cheap vacations http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/17707/all en-US 8 Best Cities for Frugal Lovers of the Outdoors http://www.wisebread.com/8-best-cities-for-frugal-lovers-of-the-outdoors <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-best-cities-for-frugal-lovers-of-the-outdoors" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_outdoors_000021612624.jpg" alt="man loves outdoors and on his bike in the city" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Reconnecting with nature is one of the best things we can do to improve our mental and physical health. In fact, researchers at the University of Minnesota found that our physical environment has a direct <a href="http://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/enhance-your-wellbeing/environment/nature-and-us/how-does-nature-impact-our-wellbeing">impact on stress levels</a>.</p> <p>Here are eight cities that make it easy and affordable for their residents and visitors to access nature.</p> <h2>1. Portland, Oregon</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/portland_000030723434.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>In Portland, Oregon you can pick your weather. It's a short drive to skiing in the winter, or surfing in the summer. If you have a penchant for camping, hiking, and exploring on your own two feet, Portland makes it easy to do that all year long with its temperate climate and abundant natural beauty. Portland's residents are some of the most passionate environmentalists in the country, and the city has been named one of the most bike-friendly places in the word.</p> <h2>2. Burlington, Vermont</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/burlington_000041492728.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>The summer I spent in Burlington, Vermont was one of the best summers of my life. I could bike or walk everywhere. The city itself is covered in trees and green space, and it's surrounded by deep woods complete with lakes, streams, and mountains. The integration of the city into its natural environment lends an easy-going, friendly atmosphere to its residents and visitors alike.</p> <h2>3. Fort Collins, Colorado</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/fort_collins_000018270979.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>The Rocky Mountains are icons of the natural beauty that's so abundant in the American West. Nestled into the foothills of Rocky Mountain National Park, Fort Collins is a city that provides a perfect blend of urban culture and nature. Whether your vehicle of choice is a bike, kayak, or your running shoes, Fort Collins offers plenty of ways to get around and enjoy the scenery. It's no wonder that it's consistently a receiver of <a href="http://www.fcgov.com/fcfacts.php?ID=6">best city awards</a> lists in multiple publications.</p> <h2>4. Charlottesville, Virginia</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/charlottesville_000016738009.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>I would think I'm a bit biased toward C'ville because I went to Darden Business School at UVA. However, publications were <a href="http://www.charlottesville.org/index.aspx?page=158">raving about Charlottesville</a> long before I was there, and have continued to do so in the eight years since I graduated. With the Blue Ridge Mountains at your doorstep, you can't help but have an amazing time outdoors in this charming quintessential college town.</p> <h2>5. Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/minneapolis_000057139250.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>With the twin cities, you get two for the price of one. While cold in the winter, Minneapolis and St. Paul are phenomenal choices for bike lovers in the spring, summer, and fall because of their extensive park systems. You can enjoy boat access to both the Mississippi and St. Croix Rivers. Hiking is also a common and much-enjoyed pastime for residents and tourists.</p> <h2>6. Buffalo, New York</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/buffalo_000015689720.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Buffalo is booming. Recent revitalization efforts have transformed downtown and brought a much-increased sense of culture to this former industrial town. A stone's throw from Niagara Falls and Toronto, another scenic nature-loving city, Buffalo is perfectly situated for people who want to combine urban convenience with plenty of time spent close to nature. New York State's wine country is also an easy drive from Buffalo.</p> <h2>7. Nashville, Tennessee</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/nashville_000022666432.jpg" width="605" height="341" alt="" /></p> <p>In case you haven't heard, the travel world is buzzing about Nashville. Long known as the seat of country music, this vibrant city is also a nature lover's dream. Situated on the banks of the Cumberland River (a tributary of the Ohio River), Nashville's mild winters along with long spring and fall seasons make it easy to enjoy the outdoors for most of the year. Two new riverfront parks are under construction on the east and west banks of the city, and will include an outdoor amphitheater for those who want to combine their passions for the arts and the outdoors.</p> <h2>8. Charleston, South Carolina</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/charleston_000020519230.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>This fall I took my first trip to Charleston and I fell in love with it. Its scenic river views, rich history, and southern charm gracefully build a bridge (literally) between nature and the built environments. People in Charleston also take the time to enjoy the view, and when you're around them, you do, too. They know how good they have it, and after one visit you'll be planning a return trip.</p> <p>If you've been longing to get back to nature in an affordable way, these eight cities are well worth a visit. Who knows? You might just find a new hometown to call your own.</p> <p><em>What city brings you closest to nature? Tell us where to go in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-best-cities-for-frugal-lovers-of-the-outdoors">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-free-or-almost-free-airline-tickets">10 Ways to Get Free (or Almost Free) Airline Tickets</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-travel-full-time-for-17000-a-year-or-less">How to Travel Full-Time for $17,000 a Year (or Less!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-and-sell-airline-miles">How to Buy and Sell Airline Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-book-an-amazing-cheap-vacation-package">How to Book an Amazing Cheap Vacation Package</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-escape-with-these-14-affordable-weekend-getaways">Make Your Escape With These 14 Affordable Weekend Getaways</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel biking camping cheap vacations cities nature outdoors Fri, 27 Mar 2015 15:00:07 +0000 Christa Avampato 1357946 at http://www.wisebread.com The Secret Flight Search Site Savvy Travelers Use http://www.wisebread.com/the-secret-flight-search-site-savvy-travelers-use <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-secret-flight-search-site-savvy-travelers-use" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/laptop-481775233.jpg" alt="flight search" title="flight searc" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With so many travel booking websites out there, it can be tough to decide which one to use. But did you know that many of these websites are powered by the same search engine?</p> <p><a href="http://matrix.itasoftware.com/search.htm">ITA Matrix</a> is the powerful software behind such household names as Kayak and Orbitz. It's a great place to start when you're looking for airfares. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>Why Have I Never Heard of It?</h2> <p>Unlike other flight search websites, ITA Matrix does not book flights for you. Other websites earn money through bookings, while ITA earns money through selling its software to the travel industry. This is why consumers are not likely to see their ads or find them by googling &quot;book cheap flights.&quot; What ITA Matrix does is search for flights so you can book them elsewhere. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-free-or-almost-free-airline-tickets?ref=seealso">10 Ways to Get Dirt Cheap Airline Tickets</a>)</p> <h2>Why Use It?</h2> <p>Using ITA Matrix does involve an extra step, but it's worth the extra time because it's the most flexible flight search engine out there. It can take into account many different factors of your trip to help you find the perfect airfare. If you have a flexible itinerary or if you're using <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">air miles</a>, ITA Matrix can actually save you time by doing in one search what other websites can only do in multiple searches. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/negotiate-all-your-travel-the-ultimate-guide?ref=seealso">Negotiating All Your Travel</a>)</p> <h2>Searching for Airfares on ITA Matrix</h2> <p>At first glance, the search form looks like any other flight site's. You first choose between &quot;round trip,&quot; &quot;one-way,&quot; and &quot;multi-city.&quot; Then, you enter your city, the destination, travel dates, number of passengers, and cabin class. The magic lies in its other search options.</p> <h3>Flexible Dates</h3> <p>If you don't have specific travel dates in mind, you can take advantage of price fluctuations to get cheaper airfares. When you do a search on ITA Matrix, choose the &quot;See calendar of lowest fares&quot; option and enter the earliest date you can fly out. The website will show you a calendar view of the cheapest dates over the next month.</p> <h3>Flexible Trip Duration</h3> <p>If you can't decide how long to stay in your destination, ITA Matrix can help by showing you how much your airfare would cost depending on the length of your stay.</p> <p>For example, if you enter &quot;5-7&quot; in the &quot;length of stay&quot; field on the search page, you'll again see a calendar view of the airfares over the next month. But this time, when you hover over a date, ITA Matrix will show you how much the airfare would cost if you were to fly out on that date and stay for each trip length option &mdash; in this example, five, six and seven nights. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-secrets-of-last-minute-travel?ref=seealso">20 Secrets of Last-Minute Travel</a>)</p> <h3>Flexible Airports</h3> <p>Another way you can save big on airfares is by choosing to fly out of less-busy airports. With other flight search websites, you may have to search each airport one by one.</p> <p>ITA Matrix allows you to search multiple airports at once. You can enter each airport by name, but where ITA Matrix really shines is when you click the &quot;Nearby&quot; link and let the software search all airports up to 2,000 miles.</p> <p>This is especially useful when you have several destination options and can't decide which one to choose. If you enter all your possible destinations, ITA Matrix will show you whether it's cheaper to go to Fiji or Australia.</p> <p>This feature is also great for when you want to explore an entire region and have no preference on where you start or end your trip. For example, if you want to book airfares for a trip to Europe, you may search the entire region to see the cheapest entry and exit points. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-the-lowest-price-on-airfare-even-after-you-buy?ref=seealso">Get the Lowest Rates on Airfare Even After You Buy</a>)</p> <h3>Using Air Miles</h3> <p>If you'll be using air miles to pay for the flight, ITA Matrix is undoubtedly the best place to find your airfare. The software has all sorts of advanced search functions that allow you to make full use of your air miles.</p> <p>If you click &quot;Advanced routing codes&quot; on the search page, you can search by airline. You can also have ITA Matrix calculate the price per mile of your flight.</p> <h2>Choosing Your Flights</h2> <p>After you choose a date from the calendar view, ITA Matrix will show you all your flight options, arranged by price.</p> <p>You can narrow down your search at this point by playing around with the column headings. For example, if you click the &quot;from/to&quot; heading, you can choose to see only flights leaving from the JFK airport.</p> <p>Another neat feature is the &quot;Time bars&quot; view, which shows each flight as a color-coded bar from departure to arrival.</p> <p>Once you've made a decision, you can choose an airfare by clicking on the price button. ITA Matrix will show you all the flight details you need to make a booking.</p> <h2>Booking the Flight</h2> <p>Armed with the flight details, you can go to the airline website and book there directly. For example, if you choose a flight on United Airlines, just go to the United Airlines website and find the flight there.</p> <p>Alternatively, you can make a booking through a travel agent or another website. Check their prices as well because no one website &mdash; not even ITA Matrix &mdash; will always show the lowest fares every time.</p> <p><em>Have you used ITA Matrix? Where'd you go? How much did you save?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/deia-b">Deia B</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-secret-flight-search-site-savvy-travelers-use">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-free-or-almost-free-airline-tickets">10 Ways to Get Free (or Almost Free) Airline Tickets</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-book-an-amazing-cheap-vacation-package">How to Book an Amazing Cheap Vacation Package</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-worst-and-best-airport-buys">The 8 Worst and Best Airport Buys</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/24-helpful-travel-hacks-to-make-flying-stress-free">24 Helpful Travel Hacks to Make Flying Stress-Free</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-cheap-ways-to-make-flying-coach-feel-like-first-class">5 Cheap Ways to Make Flying Coach Feel Like First Class</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel air travel cheap vacations flight search flights flying Sun, 06 Apr 2014 02:48:23 +0000 Deia B 1134184 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Things You're Paying Too Much for When You Travel (and How to Pay Less) http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-youre-paying-too-much-for-when-you-travel-and-how-to-pay-less <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-things-youre-paying-too-much-for-when-you-travel-and-how-to-pay-less" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/travel-1832183-small.jpg" alt="travel" title="travel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You may eagerly anticipate a getaway or a weeklong escape, but traveling isn't always a bargain. The cost of airfare, hotels, transportation, food, and entertainment can hit your pocket hard. And if you don't plan well, you can easily overspend in these areas.</p> <p>Here's a look at 10 things you're probably paying too much for when traveling, plus tips on how to pay less.</p> <h2>1. Airfare</h2> <p>Gas prices aren't getting any cheaper. Typically, the more you pay at the pump, the more you will pay for airline tickets, too. The price of airfare can be the difference between a staycation and a trip away from home. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-free-or-almost-free-airline-tickets?ref=seealso">10 Ways to Get Free Airline Tickets</a>)</p> <p>But higher fuel prices doesn't mean you have to pay an exorbitant rate for a plane ticket. You may feel that your options are few, but there are ways to save.</p> <p>Always book your airfare in advance &mdash; perhaps three to six months. A travel website, such as <a href="http://www.kqzyfj.com/click-2822544-11294075">Expedia</a> or <a href="http://www.anrdoezrs.net/click-2822544-10387169">Travelocity</a>, can help you find excellent deals. However, these websites may not have the lowest prices for all airlines. Therefore, you should check prices and promotions directly through individual carriers. For example, <a href="http://www.kqzyfj.com/click-2822544-10575867">Southwest</a> and JetBlue frequently have deals as low as $59 one-way to select cities.</p> <p>You can also use a rewards credit card to accumulate points and miles, and then redeem points when you're ready to book an airline ticket. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=seealso">Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>2. Hotels</h2> <p>A nice hotel in a well-known chain will cost at least $100 a night &mdash; which adds up quickly.</p> <p>To pay less for hotels, prepay for your room. This is a nonrefundable purchase, so only prepay if you're absolutely certain that you will arrive on the selected dates.</p> <p>If you have a AAA membership or belong to another organization, ask the hotel about discounts. You can also compare hotel rates through travel websites. However, you may find cheaper prices booking directly through the hotel.</p> <p>Always ask if there's a cheaper rate available when you check in.</p> <p>Then again, maybe you don't care about luxury and simply need a clean place to sleep at night. If you're not overly particular, skip the chain hotel and save money by booking a night at a smaller, privately owned hotel. You might also find great deals booking accommodations through online services like <a href="http://airbnb.com">Airbnb</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-your-hotel-hiding-these-5-fees-in-your-bill?ref=seealso">Is Your Hotel Hiding These 5 Fees?