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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Frugal Vacation Series Goes to Turkey 8.31.11

It’s time for another frugal vacation destination! This place you may or may not have ever heard of, but it’s way cool and has so many different vacation possibilities! Sleep in a cave, go skiing in the desert, go on a cruise along the coast and still save money! What? Where is this awesome and magical place, you ask? Why, it’s none other than Cappadocia, Turkey! Where the heck is that?? Well, for starters, it’s in Turkey. Here’s some other interesting information about it.

Cappadocia Photos
This photo of Cappadocia is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Cappadocia, located in central Turkey, is a truly breathtaking and unique vacation destination with a moon-like atmosphere. Set on a high plateau with high volcanic peaks, it has a very different feel from anywhere else and has a warm, arid climate in the summer and cold, snowy winters. So, pack your sunscreen and hat or sweaters and mittens when you plan your trip to this extraordinary city.

Because the area was formed by ancient volcanoes there are a lot of volcanic deposits that are, essentially, soft rocks and buildings have be carved into the cliffs, including hotels, houses, churches and monasteries. These cave dwellings are a relief from the heat of the summer. There are also fascinating underground cities, interconnected by twisting tunnels, some of which are open to visitors. This region is interesting and has made Cappadocia a popular tourist destination (even though you never heard of it until now).

A trip to Cappadocia is great for budget travelers, because the exchange rate is very favorable to most other foreign currencies, including the U.S. dollar, the Pound and the Euro. You can stay in 3- and 4-star lodgings, dine in restaurants, use public transportation and rent a car all for less than the cost per night to stay in many economy hotels worldwide. Most hotels offer breakfast in their low rates, making it an even better deal, as it is one less meal you will have to cover on your own. Whatever your budget, a trip to Cappadocia can be accommodated. Since you can save on so many different aspects of your vacation, you can splurge on some of the more interesting activities while you’re there, including:

  • Half- and full-day city tours – Take a guided tour through Cappadocia and learn about the most important and interesting sites from a knowledgeable escort. Then you can go back and explore those areas that you found to be most remarkable on your own time.
  • Hot air balloon rides ­– Get a bird’s eye view of the wondrous landscape of Cappadocia in the early morning. Take in your destination from a whole new perspective and then commemorate your ride with a traditional champagne toast upon touch down. Bring a sweater, as it is likely to be cold.
  • ATV quad tours – The territory is has conditions that are fantastic for viewing from an all-terrain vehicle. Take a unique tour of the city on a quad to cover ground quickly and see different parts of the region than you can on foot or by car. You can go with a tour guide or rent all day for a fun day of exploring the dunes, valleys and hills.
  • Skiing – For those of you that travel in the winter and like the colder climates, Cappadocia has incredible skiing in the winters, which are generally quite chilly and snowy. You can rent equipment when you get there and save on baggage fees. With the multitude of mountainous peaks, you can ski all day, whether you’re a beginner or an expert, and then warm up back in your hotel or at a cozy little café.
  • Yacht cruise – Take a day trip and sail the Aegean or Mediterranean Seas on a yacht or gullet cruise. These include lunch, sightseeing stops and beach visits for swimming.
  • Go shoppingTurkey is a country of bazaars and boutique stores. It is a great place to shop for antiques, brass and copper items, carpets, bold jewelry, silk and one-of-a-kind items you won’t find anywhere else. Pack an extra bag for all the souvenirs you find to bring back home.
Cappadocia Photos
This photo of Cappadocia is courtesy of TripAdvisor 

Whether you’re used to luxury accommodations or you’re a backpacker who enjoys saving money and staying in budget lodgings, you will find what you’re looking for. Cappadocia really has something for everyone and is a remarkably distinctive vacation destination that would be hard to match wherever your travels take you. If you usually stay in budget hotels, this might be the time to break out of your rut and treat yourself to a unique and luxurious accommodation. Stay in a cave dwelling! It’ll be a once-in-a-lifetime experience and something you wouldn’t have a chance to do elsewhere. On top of all that, it'll still be similarly priced to the hotel rates you're used to staying in. Seeing some of the pictures associated with these kinds of rooms made me want to skip my the vacation I had planned and go here instead. 

