new post!

2. Media

The “Media” section showcases files you upload, including images. You can see what you’ve already opened by clicking Library. To add a new photo, click “Add New”. You can also add to your media library when you are editing a post.

You can title your images, edit their sizes, and update the Alt Text. Make sure you update the Alt Text on every image. This will contribute to your website’s search engine optimization and will help your articles rank higher on search engines.

3. Pages

Different than posts, Pages do not show up on your blog’s feed. You can get creative with the type of pages you make, but essential pages to write are an About Me page and a Contact page.

4. Comments

This section is where you can manage the comments on all your posts. You can approve comments, mark them as spam, and even reply to them!

5. Appearance

The appearance section of your Dashboard is where you can select or upload your theme, and customize the look of your blog.

Believe me, I really like the idea of being frugal. So, I tried finding a free theme. But, the customization that paid themes allow is tenfold. You are more likely to find the theme you want if you spend $20-50 on a theme. My marketplace for fonts is Creative Market.

This blog’s theme was put together using the Elementor Pro plugin. There is both a free and paid version of this plugin, and I wholeheartedly recommend this drag-and-drop plugin!

6. Plugins

Plugins are an additional way you can customize your blog. Think of them like apps that help you make your blog do what you want! Plugins are what make WordPress.org software so much better than free hosted blogs.

Some of my favorite plugins are:

  • Elementor Pro: Elementor Pro is an intuitive drag-and-drop pagebuilder plugin for WordPress.
  • Yoast SEO: Yoast SEO is one of the easiest tools to add to a website! It allows you to customize how links from your website show up on Google and social media.
  • W3 Total Cache: This plugin helps speed up your website! I recommend a caching plugin for every WordPress website.

And then what?

After you set up your blog, you can start preparing for a successful blog launch. When I prepared for Reroute Lifestyle’s launch, I actually grew our email list to 265 subscribers and social media accounts to 100 combined followers just by following the steps outlined in that article.

It goes to show that while you’re working on building your blog, you can still grow an audience.

Related Reading:

Yes, blogging has a learning curve.

Mistakes (or things that feel like mistakes) happen along the way, and as the perfectionist you probably are, there will be a lot that you’ll want to change. Believe me, it’s okay to learn as you go.

It’s just as important to never give up. There are days I think this isn’t going to work out… take them as they come, but find ways to get past them. Because: it is going to work out. You just need to be proactive and figure out the “how.”

Do you have any questions about creating a blog? What surprises you about blogging? 

10 Lifesaving Tips on How to Travel on a Low Budget

Traveling does NOT have to be expensive. And saving money for your next adventure doesn't have to be difficult. If you want to learn how to travel for cheap, or tips on how to travel the world on a small budget, read this.Wanderlust: a strong impulse to explore the world. And when you have that strong impulse, that need to see and explore the world, you’ll find a way to do it. And you’re determined to chase your dreams by finding ways to travel on a low budget.

You’re going to do what it takes to fulfill your wanderlust.

If you’re committed to travel with a low budget, you’ll work towards traveling the world one step at a time. Maybe you give up buying that Starbucks coffee for a month. Or you decide not to buy that new pair of knee-high boots. Or maybe you decide to bring lunch to work instead of buying it every day.

Travelling does not have to be expensive.

Decide what you’re willing to pay for (like a direct flight to save time) versus what luxuries are least important to you. But it’s possible to travel on a small budget.

We make small commissions from affiliate links
to keep our blog running.
To learn more, click here.

1. Plan in advance, and plan early.

Obviously: if you’re going to travel on a budget, know how much you’re going to spend and how much you should save.

  • Have an idea of what you want to do
  • Estimate expenses
  • Cut your spending + save

When you have a tangible goal you want to achieve, it’s easier to save. When you know what you need to save, you can figure out what you need to set aside week after week with your paycheck.

Know what you’ll need to spend now so you can enjoy your vacation later.

Don’t put yourself in a situation where you regret not being able to afford doing something fun. You traveled all the way to a place, so save up and do it right!

Some expenses you can expect:

  • Getting there (airfare, gas costs, train/bus, luggage costs)
  • Accommodations (hotels, hostels, airbnbs, couchsurfing)
  • Transportation (uber, lyft, rental car, tolls, gas, etc.)
  • Food
  • Daily Activities
  • Souvenirs/Gifts
  • Special Attractions

2. Use TripAdvisor to research and plan activities

So you want to estimate how much you’re going to need to save for your trip. One of the best ways to see popular activities at your destination is to use TripAdvisor.

