vacation http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/6924/all en-US 5 Cheap Travel Destinations for Wine Lovers http://www.wisebread.com/5-cheap-travel-destinations-for-wine-lovers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-cheap-travel-destinations-for-wine-lovers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_in_the_vineyard.jpg" alt="Couple in the vineyard" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For those who like to swirl, sniff, and sip their way around the world, a tour of one of the world&rsquo;s great wine destinations can be a dream vacation. Staying at a winery is a fantastic experience and many vineyard restaurants around the world offer fresh, farm-to-table style dining, prepared by expert chefs in breathtaking locations. While some of these locations can be outrageously expensive, there are wonderful international wine destinations that you can experience on a budget. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-no-fuss-wine-destinations-anyone-can-visit-and-enjoy?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 No-Fuss U.S. Wine Destinations</a>)</p> <h2>1. Salta, Argentina</h2> <p>While Argentina&rsquo;s Uco Valley and Luján de Cuyo, both near Mendoza, are world renowned, they can be pricey. Farther north, the wine region around Cafayate in Salta province offers great value for wine lovers.</p> <p>Among the 10,000 acres dedicated to vineyards, some wineries (<em>bodegas</em>) offer <a href="http://wander-argentina.com/winery-tours-in-cafayate/" target="_blank">free tours and tastings</a>. But you really don&rsquo;t need to spend a lot of money on a rental car or private driver to take you out to wineries, because there are plenty right in the town of Cafayate. This means that you can walk from tasting to tasting without having to get behind the wheel. Any trip should also include a visit to a fantastic wine bar in town called Bad Brothers Wine Experience, which has affordable tapas and wines.</p> <p>If you do choose to head out to some of the nearby vineyards, I recommend visiting Piattelli Vineyards, which is about a five-minute drive from Cafayate town. When I was there in 2017, tours started at 100 Argentine pesos, or about $6.50. Another favorite is Bodega El Esteco, where a tasting was 155 Argentine pesos, or $10 during my visit. This bodega also has a fabulous hotel called Patios de Cafayate, where you can stay in a historic building right on the vineyard &mdash; a truly memorable experience for those who love all things wine.</p> <h2>2. The Okanagan Valley, Canada</h2> <p>You may not have considered visiting your neighbor to the north for an excellent glass of wine, but British Columbia&rsquo;s Okanagan Valley is famous for producing tasty merlot, cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, pinot gris, and chardonnay. Thanks to the strong U.S. dollar, travel within this region and other parts of Canada is cheaper than it has been in previous years.</p> <p>Vineyards in the region are set along the breathtaking, 84-mile long Okanagan Lake, and many of the restaurants at the wineries have beautiful views over the water.</p> <p>The best way to visit the wineries is to get a group of people together and share the cost of a private vehicle. You can rent a 10-passenger stretch limousine for $79 an hour and take it on a self-guided wine tour. You can usually visit three to four wineries in a five-hour half-day tour that would cost $395. If you split the cost among 10 people, your transport would cost less than $40 a person.</p> <p>But it&rsquo;s not always easy to get together 10 friends when you&rsquo;re traveling, so you can also book affordable wine tours starting at $90 per person. Another option is to rent a car in Kelowna, the main town in the region, for around $25 a day, and drive yourself out to the wineries. Just make sure you don&rsquo;t overdo it on the tastings!</p> <p>Whether you go in a limo or in a rental car, you can cut costs by visiting wineries that offer low-cost tours and tastings, usually running $2&ndash;$7. Often these fees are waived with the purchase of a bottle, and some tastings are free even if you don&rsquo;t buy wine.</p> <h2>3. Robertson, South Africa</h2> <p>South Africa is already an inexpensive destination thanks to the strong U.S. dollar, and this also translates to big savings on bottles of wine and wine tours in the country.</p> <p>When I visited a couple of years ago, two separate wine tour guides explained to me that the wine-famous university town of Stellenbosch had to start charging for wine tours because of overzealous students going to town at the vineyards. Meanwhile, a couple of hours away, Robertson still offers (mostly) free wine tours and tastings, but you do have to organize your own transport to and from each winery. A rental car is a great way to get around this area as the drives are quite scenic.</p> <p>On top of free wine experiences, bottles of excellent South African reds are extremely inexpensive when bought from the vineyard. I personally found that all of my favorite South African wines were as much as 40 percent cheaper than I would typically find them in wine shops in Canada or the U.S.</p> <p>While you can stay on some lovely wineries in Robertson, if you really want to save on your travel budget, I recommend checking out some of the &ldquo;backpackers,&rdquo; which are like local homestays in the region.</p> <p>You can find them on <a href="http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-2822544-12715010" target="_blank">Booking.com</a>, or on the <a href="http://www.coasttocoast.co.za/" target="_blank">Coast-To-Coast</a> website, or the free print guide you can pick up while in South Africa. This handy little book lists all of the backpackers lodges throughout the country, as well as some tours and experiences that you can have while traveling in South Africa.</p> <h2>4. Plovdiv, Bulgaria</h2> <p>The small, Eastern European country of Bulgaria may not have made your wine radar yet, but believe me, the fertile soils of this ancient wine production territory have long made some of the world's best wines.</p> <p>In my experience, Bulgaria is an incredibly inexpensive place to travel, with my wife and I getting by on $50 a day. On top of that, the beautiful town of Plovdiv has some of the country's best wineries right at its doorstep.</p> <p>My wife and I booked through Bulgaria Wine Tours and enjoyed a half-day wine tour with visits to three different wineries, a private guide, and a delicious lunch for just over $100 per person. This may sound a bit expensive at first, but when you factor in the cost of the wines, the tour fee at each winery, the food we ate, and what we would&rsquo;ve had to pay for a private driver, it was a steal. Plus, the bottles of wine at each vineyard were rarely more than $10 to buy.</p> <p>During the tour, we were able to taste some of the country's finest wines, right out of the oak barrels &mdash; a highly recommended experience. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-incredible-world-cities-you-can-afford?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Incredible World Cities You Can Afford</a>)</p> <h2>5. Santorini, Greece</h2> <p>Tiny, whitewashed Santorini bobs in the Mediterranean Sea and sits firmly on the list of many travelers&rsquo; wish lists. But few people know that there are beautiful wineries on the island.</p> <p>The wine itself may not blow your socks off, but the experience of renting a motorbike (around $25/day) and cruising around the island looking for signs that say &ldquo;wine tasting&rdquo; is a lot of fun. You can also get around the island by public transport. Just make sure you don&rsquo;t go overboard on the tastings if you&rsquo;re driving.</p> <p>There are about a dozen wineries on the island that accept visitors for tastings and tours. A few notable ones include Domaine Sigalas in Oia, Boutari in Megalochori, and Santo Wines in Pyrgos.</p> <h2>Getting to wine country</h2> <p>The most expensive part of a wine holiday abroad will likely be the flights to get there. By doing some advance planning and getting an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-co-branded-airline-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">airline credit card</a> or a good <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">travel rewards credit card</a>, you may be able to earn a big stash of points to help defray your air travel costs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-to-getting-a-free-or-close-to-free-vacation-in-9-months-or-less-with-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Get a Free Vacation in 9 Months with Credit Card Rewards</a>)</p> <p>To save money on airfare to South Africa, check out Ethiopian Airlines (a return journey from New York&rsquo;s JFK starts at $850). For Bulgaria, your best bet is to fly to London, then take a budget flight with Ryanair to get to Sofia. From there it&rsquo;s a one-hour and 45-minute bus ride to Plovdiv. For Canada, check out WestJet for flights into Kelowna (often, but not always via Vancouver), and for Santorini, you can usually fly return from New York for around $1,300.</p> <p>To get to Salta, Argentina you have many options, but your cheapest will likely be to fly to Buenos Aires (from $720 for round-trip out of JFK), spend a couple of days in the Argentine capital, and then hop on a round-trip flight to Salta for around $400.</p> <p>However you choose to get to your next wine vacation destination, once you&rsquo;re there, the cost of travel and your favorite grape varietal will be very reasonable in these five destinations. Experience all that the vineyards have to offer and sip your favorite blends until your lips are purple and your camera is full of pictures of wine experiences.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-cheap-travel-destinations-for-wine-lovers">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/5-airline-miles-secrets-only-frequent-flyers-know">5 Airline Miles Secrets Only Frequent Flyers Know</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/5-international-destinations-you-can-visit-for-50-a-day">5 International Destinations You Can Visit for $50 a Day</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/heres-how-rich-youd-be-if-you-stopped-drinking">Here&#039;s How Rich You&#039;d Be If You Stopped Drinking</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/which-credit-card-should-you-use-to-get-free-hotel-stays">Which Credit Card Should You Use to Get Free Hotel Stays?</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/once-in-a-lifetime-experiences-ive-earned-with-credit-card-rewards">Once-In-A-Lifetime Experiences I&#039;ve Earned With Credit Card Rewards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Travel alcohol argentina bulgaria Canada greece international rewards south africa vacation vineyards wine wineries Wed, 24 May 2017 08:30:13 +0000 Nick Wharton 1952958 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Best Websites for Last-Minute Airfare Deals http://www.wisebread.com/7-best-websites-for-last-minute-airfare-deals <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-best-websites-for-last-minute-airfare-deals" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-628109306.jpg" alt="Woman using best sites for last-minute airfare deals" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Pricey flights are the bane of every traveler's existence. But once you become a frequent traveler, you pick up a few <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-flight-booking-hacks-to-save-you-hundreds?ref=internal" target="_blank">flight booking tips</a> that'll save you tons of cash.</p> <p>But if you have the type of schedule that just won't allow you to plan ahead a few months, you might be in for sticker shock. In that case, it's smart to find the best sites for last-minute airfare. If you're flexible on where you travel, you can scoop up some amazing deals all over the globe. And even if you're not flexible, you may be able to whittle down the last-minute price tag tremendously.</p> <h2>1. Hopper</h2> <p><a href="https://www.hopper.com/" target="_blank">Hopper</a> is a mobile app that lets you search for flights, compare travel deals, and figure out the best time to fly. Search for your preferred flight dates using colored blocks. From there, you'll get predictions on the <em>exact dates</em> your flights might be cheapest.</p> <p>You'll receive a notification to wait for a better fare if the app believes prices will drop, along with ongoing notifications when your fare hits the bottom. Or you'll get a notification to &quot;buy&quot; because your airfare is the lowest it will go.</p> <p>While Hopper can work great for fares in the future, it can also help you decide when to pull the trigger on a last-minute trip. At the very least, it can show you the cheapest day to fly within your preferred range of dates.</p> <h2>2. Airfare Watchdog</h2> <p><a href="http://www.airfarewatchdog.com/" target="_blank">Airfarewatchdog</a> lets you save on last-minute travel in more ways than one. First, the website lists last-minute travel deals from your home airport or any airport of your choosing. If you're flexible on where you travel, this tool makes it easy to see the best deals from your airport within the upcoming month.</p> <p>Second, you can set up alerts to notify you when a last-minute airfare deal you've been looking for finally appears. Lastly, Airfare Watchdog offers tips on amazing airfare deals via social media daily. By following them on Facebook or Twitter, you can get the inside scoop on airfare deals all over the world.</p> <h2>3. Secret Flying</h2> <p><a href="http://www.secretflying.com/" target="_blank">Secret Flying</a> is a resource that's perfect for the last-minute traveler who has some flexibility in where they go. The site, which uses software to find unbelievable airfare deals across the globe, unleashes an array of last-minute flight deals nearly every day.</p> <p>On any given morning, you could wake up to find you can fly round-trip to Paris next week for less than $400, or to Bali for a flat $350 in coach. The catch? Secret Flying deals usually last no longer than a few days, and you typically need to travel within a few weeks of booking.</p> <h2>4. The Flight Deal</h2> <p><a href="http://www.theflightdeal.com/" target="_blank">The Flight Deal</a> is another site that rolls out unbelievable daily deals on airfare. On some mornings, you may find you can score a round-trip flight to New Zealand for $500. Another day, you might discover a crazy, cheap bucket-list trip to Maui or South Africa or Belize.</p> <p>Of course, most of these crazy fares come with a catch, in that you generally need to book within 24 hours and travel within weeks. But they can be a huge boon to those who are flexible with destinations and dates.</p> <p>The Flight Deal shares discounts on domestic trips, too. So if you're only looking for a last-minute trip to Florida or Colorado, you'll uncover deals on those destinations, too. You may just have to wait a while.