</a>)</p> <h2>3. Food</h2> <p>You have to eat while traveling. Next to airfare and hotels, this is probably your third largest expense. There are, however, ways to reduce how much you spend on food.</p> <p>Book a room at a suite hotel &mdash; which has a small kitchenette in each suite &mdash; and prepare all or some of your meals in the room. Likewise, you can save money by only staying in hotels that offer free complimentary breakfast.&nbsp;</p> <h2>4. Baggage Fees</h2> <p>Not only is there the cost of flying to a destination, many airlines charge a fee for each checked bag. This fee varies by airline, but can run as much as $25&ndash;$35 per bag.</p> <p>To get around this fee, book with airlines that don't charge a baggage fee. Southwest Airlines allows passengers to check up to two bags free, and JetBlue allows one free checked bag.</p> <p>Many <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">travel reward credit cards</a> will cover baggage fees if you pay for your flight with the card. In addition, if you gain elite status in an airline's frequent flyer program, baggage fees are waived along with other perks such as early boarding.</p> <p>Additionally, closely monitor the weight of each piece of luggage. There is an additional baggage fee for any checked bag weighing more than 50 pounds.</p> <h2>5. Car Rentals</h2> <p>Car rental companies know that you need their services when traveling, and unfortunately, this service doesn't come cheap. However, rental rates are often lower on the weekends, as many companies promote deals that cater to leisure travelers. Include a weekend day in your reservation and you might save on the rental cost. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-save-on-your-next-car-rental-without-even-trying-hard?ref=seealso">Easy Ways to Save on Car Rentals</a>)</p> <p>You can also knock dollars off your car rental by declining the rental company's insurance (if you have personal auto insurance), and by returning the rental car to the original pick-up location. Some companies charge extra for one-way rentals. Also, don't forget to refill the gas tank prior to returning the car. There's a fee for not replenishing the tank.</p> <h2>6. Transportation</h2> <p>Taxis are a fast way to get around the local area if you don't rent a car, but it'll cost you.</p> <p>Just to step foot in a taxi can cost around $2.50 (based on location), plus you have to pay a fee per every 1/4 mile and every idle minute.</p> <p>This is a convenient way to travel if you're in a hurry, but it's more cost-effective to take the subway, a metro train, or the bus. Your hotel's concierge may be able to help you navigate the local transit system.</p> <p>Book at hotels that offer free shuttles to and from the airport. And if you're staying in the city or at the beach, look into daily bike rentals. This is a fast, cheap way to get around. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-your-travel-rewards-on-the-ground?ref=seealso">Get Your Travel Rewards on the Ground</a>)</p> <h2>7. Credit Card Fees/Currency Fees</h2> <p>It might be easier to use a credit card when traveling abroad, but if your credit card features a foreign transaction fee, you'll pay as much as 3% per every transaction.</p> <p>There is a simple solution: if you're traveling to another country, bring a credit card that doesn't charge a foreign transaction fee. And since the US dollar is commonly accepted in some foreign countries, such as Costa Rica and certain Canadian cities, you might be able to use cash and not worry about currency exchange</p> <p>If you need to exchange money in a foreign country, airports and hotels offer currency exchange. This is convenient while traveling, but you may pay a higher transaction fee. Banks and ATMs typically have cheaper exchange rates. Always check rates before exchanging money. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-venture-rewards-card-review?ref=seealso">No Foreign Transaction Fees with Capital One Venture Card</a>)</p> <h2>8. Tours</h2> <p>Understandably, you want to see as much of the local area as possible, and you may feel more comfortable traveling with a tour company. Just know that some tour companies will take advantage of your excitement and charge inflated tour prices.</p> <p>To save money, compare prices among different tour companies before booking an excursion. If you're traveling with a group, ask the tour companies about group discounts. Also, check sites like Groupon and Living Social. These websites may have deals on local tours and other entertainment. (See also: H<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/live-like-a-local-how-to-tap-into-the-local-scene-while-traveling?ref=seealso">ow to Live Like a Local When Traveling</a>)</p> <p>Online marketplaces like <a href="http://tracking.fiverr.com/aff_c?offer_id=1441&amp;aff_id=4437">Fiverr</a> may have ads from locals who give inexpensive walking tours. If you have a smartphone, download a self-guided walking tour app. There are city-specific apps for Charleston, Savannah, San Francisco, Chicago, and New York City &mdash; just to name a few. All you need are comfortable shoes and your headphones.</p> <h2>9. Internet Service</h2> <p>An Internet connection lets you conduct business, stream movies, and stay connected while traveling. However, some hotels charge a daily fee for Internet service. To save money, look for hotels that offer free Wi-Fi, or book a hotel near locations that offer free Internet connection &mdash; bookstores, libraries, coffeehouses, or fast food restaurants. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-free-or-cheap-internet-access?ref=seealso">How to Get Free Internet Access</a>)</p> <p>You can also bring your own Wi-Fi. Call your cellphone provider and see if you can use your smartphone as a personal hotspot, for an extra fee. Or purchase a 4G MiFi (mobile hotspot) and enjoy pay-as-you-go Internet service.</p> <h2>10. Souvenirs</h2> <p>Whether you're buying T-shirts, mugs, or keychains, souvenir purchases can cut into your travel budget. A local attraction or theme park will likely have an onsite gift shop &mdash; the seemingly perfect place to pick up a few items for yourself or family. However, if you exit an attraction and drive a little ways, you may find a slew of cheaper souvenir shops in the touristy areas.</p> <p>For something a bit more interesting or region-specific, skip the usual gifts and look for inexpensive alternatives. Maybe a hand fan or a traditional umbrella from Japan, or perhaps assorted French candy if you visit Paris. Other inexpensive options include wearable jewelry, hair combs or barrettes, Christmas ornaments, teas, and spices. And good ol' postcards are hard to beat both in terms of price and kitsch</p> <p><em>Do you have other travel traps to avoid that you'd like to share? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-youre-paying-too-much-for-when-you-travel-and-how-to-pay-less">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-can-visit-europe-for-a-lot-cheaper-than-you-think-heres-how">You Can Visit Europe for a Lot Cheaper Than You Think — Here&#039;s How</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-free-or-almost-free-airline-tickets">10 Ways to Get Free (or Almost Free) Airline Tickets</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-travel-full-time-for-17000-a-year-or-less">How to Travel Full-Time for $17,000 a Year (or Less!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-and-sell-airline-miles">How to Buy and Sell Airline Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-book-an-amazing-cheap-vacation-package">How to Book an Amazing Cheap Vacation Package</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel cheap travel cheap vacations travel costs Fri, 07 Feb 2014 10:48:14 +0000 Mikey Rox 1123796 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Ways to Get Free (or Almost Free) Airline Tickets http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-free-or-almost-free-airline-tickets <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-ways-to-get-free-or-almost-free-airline-tickets" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/travel-149381208.jpg" alt="woman boarding plane" title="woman boarding plane" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I love to travel. It sounds cliche, but it's true. At one point, I had been out of the country every summer for six years, including a six-month stay in Europe that included the ubiquitous backpack. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-cheapest-way-to-fly-to-europe?ref=seealsotab">The Cheapest Way to Fly to Europe</a>)</p> <p>Now that I have a family, traveling is a lot more expensive, and airfare is a huge chunk of that. I haven't given up on future trips, though, because there are so many ways to get free tickets these days. Below are some of the ideas that have worked for me or for people I know.</p> <p>(<strong>Wise Bread Pick</strong>: Earn 20,000 miles (worth $200) when you sign-up for the Barclay Arrival World Mastercard. <a title="See more details about the Barclay Arrival World Mastercard" target="_blank" ref="nofollow" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=21644811&amp;fot=1103&amp;foc=1"><strong>Click here for details.</strong></a>)</p> <h2>1. Volunteer to Get Bumped</h2> <p>If you've flown at all, you probably know this drill. A flight gets overbooked, and so the gate agent asks for people to give up their seats in exchange for some sort of incentive. Often, that incentive is a voucher for a free or discounted ticket in the future. When you volunteer, they will usually book you through on another flight, so you still have a guaranteed way to get wherever you're going.</p> <h2>2. Rack Up the Miles</h2> <p>Join an airline frequent flyer program, and begin collecting miles towards a free ticket. It really is as easy as that. And most airlines are fairly good about helping you redeem your miles, as long as you follow their rules and plan your travel well in advance. You can maximize miles earned by choosing the longest route when you do fly, and you can often earn additional miles by making purchases through the rewards program website, etc. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards?ref=seealsotab">5 Best Sign-up Bonuses for Airline Miles Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>3. Complain (Politely!)</h2> <p>Did something go wrong on your last flight? If you write a polite letter to the airline, you will often receive some sort of compensation in return. This is sometimes even a voucher for a free flight! Even if you don't get that big payoff, you will often receive a discount on future tickets or some sort of free upgrade for your trouble. <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/news/pf_article_102656.html">Most airlines respond positively to polite complaints</a>. If something went wrong and you can document time, place, flight number, and personnel involved, you are likely to get something in exchange for your trouble.&nbsp;</p> <h2>4. Look for Incentives</h2> <p>These days, free airline tickets are offered as incentives for everything from opening a brokerage account with a certain minimum amount of money to taking out a mortgage. While you don't want to do these things just for the tickets, if you're going to do them anyway, you may as well get the free travel. If you're looking to make some sort of large investment, see if there's a way to do it that involves free tickets.</p> <h2>5. Redeem Those Credit Card Rewards</h2> <p>Credit cards have gotten a bad rap when it comes to actually letting you use your points to get free airline tickets. However, some of them actually do have quality programs. If you're looking for free tickets and will be using a credit card anyway, you might as well earn points towards your next trip. If you tend to fly one airline most of the time, you can also get a credit card that is strictly for that airline. <a rel="nofollow" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=3847404&amp;fot=1103&amp;foc=1" target="_blank">American Airlines</a> has a particularly well-reviewed program. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=seealsotab">The Best Travel Reward Credit Cards)</a></p> <h2>6. Get a Job at the Airline</h2> <p>Airline employees often get discounted flights or <a href="http://www.airlinejob.net/travel-benefits.html">get to fly standby for free</a>. If you do a lot of flying, or would like to, and are open to a new or a second job, there's no reason not to try and get hired by an airline. As a bonus, many airlines also offer free standby tickets for immediate family members, so you can all fly for free together.</p> <h2>7. Ask for Tickets as a Gift</h2> <p>Ok, so this one may sound like cheating because someone is still paying for the tickets, but the key is that YOU are not paying for them. If there's a trip you'd particularly like to take and you're the plan-ahead type, go ahead and see if you can't get the tickets for Christmas. Maybe all of your friends or relatives could go in together. Even if they can't come up with the full price of the tickets you want, asking for contributions can lower your personal investment significantly.</p> <h2>8. Ask for Miles Rather Than Money</h2> <p>If you know someone who racks up the frequent flyer miles, see if they'd be willing to transfer some to you so that you can get a free ticket. This is particularly useful if the person giving the miles has more than they will ever use, knows that their miles will expire before they use them, or wants to give you a significant gift but really doesn't have the money. Try focusing your efforts on friends or relatives who travel quite frequently for work.</p> <h2>9. Win a Sweepstakes</h2> <p>There are many contests and sweepstakes out there that offer free airline tickets to winners. Sure, your chances of winning any single contest are low, but if you enter them systematically and frequently, your chances of winning eventually go up. While you can't plan your life around winning a sweepstakes, the tickets would be a nice surprise whenever your name comes up.</p> <h2>10.Watch for Airline Mistakes</h2> <p>A couple months ago, <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2013/09/oops-united-airlines-accidentally-offers-airline-tickets-for-free/">United Airlines made a mistake</a> and offered a bunch of tickets for very cheap or free. While the mistake was only live for a couple of minutes, many people took advantage of it. If you frequent travel forums, though, you can catch these deals because people will post about them almost as soon as they happen. Sometimes, airlines will try to rescind the tickets sold during these mistakes, but most often they are honored. If you want free tickets, this is a great way to find them.</p> <h2>Bonus Standby Tip</h2> <p>Standby is no longer free, unless you or an immediate family member works for the airline. Flying standby used to be a great way to get free and/or deeply discounted airline tickets. However, most airlines now require you to have already purchased a ticket to even be eligible for standby flights, and many will charge you an additional fee, too. Each airline has a different policy, so check this out before you try to fly on a standby basis.</p> <p>Good luck, and good flying!</p> <p><em>How have you scored free or cheap airline tickets?</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-free-or-almost-free-airline-tickets">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-secrets-of-last-minute-travel">20 Secrets of Last-Minute Travel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-book-an-amazing-cheap-vacation-package">How to Book an Amazing Cheap Vacation Package</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-escape-with-these-14-affordable-weekend-getaways">Make Your Escape With These 14 Affordable Weekend Getaways</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-make-money-while-you-travel">15 Ways to Make Money While You Travel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-through-the-airport-faster">How to Get Through the Airport Faster</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel air travel Airfare cheap vacations discounts freebies travel Thu, 21 Nov 2013 10:48:06 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1098642 at http://www.wisebread.com 20 Secrets of Last-Minute Travel http://www.wisebread.com/20-secrets-of-last-minute-travel <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-secrets-of-last-minute-travel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/travel-5239229-small.jpg" alt="traveler" title="traveler" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="171" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Last-minute travel can afford you some screaming deals, and it's an exciting way to go &mdash; not knowing exactly where you're going or what you'll be doing until shortly before you depart.</p> <p>There are a few tricks in mastering the art of last-minute travel; here are 20 secrets to get you on your way for your next last-minute trip. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>Researching and Finding Deals</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/lstmin-laptop-468164-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p>Here are some ways to do your last-minute travel research and tap into the latest deals.