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Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Fun Doesn’t End With The Plane Ride! 10.23.10

What’s the best part of any trip? Getting there, of course! You don’t travel to just sit on an airplane and then go home, do you? I mean, I enjoy the flying part, too. I think it’s exciting, because it means I’m going somewhere new (probably) and exciting (hopefully). Actually getting to my destination and exploring is even better. I spend 90% of my vacation preparation deciding what to do and where we will eat when we get there. And, as a friend pointed out: It’s better than sitting in your hotel all day watching porn. While someone might disagree with that statement, they can’t argue that it is definitely cheaper to get out of your hotel room if choosing between the two scenarios. Besides, don’t you want to do something you can’t do at home? Sure, you do!

Just like me, many of you are probably on a budget. Obviously this is the case, or else you wouldn’t come back twice a week to read my blog and see what new tips and deals I have to save you money. There are a lot of ways to not break the bank on activities, though, and many times you can do even more than you planned on and still come out ahead. Let’s talk about some.

“Like” Shereen Travels Cheap on Facebook! Not only will you get multiple daily tips and deals, you’ll also be entered to win one of two great Travelon bags for your travels! Suggest STC to all your Facebook friends (and even those not on Facebook) and if they join and win, you’ll still win! We have two fun travel prizes for those that referred the winners of our Road to 500 Fans contest. The more friends you get to join the more chances you’ll have to win.!

  • Do you like to golf? Reserve your tee times on Expedia and get a discount off course rates! They offer 250 courses across the world thru GolfSwitch. These aren’t generic courses either. They’re top rated and include some of the most sought after courses, like St. Andrews in Scotland! Search for available tee times at your leisure and choose one that best fits with your day’s activities. You can even read reviews from other golfers, cancel/change your tee time right online and sign up for Tee Time Alerts, which brings specials and promotions right to your inbox.
  • If you want to save money on checked bag fees and only plan to play a few rounds, consider leaving your clubs at home and renting them at your destination. This could save you significant money. Spend some of that savings on lunch at the clubhouse instead.

Follow me on Twitter! Same awesome deals, just in a smaller package!

Want to do something unusual? I don’t know about you, but I love sites like eBay and Craigslist. You can get things for a fraction of the price and it’s practically new or IS new, you can sell stuff, sign up for a class on jewelry-making or find a job! Well, Ooh.com is kinda like both of these websites combined. Individuals or small companies list tours, classes and other activities on a public “bulletin board” along with details, pictures or videos and pricing and you can browse what’s available and pick from the myriad choices available where you’re headed. Ooh.com is based in the UK, so most of the listings are going to be in that area, but they are branching out and you can now find activity listings in the U.S. and the rest of the world, too! It’s free to use and reviews from other participants are readily available. You can book right online using Paypal, so everything is secure and easy to track. Take anything from a walking tour to dance lessons to a class learning to reupholster furniture! One thing’s for sure, you won’t find many of these listings anywhere else.

Did you know you can share this blog post with friends? Click the “Share” button at the end of this post and select Facebook, twitter or other social networks! Don’t forget to subscribe to Shereen Travels Cheap, too!

Everyone likes to eat…and you gotta do it on vacation, just like you do at home. The only difference is that eating on vacation makes mealtimes seem way more special. It doesn’t have to send you to the poorhouse though. If you haven’t signed up for Groupon yet, put your browser in that direction and do it already! Groupon is a worldwide source of coupons for almost any touristy spot you can think of! Get daily deals delivered to your mailbox for anywhere fromPhoenix to Paris. Save HUGE on spa services, dining, tours and more. Many of the dining certificates take a significant amount off your bill. Sometimes as much at 50-60%. How many other times will you be able to eat for half price?

Turns out, you can do it a lot! Click HERE to sign up for TopTable and make reservations for dining online for participating restaurants in the UK and Europe. There are always discounts of up to 50% off many dining options in your area. Plus, the more you book, the more you save. Each time you complete a reservation (it’s easy: book online, show up and give them the name on your reservation), you get dining points. Earn enough points and trade them in for a certificate for free dining! It’s like I just gave you a secret code to get half your vacation meals for FREE! You’re welcome!

With all the stuff you’ll be doing, you need a place to keep track of it all. I have just the thing! The Knock Knock Travel Organizer is a binder with all the things you need to organize all your travel forever. Okay, maybe not forever. You might need to replace it after some years, but it’s so useful that it’ll be a sad day when I need to get a new one. The binder has 7 double pocket dividers, a place to work out your budget, write down all your important numbers and information, a pad of forms for planning each trip you take and for making a packing list. You also get labels for your dividers to keep everything in some sort of order. I use the first one to keep all my confirmations and itinerary and use others for upcoming trips. I have a pocket in the back for ideas on trips that I will eventually take, like restaurants, activities and destinations ideas. Use the arrow stickers to mark places on the included map that you want to go or have already been.

Keep yourself hydrated. First of all, having to buy a bunch of drinks throughout the day can really add up. Second, soda really isn’t going to give you better energy. The Platypus collapsible water bottle is amazing. Fill it up, put it in the fridge (if you have one) for a while and then take it out and put it in your daypack. As you drink throughout the day, it shrinks. When it’s empty, you can roll it up and not have a bulky bottle in your bag. It’s soft-sided and reusable, so it saves space and you are saving the environment one bottle at a time! They come in a variety of sizes and are convenient to tote around, even if you have more than one. Everyone can carry their own and then roll them up and put them in their pocket until they fill them up again!

Bring a bag for all the stuff you buy! Sure, maybe you aren’t expecting to buy anything, but that doesn’t mean you won’t. Those plastic bags they give you can make you grouchy, because they cut into your hands or make them sweat after carrying them around a while. Get a cloth bag that folds up to almost nothing, then unfolds into a very convenient (and comfortable) shopping tote. It’ll hold almost anything you buy, from new shoes to groceries you decide you need on the way back to your room at night. Travelon makes a great one that also doubles as a backpack to keep your hands free while traveling. Another great use: toting dirty clothes to the laundry facilities and back.

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You read it right. FREE MONEY! Okay, just like everything else, there’s a catch, but it counts as free if it’s something you planned on doing anyway and you get money for doing it. American Airlines wants to give you a gift for choosing them for all your travel needs. Between now and December 15th, book travel on American Airline’s website and pay with your Mastercard and receive a Mastercard gift card for up to $50. The more you book, the more you earn! Packages can be cheaper anyway, so you might as well get what the most for your money. If free dinner or shoes or theater tickets (whatever you choose to spend it on) sounds good to you, register now!
Black Friday and Cyber Monday aren’t just days to get amazing discounts on merchandise, they are also days were you can fly for low, low prices! Skip the mall or online shopping this year and jump on a plane instead.
  • CheapOAir wants you to get the best airfare rates with them. They offer sales on both Black Friday (get an instant $10 off already reduced prices and another $10 off with their online coupon code) and Cyber Monday (again, get instant $10 savings and another $10 off rates with their discount code right on the site!). Book by Nov 26th and Nov 29th, respectively. $10 savings codes are good for both airfare or hotels booked through the site.

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