</p> <h2>5. Expedia</h2> <p>Expedia offers a several ways to spend less on airfare, including a <a href="https://www.expedia.com/g/c/lastminute?mcicid=deals.topdeals.92048819&amp;" target="_blank">last-minute travel deals</a> page that shows cheap fares from your home airport. Destinations vary depending on the date and your departure hub, but they typically include cheap, last-minute flight deals to some domestic big city hubs along with top vacation spots like Hawaii and Cancun.</p> <p>Expedia also offers a selection of flight and hotel packages that let you save on both. For example, as I'm writing this, they're offering package deals to destinations like Playa del Carmen, Mexico, Las Vegas, Miami, and Los Angeles, starting at just $599 per person.</p> <h2>6. Last Minute Travel</h2> <p><a href="https://www.lastminutetravel.com/" target="_blank">Last Minute Travel</a> offers exactly what the name promises &mdash; timely airfare deals on trips departing within the next few weeks. The downside here is that you need to join the site and purchase a membership to get the best deals. The upside is that they promise last-minute airfare deals worth up to 60 percent off.</p> <p>Membership costs just $50 per year, and that gets you members-only rates on airfare, exclusive hotel deals, 24/7 assistance from travel experts, and a members-only rewards plan. If you don't save at least the cost of the membership ($50), Last-Minute Travel will refund the cost in the form of a travel voucher.</p> <p>If you don't want to join, the site still offers competitive pricing on all of your travel needs, but especially on last-minute airfare and hotel deals.</p> <h2>7. Orbitz</h2> <p>Orbitz is a travel aggregator that makes it easy to shop for last-minute flight deals and compare prices across airlines. Like Expedia, Orbitz also offers a page with daily and <a href="https://www.orbitz.com/g/un/deals" target="_blank">weekly travel deals</a>. These discounts can apply to airfare, hotel bookings, and travel packages.</p> <p>Occasionally, special deals with specific airlines are available. For example, you may find discounts on last-minute travel with American Airlines or Delta Air Lines one week and Air France the next. Generally speaking, any included deals on special airfare only apply to last-minute fares taking place within the next 30 days. But if you're flexible, you can find round-trip airfare for less than $200 to select destinations within the U.S.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-best-websites-for-last-minute-airfare-deals&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%2520Best%2520Websites%2520for%2520Last-Minute%2520Airfare%2520Deals.jpg&amp;description=7%20Best%20Websites%20for%20Last-Minute%20Airfare%20Deals"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Best%20Websites%20for%20Last-Minute%20Airfare%20Deals.jpg" alt="7 Best Websites for Last-Minute Airfare Deals" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-best-websites-for-last-minute-airfare-deals">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/10-things-to-leave-behind-during-your-midsummer-trip">10 Things to Leave Behind During Your Midsummer Trip</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/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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-travel-hacks-for-an-affordable-summer-road-trip">7 Travel Hacks for an Affordable Summer Road Trip</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-more-travel-destinations-that-arent-worth-the-money">7 More Travel Destinations That Aren&#039;t Worth the Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping Travel flight tickets last-minute airfare saving money on flights summer vacation travel deals vacation vacation deals Fri, 05 May 2017 08:30:11 +0000 Holly Johnson 1940331 at http://www.wisebread.com Fly Out of These Airports and Save Big on Airfare http://www.wisebread.com/fly-out-of-these-airports-and-save-big-on-airfare <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/fly-out-of-these-airports-and-save-big-on-airfare" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-609081132.jpg" alt="Travelers saving big on airfare by flying out of these airports" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Some long-haul flights can be unnecessarily expensive. However, the good news for consumers is that there are some very straightforward ways to instantly <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-flight-booking-hacks-to-save-you-hundreds" target="_blank">lower the cost of overpriced airfare</a>. For instance, did you know there are some &quot;hub&quot; cities that can drastically reduce the overall cost of your trip when you book your flight?</p> <p>In fact, sometimes just by scheduling one strategic layover, you can save hundreds of dollars on a one-way ticket. This means more money for you to enjoy <em>during</em> your vacation. Check out these five routing options to trim your airfare costs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-free-or-almost-free-airline-tickets" target="_blank">10 Ways to Get Free (or Almost Free) Airline Tickets</a>)</p> <h2>The Caribbean via Florida</h2> <p>The Caribbean is a common destination for people living in North America. It's close enough to be convenient and far enough away to feel like a different world. With a balmy, tropical climate, the region boasts numerous island destinations that attract millions of tourists every year.</p> <p>Flying there directly can be expensive. But you can often save a few hundred dollars by flying through Florida (Ft. Lauderdale or Miami, especially). Airfare to Florida is usually reasonable, and from there it's easy to book a cheap flight to your destination in the Caribbean.</p> <p>This is especially useful if you're traveling to Aruba, but also check prices for St. Thomas, Antigua, and the Cayman Islands.</p> <h2>Australia via Singapore</h2> <p>Flights to Australia are notoriously expensive. It's not unusual to see prices of $1,000 each way for a ticket from U.S. cities. However, you can drastically reduce the cost of your airfare by flying through the international hub of Singapore.</p> <p>Singapore is a strategic place because there are lots of outbound flights to Australia, and if you happen to be coming from Europe, you'll find lots of flights on those routes, too.</p> <p>Flying from Singapore to Australia can cost as little as $77 one way. Flying to Singapore can be cheap as well, with deals from the U.S. West Coast starting at around $250. A trip to Australia for less than $350 each way is a huge savings when compared to paying more than $1,000 for a one-way ticket.</p> <h2>Hawaii via California</h2> <p>Many airlines have great sales and competitive prices on short-haul flights to Hawaii from California. You can increase your search criteria to include other cities on the West Coast as well.</p> <p>Cities to watch are San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle. If you're interested in this destination, you can also subscribe to alerts from airlines that fly there, such as Alaska Airlines, to keep an eye on special sale fares.</p> <h2>Bangkok as a gateway to Southeast Asia</h2> <p>Bangkok is a major hub in Southeast Asia and many budget airlines fly from there to other places in the region for low prices. The Thai capital is interesting in itself, so you may want to consider spending a few days there to explore the city and recover from jet lag before heading on to your final destination in Southeast Asia.</p> <p>Some major budget airlines you can use in this region are Singapore's Tigerair and Jetstar Asia, Japan's Skymark, and &mdash; my personal favorites &mdash; Malaysia-headquartered AirAsia for short-haul flights and AirAsia X for long-haul flights.</p> <h2>Iceland as a gateway to Europe</h2> <p>To increase tourism to Iceland and to boost sales, Icelandair has been offering great rates to other parts of Europe. Some flights also give you the option to schedule a layover in Iceland.</p> <p>Not sure why to visit Iceland? Check out these <a href="http://www.visiticeland.com/things-to-do/activities/swiming-poolsspas-in-iceland" target="_blank">geothermal pools</a> and the <a href="http://www.visiticeland.com/things-to-do/activities/northern-lights" target="_blank">eerie beauty of the Northern Lights</a>.</p> <p>Take a look at the <a href="http://www.icelandair.us/" target="_blank">Icelandair website</a> for the latest deals. At the time of writing, it was offering a great rate from Boston to Amsterdam for about $500 round-trip.</p> <h2>General international booking tips</h2> <p>If the airfare to your final destination seems outrageous, it probably is. Do a bit of research to figure out what the local budget airlines are. Then you can work backward from there to connect the dots that will get you where you want to go.</p> <p>For instance, if you are traveling in Europe, look for cheap airfare on airlines such as Ryanair and easyJet. If you find a great deal from the U.S. to a European hub, you can then take a local flight on one of these airlines to your final destination and potentially save big.</p> <p>In the U.S., look to discount carriers such as Spirit Airlines for potential savings. Just be aware that the price of the ticket includes the bare minimum. That means you'll have to pay extra for checking a bag and even for having overhead bin space.</p> <h2>Justifying the inconvenience</h2> <p>Always be aware that booking through multiple airlines can be an extra inconvenience. It may mean you'll need to schedule extra time during your layover so you have time to claim any checked bags and check in again with a different airline. If you've got the flexibility, you may want to make your layover a few days, so you can check out the place you're flying through. It could be a way to get two trips in one!</p> <p>On the downside, if you have to check your bags twice, you may also have to pay checked-bag fees twice as well. Factor in all prices before you book two flights, so you can be sure it is actually cheaper than flying one airline. If you can, travel with just a carry-on to make the process easier and cheaper.</p> <p>If you do decide to book yourself two discounted tickets instead of one direct flight, try to consider it an added value that you get to discover two destinations for less than the price of one.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffly-out-of-these-airports-and-save-big-on-airfare&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FFly%2520Out%2520of%2520These%2520Airports%2520and%2520Save%2520Big%2520on%2520Airfare.jpg&amp;description=Fly%20Out%20of%20These%20Airports%20and%20Save%20Big%20on%20Airfare"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Fly%20Out%20of%20These%20Airports%20and%20Save%20Big%20on%20Airfare.jpg" alt="Fly Out of These Airports and Save Big on Airfare" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-gokee">Amanda Gokee</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fly-out-of-these-airports-and-save-big-on-airfare">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/beware-these-sneaky-fees-on-discount-airfare">Beware These Sneaky Fees on Discount Airfare</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-costly-flight-booking-mistakes-you-make-all-the-time">8 Costly Flight Booking Mistakes You Make All the 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/5-airline-miles-secrets-only-frequent-flyers-know">5 Airline Miles Secrets Only Frequent Flyers Know</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/5-airlines-with-the-best-customer-service">5 Airlines With the Best Customer Service</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/get-the-most-from-your-airline-miles-in-these-5-overlooked-cities">Get the Most From Your Airline Miles in These 5 Overlooked Cities</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel Airfare airlines booking hacks flights flying hubs international layovers lower prices stopovers tickets tourism vacation Wed, 26 Apr 2017 08:30:15 +0000 Amanda Gokee 1926607 at http://www.wisebread.com Once-In-A-Lifetime Experiences I've Earned With Credit Card Rewards http://www.wisebread.com/once-in-a-lifetime-experiences-ive-earned-with-credit-card-rewards <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/once-in-a-lifetime-experiences-ive-earned-with-credit-card-rewards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-466442994.jpg" alt="Traveler earning experiences with credit card rewards" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As a travel rewards enthusiast, I've burned through well over a million points and miles in the last few years alone. While I've cashed in some of our credit card points for boring stuff (think motel stays and flights to work conferences), my family and I have also enjoyed once-in-a-lifetime excursions that have helped us see the world in new ways. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-to-getting-a-free-or-close-to-free-vacation-in-9-months-or-less-with-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Steps to Getting a Free Vacation in 9 Months</a>)</p> <p>The best part is, these experiences have all been free, thanks to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">travel rewards credit card</a> points and airline miles. Here are some of the most memorable adventures we've checked off our bucket list using rewards points.</p> <h2>Snorkeling with stingrays in Grand Cayman</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5169/Greg%20Stingray.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>In May of 2016, I surprised my husband with a trip to Caribbean island of Grand Cayman. We used points from the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-rewards-card-the-starwood-preferred-guest-credit-card-from-american-express?ref=internal" target="_blank">Starwood Preferred Guest program</a> to stay at The Westin Grand Cayman, and we paid for our flights with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-american-airlines-us-airways-credit-card-should-you-get?ref=internal" target="_blank">American Airlines AAdvantage</a> miles.</p> <p>The highlight of the trip: an excursion to Stingray City, a famous stretch of sandbar that's home to dozens of huge stingrays. I booked this excursion with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-might-be-the-best-travel-rewards-program-no-matter-what-airline-you-fly?ref=internal" target="_blank">Chase Ultimate Rewards points</a> so it didn't even cost a dime.</p> <p>Once we arrived by boat to the sandbar, we were surrounded by enormous stingrays within minutes. We climbed down a ladder into the crystal-clear water, and the stingrays approached all around. Some let you hold them and even kiss them, while others just swam around our legs. The entire trip was a hoot, and we got awesome pictures of ourselves holding stingrays as big as five feet across. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-use-travel-rewards-cards-to-get-free-trips?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Use Travel Rewards Cards to Get Free Trips</a>)</p> <h2>Luxing out at the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme<strong> </strong></h2> <p>A few years ago, we used two free nights from my Hyatt credit card to book a weekend stay at the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme. Considering the fact that rooms here usually cost $800+ per night, this isn't just any hotel. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stay-in-a-5-star-hotel-for-less-than-the-cost-of-a-motel?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Stay in a 5-Star Hotel for Less Than the Cost of a Motel</a>)</p> <p>The lobby is pristine, with art and décor that screams Parisian elegance. The large rooms are decorated in gold leaf, while the whole hotel reeks of luxury and seclusion. The breakfast, which we got for free, was regularly more than $100 for two people. And the service was impeccable.</p> <p>Because the hotel was the most luxurious I have ever stayed in, it was an experience in itself. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/breakdown-of-benefits-and-value-of-the-best-hotel-rewards-programs-and-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Benefits and Value of the Best Hotel Rewards Programs and Cards</a>)</p> <h2>Exploring Athens on an electric bike</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5169/Late%20Day%20Athens.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>When my husband and I visited Greece in 2016, we wanted a fun and interesting way to see the city. While we did a lot of exploring on foot, we were stoked when we found an electric bike tour we could book through Chase Ultimate Rewards.</p> <p>The weather was perfect the day of our trip, making breezing through ancient Athens fun and comfortable. On our electric bikes, we viewed the Acropolis and its famous Parthenon from afar, visited other historic sites like the Roman Agora and the Temple of Zeus, and zipped through busy streets lined with locals and tourists dining al fresco.</p> <p>We thought the bike tour was the perfect way to see parts of the city up close and can't wait to do something similar again. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-airline-or-travel-rewards-credit-cards-the-better-deal?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Are Airline or Travel Rewards Credit Cards the Better Deal?</a>)</p> <h2>Touring ancient Tuscany on rewards</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5169/San%20Gimignano%20Tour%20-%20Tuscany.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>When we went to Italy a few years ago, we wanted to see some of the countryside near Florence without renting a car. We found the perfect solution: a day trip to three ancient cities throughout Tuscany, which we booked using Chase Ultimate Rewards points.</p> <p>After we boarded our bus near the train station in Florence, we set off to experience the unique charms of San Gimignano, Pisa, and Siena.</p> <p>Our visit to the medieval town of San Gimignano was a wander back in time. The walled city is home to beautifully preserved tower homes &mdash; the medieval equivalent of skyscrapers. After climbing 200+ steps to the top of the highest tower, we were rewarded with some of Tuscany's best views.</p> <p>In Pisa, we of course saw the Leaning Tower of Pisa and its adjacent baptistery. And yes, we got a silly picture of ourselves pretending to hold up the tower. Our last stop was Siena, where we visited the beautiful gothic cathedral known as the Siena Duomo, strolled through the famous Piazza del Campo in the heart of the city, then explored the winding city streets on our own. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/comparing-miles-which-airline-loyalty-program-is-better?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Which Airline Miles Have the Best Value?</a>)</p> <h2>Snorkeling through Cenotes in Mexico</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5169/Greg%20and%20Lydia%20Snorkeling.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Another excursion we loved was snorkeling within three separate ecosystems in Mexico. This is yet another trip we booked with points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, and it was a great one.</p> <p>After the bus picked us up at our Playa del Carmen hotel, we went to swim in a freshwater cenote &mdash; a natural sinkhole formed where a cave ceiling has collapsed. There, we saw tons of tiny tropical fish and zip-lined from a platform high above. Next, we snorkeled in a freshwater cave with catfish and amazing rock formations. Lastly, we headed to a protected ocean reef where we snorkeled with vast schools of fish and sea turtles. While there, I dove down to the quiet ocean floor and observed stingrays and huge parrot fish. It was an unforgettable experience. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-redeemed-a-12000-family-vacation-with-credit-card-rewards-in-2-months?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How I Redeemed a $12,000 Family Vacation With Credit Cards in 2 Months</a>)</p> <h2>Plan your own amazing rewards adventure</h2> <p>When it comes to credit card rewards, don't forget to think outside of the box. Sure, you can use your points for a regular flight or hotel stay, but there's so much more you can do.</p> <p>With the right card, you could take a hot-air balloon ride to see the Loire Valley's famous castles, dive for pearls off the coast of Hawaii, or spend a few nights in a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-hotel-deals-and-rewards?ref=internal" target="_blank">hotel you could otherwise never dream of affording</a>. If you're ready to boost your vacation fun with credit card rewards, be sure to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/choose-the-best-travel-rewards-credit-card-with-this-guide?ref=internal" target="_blank">compare travel credit cards</a> to find an option that will help you see the world your own way. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-started-with-travel-rewards-in-4-simple-steps?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Get Started with Travel Rewards in 4 Simple Steps</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fonce-in-a-lifetime-experiences-ive-earned-with-credit-card-rewards&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FOnce-In-A-Lifetime%2520Experiences%2520I%2527ve%2520Earned%2520With%2520Credit%2520Card%2520Rewards.jpg&amp;description=Once-In-A-Lifetime%20Experiences%20I've%20Earned%20With%20Credit%20Card%20Rewards"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Once-In-A-Lifetime%20Experiences%20I%27ve%20Earned%20With%20Credit%20Card%20Rewards.jpg" alt="Once-In-A-Lifetime Experiences I've Earned With Credit Card Rewards" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/once-in-a-lifetime-experiences-ive-earned-with-credit-card-rewards">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/which-credit-card-should-you-use-to-get-free-hotel-stays">Which Credit Card Should You Use to Get Free Hotel Stays?</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/9-ways-to-use-travel-rewards-cards-to-get-free-trips">How to Use Travel Rewards Cards to Get Free Trips</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/12-expert-tips-for-redeeming-miles-for-free-travel">12 Expert Tips for Redeeming Miles for Free 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/airline-credit-card-or-flexible-rewards-card-whats-the-best-way-to-earn-a-free-flight">Airline Credit Card or Flexible Rewards Card: What&#039;s the Best Way to Earn a Free Flight?</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-cities-where-airbnb-is-way-cheaper-than-a-hotel">5 Cities Where Airbnb Is Way Cheaper Than a Hotel</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel abroad caribbean Europe free travel hotels international travel mexico miles points rewards vacation Fri, 21 Apr 2017 08:30:10 +0000 Holly Johnson 1921684 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Easy Health and Fitness Tricks for Travelers http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-health-and-fitness-tricks-for-travelers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-easy-health-and-fitness-tricks-for-travelers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-514111362.jpg" alt="Woman traveling and finding easy health and fitness tricks" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Vacation can undeniably be a time for indulgence. But when you're trying lots of new, exotic foods and taking a break from your normal routine, it can also end up being an unplanned departure from healthy habits.</p> <p>Given that extra weight is one souvenir you may not have been planning to take home with you after your trip, here are some easy tips to help incorporate healthy living habits, wherever your travels take you.</p> <h2>1. Count steps</h2> <p>Simply being aware of how active (or inactive) you are while you're away from home is a good way to make sure that you're staying on a healthy track. One way to do this is by counting how many steps you take a day, using either a pedometer or a fitness tracker such as a <a href="http://amzn.to/2o2cziP" target="_blank">Fitbit</a>.</p> <p>Start by establishing a baseline for how much you tend to walk when you're home. Then when you're away you can check in to see if you're walking less or more. Walking can be a great way to see a new place, and can save you money on cabs.</p> <p>If you see that you haven't reached your daily goal, go for an extra evening walk to check out the local sunset or events around town.</p> <h2>2. Keep track of activities with apps</h2> <p>Besides steps, a good fitness tracker can keep track of other activities you do, too. You can log all kinds of activities, from cycling to rock climbing. You can also monitor your heart rate and sleeping hours.</p> <p>I personally have been traveling for over a year with the <a href="http://amzn.to/2mIPzFe" target="_blank">Withings Activité Pop</a>. You can use it to track all kinds of activities. It's waterproof, and I like the convenience of wearing it while I'm swimming and showering. Also, it uses a watch battery that lasts for around eight months, so you never have to worry about charging it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-apps-that-pay-you-to-workout?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Apps That Pay You to Work Out</a>)</p> <h2>3. Set goals and stay accountable</h2> <p>Before you leave for your trip, it can be helpful to set a fitness or health-related goal for your trip, whether it's walking a certain amount of steps a day, going to the gym, or getting runs in during the week.</p> <p>After you've decided what you're going to achieve while you're away, tell a friend, family member, or travel companion what your plan is so that you can establish accountability. Maybe your travel companion will be on board and you'll end up with an exercise buddy.</p> <p>Having a supportive and active network can be an amazingly effective way to stay fit while you're traveling. When I go home from a long trip, my mom always finds a race that we can run together. It's great motivation to train and stay active while I'm on the road.</p> <p>Even when friends or family are far away, fitness trackers often let you compare steps with other people in your network, which can spark some healthy competition to see who gets in the most steps.</p> <h2>4. Bring healthy snacks</h2> <p>You never know if you'll be stuck somewhere for a while, and end up grabbing whatever junk food is nearby. Pack a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-delicious-healthy-and-inexpensive-snack-options?ref=internal" target="_blank">healthy snack</a> or meal that you can carry with you. Fruits and vegetables are an easy option, since they require little to no preparation. Dried fruit and nuts are another filling option that won't get squashed in your bag. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/eat-these-6-foods-to-stay-healthy-while-traveling?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Eat These 6 Foods to Stay Healthy While Traveling</a>)</p> <h2>5. Stay hydrated</h2> <p>Staying hydrated is important whether you're home or away. Pack a water bottle for your trip, so you can drink throughout the day. Plus, staying hydrated can help prevent fatigue, keeping your body primed for whenever you want to get active.</p> <p>Some travelers underestimate the power of tropical heat and desert sun, and become dehydrated during their vacation. Drink lots of water to prevent any illnesses caused by a lack of fluid in the body.</p> <h2>6. Eat fresh, local cuisine</h2> <p>Eating food that is in season and local is not only delicious, it is also good for your health. It benefits the economic health of the place you are visiting, too, since you are supporting local farmers.</p> <p>Food that is grown nearby will be fresher and may be packed with more nutrients than food that has had to travel halfway around the world to arrive at your destination. Plus, this is a great way to try out local specialties. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-secrets-to-eating-great-food-for-cheap-while-traveling?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Eat Great Food for Cheap While Traveling</a>)</p> <h2>7. Try adventure travel</h2> <p>Putting adventure sports and activities on your itinerary is another way to guarantee that you'll make time to be physically active during your stay. While some vacations such as ski trips or multiday cycling adventures revolve entirely around an activity, you can also do active travel in a way that doesn't have to take over the entire trip.</p> <p>If you're going to a beach vacation, balance your time lounging on the white sand with some kayaking, windsurfing, or scuba diving. Opt to walk when you can, or rent a bicycle to tour the city. At a minimum, pack a swimsuit so you can do a few laps in the hotel pool</p> <h2>8. Don't take the elevator</h2> <p>This final trick is as simple as it is effective. Stair climbing burns twice the calories of walking, according to Harvard Medical School, and it engages all kinds of other muscles while benefiting your heart and lungs. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator is an easy change to make, and you can do it anywhere.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F8-easy-health-and-fitness-tricks-for-travelers&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F8%2520Easy%2520Health%2520and%2520Fitness%2520Tricks%2520for%2520Travelers.jpg&amp;description=8%20Easy%20Health%20and%20Fitness%20Tricks%20for%20Travelers"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/8%20Easy%20Health%20and%20Fitness%20Tricks%20for%20Travelers.jpg" alt="8 Easy Health and Fitness Tricks for Travelers" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-gokee">Amanda Gokee</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-health-and-fitness-tricks-for-travelers">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/5-fitness-gadgets-actually-worth-the-money">5 Fitness Gadgets Actually Worth the Money</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/5-most-affordable-gym-memberships">5 Most Affordable Gym Memberships</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/6-apps-that-pay-you-to-workout">6 Apps That Pay You to Workout</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/5-fun-affordable-train-trips">5 Fun, Affordable Train Trips</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-5-best-resistance-bands">The 5 Best Resistance Bands</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty Travel activities eating healthy exercise fitness keeping active staying fit trackers trips vacation Mon, 10 Apr 2017 08:30:18 +0000 Amanda Gokee 1921683 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Unexpected Benefits of Solo Travel http://www.wisebread.com/6-unexpected-benefits-of-solo-travel <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-unexpected-benefits-of-solo-travel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/female_tourist_london_495763126.jpg" alt="Woman learning benefits of solo travel" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Many people are apprehensive about traveling alone, yet it can be an exhilarating experience. You get to set your own agenda, save or splurge whenever you feel the need, and you're likely to meet new people from different parts of the world. Instead of dreading that next solo trip, here are a few reasons you should look forward to it.