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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Fabulous Travel Freebies 5.28.11

Free is always a great price, but if you don’t know how to get it, then it’s not really all that helpful. I love travel freebies and try to maximize them on every trip I take, because that’s less money I have to pay out of my own pocket. The more money I save, the better trip I can take or the more I can put towards a future vacation. There’s also the fact that if you save more, you spend less and suddenly a trip that was a little out of your reach is now within your budget! You know that old saying “You get what you pay for”? Well, I know for a fact that discounted travel does not necessarily fit into that category. I like getting MORE than I pay for and feeling like I’ve rewarded myself for all my hard planning work.

So, what kinds of freebies can you get that help you save? I am basing the total savings over a 7-day vacation

Free breakfast – Free continental or buffet breakfast is a fantastic saver! On the low end, say you usually only have coffee and a bagel in the morning, you can save $5 per person, but on the higher end, if you like to eat out and have someone wait on you in the morning, you could be looking at $12+ per person. (Total savings: $35-84 per traveler)

Kids Eat Free – If your hotel has a restaurant and they offer free dining for kids, this is another big savings. Usually, you can get free meals for up to 2 kids this way if you purchase an adult entrée. Assuming a kid’s meal is the average of $6, that’s up to $18 per day per child. (Total savings: $42-$126 per child – depending on how often you eat in our hotel’s restaurant.)

Free WiFi – I always like to stay in touch, blog, check email and Facebook while I’m on vacation, so I tend to bring my iPad and netbook everywhere I travel. This way Eric and I can both check up on what’s been happening while we’ve been gone and also communicate with friends and family. Hotels and resorts sometimes charge for internet service, or you can wait in the lobby and use one of their computers free of charge for a few minutes. Your best bet on this is to find one of the many places that give you free WiFi, because it can save you weekly or daily rates, or those minute rates charged by Internet cafés. These fees can range anywhere from $4.95 per night to $29.95 for a week block. Internet cafés can be considerably cheaper, but it depends on where you go. I’ve spent $5 for 10 minutes of time and then $4 for half an hour. (Total savings: $30-35)

Laundry on-site – While usually not free, it’s still a minimal charge to use the machines there compared to the local Laundromat or worse, the laundry services they offer where you leave your bag of clothing and then come back to fresh clothes and a bill. Generally, the machines off-site can range anywhere from $1.75 - $3.00 per load for both the washer and the dryer. If you do laundry out of the country, it can cost almost $8 just to wash your clothes. Anytime I’ve used the on-site facilities, they range from $.50-1.00 for each machine and most times they were free. A big price tag comes with having your clothing laundered while you’re out and about. A shirt of any kind will cost you about $5 and pants $8. That’s $13 for ONE outfit. If you bring 3-4 outfits with you and have to wash 3 while you wear the 4th, that can REALLY add up. (Total savings: $3.50-16 for laundry, $39 x traveler for laundry services)

Free Coffee and Snacks – Many hotels offer free coffee/tea and snacks (like fruit and/or cookies) in the lobby. There’s no reason to not take advantage of such things that are included in your room rate. Think about all the times you want to snack during the day while you’re sightseeing. If you had a banana or some other snacky thing that you snagged on your way out, you wouldn’t have to shell out any money again until lunch or dinner. The free coffee and/or tea provided, while not fancy, can save you a trip to Starbucks in the morning. (Total savings: $35-56 per traveler)

Free dessert or appetizer – Like most hotels and resorts, yours is bound to have the rack of brochures and dining card ads. You can totally score big on these, because usually there is a deal on the back for dining venues that give you something for free, like a dessert or appetizer. If you’re lucky, a 2-for-1 is offered. With a free appetizer you can order less or split an entrée with another companion. (Total savings: $7-15 per dining experience)