Cappadocia Photos
Photos of Cappadocia courtesy of TripAdvisor

How have we never heard of this place before? Cappadocia seems to be über popular and one of the world’s best kept secrets all at once. I am always amazed by these kinds of gems. Have you ever been to such a destination? I’d love to hear about it!

Photos of Serinn House, Urgup
This photo of Serinn House is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Another short post? But why? Hopefully you found this post fun and informative enough to not cry over the length of it. This week I am working on book edits in order to get it done and get my book out to you as soon as possible! The cover is being worked on as we speak, as well! Two steps closer to your bookshelf.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Insure Your Travel Plans 8.27.11

It seems like the last couple of years have been rife with natural disasters which have screwed up travel plans (and the lives of people living across the globe). Now, while I try very hard to be an optimistic person, there’s never any guarantee that your vacation will be ruined right before you leave or while you are in the midst of it with something like a hurricane, earthquake, tsunami, flash flood, fire, riots or even the dreaded ash cloud. This is why in the wake of Hurricane Irene, it might be a good idea to take a look at the benefits of travel insurance.

When I travel, I rarely get travel insurance, mostly because I never think anything might happen to me. Once I got it in conjunction with a cruise I was taking, but even though there was a storm that prevented us from docking in one of our ports, nothing else unfortunate happened, and so we never had to use it. I suppose that thinking back on all of our travels, we should have really considered getting insurance, especially with our fondness for traveling during hurricane season. It’s not that we want to get caught up in a hurricane, but that time of year is more affordable and less crowded and we probably just assume that either it’ll happen or it won’t. Of course, with the hurricane warning in Nassau that closed almost everything around us, the tropical storm in Cancun that turned into a Hurricane Wilma the week after we left, our car break-in in Quito and our honeymoon involving airfare to/from London and train service to/from Paris, we should really start looking into getting some coverage on our next big getaway.

Of course, travel insurance doesn’t just cover natural disasters and unfortunate incidents. It can also cover medical emergencies, alternate transportation, lost baggage, cancelled flights, stolen passports/wallets, personal emergency trip cancellation and more. Imagine if you had a trip planned to Egypt and right before you went they closed down all entry to the country because of the riots. Under normal circumstances, all the money you paid for your trip to that point would be lost, unless you paid with a credit card that has coverage for any of those things. That would totally suck, right? While I wouldn’t recommend spending the extra money for a local trip or to go somewhere within you home country (like, I’m not going to get travelers insurance to go to Disneyland for 4 days), because it’s highly likely you can work something out with the hotel or rebook your airfare for a fee, I would urge you to think about getting it for international trips and any big money trips you plan to take in the future.  Planning a once in a lifetime African Safari, only to have it ruined by terrorist activity near the airport would really break your heart...and your wallet.

For most travel insurance, you should expect to pay around 5-8% of your total trip cost. Decide ahead of time if this is something you want to go forward with. The best time to buy your trip insurance is right after you’ve put down deposits (or paid in full) for your trip. The closer you can secure both of these things, the better off you will be, as there are certain benefits that are only available within 2 weeks of booking your trip.

So, where can you get travelers insurance? Many times if you buy airfare or a package deal from a booking engine like Travelocity or directly from the airline it is offered to you on the last page before you hit enter to buy your trip. Take a look at costs and what it covers. Look into the credit card you are using and what is covered and what isn’t. They might include extra auto insurance, trip cancellation, lost or stolen bags and some will cover a trip up to a certain dollar amount.

If you’re looking for customizable plans, check out:
  • Travelguard – They have plans for travelers of all kinds, including budget, golfers, last-minute, adventure travelers and those that want several tiers of comprehensive coverage.
  • InsureMyTrip – The #1 travel insurance site, purchase a whole package or just separate kinds of insurance, like trip cancellation, baggage, medical and evacuation.  
  • AAA members – Are you a member of AAA? Then you already have access to great trip insurance. With their Trip Assist program, choose from a variety of different insurance packages that suit your needs.
Do you NEED insurance? Are you going to an area where they are likely to get bad weather or  hurricanes? Get it! Will you be in an area that has a lot of political strife? Get it! Did you save up forever to be able to go on this trip? Get it! Is there a chance someone in your family might fall ill? Get it! May work obligations prevent you from going on your trip? Get it! You may think an extra 8% on top of your vacation expenses is more than you want to spend, but think about how much it will save you if something happens and your trip is cancelled or ruined. Check this picture I snapped on our way back to the hotel in the Bahamas. Soon after it started to pour down rain, the news issued a hurricane warning and people were encouraged to stay inside or seek shelter in one of the big hotels, since those building were the most secure. Luckily, that was the worst of it and the hurricane passed us by, but you could still see the damage made by the previous hurricane that hit land.