</p> <h2>1. Enjoy total flexibility</h2> <p>Deciding where to go and what to do on your trip is harder when you have to take into account more than one person's opinion. Unless your travel companions all share exactly the same interests as you, you'll end up negotiating priorities and compromising.</p> <p>When you're traveling alone, you can make completely autonomous decisions about your agenda, and you can often change them quickly. Don't like your accommodations? You can move more easily on your own. Hear about an interesting excursion you're dying to try last-minute? You won't have to worry about spoiling someone else's plans. You're flexible to be as spontaneous as you want.</p> <p>Also, if you're traveling by plane, you won't have to agonize over finding a flight that fits into everyone's schedule, or worry about whether you'll get to sit with your group. No more paying extra for seat reservations!</p> <p>This added flexibility has the extra benefit of potentially saving you a lot of money on airfare. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-flight-booking-hacks-to-save-you-hundreds?ref=seealso">10 Flight Booking Hacks to Save You Hundreds</a>)</p> <h2>2. Personalize your budget</h2> <p>Budgeting can be one of the most difficult parts of a trip, and it's even harder when you have to accommodate someone else's priorities. Traveling solo means you get to decide whether you'd like to set cash aside for some ritzy dining, or eat simply and go for nicer accommodations.</p> <p>And if you want to go completely budget, you don't have to take into account how anyone else will feel about it. Sometimes traveling alone can actually be less expensive than with a partner or group because there's no social pressure to spend on something you don't want.</p> <p>While you're planning your finances for the trip, keep in mind that having <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal">the right travel credit card</a> is an important part of the process. You can earn points toward free travel, and if you get a card that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/smarter-security-and-no-foreign-transaction-fees-the-best-credit-cards-to-use-while-on-vacation?ref=internal">doesn't charge foreign transaction fees</a>, you'll save money. Plus, a good card comes with lots of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-perks-you-didnt-know-your-credit-card-had?ref=internal">travel perks</a> such as free checked bags and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-types-of-travel-insurance-credit-cards-include-that-you-didnt-know-about?ref=internal">travel insurance</a>.</p> <p>Don't forget to bring along a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-and-money-using-your-debit-card-on-the-road">fee-free debit card</a> as well, for easy money withdrawals from anywhere. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-avoid-bank-fees-while-traveling">11 Ways to Avoid Bank Fees While Traveling</a>)</p> <h2>3. Connect with locals</h2> <p>Undoubtedly one of the greatest benefits of solo travel is that by removing yourself from your normal social circle, you'll be more apt to strike up conversations with locals. In some cases, this can lead to a more immersive experience.</p> <p>You can use online resources like Facebook groups to help connect with locals who are interested in showing people around their area. Don't forget that the old-fashioned way of meeting people &mdash; face-to-face &mdash; still works well, too (especially if you stay off your smartphone when in public). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/live-like-a-local-how-to-tap-into-the-local-scene-while-traveling?ref=seealso">How to Tap Into the Local Scene While Traveling</a>)</p> <h2>4. Optimize language learning</h2> <p>If one of the goals of your trip is to learn a foreign language, there's no better way to approach it than by traveling alone. When traveling with friends or family from home, you're much more likely to slip back into communicating in your native tongue. But when you're by yourself, you don't have the option. You'll be surprised how much you can pick up in a relatively short amount of time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/one-surprising-skill-that-can-save-you-money-when-you-travel?ref=seealso">How Learning the Local Language Will Save You Money When You Travel</a>)</p> <h2>5. Increase your confidence</h2> <p>Often pushing yourself to do something that feels a little uncomfortable at first can lead to a surprising amount of growth. Once you've traveled alone, you'll have a greater sense of independence and the confidence to know you don't have to be joined at the hip with someone you know all the time. You will never again have to fear eating at a restaurant alone.</p> <h2>6. Indulge in some &quot;you&quot; time</h2> <p>Taking a step back from your normal routines and social habits can be the perfect way to reconnect with yourself. For many, traveling alone provides a much-needed recharge. By exploring on your own, you're giving yourself a valuable opportunity to think, meditate, and just enjoy some quiet time when you need it.</p> <p>Solo travel can be the perfect way to escape from a routine of constant negotiations, whether it's in the workplace or at home. It's a unique and often very memorable experience that everyone should try at least once in their life.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-unexpected-benefits-of-solo-travel&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Unexpected%2520Benefits%2520of%2520Solo%2520Travel.jpg&amp;description=6%20Unexpected%20Benefits%20of%20Solo%20Travel"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Unexpected%20Benefits%20of%20Solo%20Travel.jpg" alt="6 Unexpected Benefits of Solo Travel" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-gokee">Amanda Gokee</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-unexpected-benefits-of-solo-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-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/6-ways-travel-in-retirement-keeps-you-young">6 Ways Travel in Retirement Keeps You Young</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/5-fun-affordable-train-trips">5 Fun, Affordable Train Trips</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-6-best-vacation-deal-websites">The 6 Best Vacation Deal Websites</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/fly-out-of-these-airports-and-save-big-on-airfare">Fly Out of These Airports and Save Big on Airfare</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/10-travel-destinations-for-people-who-hate-crowds">10 Travel Destinations for People Who Hate Crowds</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel budgeting flexibility foreign languages learning meeting locals planning solo travel tourism trips vacation Fri, 07 Apr 2017 08:30:15 +0000 Amanda Gokee 1923012 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways Travel in Retirement Keeps You Young http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-travel-in-retirement-keeps-you-young <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-travel-in-retirement-keeps-you-young" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-487618753.jpg" alt="Couple traveling during retirement" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Traveling and retirement is a great combination, and it doesn't have to cost a fortune. Read on for how travel can lead to a healthier, more enjoyable time after you leave the workforce.</p> <h2>1. More excitement</h2> <p>Being bored is a valid concern for those considering retirement. People wonder: How will I fill up the long hours that I used to spend in the office, where I was valued and useful?</p> <p>Incorporating travel into your retirement is a foolproof way of keeping things fresh and new. In fact, the routine of going to the office every day is arguably much less interesting than being able to experience new places, cultures, and people, as you can do when you're on the road.</p> <p>To really get to know a place and its people, you may want to stay several weeks. In that case, you may be more comfortable in accommodations you can find through short-term home rental websites such as Airbnb and HomeAway. Or, you could list your own place on Home Exchange and swap with someone who has a home in another country that you're interested in visiting. Signing up for Home Exchange costs around $100 but then you can find free accommodations around the globe. Any of these options allow you to experience the excitement of being in a new place with the comfort of living in a home. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-woman-retired-at-60-and-traveled-the-world?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How One Woman Retired at 60 and Traveled the World</a>)</p> <h2>2. Constant learning</h2> <p>Traveling during retirement is a wonderful opportunity to learn new things. Reading up on the history and natural environment of the place you're visiting, spending time in museums and at other points of interest, and talking with locals are all learning opportunities.</p> <p>Visiting a foreign country can be the perfect opportunity to pick up a new language that you've always wanted to learn, too. Learning languages is not only fun, it helps keep your mind sharp. You can take up a language through any number of immersion courses, some aimed specifically at seniors and retirees. Or, you could polish your language skills simply by engaging in conversations with locals you meet.</p> <p>Cooking classes can be another great way to learn about a new place. Often, cooking classes abroad are very affordable, and they're a fun way to experience a new culture and meet new people. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/one-surprising-skill-that-can-save-you-money-when-you-travel?ref=seealso" target="_blank">One Surprising Skill That Will Save You Money When You Travel</a>)</p> <h2>3. Better climates<strong> </strong></h2> <p>With the freedom to travel whenever you want, you can hop from place to place to chase your ideal climate. Leave behind cold, snowy winters and travel to a warm, sunny place. Find a tropical paradise any time of year. You might even fall in love with one particular city and decide to stay there. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-incredible-places-to-retire-abroad-that-anyone-can-afford?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Incredible Places to Retire Abroad That Anyone Can Afford</a>)</p> <h2>4. Money-saving opportunities</h2> <p>Those willing to stay overseas for extended periods of time, or indefinitely, may be able to save big on living costs. Often you can make your retirement savings go much further abroad. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retire-for-half-the-cost-in-these-5-countries?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Retire for Half the Cost in These 5 Countries</a>)</p> <p>This can be helpful in lessening anxiety about having enough money saved for retirement, and it may even allow you a large enough margin to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-keys-to-an-early-retirement?ref=internal" target="_blank">retire sooner than you thought</a>. You may choose to rent out your U.S. home, or sell it if you're moving permanently. Either option could help you feather your nest egg while you're staying in cheaper accommodations elsewhere.</p> <p>What's more, senior citizens are eligible for discounts on many travel expenses. All of the major U.S. airlines offer senior discounts on at least some routes, but usually you need to call the airline's reservations department, as the fares are not visible online. Most major American hotel chains also offer discounts for seniors or AARP members.</p> <h2>5. Volunteer opportunities</h2> <p>Volunteering can be the perfect way to create meaningful connections with people wherever you go and find fulfillment in giving back to the communities you are visiting. You can teach English, or offer health, law, or other professional services that you may have expertise in. Often, international volunteer organizations will place you with a host family while you are in the country, giving you an excellent opportunity to get to know locals and see the way they live.</p> <p>A working holiday is another great way to save on accommodations while getting to meet people and spend time in another culture. Websites such as <a href="http://www.helpx.net/" target="_blank">HelpX.net</a> list farms, ranches, lodges, and even sailboats that invite volunteers to help them in exchange for room and board.</p> <h2>6. Health</h2> <p>Traveling can promote a healthy retirement as well as it can facilitate an active lifestyle, with plenty of new physical and mental stimulus in the places you will be visiting.</p> <p>Not to mention that some foreign countries have both more affordable <em>and </em>more accessible health care. In Colombia for instance, even with prices that have been rising, a visit to a doctor will cost you around $25 and you may be able to get in for a visit much faster than you would in the United States.</p> <h2>Live the retirement of your dreams</h2> <p>Often people have worked hard their entire lives with hopes of being able to travel, experience other cultures, and take in the natural beauty of exotic locales. Now is the time to make those dreams a reality and cross destinations off your bucket list.