Free Activities – I love to be busy most of the time I’m on a trip, because I like to experience as much as possible. Getting to do some stuff for free is awesome and saves a lot. Here are three of the best ways to do things for free.
  • CityPASS – This is a great way to get free activities, because each pass includes many popular tourist attractions and activities for a discounted price. We always try to buy one if it’s offered and we plan to do much of what’s on the list. You can save 40-60% off the price of paying for everything separately. Use my handy-dandy list on the right to find links to CityPASS, GoCards and London and Paris Pass. We were able to pack a lot into our London trip when we got the London Pass and did much more than we expected for the money we paid. Some cards even include public transportation. Besides money, they also save you time, because you can skip the ticket queues and go straight to the door with your card. You can even get them for Disney. (Total savings: $50-hundreds considering location and how many things you tick off the list)
  • Groupon (and other daily deal sites) – Daily deal sites can save you a bundle on 2-for-1 and discounted activities and attractions. Sign up for the ones that offer things in your chosen destination and wait for things you know sound like fun and you want to do. This is also the way to get free dining. You can find links to Groupon and other daily deals on the right and also learn more about aggregates HERE. (Total savings: $20+, depending on what you do and how many you can use.)
  • All-inclusive resorts – I know you’re paying to stay at these places and be entertained and well-fed; most of them also offer free activities in the form of non-motorized watersports and even have nightly entertainment. That’s a freebie in my opinion, though you may feel differently. I suggest pricing out what you would expect to spend on your trip if you didn’t go all-inclusive and see if the savings are significant enough to go one way or the other. (Total savings: unlimited, since you can do a variety of things provided throughout your stay)

Hotel nights – There are so many rewards programs out there, I can’t even tell you. If you tend to stay at the same hotel or chain when you travel, get on their rewards program. It’s free and with each stay you earn points that can get you free nights, upgrades, freebies and other useful things. A few others that I love are:
  • Hotels.com’s Welcome Rewards. You stay 10 nights at participating hotels (they don’t have to be in the same trip either) and you get a free night worth the equivalent of the average cost of the 10 nights combined (if your trips averaged $65, then you would get a $65 credit towards a room of your choice).
  • MyPoints is another program to get in on. You take surveys, click through links on emails and make purchases through their site (click-through to merchant site) and accrue points. Those points can then be traded in for hotel gift cards, dining rewards and much more.
  • HotelClub is yet another site that gives good rewards. The basis of their program is that you get “cash back” with each reservation you complete (the more you book, the more you can earn) and then that amount is added to your account to be used on your next booking.
(Total savings: $15-150, more if you stay at swankier hotels than I do)

Free airfare – Who doesn’t want to fly for free? It’s one of the biggest parts of your travel expenses. You can do this several different ways:
  • Get bumped from your flight and obtain vouchers or credit towards a future flight. You can read more about how to do that HERE.
  • Be loyal to one or two airlines and accumulate air miles to trade in for free flights. This will take longer, but you can also sign up for programs within the program to get miles for some purchase and even for booking hotels, cruises and car rentals through their website. You can learn a bit more about how to use your mileage programs to your advantage HERE.
  • Get a credit card with frequent flyer benefits. Just for signing up and spending a certain amount you can gain 15,000-25,000 on most cards. Other cards have a higher benefit, but you will have to determine if the fees and rates are worth getting the airfare or if the cons outweigh the pros in that case. British Airways teamed up with Chase a few months ago to give new cardholders up to 100K points, which is the equivalent of 2 roundtrip coach tickets to Europe. The fine print was that you had to spend $2,500 on your card in the first 3 months, but if you use that card for everything you planned to use your checking account for and paid it off at the end of each month, you could easily do it without disrupting your normal buying routine.(Total savings: $500-1300 per passenger)
(Total savings: $500-1300 per passenger)

Onboard/Resort Credits – There’s really no one way to get these, but some of the best ways is to subscribe to different deal emails where you can get in on last-minute travel itineraries for cruises and all-inclusive resorts and also to book far in advance – 6 months or more. Resorts and cruises often like to reward those that plan in advance with freebies like room/cabin upgrades and spa credits.  They offer such deals again when they have open rooms a month or so before sailing or when they are trying to get more passengers on the “off” season. Sign up with Travelocity, Expedia, Hotwire and more to get weekly emails with current deals. (Total savings: $100-2,000)

Free alcoholic beverages – If drinking is one of your favorite vacation pastimes, there are a few ways to get free drinks on your travels. The most obvious way is to stay at an all-inclusive resort where this is included. I consider it free, because you’re paying for your accommodations, entertainment and food all in one lump sum. Anything beyond that is a plus in my book. Another thing you can do is find a hotel that offers a free cocktail hour. They are kinda few and far between, but if you’re lucky you can find them. I see most of them listed on deal sites like Vacationist, SniqueAway, VoyagePrive (which you can link to on the right for an invite) and also on many beach destinations on BookIt (also linked on the right). I hear guests rave over the cocktail hours they experienced at different hotels. Most also offer appetizers and cheese at this time. (Total Savings: unlimited)

100 for 100! I would love to run another giveaway here on the blog, but in order to do that, I would like to get to 100 subscribers via Google Friend Connect and Networked Blogs. If you are a regular reader and not already subscribed, please consider doing so. Once we reach 100 readers, I'll be giving away $100 in Dining Dough to be used at Restaurant.com for dining certificates. Save $100 on your vacation dining! That's a nice savings!