Look at the wind and sky in Nassau.
Learn more about what kind of insurance you should get, why you should get it and compare companies that sell it with the TravelInsurance Review. Do you have personal experience with travel insurance that you’ve used or when you wish you’d bought some? I’d like to hear your stories. You can join in the Savvy Living Discussion, too!

Don't forget that you can get Shereen Travels Cheap on your Kindle (or via your web-enabled device and free Kindle reading app) through Amazon. Get updates instantly as soon as new posts are added!

Also, we have a new newsletter. It's attractive, comes at you once a week and gives you blog info, Facebook info, anything else that you might care about and reminds you to come back to the blog for awesome tips.

 Project Runway Live Chat          Mon. 8/29 9pm EST/5pm PST

I hope you can join me on the Project Runway live chat on Ebates on Monday with Kristin from BonBon Rose Girls and several other community leaders. We'll be talking about the designers, Tim Gunn, the fashion and more! 

Winner! There are two great giveaways happening. 

The first is for a Travelon Flat Out HangingToiletry bag stuffed with a bunch of awesome stuff: GoToobs courtesy of Human Gear, rinseless laundry detergent courtesy of SoakWash, a selection of LaFresh wipes, some travel sizes of men's Jack Black toiletries, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, Colgate Wisps, nail polish remover wipes, anti-bacterial wipes, sunblock, body wash, Man on the Move soap leaves and (not shown) 2 toothbrush sanitizers. What more could you ask for? Throw in some lip balm and your toothbrush and go! Enter here or click on the Current Giveaway tab at the top of the page.

The second giveaway is sponsored by Travelon. They have generously offered to send one of our readers their fantastic Pack-flat Backup Bag. It's an extra carry-on bag for your travels. Packs flat for your journey there and then unzips into a full carry-on bag that fits under the airplane seat for all the goodies you bought on your trip. Click here to enter. Drawing will take place on September 1.

Some photos courtesy of Daily Venture.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Review: Fluxx Card Game

Do you have kids (or a spouse) that are always claiming they are bored at home and on the road? Check out this awesome card game and they will never utter those words again. Fluxx  can be played by those aged 8 and over. It's the card game of ever-changing rules, so no matter how many times you play it, it will never be the same game twice. The object of the game is to be the first to reach whatever the "goal" is (example: milk and cookies, where you need to get both the card with milk on it and the card with cookies on it), but since there are many goals and everyone wants to win, the goal will continue to change throughout the game. You may have 3 cards or 12 cards in your hand at any given time, because the rules will continue to change. You may have to pick up 3 and leave 1 or exchange cards with another player. A game can last 5 minutes or 30 minutes, but it will always be a blast.

     Fluxx Martian FluxxFluxx 4.0  Zombie Fluxx  Looney Labs Fluxx Monty Python Fluxx Looney

Want to know more about how to play? Here’s how it works. Every game starts with the Basic Rules which is a card you leave next to the draw deck. The basic rules are always “draw a card, play a card per turn”. Once the game starts, the players may use a New Rule card, which will add rules to the basic ones or change them completely. You may end up with an X=X+1 card, which then means you add one to all the numbers on the rules cards, making the basic rules now “draw 2, play 2”. Another new rule might be “Draw 2, play 3” and you would put that one over the basic rules card, because it totally changes them.

Throughout the deck are Keeper Cards which are used to meet the goal. You will usually need two to win, like Bread and Butter or Sun and Moon. With these also come Goal Cards which will give you a goal to work towards in order to win the game. Of course, the goal will change throughout the game as well, so you might have the winning combo at one time, only to be thwarted by another player’s cards before your turn comes back around.

Action cards are just what they sound like. When you play one, you must do as it says, like resetting the rules or drawing the specified amount of cards and playing them immediately. As you can see, this can totally ruin your own strategy, which is why you never know what will happen. There is even enough healthy competition when just two people play. My husband and I have the best time trying to ruin each other’s hands to win. Usually this only helps us lose to the other faster, but it doesn’t stop us from having fun.

