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Saturday, July 28, 2012

48 Fun Hours on a Budget in New Orleans

In this blog series I show you how easy it is to budget travel anywhere and I also give you a quick overview of a new city each time in a brief 48-hour itinerary.
When people think of New Orleans, I’m pretty sure they must think the city is all partying all the time. Mardi Gras isn’t an all-year occurrence, despite what those Zatarain’s commercials will lead you to believe. Of course, it’s still a city of jazz-loving, creole-cooking, beignet-eating folks, so a vacation there can probably take on a festive feel any time you visit. I begged a friend of mine (Lissa) for some insider tips on what to do and where to eat, since she piped up with this suggestion and loved her trip there so much, I think she’s planning many more.

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Between her choices and my own, I think you’ll find that New Orleans isn’t all beads and crazy Cajuns, but sometimes that’s what makes it a spectacular place to visit. The city itself can be spendy if you don’t plan ahead, too, so a weekend trip could add up to a pretty penny. Let’s see how much southern fun we can get in 2 days. I mean, it’s not called The Big Easy for nothin’. Now, I strongly suggest purchasing a Power Pass for the city, so you can save a bunch on your sightseeing. You’ll see why $95 for a 2-day pass is such a bargain when you add up each individual cost.

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Day 1 
We’ll assume you got in last night and can start the day off right with a “nutritious” breakfast of NOLA staples. Beignets at the famous Café du Monde with a café au lait made with chicory. You can eat here as early or as late as you want, because they’re open 24 hours, 7 days a week, with the exception of Christmas Day.

Head to the waterfront and stroll through Woldenberg Riverfront Park and take in the sites of the city along the Mississippi River, while enjoying street music and artists. If you want to bring home some authentic New Orleans souvenirs, keep some five- and ten-dollar bills in your pocket to purchase CDs and trinkets.

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If you have children with you – or just love some underwater views – spend a few hours of your day at the Aquarium of Americas. Run by the Audubon Society, you can walk through a Caribbean ref, touch stingrays, explore a rainforest, check out creatures from the Gulf of Mexico and much more. If you’re a member of the Audubon Society, admission is free, otherwise you’ll pay $21 for adults and $14 for children 2-12. Or you can use your Power Pass.

If you DON’T have children with you and would rather skip the aquarium, book yourself a French Quarter walking tour through Grayline and take to the streets for a few hours and learn about what makes the city so cool. The tours are run by locals and know everything there is to make it worth your while. Regular price for these tours run between $40 and $45, but one of your choice is included with your Power Pass.

Grab lunch at Café Pontalba and your wallet will thank you. Get traditional Cajun eats for affordable prices. While there, make sure to tip back an Abita beer, which is locally made and, so I’m told, a must-try. You can get away for as little as $8 per person here, but if you are looking to try seafood ad a beer, you can expect to pay more around $20-25. I’d be all over the shrimp po’boy, which would save you money and also give you a taste of the local fare.

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Climb on board an authentic sternwheeler! Cruise up and down the Mississippi on the Steamboat Natchez while you enjoy jazz, the engine room and maybe a cocktail on this two-hour tour. It’s guaranteed to give you some amazing views. This is another activity included with your Power Pass, but you could pay separately for it and it would cost you $25/$12.25 (children 6-12). [cheap alternative: Hop on the Canal-Algiers Ferry for free (if on foot) and get some of the best views of New Orleans from the Mississippi.]

Get an affordable and yumtastic dinner at Angeli On Decatur near the French Quarter for a twist on traditional Italian or check out Mimi’s in the Marigny where you can choose from a variety of hot or cold tapas. Plates run about $8 each, so if you chose four to share between two of you, you’ll come out even on what you would have spent on pasta goodness at Angeli’s.

Photos of Stella!, New Orleans
This photo of Stella! is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Hit up Stella! for dessert. The lunch and dinner menu is quite pricey, but can be well worth the price if you’re up for a splurge. If not, make reservations through OpenTable for dessert and order the carrot cake. It comes with rum raisin ice cream and cream cheese sauce. Lissa says it’s so good, she can’t stop thinking about it.

Photos of Cafe Beignet, New Orleans
This photo of Cafe Beignet is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Day 2
If you’re up early, cruise over to Café Beignet on Royal Street or Bourbon Street for a light nibble and coffee to tide you over until brunch. Everything on the menu is under $10. They even offer lunch if you like what they have to offer by way of affordable eats.