If you plan on shopping over the Memorial Weekend, make sure you get your cash back by shopping through Ebates. Right now there are a dozen stores that are offering double cash back through May 31. Some of these are great for your travel, like Groupon, Entertainment.com and Eddie Bauer. And don't forget, if you aren't a member yet, you get $5 just for signing up and then $5 for every friend you invite that also joins and makes a purchase! The more friends that join, the bigger rewards you can earn, like gift cards and an iPod!

Don't forget to join me on the awesome new Savvy Living Community sponsored by Ebates. Not only will you learn how to save money by better utilizing Ebates, but you will also be able to read Savvy blog posts and join in discussions and live chats with Savvy Leaders (like me!) to learn how to save money on all aspects of your life. With 21 bloggers who are experts on everything from travel to family life, you're sure to learn a lot of new information, find some great new blogs and even make some friends along the way. Join Ebates.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Make-up Excuses to Lighten Your Load 5.25.11

Changing up your beauty routine when you travel can be tough, since it's a change from the norm, but bringing your whole range of make-up and other supplies with you can be a bit overkill or may not even fit in your toiletry kit and 3-1-1 bag. When I travel, I pare down my beauty supplies and just bring the staples and then some smaller items that can take me from day to evening, if I need it. You don't need to go all out on your trips, because there are a few items that can give you some extra sparkle.

Makeup products that do double-duty are fantastic for travel, because they do the same job as two or three different items and also save space!
  • Foundation with SPF - You gotta put on sunscreen if you're going to be out a lot during the day. Instead of bringing a second "facial" sunscreen, make sure your foundation has an SPF in it, which most of the department store foundations do. I am a fan of the City Base Compact Foundation from Clinique. It has a 15 SPF and doesn't let me down.
  • Moisturizer with SPF - This is a great extra layer of protection if you are also wearing a foundation, or a a nice base layer if you don't wear foundation or can't find one you like with built-in sunscreen.

  • Tinted Moisturizer - If you're looking to dramatically cut down on your beauty routine, a tinted moisturizer is one way to do it. Ditch the moisturizer and the foundation and combine them, with something like Stila Cosmetics Sheer Color Tinted Moisturizer. I have gotten this as a sample several times with Sephora and haven't quite broken down to get the full size yet, but it might be happening soon. Other great ones are Philosophy's Hope in a Tinted Moisturizer (it even has 20 SPF in it), Philosophy's Supernatural Poreless Flawless Tinted SPF and Laura Mercier's Tinted Moisturizer (also available in oil-free).
  • Powder foundation - I love this product, because at home I can use it as a powder over my normal foundation. On vacation, I can forgo normal foundation and put this over a tinted moisturizer and have full coverage. Philosophy's Supernatural Airbrushed Canvas gives you flawless skin and lasts forever. Bare Escentuals has BareMinerals SPF 15 Matte Foundation. Light and easy to apply, plus it's also good for your skin!
  • Use a bright shimmery white eye shadow in the corners of your eyes for brightening your eyes and then under your brows to make your eye shadow pop and give definition.