There are several different versions of the game and they can be used separately or as one big deck. The current sets include: Stoner Fluxx (no longer on sale, but can be found on Ebay occasionally), EcoFluxx, Family Fluxx, Zombie Fluxx, Monte Python Fluxx, Martian Fluxx and Pirate Fluxx. Some come with brand new rules to play by, too. There are even expansion sets, for those that think one pack of cards is never enough, but too many rules is too much! We have Fluxx 4.0 and Fluxx Zombie now, but have yet to venture into playing them together. We take them with us everywhere, though, because it’s a great time-waster. It keeps you on your toes and is really fun. It’s the perfect travel game. We play it on the plane, in our hotel room, at the Laundromat. Anywhere there's a flat surface! Just one look at our box can show you how much we love this game.

       German Fluxx  Fluxx Espanol  Japanese Fluxx

Don’t live in the U.S.? Grab yourself a deck of Fluxx Español, German Fluxx, Japanese Fluxx or Dutch Fluxx. Looney Labs has thought of everyone!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Falling Temperatures Means Falling Prices 8.24.11

It seems like only yesterday we were talking about summer (finally) arriving. Now the kids are going back to school and we’re headed towards fall. Time goes by so fast when you get older. It’s not always fun to think about, but, as you know, I like to put a positive spin on everything, so to lift your spirits we’re going talk about all the money you can save by booking your travel for fall and winter now (or in the near future). Now that summer is coming to an end, prices on airfare and accommodations are becoming more reasonable and they are adding extra incentives for people to book their trips now, because tourism takes a sharp dip in the months following summer break.

This gives you a huge range of places you could visit now, but I’m going to start you off with my top picks for fall and tell you where I would go if I were you. Since there are fewer people traveling this time of year, your trip will not be full of crowded destinations packed with tourists and waits in the longest lines ever. The reason I travel in fall is the same reason I go to the movies Saturday morning instead of on a Friday night: It’s cheaper and I get my own personal space. Shops and attractions may have shorter hours, but without the throngs of people, it’s a lot easier to see and do everything you want in that time and instead of being cranky from heat and irritated by all the people pushing you everywhere you go, you can be calm, take time to enjoy what you’re doing and also have more time to relax when you’re done.

You think that the 10-6 opening hours of many things is a hindrance, but really it’s a blessing. If you’re forced to quit sightseeing and go eat dinner and then go back to chill in your lodging, you’ll notice that you get more sleep, feel more energetic and aren’t as crabby (if you’re that kind of traveler). The downtime can really be useful, even if you just curl up and read a book for an hour. I find that after a full day out I just want a little quiet and if that means that my husband and I don’t talk to each other and do our own thing for a little bit each evening, we are cool with that. We love to travel, but we also like to have our own “me” time. Often, we’ve come back to the hotel and we’ll each be on the Internet or our handheld games. We recharge and then make a game plan for later that evening or the next day. If our itinerary gave us more time than needed and we saw extra stuff during the day, we think of how we can fill that space or if we even want to.
Look at all these people!
Okay, so let’s get to destinations and why fall is a traveler’s dream:

Europe is a favorite of many. If I could afford to go there every year, I probably would. Unfortunately, we’re on a budget and we can’t always plan a trip to Spain, Portugal, Scotland or Malta (though they are all on the list). I will assume this is the case with most of my readers. Europe is a crazy money pit in the summer. I would love to go during that time, but I also want to be able to DO stuff when I get there. It’s this that makes me wonder why anyone would pay $800-1000 for a round-trip plane ticket when they could wait a few months and pay between $400 and $600. You’ve already saved $800 on a trip for two! Okay, so maybe that’s the only time they can travel, but for those of us who can go other times of the year, planning strategically is the answer to saving money. I’ve also seen hotel rates drop 25-50% after summer as well. On top of that, you can get free breakfast, airport transfers, activities, spa credits, upgrades and more if you play your cards right. Many accommodations start throwing any incentive they can to get more business and fill up their rooms. That’s okay. You take them and save more on your trip. Breakfast itself can save you $25+ per day for two travelers.

 Look at the size of this "room". It has a kitchen, room for 10 people and included all our meals.