Feel like a little drink in the morning? Head over to Frenchman Street and take a tour of the Old New Orleans Rum Distillery. For just $10 you get transportation to the distillery, a tour, a rum cocktail and tastes of their four rum products. Unfortunately, this is not on your Power Pass, but you can’t beat a ten spot for five drinks.

Not sure that 9am is a great time to be getting your drink on? Then maybe spend some time trying on costumes and learning everything there is to know about Mardi Gras. Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World builds the floats for the celebration and is full of props, costumes and sculptures, too. You can get picked up by their free shuttle and get in on a tour that starts every 30 minutes. This attraction is included with your Power Pass, or you can fork out $19.95 for each adult or $12.95 for children under 12.

Photos of Commander's Palace, New Orleans
This photo of Commander's Palace is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Splurge on a jazz brunch at Commander’s Palace. It’s a little out of the way, sitting in the Lower Garden District, but the service is amazing, the food is delicious, the view unbeatable and diners claim you feel like a super star when you eat there. What else can you ask for? Not much. You get what you pay for here…and then some. Look to spend around $30-40 per person on your meal, but it will stick to your ribs and it comes with a live music performance.

Head over to a piece of Louisiana history and take a tour of the Cabildo house which was the site of the Louisiana Purchase transfer and the victim of political and racial feuding that caused it to be subjected to gunfire on three separate occasions. Now it holds 200 years of history and you can tour it to learn more about the city and see how it was once a city hall, courthouse and prison. Admission fees are $6 for adults and free for 12 and under. Get 10% off with AAA membership or 20% off if you purchase admission for more than one museum with it. They are closed on Mondays. This is a Power Pass attraction. If you don’t buy one, entrance fees are $6.

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You can’t visit Nawlins without experiencing a swamp, now can you? Your Power Pass gets you a 90 minute boat tour with Cajun Pride Swamp Tours. Because the animals see these boats every day, they are unafraid and will hang out right in the open, letting you see more than you imagined. You can arrange for your own transportation or without a Power Pass, get picked up and dropped off for $49/$25 with tour. If you purchase online, you can drop that down to $42/$21.

Lissa suggests heading over to Royal Street to see if you can’t catch a street show by Tuba Skinny. They specialize in traditional jazz and from the 20s and 30s. You can also see them at various venues around town.

It’s time to grab a bite to eat for dinner. Since you spent so much on brunch, you can give your wallet a break and try red beans and rice or any number of delicious seafood dishes, including oysters done a variety of ways, at Acme Oyster and Seafood Restaurant in the French Quarter. You may have to wait in line for a while to get in and get your food, but Fodor’s highly recommends the wait, as must many locals. You can certainly make it out of their spending under $20 per person.

Photos of Haunted History Tours of New Orleans, New Orleans

This photo of Haunted History Tours of New Orleans is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Another must is to take either a ghost or vampire tour. With all the voodoo talk and its haunted past, New Orleans has some fantastic tours if you aren’t afraid of the dark (or even if you are and like a good scare). Haunted History Tours offers a variety of tours to suit your preferences and, at just $20 per person, you can join a small group for 90 minutes and get all shivery.

Make sure to pack your bags before you fall into bed.

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So, while New Orleans isn’t the most budget option of destinations, you can still do a lot of things in a short amount of time for not a fortune. If you choose to purchase the Power Pass and eat at the suggested restaurants, then you will spend an average of $240 per person. If you choose to pay for entrance fees as you go along, you will spend an average of $300 with or without kids. A $60 savings per each traveler is pretty darn good. Obviously, your children will not cost as much as an adult, so factor that into each cost as well. I hope this gives you a great start on your trip to The Big Easy.

What are your favorite things to do on a budget in Cajun Country?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Review and Giveaway: Footzyrolls Foldable Flats

Ballet flats are all the rage right now, as is any shoe that will give your achy feet a break and also look stylish. Footzyrolls is a company formed by two sisters that were tired of having no cute options for when their heels made their feet hurt like nothing else. When you just can’t walk any further, you definitely don’t want to rip your shoes off and go barefoot. Well, you do, but not really outside. You don’t know what kinds of germs lurk out there. So, the sisters put their heads together and came up with shoes that you could throw in your purse that fold up to nearly nothing and really give your feet that comfy feeling of being barefoot, but still giving them a bit of support and a lot of style.