  • Moisturizing lip gloss - Leave all your lipsticks at home and replace with two or three colored lip balms. It has been difficult for me to find a lip balm with color that is also moisturizing and lasts long enough to be as good as lipstick. My new favorites are Balmshell's many different shades. It is amazingly moisturizing and comes in fantastic colors. Smashbox carries O-Gloss lip gloss. It moisturizes and tints your lips their natural pink. You can get it in peaches (Gold) and berries (Noir) as well. Burt's Bees and Softlips have some bargain options for you.
Changing from a liquid to a powder is also a fancy way to save room in your 3-1-1 bag. You can keep them in your carry-on and not have to drag them out for inspection at security or worry about where to put them when you're packing your way back home.
  • Eyeliner - Do you live with liquid liner? If you think you must travel with eyeliner and need some space, try a pencil liner or even a good waterproof cake eyeliner that is applied with a small brush. Clinique has a new one that is seriously easy to apply (and I'm terrible at putting on almost any eyeliner). It looks like eyeshadow and is a powder. Bare Escentuals has a great powder liner that you just add a wet brush to and it glides on like a liquid.
  • Here's another point for powder foundation.
  • Lip Stain - Instead of lipstick, you can try a lip stain with moisturizing properties, like Clinique's new (back by popular demand) Chubby Sticks. They are like crayons and don't require a trip in your 3-1-1 bag. They come in some pretty colors and go on easily.

Trial sizes are your best friend. Know those great little sizes of beauty products you get free with purchase? They come with tiny bags that you now have a whole collection of and hardly ever use. Well, instead of using them up, save some that you love and pack away in your toiletry bag for your next trip. Tiny mascaras, foundation primers, compacts with several colors of eyeshadow and possibly a blush, dual lip glosses, little moisturizers. These are all wonderfully space-saving and perfect if you can get them of your favorite products. Next time you make a purchase at the department store beauty counter or makeup store, like Sephora, ask if they have any trial sizes of any of your most used products. Generally they have a  good supply of items behind the counter.

Downsize your current products into smaller containers for more room in your travel bag. You don't need full-size bottles and jars for one to two weeks. Any drugstore or store that carries toiletry items will have travel-size items and also travel containers to downsize to. Another tip I've heard from travelers is to use contact cases to store items you need very little of, like moisturizer. Since I am a contact wearer, I think this would just confuse me, I use jars that are just a little bit bigger. 


  • If you're a nail polish wearer, as I am, you want to take a bottle with you for touch-ups. I have found that the Sephora brand nail lacquer is a brilliant addition to my 3-1-1. The bottles are small and the variety of colors is huge! The also offer great coverage with only one coat and are long-lasting. And inexpensive! 
  • While we're on the subject of nail polish, chips and peels are bound to happen. Don't take a bottle of polish remover. Instead, bring a compact container of polish remover pads like my new favorites from LA Colors. They come in funky scents like pear and grape and one tiny pad can take the polish off all your toes or fingers (maybe even both!). It doesn't have that horrible acetone underscent either that you end up smelling for 2 days. I love them! You can also get some wipes from Cutex in the travel-size section. They come in their own packets, so they don't dry out. 
  • A cream blush might be just the ticket to downsizing. I hated bringing a blush brush, because at some point it would end up getting wet and crushed in my toiletry bag and being pretty useless. After some searching I found a great alternative: cream blush. It's not creamy enough to warrant being put in your 3-1-1 bag and takes up a lot less space. My two favorites are by Laura Mercier and Clinique's Blushwear cream stick. You apply with your fingers and can blend as little or as much as you want for more or less coverage. 
Pack beauty kits that have multiple items all in one compact. It save space and has everything you need all in one place. It keeps things from rolling around in your bag, too. If you like many colors, grab yourself an eyeshadow trio or quad or something that gives you a whole look in one place like these fun sets. 

I hope these tips gave you some ideas of ways to alter your beauty regime while you're on your vacation. You'll still look gorgeous and you might find a new way to change it up and be more creative when you're back home. All the makeup products listed are also available online at Sephora.com, where you'll get samples of other beauty items you may love with each order. Free shipping is yours with an order of $50 or more (or you can upgrade to 2-day shipping for less than $4 and get it sooner). Use Ebates to link through and get cash back on every purchase and larger sample product promo codes! You can't go wrong. Normally, cash back is 4%, but sometimes you can get double that.

I know this whole post is full of must-have "gadgets", but don't you need something to carry them all around in? Of course you do! I have this awesome  hanging toiletry kit from Travelon. It's compact and holds a TON of stuff, even after you put your 3-1-1 items in it when you get to your destination. I love that it hangs on the back of the door and keeps everything off the counter and out of the way. You can also get it in other colors. Mine is black, but this leopard print one is adorable. I gave it to my mom for her travels and she loves it! Of course, it's not all that manly nor does it match much, so if you opt for a solid color, I wouldn't blame you.

