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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Getting Deep Discounts on Car Rentals


Sometimes when you travel, it’s just not practical to take public transportation. Maybe you are covering a lot of ground on your trip or the bus schedule is iffy or you are on a business trip that calls for you to be at specific places at particular times. The problem with renting a car is that it can quickly add up over just a few days. Getting a good deal is not too difficult, but it does take some know-how and persistence. Here are some of the easiest ways to get the best deal possible.

Keep checking rates

Once you reserve a car, you are not usually locked into the rate at the time you booked. Rates can go up or down between the time you book it and the time you actually pick up your car. If they go down, you can always cancel and rebook with no penalty. Keep checking up to the day before you leave. You never know how much cheaper you can get by just keeping your eye on the rental rates.

Book for a week

Weekly rates are sometimes much better than if you booked each day separately and often even more affordable than a four- or five-day rental. Check the fine print to make sure there’s no penalty for returning your car early. If there isn’t, take the weekly rate and then bring your rental back a few days early. It can only help them make more money by having an extra car on-hand.

Reserve the smallest possible car

Yes, you’re on vacation and you want to be comfortable, but think about how much time you’ll actually be spending in the car. Rental companies can’t downgrade your car once it’s booked – only upgrades are acceptable. This means if you reserve a compact or an economy car (which are the most popular) and they don’t have any when you get there, they have to give you the next available size up at the same rate. If all they have at the time is a luxury car, they are obligated to rent it to you. The other upside to renting a smaller car is that it will cost you less in fuel, because you’ll get better gas mileage.

Use your own insurance

Insurance can end up costing you the same price as your rental. If you have insurance at home, it’s likely you are covered in any car you drive, whether you own it or not. Check with your personal insurance company before you leave home and then tell the rental car company you don’t need their optional insurance. The same goes for the credit card you use to pay for your rental. A lot of major credit cards have insurance coverage for rental automobiles that kicks in when the card is used.

Skip the GPS

Sure, it’s probable that you won’t know where you’re going when you travel to a new destination, unless directions to your hotel are super simple, but that doesn’t mean you need to rent the navigation system from the car company. If you have a personal GPS, bring it instead. It will take up a little space in your luggage, but it will save you quite a bit of money if you will be at your destination for more than a few days. Also, the fee is outrageous if your car is broken into and the system is stolen. You would stand to lose much less if your own GPS was taken.

Avoid the inclusive gas option

By far the biggest rip-off when you rent a car is the optional fill-up upon return. While there are some exceptions, it is very common for them to charge you over a dollar more per gallon than what is charged at the pump. On top of that, no matter how much gas you return with, you will be made to pay as if the tank was empty, and at the highly inflated rate. Tell the rep at the desk that you will return the car with a full tank and then ask where the nearest station is, so you can take note to stop there upon your return.

Rent away from the airport

Airports impose a rental fee to car companies, which they then pass onto the customer. If it is possible to rent off-site, compare pricing to see if there is a notable difference. If there is, choose the least expensive option.

Add a second driver

Most rental companies allow you to add a second driver to your rental for no fee once you get to the counter to sign in. If you are married – or live in the same house and say you are spouses – then you can both be on the rental agreement for the same rate as just one.

Get the most out of your rental

You always want to get the most for your money and renting a car is no different. Sign up for reward programs and earn points toward free rentals, upgrades and more when you use each company. You can usually use your frequent flyer membership number to earn miles for each rental you complete as well. Sometimes you have to pay a bit more for your rental this way, but usually it’s less than a dollar per rental day, so you are still coming out ahead.

Rent from a person

Use Turo*. I've done this before. It's basically like an Airbnb, but for cars. Rent a car from an individual and it includes insurance and mileage, plus you can pay extra for drop-off if you need it at the airport or somewhere else. You may just have to give the owner a ride. 