Of course I jumped at the chance to review something that is both on-trend and also a fantastic option to throw in your travel bag that won’t take up much room. My first thought for these foldable, rollable shoes was for long plane rides. I don’t know about you, but I’m the first that wants to kick off their shoes and settle in. People will give you dirty looks when you do it, and walking down the aisle to the bathroom in socks or nothing isn’t a particularly appealing option either. You aren’t at home, after all, and sometimes that bathroom linoleum can feel like a movie theater floor. Ick! Cue, Footzyrolls! Ditch your shoes and slip your feet into an attractive pair of flats. You’ll feel like you’re wearing your favorite slippers, but still look put together.

I was able to test out a pair of the white Boston style of the Luxe line. With the basket-weave look, they are quite striking and would go with almost any outfit you wanted to wear them with in the spring and summer…and if you throw caution to the wind and break all rules about white in the winter months, you could wear them the rest of the year, too, though probably not if you’ll be hiking through the snow.

 Look! Great with a dress or shorts, too.

They are well-constructed and also have a bit of a cushioned foot bed, which I was surprised at for this kind of shoe. Many I’ve seen have no padding, except on the bottoms, so you can wear them outside. This is nice, because it gives you a bit of support and doesn’t make you feel like you are walking on rocks. In fact, I wore them out to dinner and strolling down the street was a pleasant experience, making me think that if you wanted to wear these out sightseeing, they would be a great choice.

They come in this handy pouch!
If you’ll be doing some serious walking around town, you may want to test these out before you leave home, but they would be fabulous for going out and making you look great whether you have on slacks or a dress. They also will take up way less space in a bag than heels or wedges and won’t torture your feet after a long day out walking.

Fold 'em!
Roll 'em!
I’m loving these as an alternative to flip flops, as they look a lot better and don’t make noises when you walk. They go with everything, be it shorts or a frilly skirt. No matter what you do to them, they won’t lose their shape either, so stuff them in your travel bag or toss them in your day bag for when you need a break from your other shoes. They fit snugly and come in size ranges, so if your feet swell while in flight – or after walking 6 miles at the theme park – they will still slip right on and off. You can sport delicate looking Footzyrolls, loafer-esque styles, sporty ones or even cozy, lined winter flats.

3 more styles I'm jonesing for: Komfyz, Hamptons and Gigi


Additional information
Where you can buy them: On the Footzyrolls website.
How much they cost: $22-45 - and they ship internationally!
Colors they comes in: All the colors of the rainbow…and some fun patterns, like gingham and animal print.
Sizes they come in: Select from Small up to Extra Large. Footzyrolls fit ladies US sizes 5 to 11.5.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was given a pair of Footzyrolls for the purposes of this review, but all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Budget San Antonio with SAVE

This post brought to you by SAVE . All opinions are 100% mine.

So, you’ve always wanted to go to San Antonio, Texas! Wait, no? You think the tagline “Everything’s bigger in Texas” must also encompass vacation costs? Well, guess again. I’ve been told about this fabulous new website called SAVE. I mean, I like it already just based on the name, but going there, I was bombarded with a whole site full of awesome discounts to help families plan their own affordable San Antonio Vacation Experience. You’re going to love the ease of using the SAVE – San Antonio Vacation Experience website to save on everything from hotels to activities. You can’t find these discounts anywhere else, as they are exclusive to the SAVE program and you can also save huge with Limited Time Offers.

You know how much I enjoy planning trips, so using this fabulous site, I found a whole bunch of things I would do if I were going to take a trip to San Antonio (and, of course, this makes me say “I want to go to there.”)

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Using the Deal Map, I found several hotels that I could fit in my budget, including the Microtel Inn & Suites Airport by Wyndham. I love the Wyndham properties I have stayed at (which have been many) and this one includes a free hot continental breakfast – Woo! DIY Waffles! – free Internet and a BBQ area where I can save some bucks by grilling out. If I get a suite, I can also take advantage of an in-room microwave and mini-fridge. Rates through SAVE run just $59-89 per night. That’s at least a $20 difference from the cheapest rates I found online, which really adds up when staying multiple nights. {{You may want to spend a bit more when it comes to your hotel. With that in mind, you can find them in all price ranges. SAVE partners include: Grand Hyatt San Antonio, Hyatt Regency San Antonio on the Riverwalk, San Antonio Marriott Riverwalk Hotel, Hilton Palacio del Rio, The Westin Riverwalk San Antonio and many more!}}

With my lodging out of the way, I can get down to business. What I want to do when I get there! With so many attractions to choose from – including SeaWorld, Six Flags, Schlitterbahn – it may be hard to narrow down your list to how many days you will be in San Antonio. I decided to plan for a six-day trip and want to save on anything possible.