I'm all about free stuff! Well, with Swagbucks, you can earn "bucks" by just doing internet searches and then trade them in for prizes like travel and restaurant gift cards. Swagbucks is celebrating Memorial Day next week with a special Score Four and Twenty Swag Bucks promotion - they'll have 4 special Limited Edition collector's bills available, and if you can snag all four by the end of Thursday, you'll get a bonus 20 Swag Bucks. ALSO, this Thursday they're have a Swag Code Extravaganza, a day filled with fun, games and the opportunity to snag over 40 Swag Bucks worth of codes throughout the day. Be sure to visit Swagbucks all this week for opportunities to win big!

Not a member yet? Sign up through my referral link and enter the code MEMORIALDAY when prompted - it'll pad your account with an extra 50 Swag Bucks on top of the 30 that everyone starts with. Get started earning your reward points today. 

Join me on the awesome new Savvy Living Community sponsored by Ebates. Not only will you learn how to save money by better utilizing Ebates, but you will also be able to read Savvy blog posts and join in discussions and live chats with Savvy Leaders (like me!) to learn how to save money on all aspects of your life. With 21 bloggers who are experts on everything from travel to family life, you're sure to learn a lot of new information, find some great new blogs and even make some friends along the way. Join Ebates.

Join in my new discussion on travel beauty. You can comment below or go to the Savvy Living Community to see this discussion and others.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Vegetarian Vacationing 5.21.11

Having to go through life with food restrictions can be a hard obstacle sometimes. Many establishments don’t cater specifically to vegans and vegetarians, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have food on their menu that you can enjoy, even on accident. Of course, most of those items are salads and the iffy garden burger. While I’m not a vegetarian myself, I can appreciate a good meat-free meal, but I don’t I don’t have to wonder if the cook is using stock without realizing it or cooking my food on the same surface as the one that cooks the burgers and steaks. If they do, then it’s not going to make too much of a difference to me, but it will to you, because it makes you food non-vegetarian at that point.

"luau" salad
Not every restaurant is as courteous to vegetarians as I am in my house where we grill our veggie friend’s foods on foil, so it doesn’t come in contact with the “meaty” grill or the meat itself, and use a totally different set of utensils to move them around and serve them. I just don’t think many restaurants realize this kind of care and concern is important in their establishments. I would think if you were being paid for the food you produce, you would pay more attention to those with certain dietary requests. That got me thinking about how if it’s so hard to explain your needs to people in your own country, what about when you travel and you may not speak the language? That’s got to be a million times harder and more frustrating.

I scoured the web and picked some brains about traveling as a vegan and vegetarian and came up with some fun, practical advice and I’m bringing back a “cool travel gadget” from a couple weeks ago that might just be something you want to purchase and take with you on your next trip.
chocolate mousse
Where can you go? While you can get vegetarian food pretty much everywhere, did you know that there are destinations where it is more easily obtained than others? I found the top 10 vegetarian destinations for you (in alphabetical order):
                                    Canada                    Taiwan
                                    Hong Kong              Thailand
                                    India                        United Kingdom
                                    Malaysia                 United States
                                    Singapore               Vietnam

Where can you stay?  Look for eco-lodgings that grow their own food. Most likely they will serve vegetarian and/or vegan food. In fact, we stayed in an eco-lodge when we traveled to Ecuador. While I wouldn’t stay there again, because they have no electricity in the cabins and the result was giant bugs hanging out with your overnight, the menu was vegetarian and everything we ate was delicious. We had a total of 6 meals there and each was different and all the food was grown on their land. It was impressive and the price for our lodging, food included, was very reasonable. The cabins themselves were large, comfortable and amazing, despite the crazy bugs that showed up at twilight.

If you plan to stay in a hotel, ask that you get a room with a fridge, so you can stock your room with foods you can eat. You may also be interested in booking a room with a kitchenette. This is useful for everyone, but even more so for the one that must eat only certain foods. It helps if you can make some of your own meals. Staying for a week or more? Get a vacation rental, with a full kitchen and more space, which will save you money (generally) over a hotel. 

If you don't really want to do the research yourself to figure out where to go and eat, check out VegVoyages. They are a vegetarian/vegan tour group that offer vacations worldwide. Travel anywhere and never worry about finding appropriate dining options on your entire trip.