</p> <p><strong>1. Subscribe to Newsletters</strong></p> <p>Sign up for your favorite airline and travel provider newsletters. A quick scan can sometimes reveal a last minute show-stopper among their regular deals.</p> <p><strong>2. Track Social Media</strong></p> <p>Follow the Twitter and Facebook streams of your favorite travel providers and airlines; sometimes they offer social media specials for followers.</p> <p><strong>3. Be Flexible</strong></p> <p>Searching for flights with tools like <a href="http://matrix.itasoftware.com/">ITA Matrix</a> and <a href="http://www.kayak.com/">Kayak</a> allow you to view fares for the calendar month, based on how many nights you can spend at your destination (such as 5-7 nights).</p> <p><strong>4. Flight Alert Services</strong></p> <p>Track your preferred flights. Services like <a href="http://www.yapta.com/">Yapta</a> will send you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-the-lowest-price-on-airfare-even-after-you-buy">fare alerts</a> if there's a change in price.</p> <p><strong>5. Consult With Travel Agents</strong></p> <p>Ask a travel agent. You never know what last minute deals they have access to.</p> <p><strong>6. Subscribe to Deal Alert Services</strong></p> <p>Subscribe to last minute vacation newsletters and deal alert services, such as <a href="http://www.travelzoo.com/last-minute/?tz_cs=HPV0">TravelZoo</a>.</p> <p><strong>7. Follow Fare Alert Services</strong></p> <p>Take some of the guesswork out of discerning which destinations are cheap when with a fare alert service like <a href="http://www.airfarewatchdog.com/fare-alerts/">Airfare Watchdog</a>.</p> <h2>Last-Minute Flights</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/lstmin-airplane-4288254-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p>Here's how to take advantage of last-minute flight deals.</p> <p><strong>8. Book Within 24 Hours of Departure</strong></p> <p>Sometimes, if a flight has lots of seats left within 24 hours of departure, they'll release a new batch at low prices. However, this is a risky strategy if you have your heart set on a specific route; the price can just as easily go the other way in the last 24 hours as well.</p> <p><strong>9. Spend Rewards Points Within a Week of Departure</strong></p> <p>Flights only have a limited number of reward seats for people paying with frequent flyer miles. If you want to fly on your frequent flyer miles, then you either need to book your ticket a few months in advance or at the last minute. If the airline still has unsold seats within a week of departure, they'll open up additional reward seats. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-frequent-flyer-miles">Everything You Need to Know About Frequent Flyer Miles</a>)</p> <p><strong>10. Book on Tuesdays for Flights That Weekend</strong></p> <p>Planning a weekend getaway? Airlines that don't have full planes will often start reducing prices on Tuesday.</p> <p><strong>11. Go Stand By</strong></p> <p>Hitch a ride on an airplane; these fares are hard to come by, but they're often free &mdash; and last minute. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hitching-a-ride-on-an-airplane">How to Hitch a Ride on an Airplane</a>)</p> <h2>Last-Minute Hotels</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/lstmin-travel-5173366-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p>Hotels offer some of the more dramatic last-minute deals; you can find many of them using the tips for researching and finding deals above, in addition to the following.</p> <p><strong>12. Always Call for a Reservation</strong></p> <p>Even if you're standing across from the hotel, call them to make a reservation. By calling first and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-travel-in-style-for-free">asking for a discount</a>, you stand a better chance of success than by walking in last-minute and asking in person.</p> <p><strong>13. Research Package Deals</strong></p> <p>Don't forget package deals; some of the best offers are for last-minute flight+hotel or all-inclusive packages. A little comparison shopping might reveal the hotel is practically free with the package deal! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-book-an-amazing-cheap-vacation-package">How to Book an Amazing, Affordable Vacation Package</a>)</p> <h2>Other Last-Minute Suggestions</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/lstmin-travel-4524840-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p>From knowing your bag to knowing yourself, consider these suggestions, so you can have the best last-minute travel experience.</p> <p><strong>14. Pack Early</strong></p> <p>Know your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-flying-easy-the-ultimate-carry-on-packing-list">packing list</a> well, so you can pack quickly, pack well, and know where everything is. It will make your trip much smoother, and will help you get out the door faster once you know where you're going!</p> <p><strong>15. Act Fast</strong></p> <p>Most deals (such as promotional tweets) have a short time span. Be prepared to jump in when the opportunity feels right, even if it feels impulsive.</p> <p><strong>16. Travel Solo</strong></p> <p>Last-minute travel works best for solo travelers. You have the ease and ability to book on a whim without consulting anybody, and last-minute openings or unfilled spots are more easily filled with singles.</p> <p><strong>17. Plan at Least a Little Ahead</strong></p> <p>&quot;Last-minute&quot; travel generally refers to booking anything within two weeks of your departure. The braver you are, the longer you might be willing to hold out for a deal &mdash; but the outcome could go either way.</p> <p><strong>18. Let the Deal Be Your Guide</strong></p> <p>Don't focus too much on one destination or type of vacation. If your heart is set on a given place or activity, you might miss out on dozens of equally exciting &mdash; but different &mdash; deals. The gift of last minute travel is being flexible with your plans. Tools like <a href="http://www.kayak.com/explore/">Kayak Explore</a> allow you to open your mind and see where you can fly for how much money.</p> <p><strong>19. Don't Quit Your Day Job</strong></p> <p>Last-minute travel isn't right for everybody. People on business trips, or with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/america-is-the-no-vacation-nation">limited vacation time</a> should ensure time away is maximized by planning ahead. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-keep-long-term-travel-from-ruining-your-career">Ways to Keep Long-Term Travel from Ruining Your Career</a>)</p> <p><strong>20. Don't Skimp on Research</strong></p> <p>Even though you might be doing this last minute, you want to get the most from your trip. Research your destination's climate, culture, things to do, and places to eat. You don't have to lock in any specific plans; it's simply nice to know what's possible.</p> <p><em>What are your last-minute travel secrets?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-secrets-of-last-minute-travel">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-free-or-almost-free-airline-tickets">10 Ways to Get Free (or Almost Free) Airline Tickets</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-book-an-amazing-cheap-vacation-package">How to Book an Amazing Cheap Vacation Package</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-escape-with-these-14-affordable-weekend-getaways">Make Your Escape With These 14 Affordable Weekend Getaways</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-make-money-while-you-travel">15 Ways to Make Money While You Travel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-questions-to-ask-before-you-book-a-vacation-package">6 Questions to Ask Before You Book a Vacation Package</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel Airfare cheap vacations hotels last minute travel travel Wed, 23 Oct 2013 10:00:03 +0000 Nora Dunn 1042514 at http://www.wisebread.com Make Your Escape With These 14 Affordable Weekend Getaways http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-escape-with-these-14-affordable-weekend-getaways <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/make-your-escape-with-these-14-affordable-weekend-getaways" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5469224-small.jpg" alt="ferris wheel" title="ferris wheel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Some people feel that they have to travel far or spend a lot to enjoy a nice vacation. If this is how you think, you may never get away. Don't assume that a little relaxation and adventure is out of your budget. You might be surprised by the number of inexpensive things you can do and see &mdash; in just one weekend. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a>) </p> <h2>1. Go Camping</h2> <p>Camping is not only easy on your pocketbook, it offers the perfect opportunity to relax and enjoy quality time with friends and family. There is no television, no computer &mdash; and depending on how deep you venture into the woods, maybe even no cell service. Take in the fresh air, talk, or simply chill. There is no better way to clear your mind and recharge your body.</p> <h2>2. Hit the Beach</h2> <p>Other than paying for parking, going to the beach is practically free. Sure, you'll have to book a hotel for one or two nights and grab a couple of meals, but you don't have to pay a dime for activities. Bring your bike or skates and hit the boardwalk, or challenge your travel mate to a game of volleyball or Frisbee. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/47-cheap-fun-things-to-do-this-weekend">40+ Cheap, Fun Things to Do This Weekend</a>)</p> <h2>3. City Sightseeing</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/wkdget-5045300-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p>Staying in the city is anything but cheap, and don't get me started on parking fees. But if you book a hotel in a neighboring suburban city and then take the train or bus, you can enjoy a cheap weekend in the city. Book a hotel in New Jersey if you're headed to Manhattan, or stay in Alexandria, Virginia if you're planning a weekend in the nation's capital.</p> <h2>4. Bed and Breakfast</h2> <p>Looking for a new experience? If so, book a weekend stay at a bed and breakfast. It's the perfect romantic getaway. Enjoy a private room and personal service. And since many B&amp;Bs are located off the beaten path, they typically offer a quieter, more peaceful atmosphere.</p> <h2>5. State Fair</h2> <p>Carnival rides, food, animals, music and other live entertainment &mdash; there is no shortage of things to see and do at a state fair. And the best part, admission won't break the bank &mdash; $8 to $12 depending on your location. Yes, you have to pay extra for rides and activities. But you have control over how much you spend on extras.</p> <h2>6. Mountain Getaway</h2> <p>Spending a weekend in the mountains might be the prescription if you're looking for a little peace of mind. There is just about something for everyone, and many activities won't cost a cent. Enjoy a scenic drive, rock climb, hike, canoe, or mountain bike. Plus, this is the perfect location to glimpse natural scenery, such as natural bridges, waterfalls and caverns. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-places-to-go-for-inspiration">10 Places to Go for Inspiration</a>)</p> <h2>7. Amusement Park</h2> <p>Amusement park admission prices have definitely skyrocketed in recent years, with many general admission prices around $60. But there are ways to get in for less. Go online and search for discounts or coupon codes, and check the newspaper and grocery bags for coupons. A watchful eye helped me score buy-one-get-one-free tickets to both Six Flags and Busch Gardens.</p> <h2>8. Book a Last-Minute Cruise</h2> <p>If you're within driving distance of a cruise port, you might be able to save big on a last-minute cruise. For example, a four-day, three-night Bahamas cruise from Miami, Florida starts at $179 per person. Not a bad deal considering that this price includes food, entertainment, activities, plus a weekend in the tropics. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>9. National Park</h2> <p>If you're the outdoorsy type, visit one of many national parks throughout the United States. In all likelihood, you're within driving distance of at least one park. Lace up your boots and enjoy some day hiking, or pitch a tent and enjoy a night under the stars. There's also wildlife viewing, bicycling, fishing, boating, and winter activities.</p> <h2>10. Road Trip to Nowhere</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/wkdget-692042-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p>Pack the car, choose a highway and hit the open road with no destination in sight. Pretty risky, but so much fun, as you don't know where the road will take you. Check out different cities along the way and tour landmarks. And when you're tired of driving, stop at a nearby hotel and continue your adventure in the morning. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-to-travel-off-the-beaten-path">Reasons to Travel Off the Beaten Path</a>)</p> <h2>11. Timeshare Weekend</h2> <p>I know &mdash; sitting through a 90-minute presentation for a timeshare that you're not buying is painful at best. But if you're looking for an inexpensive getaway, this might be your ticket. Sit through a presentation, and the resort will comp your weekend visit or discount the regular room rate. And sometimes, they'll toss in dinner vouchers and free tickets to local attractions.</p> <h2>12. Bus Tour</h2> <p>Why drive when you can sit back and let someone else do the work? Bus trips are an inexpensive way to break your boring weekend routine. Plus, some tours include the cost of a hotel for one or two nights. For example, you can take a three-day bus trip from Norfolk, Virginia to Atlantic City, New Jersey for just $238 per person. This includes roundtrip transportation plus accommodations.</p> <h2>13. Tourist in Your Own Town</h2> <p>You don't have to go far to enjoy an inexpensive weekend getaway. Drive 20 or 30 minutes to a neighboring area, book a hotel room and spend the weekend exploring your own city. Maybe there are local museums, festivals, outdoor entertainment, and other activities that you've overlooked. Then again, you may prefer sitting in your hotel room all weekend, enjoying a break from cooking and cleaning.</p> <h2>14. House Swap</h2> <p>Maybe you live in the city and you're looking to spend your weekend at the beach. And maybe your friend by the beach wants to liven things up over the weekend. Why waste cash on a hotel when you can swap houses? Driving to the house will be your largest expense, as there's always the option of preparing your own meals.</p> <p><em>Do you have other ideas for inexpensive getaways? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-escape-with-these-14-affordable-weekend-getaways">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-questions-to-ask-before-you-book-a-vacation-package">6 Questions to Ask Before You Book a Vacation Package</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-free-or-almost-free-airline-tickets">10 Ways to Get Free (or Almost Free) Airline Tickets</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-groupon-getaways-a-good-idea">Are Groupon Getaways a Good Idea?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-secrets-of-last-minute-travel">20 Secrets of Last-Minute Travel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-make-money-while-you-travel">15 Ways to Make Money While You Travel</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel cheap vacations getaways travel vacation weekends Fri, 18 Oct 2013 21:22:18 +0000 Mikey Rox 929298 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Fun and Affordable Vacation Ideas http://www.wisebread.com/9-fun-and-affordable-vacation-ideas <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-fun-and-affordable-vacation-ideas" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/travel-1771524-small.jpg" alt="woman on train" title="woman on train" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Not every vacation you take has to include multiple theme parks, lavish nightly dinners, and free-flowing drinks until dawn. Those expenses add up quickly, often necessitating a vacation to recover from the vacation, right after the guilt of spending so much money subsides. But there's a lot you can do without depleting your savings &mdash; you just have to know where to look. Here are a few ideas to get you started. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">Best Travel Reward Cards</a>)</p> <h2>1. Take a Day Trip</h2> <p>No matter where you live, there's an uncharted area (at least, uncharted by you) nearby.</p> <p>For instance, I live in New York City, and there are plenty of interesting areas nearby that I have yet to visit. The local rail system &mdash; New Jersey Transit &mdash; travels down the New Jersey shoreline, and for $30 roundtrip I can head to breezy beach areas to enjoy an afternoon of sun and surf. Trips to the closest beach towns are around an hour and a half, which means I can have a full day of fun if I leave early and come back after dark. And if you pack a lunch, snacks, and drinks, you'll save money throughout the day since you won't have to fill up on expensive restaurant fare.</p> <p>Another option is to hop on a bus and hop off in a town you've never been. You can book this trip easily online (I can personally recommend Greyhound's express service, which usually features free Wi-Fi) by choosing a new-to-you destination and hittin' the road whenever you need a little adventure in your life.