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-ways-travel-in-retirement-keeps-you-young&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Ways%2520Travel%2520in%2520Retirement%2520Keeps%2520You%2520Young_0.jpg&amp;description=6%20Ways%20Travel%20in%20Retirement%20Keeps%20You%20Young"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Ways%20Travel%20in%20Retirement%20Keeps%20You%20Young_0.jpg" alt="6 Ways Travel in Retirement Keeps You Young" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-gokee">Amanda Gokee</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-travel-in-retirement-keeps-you-young">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/the-6-best-vacation-deal-websites">The 6 Best Vacation Deal Websites</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/7-fool-proof-ways-to-stay-within-your-travel-budget">7 Fool-Proof Ways to Stay Within Your Travel Budget</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/6-unexpected-benefits-of-solo-travel">6 Unexpected Benefits of Solo 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/5-fun-ways-the-sharing-economy-helps-you-save-on-vacation">5 Fun Ways the Sharing Economy Helps You Save on Vacation</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/dont-let-these-expenses-spoil-your-retirement-abroad">Don&#039;t Let These Expenses Spoil Your Retirement Abroad</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement Travel expats health care learning language saving money seeing the world tourism trips vacation volunteering Tue, 04 Apr 2017 08:30:21 +0000 Amanda Gokee 1917661 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Travel Destinations That Are Cheaper Due to a Strong U.S. Dollar http://www.wisebread.com/5-travel-destinations-that-are-cheaper-due-to-a-strong-us-dollar <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-travel-destinations-that-are-cheaper-due-to-a-strong-us-dollar" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-638807176.jpg" alt="Choosing travel destinations that are cheaper due to strong U.S. dollar" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The past year or so has brought great news for American travelers, as the U.S. dollar has surged in value against other currencies. That means it's cheaper for Americans to travel overseas. We took a look at some countries where the exchange rate is notably improved from 2014, when the U.S. dollar was considerably weaker. These five destinations are particularly attractive now.</p> <h2>1. China</h2> <p> <img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5169/iStock-139739371.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>If you've had your eye on China for a while, now is a good time to book a trip. The dollar is currently strong in comparison with the yuan, which was devalued by 6.6 percent in 2016. The U.S. dollar is now 14 percent stronger against the yuan than it was in 2014, meaning travel there for Americans should be about that much cheaper.</p> <p>There is plenty for the adventurous traveler to see in this vast country, with some of the most famous tourist sites, including portions of the Great Wall of China, situated in or near Beijing. A tour of the wall and the imperial palace known as the Forbidden City costs around 240 yuan. At $35, that's about $5 cheaper than it would have been in 2014, thanks to the exchange rate. Everything from hotels to internal flights should be cheaper, too.</p> <h2>2. Switzerland</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5169/iStock-521374434.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>According to the World Economic Forum's biennial Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, <a href="http://reports.weforum.org/travel-and-tourism-competitiveness-report-2015/economy-rankings/#indicatorId=TTCI.B.08" target="_blank">Switzerland ranked last</a> in &quot;price competitiveness&quot; in 2015, making it the most expensive country to travel to. But the strengthening dollar is making it a little more affordable. The local currency is the Swiss franc, which, at the time of writing, was worth about one U.S. dollar. That's 13 percent less than the franc's high point in 2014.</p> <p>According to Lonely Planet, it costs the average midrange traveler around <a href="http://www.lonelyplanet.com/switzerland/money-costs" target="_blank">200&ndash;300 Swiss francs a day</a> to travel in Switzerland. With the current 13 percent savings on the exchange rate, you could save $26&ndash;$39 a day when compared to the same trip in 2014.</p> <p>Switzerland is a stunning country, where imposing castles from the Middle Ages dot the mountainous landscape. No trip to Switzerland would be complete without a trip to the Swiss Alps, which have long attracted visitors for hiking and skiing.</p> <p>Switzerland's cities, such as its capital, Geneva, are clean and home to some of the most important international organizations, such as the World Health Organization. Smaller villages such as Gruyères have a fairy-tale charm. The town is famous for the Gruyère cheese that is produced there, and offers authentic fondue and tours of the cheese factory where you can learn how the cheese is made.</p> <h2>3. Sweden</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5169/iStock-473026154.jpg" width="605" height="342" alt="" /></p> <p>Although Sweden has a reputation for being an expensive country for travel, the Swedish krona has dropped 42 percent against the U.S. dollar since 2014, making now the perfect time for a visit. The exchange rate at the time of writing was about $1 to 9 krona.</p> <p>According to Lonely Planet, the average midrange traveler spends about <a href="http://www.lonelyplanet.com/sweden/money-costs" target="_blank">1,000&ndash;2,000 Swedish krona a day</a>. That translates to $111&ndash;$222, a whopping $92 cheaper per day cheaper than it would've been in 2014.</p> <p>With its many coastal islands and inland lakes, Sweden's geography has long made it a destination for those looking to spend time on the water, engaging in activities such as kayaking. If you enjoy winter sports, Sweden is also an amazing cross-country skiing and dog-sledding destination. You may even be able to catch a glimpse of the ethereal northern lights in the northern region of Lapland &mdash; in particular, the <a href="https://visitsweden.com/abisko-and-northern-lights/" target="_blank">Aurora Sky Station</a> in Abisko National Park.</p> <p>Even for city dwellers, water is an integral part of life. The Swedish capital, Stockholm, is built across 14 islands connected by 57 bridges. Stockholm is an elegant city, with lively music, art, and fashion scenes. Other cities, such as Visby, contain medieval ruins amid charming cobblestone streets.</p> <h2>4. Spain</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5169/iStock-495482330.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>With the euro falling in value against the U.S. dollar (down 24 percent since 2014), travel has become more favorable to the <a href="http://europa.eu/european-union/about-eu/money/euro_en" target="_blank">19 countries that make up the eurozone</a>. You could consider a traditionally more expensive destination such as France or Italy, and watch your dollars go further than they have in years. Or you could head to more affordable Spain, where a beer in some parts of the country will cost you just a little over a dollar.</p> <p>Spain is a diverse country, made up of 50 provinces and five languages, including the official Castilian Spanish, as well as Basque and Catalan.</p> <p>The Pyrenees mountains offer wonderful recreation opportunities, including winter skiing and hiking along the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage routes. The coast features good diving in the Mediterranean Sea. If a buzzing night life is more your scene, head for the tourist-heavy but beautiful islands of Ibiza and Mallorca.</p> <h2>5. Mexico</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5169/iStock-509292968.jpg" width="605" height="343" alt="" /></p> <p>The dollar-to-Mexican-peso exchange rate is extremely advantageous at the moment, with one dollar worth about 20 pesos. This rate is 54 percent better than it was in 2014. Since this destination is in North America, you won't have to worry about expensive airfare either.</p> <p>Mexico is a fascinating country to explore, with beautiful colonial architecture in towns such as Campeche, Guanajuato, and Zacatecas, which have put significant effort into conserving historic buildings.</p> <p>The Pacific coast is a great destination for surfing and lazing on pristine, white beaches, and it's often overlooked by tourists heading to the Caribbean meccas of Cancun and Playa del Carmen (which offer their own charm, to be sure).</p> <p>Living in Mexico City, I will admit to a bit of a bias for this cosmopolitan capital, which offers a vast art scene, delicious cuisine, and no shortage of music and entertainment options to visitors from all over the world.</p> <p>Regardless of where you choose to go, one thing for sure is that 2017 is shaping up to be the year of the American traveler. Take advantage of a strong dollar and see how far you can go.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-travel-destinations-that-are-cheaper-due-to-a-strong-us-dollar&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Travel%2520Destinations%2520That%2520Are%2520Cheaper%2520Due%2520to%2520a%2520Strong%2520U.S.%2520Dollar_0.jpg&amp;description=5%20Travel%20Destinations%20That%20Are%20Cheaper%20Due%20to%20a%20Strong%20U.S.%20Dollar"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Travel%20Destinations%20That%20Are%20Cheaper%20Due%20to%20a%20Strong%20U.S.%20Dollar_0.jpg" alt="5 Travel Destinations That Are Cheaper Due to a Strong U.S. Dollar" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-gokee">Amanda Gokee</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-travel-destinations-that-are-cheaper-due-to-a-strong-us-dollar">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/5-international-destinations-anyone-can-afford">5 International Destinations Anyone Can Afford</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/once-in-a-lifetime-experiences-ive-earned-with-credit-card-rewards">Once-In-A-Lifetime Experiences I&#039;ve Earned With Credit Card Rewards</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/6-ways-travel-in-retirement-keeps-you-young">6 Ways Travel in Retirement Keeps You Young</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/9-of-the-craziest-coolest-airbnb-listings">9 of the Craziest, Coolest Airbnb Listings</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/fly-out-of-these-airports-and-save-big-on-airfare">Fly Out of These Airports and Save Big on Airfare</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel american dollar cheap travel currency exchange rates international travel strong dollar tourism vacation Tue, 28 Mar 2017 09:30:32 +0000 Amanda Gokee 1915983 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 of the Craziest, Coolest Airbnb Listings http://www.wisebread.com/9-of-the-craziest-coolest-airbnb-listings <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-of-the-craziest-coolest-airbnb-listings" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-471779188.jpg" alt="Finding the craziest and coolest listings on Airbnb" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're looking for unique accommodations, Airbnb has a wide variety of places that are sure to be more interesting than a cookie-cutter hotel room. Check out these crazy accommodations to get a taste of the kind of quirky properties available through Airbnb.</p> <h2>1. The Seashell House, Isla Mujeres, Mexico</h2> <p>The <a href="https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/530250?wl_source=list&amp;wl_id=1&amp;role=public&amp;adults=1&amp;children=0&amp;infants=0" target="_blank">Seashell House</a>, or &quot;Casa Caracol,&quot; is a property on Isla Mujeres, an island just off the coast of Cancun. For just over $300 a night, you'll feel like you're sleeping inside a giant, immaculate white seashell.</p> <p>This two-bedroom, cliffside home was designed by Raquel and Eduardo Ocampo, and its unique design is something of a local attraction. According to the listing, passers-by sometimes try to peep over the fence to catch a glimpse of the place. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-cities-where-airbnb-is-way-cheaper-than-a-hotel?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Cities Where Airbnb Is Way Cheaper Than a Hotel</a>)</p> <h2>2. Famous treehouse outside of Atlanta</h2> <p>If you want a whimsical escape from the realities of adult life, there are a surprising number of tree houses for rent on Airbnb. In fact, the site has a whole wish list devoted just to tree houses.</p> <p>This <a href="https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/1415908?s=zW8egS_6" target="_blank">treehouse in Atlanta</a> goes for $375 a night and it's been named Airbnb's number one most wished for listing worldwide. No wonder it was featured on the Animal Planet show, &quot;Treehouse Masters: Ultimate Treehouse IV.&quot;</p> <p>A cheaper (but just as dreamy) alternative is <a href="https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/645850?wl_source=list&amp;wl_id=14&amp;role=public&amp;adults=1&amp;children=0&amp;infants=0" target="_blank">this treehouse</a> in Andalucia, Spain for just $44 a night ($27 for each extra guest).</p> <h2>3. Quirky cocoon in France's Loire Valley</h2> <p>This listing is certainly something you don't see everyday: a <a href="https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/1322426?wl_source=list&amp;wl_id=75&amp;role=public&amp;adults=1&amp;children=0&amp;infants=0#neighborhood" target="_blank">cocoon perched amid nets in the trees</a> of Fondettes, France, near the town of Tours.</p> <p>Fashioned as a large nest, this tent-like orb ($132 a night) has a circular queen bed inside and looks to be an unforgettable way to spend the night. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/does-it-make-sense-to-stay-in-a-hotel-anymore?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Does It Make Sense to Stay in a Hotel Anymore?</a>)</p> <h2>4. Converted train depot in Vermont</h2> <p>In Putney, Vermont, this <a href="https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/958621" target="_blank">historic train depot</a> is now accepting guests from Airbnb. The whole one-bedroom depot is yours from $81 a night. The Connecticut River is just a few minutes' walk away, with nearby hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing in the winter. Even closer are the railroad tracks that this depot would've served in the past, so you'll have to put up with the sound of passing trains three or four times a day. Be sure to bring your earplugs!</p> <h2>5. Houseboat in Amsterdam</h2> <p>What better way to experience Amsterdam, a city of canals, than by staying on a houseboat? This <a href="https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/579851?wl_source=list&amp;wl_id=39&amp;role=public&amp;adults=1&amp;children=0&amp;infants=0" target="_blank">modern houseboat</a> is listed at $141 a night and includes your own private studio in the bow of the boat.</p> <p>The owner, Sonja, custom-built the interior of the boat and now she's sharing this dream with her Airbnb guests. It's sure to be a novel experience to recount when you get back home.</p> <h2>6. John Steinbeck's writer's studio</h2> <p>Maybe you can get your creative writing juices flowing with a stay at this 1920s <a href="https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/1325979?wl_source=list&amp;wl_id=11022352&amp;role=public&amp;adults=1&amp;children=0&amp;infants=0" target="_blank">cottage owned by John Steinbeck</a> in the early 1940s when he was writing &quot;The Log from the Sea of Cortez.&quot; The home has been renovated to pay tribute to that period. If you're planning a stay in Pacific Grove, California this cottage looks to be cute and cozy, not to mention having an interesting history.