I'm a big fan of VegNews magazine, even though I'm not a vegetarian. They have fabulously delicious and easy recipes and they feature a new travel destination each issue, which can be found online as well. Each article will tell you must-eat, must-stay, must-shop place and other info for the visiting Vegetarian. Check out the current article here and find past articles on the right side. (Aside from these helpful ideas, you can shop in their store for vegan candy bars, peanut butter cups, marshmallow and other tasty treats.)

Where to eat:
  • Ethnic restaurants are often your best bet for vegetarian and vegan options. Look for things like vegetable or tofu stir-fry, meat-free curries, vegetarian sushi (yes, that exists!) and bean burritos.
  • Opt for the buffet. Buffets have a wide variety of foods on them, generally, so you are more likely to find something that you will eat. If your traveling companions are meat eaters, you’re likely to all be happy with this choice, because you can choose from salads, veggies (cooked and raw), fruits, potatoes, breads and pasta.
  • Farmers markets are another good place to make a stop on your travels. Pick up some local fruits and veggies, breads, spreads and cheeses (or not if you’re a vegan). Chances are that you will find some new favorites this way and you’ll also save money by not dining in a sit-down restaurant.
  • Research your dining options by looking on HappyCow.Net. It has a guide to restaurants that offer vegan/vegetarian entrées, as well as any natural food stores in the area you can shop at.
  • You're always likely to be close to a chain restaurant, no matter where you are, even if that restaurant is the Hard Rock Cafe (on of my personal favorites). Check out PETA's list of menu items at popular chains that are vegan options for you.
  • Download the VeganXpress app. At $1.99, it's another great app to take with you on your travels. It has over 100 popular restaurants and their vegan menu items.
Don’t see anything vegetarian on the menu? Ask for it anyway. Seriously. You should not feel embarrassed to ask for something suitable to your food needs. If they say no, be pushy. They can adapt something they have for you and make it a special order. It should not cost more, because it’s meat-less.

Bring your own flashcards. SelectWisely has some great cards to take with you when you travel to show the wait staff at restaurants or just so you can keep up on translations. They have them for food allergies, people who need gluten-free foods and for vegetarians and vegans. They are bright and laminated and contain the phrase in your language and the language to where you will be traveling. They seem to be a pretty good deal for the price of just $7.50.

BreakAway has similar cards that you can print yourself if you feel like that’s the better way to go. They have a more limited selection of languages. They only have Vegetarian cards to print, so you won’t find vegan or food allergy ones for free here.

As I've said before, Veggie Passport is a wonderful app to travel with, as it translates important vegetarian and vegan phrases into other languages. Pick the phrase you wish to use and the language you need it translated into and then show your phone to your waiter or host. For just $1.99, is a fantastic bargain.

I know I already told you about this fancy insulated bag from PicnicTime, but it's so fantastic, I think it would be perfect for the traveling vegetarian. It's great for packing snacks on the go while you are traveling, both for adults and those traveling with vegetarian/vegan children. Children who eat meat are picky enough, but those with more dietary restrictions are liable to be harder to please. The Tourismo bag is a great addition to your travel bag, because it can keep items warm or cold, has room for a good amount of munchies, like fruit, veggies and sandwiches, along with juice boxes and other drinks.  With all the pockets they have, you will be able to bring along any other necessities as well: cell phone, money, sunglasses, lip balm, sunscreen and more! You'll love it. 

I'm all about free stuff! Well, with Swagbucks, you can earn "bucks" by just doing internet searches and then trade them in for prizes like travel and restaurant gift cards. Swagbucks is celebrating Memorial Day next week with a special Score Four and Twenty Swag Bucks promotion - they'll have 4 special Limited Edition collector's bills available, and if you can snag all four by the end of Thursday, you'll get a bonus 20 Swag Bucks. ALSO, this Thursday they're have a Swag Code Extravaganza, a day filled with fun, games and the opportunity to snag over 40 Swag Bucks worth of codes throughout the day. Be sure to visit Swagbucks all this week for opportunities to win big!