When we went to LA last August, I was having issues finding a decent rental car rate. Everything for 5 days was upwards of $400. On Turo, I found a great car with excellent reviews for less than half that price. The app is easy to use and everyone is vetted, plus it's cheaper than using rideshares if you need to do a lot of driving. *If you click through my link to sign up, you'll get $25 credit towards your first rental.

Renting a car doesn’t have to be a daunting experience. It’s fun to drive something new, it’s exciting to save money and you’ll be glad to not have to rely on public transportation if you will be traveling around a lot during your stay. A car rental also enables you to take day trips from the city and go on your own schedule. With these tips, you can eliminate the stress of high rental costs, because you’ll know the rate you’re paying is the best one that you could find.

How often do you rent a car when you travel?

Saturday, May 18, 2019

5 Affordable Summer Beach Destinations

Summer is all about visiting the beach, and with a majority of travelers doing so in the summer months, it can be hard to find a decent deal near the shore. I've read that something like 40% of people will not travel over the summer due to vacation costs. Luckily, there are still some spots on the coast that won’t break your bank. 

affordable summer beach destinations

They may not be places you’ve thought of traveling before, but if your goal is to walk along the sand and play in the ocean, here are five budget cities to plan your summer getaway to.

Photo by MacKenzi Martin on Unsplash

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

With tons of resorts on the oceanfront, there is someplace to stay for every budget. Rental condos of all sizes are always on special to entice families to visit. Saving so much on your accommodation can help you do a lot more once you’re there. Not only will you find over 60 miles of beautiful beaches, but also amusement parks, award-winning golf courses, watersports and lots of outdoor activities like fishing, hiking and shopping.

Santa Monica, California

Best known for its famous pier, Santa Monica is packed with great people watching, mild weather to enjoy the beach and delicious restaurants. Third Street Promenade has wonderful shopping and in the evening you can catch live street performances and other entertainment. During the summer there are plenty of special activities to keep you busy on the beach, but if you’re hoping to get away from the crowds and hope to catch a glimpse of a famous face or two, jump on the hop-on, hop-off bus yellow route and ride it to amazing neighborhoods where you can get off and sightsee, including Rodeo Drive, Brentwood County Mart and Fox Studios.

Photo by parth upadhyay on Unsplash

Jersey Shore, New Jersey

For a traditional beach getaway, you can’t beat Jersey Shore. It’s not all Snooki and JWoww down at the water’s edge. Try your hand at boardwalk games, get on a few rides, take in a bit of shopping and then hang out at one of the many restaurants near the pier. If the fun in the sun becomes a bit too much for you, you can always hop on a train to ride into New York or try your luck in Atlantic City.

Photo by Matthew T Rader on Unsplash

South Padre Island, Texas

Best known as a hotspot for spring breakers, South Padre Island is a great place to engage in a variety of watersports, and also has many other activities to pique your interest. There’s a weekly farmers’ market, fireworks on the beach, catamaran races and other festivals during the warmer months. After lounging on the beach all day, dance your nights away at the numerous nightclubs on the island.

Photo by Taylor Rooney on Unsplash

Kennebunkport, Maine

Not really a famous destination for beach-lovers outside of the New England area, Kennebunkport feels like a bit more of an upscale ocean getaway. Feast on locally caught seafood and explore the historic town of Kennebunk. When not hanging out at the beach, you can fill your days with browsing antique shops, checking out the latest art and learning about long shipbuilding. Don’t forget to make some time to go shopping at a few of the many boutique stores to find the perfect gifts and souvenirs to bring back home.

No matter what your travel style, there is a beach vacation destination to suit you and your budget. From family-friendly to a romantic escape, one of these five cities can be the perfect vacation spot for you.

Where's your favorite summer beach spot?