</p> <h2>2. Book a Discount Cruise</h2> <p>For all that cruises include (all-you-can-eat 24-hour buffets!), I think they're relatively inexpensive compared to other types of vacations. I'm not saying that cruises are cheap &mdash; but they can be if you strike while the iron is hot. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-questions-to-ask-before-you-book-a-vacation-package">Questions to Ask Before You Book a Vacation Package</a>)</p> <p>I often get flyers in the mail for deep cruise discounts, and cruise lines are known to offer last-minute super deals to fill the last few remaining cabins before setting sail. And let's not forget that when cruise lines experience a string of bad press, like they have in recent months, sales begin to sag, forcing the lines to offer truly amazing deals. Also, if you're a past cruiser, you're usually entitled to an incentive &mdash; a cheaper rate &mdash; so don't forget to mention that when it's time to book.</p> <h2>3. Extend Your Business Trip</h2> <p>When my husband invites me on his business trips, two words come to mind: Free vacation! Alas, if you're not the lucky one who's tagging along but rather the one working, you can still look forward to this work perk by extending your trip to take in the sights.</p> <p>Most companies pay for roundtrip travel &mdash; so ask your boss if you can fly back a few days after your work duties are done. That way, you can stick around your conference location for a couple extra days to unwind and soak up the local culture. Granted, the boss probably won't pick up the tab for the extra nights at the hotel, so you may have to lower your expectations in terms of accommodations, but thanks to Airbnb and other micro-subletting sites, you can probably find an affordable crashpad within a few miles of wherever you are.</p> <h2>4. Play the Local Tourist</h2> <p>If your city has public transportation, throw caution to the wind one day and catch a ride to someplace new. Buy a day pass and hop on and off to see and experience things you never knew existed in your town. If you make one of your first stops your local tourism office, you can pick up brochures and coupons to semi-plan your day and save money along the way. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-to-travel-off-the-beaten-path">Why You Should Travel Off the Beaten Path</a>)</p> <h2>5. Embark on a Road Trip</h2> <p>I've written a couple articles on how to do the road trip right, and I still think it's an<a href="http://blog.avantcredit.com/budgeting/six-ways-to-save-money-on-a-summer-road-trip"> affordable summer vacation idea</a>. If you pack a few friends in the car, it becomes immensely more fun and affordable since you can split the good times and fuel expenses among the group.</p> <p>Depending on where you're headed, someone in the car is bound to have a connection to someplace you can crash &mdash; preferably a friend's or relative's place who will let you snooze on the floor for free. If that's not an option, you can always pack a tent and set up camp along the way, or catch a few winks at a roadside rest area before continuing on your journey. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taking-frugal-road-trips-even-when-gas-prices-are-high">Frugal Road Trips</a>)</p> <h2>6. Swap Homes With Someone Else</h2> <p>For two years in a row &mdash; on Memorial Day weekend, no less &mdash; my husband and I have swapped homes with a nice lady in Connecticut. She gets our two-bedroom condo in Manhattan, and we take her large lake house without either party exchanging a single cent. This is by far the most amazing and affordable vacation idea I've found so far. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/home-exchanges-free-accommodations-with-perks">House Swap for Free Accommodations With Perks</a>)</p> <p>If you have a decent place at which you think someone else would enjoy staying, this is an opportunity to pursue. You can try Craigslist with caution, but it's much easier if your home is already listed on a site like Airbnb since those listings are fortified with security measures and references.</p> <h2>7. Set Up Camp Close By</h2> <p>KOA-branded campgrounds offer <a href="http://koa.com/national-events/">free camping</a> nights or weekends throughout the year for various occasions &mdash; kids camp free on Father's Day, for instance &mdash; but you don't have to pack up your gear and head to the nearest commercial camping spot to get a good deal. Instead, set up camp in your backyard, complete with tents, sleeping bags, and a campfire with hot dogs and s'mores for a fun and frugal &quot;getaway.&quot; Not only will you avoid the weekend travel hassle that almost always increases your stress level when you're meant to relax, but you'll save big bucks by turning your own backyard into a wilderness retreat.</p> <h2>8. Offer to House Sit</h2> <p>When my husband and I go away to places where we can't take our dogs, we usually ask a good buddy of ours to stay in our home for the days that we're gone to make sure everything goes smoothly and to keep the dogs happy and healthy. It's a bit of an extra expense for us (although about 50% less than formally boarding the dogs, so we're saving there), but for him it's a mini-vacation. He gets to stay at our place (and any place you stay besides your own is a nice respite so long as the accommodations are decent), watch TV and play games, enjoy cuddle time with the dogs, and make some fast cash just by lounging around and keeping the pups entertained. If this sounds like the perfect vacation to you, put your feelers out to see who among your friends is in the market for a house/dog sitter. With the extra money you make, go someplace inexpensive that's been on your list. You earned it.</p> <h2>9. Plan a Staycation</h2> <p>A staycation isn't as fabulous as a five-star hotel or a breezy Caribbean cruise, but there are plenty of ways to have fun and relax without going anywhere. Before the staycation starts, research what's happening in your area on your days or week off, specifically searching for free events that won't cut into your budget. Also, stock up on groceries and snacks to make the downtime at home a little tastier. Staycations can be really great if you plan them properly.</p> <p><em>Do you have other ideas for fun and affordable vacations? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-fun-and-affordable-vacation-ideas">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-escape-with-these-14-affordable-weekend-getaways">Make Your Escape With These 14 Affordable Weekend Getaways</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-great-cheap-summer-vacations">8 Great, Cheap Summer Vacations</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-have-the-best-cheapest-summer-vacation">25 Ways to Have the Best, Cheapest Summer Vacation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-questions-to-ask-before-you-book-a-vacation-package">6 Questions to Ask Before You Book a Vacation Package</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-budget-for-summer-vacation">7 Easy Ways to Budget for Summer Vacation</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel affordable vacations cheap vacations day trips summer vacation vacation Thu, 10 Oct 2013 23:23:13 +0000 Mikey Rox 969892 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Ways to Make Money While You Travel http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-make-money-while-you-travel <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-ways-to-make-money-while-you-travel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/travel-5029891-small.jpg" alt="woman with a map" title="woman with a map" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Exploring the world can cost a pretty penny, but you can lower the cost of travel &mdash; and deepen your experience at each location &mdash; by doing side jobs along the way. Here are 15 ways to earn money while abroad. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>1. Write About It</h2> <p>Travel writing may not pay much to start, but if you're traveling in countries with a lower cost of living, it may be enough. I made a pretty good side income while living in China by writing about my travels on travel blogs and websites. At first, I was making $10 an article, but after I accumulated more experience, several websites offered me more. The best thing about travel writing is that you can do it from anywhere, as long as you have an Internet connection, so you're not tied down to one place for long. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/so-you-wanna-be-a-travel-writer">How to Be a Travel Writer</a>)</p> <h2>2. Use Your Editing Skills</h2> <p>Proofread translations of signs, menus, and newsletters. Create English-language marketing materials. Edit the local English-language magazine targeted to expats. Put yourself out there and offer your services. You might be surprised how many people will take you up on your offer.</p> <h2>3. Teach</h2> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/traveljobs-4091072-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>One of the easiest ways to get paid while working and living abroad is teaching English. If you're thinking long-term, a job with a year-round school or university is the most stable and, with over two months of holidays, you'll have plenty of time to travel. Schools will often also pay your roundtrip airfare. In the short term, language schools often hire teachers for a few weeks or months. Try teaching at a summer camp for a few weeks and taking the rest of the summer to travel (that's how I funded my first two month trip abroad). Check out <a href="http://www.eslcafe.com/jobs/">Dave's ESL Cafe</a> to start.</p> <h2>4. Tutor</h2> <p>Tutoring English or another language, music, and other skills can be a great way to supplement your income on a flexible schedule, even if you're only staying in the area for a few months. Try putting up flyers at the local school or on community bulletin boards.</p> <h2>5. Work in Hospitality</h2> <p>English speakers are needed to greet tourists at hotels and resorts around the world, so if you're interested in the hospitality industry, that might be a good place to find a job. In the short term, you might be able to get free room and board at a local hostel in exchange for a few weeks of work at the front desk. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jobs-that-offer-free-room-and-board">Jobs With Free Room and Board</a>)</p> <h2>6. Sell Stuff Online</h2> <p>The country in which you're traveling might have lots of adorable knick-knacks that folks back home would love. For a little extra income, <a href="http://www.ebay.com/">selling local goods on eBay</a> might be a good way to make a buck or two. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>7. Au Pair or Nanny</h2> <p>A friend of mine spent a year as a live-in nanny, or <em>au pair</em>, in Paris. If you love kids, this might be the perfect opportunity for you to live with a local family and learn local customs, while being able to travel on weekends. <a href="http://www.aupairint.com/index.php?option=com_content&amp;view=article&amp;id=317&amp;Itemid=111">Au Pair International</a> is one of many organizations that trains au pairs and matches them with families abroad.</p> <h2>8. Administer Exams</h2> <p>Internationally recognized English exams such as TOEFL or IELTS are always hiring native English speakers to administer the exams for students abroad. Often, this means working long hours on the weekends, but the pay is decent, your hotel stay at the exam location is paid for, and you have most of the week free for traveling.</p> <h2>9. Get a Stipend as a Student</h2> <p>Many universities around the world offer scholarships for Masters' or PhD programs for English speakers, along with a small stipend and sometimes student housing. Although this stipend isn't usually enough to let you live in style, you can always supplement your income by tutoring other students.</p> <h2>10. Teach Fitness Classes</h2> <p>If you're qualified to teach Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, or another kind of fitness activity, you may be in demand as an instructor around the world. You might want to look into opening a studio in your home or offering classes at the local beach (especially in popular tourist locations where people are looking for the &quot;Eat, Pray, Love&quot; experience). The great thing about offering classes on your own is that you can work on your own schedule and you're not tied to a contract, allowing you to take off and travel whenever you want.</p> <h2>11. Teach Scuba</h2> <p>I know several expats who are making good money as scuba instructors in Latin America, leading more advanced dives into underwater caves as well as basic scuba classes associated with resorts. If you love scuba diving, it can take as little as six months of diving experience to attain the level needed to <a href="http://www.padi.com/scuba/padi-courses/professional-courses/default.aspx">start professional training with PADI</a>, so if you plan ahead, you can have plenty of opportunities opening up by the time you start traveling.</p> <h2>12. Adventure Sports Instructor</h2> <p>Along the same lines as teaching scuba, you can teach almost any sport at a basic level if you're an experienced practitioner. You might consider teaching surfing or kite surfing, leading mountain biking rides, or teaching basic rock climbing. If you choose to teach an adventure sport, it might be best to go through a company or resort to minimize your liability. Make sure you have good insurance as well.</p> <h2>13. Tour Guide</h2> <p>Working with a tour company allows you to explore the local sights while being paid. If you're more active, leading bike tours might be a fun way to earn money while being a tourist. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-money-in-your-hometown-become-a-tour-guide">How to Become a Tour Guide in Your Hometown</a>)</p> <h2>14. Food Industry</h2> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/traveljobs-5278847-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Foreigners living in countries around the world are willing to pay a premium for familiar food and drink. I know a few people who have made a living as chefs and bartenders around the world, or as restaurant managers. Another friend of mine worked as a wine expert at various vineyards in New Zealand for several months. If working in a restaurant sounds too stressful, a more flexible option would be to offer cooking classes to either expats or locals.</p> <h2>15. Dog Walker</h2> <p>I literally JUST saw an ad for a live-in dog walker in London, UK. The position entailed 25 flexible hours a week, and included room and board as well as $100 a week! It's the perfect situation for exploring a new city, especially one where accommodations are expensive.</p> <p>There are a wide range of options for earning money while traveling abroad. Some jobs require you to stay in the area for a while, such as teaching jobs, whereas others are more flexible. Think about what skills you have to offer &mdash; many of them are likely to be as in demand abroad as they are at home (or even more so).</p> <p><em>Have you figured out how to earn some money while traveling or living abroad? What did you do?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-make-money-while-you-travel">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-free-or-almost-free-airline-tickets">10 Ways to Get Free (or Almost Free) Airline Tickets</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-escape-with-these-14-affordable-weekend-getaways">Make Your Escape With These 14 Affordable Weekend Getaways</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-secrets-of-last-minute-travel">20 Secrets of Last-Minute Travel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-questions-to-ask-before-you-book-a-vacation-package">6 Questions to Ask Before You Book a Vacation Package</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-truths-from-a-mystery-shopper-you-must-read-before-you-get-started">8 Truths From a Mystery Shopper You Must Read Before You Get Started</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel cheap vacations income side jobs travel travel income Mon, 23 Sep 2013 10:36:03 +0000 Camilla Cheung 986769 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Questions to Ask Before You Book a Vacation Package http://www.wisebread.com/6-questions-to-ask-before-you-book-a-vacation-package <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-questions-to-ask-before-you-book-a-vacation-package" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/travel-4600415-small_0.jpg" alt="family on pier" title="family on pier" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have you ever bought a vacation package? If not, you could be missing out.</p> <p>According to the <a href="http://www.ustravel.org/news/press-kit/travel-facts-and-statistics">U.S. Travel Association</a>, &quot;Airline tickets, overnight lodging accommodations and car rentals are the dominant travel products and services purchased online by travel planners.&quot; And by bundling these items together, the price for the vacation package drops significantly versus purchasing them individually. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a>)</p> <p>But here's the thing&hellip;</p> <p>While vacation packages can save you a lot of money, they aren't ideal for everyone. Here are six questions to ask yourself (and the providers) about vacation packages...