South America kinda gets a bad rap sometimes. Instead of people thinking that it’s a great travel destination, a lot of people think it’s just full of drug smugglers, murderers and college backpackers. It’s not true and many places in South America are totally beautiful. The other upsides? People are very friendly, there are endless things to see and do and SA countries are super affordable. Even though you still have to pay for airfare, which might run upwards of $500 per traveler, there are luxury hotels at these places that you can stay at for a fraction of the price of similar hotels at home. You can really plan to spend $50-60 per night for a 3- or 4-star hotel in a lot of locations. Many include free WiFi, breakfast and other extras. Plan to stay at a resort? You may only have to shell out $80 per night! You can barely stay at a Best Western for that price. One good piece of advice is to stay at locally owned lodgings. They are more authentic and don’t cater specifically to Americans (and other travelers) who are afraid to try to something new. This usually means they are less expensive, too. Most offer all the same amenities and then some.

The Caribbean wants you to visit! Okay, so I know that Hurricane Irene just swept through Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, but this is one of those things that you may have to take a chance on. Being a September traveler, we always run the risk of getting stuck in a hurricane or monsoon rains. Fortunately, travel is an adventure and we take or chances. We have yet to encounter anything untoward weather-wise. If you’re afraid to travel at that time, wait until November when hurricane season is over. Prices will still be low (if you book early) and the beaches will be far less packed. Actually, the last time we went at that time, there was hardly anyone on the beach. What’s nice is that it’s still shorts and flip-flop weather, so you can plan to get in a little sun time. Make sure to remember your bathing suit and sunscreen!

Go cruising in the fall and winter and get free upgrades, onboard credits and deep discounts. Again, see the same warning about weather if you plan to do a Caribbean or Mexico cruise, but if not, you’ll find that prices can be half that during this time as they were in high-season. Again, now that cruise enthusiasm has dropped dramatically from summer, you are bound to see crazy enticing offers that are not only cheap, but also include a multitude of extras. Want something like a cabin upgrade? Ask for it! The worst thing they can say is no, but when they are trying so hard to get cabins filled, it’s more than likely they will give it to you. From free spa treatments to land excursions, nothing is really off limits at this point.

So, there you have it. My top 4 fall travel recommendations. Have you gone somewhere fantastic and frugal during the fall season that you want to tell us about? We’d love to hear it! Want more tips and ideas? Join me on Facebook or Twitter for great budget tips and current travel deals. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Live Chat with Shereen Travels Cheap 8.23.11

I know I don’t normally post on Tuesdays, but today I felt like telling you something fun that is happening tomorrow on the Ebates Savvy Living Community that you don’t want to miss. For those of you who don’t get my newsletter (and really, all the cool kids are doing it!) you should know about my live chat on fall travel happening at 5pm PST / 8pm EST.

Are you planning a trip this fall? Need some encouragement to do it? What about low, low prices on airfare and hotels? Join me and my co-hosts (Kristin from BonBon Rose Girls and Michelle from Everyday Celebrating) for a fun chat where we will talk about where to go, what to do and how to save even more money! Bring your questions, if you have any, and we will be more than happy to answer them. If you have questions about what to wear and how to pack, we can answer those, too! Kristin is a fashion blogger and has all the latest info on current trends and I am a world-class packer! (Okay, maybe not world-class, but I am really good at it.)

If you can’t make the chat, it’s okay. The feed will be available indefinitely at this link and you can read all the contributions at your leisure. (If you have a specific question you want answered, you can email it to me and I’ll go over it in the chat and also send you our best answer.) But if you can, please consider joining us, because the chats are always so much fun and informative. Our fellow community members are really awesome and supportive!

If you haven’t joined the Savvy Living Community yet, please do so. I’m one of your savvy travel experts over there. That’s right! I’m a proud community leader along with 15 other fabulous bloggers. Join discussions, ask questions and find out how to be savvy (aka frugal) in everything you do. I mean, who doesn’t like to save money? The leaders blog on everything from coupons to child wrangling to cooking to parties.