</p> <h2>7. Out of this world in Taos, New Mexico</h2> <p>This listing's title says it all: &quot;<a href="https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/1762491?wl_source=list&amp;wl_id=75&amp;role=public&amp;adults=1&amp;children=0&amp;infants=0" target="_blank">Brand-new Studio Earthship</a>&quot; is an otherworldly home located just outside Taos. Built into the side of a hill, this place offers an experience in off-the-grid living for those wanting to try something a little different.</p> <p>The house is completely self-sustaining, with a rainwater catchment and electricity that is generated on-site. But don't let that scare you off. The house comes complete with all the modern amenities, including Wi-Fi, Netflix, and a high-efficiency washing machine. It lists for $125 a night. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-vacation-rental-alternatives-to-airbnb?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Vacation Rental Alternatives to Airbnb</a>)</p> <h2>8. Indoor camping in Antwerp, Belgium</h2> <p>Try out &quot;indoor camping&quot; in Antwerp with these remodeled, <a href="https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/1534890?wl_source=list&amp;wl_id=17986382&amp;role=public&amp;adults=1&amp;children=0&amp;infants=0" target="_blank">luxuriously decorated caravans</a> (free-standing campers) for $38 a night. The caravans are inside a theater and performance space that you're welcome to use during your stay in the caravans. You can even book an Argentine tango class.</p> <h2>9. Container home in Balearic Islands, Spain</h2> <p>Container homes and other small-scale living spaces have been gaining popularity recently. Try it out first hand for $155 a night in this completely remodeled <a href="https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/328541" target="_blank">home made from shipping container modules</a> in Palma de Mallorca.</p> <p>This property sleeps three, and while the inside space is limited, it does come with a wood terrace and small outdoor pool. The minimal design is sleek and not a square inch of space is wasted.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p style="text-align:center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F9-of-the-craziest-coolest-airbnb-listings&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F9%2520of%2520the%2520Craziest%252C%2520Coolest%2520Airbnb%2520Listings.jpg&amp;description=Crazy%20Cool%20AirBnB%20Listings%20Rent%20Apartments%20Funky%20Listings%20Awesome%20Places%20To%20Stay"></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/9%20of%20the%20Craziest%2C%20Coolest%20Airbnb%20Listings.jpg" alt="9 of the Craziest, Coolest Airbnb Listings" width="250" height="374" /></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-gokee">Amanda Gokee</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-of-the-craziest-coolest-airbnb-listings">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/10-vacation-rental-alternatives-to-airbnb">10 Vacation Rental Alternatives to Airbnb</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/5-cities-where-airbnb-is-way-cheaper-than-a-hotel">5 Cities Where Airbnb Is Way Cheaper Than a Hotel</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/what-to-do-about-a-terrible-airbnb-stay">What to Do About a Terrible Airbnb Stay</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-6-best-vacation-deal-websites">The 6 Best Vacation Deal Websites</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-ultimate-money-saving-tips-for-travelers">6 Ultimate Money-Saving Tips for Travelers</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel accommodations AirBnb international travel rentals tree house u.s. travel unique places vacation Mon, 27 Mar 2017 09:30:27 +0000 Amanda Gokee 1914010 at http://www.wisebread.com Are Timeshares Ever Worth the Investment? http://www.wisebread.com/are-timeshares-ever-worth-the-investment <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/are-timeshares-ever-worth-the-investment" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-487001458.jpg" alt="Couple learning if timeshares are ever worth the investment" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Despite scams and hard sales tactics that have tarnished the reputation of timeshares, the American Resort Development Association says sales are rising &mdash; and timeshares are attracting increasingly younger buyers. The average age of today's timeshare owner is 39.</p> <p>According to MarketWatch, the <a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/6-things-to-know-before-you-buy-a-timeshare-2015-02-17" target="_blank">average price of a timeshare</a> is $16,000, putting them within financial reach for many consumers. But is buying a timeshare a good investment?</p> <h2>What are timeshares?</h2> <p>The general idea of a timeshare is that a group of people have the right to use a vacation property and they split up the year among them. Usually each timeshare owner gets one week a year.</p> <p>A true timeshare is deeded. You own a specific unit of the property, and you can use that at a designated time every year. You may own it for the rest of your life, for a given number of years, or until you sell it.</p> <p>Another arrangement is called &quot;right to use,&quot; in which you lease a unit on the property from a developer for a certain amount of time over a set number of years (generally 10 to 50 years). You may get a specific unit for either a fixed or floating amount of time. With the floating option, you can pick a week within a certain season of the year, and you have to reserve it in advance on a first-come, first-served basis. A third option that's popular with major resort chains such as Marriott and Hilton is a points club. You buy an allotment of points and can use them for stays at different properties around the world.</p> <p>The cost of a timeshare depends on the location and the property. In addition to buying the timeshare, you'll be responsible for annual maintenance fees and sometimes property taxes. Maintenance fees will likely increase over time.</p> <h2>Benefits of timeshares</h2> <p>The main feature that makes timeshares attractive to some people is predictability; you get a set place to vacation every year. Once you purchase a timeshare, you are guaranteed to have a week (or weeks) at the location where you bought it.</p> <p>An overcrowded market also means you may be able to get a good deal by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-thousands-by-buying-a-timeshare-on-the-secondary-market?ref=internal" target="_blank">purchasing a used timeshare</a> from a current owner. You can find timeshares for sale on the secondary market on sites like <a href="http://tug2.com/timeshare-marketplace.aspx" target="_blank">Timeshare Users Group</a> or <a href="http://www.redweek.com/" target="_blank">RedWeek</a>.</p> <p>In addition, you may find a timeshare more comfortable than a traditional hotel. For instance, many timeshares include a kitchen or kitchenette, which you won't find in most hotel rooms. They may have multiple bedrooms and separate living areas, making them more like an apartment or villa than a hotel.</p> <p>Points clubs and floating timeshares give you the most options, but even a fixed property may offer some flexibility. You may be able to swap with other owners, or rent it to outsiders. Some properties have online portals that facilitate these types of exchanges. Websites such as RedWeek allow you to sell weeks you don't plan on using.</p> <h2>Drawbacks of timeshares</h2> <p>One big disadvantage of a timeshare is that it may limit your vacation choices. To get the most value from your purchase, you need to use the timeshare every year. But if you're tied to one destination, this could get boring.</p> <p>You can get around that by swapping or renting the unit, but it takes some work and you often have to plan months in advance. If you don't like administrative tasks, this could end up feeling like a burden. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-ways-to-save-money-on-hotels?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Surprising Ways to Save Money on Hotels</a>)</p> <p>Furthermore, it's almost a given that you will resell a timeshare unit for less than what you paid, because so many people are selling these types of units. The Federal Trade Commission clearly states on its website that &quot;the value of these options is in their <a href="https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0073-timeshares-and-vacation-plans" target="_blank">use as vacation destinations</a>, not as investments.&quot;</p> <h2>Buy and sell cautiously</h2> <p>When purchasing a timeshare, it's very important that you know what you are buying. Timeshares are often sold using high-pressure sales tactics. As with any major purchase, take the time you need to do research before you buy, and ask lots of questions about what's included and the costs.</p> <p>Often you'll see promotions promising rewards such as a free trip in exchange for attending a timeshare sales pitch, but be ready for relentlessly pushy sales tactics. In an interview with MarketWatch, former timeshare sales rep Dana Micallef warned that salespeople are trained to &quot;Dress it up (as an investment) and promise them [the] world that they can resell it, when the chances of selling it are slim to none.&quot;</p> <p>I attended one of these presentations in Puerto Vallarta when my aunt, a timeshare owner, let me use a free week she couldn't use. I sat through an exhausting three-hour meeting in exchange for one lousy breakfast.</p> <p>This excruciating meal aside, the rest of my stay in the timeshare was enjoyable. I loved having a kitchen &mdash; we definitely saved money by cooking some of our own meals. I also used the resort's amenities such as the tennis court, multiple pools, and gym, which helped make the experience memorable. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-easy-ways-to-get-free-travel?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Easy Ways to Get Free Travel</a>)</p> <p>Be very cautious if you are buying a unit that is not yet completed. Don't make a payment until construction is finished, because you may get ripped off. The FTC recommends that you place the money in an escrow account at a local bank until the property is ready. It also advises putting a &quot;nonperformance&quot; provision in the sales contract stipulating that you'll get your money back if the developer goes bust or defaults before your unit is finished.</p> <p>If you buy a timeshare and later want to sell it, you'll need to be careful, too. Scammers have been known to target timeshare owners, promising them they've got a buyer but demanding you pay filing fees and closing costs first. The buyer never emerges, and then you can't get your money back.</p> <p>If you still want to buy a timeshare knowing all this, make sure you view it as a vacation purchase and not an investment. Shop around before committing your future vacation stays, especially if it's for one particular location.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div align="center"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fare-timeshares-ever-worth-the-investment&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FAre%20Timeshares%20Ever%20Worth%20the%20Investment-.jpg&amp;description=Are%20Timeshares%20Ever%20Worth%20the%20Investment%3F" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <div align="center">&nbsp;</div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Are%20Timeshares%20Ever%20Worth%20the%20Investment-.jpg" alt="Are Timeshares Ever Worth the Investment?" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-gokee">Amanda Gokee</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-timeshares-ever-worth-the-investment">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/which-credit-card-should-you-use-to-get-free-hotel-stays">Which Credit Card Should You Use to Get Free Hotel Stays?</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/once-in-a-lifetime-experiences-ive-earned-with-credit-card-rewards">Once-In-A-Lifetime Experiences I&#039;ve Earned With Credit Card Rewards</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/5-airline-miles-secrets-only-frequent-flyers-know">5 Airline Miles Secrets Only Frequent Flyers Know</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/5-cheap-travel-destinations-for-wine-lovers">5 Cheap Travel Destinations for Wine Lovers</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-best-websites-for-last-minute-airfare-deals">7 Best Websites for Last-Minute Airfare Deals</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel investments points property resale value suites timeshares vacation villas Thu, 23 Mar 2017 09:30:31 +0000 Amanda Gokee 1913750 at http://www.wisebread.com Which Credit Card Should You Use to Get Free Hotel Stays? http://www.wisebread.com/which-credit-card-should-you-use-to-get-free-hotel-stays <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/which-credit-card-should-you-use-to-get-free-hotel-stays" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-495903984.jpg" alt="Woman using her credit card to get free hotel stays" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If your goal is earning free hotel stays, it's hard to know which type of rewards card to get. While <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-hotel-deals-and-rewards?ref=internal" target="_blank">co-branded hotel credit cards</a> are an obvious pick, general-purpose <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">travel credit cards</a> that let you redeem points for different kinds of travel rewards can work well for free hotel stays, too.</p> <p>Which card is best? It depends on your travel style and vacation goals. Let's dig into both types of cards to see how they work, whom they're best for, and where they fall flat.</p> <h2>Co-Branded Hotel Credit Cards</h2> <p>Each major hotel chain &mdash; Hyatt, Carlson, Marriott, IHG, Hilton, and the like &mdash; offers a unique set of options. Some hotel brands offer several options for credit cards, and even&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hotel-rewards-for-business-owners-american-express-starwood-preferred-guest-business-credit-card?ref=internal" target="_blank">co-branded business cards</a>, too, giving you even more ways to rack up points.</p> <p>These co-branded cards have several benefits and drawbacks, compared to more flexible travel rewards cards.</p> <h3>Focused Strategy Generally Nets Extra Points and Perks</h3> <p>Hotel credit cards can offer great value if you're an enthusiast for a specific chain. Some offer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-with-free-hotel-status-upgrades?ref=internal">automatic elite&nbsp;status</a> just for being a cardholder. Co-branded cards generally offer very high bonus points for stays at its properties. They also often feature <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-with-sign-up-bonuses-for-hotel-stays?ref=internal" target="_blank">generous sign-up bonuses</a> that can cover free stays for a few nights. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-using-hotel-reward-points-to-get-the-most-value?