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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Paris's Père Lachaise Cemetery

It's no secret that I adore a good cemetery and if there's one at my destination, I'm going to go out of my way to check it out. It's been 16 years since we've visited Paris for our honeymoon (as part of a larger London trip) and strolled through Père Lachaise Cemetery. It's the largest cemetery in Paris and is the final resting place of famous people like Gertrude Stein, Oscar Wilde, and Jim Morrison.

It's been 16 years since we've visited Paris for our honeymoon and strolled through Père Lachaise Cemetery, and I was thrilled to return.

The cemetery is so large that you can get a map, as it also has streets with names to find your way around. Many of the tombs are large family tombs that are ornate and have their own space for familial visitors to pay their respects. Many have stained glass and other embellishments that make them unique and beautiful. 


Oddly, every day of vacation was sunny and warm, except for the morning we visited the cemetery, where it was overcast and rainy. Perfect tomb-viewing weather in my opinion. 

Père Lachaise opened in 1804, as a solution to all the Paris cemeteries being full. Unfortunately, it was situated too far from the city and also wasn't blessed by the church, so many people refused burial there. To combat this problem, two prominent French poets' remains were moved to Père Lachaise. This proved to do the trick and it became more and more popular to bury your loved ones there. In fact, it has been expanded 5 times since it first opened.

Over the years, Paris grew larger until Père Lachaise was situated well within the city, along with the other 3 cemeteries (Montparnasse, Montmartre, and the smaller Passy, which came a bit later) that were opened around the same time for the same reason. Of course now it can be extremely difficult to get a space in Père Lachaise, though there are quite a few newer plots there at this time. It doesn't take away from the historical feel though. 


There are over 1,000,000 "residents" in the cemetery and that doesn't include all the people who were cremated and call the columbarium their home in death. You can visit the crematorium, though we didn't do it on this trip. We've probably spent a combined total of 5 hours at Père Lachaise and haven't even seen 10% of the graves there - at least not in depth. 

I feel like the dead should have their final resting places appreciated by more than just their family members and I tend to spend extra time really taking in the details. Many of their relatives who tend to the upkeep of their tombs and religiously bring flowers may have never met them either, but I have the opportunity of viewing it for the first time. 

Oscar Wilde's tombstone, which is unusual as he was

If you ever find yourself in Paris and can spare a few hours, I highly suggest a stroll around Père Lachaise. It's a wonderfully gothic, romantic (or creepy) way to spend your time, and if there are any ghosts lingering around, think of how happy you'll make them by stopping by their home in the afterlife and appreciating the architecture.

Unfortunately, we didn't have enough time on our trip to also visit Montparnasse and Montmartre as planned, but hopefully will on a future visit. We were able to visit the tombs at the Panthéon and the plot of Edgar Allen Poe in Baltimore at the Westminster Burying Grounds in the Westminster churchyard. 

Do you enjoy visiting graveyards, crypts, catacombs, or cemeteries on your travels?

Monday, October 3, 2022

How to Prepare for Longer Travel Trips

There are many fantastic benefits to traveling. It's an excellent way to take your mind off everyday stresses, discover new things about the world and expand your horizons in general. However, an extended trip can be extremely taxing on your body, mind, and spirit if you don't plan accordingly. While there can be some challenging aspects of traveling -- like being away from home or adjusting to different cultures -- with the proper preparation beforehand, it can be a life-enriching experience rather than an exhausting one.

photo credit

Here are some tips that can help you prepare for long-term travel and make the most of your trip:

Research the area(s) you're visiting.

The more you know about a new place, the better you'll be able to navigate it. This includes researching the area, the culture, and the climate. Regarding the climate, you'll want to know the average temperatures. You'll also want to know what the weather patterns are like and whether there are any natural disasters in the area that you should be aware of. The culture of the area will also be essential to understand. You'll want to know about their customs and norms. This will help you avoid embarrassing faux pas and make for more enriching interactions with the area's people.


