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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Combating Your Vacation Rage 11.3.10

I can't be the only one who gets what I call "Vacation Rage". One day of my vacation, I find myself cranky and hating my travel companion and myself and maybe even having a good cry over something completely trivial. It could be from lack of sleep, jet lag, or being in a new environment. Generally, you can find me eating chocolate cake and probably buying something I don't need that I will wonder why I bought when I get home. One of the best ways I've found to combat Vacation Rage is to have some "you" time. It can get to be too much traveling closely with someone for a week or more. At home, you can go in another room, but when you're traveling you rarely get that opportunity. My suggestion: rent an apartment, house or condo. 

Find me on Facebook! Join our growing community for daily tips and travel deals. The first 500 members will be entered to win one of two travel bags, courtesy of Travelon. You don't have to live in the U.S. to win, so anyone is eligible! Make sure to suggest all your travel-loving friends join as well, because if they win and you referred them, you'll win a great travel prize, too! See the fun bags below...and click on the Facebook logo to check out our page!



Don't get me wrong, I don't have anything against hotels. I love them and stay in a lot of them. Sometimes, renting a house, apartment or condo is simply more practical. I've come up with my top reasons why I would choose to rent:
  • You are spending a week or more in a destination. Prices on vacation rentals are cheaper if you rent by the week. 
  • You are traveling as a family or a group. Unlike hotels, vacation rentals are booked per night/week, not by occupants. They don't care if 2 or 10 people stay there (providing you don't trash the place and the rental can accommodate that many people), the rate is the rate. 
  • You have more space. Most rentals have separate sleeping, dining and sitting spaces, so even if it's not a big place, you don't have to be right on top of your traveling companion(s). Unless you book a suite in a hotel where you have more room to spread out, you are basically stuck with one room and the bathroom, which is generally tiny. Plus, hotel suites can run twice as much as a vacation rental, and you don't even get as much for your money.
  • Cook your own meals in the kitchen provided. Cooking on vacation doesn't always sound like a fun idea, but if you know you don't HAVE to, it becomes less of a chore. It also saves you money, because dining out can cost an arm and a leg. For the price of one meal out at a restaurant, you can make a trip to a local grocer and pick up food for breakfast...for the week. Even if you end up buying several different things (i.e. eggs, oatmeal, cereal, bagels, fruit), you still end up saving a lot. While I''m at the store, I also pick up some sandwich stuff and snacks (if I want something different than what I've brought with me), so we don't have to go out after dinner when we feel like munching on something and also to take with me during a long day out sightseeing. 
  • You don't have to clean up after yourself each morning, to make sure all your belongings are out of the way. (For those of you who don't do this, shame on you!) You can wait until the night before you leave when you're packing up to wash dishes and hang up towels. 
  • You're less likely to have noisy neighbors and you're guaranteed to not have children running up and down the hallway screaming at the top of their lungs at all hours...unless they're yours.
  • You can come and go as you please. Sure, you can do this if you're staying in a hotel, but many hotels lock the doors at a certain time of night, or you have to give your key to them every time you leave (this is common in the UK). 
  • Feel like a native. This is one of my favorite feelings. You aren't going back to a hotel, but a home. It's like you're actually living there during your travels, making it easier to feel at home in your new surroundings. 
  • If you're renting a car, you almost always get free parking! Many hotels will charge $15+ a day to park in their lot/garage. That's money in your pocket!

Follow Shereen Travels Cheap on Twitter. You'll get the same great budget tips and travel deals as you do here and on Facebook, just in a "shorter" package. Twitter followers aren't eligible for Facebook prizes, though, so if you want to win, you have to also join me on Facebook.  