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  • Day 1 – I have to hit the theme parks, so we’re going to head to Six Flags Fiesta Texas to ride all the thrill rides we can handle. We can use the BOGO coupon and only pay for one of us and spend that second admission fee on food or another activity! That’s a savings of $58.99, which is even better than the deal you can get for purchasing your tickets ahead of time online ($43.99/each or 3+ day advance purchase at $38.99/each)
  • Day 2 – Since the last time I visited San Antonio was when I still needed to hold an adult’s hand to get around, I certainly want to see the sights. We’ll take advantage of the convenience of the hop-on, hop-off trolley and also take $2 off the $19.95 rates thanks to SAVE. Our guide will take us on a relaxing tour of the city, where we will see The Alamo, Tower of Americas, the Mission Trail and River Walk, among other things.
  • Day 3 – My husband, Eric, loves waterparks and because I’ve heard such great things about the one in the Midwest, we are going to pack up our swimsuits and check out Schlitterbahn. It’s full of awesome looking water rides and is also fun to say! Regular entry is $69.97 and SAVE gets you $2 off up to 5 admissions. {{If you are looking to go way more budget, do Splashtown instead, where you can save $7 off their much more affordable $29.99 admission prices.}}
  • Day 4 – I love a good creepy and weird museum, so Eric and I are going to get a $1 off coupon to visit Ripley’s Believe it or Not! and Louis Tussaud’s Wax Works Museum, where I might chicken out and freak out at the lifelike celebrities and historical figures. This is a twofer, because there are two museums in one location and only costs one admission price. At $19.95, that’s a pretty good deal, especially with that dollar off.
After we grab lunch, we’re going to head over to the Texas Transportation Museum which houses a train depot, fire trucks, horse carriages, cars, tractors and a full-size train we can ride on! SAVE gets us $1 off admission and we’ll go on a Friday to save even more off regular admission ($5 instead of $8).
  • Day 5 – We’ve decided to learn more about the Texan life and history today by hitting up the Institute of Texan Culture. Through exhibits, stories and live demonstrations, we’ll be brought up to speed on how Texan culture has evolved from its beginning. We’ll also keep $8 in our pockets by using the SAVE buy one get one free coupon.
Our feet our tired so we'll take the rest of the day to relax in our room or hang out by the pool and recharge for the last day of our trip.

  • Day 6 – We’re going to spend our last day going back to The Alamo and taking a stress-free sightseeing tour that includes a riverboat ride, a visit to the Japanese Sunken Gardens and more cool stuff. At $54.50, it isn’t cheap, but then how can you put a price on seeing some beautiful sites and having a tour guide take you around the city and tell you about the places you visit for a whole day? Well, apparently you can, and it’s $54.50, but with SAVE, you only have to pay $49.50!
If you add it all up, SAVE discounts made our trip so much more affordable! We could have spent $1,202 on our hotel and sightseeing (that’s over $600 per person!), but with all the deals we found, we actually saved $200 overall. Woohoo! If we stayed in a standard room and substituted Splashtown for Schlitterbahn, that easily could have been almost $300 still in our bank account. Imagine how much you could save if you brought your whole family.
There’s still time to plan a summer getaway, so why not check out a city in your own “backyard” and see how SAVE can help you create the perfect budget vacation for you and your family! See for yourself how easy it is to find activities and get discounts on your perfect San Antonio vacation.

You can also follow SAVE on Twitter at @SAVEinSA to keep up with new deals and Limited Time Offers.

Shakespeare with Sno-Cones 7.25.12

Shereen Travels Cheap goes to Shakespeare in the Park
I love theatrical performances, but those costs can really eat into your budget, whether you’re on vacation or not. Over the weekend we took time out to grab a blanket and some beverages and take the dog to the park to catch some Shakespeare. She loves to run around before and during intermission and then while the performance is going on, she watches the action or the people in the audience. I love Shakespeare in the Park, because it combines my love for the Bard with my husband’s love of being outside and spending little to no money. I enjoy those things, too, but if we could get by on spending nothing, he would be thrilled. 