Ensure your physical and mental health is in tip-top shape

You're less likely to become exhausted during your trip when you're in good health. Make sure you visit a doctor for the appropriate vaccinations and that your vaccinations are valid for at least the time you travel. When you're at the doctor, ask for a physical check-up to determine if your vitals (such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels) need to be adjusted. You may consider conversing with a therapist online to keep costs low and allow easy access.


Learn some essential words in the native language of your destination(s)

You can find a free online language-learning program to help you master a few useful phrases. This doesn't have to take up much of your time, but it can make a big difference. It can be a great icebreaker and show you're interested in your surroundings.


Set aside emergency funds

While there's no telling what will happen on your trip, having a backup plan is always helpful. If you get sick on your trip, there may be no affordable way to get treatment from a doctor. If you get robbed, your belongings may be gone forever. You may have to pay for repairs out of pocket if you get into a car accident. It's never a bad idea to set aside an emergency fund just in case something goes wrong unexpectedly.


Take care of any loose ends in advance, such as putting your stuff in storage.

You must ensure your home is safe and secure for your trip to avoid burglaries while you are away. Arrange for your pets to be taken care of if you have any, and inform your bank and credit card company that you will be away so they know to expect transactions from your destinations too. Finding storage for your valuables using StorageArea can help you locate a suitable unit, as can installing home security systems.


Conclusion

Traveling is a fantastic way to get out of your comfort zone and experience new cultures. But it can be daunting to travel for extended periods because you have to pack everything up, deal with jet lag, and find a way to make ends meet when you're abroad. Preparing in advance can increase your chances of success and make the most out of your trip.


Saturday, October 1, 2022

(Literal) Travel Nightmares

Happy Spooky Season! I have decided to kick this month off with a thematic post:

A lot of things can go wrong when you travel, and learning to roll with the punches is a valuable skill, but what if the problems you have are literal nightmares and not real at all, because you have weird anxiety? I know it's not just me, but I'm the first to raise my hand and admit that when my anxiety is climbing, I have travel nightmares or inconvenient travel scenario dreams. 

A lot of things can go wrong when you travel, and learning to roll with the punches is valuable, but what if your problems are literal nightmares?

The second I feel like something in my life is out of my control, I have weird travel dreams. Like, anything that can go wrong on a trip will and there's nothing I can do about it. I often have reoccurring dreams in this category, so I know where I am, but still can't fix my own issues. Here are my most common:

Where's my boarding pass?

I have this dream a lot. I'm at the airport, in line at security - which I can't get out of - and I don't have a boarding pass. I know I have a ticket for a flight I'm about to get on. I know it's an international flight. I know I'm in the right line. Somewhere along the way I've either never printed my boarding pass, lost it, or never gotten it and now I'm in a line and have to explain to some stranger that I'm an idiot. 

Why didn't I pack?

I wake up, realize I'm headed to on a trip, I'm late, and I grab my carry-on, only to realize that I haven't packed. I throw in everything I can find, which isn't much. I end up with 3 mismatched shoes, a shirt, a pair of shorts, and no underwear or phone charger. How tf am I supposed to survive for any amount of time with these things and what I'm wearing? I don't know, but I freak out the entire time I'm leaving, because I can't do anything about it. This dream might be the reason I pack and repack 3 times before any trip and make packing lists and also start packing a month before my travel date.

You're going to ask why I can't just buy what I need when I get to where I'm going, but this dream usually coincides with the next one:

Where's my money?

I'm on my way to a trip of varying length and my bank account has, literally, $12 in it. Sometimes I don't even have a bank account and I'm just relegated to the 3 one-dollar bills in my pocket or purse. Why didn't I prep at all for this trip? Sometimes I know I planned it myself and other times the trip is a total surprise, but I always have pretty much no money to sustain me more than the trip through the airport. 

So, now I have no money and no stuff. 

None of these things have ever happened to me when taking a trip, but I continually subconsciously worry about them anyway for some reason. Maybe it's not about being prepared for a trip at all, but a metaphor for life in general, but easier for me to understand in dream form. Usually, I figure out that something in life is stressing me out and address that, then I move on with my day. 