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Staying In Touch with Home

When you travel, it can sometimes be hard to keep in touch with home, especially if you're traveling out of the country.  I'm not about to just cut off all communication for a week or two just because I don't want to pay $.60 for a text message or much more than that per phone call minute. Here are the ways I stay in touch with home when I travel.

apps to connect with home
Photo by ROBIN WORRALL on Unsplash
You could rely on email, but if you're traveling solo or actually want to speak to a human being, that's a bit impersonal, though you can also email people in addition to emailing them all the fun details of your days. I tend to do both, but I like for people to know that I haven't died, and I want to see my dog while I'm away for a week or more.

Photo by Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash


Voxer

Instead of texting, I use Voxer. Not only is it free, but it works off WiFi, so it can push through your "texts" when you have a signal, but will timestamp it when you actually sent it. It will also tell you when your message was delivered and when it was read. If the recipient clicks on it, can see exactly where it was sent from. This way you save money and people know you're alive, and if you go missing, they know where you were last. Voxer allows you to send/receive messages, videos and voice recordings, and it's free, unless you upgrade for more capabilities. You could use WhatsApp instead. I just didn't think it was as user-friendly.

Photo by Glen Anthony on Unsplash

Skype

Yes, I'm old, apparently, because the kids all snicker when you mention Skype instead of Facetime. One, I don't have an iPhone, and two, I don't want one. Skype is mostly free, easy to use, and allows you to actually see another person, even if you think you look like a hideous beast on camera like I do. 

Trying to figure out a time to talk to someone when there's a very significant time difference can be difficult, but I generally send a Voxer to my mom (or whoever I'm going to call), to let them know when I'm planning to Skype, so we can have the app open. I use it on my phone, so I can give them a walk thru of my Airbnb. Ha! 

Swarm

This doesn't strictly help you stay in touch, but it does let people know where you are at any given time. I check in to most places I go, because I like a record of things I did, in case I forget, but I also like my friends to know where I am, just in case. If I'm away and I don't check in somewhere for a day, they probably know there's something wrong. Plus, Swarm check-ins are fun and you earn points and stickers. 


Photo by Oleg Magni on Unsplash

TripIt

This is another way for me to allow people to keep tabs on me. I upload my entire itinerary to TripIt, including my flights and where I'm staying, so I have something with all my confirmation numbers and addresses and phone numbers in one place (which also saves paper) and then I share it with one or two other people who like to know what I'm doing and who I want to check in with.

These are just a few of my favorite apps, but they are especially useful for keeping up with people wherever you are. If you have a favorite app to stay in touch with home, I want to hear about it. Let me know about it in the comments.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Art + Other Cool Stuff at the Airport

The only thing I love more than the airport is visiting an airport I've never been to before. I view it as part of my trip and the start (or middle) of an adventure. I will plan what I want to do and where I want to eat at airports long before we even travel. I have Gate Guru downloaded to my phone, so I can see what art and other cool stuff there is at the airport. If you hate the travel part of traveling, here are ways to actually enjoy the airport.



Why do I enjoy the airport so much? It could be that I live where the best airport is (Travel + Leisure has awarded it six years running), but I like most other city's airports, too. I'll tell you why: Viewing the airport as a part of your trip makes it seem way better than just a waiting room to get into a smaller waiting room to get to where you really want to go.

It's like a mall that also has a portal to another destination! (Yeah, I actually hate the mall, but it's the best comparison.) Once you start thinking this way, you might feel differently in the future too, not be one of those annoyed harried people who look at the route monitors with a permanent scowl. Listen, you'll eventually get to where you want to be, so chill out and enjoy yourself. Get  a snack or a beer, buy a new magazine and go check out what the airport has to offer.

Art collection

All airports now have some sort of art collection. Some even have their own galleries for those travelers who have quite a bit of time to kill. I always like to see the different things on display at different airports. Take some time to wander your terminal to check out the exhibits available. One of my favorites is the History of Flight "museum" in McCarran Airport in Las Vegas. They have a main exhibit and smaller exhibits throughout. 