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Tips for Using Hotel Reward Points to Get the Most Value</a>)</p> <h3>You're Stuck With One Chain</h3> <p>The downside with hotel credit cards is that they aren't as flexible as general travel credit cards. With a co-branded hotel credit card, you can only book free nights at a hotel within that chain. So, if your travel plans change or you want to try a different hotel brand, you might be out of luck.</p> <h3>Award Availability May Be Limited</h3> <p>Another downside with hotel credit cards is that even though most major hotel brands advertise &quot;no blackout dates&quot; for award nights, they still may limit award availability. So, even if you have the points to burn, you may not be able to use them for the exact dates you want.</p> <h3>Hotel Credit Cards Are a Good Fit for You If:</h3> <ul> <li>You like to stay with the same hotel chain. This is a particularly good strategy if you travel for work and are able to book your own room and then get reimbursed by your employer.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You love earning special hotel status and room upgrades.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You tend to have flexible travel dates when you want to redeem rewards.</li> </ul> <p>(See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/breakdown-of-benefits-and-value-of-the-best-hotel-rewards-programs-and-credit-cards?ref=seealso2" target="_blank">Benefits and Value of the Best Hotel Rewards Cards</a>)</p> <h2>General-Purpose Travel Credit Cards</h2> <p>General-purpose travel cards come in a couple of different flavors, but they all offer one trait that co-branded hotel cards simply cannot &mdash; flexibility. With flexible travel cards, you can usually use reward points to book nearly any hotel you want.</p> <h3>Statement Credits Make Rewards Redemption Simple</h3> <p>One type of flexible travel card lets you use points to get a statement credit for a travel purchase you've already made. You earn points with your purchase, and to redeem, simply book any hotel you want with your card, then use your points as a statement credit toward your travel purchases. You can book directly or through a booking site. Most travel purchases are eligible. Each point is usually worth one cent.</p> <h3>Travel Booking Portals Let You Book at Multiple Hotels</h3> <p>Other cards have their own travel portal that allows you to use points (or cash) to book travel, usually at a nice discounted rate.<span style="font-size: 13px;">&nbsp;The benefit here is that you can use your points to book a room with any hotel chain of your choosing, from high-end luxury hotels to cheap roadside motels, and you'll usually get more value per point than just one cent. Often these portals can even allow you to&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-that-transfer-points-to-hotels?ref=internal" target="_blank" style="font-size: 13px;">transfer points to hotel partners</a><span style="font-size: 13px;"> at a 1:1 ratio.</span></p> <h3>Flipside of Flexibility: Earning Less Concentrated, Extra Perks Scarce</h3> <p>The main drawback of these more flexible cards is points accrue slower. The rewards you get for your hotel stays will be much lower, but generally you do get more rewards for other purchases than you would for hotel specific cards. You also won't get the free anniversary award nights, or the upgrades and other special treatment that come with many hotel cards.</p> <h3>General-Purpose Travel Cards Are a Good Fit for You If:</h3> <ul> <li>You don't spend a lot at a particular chain and don't want to be tied down to only staying at one.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You don't have flexible travel dates &mdash; you can use your points regardless of award availability or blackout dates.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You spend in categories that other rewards cards offer higher bonuses for.</li> </ul> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div align="center"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwhich-credit-card-should-you-use-to-get-free-hotel-stays&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhich%20Credit%20Card%20Should%20You%20Use%20to%20Get%20Free%20Hotel%20Stays-.jpg&amp;description=Which%20Credit%20Card%20Should%20You%20Use%20to%20Get%20Free%20Hotel%20Stays%3F" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <div align="center">&nbsp;</div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Which%20Credit%20Card%20Should%20You%20Use%20to%20Get%20Free%20Hotel%20Stays-.jpg" alt="Which Credit Card Should You Use to Get Free Hotel Stays?" width="250" height="374" align="middle" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-credit-card-should-you-use-to-get-free-hotel-stays">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/5-steps-to-picking-the-best-airline-credit-card-for-the-most-rewards-value">5 Steps to Picking the Best Airline Credit Card for the Most Rewards Value</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/once-in-a-lifetime-experiences-ive-earned-with-credit-card-rewards">Once-In-A-Lifetime Experiences I&#039;ve Earned With Credit Card Rewards</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/9-ways-to-use-travel-rewards-cards-to-get-free-trips">How to Use Travel Rewards Cards to Get Free Trips</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/12-expert-tips-for-redeeming-miles-for-free-travel">12 Expert Tips for Redeeming Miles for Free 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/5-smart-ways-to-meet-a-rewards-card-minimum-spending-requirement">5 Smart Ways to Meet a Rewards Card Minimum Spending Requirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Travel co-branded cards free hotel stays hotels perks points rewards sign up bonuses vacation Wed, 08 Mar 2017 10:30:30 +0000 Holly Johnson 1904519 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Affordable Places to Ski http://www.wisebread.com/6-affordable-places-to-ski <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-affordable-places-to-ski" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-597967434.jpg" alt="Family finding affordable places to ski" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's a lot of white stuff out there this year, but the lift ticket prices at popular resorts, like Sierra's Heavenly or Colorado's Vail, are steeper than the slopes. Snow lovers on a budget, don't despair. Especially for beginners, there are plenty of ski and snowboard destinations where you can have lots of fun without the sticker shock.</p> <p>What's the difference between budget resorts and premium ones? One difference is elevation. Resorts on lower peaks charge less, because sometimes they miss out on snow that higher points get. Another factor is size. If you're an animal out there and want to attack 25 different runs in one day, it may be worth it to shell out big bucks for a huge resort. If you're planning on sticking to intermediate runs and taking long cocoa breaks, go to a smaller, cheaper resort.</p> <p>Location is another factor, since cheaper resorts may be more isolated from urban areas or gorgeous scenery. Then there are amenities: ice rinks, designer shops, and free s'mores around outdoor fireplaces. All of those are very nice, but if you just want to ski or ride cheap, opt for one of these low-frills places instead.</p> <h2>1. Bear Valley, California</h2> <p>Lake Tahoe has the glitz and the views, but the same 3.5-hour drive from San Francisco could also get you to <a href="http://www.bearvalley.com/" target="_blank">Bear Valley</a>, a family-friendly resort between Tahoe and Yosemite where an adult lift ticket runs $70&ndash;$80 (instead of the $100 plus you'll pay at Tahoe). The resort boasts 10 lifts, including plenty of Black Diamonds, and a terrain park.</p> <h2>2. Mount Rose, Nevada</h2> <p>If you're flying into Reno, check out <a href="http://skirose.com/tickets-%E2%80%A2-lessons-%E2%80%A2-rentals/lift-tickets-specials/" target="_blank">Mount Rose</a>, where a four-person family pack of lift tickets costs just $320&ndash;$330 and Tuesdays are BOGO. The resort operates shuttles into Reno, and since it's at higher elevation than Tahoe resorts, it's sometimes the only hill in the area with snow.</p> <h2>3. Mount Baldy, California</h2> <p>Skiing in So Cal? Not only does it exist, but it's cheap as heck at <a href="http://mtbaldyskilifts.ltibooking.com/product/20/CA/Mt.-Baldy-1-Day-Lift-Tickets.htm#01-2017" target="_blank">Mount Baldy</a>, where passes bought in advance online can dip below $50. But as you might guess based on the location, just an hour from Los Angeles, this resort doesn't always have snow. When it does, drop everything and head for the mountains.</p> <h2>4. Crested Butte, Colorado</h2> <p>Lift tickets are around $100, but kids ski free during the early and late season. <a href="http://www.skicb.com/tickets-passes/lift-tickets" target="_blank">Crested Butte</a> has 15 lifts and 121 trails. This high-elevation, no-frills resort is four hours from Denver.</p> <h2>5. Snowbird, Utah</h2> <p>Lift tickets are $106&ndash;$116; <a href="http://www.snowbird.com/specials/" target="_blank">Snowbird</a>'s stay-and-ski packages can bring that down a bit. That might not seem like such a low price until you consider that Snowbird is considered one of the top mountains in the United States, with tons of terrain and snow that makes the Sierra's &quot;powder&quot; feel like sludge.</p> <h2>6. Mt. Bachelor, Oregon</h2> <p>I don't usually think of Oregon for skiing, but <a href="https://www.mtbachelor.com/" target="_blank">Mt. Bachelor</a>, 22 miles west of Bend, sounds like a lot of fun, with 101 runs and 3,365 feet of vertical drop. Lift tickets are $92, and they have kids ski free packages. Besides, when you're done skiing, you get to hang out in Bend, known for its craft brews and artsy vibe.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!&nbsp;</h2> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-affordable-places-to-ski&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%20Affordable%20Places%20to%20Ski.jpg&amp;description=6%20Affordable%20Places%20to%20Ski" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Affordable%20Places%20to%20Ski.jpg" alt="6 Affordable Places to Ski" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-affordable-places-to-ski">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/7-surprising-winter-travel-destinations-that-wont-break-the-bank">7 Surprising Winter Travel Destinations That Won&#039;t Break the Bank</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/5-cheap-travel-destinations-for-wine-lovers">5 Cheap Travel Destinations for Wine Lovers</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/7-best-websites-for-last-minute-airfare-deals">7 Best Websites for Last-Minute Airfare Deals</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/10-flight-booking-hacks-to-save-you-hundreds">10 Flight Booking Hacks to Save You Hundreds</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-fun-affordable-train-trips">5 Fun, Affordable Train Trips</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel california mountains nevada oregon skiing snow snowboarding Utah vacation west coast Fri, 10 Feb 2017 11:00:08 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1888399 at http://www.wisebread.com Packing Light? Don't Forget These 5 Must Haves http://www.wisebread.com/packing-light-dont-forget-these-5-must-haves <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/packing-light-dont-forget-these-5-must-haves" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_packing_luggage_522545712.jpg" alt="Woman not leaving items behind when packing light" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have you ever gone on a trip, and almost immediately regretted leaving behind that one item that would have made things easier? So have I, which is why I put together this list of the essential items to remember to pack, even when you don't have much space. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-packing-secrets-from-a-professional-traveler?ref=seealso" target="_blank">15 Packing Secrets From a Professional Traveler</a>)</p> <h2>1. Comfortable Footwear</h2> <p>Getting caught without the right shoes can really ruin a trip. This is not an excuse to bring every pair of shoes you own, but you do need a practical, comfortable pair of shoes that will work for a variety of situations.</p> <p>Best option: A solid pair of sneakers that you can dress up or down. Of course, your fashion choices will depend on your style, but neutral colors tend to pair with a wider range of outfits, for both men and women. Try colors like black, beige, or white for the most versatility.</p> <p>Comfort is even more important. You will be surprised how often the right sneakers can get you out of a fashion bind and enable you to fully explore the place you're visiting without worrying about blisters or tiring your feet too much.</p> <p>Some travelers walk 10 miles a day or more when visiting a new city. Walking is an amazing way to see a new place, while helping you keep in shape while traveling. My wife and I travel with <a href="http://www.lemsshoes.com/" target="_blank">Lems shoes</a>, which are extremely comfortable and roll up if you need to jam them in a small space. The black version can even pass in more formal situations.</p> <h2>2. Versatile Pieces</h2> <p>When you're trying to pack light while not leaving any essentials behind, a good packing strategy is to pick out pieces that are multipurpose.</p> <p>For women, a large scarf is a great piece that can be used in many situations. You can use it as a blanket on the bus when the air conditioning is too cold. You can bring it to the beach to use as a towel or just a place to sit while having a picnic. Plus, it's always good to have as a cover up.</p> <p>If you're going to a warm destination, you can often find skirts that will double as a top. Remember that dresses and rompers can be a good use of space, since you don't have to think about matching a top and a bottom.</p> <p>For men, you'll want to think about bringing classic combinations. Dark jeans transition from day to night seamlessly. Pick out clothing that is casual but that can easily be dressed up for going out in the evening.</p> <p>For both men and women, look for pieces that can layer well.</p> <h2>3. Essential Toiletries</h2> <p>Sometimes the hotel shampoo makes the cut and sometimes you really need your standby toiletries to feel like yourself. If you have certain items you can't live without, buy travel-sized versions that will save you a lot of space and weight compared to full-sized bottles.</p> <p>Alternatively, if you can't find the travel size of your favorite shampoo, you can easily buy small plastic travel bottles at your local drugstore and make your own travel versions of any of your favorite products.</p> <p>To keep bottles from leaking in your bag, put a piece of kitchen plastic wrap over the mouth and then screw the lid on over this extra layer. This will prevent you from unpacking your bag to discover a goopy mess when you reach your destination.