The show was a little different, and not just because it was the most people I’d ever seen at a park to watch old English being performed. First of all, the play was not rehearsed. The company performed it as they would have when it was “first run” and had their own parts on scrolls – which included a little bit of the line before and after theirs so they could keep pace – and, to make it even more interesting, they had a referee off-sides to help actors if they got off track, but also to throw the actors off track to make the play as funny and interactive as possible. Now, this is the first time I have ever witnessed this during a show at a park and I enjoyed it very much.

Throughout the performance, the actors would wander through the audience, plucking picnic foods from offered containers and then would have to do a little improv when prompted. Being that the play was As You Like It and it takes place 90% in the Forest of Arden, eating “found” food made quite a bit of sense. An actor rushing to answer an onlooker’s cell phone, not so much. Still, it made for a unique evening out. Over the course of the play, the ref called for the actors to engage in a high-five race when a plane flew overhead and they couldn’t be heard, to entertain a baby in the front row that was getting antsy and to pretend to do yard work when a lawnmower started in the background. He also sent out an audience request to bring him a Sno-Cone from a nearby vendor, which was so funny that many were purchased and all the actors then were trying to act while incorporating either a Sno-Cone or cotton candy into the scene.

So, why am I recounting my tales to summer activities? Because Shakespeare in the Park is a national (and possibly international?) phenomenon and summer is the time to take advantage of your local theater company’s free performances. It’s a cheap way to get out and enjoy some culture – though Shakespearean songs done to the tune of The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine probably counts as more than some – and introduce your children to the Bard. If they get a bit fidgety, it’s okay, because you’re in a park! Go run off that excess energy during intermission or, if they really aren’t into it, you can leave without lamenting the $20+ you paid for each ticket.

If you’re off vacationing and looking for something to do that won’t break your budget, so you can either save money or splurge on that fancy schmancy restaurant, jump on Google to find nearby performances. Most shows happen on Saturdays and Sundays, but there can be some special shows on other days of the week. You never have to dress up, you can bring a picnic if you want, get comfortable and show up any time before start time to get a spot on the lawn. Don’t forget to bring a couple of bucks for concessions (if there are any) or to donate for a particularly good performance.

Have you ever enjoyed your local Shakespeare in the Park?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Low-Budget Honeymooning 7.21.12

Usually, I lump honeymooning in with regular travel posts because, after all, they are just travel. Almost 6 years ago I got married and tried out a brand new trend that worked spectacularly for us. Now this trend is becoming the new norm as more and more couples live together first or merge two households to form one when they become husband and wife (or wife and wife or husband and husband). Most people find they don’t need or want new dishes or blenders or towel sets, so they are stumped as to what to register for. We also had this problem, but I had heard a rumor of sites that let you register for your honeymoon a while before I got engaged and thought “Brilliant!” and immediately started searching for such a thing.

Delicious pub food and lager? Gifted!
As you may or may not remember me mentioning, we took two weeks for our honeymoon and traveled to London and Paris. We had a fabulous time, but those places are not cheap. Another thing that isn’t cheap: WEDDINGS! Yes, we are probably in the minority of couples who paid for their own celebration, but I had never expected our relatives to have to pay for anything. First of all, they already had to pay for their own weddings and second, we are adults with real jobs and real money. Though it’s not a lot of money, we figured out how to do our wedding on a budget and still have one of the best days that people still talk about.

Our wedding happened on the Saturday before Halloween and we asked everyone to dress up. And dress up they did! It was a blast. Yes, you may think it is crazy to not want to have a traditional wedding, but I am so not a tradionalist and neither are either of our families. We also chucked the idea of having a ring bearer, flower girl, doing it in a church, tossing the bouquet or that weird garter tugging thing that ends up with a guy’s head up your skirt. We dreamed up the funnest party we could think of, wrote all our vows – including the rest of the ceremony – told our wedding party to wear whatever they felt comfortable in, ordered a delicious cake covered in spider webs and topped with Frankenstein’s monster and his bride, had a buffet of appetizers, walked down the aisle to I Believe in a Thing Called Love and danced with our guests to Thriller and the Time Warp.