Play area


Travel with kids can be trying and, after having to sit for hours without getting to flail or even stand up, jumping around and annoying people near the baggage carousel is not a fantastic way to burn off energy (or make friends). Head to the nearest play area, which almost all airports have, and let them climb and run and yell and whatever else so they can be ready to fly or for the next leg of your journey. Bonus is that they are usually airplane themed and lots of kids love pretending to be a pilot. 


Workout rooms

These may be few and far between, but if you're lucky enough to go through an airport with some, pack some shorts and a tee in your carry-on to do some running or strength training. Getting some exercise is a great way to stay alert and get moving after a long flight of being folded into a tiny space. If you normally get a workout in during the day, then you're not missing out by sitting on the plane.


Movies

You're probably bringing your laptop, so why not toss a couple DVDs in your bag to watch if you have 90+ minutes to spare on your layover. If you're lucky, you might be in one of those fancy schmancy airports that have an actual theater for travelers and you can see a new movie on a big screen.





Spa

Treat yourself to a massage, pedicure of something else a little luxurious. I've been lucky enough to get a manicure at the Butter London location in Seattle, but we've also hit up the Xpress Spas on trips as well. They do their best to make your treatments short and sweet, so if you have a tighter connection, you can still catch your flight.


Specialty souvenir shops


Bring home gifts to commemorate your trip for yourself or others. If you're just passing through, this is also a great way to sample some of the local flavor, whether it's candy or beer or whatever else. Fair warning, when you go through Portland (PDX) and think Oregon Rain sounds like a fantastic water choice, just don't.


Go sightseeing

If you have a fairly long layover, don't think you can't get out and enjoy your stopover city a bit. We had 8 hours in Vancouver, BC (YVR), rented a car and made a fun day out of it. On our way to Philadelphia, any flight we chose out of PDX had a layover in SFO and the outgoing flight from there wasn't until 10:30pm no matter when we flew, so we took the earliest flight, had 12 hours there and met a friend for some sightseeing and catching up. We went to lunch, the zoo, the wax museum, the San Francisco Dungeon and finished up with dinner at Pier 39, then went back to the airport and had a nice sleep overnight on the plane.

Recently, we flew through Salt Lake (SLC) and they had a brochure about taking a two-hour tour into their historical center. They have an airport shuttle to drop you off and bring you back and they get tourists into town and a little extra money in their economy. That was pretty genius to me. 

Buy something you forgot 

Or entertainment. My favorite new shops are the 24-hour kiosks in airports. You can buy everything from travel-sized makeup to fancy noise-canceling headphones to an ebook reader. You pay full price, but if you forget that sunscreen you love from Supergoop! or the best ever Benefit foundation, you can get them at whatever time you're stuck at the airport.

What do you like to do to pass the time at airports?

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Review: Hydaway Collapsible Water Bottle

When you travel, it is pretty important to stay hydrated, especially when on the plane, when the air is dry. Drinking water can also keep you healthy, but purchasing bottles everywhere you go can be both expensive and wasteful. I always bring a reusable bottle with me, but it can be annoying and cumbersome, especially when it's empty. Hydaway knows what you want.

The collapsible bottle from Hydaway comes in fun colors and has a unique design to keep it from collapsing in on itself when you're attempting to drink from a partially full bottle. I was intrigued by this new bottle, and not just because it is made in Bend, Oregon (a short, and beautiful, drive from where I live). The silicone  material is  what allows the bottle to be collapsible, and the BPA-free plastic gives it structure where it needs it, including making the lid a lot more user-friendly. Each lid has a convenient handle, so you can use a clip to hook it to the outside of your bag or carry it more easily when it's full. 


When your bottle is empty, you can collapse it down to a small 1.5" profile that can fit in your bag or your jacket pocket until you need it again. This is smaller than a lot of other bottles on the market, giving you more room in your bag for other things you need, like snacks or souvenirs. I don't judge.