  • TripAdvisor lists the types of activities in any given area
  • You can find company info – like their website
  • You can use TripAdvisor to research what other people have to say

Seeing what others recommend or how they felt about their experience can help you decide whether or not you want to shell $70 on that outdoor experience. Or if others found it wasn’t worth the money.

Click here to start using TripAdvisor to plan your next trip!

3. Use VentureCost whilst you travel to understand your spending

Knowing how much you’re spending day-to-day is so helpful!

When living back home, I used a credit card for every transaction. In many countries abroad, paying with cash is much more common.

Now, I use a free website called VentureCost to track my spending.

You add the city where you’re travelling and the length of time you’ll be there. You add how much you’ll be spending on accommodation during the trip. From there, you can just add and track your spending simply with VentureCost!

It’s a browser-based app, so I bookmarked VentureCost on my phone so I can easily access it whilst

Bonus: You can see others’ budgets and how they spend money in the same city! This makes it much easier for you to plan budgets for your trip.

4. Save more by stacking rewards.

When you’re not saving… maybe you’re shopping. We all have to do it – buying toiletries, coffee, groceries. Whatever. But when you do have to do any shopping, stack your savings!

I wonder why people don’t stack savings. To take your hard-earned dollar as far as possible:

  1. Use rewards cards when you shop.
  2. When you shop online, use Ebates. Ebates gives you cash back on purchases you were probably going to make anyway (like toothpaste on Amazon, or deals on flights/hotels!). It doesn’t even cost anything to sign up. In fact, they give you $10 after you sign up and make your first purchase!
  3. When you shop in-store, use Ibotta. Ibotta is just like Ebates – you get cash back on your everyday freaking spending…just by scanning your in-store receipts.

Then you can use that extra money on your vacation. And who doesn’t want extra spending money?!

Protip: Book what you can using Ebates. This includes flights, hotels, rental cars. Like I said, you get cash freakin’ back for booking, so why not?!

6. Research cheapest ways of getting there

Do your research! Know exactly how much baggage costs will be when you travel. Although budget airlines might boast a ridiculously low price, they might charge an extra carry-on bag fee.

There are a few great websites that help you find the cheapest way to get there.

  1. Kayak.com
  2. Google Flights
  3. Rome2Rio (train, bus, airplane, ferry)
  4. Skyscanner
  5. Kiwi.com

If you are traveling from city to city, book an overnight bus, flight or train ride. That way, you save on hotel accommodations for that evening! Do your math and calculate the cost of renting a vehicle vs. taking public transportation!

Protip: Being flexible with your travel dates can help you find a much better deal.

7. Stay in an Airbnb

How to Travel on a Low Budget: Get $40 off your first stay of Airbnb with this coupon.

My FAVE way to travel is using Airbnb. When you book an Airbnb, you can book a room, apartment, or even a castle (YES!!! Epic, right?!) with a private host!

For a cheaper experience you can book a room in your host’s house or apartment. Or if you prefer your privacy, you can book a private apartment or home allll to yourself. Whatever you decide, Airbnb offers a unique experience for your vacation! It actually gives you the opportunity to live and travel like a local.

Pay attention to host reviews. After reading the reviews, you’ll get a clear indication of others’ experience with each Airbnb. Is the host unreliable or hard to get ahold of? Was the apartment dirty on multiple occasions? Even if the pictures are great, don’t settle for a cheap room that could be dirty on arrival. Find one of the plenty of incredible hosts who go out of their way to make sure you enjoy your experience.

Leverage a lower rate with a host who doesn’t have any reviews. If you are really going for the budget accommodation, try negotiating a lower rate with a host in exchange for a detailed review. For the reasons stated above, reviews make or break a host’s business. So they may be willing to lower their rate knowing that you will review their Airbnb after your stay.

If you don’t have Airbnb, sign up here so you can claim a $40 travel credit. This credit never expires so you can sign up now and save the $40 for a future trip.

8. Use TripAdvisor to find cheap hotels & hostels

If you couldn’t tell, there are so many ways to use TripAdvisor to do your vacation planning, including searching for accommodations in the area.