Trip to Paris? Also gifted!
Now, after spending all our free money on our wedding, we knew that we wouldn’t have much money left over for a trip, so we set to work creating our perfect itinerary for London and Paris and then add them to a registry. Here’s how it works: Choose your trip and all the components. Upload each thing to your registry along with prices and how many you need – just like a regular registry! If you want to add airfare or hotel nights to your wish list, break it down into $50 increments, or whatever you think is a reasonable price for people to pay for a gift. If your airfare will cost $600, register for 12 $50 airfare gifts. If your family and friends are bigger spenders, make it 6 $100 gifts. You can add anything you want, from a new camera to capture your memories to meals.

Your guests will have fun seeing what you have planned and get excited to be a part of your honeymoon, without being a part of your honeymoon. They “purchase” from your list and then the cash is deposited into your account for you to add those components as you have enough money to do so. If you are depending solely on guest contributions, then you may end up with only partial money for some stuff and have to kick in some of your own money or be a little creative. When we returned from our trip, I sent thank you notes to our guests with a web address to our photos and saying we really enjoyed the X that they contributed to. It was personable and fun.

Our trip to Disneyland Paris? Gifted as well!
So, where can you start your own honeymoon registry? I am partial to TheBigDay, which is the site we used, but you can also check out Travelers Joy, Honey Fund or Honeymoon Wishes. You can even see samples of registries (and if you can’t, search open registries with a generic name like Smith to see real ones).

Get a free quote for Honeymoon Insurance

Are you like me? Would you ever use a honeymoon registry?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Super Useful Travel Links 7.20.12

It’s that time again! This week, I have no theme. Just like me, my finds are all over the board, but that should mean there’s something for everyone. I’ve got everything from solo vacationing to traveling with allergies. I hope you all have been having a great week and enjoying this new series as well as our new 48 Fun Hours on a Budget one that is rolling along pretty nicely. I’ve had some friends asking me about New Orleans, so next week you can read all about how I would plan 2 days in The Big Easy. In fact, I thought it was such a fun idea, we have been thinking about taking our own vacay in NOLA. Obviously, not soon, since next up will be Southern Cali to check out the new Cars Land at Disney (a friend has been texting me pictures that are making me antsy!), the Transformers ride at Universal, the greatness that is The Gentle Barn and also some general LA/Hollywood sightseeing that is going to include at least one meal at The London to immerse ourselves in Gordon Ramsay’s yummy, yummy food. We figure if we can’t GO to London, we can at least get a little closer.

Actual picture text :)
Do you ever feel like you just need to get away from everything? Like, take time out to rediscover the fact that you aren’t just a drone in a beehive of cubicles? I have certain points throughout the year that makes me just go “I’ve got to get out of here!!!” If you do too, Fox wants to tell you about the beauty of the Me-cation. Sometimes, you just need to breathe and do stuff by yourself. Or maybe you live alone and all your friends are married or bail out at the last minute on any plans you ever have. If you aren’t content to wait on someone who doesn’t flake, you aren’t the only one packing their bag and taking off on a solo trip.

Do you love to bike around the city? You may not always be able to bring your own bike along, but don’t let that stop you! Rent a bike in one of the Top 10 Cities for Cycling as decided by Sherman’s Travel. Portland is on this list! We are a great city to peddle around in and have plenty of places to rent from at affordable prices – you know, in case you were wondering what to do around here.
So, this isn’t so much a bike as it is a scooter, but SkyMall has found a way to make carrying a backpack fun! If you have kids, or are a big kid yourself, you may need to put this backpack scooter on your wish list. It’s a handy way to carry your heavy stuff and also get exercise that isn’t lugging 80 lbs of school books on your back. I love it and I want one. Imagine scooting through the airport on this bad boy!
Once they’ve tired out from pushing along their belongings, kids are going to want to rest…but still be entertained. Check out USA Today’s list of apps for kids that include fun games that test your brain like Where’s My Perry? It’s a new app for iPad/iPod from Disney based on their cartoon show Phineas and Ferb and similar to the Where’s My Water? app that I think is super fun (even if it’s for wee ones). You can think I'm weird if you want. Not only will these keep your youngsters happy, you may also try your hand at them once they have conked out.
It’s time for another look at travel scams. While this list also includes regular scams, you can certainly learn something for your trips. LA Times wants to warn you about discount travel scams that could leave you paying a load more money than needed.