Not a member yet? Sign up through my referral link and enter the code MEMORIALDAY when prompted - it'll pad your account with an extra 50 Swag Bucks on top of the 30 that everyone starts with. Get started earning your reward points today

The Northwest is particularly vegetarian- and vegan-friendly to travel in and around. Dunhill Travel has teamed up with Travel Oregon to bring you one of ten Adventurecations. All you need to do to win is "like" the Travel Oregon Facebook page and fill out the short entry form. Whether you like hiking, biking, kayaking, golfing or other outdoor activities, you'll find an Adventurecation for you!

Seattle's HotelFIVE wants you to stay a night on them. Book 3 nights and only pay for 2 with Portland Perks. Click on the 3rd night free button and fill out the form there. Stay by September 30 for this great deal. The average nightly rate is $121, making your stay an average of $80/night. 

Join me on the awesome new Savvy Living Community sponsored by Ebates. Not only will you learn how to save money by better utilizing Ebates, but you will also be able to read Savvy blog posts and join in discussions and live chats with Savvy Leaders (like me!) to learn how to save money on all aspects of your life. With 21 bloggers who are experts on everything from travel to family life, you're sure to learn a lot of new information, find some great new blogs and even make some friends along the way. Join Ebates.

Got more to add to my tips above? Join my vegetarian traveler discussion in the Savvy Living Community or comment below. I'd love to hear your thoughts. Have you traveled somewhere and had amazing veggie food? Have your had good luck with traveling to foreign lands?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Vegetarians On The Go 5.18.11

Whether you’re a vegan or a vegetarian, finding things to order when you eat out can be difficult and there usually isn’t much variety either. At least you can go home and whip something up to make you happy. Unfortunately, when you’re traveling, it can be even more inconvenient to find something healthy and tasty several times a day to satisfy your hunger that still sticks to your food ethics. You aren’t the only one that has problems finding dining resources. There are also those with food allergies, gluten allergies, lactose intolerance…and those that just plain don’t like certain things. Restaurants are beginning to branch out and make a broader range of food selections that can satisfy more food restrictions, all while being a bit healthier.

Spinach dumplings
The first time we talked about traveling as a vegetarian, I was learning the basics, as I am not a vegetarian myself and wasn’t really aware that there were so many obstacles to being a non-meat eater and packing your bags to see the world. I found a lot of articles written by vegetarians and vegans that suggested you pack your own food, like peanut butter and soy milk products. Happily, you can get specialty food items in almost all destinations, so you can save room in your travel bag for things you actually WANT to pack, like clothes. You also save checked baggage fees, because you don’t need to bring those items at all. With a little more education on the subject, and chatting with a few vegetarian friends, I’ve now learned quite a bit about what you can and can’t eat and the different vegan substitute products on the market. I’ve even purchased some myself, in an effort to save money and eat better. And yes, you can save money by buying and using some of these products, like egg substitute, which you can use in your baking. It saves you money, because it last so much longer than a carton of eggs and it doesn’t go bad. But enough of my frugal shopping habits.

Swedish pancakes
As a vegetarian, you aren’t just looking for foods to eat at your destination, but on the way as well. I found a great list of dining establishments found in most airports that cater to your needs, so you can eat before your flights and on layovers without having to live on the baggie of carrot sticks you packed in your carry-on.