</p> <h2>Questions to Ask Yourself</h2> <p>Before you can interrogate the vacation package provider, you have to interrogate yourself to find out your travel wants and needs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-book-an-amazing-cheap-vacation-package">How to Book a Cheap Vacation Package</a>)</p> <p><strong>1. What type of traveler am I?</strong></p> <p>Vacation packages work for a traveler who is:</p> <ul> <li>budget-minded</li> <li>has limited time to plan</li> <li>hands-off</li> <li>happy to visit tourist destinations, and</li> <li>looking for some serious relaxation.</li> </ul> <p>Packages are ideal for families (Disneyland, anyone?), retirees, and anyone looking to sit poolside for days on end. It is a vacation after all.</p> <p>However, if you want to immerse yourself in local culture, are adventurous, and prefer off-the-beaten-path destinations, vacation packages might not be for you.</p> <p><strong>2. Where should I go?</strong></p> <p>Destinations such as Mexico, the Caribbean, Hawaii, California, and Florida scream vacation package.</p> <p><em>Why?</em></p> <p>Because they're great travel destinations with a steady stream of visitors.</p> <p>So to save big bucks on a vacation package, visit a destination that receives a lot of tourists versus more remote and unknown destinations.</p> <p><strong>3. What am I looking for?</strong></p> <p>There are two types of vacation packages: bundled and all-inclusive.</p> <ul> <li>Bundled vacation packages are when a travel agent bundles flights, hotels, and/or rentals together and gives you a discount for buying more. You can find these at most major online travel agents such as, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.anrdoezrs.net/click-2822544-10523458">Expedia</a>, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-2822544-10423768?url=http%3A%2F%2Ftravel.travelocity.com%2Fel.do%3Fea_sid%3D%25zs%26ea_aid%3D%25za%26ea_pid%3D%25zp%26WA1%3D07010%26WA2%3D%25zp%26WA3%3Dofr-1-%25zs%26WA5%3D%25za%26WA6%3D%25zl%26Service%3DCJUS%26dest%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fleisure.travelocity.com%252FPromotions%252F0%252C%252CCJUS%257C2989%257Cpkg_main%252C00.html">Travelocity</a>, and <a href="http://www.orbitz.com/vacations/">Orbitz</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>All-inclusive vacation packages are typically offered by resorts or cruise lines and include accommodations, activities (also known as add-ons), meals, and alcohol.</li> </ul> <p>Tip: If you want more freedom with your meals and activities, book a bundled vacation package and plan those extra activities yourself. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-budget-and-track-expenses-for-your-next-vacation">Budget Your Vacation With This Tool</a>)</p> <h2>Questions to Ask Vacation Package Providers</h2> <p>Now that you know where you want to go, ask the provider about key package details.</p> <p><strong>4. What's included with the vacation package?</strong></p> <p>To determine the <em>real </em>value of a vacation package, find out exactly what's included such as flights, hotels, transportation, meals, and activities.</p> <p>The following chart is a real example of booking a bundled vacation package versus booking flight, hotel, and car rental separately AND is based on the following criteria:</p> <ul> <li>Number of people: 2</li> <li>Number of days: 14 (October 7th - 21st, 2013)</li> <li>Departure location: San Francisco, California</li> <li>Arrival location: Miami, Florida</li> <li><span id="docs-internal-guid-62d93a35-2828-e91f-637a-f46c14dad1ff">Website: <a href="http://www.anrdoezrs.net/click-2822544-10515287">Expedia</a></span></li> </ul> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/vacationpackagechart.png" width="501" height="247" alt="" /></p> <p>In this situation, the bundled vacation package is $522.61 less expensive than booking the flight, hotel and car rental individually. That's an 11% savings. Not bad, right?</p> <p>When factoring all-inclusive packages, don't forget to factor in those hidden costs such as taxes, fees, tips, and gratuity. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-frequently-under-budgeted-air-travel-costs">Frequently Under-Budgeted Air Travel Costs</a>)</p> <p><strong>5. What can I expect?</strong></p> <p>Most vacation packages are a good deal because they don't splurge on luxury. For example, the hotel might only be three-stars or meals served buffet-style.</p> <p>Ask specific questions such as:</p> <ul> <li>What star rating is the hotel? Can I see images and reviews?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>What meals are included (breakfast, lunch, and dinner)? What type of food is served? How are the meals served (individual or buffet)? How many restaurants are on-site? Can I see restaurant reviews?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Is alcohol included? What type of alcohol? Are there time restrictions on ordering alcohol?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>What transportation is provided (taxi, shuttle, bus, etc.) and where (e.g. home to airport, airport to hotel, to activities, etc..)?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>What activities are provided? What's the standard group size?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Are there any hidden additional costs?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Can you provide feedback, references or testimonials from other buyers?</li> </ul> <p><strong>6. When is the high season?</strong></p> <p>The high season is when a destination receives the most visitors and rates are high. While you'll usually get the best weather, you'll have to share it with thousands of other tourists. Spring break in Cancun, anyone?</p> <p>To avoid the crowds, plan your trip during the shoulder season &mdash; the time between high and low seasons &mdash; and research any holidays or festivals.</p> <p><em>Have you booked a vacation package? Tell us about your experience in comments.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/darcie-connell">Darcie Connell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-questions-to-ask-before-you-book-a-vacation-package">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-escape-with-these-14-affordable-weekend-getaways">Make Your Escape With These 14 Affordable Weekend Getaways</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-free-or-almost-free-airline-tickets">10 Ways to Get Free (or Almost Free) Airline Tickets</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-groupon-getaways-a-good-idea">Are Groupon Getaways a Good Idea?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-secrets-of-last-minute-travel">20 Secrets of Last-Minute Travel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-make-money-while-you-travel">15 Ways to Make Money While You Travel</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel cheap vacations travel travel agent travel deals vacation vacation package Tue, 17 Sep 2013 09:36:05 +0000 Darcie Connell 986749 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Reasons to Travel Off the Beaten Path http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-to-travel-off-the-beaten-path <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-reasons-to-travel-off-the-beaten-path" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/travel-4991700-small.jpg" alt="travel" title="travel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Traveling has been a passion of mine, but growing older and raising a family doesn&rsquo;t allow for as much downtime as I had in my 20s. However, we still make every effort of getting out of town and visiting new places. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/housesit-on-your-next-vacation" target="_blank">Housesit on Your Next Vacation</a>)</p> <p>We don&rsquo;t often <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-resources" target="_blank">schedule trips</a>&nbsp;to world-famous tourist destinations. We prefer to travel off the beaten path, selecting locations that will not be swamped with annoying tourists or priced completely out of our range. To date, Maine has been one of our favorite locations to visit, even though we went to a small area and rented a cabin in the middle of nowhere. Actually, the privacy was one of the reasons our Maine trip was the best. We had an entire ocean cove to explore with access to a rocky shore and no one bothering us. A short drive brought us into a small harbor town that was fascinating to explore despite the lack of traditional tourist traps.</p> <p>Since our vacation to Maine a few years back, we have come to appreciate the many benefits of the vacations less taken. Here are five reasons you might consider traveling where the rest of the world doesn&rsquo;t.</p> <h2>1. Discount Attractions</h2> <p>Lots of places have great things to see and do that aren't well known outside of the region. It&rsquo;s all about finding a place related to what you love or love to do and doing some research.</p> <p>If you like the water, find an out of the way beach location or other body of water. Boat rentals may be less expensive and beaches less crowded, and you can truly relax especially with family in tow. Many places will promote their small business tourism with big <a href="http://discountattractions.com/" target="_blank">discount attractions</a> that can really make travel affordable and fun. You should plan ahead by visiting the local community pages for activity information and coupons. The larger, more popular attractions often have no problem getting business and provide very little in the way of discounts and deals.</p> <h2>2. More Lodging Amenities</h2> <p>If you typically go to the same big-time tourist spots each year, you know the competition for hotel bookings can be tough. When you go to a less-traveled location, you often <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-rules-of-budget-travel" target="_blank">get much more for your money</a> without stiff competition. Lesser-known locations may also offer several options for your lodging comfort including bed and breakfasts and private home rentals that are more reasonably priced and more accommodating.</p> <h2>3. More Privacy</h2> <p>There are people that enjoy the hustle and bustle of popular spots, but there are also many who travel to get away from all the noise. Our family always rents homes for affordability and for convenience. We don&rsquo;t have to worry about being too loud for the neighbors and vice versa. Traveling with kids also means we find places with a backyard or private swimming pool, so we can kick back and enjoy without dealing with crowds and partiers.</p> <h2>4. More Downtime</h2> <p>When you don&rsquo;t have to constantly worry about the crowds, you can spend more time actually enjoying your day &mdash; and your fellow travelers. Without a dinner rush to beat, you have more time to explore a new place and do things as you feel like doing them, rather than be concerned with what the herds of people are doing and where they are going. Traveling should be about doing things at leisure, not rushing around through the days and missing the actual fun.</p> <h2>5. Less Stress</h2> <p>Especially when traveling with kids, it can be highly stressful to constantly worry about a child&rsquo;s safety in big crowds. When venturing in a quieter, private setting, kids can have a little more freedom to explore and parents can relax. Absorbing a community&rsquo;s culture can also be very rewarding. You get to learn about new places, histories, and the community at large in a more relaxed environment. Many places <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-fun-and-libations-brewery-and-winery-tours" target="_blank">offer great food selections</a> that can&rsquo;t be found elsewhere. There can be a lot to look forward to visiting an out of the way location.</p> <p>For added benefits, consider traveling to off-the-beaten path locations that are still close enough to the larger attractions you are interested in. You can spend a day in a more chaotic environment and still have the advantage of a nice, comfortable place to relax for the rest of the time.</p> <p><em>To what off-the-beaten-path locales have your travels taken you?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tisha-tolar">Tisha Tolar</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-to-travel-off-the-beaten-path">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-free-or-almost-free-airline-tickets">10 Ways to Get Free (or Almost Free) Airline Tickets</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-travel-full-time-for-17000-a-year-or-less">How to Travel Full-Time for $17,000 a Year (or Less!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-and-sell-airline-miles">How to Buy and Sell Airline Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-book-an-amazing-cheap-vacation-package">How to Book an Amazing Cheap Vacation Package</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-escape-with-these-14-affordable-weekend-getaways">Make Your Escape With These 14 Affordable Weekend Getaways</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel cheap vacations lodging discounts small town tourist attractions Wed, 22 May 2013 10:36:35 +0000 Tisha Tolar 974176 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Great, Cheap Summer Vacations http://www.wisebread.com/8-great-cheap-summer-vacations <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-great-cheap-summer-vacations" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/sumvaca-travel-4159404-small.jpg" alt="women on trip" title="women on trip" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The sky is brighter, the air is warming up, and the layers of clothes are getting peeled off. That can only mean one thing &mdash; summer is near.</p> <p>One of the things that I love most about going on vacation is the chance to break out of my everyday routines, eat crappy foods guilt-free, and stay up blissfully late watching as much trashy reality TV as I please. Setting aside daily responsibilities, trying new things, being in a different space, and having care-free fun is refreshing. But while it'd be nice to go to Fiji or another distant tropical paradise, that just isn't reality for a lot of us.</p> <p>So what do you do when money is tight, you don't want to get further into debt, and you really need a vacation? You still take a vacation, but just a frugal one. One that your budget will love. Here are eight frugal summer vacation ideas to get you going. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>1. The All-American, Almighty Road-Trip Vacation</h2> <p><img width="605" height="302" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/sumvaca-4585363-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>About ten years ago, my husband was able to travel through thirty different states in the span of a month-and-a-half with a friend in a $400, 1982 Chevy Sprint. It's an experience he'll never forget, and while gas prices do get high in the summer, the road trip is still one of the cheapest options for frugal vacations.</p> <p>Grab a map, pack a <a target="_blank" href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000G66GS8/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000G66GS8&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">large cooler</a>, stop at grocery stores along the way, sing cheesy songs, tell stories you've never told before, watch the sun rise and set, and make yourself some memories. (Can be combined with the &quot;I Had No Idea There Were Over 400 National Parks&quot; vacation below, if you're feeling adventurous.)</p> <p>(See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taking-frugal-road-trips-even-when-gas-prices-are-high">How to Take Frugal Road Trips</a>)</p> <h2>2. The Infamous Staycation Vacation</h2> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/sumvaca-reading-4795211-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Set a time frame. If you can only get two to three days off from work (or less), that's okay!</p> <p>This is how you do it &mdash; turn off the phones, put an auto reply on your email, turn off the computer (and really keep it off), don't check your usual social media feeds, and really allow yourself a break from everyday life and the technology that comes along with it.</p> <p>Then, go to the grocery store and get sundae supplies: ice cream, candy toppings, hot fudge, caramel, whipped cream, and why not throw in some cherries too? You are on vacation after all! Rent those guilty-pleasure movies you've been wanting to see, and settle in for a movie marathon. Those books and magazines that have been stacking up? This is the time to read them! Those museum exhibits you've been dying to see but just don't have the time for? Go check 'em out! Hanging with friends on a patio on a random Tuesday night? Go for it!</p> <p>The point is to have fun, indulge in some pleasures you normally don't get to, and get out of your normal routine.</p> <h2>3. The &quot;I Had No Idea There Were 58 National Parks&quot; Vacation</h2> <p><img width="605" height="302" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/sumvaca-5203508-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>You can purchase an annual <a href="http://www.nps.gov/findapark/passes.htm">National Parks pass</a> for $80. The pass provides access to <a href="http://www.pbs.org/nationalparks/parks/">58 National Parks</a> throughout the United States with big-name attractions like the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, the Everglades, and Yosemite. Once you're in the parks, you can hike around and obtain a spot to setup a tent for a very low fee.