It seems like a lot of restaurants are keeping up with the needs of the people. With so many allergy-ridden travelers out in the world, they are rolling out new allergy menus to satisfy even their hardest customers. Check out this new trend emerging on Tasting Table.
That’s all I have for this week. I’ll be searching for new and interesting links for the end of the month. In the meantime, you can look forward to reading about low- and no-budget honeymoons tomorrow.
Have you come across interesting travel-related articles? Make sure to share them in the comments, so we can all learn something new!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Make Your Summer More Fun and Affordable 7.18.12

Don’t forget to enter our current giveaways: Travelon Anti-Theft React Weekender | 23 prizes from Giveaway Promote
I know some of us are wondering what the heck happened to summer, since July is halfway over and June seems like a distant memory. Here in Oregon it took summer a little longer to get here and we had a few days of warm weather mixed with weeks of cool, rainy days. Finally, we are languishing in the 80s and we realize that we’ll be putting away our shorts and tank tops soon enough and putting sporting boots again. I’m trying not to think about that, since I’m extending my summer by taking a trip to Cali where even in the winter it’s still spring temps. It might be weird that I’m looking forward to sunny skies and 70-80 degree days in October, but as much as I love fall colors, our winter and fall lasted about two months too long here, so I’ll take it where I can get it.

There's still time to get some of this in your life this summer!
With summer coming to a close for many of you and kids going back to school very soon, I wanted to write about some last minute ways to get out and enjoy the weather and some family bonding while still not spending a fortune. Yesterday, I posted about affordable late summer travel on FareCompare and today I have some other ways to stretch your dollars.

Get a CityPASS and see a bunch of awesome stuff for almost 50% off. If you live near or plan to visit Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Hollywood, Houston, New York, Philidelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Southern California or Toronto, then one of these is a must! Your CityPASS includes entry to some of the most popular attractions in a city, like museums, amusement parks, historical monuments and more.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Giveaway Promote's Anniversary Giveaway: $1,375+ worth of prizes

Do you want the chance to win a whole slew of prizes? To be exact, 23 are up for grabs right now. Shereen Travels Cheap has partnered with Giveaway Promote again to celebrate their 1st anniversary. Pretty awesome that the gifts are actually being GIVEN AWAY, right? If you enter now, you'll have a chance win any of the following (to enter, scroll to the bottom for the Rafflecopter entry form):

Welcome to Giveaway Promote's Anniversary Giveaway!

To thank you for your support, we're offering you the chance to win one of 23 awesome prizes from our amazing sponsors.

Amana Microwave
Wellness Mats
Technogel Pillow
Technogel Pillow (ARV $150.00) Sponsored by Technogel. Read the Technogel review.
Kansas City Steaks
Tykes Bykes
OOFOS Footwear
Pair of OOFOS Footwear - 2 Winners! (ARV $39.99/ea) Sponsored by OOFOS. Read the OOFOS review.
Uncommon Goods
Howells Natural Wood Products
Mobi DualScan
Mobi DualScan Dual Ear or Forehead Thermometer (ARV $31.95) Sponsored by Mobi. Read the Mobi DualScan review and get an exclusive discount code.
EnviroSax Organic Cotton Bag (ARV $29.95) Sponsored by EnviroSax. Read the EnviroSax review.
SnackSack from SnackTaxi (ARV $7.95) Sponsored by SnackTaxi. Read the SnackTaxi review.
Lilla Rose
Amazon Gift Card
$25 Amazon Gift Card Sponsored by The Frugal Buffalonian.
Genesis 950
Gallon of Genesis 950 (ARV $28.50) Sponsored by Amerikal.
Walmart Gift Card
$25 WalMart Gift Card Sponsored by U.S. Coupons and Deals.
Starbucks Gift Card
$10 Starbucks Gift Card Sponsored by Coupon Savvy Sarah.
Ultimate Body Wrap
Photo Book
Stella & Dot Necklace
Visa Gift Card
$25 VISA Gift Card Sponsored by RewardIt.

Thank you to our wonderful prize sponsors and blogger participants for your support and contribution to this giveaway.

Complete the tasks below to earn entries into this giveaway. There will be 23 winners, one for each prize, chosen from all valid entries.

$25 VISA Gift Card, $25 Amazon Gift Card, Envirosax Organic Cotton Bag, Photographing Children Photo Workshop Book and SnackSack from SnackTaxi are available worldwide. All other prizes are available in the United States only.

This giveaway is open worldwide. It will end at 11:59pm EST on July 29th, 2012.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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