Other nightmare scenarios:

On our trip to France, I was so tired most days that I just fell into bed and slept the second my eyes closed and had dreamless sleeps, but near the end, probably because we had a few snafus with checking in online with our airline and me low-key freaking out about nothing important, like buying a metro ticket for our ride from Paris to Disney, I had a travel dream with all new problems all in one night:

  • My phone developed a virus and was unusable. Hilarious, since I have extra virus protection and a VPN on it. 
  • Eric got bitten by a snake and we had to go to the ER in a foreign country. This took much too long to do and we never actually got there in my dream and in real life he would have died if the snake had been venomous.
  • Our flight home got cancelled and we had no options. Well, I'm not sure if we didn't have any options, but none were presented to me. I just got an alert, apparently on my unusable virus-having phone, while we were trying to figure out how to get to the ER. 
Waking up, I realized how stupid it all was and I didn't feel like I was stressing too hard about anything, except getting up on time to get to Disney early for our Extra Magic Hour, but it may have been because this was the first time in a long time that I didn't plan out our Disney days. I just made reservations for dinner and decided to see how things looked and figure out what to do in the moment. 

It turned out fine, because we were there for 3 days and the Paris parks are smaller than Disneyland at home, so we basically did everything we wanted and ate all the food and did all the walking and were more than happy when it was time to head out. 

Of course, maybe some of it was a bit of foreshadowing, because on our trip back I had a fight with the lady at check-in for our flight and unexpectedly had to check a bag (for free, at least) and then had to go to the counter during our short layover to get our next set of boarding passes printed, and our bag, which did make it to Baltimore with us, came out on the wrong carousel. But again, none of it was a big deal and everything was fine in the end and now we're home and still have everything we left with.

I know my brain likes to keep me guessing and give me a little extra anxiety from time to time. The key to it is to not let it get to you and learn to breathe and assess the situation.

Do you also get stress dreams? Are they travel-related? Please share so I know I'm not entirely alone.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

How to Plan a Fun-Filled Vacation in 5 Steps

Do you find planning vacations as stressful as it is exciting? The thought of booking flights, hotels, and excursions during peak season can leave anyone dazed.  And, let’s face it - vacationing is extremely expensive these days, and the costs will only continue to rise. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take time off work and explore new places. You just have to be smart about how you do it. A little bit of preparation can go a long way when trying to save money for a vacation and ensure your vacation is stress-free


Do you find planning vacations as stressful as it is exciting?  A little preparation can go a long way to saving money and headaches for a vacation.


To make things easier, here's a 5-step plan to help you organize your next vacation from start to finish:

Step 1: Decide on a destination.

When deciding on a destination, there are various factors to consider. First of all, you should consider the climate as well as your interests. For example, if you’re going on a family vacation, you may want to consider a destination that offers activities suitable for kids and adults.   Additionally, you should view the event calendar of the goal as well. For example, suppose you’re visiting during a season where significant festivals or events occur. In that case, you may want to consider vacationing during cheaper months as it could raise the cost of your vacation.

Step 2: Estimate how much you can spend

Before booking hotels and flights, you need to estimate how much you are willing to spend. This way, you can avoid booking the most expensive flight or room simply because it’s convenient or available. Also, if you’re traveling with a group, you should all sit down and decide on a budget together. This will help avoid conflicts and disagreements when booking.

Step 3: Find the best travel deals

Now that you’ve decided on a destination and have a general budget, you can start looking for travel deals. There are a variety of websites that offer travel deals and discounts for flights, hotels, and excursions. These websites have tie-ups with travel agents that provide exclusive deals to their customers. You can also visit the websites of airlines and hotels to see if they offer any discounts. It’s also a good idea to subscribe to travel newsletters to be among the first to know about special offers and deals.

Step 4: Book your flights and accommodation

Once you’ve found the perfect flight and hotel deals, you can book them. It’s a good idea to book your flight tickets as soon as you find a good deal as seats get reserved quickly. The same applies to booking hotels and excursions. The earlier you book, the more likely you will get the best rates.