After you open the TripAdvisor website, search for hotels or hostels in the city where you plan to visit. From there, read the reviews other travelers have written about their experience at each property. If you are interested in a specific property, you can also use TripAdvisor to compare the cheapest rates through various websites.

Bonus: If you’re traveling during low season, don’t book a room in advance. Visit different hotels and negotiate a lower walk-in rate. Just don’t be a salty Susan if the hotel of your dreams is fully booked for that night!

9. Housesit or Volunteer

If you really want to travel on a budget, consider working while you travel.

Housesit with Trusted Housesitters. You have to pay to join most housesitting websites, but after the membership cost, everything else is free. Housesitting websites connect you with houseowners around the world who need someone to look after their home, or their pets. It’s a great way to visit a place and earn a free accommodation. Click here to browse Trusted Housesitters housesitting options.

Volunteer with Workaway. While Workaway also has a membership fee, just like with Trusted Housesitters, everything after that is free. Browse your dream destinations and see the different types of volunteer experiences that area offers. The work exchange can vary from teaching English, to construction, to computer/website work. Click here to browse the different Workaway opportunities!

10. Avoid foreign transaction fees

If you are traveling internationally, and don’t want to carry travelers’ checks or large amounts of cash around, you should definitely make sure you have a card that does not charge foreign transaction fees. Some countries have cards that do not charge you ATM fees as well.

My favorite debit card to travel with is officially my Charles Schwab card. If you open a (free) Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking Account, you can get rebates on any ATM withdrawals made with your debit card. Basically, after you are charged an ATM withdrawal fee, they give it back to you at the end of the month.

So if you need cash in a jiffy and you’re traveling internationally (or anywhere for that matter), you can go to an ATM and withdraw from this account! Although you are charged for the ATM fee, Charles Schwab credits your account with the ATM fees at the end of each cycle!

Either way, do your research and make sure you have at least one card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees.

All this budget talk doesn’t mean you’re skipping the fun stuff.

Don’t take “planning a trip on a budget” to mean “having less fun”. Save enough so that you can enjoy your trip! Find the perfect balance between cutting your spending and enjoying a memorable vacation.

And don’t forget to use Ebates to search for flights, hotel accommodations, and rental car rates. If you’re still not ready to commit to any purchases for your trip (or you’ve already paid for everything), just use Ebates while you shop and put any cash back you earn aside for your travel budget.

If this guide helped you out, don’t forget to pin or share! Or, if you need to reference these tips down the line, don’t forget to bookmark it!

All in all, folks, the wanderlust is real and it’s hitting me hard. I can’t be the only one counting down the days until my next vacation, right?

Where are you traveling in 2018? I want to hear how you travel on a budget!

Dear future me…

I write this letter from Japan, a spontaneous working holiday after a wonderful, busy summer with my lovely family and friends back home in the US.

This morning, I realized that I am on my way to becoming the best human being I can be. This morning, I realized that I require space, solitude and reflection in order to continue growing. So this morning, I made a few promises to myself.

These promises are meaningful to me for a couple standout reasons:

  1. I didn’t realize how much I needed time on my own until the past couple days. This year, I’ve actually barely spent any quality time alone. I’ve obligated myself to so much and kept myself so busy that I didn’t realize I needed time to be me. To be obligation-free. To be worry-free.
  2. Over the summer, I found an old journal. Inside, I found a list of things I wanted at the fresh age of 20. It was a time many (including myself) knew me to be naive.

But this journal…

How can I describe the emotions I felt when I picked this up after over half a decade? I wrote things like:

  • I want to be educated enough to have an opinion.
  • I want to step back and ask myself, “what gives me the right to be judging this person?”
  • I want to have something to teach my peers.
  • I want to compliment others.
  • I want to be a part of a community.

As I went down this list, I thought of how much I’ve improved with each bullet point (although, I didn’t continue to learn Japanese…).

Knowing I’ve put in work towards what I wrote down I wanted when I was 20… that is chilling. Humbling.

We spend a lot of time criticizing ourselves, thinking about all that we’re not. Comparing our lives to the highlight reels of everyone on Instagram.

But we spend less time looking back at what we’ve achieved. The slow, humble work we put in to become the person we want to be.

Hi, I’m Krista.

If we haven’t met before, hello. I’m Krista! I started this blog because I wanted to (not-so-politely) say no to living the conventional lifestyle everyone told me was the path I had to follow.