Try these Great websites for vacation rental listings:

  • VRBO.comBy far the largest vacation rental website on the net, so you may have to do a bit of searching to find a really good deal amongst them. You will get to see many pictures, the location and rates. Then you can email the owner for more information right from their website.
  • FlipKey.comRun by TripAdvisor, this site lists many vacation rentals by owner. You will get detailed information about the property, previous renter reviews and pictures. There is a calendar with available dates and rates. You contact the owner directly by email through the site to ask any questions, request more pictures and to make your reservation.
  • ResortQuest.comYou can book a variety of rentals through them, including vacation homes, hotel, condos and resorts. With over 100,000 rentals to choose from in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and now Europe, you’re sure to find one that suits your needs.
  • HomeAway.com - Sponsored by companies like Travel + Leisure and Virgin American, you can't go wrong booking with HomeAway. It boasts over 230,000 listings at reasonable costs.

Don't forget to subscribe to my blog to keep up-to-date on all my posts. You can do that on the right! If you own a Kindle, you can also subscribe to Shereen Travels Cheap via Amazon. Take Shereen Travels Cheap everywhere you go and get instant updates as soon as new posts are published!

It's true! In my "spare time", I've been working on getting my foot in the (blogging) door by doing some guest posts on other blogs and websites. Not only do I feel like it will get my work out to a wider audience, but will look nice on my "author's resume" and have more people traveling better with the budgets they have. My book is still trying to find a home with the right publishing house, but in the meantime I'm keeping my fingers busy. Check out some of my current ventures:
Kimberly Fisher of Jetsetera was nice enough to let me contribute an article I've been wanting to write for a while on traveling to and around London for less. If you are interested in visiting London, or just want to see more of my writing, check out my article HERE.

While you're getting some awesome deals on everyday products from TheSavalots, you can also find my guest post letting you know which lesser-known hotel booking sites have the best ways for you to book your current vacation with and will help you save in the future as well! Find my article HERE.

This Friday (November 5th), Shereen Travels Cheap will be featured in the CRAVE blog. The wonderful ladies at CRAVE really encourage women entrepreneurs (and those striving to become one) and their ideas and have let me contribute to their fabulous blog with a piece on how to save money on travel by packing less. Find out how you can pack light and still look great wherever you go! Click HERE to see the articles they feature and check back on Friday to check out my article as well!

Soon, this section will have me telling you that you can find me on the following sites, too! Hopefully, this will be more often than not. I do encourage you to visit these great websites in the meantime, as they are awesome money-savers!

After several weeks of missing the Deals of the Week, it's back! With the holidays coming up, there are savings to be had around every corner. Here is just a sprinkling of what I've found for you this week. I hope you can take advantage of them. 

  • Do you love wine? If want to get some exceptional wine and also add miles to your Alaskan Airlines frequent flyer account, join the American Cellars Wine Club for a discount. For less than $45 and free shipping, you will receive 6 bottles of your choice of reds, whites or a combination, a free wine opening kit, tasting notes and 2,750 Alaskan Airlines miles. (You'll also get 5 miles for each dollar spent.)
  • Las Vegas is on sale! Take 40% off (or more) on top-rated Vegas Hotels, including the Riviera, Las Vegas Hilton and the Hard Rock Hotel. Hotels on The Strip starting at an astounding $27 per night! And remember, with Hotels.com, after 10 nights at eligible Welcome Rewards hotels, get a free night. It's one of the easiest rewards programs available.
  • Still need your holiday plane tickets? How does $41 each way sound? Travelzoo brings you the best airfare deals between now and January 4th. Their calendar shows you the cheapest days to travel in December, too. See sample fares and book HERE.
  • Spend Thanksgiving in the Caribbean. Cruise on Celebrity from just $329 for a 5-night cruise from Miami to Roatan and Cozumel. 
  • Fly to London and stay for 6 nights from $699 per person. Your package includes round-trip airfare, hotel accommodations of your choosing from list, hotel taxes and daily continental breakfast. Add activities to your package for an additional cost. Options include: Hop on hop off river cruise, Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, London Eye and more. Select dates November-August. There are plenty to choose from! (Land only price available for just $239 per person.)
  • Win 2 "Winter Special" CityPASS booklets for New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Seattle or Hollywood. Instead of the usual 9-day validity, it's good from December 15, 2010 - February 28, 2011! Good luck!

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