Next week you can also catch me in a live chat about the current season of Project Runway. Kristin brings her love of fashion to this chat that she is hosting with several co-hosts. We’ll talk about what we like, what we don’t, who has the best clothes and Kristin’s interview with Tim Gunn himself. I’m so jealous. We’d love to see you there. Here’s the info on both chats again:

What: Live Fall Travel Chat
When: Wed. 8/24 5pm PST / 8pm EST

What: Live Project Runway Chat
When: Mon. 8/29 6pm PST / 9pm EST

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Food, Glorious Food...Around the World on a Budget 8.20.11

When you go on vacation you have to eat. It's not something you can just not do, like buying souvenirs. If you're anything like me, you greatly look forward to trying new foods and having people cook for you. The great thing about food is that, unlike airfare, it comes in a large range of prices, meaning you can save a bundle on your dining when you travel. I have ten awesome ways you can save even MORE, get to eat delicious foods and enjoy more of the culture of your destination. Just because you are trying to save money doesn’t mean that you have to eat fast food or sandwiches for every meal or can’t experience the best cuisine a place has to offer.

Chicken and waffles!

1. Ask the locals where they eat. Odds are, people who live where you’re traveling don’t eat at the fanciest restaurant in town. You know who eats there? Tourists and people celebrating their anniversaries. The “normal” people eat at affordable dining establishments that are also delicious and serve food from the local area. They are going to want to point you towards some of the city’s gems and impress you because, unlike hotel staff, they don’t get paid for recommending the crazy expensive steakhouse down the street.

2. Look forward to lunch. You probably aren’t always frugal. While on vacation, it’s okay to splurge sometimes. If that includes going to a top-rated restaurant that you know is spendy, make reservations for lunch instead of dinner. The food will be just as tasty, but cheaper than at dinnertime.
3. Split an entrée. Most restaurants serve you at least twice as much food as you can eat. Don’t be weighted down having to carry around leftovers or feel bad about food left on your plate. Share a main dish with your travel companion. Most hotels will split an entrée for no fee, but even if you have to pay for an extra plate, it only costs a few dollars, which is cheaper than paying for a whole other meal.  

A monte cristo is always totally filling
4. Order an appetizer for a meal. Most appetizers can be plenty to fill you up and can be as little as a third of the price of an entrée. This is also a great option for you if you like to try many different dishes. Order two to three for the same price as a meal.
5. Hit up the food carts. Food carts can offer 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.

Look at what you could make with farmers market ingredients
6. Shop the farmers market. There’s no better way to experience local cuisine and interacting with residents than a visit to the closest farmers market. You will find a variety of food, including meats, fruits, vegetables and cheeses. Purchase enough for lunch and enjoy the afternoon having a picnic in a nearby park.
7. Rent a vacation home or stay in a hotel with a kitchen(ette). This is my favorite way to stretch my 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. Make many of your own meals and save considerably. I don’t often like to spend money on eating breakfast out, so I love to buy new cereals and pastries I can enjoy in my room.

Free breakfast tastes delicious
8. Stay at a hotel that offers free breakfast. 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.
9. Sign up for Groupon. Groupon.com 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 I have gotten 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.com for the destination of your next vacation (they cover many international locations as well as the United States) and eat for less! Want to know more about Groupon? See my post here.

Sliders are perfect for little ones
10. Don’t order off the kids’ menu. If you travel with children, you’ll notice that most 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.

While there are other ways to save on dining, these have proven to be the most useful for my travels and are my first suggestions to anyone asking how to cut costs on their trip. They are easy to do and will enable you to try a bigger variety of foods, too. You’ll experience more of the city and its people, giving you a greater vacation experience. 

(Most of this post originally posted on Cheap Like Me as a guest post. See it here)

Winner! I have two great giveaways happening. 

The first is for a Travelon Flat Out HangingToiletry bag stuffed with a bunch of awesome stuff: GoToobs courtesy of Human Gear, rinseless laundry detergent courtesy of SoakWash, a selection of LaFresh wipes, some travel sizes of men's Jack Black toiletries, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, Colgate Wisps, nail polish remover wipes, anti-bacterial wipes, sunblock, body wash, Man on the Move soap leaves and (not shown) 2 toothbrush sanitizers. What more could you ask for? Throw in some lip balm and your toothbrush and go! Enter here or click on the Current Giveaway tab at the top of the page.

The second giveaway is sponsored by Travelon. They have generously offered to send one of our readers their fantastic Pack-flat Backup Bag. It's an extra carry-on bag for your travels. Packs flat for your journey there and then unzips into a full carry-on bag that fits under the airplane seat for all the goodies you bought on your trip. Click here to enter.

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 16 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. 
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