What makes this bottle different from all the others you've seen? Well, as we've already established, it packs down small, and collapsing and expanding it is super simple. There's no twisting or squishing. You can even do it with one hand. The silicone keeps its shape, and the plastic ring that makes up the largest part of the bottle gives it structure, so when you're drinking out of it, it doesn't get all floppy on you, because you can't squeeze it inward. 


The ring also helps keep your bottle from wobbling around in your car's cup holder. That's a big plus for me, because I always bring something to drink with me in the car. The weird shape works in many ways, but it's also unique and no one's going to mistake it for their water bottle. 

You can put this bottle in the freezer, too. No more trying to stuff ice cubes into a space not designed for it, though the wide mouth opening will allow you to do so. I collapsed mine halfway, filled it mostly with water and put in the freezer, so the next day, I had a nice base of ice, expanded it all the way, and filled the rest with water. Boom! Cold water for running errands! (I didn't need to partially collapse it, but it fit better in my freezer door this way.)


You can put this bottle in the dishwasher! This is a game changer for me, because I hate handwashing things and I hate having to buy special tools/cleaners for things. I put it right up on the top rack with my other cups, and it came out exactly as it went in, despite the high temps of the water in my dishwasher. I love it! This makes me happier than I can even tell you, because it means I'll wash my water bottle far more than I do now and probably avoid a lot of bacteria that might build up.


Do you often fill up your bottles at drinking fountains or the sinks in your hotel room? That can be really icky tasting, right? We go to Vegas once or twice a year and their tap water is groooossssssss. Actually, most places have gross tap water. Well, you can purchase a carbon filter "system" for your Hydaway and it takes all those yucky impurities out as you drink. I love it!


Now you're ready for all those summer travels you're doing to the beach, theme parks, even city sightseeing. Maybe you're just a mom who has kids who are always thirsty THE SECOND you leave the house or where your only option is to buy a drink. Well, not anymore. Buy one or more of these and have water on-hand, or the ability to hold water, all the time. 


Don't have kids? That's okay too. Not only can you use this for all your trips out and about and your travels and everywhere else, I'm assured you can also use this bottle for adult beverages. What?! Yeah. Fill it with wine or a cocktail to take on a picnic, to hang out in the yard, to enjoy at Fourth of July celebrations. Much less conspicuous than a flask, plus it just looks cool, and no one will suspect you have booze and want you to share. Ha!

Mother's Day, Father's Day and graduations are coming up. Create a fun little travel gift box with a Hydaway in it and other things your recipient might like, because no one will ever be disappointed by a gift of easier hydration, especially if it makes their trips better. You can grab a travel pack and get more than one bottle, so you can give several away and keep one for yourself!

Other details:
Where can I buy it? On Hydaway's website
How much does it cost? $25.00
What colors does it come in? Bluebird (shown) | Midnight | Mist | Plum | Seaside | Sunset | Thunder | Timber | Lightning
more specs: 17oz capacity, leak-proof, non-toxic, 15% lighter than original model, full height: 6", collapsed: 1.5", diameter: 3.75"

Give Hydaway some love and follow them everywhere they are:


Disclaimer: I was given the Hydaway bottle for the purposes of this review, but all opinions are 100% my own.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Fly Further For Less: The Best Budget-Friendly Travel Tips

Have you ever dreamed of booking a long-haul vacation or planning a backpacking trip around the world? Often, money can be a barrier for those who have fallen victim to wanderlust, but this doesn’t have to be the case. There are myriad ways you can save on travel. Here are some top tips to enable you to fly further for less.

Image via

Saving on flights

The cost of flights can vary hugely depending on the airline, the date, the class, and the route. If you’re flexible when it comes to dates and times, you’re not fussed about booking a seat in business class, and you don’t mind taking a little longer to get to your destination, you could save a small fortune. Use comparison sites to look at different options and get some quotes, and try and travel off-season if possible. It’s also worth subscribing to airline mailing lists and following major operators on social media to ensure you hear about deals and offers first. If you’re looking to travel to multiple destinations, it’s wise to check out around the world tickets, as they often offer brilliant value for money.