Step 5: Plan your excursions and activities

Plenty of online resources help you plan your itinerary and discover local attractions. You can find information on the best times to visit places, as well as information on festivals and events taking place. You should ensure everyone on your trip is satisfied with the activity plans and make compromises if not.  For example, if you’re traveling with your children and you want a relaxing holiday, but they want something interactive and stimulating, you could consider planning for a day at this interactive aquarium in Virginia.  In a setting like this, you can relax and watch while your children enjoy the more interactive side of things.  Or, you could plan a day doing activities that you are interested in and another day for people in your group with different interests.

Conclusion

These five steps will help you organize your next vacation from start to finish so you can enjoy every moment. If you follow these tips, you’ll be able to save money, avoid last-minute stress and have a vacation you will remember for years to come.


Monday, September 26, 2022

5 Reasons To Travel Alone

Traveling with a group of people, especially a group of friends or family, can be exactly what you want out of a trip - it's great to be able to share adventures with the people you love. However, if you ask any seasoned traveler if they think it's worth it to venture out on their own every once in a while, they'll almost unanimously say yes.

If you ask any seasoned traveler if they think it's worth it to venture out on their own every once in a while, they'll almost unanimously say yes.
Photo credit

There are numerous reasons why going it alone on a trip is the ideal option if you want to see the world and all it has to offer. There are many benefits to taking a solo trip at least once, and you can read a few of them below.

You Don’t Have To Be Right

Sometimes when you're traveling with others, you don't want to attempt something new for fear of disappointing them or making them feel uncomfortable. So you could end up missing out on some truly remarkable opportunities. When you're by alone, it doesn't matter if you pick the wrong activity for the day; no one has to know that the museum you thought looked wonderful was only half open or that the speedboat excursion you went on only lasted 10 minutes. If you fail at something, rather than beating yourself up about it, you can take what you learned and try again another time.

Change Your Plans 

When traveling with a large group, it's helpful to have a detailed plan outlining each day's activities and any necessary gatherings, such as times and locations. The process of making adjustments to such plans can be uncomfortable and time-consuming, especially if not everyone involved is on board with the new direction. There's a chance it may even spark an argument.

If you're going on a trip by yourself, you can easily adjust your itinerary to suit your needs and interests. If you decide to abandon your original plans for the day, no one will object or get into an argument with you about it. Your vacation experience will be much enhanced by the freedom of choice you have.

Focus More 

One of the advantages of solo travel is that there are fewer people around to distract you. Since you won't be in constant conversation with anyone, you'll be able to pay much closer attention to and fully absorb your environment. This is one of the best reasons to go on a solo trip since it enriches the experience and makes it more memorable.

If you want to share your trip with people, make sure you take some photos and videos (although not so many that it distracts you from what you’re doing). Store everyone on a laptop after you’ve spent time cleaning up space, and make a night of it when you get back. In the meantime, take it all in. 

Meet New People 

Having a constant companion on the road can make it difficult to strike up conversations with strangers, but this is never an issue when traveling on your own. Being alone forces you to seek out other people for company, which can lead to the development of lasting friendships. It could begin on a boring train ride when you and your fellow passengers have nothing better to do than chat, or it could start when you try to order food but can't think of the right word and ask the person in the line behind you if they know it. If you asked your family and friends instead of a total stranger, you wouldn't have the same fortuitous interactions that could lead to something much bigger.

In addition, being alone makes you much more approachable, which can result in individuals approaching you rather than the other way around.

Your Money, Your Choice

You'll not only be in charge of what you do, but you'll also be in charge of what you spend because you won't have to worry about anyone else's money. You can only go to free attractions if you'd rather save your money for good food. Or, you can buy food as cheaply as possible, or even make your own lunches to take with you, so that you have more money to spend on amazing experiences. You won't even have to talk to anyone else even if you want to borrow more money for your trip.

Why is this good? It means you have complete control over what you spend and how you spend it, so you can have the budget you’re comfortable with and not have to think about anyone else. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Flying On Play Airlines

I am writing this post while aboard a flight to Paris. This wouldn't be interesting at all, except for the fact that I'm doing it on a brand new airline. Play Airlines just started flying this year and we took a chance on some really cheap flights when they went on sale last December.

Play Airlines just started flying this year and we took a chance on some really cheap flights when they went on sale last December.