</p> <h2>4. The Survivalist &quot;Is This Really Considered a Vacation?&quot; Vacation</h2> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/sumvaca-4275723-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>I know some people like to be non-stop busy on vacation, and then they need a vacation <em>after</em> the &quot;vacation.&quot; If you're one of those people, then a backpacking or biking trip might be just right for you. Borrow gear from a knowledgeable friend, talk to your local outdoor pro, and take an adventure along the <a href="http://www.pcta.org/">Pacific Crest Trail</a>, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Divide_Trail">Great Divide Trail</a>, or <a href="http://www.appalachiantrail.org">Appalachian Trail</a>. Just make sure to take all of the necessary precautions and do the necessary training prior to attempting this one.</p> <p>(Wise Bread Pick: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003NU8W0Y/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B003NU8W0Y&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=seealso-20">Chrome Citizen Messenger Bag at Amazon</a>)</p> <h2>5. The &quot;You Wanna Switch Houses?&quot; Vacation</h2> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/sumvaca-home-2331734-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Talk to other families to see if they need a break from their daily life too. Swap houses (or apartments) with each other for the weekend to get a change of scenery. It's simple and free. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/home-exchanges-free-accommodations-with-perks">Free Accommodations With Home Exchanges</a>)</p> <h2>6. The Traveling Mooch Vacation</h2> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/sumvaca-friends-5109500-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Think about who you know in other cities, and go visit them. See if your friends will let you crash at their place and show you around their town. This vacation can be combined with the next vacation on the list, &quot;The Greyhound Bus Adventure Vacation,&quot; for added frugality. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-simple-rules-of-excellent-houseguest-etiquette">11 Rules to Be an Excellent Houseguest</a>)</p> <h2>7. The Greyhound Bus Adventure Vacation</h2> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/sumvaca-673253-medium.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>When I was a college student, I would ride the <a href="http://www.greyhound.com/">Greyhound Bus</a> all the time to go and visit my family. It was a rough, cheap ride, and I got to meet a bunch of people I normally wouldn't get a chance to. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">The 5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>8. The &quot;You're Already On Vacation&quot; Vacation</h2> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/sumvaca-3371498-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Hone your <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meditation">meditation skills</a> to transport yourself to another dimension at any time. Meditating can be used to take a break from everyday life without leaving your house or taking time off from work. Bonus &mdash; it's free, and no packing is involved.</p> <p>Disconnecting, breaking out of the daily ruts, and infusing some extra fun is all it takes to make a vacation a vacation, whether you're going near or far, and being frugal or not.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/anna-newell-jones">Anna Newell Jones</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-great-cheap-summer-vacations">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-fun-and-affordable-vacation-ideas">9 Fun and Affordable Vacation Ideas</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-have-the-best-cheapest-summer-vacation">25 Ways to Have the Best, Cheapest Summer Vacation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-free-or-almost-free-airline-tickets">10 Ways to Get Free (or Almost Free) Airline Tickets</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-travel-full-time-for-17000-a-year-or-less">How to Travel Full-Time for $17,000 a Year (or Less!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-and-sell-airline-miles">How to Buy and Sell Airline Miles</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel budget vacations cheap vacations road trips staycations summer vacation Wed, 11 Apr 2012 10:36:08 +0000 Anna Newell Jones 915134 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Travel Full-Time for $17,000 a Year (or Less!) http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-travel-full-time-for-17000-a-year-or-less <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-travel-full-time-for-17000-a-year-or-less" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/IMG_0355.jpg" alt="The scenery of full-time travel" title="The scenery of full-time travel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For the last five years, I've been traveling the world full-time, and for less money than I've ever spent (and I'd wager less money than most people would spend) to live in one place.</p> <p>My worldly possessions fit into one bag (just larger than carry-on size) and a backpack containing my laptop and computer gear. This small entourage (weighing less than 45 pounds in total) comes with me as I wander around the world, sometimes quickly, but mostly slowly. (See also: <a href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=16694761&fot=1100&foc=1" title="40,000 miles signup bonus with US Airways" target="_blank" ref="nofollow">40,000 Mile Sign-up Bonus with US Airways</a>)</p> <p>In 2011 alone, I traversed 13 countries and over 45,360 miles. Sounds pretty expensive, huh?</p> <p>What if I told you it wasn't? What if I told you that both 2010 (a similarly busy year of travel) and 2011 cost me just over $17,000 (including some major non-travel related purchases)? Would you believe me?</p> <p>Believe it. (Here's proof, with a full breakdown of where I went and how much it cost: <a href="http://www.theprofessionalhobo.com/2012/01/my-cost-of-full-time-travel-in-2011/">My Cost of Full-Time Travel in 2011</a>).</p> <h2>How to Keep Your Travel Costs Low</h2> <p>Of course, I could travel for way more than $17,000/year. The sky is the limit for what you can spend on the road, from food and accommodation to flights, destinations, and tours. I could also travel for less than this, if I made different spending choices.&nbsp;</p> <p>Here are a few of my secrets.</p> <h3>Don't Pay for Accommodations</h3> <p>In the entire year of 2011, I paid $173 for accommodation. And that expenditure was a function of a discounted stay at the Hilton in Stockholm as a luxurious &ldquo;splash out.&rdquo; The rest of the time, I had free accommodation in various forms, including...</p> <p><strong>Work-Trade/Volunteer</strong></p> <p>There are lots of creative opportunities to work in trade for your accommodation (and sometimes food) and enjoy a more immersive travel experience. Many of the sites that introduce you to these opportunities involve a monthly or yearly subscription, but in my experience it's well worth it. Here are some resources:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.caretaker.org">The Caretaker Gazette</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.helpx.net">Help Exchange</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wwoof.org">WWOOF</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.growfood.org/">Grow Food</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.worldhelplink.com/">World Help Link</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.payaway.co.uk/">PayAway</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p><strong>Hospitality Exchange</strong></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm">Got a few nights to kill at a given destination? Try a hospitality exchange, where locals who would like to host a traveler can put you up in a spare room or even on their couch. Good manners predicate you move on after a few days, and although it's a free stay, expect to provide a gift for your host and help out wherever you can. But there's also no better way to see how the locals live than to actually <i>live</i> with a local.</p> <ul> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://www.couchsurfing.org/">Couchsurfing</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://www.hospitalityclub.org/">Hospitality Club</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://www.globalfreeloaders.com/">Global Freeloaders</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://www.servas.org/">Servas</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://www.staydu.com/">Staydu</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>House/Pet-Sitting</strong></p> <p>After five years on the road, I've come to crave my personal space, as well as time to work on my <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/location-independent-career-basics">location-independent career</a> as a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/so-you-wanna-be-a-travel-writer">travel writer</a>. So when other people hit the road to do some traveling of their own, I come into their homes and take care of the property, pets, gardens, and any other chores that require attention in their absence. I tend to the home fires for periods of time ranging from weeks to months, and I'll soon be enjoying my second three-month stint of house-sitting and dog-minding on the Caribbean island of <a href="http://www.theprofessionalhobo.com/2012/01/three-months-in-grenada/">Grenada</a>, where I have my own beautiful free beach-front villa and use of two cars.&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.housecarers.com/">House Carers</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.caretaker.org">The Caretaker Gazette</a> (I've listed this twice because The Caretaker Gazette specializes in both volunteer and house-sitting opportunities).</li> <li><a href="http://www.trustedhousesitters.com/">Trusted Housesitters</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.mindmyhouse.com/">Mind My House</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.housesitworld.com/">Housesit World</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.aussiehousesitters.com.au/">Aussie House Sitters</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.housesittersamerica.com/">House Sitters America</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Crew on Sailboats</strong></p> <p>My most recent foray into free accommodation has come in the form of volunteering on sailboats. Every boat is different in what it requires, from capable sailors or people with boat-specific technical skills to simply being an extra set of hands to share chores and provide good company. I started out with absolutely no sailing experience, and I have met all sorts of people in the cruising community and been aboard three boats in the last month alone. This is a whole lifestyle and way of travel unto itself.</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.findacrew.net">Find a Crew</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.latitude38.com/crewlist/cruising/skipper_results.lasso">Latitude 38</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.desperatesailors.com/">Desperate Sailors</a></li> </ul> <p>Another way to get free accommodation includes home exchanges; check out more information on <a href="http://community.careonecredit.com/b/life_balance/archive/2010/08/05/take-a-free-family-vacation-with-a-home-exchange.aspx">home exchange resources and etiquette</a>.</p> <h3>Don't Pay for Flights</h3> <p>When I have to fly (which I try to do as rarely as possible), my long-haul flights are in business class, and cost less than the price of an economy ticket. I do this through the creative use of frequent flyer miles. I started out (years before I became a full-time traveler) simply as a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-seven-reasons-why-i-use-my-credit-card-for-everything">passive collector with my credit card</a> before delving into the world of creative frequent flyer mile accumulation through various promotions (here's the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/become-a-frequent-flyer-master-and-earn-a-free-flight-every-year">first big promotion</a> I took advantage of in 2009).</p> <p>Now I'm hooked, and always on the hunt for a frequent flyer deal, often accumulating thousands of miles each month without actually flying, which is easy thanks to my <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-travel-hacking-cartel-fly-around-the-world-for-almost-free">Travel Hacking Cartel</a> membership.</p> <!--<p>(One of the best offers right now is the Capital One Venture Rewards card with its 20,000 mile sign-up bonus (equivalent to $200 worth of travel) and double-points on everyday purchases. <strong><a href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=9303902&fot=1100&foc=1" ref="nofollow">Click here for more details.</a></strong>)</p>--> <p>Sometimes it actually works out better to pay cash for a flight, especially if it's a domestic flight. If this is the case, here are some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-the-lowest-price-on-airfare-even-after-you-buy">resources and tips to ensure you get the lowest price</a>, even after you pay for your ticket.</p> <h3>Travel Slowly</h3> <p>The slower you travel, the less money you'll spend on transportation, interim accommodation (for example, between when you land in a new place and begin a house-sitting or volunteer gig), and even set-up expenses like buying groceries/staples or wear-and-tear on personal effects like luggage.</p> <p>And the slower you travel, the more immersive your experience will be, and the more likely you will be to develop relationships with locals (who may not want to invest the time and effort getting to know somebody who is simply passing through) who can in turn deepen your travel experience and help you learn what life is like around the world.</p> <h2>Your Travel, Your Style</h2> <p>There's more to full-time travel than these three techniques to keep your costs low. I made purchases that weren't totally necessary, and I could have further reduced my expenses if I'd gone without. I also could have spent more money on any number of occasions. But for the most part I've found a groove and a personal style for my own full-time travels; one that leaves me wanting for nothing and spending how I wish on what's important to me. And all for less than I spend to live in one place.</p> <p>I also have a career as a writer and <a href="http://www.theprofessionalhobo.com">travel blogger</a> that lends itself well to my travels, creating a lifestyle that is a career, and vice versa.</p> <p>Budgeting for travel is very different for everybody, as can be evidenced by this informal spending study: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taco-tuesday-the-inner-mechanics-of-budgeting-on-vacation">Taco Tuesday: The Inner Mechanics of Budgeting on Vacation</a>.</p> <p><em>How much do you think you would spend on full-time travel? Would you give it a shot? </em></p> <p>If you enjoyed this story please share it on StumbleUpon!</p> <div align="center"> <p><script src="http://www.stumbleupon.com/hostedbadge.php?s=5"></script></p> </div> <p>More great travel advice from Wise Bread (Editor's Picks):</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-resources">40 Travel Resources that can Save You Money</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards">5 Best Sign-up Bonuses for Airline Miles Credit Cards</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-budget-hotels">5 Best Credit Cards for Budget Hotels</a></li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-travel-full-time-for-17000-a-year-or-less">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/volunteer-to-travel-11-opportunities-for-free-or-very-cheap-travel">Volunteer to Travel: 11 Opportunities for Free or Very Cheap Travel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-dirty-details-of-traveling-full-time">14 Dirty Details of Traveling Full-Time</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-host-a-traveler-13-tips-to-keep-it-safe-easy-and-cheap">How to Host a Traveler: 13 Tips to Keep it Safe, Easy, and Cheap</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-of-the-best-free-things-to-do-abroad">14 of the Best Free Things to Do Abroad</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-a-budget-travel-expert-beth-whitman-here-to-answer-your-questions">Ask a Budget Travel Expert: Beth Whitman Here To Answer Your Questions</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Lifestyle Travel budget travel cheap vacations full-time travel volunteering Tue, 14 Feb 2012 11:00:13 +0000 Nora Dunn 893392 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Book an Amazing Cheap Vacation Package http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-book-an-amazing-cheap-vacation-package <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-book-an-amazing-cheap-vacation-package" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/vacapkg-5357695-small.jpg" alt="family at a resort" title="family at a resort" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="158" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Sometimes planning a vacation is as fun as taking the vacation. But sometimes you want someone else to do all the work for you and just book a vacation package. Because, let's face it, sorting through hotels, itineraries, and flights can be a daunting task when you just want to get away. Plus, you can often find better deals when you book a package. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">The 5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a>)</p> <p>Personally, I've booked multiple cheap vacation packages over the years. One time, I went to Toronto, Canada for a last-minute long weekend where we stayed in a 3-star hotel and got a nonstop, round-trip plane ticket for $300 &mdash; less than the cost of any multi-stop ticket without the hotel.</p> <p>Another time, I traveled to Vienna, Austria for a week by booking a cheap vacation package &mdash; we stayed in a fancy 4-star hotel (they had a bowl of free mini-Toblerone chocolates in the lobby!) and got flights on a stellar foreign airline for about $500.</p> <p>Perhaps the best deal of all the vacation packages I've purchased was a round-trip ticket to Hurghada, Egypt (a resort town on the red sea) plus a week in a 3-star resort, with two meals a day for $330.</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/vacapkg-3806763-small.jpg" /></p> <p>How did I do this? Here are my cardinal rules for how to book a cheap vacation package, followed by an easy three-step process.</p> <h2>Tips for Booking a Cheap Vacation Package</h2> <p>For the greatest savings on your vacation package, use these nine tips to guide you through the booking process.</p> <h3>1. Be Flexible on Place</h3> <p>You're going to get the cheapest vacation package if you are completely open to any destination. I recommend either choosing an activity that you're looking for (e.g., beach, skiing, museums) or a general destination (e.g., Europe or South America) and then looking for vacation packages that meet this more general criteria. When you're more flexible on place, you're going to get a better deal. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-cheap-international-vacation-destinations">Affordable International Vacation Destinations</a>)</p> <h3>2. Plan Far in Advance or Book Last Minute</h3> <p>The best vacation deals I've found have always been last-minute trips. However, my trip to Vienna was planned about nine months in advance. You are best off planning more than three months in advance (four for summer travel) or less than two weeks. Planning a trip in only two weeks may sound scary &mdash; but you can block off the dates now and choose the destination later!</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/vacapkg-5038203-small.jpg" /></p> <h3>3. Be Flexible on Time</h3> <p>Just like with flexibility on destination, travelers who are flexible with when they go are going to get better deals. &quot;Time&quot; includes days that you travel, how long you stay, and even time of day for flights. The more flexibility you have, the cheaper vacation package you'll snag. (If you're unsure of how to search based on flexibility, start by checking out my favorite <a href="http://gogreentravelgreen.com/money/flexible_travel_best_search_engines/">search engines for flexible travel</a>.)</p> <h3>4. Be Flexible on Amenities</h3> <p>Most vacation packages typically include flights and hotel. Some also include a rental car, admission passes to a nearby attraction, or all-inclusive meals. It's best to be flexible on the amenities you want &mdash; you can always opt to not use the tickets or to find a rental car on your own.</p> <h3>5. Bring a Friend (or Two)</h3> <p>The majority of vacation packages are priced per person for two people. If you are traveling by yourself, you'll likely see a surcharge. Some packages charge less per person when there are three or four people all booking together (usually sharing one room).</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/vacapkg-friends-4019034-small.jpg" /></p> <h3>6. Know That You Can Extend Your Dates</h3> <p>A vacation package frequently has certain dates or number of days set in stone. For example, a long weekend package might begin on a Friday and go until Monday. Don't feel confined by these dates &mdash; many of the vacation packages will allow you to extend the dates for several more dollars. And if they won't let you extend your trip, consider finding your own way home. One time, for example, a vacation package I found was such a good deal that I booked it, but I wasn't able to extend the trip through the company. So once at my destination I found different lodging for the duration of the trip and bought a one-way ticket home. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hostels-vs-hotels-choosing-the-perfect-place-to-stay-within-your-budget">Hotels vs. Hostels</a>)</p> <h3>7. Travel From a Major Airport Hub</h3> <p>The best vacation packages are priced from major airport hubs like LA, NYC, DC, and Chicago. Some companies will only let you book from these hubs. Other companies will add a surcharge for smaller airports. If you're getting a surcharge added for your airport, consider booking this flight separately by checking to see if you could get a better price on your own. Just be forewarned that if something goes wrong with your first flight to the hub, you may be left in a lurch. So plan to arrive extra early or buy travel insurance.</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/vacapkg-555399-small.jpg" /></p> <h3>8. Travel From a Foreign Country</h3> <p>The $330 steal to Egypt that I snagged? That was flying round-trip from Moscow. (Hurghada happens to be a hotspot for Russians.) When I traveled in Germany I noticed some amazing prices on vacation packages to foreign countries. So, if you're lucky enough to have the flexibility to spend more time traveling &mdash; once you get to your first foreign destination, head to a travel agency and ask where the best vacation packages are to determine your next stop.</p> <h3>9. Splurge: Spend the Money to Upgrade</h3> <p>Usually with vacation packages, you'll have a cheaper option for the package, then you'll be given an option to upgrade to a fancier hotel. If you upgrade, you'll get a much better hotel in a much better location. Every time I've upgraded, it's been more than worth the cost (e.g. the Toblerone hotel in Vienna). And every time I've passed I've regretted it. (The Egypt hotel had a barely functioning shower. For $50 more we could have stayed at a 5-star resort with swimming pools with swim-up bars. But at the time we had little money and didn't see the value of the better hotel &mdash; until we arrived.) (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/negotiate-your-own-hotel-deal">How to Negotiate Your Hotel Deal</a>)</p> <h2>How to Find a Cheap Vacation Package in Three Steps</h2> <p>Now that you know the tips, you're ready to start actually searching for a vacation package.</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/travel-2466252-small.jpg" /></p> <h3>1. Make Some Decisions</h3> <p>First, look through the tips above and make some decisions about dates, places, people, budget, etc. As I mentioned, the more flexible you are the cheaper vacation package you'll get; but note that you'll also spend more time searching for packages.</p> <h3>2. Determine What's a Good Deal</h3> <p>Before you know that you're getting a cheap vacation package, you need to get a baseline price to compare the vacation package to. I recommend choosing you favorite travel search engine (I like <a title="Kayak" href="http://kayak.com">Kayak</a>) and entering a flexible date search for your city to the location you're considering and first get a baseline sense of what airline tickets cost. Next, use the search engine's hotel function and see the approximate cost of a hotel for a stay of your length. For instance, if the cheapest fares you are finding are $500, and the hotel for a week's stay is $600, you'll know that a vacation package that's less than $1100 is a good deal.</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/airplane-5279550-small.jpg" /></p> <h3>3. Search and Book</h3> <p>How to you actually search for a deal? Here are the best places to look:</p> <p><strong>For Last-Minute Trips</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.lastminute.com/" title="Lastminute.com">Lastminute.com</a> (I've used Lastminute.com and liked it)</li> <li><a href="http://hotwire.com" title="Hotwire">Hotwire</a></li> <li><a href="http://priceline.com" title="Priceline">Priceline</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>For Flexible Locations </strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.go-today.com/" title="Go-today">Go-today</a> has the easiest browsing and good deals for travel abroad. (I've used Go-today for several trips that have been outstanding.)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.priceline.com">Priceline</a> allows you to be flexible on location &mdash; just look under the &quot;theme vacation ideas&quot; box. (Here's a good post with general <a href="http://gogreentravelgreen.com/money/priceline-bidding-ultimate-guide/">Priceline Bidding Tips</a> that will help you further understand the Priceline process.)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.cheaptickets.com" title="CheapTickets">CheapTickets</a> similarly has packages based on theme and destination.</li> </ul> <p><strong>For All Packages</strong></p> <ul> <li>Pick up the travel section of your local paper &mdash; as some of the best deals on packages from your local airport will be listed in your local paper with a local travel agent.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Try <a href="http://www.groupon.com/getaways" title="Groupon Getaways">Groupon Getaways</a>. Groupon for travel is new, and I haven't tried it, but based on what I've seen there are some great deals through a partnership with Expedia.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Finally, the traditional online travel agencies <a href="http://www.orbitz.com/" title="Orbitz">Orbitz</a>, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.kqzyfj.com/click-2822544-10515287" title="Expedia">Expedia</a>, and <a href="http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-2822544-10525155?url=http%3A%2F%2Ftravel.travelocity.com%2Fel.do%3Fea_sid%3D%25zs%26ea_aid%3D%25za%26ea_pid%3D%25zp%26WA1%3D07010%26WA2%3D%25zp%26WA3%3Dofr-1-%25zs%26WA5%3D%25za%26WA6%3D%25zl%26Service%3DCJUS%26dest%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.travelocity.com" target="_blank">Travelocity</a> all have good deals, though the sites are easier to navigate if you have a set location and dates.</li> </ul> <p>Lastly, don't forget Wise Bread's awesome list of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-resources" title="Travel Resources">Travel Resources</a>.</p> <p><em>Have you ever booked a vacation package? What was your experience?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elizabeth-lang">Elizabeth Lang</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-book-an-amazing-cheap-vacation-package">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-resources">40 Most Useful Travel Websites That Can Save You a Fortune</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-free-or-almost-free-airline-tickets">10 Ways to Get Free (or Almost Free) Airline Tickets</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-secrets-of-last-minute-travel">20 Secrets of Last-Minute Travel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-secret-flight-search-site-savvy-travelers-use">The Secret Flight Search Site Savvy Travelers Use</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-travel-full-time-for-17000-a-year-or-less">How to Travel Full-Time for $17,000 a Year (or Less!)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel air travel cheap vacations hotels vacations Tue, 06 Dec 2011 11:24:29 +0000 Elizabeth Lang 814674 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Buy and Sell Airline Miles http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-and-sell-airline-miles <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-buy-and-sell-airline-miles" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/buysellmiles-5270782-small.jpg" alt="airplane button" title="airplane button" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most airlines these days have frequent flyer programs where you can use your accumulated miles to redeem rewards, often in the form of flight tickets. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-cheapest-way-to-fly-to-europe">The Cheapest Way to Fly to Europe</a>)</p> <p>It's great when you earn enough miles to pay for free trips, but you don't necessarily have to wait for your miles to build up before you reap the fruits of your miles.&nbsp;You can also buy, sell, and transfer frequent flyer miles to get a deal you want.</p> <h2>How to Buy Miles</h2> <p>You can purchase miles directly from an airline by visiting their rewards program page. (For American Airlines, it's <a href="http://www.aa.com/i18n/AAdvantage/purchasingMiles/main.jsp">AAdvantage</a>; for Delta, it's <a href="http://www.delta.com/skymiles/index.jsp">Sky Miles</a>; British Airways has the <a href="http://www.britishairways.com/travel/echome/public/en_us?link=top_nav">Executive Club</a>, and so on.) Simply hit the &quot;Buy Miles&quot; link, and they'll walk you through the process.</p> <p>The cost of miles varies from airline to airline. For example, Delta's miles cost 3.5 cents per mile, while American Airlines sell theirs for 2.5 to 2.75 cents per mile. Generally, buying miles only makes sense when you're just shy of a goal and you buy only enough miles to reach it. You don't want the value of your purchased miles to exceed the value of the ticket.</p> <p>Another way to buy miles is through coupon broker sites. Now, buying and selling through a broker violates the policy of most airlines, but it's not illegal (except in the state of Utah). However, if you're caught, the airline may confiscate your ticket, cancel your reservation, and wipe out the accumulated miles in your (and the seller's) frequent flyer account.</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/buysellmiles-3842549-small.jpg" /></p> <p>If you're willing to take the risk, start by visiting the website of a coupon broker. The broker acts as the middleman between you and the seller. The broker will ask for your contact information, your preferred travel dates, service class (such as business or first), airline, and the price you're willing to pay per mile. Once the broker matches you with a seller, and all parties agree to the terms, the broker will ask you for your rewards account number. When the broker receives your payment, the seller will transfer the miles to your frequent flyer account.</p> <p>If all goes well, any purchase (or sale) through a coupon broker should look like a simple transfer from the airline's point of view.&nbsp;</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/buysellmiles-credit-card-2293897-small.jpg" /></p> <h2>How to Sell Miles</h2> <p>It's great when you can get a free trip out of your miles&hellip;but what do you do when you don't want your reward? Even if you don't want your points, someone else might.</p> <p>Airlines don't like it when their customers sell miles, so if you want to convert your miles to cash, we're back in violates-policy-but-not-illegal-except-in-Utah territory.</p> <p>If you want to sell your miles through a coupon broker, you first need to provide your contact information. The broker will also ask for the number of miles you want to sell (most require a minimum amount), the name of the airline, the expiration dates, and your asking price per mile. When they find a buyer, you'll transfer your miles to the buyer's account. You receive payment when the transaction is complete.</p> <p>You can cut out the middleman by selling directly to your friends or family. It works just like a transfer, except that you'll receive money, gifts, or free labor for the miles. This method may not flag the airline's attention, but there are other risks involved &mdash; especially if the buyer can't find seats for the trip they want. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tips-for-scoring-a-frequent-flyer-rewards-flight">How to Score a Frequent Flyer Rewards Flight</a>)</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/buysellmiles-gift-5213609-small.jpg" /></p> <h2>How to Transfer Miles</h2> <p>Airlines allow you to give your miles to family, friends, and even charities, provided that the recipient also has an account with the airline. Simply click on the &quot;Transfer Miles&quot; link on the airline's rewards program page and enter your account information, the recipient's information, and the number of miles you want to transfer.</p> <p>Even though you're freely sharing miles that you have already earned, don't assume that sharing the miles is free. As with buying miles, airlines charge a processing fee for transfers.</p> <h2>Other Ways to Use Your Miles</h2> <p>In order to compete with other reward programs, airlines have had to make their frequent flyer miles more flexible. Nowadays, if you don't want to use your miles on a plane ticket, you can apply them to another part of your trip. Airlines will allow you to redeem rewards for hotel accommodations, rental cars, vacation packages, Broadway show tickets, gift cards, and more. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-on-travel-accommodations">How to Save on Travel Accommodations</a>)</p> <p>To redeem these other rewards, you may need to go through <a href="http://www.kqzyfj.com/click-2822544-10485462/" target="blank">Points.com</a>. This website allows you to manage and exchange your reward points between their partnered programs. Their partners include several large airlines, such as Delta, JetBlue, Korean Air, and American Airlines. They're also partnered with Best Buy, Hilton, CVS, Wells Fargo, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.jdoqocy.com/33106xdmjdl03933655021983289?sid=miles">Swag Bucks</a>, and other retailers. While the site is free to join, transaction or processing fees still apply and will vary. Some airlines may also restrict how you can use the miles in their program.</p> <p>The exchange rate on Points.com may also be an issue. You won't find a 1:1 exchange here; a good chunk (if not most) of the value of your miles will be lost, guaranteed. Then again, sitting on miles that you won't ever use doesn't help much, either. It can be worth your while to make an exchange if there's a reward that you want and can use.</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/airplane-5320152-small.jpg" /></p> <h2>Final Tips on Buying and Selling Airline Miles</h2> <ul> <li>No matter what you do, there will be a processing fee. The fee varies from airline to airline and depends on the type of transaction (buy or transfer), as well as the number of miles involved. Remember to factor in the processing fee (and taxes) when you calculate the costs.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Most airlines set caps on the number of miles you can buy, receive, and transfer per year, per account. Check the terms and conditions of your rewards program to make sure you don't exceed the limit.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>As with most electronic transactions, there's a delay before you see the purchase or transfer (or sale-transfer) reflected in your account. It can take 1-3 days to process a transaction, so plan any last-minute trips accordingly.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Most transactions involving frequent flyer miles are non-refundable.</li> </ul> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">Click here for the best travel reward card offers.</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/personal-finance/credit-cards">Click here for the Ultimate Credit Card Guide.</a></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-and-sell-airline-miles">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards">5 Best Sign-up Bonuses for Airline Miles Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-my-family-scores-free-travel-with-credit-cards">6 Ways My Family Scores Free Travel With Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-frequent-flyer-miles">Everything You Need to Know About Frequent Flyer Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cash-back-vs-travel-rewards-pick-the-right-credit-card-for-you">Cash Back vs Travel Rewards: Pick the Right Credit Card for You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-cheapest-way-to-fly-to-europe">The Cheapest Way to Fly to Europe</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Travel airline miles cheap vacations frequent flyer miles rewards credit cards Fri, 05 Aug 2011 10:36:06 +0000 Amy Lu 650007 at http://www.wisebread.com 47 Cheap, Fun Things to Do This Weekend http://www.wisebread.com/47-cheap-fun-things-to-do-this-weekend <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/47-cheap-fun-things-to-do-this-weekend" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/funwkd-biking-4984553-small.jpg" alt="woman biking" title="woman biking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ever have a conversation that goes like this...?</p> <p>&quot;What do you want to do this weekend?&quot;</p> <p><em>*Shoulder shrug* </em></p> <p>&quot;I dunno, whatta you wanna do?&quot;</p> <p><em>*Shoulder shrug and sigh* </em></p> <p>&quot;I dunno; there's nothing to ever do around here.&quot;</p> <p>I've had conversations like that many times in the past, but not anymore. I'm learning to appreciate the little things in life and enjoy living in the moment more. Too often when we think about &quot;fun&quot; things, we think of the expensive options like taking in a ballgame, going on vacation, or going to a concert. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">Best Travel Reward Cards</a>)</p> <p>Here's a list to help free you from boredom without emptying your wallet this weekend.</p> <h3>1. Go to the Park</h3> <p>You can take your family or go with a friend. Swing on the swings like when you were a kid.</p> <h3>2. Watch the Sunset</h3> <p>Find a great spot in your community to catch the sunset. We have a lake by our house that offers some great views!</p> <h3>3. Pack a Picnic Lunch</h3> <p>Throw a picnic lunch together and find a shady spot to enjoy the day with your loved ones.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/funwkd-5394878-small.jpg" width="605" height="303" alt="" /></p> <h3>4. Play Board Games</h3> <p>Bring out the old favorites like <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002JSM3KQ/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002JSM3KQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20" target="_blank">Monopoly</a> or <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004BHWFUG/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004BHWFUG&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20" target="_blank">Scrabble</a>, or find new board games to play. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-five-economy-based-board-games-that-make-you-think">Board Games That Make You Think</a>)</p> <h3>5. Play Card Games</h3> <p>Invite a few friends over and have a card night.</p> <h3>6. Do a Road Rally With Friends</h3> <p>Get some friends together and go on a <a href="http://www.ehow.com/how_4531214_organize-road-rally.html">mobile scavenger hunt</a>. The first one back with all things on the list wins! Losers have to buy dessert.</p> <h3>7. Go on a Digital Scavenger Hunt</h3> <p>Make it a digital scavenger hunt. Think of some creative, hilarious pictures you could take with people in the community, or check out this list for <a href="http://www.coolest-parties.com/scavenger-hunt-list-ideas.html">scavenger hunt ideas</a>.</p> <h3>8. Throw a B.Y.O.E. Party</h3> <p>This stands of Bring Your Own Everything. Guests are encouraged to bring food and drinks to share. Or, check this post out for more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-potluck-parties-that-help-you-share-the-wealth">frugal party ideas</a>.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/funwkd-3992897-small.jpg" width="605" height="303" alt="" /></p> <h3>9. Have a Bonfire or Campfire in Your Backyard</h3> <p>Make s'mores and <a href="http://kimandjason.com/blog/2009-06-23/11-campfire-games-you-have-to-play.html">play campfire games</a>.</p> <h3>10. Get Ice Cream</h3> <p>Hit up your local ice cream shop and indulge in your favorite dish! Our local Dairy Queen is located right on the lake, which ties in perfect with #2!</p> <p>(Wise Bread Pick: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00009365G/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00009365G&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=seealso-20">Lello Gelato Junior Ice Cream Maker at Amazon</a>)</p> <h3>11. Make a Romantic Dinner</h3> <p>Plan a romantic, candlelight dinner for your spouse or loved one. Romance need not be expensive! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/seven-simple-tips-for-romance-on-a-dime">Romance on a Dime</a>)</p> <h3>12. Grill Something New</h3> <p>Try a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sexy-summer-dinners-5-great-hot-weather-meal-ideas">new grilling recipe</a>. Recently I tried chicken breast stuffed with cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, basil, and tomatoes! Mmmm!</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/funwkd-5253635-small.jpg" width="605" height="303" alt="" /></p> <h3>13. Go to the Museum or Zoo</h3> <p>Many times a local museum will have free or discount days. Zoos are fairly inexpensive if you pack your own lunch and avoid the unnecessary extras.</p> <h3>14. Scan Your Old Photographs</h3> <p>Take the weekend to go through your old photos and scan them into a digital file. You can even create digital scrapbooks! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-your-family-memories-with-cloud-computing">Save Memories With Cloud Computing</a>)</p> <h3>15. Pretend You're a Tourist in Your Community</h3> <p>Most folks rarely visit their own city's tourist attractions. Take a weekend be a tourist in your own town.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/funwkd-photography-4784660-small.jpg" width="605" height="303" alt="" /></p> <h3>16. Organize a Neighborhood Cleanup</h3> <p>Get friends and neighbors together to go and clean up a city block. Here are six steps to <a href="http://planetgreen.discovery.com/work-connect/bold-green-neighborhood-cleanup.html">organizing your own neighborhood cleanup</a>.</p> <h3>17. Go to the Farmers Market</h3> <p>Communities will usually have farmers markets on the weekends where you can get locally grown produce. The food is fresh and delicious! Here's a <a href="http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2010/05/03/the-savvy-shoppers-guide-to-the-farmers-market/">savvy guide to farmers markets</a>.</p> <h3>18. Pick Strawberries or Other Fruit</h3> <p>Find a &quot;U-Pick&quot; spot to gather some fresh strawberries, blueberries, or other fruit and then...</p> <h3>19. Bake a Pie</h3> <p>Use the freshly picked fruit to bake a homemade pie! (Need help with the <a href="http://mywoodenspoon.com/the-perfect-pie-crust/">pie crust</a>?)</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/funwkd-4136412-small.jpg" width="605" height="303" alt="" /></p> <h3>20. Volunteer at a Soup Kitchen or Homeless Shelter</h3> <p>Organizations like these are always looking for volunteers. This will be one of the most rewarding things you could do this weekend and can possibly make a difference on your resume! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/translating-volunteer-experiences-and-skills-to-workplace-credentials">Translating Volunteer Experiences to Workplace Credentials</a>)</p> <h3>21. Invite Your Neighbors Over</h3> <p>With today's busy pace, it seems harder to get to know our neighbors. <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-invite-your-neighbors-to-your-party/">Invite them over</a> for dinner or dessert and make an effort to know more about them.</p> <h3>22. Go Fishing</h3> <p>Grab the poles, find a pond, and cast those lines!</p> <h3>23. Go to the Beach</h3> <p>Hit the sandy shores for a little rest and relaxation. Just don't forget to protect your skin! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-summery-ways-to-protect-your-skin">Ways to Protect Your Skin in the Summer</a>)</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/funwkd-beach-1742876-small.jpg" width="605" height="303" alt="" /></p> <h3>24. Go to the Library</h3> <p>There are many <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-why-you-should-support-your-local-library">benefits your local library</a> has to offer besides just books. You can rent movies, page through magazines, or surf the net.</p> <h3>25. Host a Classic Movie Marathon</h3> <p>Invite friends over for a movie marathon featuring all the classics you remember from when you were growing up. Or, host a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-great-movies-about-money">money movie marathon</a>!</p> <h3>26. Rearrange the Furniture in Your House</h3> <p>My wife and I did this last weekend. I love the new look and feel of our living room now! Rearranging furniture doesn't cost anything and adds a new flair to your place.</p> <h3>27. Write Out Your Bucket List and Pick One to Do</h3> <p>Brainstorm ideas for all the <a href="http://abundance-blog.marelisa-online.com/2010/05/21/bucket-list-ideas/">things you want to do in life</a>, and pick one to do this weekend.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/funwkd-climb-366146-small.jpg" width="605" height="303" alt="" /></p> <h3>28. Put Together a Jigsaw Puzzle</h3> <p>When is the last time you put together a puzzle? Find one you like and get to it.</p> <h3>29. Volunteer to Babysit for Someone Who &quot;Needs a Break&quot;</h3> <p>I know many parents who would <em>love</em> for someone to offer a chance to take a break from the busyness of life. Many single parents hardly ever get a chance to get out and unwind.</p> <h3>30. Clean Out Your Closet and Donate to a Thrift Store</h3> <p>Go through your closets and declutter. Find items you can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cleaning-out-for-a-cause-make-a-noncash-tax-deductible-donation">donate to your local Goodwill</a> or another thrift shop.</p> <h3>31. Watch for Shooting Stars</h3> <p>Go on a star-gazing adventure. Grab a blanket and head to a park to lay and watch the stars. Here's a <a href="http://stardate.org/nightsky/meteors">meteor shower calendar</a> to help.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/funwkd-5074086-small.jpg" width="605" height="303" alt="" /></p> <h3>32. Go on a Bike Ride</h3> <p>Bike to a location you've never been to before. Or, bring your bike to a town or city you're unfamiliar with and create your own bike tour. Just be safe on your bike! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bicycling-safety-in-the-city">Bicycle Safety in the City</a>)</p> <h3>33. Take a Free Online Class</h3> <p>There are plenty of free online classes you could take to improve your skills in a certain area. Try your hand at <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/158-free-investment-classes-from-morningstar-earn-rewards-while-you-learn">investment classes</a> if that interests you!</p> <h3>34. Write Out Your Life Plan</h3> <p>This one will take some thought but will be well worth it. Here's a <a href="http://michaelhyatt.com/creating-a-life-plan.html">great resource from Michael Hyatt </a>for helping you think through your life plan.</p> <h3>35. Set Three New Goals for Yourself</h3> <p>Related to the life plan is setting three new goals you'd like to accomplish in the new six to twelve months...and <a href="http://michaelhyatt.com/5-reasons-why-you-should-commit-your-goals-to-writing.html">write them down</a>!</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/funwkd-5319564-small.jpg" width="605" height="303" alt="" /></p> <h3>36. Find a Community Play to Attend</h3> <p>Many local communities offer inexpensive theater productions.</p> <h3>37. Help Someone in Need</h3> <p>Lend a helping hand to a neighbor, co-worker, or friend.</p> <h3>38. Buy Food for the Homeless and Listen to Their Stories</h3> <p>It's not always wise to <a href="http://www.redeemingriches.com/2009/08/05/should-you-give-money-to-a-homeless-person/">give money to a homeless person</a>, but you can buy food. Listen to their stories, and if possible, direct them to an organization that can help.</p> <h3>39. Go Bowling</h3> <p>Get some friends together and have a blast at the lanes!</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/funwkd-1132091-small.jpg" width="605" height="303" alt="" /></p> <h3>40. Visit Garage Sales and Look for Deals</h3> <p>Take a friend or two, grab breakfast, and then hit the local garage sales to scan for deals.</p> <h3>41. Tour the Local Fire or Police Station and Thank Them for Their Service</h3> <p>A simple gesture can really mean a lot to the men and women who serve us on a daily basis!</p> <h3>42. Visit a Local Nursing Home and Engage With the Residents</h3> <p>Many elderly folks have great tales to tell. <a href="http://www.agedcareinsite.com.au/pages/section/article.php?s=Breaking+News&amp;idArticle=20069">Listen to their stories</a> and see what you can learn from them.</p> <h3>43. Plant a Garden</h3> <p>You can make a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/garden-ideas-for-small-spaces">garden box</a> or even an herb garden if you don't have much room. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/garden-ideas-for-small-spaces">Small Space Garden Ideas</a>)</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/funwkd-garden-5123500-small.jpg" width="605" height="303" alt="" /></p> <h3>44. Go Dancing</h3> <p>Grab a few friends, put those dancing shoes on, and hit the local club.</p> <h3>45. Walk Through the Craft Store and Start an Art Project</h3> <p>Take your spouse or loved one to a craft store and each purchase a few crafts for a creative project. Or start a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-pretty-projects-for-pine-cones">pine cone project</a>!</p> <h3>46. Host a &quot;Minute to Win It&quot; Party</h3> <p>Invite a few friends over and challenge each other with some creative games based on the <a href="http://www.nbc.com/minute-to-win-it/" mce_href="http://www.nbc.com/minute-to-win-it/">hit TV show</a>.</p> <h3>47. Write a Letter to a Family Member You Haven't Talked to in a While</h3> <p>When is the last time you sat down and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-reasons-to-write-a-letter">wrote a letter</a>? There's something magical and nostalgic about the written word on paper. Send a letter to someone you haven't talked to in a while and tell them how much you love them.</p> <p>Hopefully these ideas are enough to get you started on a fun, cheap, and rewarding weekend!</p> <p><em>What cheap, fun things are you planning to do this weekend?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-topp">Jason Topp</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/47-cheap-fun-things-to-do-this-weekend">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. 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