On the Ground

Argo Tea
  • Chickpea Salad (vegan)
  • Garden Lentil Salad (vegan)
  • Parfaits: Acai Banana, Green Tea, Mixed Berry
  • Ruggelah: Apricot Pecan, Raspberry Almond
  • Signature Muffins: Banana Nut, Blueberry, Chocolate Chip, Lemon Poppyseed
  • Spinach Tomato Pesto Panini
  • Tea Bite: Roasted Tomato Cheddar
  • Tomato Garden Vegetable Salad
Au Bon Pain
  • Apple Strudel (vegan)
  • Black Bean Soup (vegan)
  • Chickpea & Tomato Cucumber Salad (vegan without cheese)
  • Curried Rice & Lentil Soup (vegan)
  • French Moroccan Tomato Lentil Soup (vegan)
  • Green Bean & Beet Salad (vegan without cheese)
  • Portabello & Goat Cheese sandwich (vegan without cheese)
  • Vegetarian Chili (vegan)
  • Vegetarian Lentil Soup (vegan)
Auntie Anne’s
  • Pretzels: Cinnamon Sugar, Garlic, Glazin’ Raisin, Jalapeño, Original, Whole Wheat (vegan without butter)
  • Delight Grilled Vegetable Plate
  • Philly Veggie (vegan without cheese or mayo)
Caribou Coffee
  • Bagels: Cinnamon Raisin, Multi Grain
  • Banana Bread – reduced fat
  • Chewy Granola Bar
  • Cinnamon Coffeecake
  • Oatmeal: Classic, 7-Grain (vegan)
  • Muffin: Better Morning, Blueberry, Cinnamon Streusel, Double Chocolate Chip, French Toast, Mountain Berry
  • Pumpkin Pecan Bread
  • Scone: Cinnamon Chip, Cranberry, Cranberry Orange, Lemon Blueberry, Maple Oatmeal
  • Southwestern Black Bean Salad (vegan)
  • Veggie Daybreaker Breakfast Sandwich
  • Yogurt Parfait – low-fat
Einstein Bros. Bagels
  • Bagel: Sundried Tomato (vegan)
  • Bistro Salad (vegan without cheese)
  • Chipotle Salad (vegan without cheese)
  • Fruit Salad (vegan)
  • Kettle Chips Classic (vegan)
Jamba Juice
  • Any Drink
Moe’s Southwest Grill
  • Burritos: Made to Order (can be vegan)
  • Chips (vegan)
  • Personal Trainer Salad (vegan without cheese)
  • Tacos: Made to Order (can be vegan)
National Coney Island
  • Hummus Veggie Sandwich/Wrap
  • Vegetarian Pita with Fries
  • Vegetarian Tuna
Panera Bread
  • Bagels: Blueberry, Everything, Plain, Sesame, Sweet Onion Poppy Seed, Whole Grain (vegan)
  • Classic Café Salad (vegan)
  • Low Fat Vegetarian Black Bean Soup (vegan)
  • Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich (vegan without cheese)
  • Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich (vegan)
  • Sourdough Bread Bowl (vegan)
  • Cranberry Flax Muffin (vegan)
  • Fruit Cup (vegan)
  • Hummus Plate (vegan)
  • Multigrain Bagel
  • Oatmeal (vegan)
  • Organic Fruit Scone with Pecans (vegan)
  • Plain Bagel
  • Protein Plate
  • Raspberry Bran Scone (vegan)
  • Ratatouille Sandwich/Roasted Vegetable Panini
  • Veggie Artisan Breakfast Sandwich
Stuffed poblano pepper
In the Air

Cibo Express offers over 1,000 packaged, ready-to-go menu items that you can grab to eat on the plane. Many are vegetarian or vegan and are fresh and organic.

Most airlines don’t serve real meals anymore, but they do offer snack boxes. The airlines that offer vegan/vegetarian options are as follows:

American Airlines (vegan)

Continental Airlines (vegan)
Delta Airlines (vegan)
United Airlines (vegan)
US Airways (vegan)
Air Canada
British Airways
Aer Lingus (vegan)
Virgin Atlantic
Air Malta (vegan)
Turkish Airlines
Qantas Airways (vegan)
Air New Zealand (vegan)
Indian Airlines
Cathay Pacific (vegan)
Malaysia Airlines (vegan)
Qatar Airways (vegan)
Singapore Airlines
Vietnam Airlines (vegan)

Unless you’re on an international flight, chances are you’ll be paying for these in-flight meals and snacks, so you may be better off bringing your own to begin with from Cibo Express or from one of the many other dining establishments above. If you don’t mind paying for a meal, make sure you request a vegetarian or vegan entrée well ahead of your flight to ensure the meal actually makes it onboard for you. Usually, you can choose food options when you book your flights. If that is a choice when booking, make sure you order it then, because some airlines will not let you change it later once your reservation is in the system.

Chocolate layer cake with vanilla ice cream and strawberry sauce
There is so much more I want to get to regarding vegetarian and vegan travel, once you get off the plane, so check back on Saturday for my next installment of this topic. I had such great response to the first post I did, I hope this will further help you take better vacations and eat more things at different places. On Saturday, we’ll look at the top travel destinations for veg-heads, where you can find places to eat and how to order off a foreign menu when you aren’t fluent in the language. Sure, we’ve covered this before, but this will be totally different information!

Are you a traveling vegetarian? Have you found other food options at popular airport restaurants and delis? Had a good or bad experience with the meals on airlines? Let us know, so you can help your fellow trip-takers have smoother and more delicious travels! 

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