At the time, we hadn't really flown anywhere for two years and we were excited to get back out into the world and explore. We've had a Disney World trip planned and canceled several times since 2020, and we had decided to put that off indefinitely for personal reasons. (If you have read this blog over the course of the pandemic, first of all, thank you, but second, you can probably guess what those reasons are.) The idea of going to Paris again, and splitting time between the city and Disneyland Paris was pretty appealing though.

When I saw an article about Play, I was intrigued and quickly looked through their destinations, and they said they were booking flights to Europe for around $250 per person roundtrip. The catch? There were several:
  • They were selling flights that didn't, technically, exist yet.
  • They only flew out of Boston and Baltimore.
  • They were super budget, so you would pay for everything "extra".
After going through booking and picking flights, seats, and adding carry-on bags - yep, you pay for anything that doesn't fit under the seat - our total came out to approximately $750 for 2 of us. We paid nearly double that to fly to Scotland in 2019, including an EasyJet flight from/to London.


Sure, we still had to get to Baltimore, but we would figure that out later. Later came and the war in Ukraine is ongoing and airfare/fuel were at all all-time high. I had friends that flew from coast-to-coast and were paying $1200 or more. The cheapest RT flights I could find were somewhere in the ballpark of $1100 per person, because we had to work around another flight. What did we do? Well, I did contemplate crying, but instead we looked at our resources.

We'd never been to Baltimore before, so spending a whole day there wasn't a hardship. We found a flight there leaving the night before on Alaska, and used our companion fare for our second ticket. We found a flight coming home on Delta the morning after we flew back, where we were able to use air miles. So, now we had a whole day to explore Baltimore on the first part of our trip and then booked a hotel room there for the last part, where we'll have time to eat dinner and relax a bit before going to sleep. We still paid less than what we spent to fly to Scotland. Not by much, but it wasn't 3 times as much, like it was looking like for a bit there.


So, what's it like flying on Play Airlines?  Pretty good, actually. The crew is lovely, the planes aren't full (though I suspect that will change soon enough), and we had the most legroom we've ever had not being seated in an exit row (I'm told that will probably change in the next year, but for now, I was able to reach under my seat and get my bag out without having to contort myself into a pretzel). We had a whole row to ourselves on our first flight - a thing we'll never complain about. Our connecting flight was the same.

My one complaint was the check-in process. Play doesn't have an app and you don't fill out much info when you book. You check-in online and enter all your info at that time...if the website works. It errored out for me all day, but I was able to go to the desk at the airport to check in and the desk agent was very nice and helpful. We high-fived that our airline existed and then went and sat in the very empty gate area.


You get nothing on Play, but if you're like me and sleep most of the way, it doesn't actually matter. There are no screens, except the ones that tell you how far you've flown and local times, and no seatback chargers. Anything you get from the snack or beverage cart costs money, and you must use  a card that has the tap to pay function. This is the height of no frills, but the seats were comfortable, I brought a charging bank for our phones (2 actually), and packed a bag full of snacks and two reusable water bottles. We had everything we needed.

Bonus fact: the flight attendants have a mix-and-match wardrobe that is unisex. They all wear pants, though I did see one lady wearing a dress, and look much more comfortable than almost every other flight crew I've seen.

If you've flown on other budget airlines like EasyJet, you're probably used to the awkward airport experience. You won't know your gate until an hour before your flight leaves and then boarding starts rather quickly. Instead of 30 minutes before takeoff, you're looking at more like 40-50 minutes. We were able to get off the plane in Reykjavik, use the restroom (Keflavik airport has amazing water closets), go through (very fast) customs, get a drink and snack and get directly in line to board our next plane. While not entirely convenient for those of us that like to explore an airport, or those that don't like to sit on the plane longer than necessary, both flights took off early and landed early, so no complaints there. You also don't have to take the service stairs to the tarmac to get on your plane. There are actual jetways. We'll see if that changes coming home, though.


All-in-all, my flight experience was great and we would definitely fly Play again, especially now that they have expanded their US departure cities, and next time we would take advantage of their layover in Iceland, just to get a feel for the country if it's not our final destination.