I didn’t understand why chasing the American dream meant juggling debt for the next unforeseeable future – taking on a car loan, and after that a home mortgage. I didn’t understand why adults would tell me working an insufferable job was a part of the journey towards the “American dream.”

After graduating from university, I kept changing my mind about what to do. I shifted from career to career, from place to place. Some called me careless, some called me reckless – but silently I knew that with every step, I was making a calculated risk.

I started publicly blogging in general to empower women to say yes to taking calculated risks – calculated risks beyond Monopoly, beyond The Game of Life, beyond Settlers of Catan.

Now, I travel the world whilst designing websites. This past year, I’ve surprised myself as I booked working holidays to countries like England, France and New Zealand.

I haven’t published a lot of my own writing recently… and I’m going to really explore why in this post.

I’m tired of disappointing people.

One thing I’ve realized these past few days on my own is I’m so sick of disappointing people.

My memory keeps flashing back to all the fights that happened because I couldn’t live up to someone’s expectations.

Flashing back to the people I hurt because I couldn’t give all they wanted me, expected me, to give.

Flashing back to the expectation to contribute, to participate, to be here, to do that, to say something, to be something, to…

AHHH.

It’s overwhelming. But the truth is, I don’t have to accept that disappointment from others.

So that brings me to this – this letter, this series of promises I’m making to myself.

Promise #1: Schedule time to reflect

This year, I’ve practiced drawing some serious boundaries. And drawing these boundaries wasn’t as easy as drawing a line in the sand.

Again, this year I’ve kept myself busy.

If I saw an evening where I would possibly be alone, I filled it with something to do. Karaoke night. Inviting someone to play video games. Going out to dinner. Then drinks. Lather, rinse, repeat.

It’s been a fab year. I’ve made some incredible friendships and connections.

But holy hell, have I realized, I can only be my best self if I give myself time alone to reflect. It’s good to be grateful in the moment, but I can only strengthen my gratitude muscle if I give myself the time to practice it on my own.

Four months ago, I had a very emotional anxiety attack. It was like I snapped out of what I thought was “a need to be busy” but was really my attempt to disguise how numb I was to what was going on.

It still makes me pause when I reflect back on it.

And now I’m alone, in Japan. Enjoying being alone. Enjoying the time to reflect.

I’m not my best person when I’m busy, numbing myself to what’s going on around me. I’m my best person when I give myself time to reflect, analyze, and grow. And thus also give to and love what’s going on around me.

So Promise #1 I made to myself: schedule time to reflect.

Promise #2: Surround yourself with positive people

I am my best self when I’m positive, and I get a lot of energy when I’m surrounded by contagiously positive people. I dream of floating off on a cotton candy cloud of positivity, giggling in a circle with everyone I love, every second of every day.

lol, okay, that’s a bit much.

Recently, I let my friend Jenn know about a negative, discouraging comment someone made about startups that triggered a negative emotion from me.

“I wonder where that person is coming from, and what makes them look down on startups,” she said.

It’s moments like that, where my friends (and family) prompt me to come from a place of understanding, that make me realize I’m doing something right.

To be honest, I get caught up in negative circlejerks. But that never feels right. In fact, it feels draining. Getting caught up in circles of negativity makes me feel like I’m building a dome around myself instead of allowing myself to grow.

So, Promise #2 I made to myself: surround yourself with positive people.

Promise #3: Give generously, receive gratefully

My Aunty Diane says this is something my Grandma has said: Give generously, receive gratefully.

The first feelings I get when people give something to me are shame, paranoia, maybe even embarrassment.

But my friend Lydia put it perfectly to me the other night: if you wanted to give something to someone, how would you want them to receive it?

Some things I’ve learned over the years: what you give, comes back. It’s silly, isn’t it? There are parts of my life I feel can be a circle of giving. At first I thought the circle of giving was pointless. Until I realized it feels good to give. It feels good for me to give, it feels good for others to give.

And so, Promise #3 I made to me: give generously, receive gratefully.

What to Do When You Feel Stuck: An Interview with Sheila Joy

I have been ALL over the place lately, making change after change with my own business.

Do I want to blog? Do I want to design? How can I do both? How can I integrate my online presence?

It’s been difficult.

After two years, I’m niching down. More or less.

But it has taken away from the attention I give this blog, Reroute Lifestyle.

One of my projects includes a podcast about freelancing I started with a friend called Heart Centered Service.