Package holidays and accommodation options

If you’re planning to hit the beach or soak up the sun around the pool, it’s always a good idea to compare the cost of package holidays and booking separate flights and accommodation. Bundles are often excellent value for money, as they include transfers and luggage, but sometimes, you can save by finding your own flights and organizing your own lodgings. It’s also worth exploring options like Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Club. Membership schemes can save you a lot of money if you’re willing to choose from a specific range of destinations and hotels. If you’re traveling in a group, consider alternatives to hotel rooms, for example, apartments, villas and beach houses. Paying for an apartment and splitting the cost will usually work out a lot cheaper than reserving a string of hotel rooms.

Taking advantage of the Internet

The Internet is an incredibly useful resource for travelers who are looking for a bargain. You can compare prices on everything from hotels and flights to package deals, airport parking and transfers, you can source discounted tickets and excursions, and you can read reviews and travel articles. You can also use the web to find the best travel insurance offers and to plan your itinerary.

Saving while on vacation

Once you’ve arrived at your destination, there are several ways to save. Make sure you pay for card transactions in the local currency, shop around for the best prices on car hire and activities and look for restaurants that are popular with the locals. This is usually a sign of both quality and affordability.

Picture credit
Do you wish you could travel more frequently? Does a lack of funds mean that you’re limited to a single trip or a couple of weekends away each year? If so, there are ways of saving on globetrotting. Hopefully, these tips will enable you to see more of the world without breaking the bank.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

What's In Your Travel Bag

I've talked a lot about what I keep in my travel bag(s), but do you know what you should not pack in your carry-on?  The TSA confiscates a ton of dangerous, and weird, items every year. I love to follow them in Instagram, but here's a quick low-down of what you can and can't bring aboard your flight.

What
From Visually.

If you want some other ideas as to how to make your trip through security easier and faster, check out my post on things that make TSA go hmmm and how to ben an airport security pro. And here's a link to my latest "what's in my bag" post.

How do you get through TSA faster?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

How to Plan + Budget for Big Trips

Well, it's that time again. Everyone's thinking about planning a big trip for the year, whether that's for this summer, next summer or a bucket list destination 5 years from now. I think about leaving home when winter drags on and I am sick and tired of the cold rainy weather. Of course, now the weather's turning and it's time to turn those dreams into a reality by making a travel plan and budget for saving for it.

how to plan for big trips

Where do you want to go?

I know not everyone has a 5 or 10 year plan for vacations like I do. I already know I'll be doing the UK this year, Walt Disney World next year, and Iceland the year after that. We've even decided that in 10 years we want to do Japan. We don't have plans for the years in between, but I think we might try to get to Boston, Toronto and Vermont during some of those. 

If you have a travel list of places you want to go, this is a great place to start. Choose a place and make it a plan. If you don't, then ask friends about their favorite vacations, ask your family where they want to go, get inspiration online or in travel magazines or shows. 

What do you want to do there?

Now that you know where you want to go, choose the things you absolutely have to do there. I keep a running list of things that are on my must list and what Eric has on his list. These are the things I add, including their prices. Then I look to see if I can get a discount on any of those things online, as a bundle with other things, or with a city pass. If so, this enables me to have a little wiggle room. 

Now, choose things that you want to do if you can , but aren't crucial to your trip. These are things that are nice to have in a trip, but you won't be that disappointed if you can't do them.

How much money do you need?

Look at airfare rates for the time you want to travel, as well as hotel or vacation rental rates. I find that Airbnb rates are as affordable as hotels, but include things that would cost me extra, like laundry, a kitchen and WiFi, so I save over a hotel room. If this isn't important to you, then look for hotels with things that help with your bottom line, like free breakfast. 

Now, add those two things to your attractions budget, figure out if you need a car or how much transportation will cost, and then do a bit of research on what restaurants charge to come up with a food budget. 