Have you ever flown a brand new airline? How did it go?

Saturday, September 17, 2022

My 5 Must-Have Travel Items for Long Flights

I love going far away from home, but this also comes with the price of being on the plane for long periods of time. This means, the more comfortable you can get, the better you flight will be. I'm not talking about taking off your shoes and socks and stretching out an annoying your seatmates. 

Comfort is relative when you fly, and here are my 5 must-have travel items that help me fly better when going long distances.

Comfort is relative when you fly, and here are my 5 must-have travel items that help me fly better when going long distances.

A Good Travel Pillow

I can sleep anywhere, but the difference between sleep and good quality sleep is huge. There are a ton of travel pillows out there, 90% of which are all exactly the same. I have tried so many and and finally settled on my favorite one, but yours might be different. Three of the best, in my opinion are: 
If sleeping on the plane is hard for you, then maybe you just have the wrong pillow. You want to support your neck and make sure you aren't slouching, which can kill your back. You'll be surprised how much better you feel after hours of uninterrupted snoozing. I've been known to sleep for 5-6 hours straight on an overnight flight, and Eric only got up once to go to the restroom, which was a miracle for him, because he's such a light sleeper. 

Airplane Pocket

So, three things: 1 - the seatback pocket is very small. 2 - you can't see through it, so it's easy to forget things in there when you get off the plane. 3 - it's disgusting. Like, it almost never gets cleaned, so it may have just had a dirty diaper in it. 

There's a solution! And it's called Airplane Pockets. These antimicrobial pockets slip over the seatback tray, making it germ-free, and has a big pocket and three small pockets in front of it to keep everything you want right where you need it. No more stretching to be able to get to your bag under your seat. And when your flight is over, just slip it off, fold it over and shove it right in your carry-on. 

Travel Blanket or Wrap

You never know what the plane atmosphere will be. Sometimes it's hot, sometimes it's cold, but I always plan for it to be colder than expected, and a wrap or travel blanket can be a savior in a lot of situations. I prefer a shawl/wrap, because a large one can work the same as a blanket, but you can also use it for a multitude of other things at your destination: a wrap, a scarf, a sarong, a towel, a picnic blanket. My top 3 recommendations:
Honorable mention: I usually get comfortable on the plane by bringing either some soft, fuzzy socks (the kind with grippy bottoms that you wear around the house) or house shoes like moccasins. This allows my feet to not be confined in shoes and helps me relax a little more. **Please don't just take off your shoes and go barefoot in the plane.**

Reusable Water Bottle

The drink cart comes around a lot less in the middle of the night, but it's not always on your schedule anyway. We carry two reusable bottles when we travel and fill them with cold water before we get on the plane. This means your water is cold throughout the flight (longer if you put ice in there) and you can stay hydrated no matter the day or night. It's also a great thing to have on your trip. We bring along a water bottle tote, so we we aren't constantly buying drinks while we're out and about. It's a great money-saver. I like Laken (my personal favorite in 17oz) and S'well, but I know others prefer Hydroflask or other popular brands.

Honorable mention: If getting to sleep is an issue for you, then I highly recommend Dream Water. You can buy the little bottles at most Hudson News shops in the airport, or you can do what I do and get the packets that you add to your water. It's a tasty, natural sleep aid that helps you drift off normally. And I just saw that they have gummies now! I'm gonna try them and report back.

Here you can see my charging cord that I was just using

Portable Charger

Nothing's worse than trying to play a game or listen to music or watch a show or take notes and your phone dies. Not all airplanes have power sources and I've been on some that did, but the one at my seat was broken. I like to listen to podcasts to fall asleep or relax and being able to do so requires battery power. Keep your phone charged, even on a long flight, so you can chill out with your Calm App or whatever with a a good portable charger. I just bought this one and it's hefty, but will also charge your phone, like, 3-4 times over.

Add a bag of snacks to your carry-on and you're as ready as you're going to be for a comfortable long-haul flight. What are your must-have travel items for long plane rides?