On the podcast, we interviewed Life Purpose Coach Sheila Joy on how to carve your own path + move forward when you feel stuck and at wits’ end.

If you’re a multipassionate feeling stuck with the next step you want to take in your business, you have to listen to this episode.

Click here to listen on the website!

How to Create a Lead Magnet

You hear it everywhere: you should grow your email marketing list because it’s something you own. Social media algorithms are constantly changing. So how can you get in touch with your community? Sending email newsletters to your audience is one of the best and most intimate ways to get in touch with them. And a great way to grow your email newsletter list is to create a lead magnet!

I partnered with TryInteract to create a quiz as a lead magnet to grow my mailing list! But before I tell you more about how I created my quiz (and how you can, too), let’s dive into what a lead magnet is and how you can create one.

This post contains affiliate links to keep our blog up and running!
To learn more about affiliate links, click here.

What is a Lead Magnet?

A lead magnet is a type of offer, like an ebook, that you use to attract newsletter subscribers to you (like magnets!).

Related Reading: How to Build Engagement and Trust with Your Mailing List

Ideas for Lead Magnets

You know you want to offer a lead magnet as an incentive to join your mailing list… but you don’t know what to offer. Here are popular options for lead magnets you can create:

  • PDF downloads
  • Ebooks
  • Workbook
  • Exclusive content
  • Audio training
  • Swipe files
  • Templates (Photoshop templates, audio files)
  • Email course
  • Interactive Quiz (like with TryInteract)

Once you decide what lead magnet you should create, you can start brainstorming what you can create. I find that it’s important to create a lead magnet specifically for your target customer/client versus a lead magnet that appeals to everyone.

One thing you can do to ensure you find a lead magnet that appeals to your target client is to pay attention to their needs/wants by either a) asking your target clients directly or b) doing market research to ask your target clients questions about their needs.

Related Reading: The Secret to Make Money and Build Your Mailing List

Resources to Create a Lead Magnet

When it comes to creating a lead magnet, I’ve found 3 free resources that anyone can use!

  • Canva: to create downloadable PDFs like workbooks, ebooks, etc.
  • TryInteract: to create interactive quizzes
  • Google Drive or Dropbox: share swipe files, audio trainings, exclusive content

Create an Interactive Quiz

I recently partnered with TryInteract to create an interactive quiz to grow my email list!

I loved TryInteract’s super easy-to-use interface to build my quiz! It took me between 1-2 hours to put together the entire quiz following their tutorial, How to Make an Interactive Quiz.

Step 1: brainstorming

I started by brainstorming ideas for a quiz. I actually only listed a couple ideas:

  • What stage of freelancing are you?
  • What type of freelancer are you?

I spent 15 minutes total browsing Try Interact’s quiz templates for ideas and inspiration. I thought about what kind of audience I wanted to attract with my quiz (freelancers). A lot of quizzes that stood out to me were “what type/kind of ____ are you?” and personality quizzes.

Step Two: DECIDE RESULTS

After you decide on a quiz idea, it’s time to create the results! Since my quiz tells people which stage of freelancing they’re in, I brainstormed 4 different stages a freelancer would be in.

I then narrowed my results down to three options!

Want to take the quiz?! Click here!

For each result, I described the stage and then added a list of next steps a freelancer could take to reach the next stage.

Step 3: Write Questions

Next, I brainstormed a list of questions and answers. Each question had 2-4 potential answers.

From there, you can use TryInteract to make each answer correlate to a result.

When you’re writing a quiz, a minimum of 5 questions is a good goal to shoot for! Anything else makes the quiz feel very short. Your questions shouldn’t give away your answers; make the questions fun for your participants to think about! Shoot for engaging, descriptive answers.

Step 4: Design, set up, and publish your quiz

Finally, use the TryInteract platform to customize your quiz with your own brand photos and brand hex colors. Connect your quiz to your email publisher’s API, and then publish your quiz!

One way to go above-and-beyond using a quiz to sell to your participants is by setting up a custom email sequence for each result! You’ve used your quiz to learn about each participant, and narrowed down what they’re interested in. Next, you can use that information to send them targeted emails based on what you know about them!

My favorite example of this is Sam Vander Wielen’s Brew a Bolder Business quiz that helps her clients learn about what steps they can take to protect their online business!

What kind of quiz are you creating?

What kind of quiz ideas do you have brewing? Do you already have a quiz made? Let me know in the comments below!