How can you stretch your budget?

There are lots of ways to stretch your budget when you travel. These are my favorites:
  • Make breakfasts instead of eating out.
  • Make lunch your big meal of the day. If you are dying to eat at a fancy restaurant, lunch is almost always much cheaper. 
  • Look for food carts or local favorites, as these will charge less than places that are trying to attract tourists.
  • Hit up happy hours.
  • Bring snacks, so you don't have to spend money in between meals when you get peckish.
  • Take along a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated and keep from buying beverages wherever you go.
  • Pack light and do laundry, so you aren't paying baggage fees. 
  • Look for free activities, like museums, cool parks, and landmarks. 
  • Use daily deal sites like Groupon to do things at a deep discount. 
  • Walk wherever you can to save money on transportation.

Easy ways to save

I hate saving money, but I love going on vacation, so I try hard to do it without complaining. Instead of making excuses for spending money, think about all the awesome things you can do with that money if you spend it on travel. You'll have lifelong memories, enjoy a mental health break, and spend more quality time with your family/significant other/friend(s). Here are some of my favorite ways to save money that are also super easy:
  • Pay yourself first. You know how when you invest in something like a 401-K and it gets taken out of your paycheck before you even see it? And you never miss it? Do this with your vacation fund. You know when you get paid, so set up an automatic deposit, either through work or on your own online, to go to that separate account. Even just $50 per paycheck can quickly add up and it's not so much that you'll notice it's gone. If you can afford more, change the dollar amount that goes, even if this is a one-time occurrence or permanent. A few dollars more is better than no dollars more.

  • Open a high-yield checking or savings account. Just like I say above, make sure it's separate from your everyday account. While your money is just sitting there, you could be earning more each month for doing nothing more but keeping it in the bank. Free money is good! 
  • Use a money-saving app like Qapital. It's free to sign up, you link your bank accounts to it and set up your goals. Next you'll add rules, such as the round-up rule. Rules can include anything you do on and offline and when those rules are employed, your Qapital account grows. It all works on a phone app and can easily be ignored if you don't want to see your money too much (because, like me, you'll want to immediately spend it). And if you sign up with my link right now, you'll get $20 free in your account!

  • Make a list and stick to it. When I go grocery shopping, I make a list. I try to plan my meals around the same ingredients with some variety. Chicken, noodles, potatoes, carrots, beef and beans are all great staples, because you can make a ton of things with them. Buy enough to make twice as much as you plan to eat and freeze so you have dinners for future nights and can save money in the coming weeks, or have easy food to make when you return from vacation. 

  • Keep the change. If you're like everyone, you have a ton of change just sitting in your car or the bottom of your purse. Make a jar or container at home to throw all that change in at the end of each day. You wouldn't know it, but all those cents can add up over the months and you might find you have a spare $100 or so that you can use as spending money!

  • Get cash back. You're going to buy stuff. You just are. Ebates lets you save money on your online purchases by offering you a set amount of cash back on participating retailers, including a lot of travel sites. If you're going to spend money, you might as well save as much as possible. Ebates sends you cash back payments four times a year, either by check or deposited to your Paypal account. It's super easy, and those payments can be used as spending money on your trips.

  • Ask for gift cards. When the holidays and your birthday rolls around, ask for gift cards that can be used towards your trip. This could include cards for theme parks, airfare on your chosen airline, restaurants or grocery stores where you can shop for snacks and meal staples (you know how I like to buy breakfast stuff and eat before I head out into the world). Now you've gotten free money you can use on vacation and have to save even less than you thought. 
Now you have a great foundation for planning and budgeting for your next big trip (and your small ones!). Get started saving and get excited about all the places you're going to go in the world. If you need more ideas on where to go and what to do there, sign up for my bi-monthly newsletter for extra tips. 

What are your favoritie ways to save for or on your trips?




Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, and I appreciate any purchases made through them.
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