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Ghost Hunting On Vacation

I've been known to go on ghost tours and visit supposed haunted sites when on vacation, and even when I'm at home. It doesn't have to be Halloween. I love hearing stories from the past and how those that have passed on have stuck around as echoes of themselves to spend their afterlife in the company of the living. If you are looking for some of the most haunted places to visit on your travels, here's a whole list for you.

I love a good ghost story and tour. If you are looking for some of the most haunted places to visit on your travels, here's a whole list for you.
Photo credit

I've been to 4 of the 15 listed (Catacombs, Mary King's Close, Tower of London, Queen Mary) and have been open to seeing/feeling ghosts, but didn't have the fortune of an encounter.  It may be a matter of there always being too many people around, or maybe they were shy on the day I visited, or maybe I just didn't notice them there. Whatever it was, I won't stop visiting haunted places, if nothing else, but for the history and tragic stories.

Do you like to visit spooky and/or haunted places? Have you ever had a ghost encounter?

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Affordable Dining On Vacation

We're all trying to get back into the world, but with fuel and airfare costs soaring, it's really important for us budget travelers to figure out how to save on other parts of our vacations. I love trying new food, but all those meals out can really add up. 

I love trying new food, but all those meals out can really add up. Dining can be a big chunk of your budget, so here are 8 ways to save on food.

Dining can be a big chunk of your budget, so here are 8 ways to save on food:

  1. Bring Snacks 
    Trick your stomach by bringing snacks with you in your bag each day. This way, if you’re tempted to nibble on something, you know you have them on you and are less likely to spend money on food you don’t really need.
  2. Eat Where the Locals Eat
    Just by avoiding touristy areas, you can save a lot on your meals. When you’re out, ask a few people where they recommend. They aren’t going to tell you they prefer a chain restaurant over their favorite local pub. The food is likely more authentic than those that you can find right near tourist attractions, making it cheaper, because it’s local and not shipped in from a different country. 
  3. Make Lunch Your Main Meal
  4. If you really want to try one of the “hip” restaurants by a celebrity chef, make reservations for lunch. The food will be just as good, but it’s usually much cheaper at lunch than at dinner.

  5. Hit Up the Food Carts
  6. Food carts can have a huge variety of different local and international foods, but can be half the price of (or less) than dining at a sit-down restaurant. With this kind of savings, you can try fare from several carts with no regrets.

  7. Rent a Vacation Home Or Stay In a Hotel With a Kitchen(ette)
  8. This is a great way to stretch a food budget, because there are so many options. Renting can be a great value over hotel stays if you’ll be visiting for a week or more, plus it gives you the chance to check out the local grocery store. If you aren’t a big breakfast person, instead of eating out for that meal, shop for new cereals and pastries that you can’t get at home. There’s never a better time to try new foods!

  9. Sign Up for Groupon
  10. Groupon is an amazing little site that offers daily deals on a wide assortment of things, not least of which is dining. Each day a new offer goes up at a big discount off the regular price. Dining certificates can be purchased quite often and many times you can grab a half-off gift certificate to a new local restaurant or one just trying to bring in new customers. It works! Sign up at Groupon for the destination of your next vacation (they cover many international locations as well as the United States) and eat for less!

  11. Don't Order Off the Kids' Menu
  12. If you travel with children, you’ll notice that all kids' menus seem to have the same small rotation of foods. Obviously, little ones don’t just live on hot dogs, pizza, chicken nuggets and PB&J sandwiches. Not only do they charge an outrageous amount for these “staples” that cost hardly anything to make, but they offer hardly any nutritional value and your kids are likely to eat only half of it before declaring they’re full. Instead, order a meal that you both will eat and share. This saves you money and might get them to eat a vegetable or two.

  13. Stay At a Hotel That Offers Free Breakfast
  14. You don’t realize how much dining out can cost until you go on vacation. A reasonable breakfast can cost between $8-15 per person. If you multiply that by the number of people you’re traveling with and the number of days you’ll be staying, that number can be huge. If you find a hotel in your price range that offers free breakfast, you’ve hit a jackpot of savings.
Hopefully, this helps you scale back on your food budget on your next trip and then you can find other ways to save as well. Give us some of your favorite food tips in the comments.

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