</p> <h2>4. Chargers</h2> <p>Forgetting a phone, camera, or computer charger is really a bummer. Before you leave your home or a hotel room always double and even triple check the outlets to make sure you haven't left an important charger plugged in. Some chargers can be very difficult to replace on the road.</p> <p>On that note, also be sure to bring the appropriate plug converter. If you can find an all-in-one converter that has plugs for multiple countries, you will save yourself the headache of trying to keep track of a bunch of different adapters.</p> <h2>5. Passports and Credit/Debit Cards</h2> <p>No matter how light you pack, these items are the very most essential. If you have your travel identification and, ideally both a credit and debit card, you'll be able to figure out the rest on the fly. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/follow-these-5-credit-card-rules-when-traveling-abroad?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Follow These 5 Credit Card Rules When Traveling Abroad</a>)</p> <p>It's also an important precaution to make a couple of copies of your travel documents and credit cards. Leave one with someone at home and take an extra along with you. Keep that one in a different place from the originals. That way if anything gets stolen you will be in a much better position to get replacement documents and cards. In addition to having a paper copy, you can save a digital copy to Google Drive or a similar cloud account, or just email a version to yourself.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-when-your-belongings-get-stolen-abroad?ref=seealso2" target="_blank">What to Do When Your Belongings Get Stolen Abroad</a></p> <h2>Pack Smart</h2> <p>Traveling light is not only very practical, it's also liberating to realize how few belongings you really need. When you pack less you'll have less to lug around and worry about losing.</p> <p>If you still feel like you're having trouble fitting everything in, remember to roll your clothes when you pack instead of folding them. You'll save just a little more space and may be able to take a smaller bag. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/vacation-hack-7-tips-for-single-bag-travel?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Tips for Single Bag Travel</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <h2 style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</h2> <h2 style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fpacking-light-dont-forget-these-5-must-haves&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FPacking%20Light-%20Dont%20Forget%20These%205%20Must%20Haves.jpg&amp;description=Packing%20Light%3F%20Dont%20Forget%20These%205%20Must%20Haves" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a></h2> <h2 style="text-align: center;"> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script><p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Packing%20Light-%20Dont%20Forget%20These%205%20Must%20Haves.jpg" alt="Packing Light? Don't Forget These 5 Must Haves" width="250" height="374" /></p> </h2> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/packing-light-dont-forget-these-5-must-haves">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/5-things-you-should-never-pack-for-vacation">5 Things You Should Never Pack for Vacation</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/5-cheap-travel-destinations-for-wine-lovers">5 Cheap Travel Destinations for Wine Lovers</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/7-best-websites-for-last-minute-airfare-deals">7 Best Websites for Last-Minute Airfare Deals</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/8-things-you-should-always-pack-in-your-carry-on">8 Things You Should Always Pack in Your Carry-On</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/10-flight-booking-hacks-to-save-you-hundreds">10 Flight Booking Hacks to Save You Hundreds</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel clothes footwear packing light passports suitcase toiletries travel documents vacation Wed, 01 Feb 2017 10:30:30 +0000 Nick Wharton 1871081 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Cities Where Airbnb Is Way Cheaper Than a Hotel http://www.wisebread.com/5-cities-where-airbnb-is-way-cheaper-than-a-hotel <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-cities-where-airbnb-is-way-cheaper-than-a-hotel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_paris_travel_486971456.jpg" alt="Woman traveling to cities where Airbnb is cheaper than a hotel" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Since it was first founded in 2008, Airbnb has become a household name, nearly synonymous with the concept of short-term rentals. According to their website, Airbnb properties are available in more than 34,000 cities in over 190 countries, with 60 million users. This can be a great way to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stay-in-a-5-star-hotel-for-less-than-the-cost-of-a-motel?ref=internal" target="_blank">save on accommodations</a> while traveling. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-get-hotel-deals?ref=seealso" target="_blank">3 Easy Ways to Get Hotel Deals</a>)</p> <p>By offering accommodation in locals' homes and apartments, Airbnb is often able to offer lower rates than traditional hotels, sometimes at unique properties or with added perks (like full kitchens). For solo travelers, renting a room with Airbnb can also be a great way to get to know a local host.</p> <p>However, you'll be giving up some hotel conveniences, too. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-you-get-a-vacation-rental-instead-of-a-hotel" target="_blank">Airbnb isn't for everyone</a>. But if you're willing to forego hotel gyms and professional staff, here are five destinations where Airbnb is much more cost effective than a hotel.</p> <h2>European Destinations</h2> <p>In 2015, more than half of Airbnb's revenue was generated from its European listings. This is an important clue to consumers, as some of the best deals to be had are in expensive European capitals where Airbnb is doing some of its best business.</p> <h3>1. London</h3> <p>London is full of tourist sights that any traveler would be excited to see. This capital city is home to Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and many diverse national museums. However, London is also one of the most expensive destinations for international travelers.</p> <p>Even budget options in London can be pricey, with hostel dorm rooms often upward of $20 a night for a bed in a room with eight to 10 other people. Needless to say, many travelers don't want to stay in those conditions, but to book a four- or five-star hotel in the city center costs $250 and up.</p> <p>According to a 2015 study by Busbud, Airbnb listings were $108 a night cheaper than hotels, making London one of the best destinations to consider saving with Airbnb.</p> <h3>2. Venice</h3> <p>Venice is another European destination you won't want to miss, but hotels here are notoriously expensive, averaging just over $230 a night according to the Busbud study. However, by booking with Airbnb travelers were able to save an average of $86.</p> <p>There are plenty of good ways you can put these savings to use while out enjoying the area. Be sure not to miss a trip out to Burano and Murano, small islands a short gondola ride away from Venice, known for glass working and artisanal lace production.</p> <h3>3. Paris</h3> <p>Airbnb's rapid growth in Paris was reported by The Wall Street Journal in 2015, with the city continuing to be a hub of Airbnb activity to this day. Paris has more than 55,000 listings that get a great deal of traffic from visitors, according to Inside Airbnb.</p> <p>Given that consumers can save more than $100 on average by booking with Airbnb, it's no surprise that the company has had such great success in Paris, a city with a reputation for being expensive.</p> <h2>In the U.S.</h2> <p>Airbnb can be an affordable alternative to hotels in the U.S., too. In fact, in 2013, a comparative study by Priceonomics found that, on average, to rent an entire apartment in the U.S. with Airbnb was 21% cheaper than paying for a hotel, while renting a single room with Airbnb was half the price of a hotel.</p> <p>Since 2013, the cost of hotels has only been rising, from an average of $110 to $120 in 2015. Given that Airbnb has been gaining traction considerably in the past few years, consumers in the U.S. now have more options than ever before.</p> <p>It is important to remember, however, that these are national averages. Every city varies a little and of course, some cities are more Airbnb-friendly than others. As with the European examples, it seems that in more expensive cities, consumers stand to save more from booking with Airbnb.</p> <h3>4. New York</h3> <p>New York received an estimated 58 million tourists in 2015, making it one of the biggest tourist destinations globally. From bustling Times Square, to Broadway, to Wall Street, to Ellis Island, to its wide array of unique parks and museums, there is no shortage of sights and entertainment for visitors.</p> <p>Plus, New York has the Airbnb listings to match. There's a whole array of options in many diverse neighborhoods. A quick search I made on Airbnb showed the average cost of accommodations was $142, factoring in all options, from a shared room to an entire apartment.</p> <p>Keep in mind that rates also depend on location, location, location.</p> <h3>5. Seattle</h3> <p>Seattle has the advantage of being a good-sized city, while also offering access to beautiful coastlines and nearby mountains. As Washington state's largest city, it attracts a fair amount of both domestic and international visitors.</p> <p>The average cost of a hotel room here in 2015 was $209, according to Statista, making it one of the more costly cities in the U.S. Those looking to book with Airbnb stand to save more than $80 on their reservation.</p> <h2>Places to Avoid Using Airbnb</h2> <p>While these five cities offer a great value on their Airbnb listings, there are also some places you don't want to use Airbnb. Barcelona, for instance, will cost you $140 more on average to book via Airbnb as opposed to a hotel.</p> <p>In the U.S., Austin (home of Airbnb competitor HomeAway) is a much more expensive place to stay with Airbnb, while Los Angeles comes out just about even. Using <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-hotel-deals-and-rewards?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit card reward programs for hotels</a> can make hotels even more attractive than Airbnb in some places.</p> <p>Airbnb can offer great value in notoriously expensive cities both in the U.S. and in Europe, but that doesn't mean it's always a great deal. Check out your destination before you book to be sure you're getting the best value.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-cities-where-airbnb-is-way-cheaper-than-a-hotel&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%20Cities%20Where%20Airbnb%20Is%20Way%20Cheaper%20Than%20a%20Hotel.jpg&amp;description=5%20Cities%20Where%20Airbnb%20Is%20Way%20Cheaper%20Than%20a%20Hotel" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Cities%20Where%20Airbnb%20Is%20Way%20Cheaper%20Than%20a%20Hotel.jpg" alt="5 Cities Where Airbnb Is Way Cheaper Than a Hotel" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-cities-where-airbnb-is-way-cheaper-than-a-hotel">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/what-to-do-about-a-terrible-airbnb-stay">What to Do About a Terrible Airbnb Stay</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-vacation-rental-alternatives-to-airbnb">10 Vacation Rental Alternatives to Airbnb</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-6-best-vacation-deal-websites">The 6 Best Vacation Deal Websites</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/once-in-a-lifetime-experiences-ive-earned-with-credit-card-rewards">Once-In-A-Lifetime Experiences I&#039;ve Earned With Credit Card Rewards</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/9-of-the-craziest-coolest-airbnb-listings">9 of the Craziest, Coolest Airbnb Listings</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel accommodations AirBnb deals Europe hotels short term rentals tourism united states vacation Mon, 30 Jan 2017 10:30:24 +0000 Nick Wharton 1871129 at http://www.wisebread.com What to Do About a Terrible Airbnb Stay http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-about-a-terrible-airbnb-stay <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-to-do-about-a-terrible-airbnb-stay" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-453477539.jpg" alt="what to do if your airbnb is awful" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I have a friend, I'll call her &quot;Diane.&quot; Diane was excited to find an affordable two-bedroom Airbnb rental in Chicago. She looked forward to spending the holidays meeting up with old friends and saving money by cooking for her family instead of eating out every night.</p> <p>Instead, she ended up wasting the first few days of her trip on the phone with Airbnb customer service, and the unit's owner &mdash; who had provided a nearly empty apartment. This was not what she expected from the listing.</p> <p>&quot;The whole place felt like an abandoned afterthought,&quot; Diane said. She learned the owner had moved out and left very little behind &mdash; no couch in the living room and not enough kitchen supplies to put together a meal.</p> <p>Airbnb can be a great way to save money and enjoy neighborhoods outside tourist districts &mdash; when things go well. But some guests have been frustrated by the company's response when things don't turn out as advertised.</p> <p>Airbnb Spokesman Nick Shapiro calls negative experiences &quot;extremely rare&quot; on the service, but said that when they happen, Airbnb wants to get problems fixed and get guests into a better situation if necessary. He points out that guest refunds come directly from the host, and if the company seems to ask tough questions when people complain, it's because it must protect both hosts and guests.</p> <p>&quot;We are negotiating with another user's money and we are not there on the premises, so we do our best to work with both the host and the guest to find the most fair outcome,&quot; Shapiro said.</p> <p>It is possible to get a refund or replacement accommodation from Airbnb when a rental isn't up to snuff. But you need to play by their rules &mdash; and even then, it isn't always easy. Despite trying her best to follow every rule, my friend never ended up getting the full refund or hotel reimbursement she asked for, although she did get some money back from the host after bugging out early. If you find yourself in a similar situation as &quot;Diane,&quot; here's what you can do.</p> <h2>1. Act Quickly</h2> <p><a href="https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/544/what-is-airbnb-s-guest-refund-policy" target="_blank">Airbnb's policy states</a> that guests must file a claim within 24 hours of check-in in order to claim a refund. They are pretty strict about this. Just contacting them within the first 24 hours &mdash; as Diane did &mdash; isn't enough. You have to file a complaint within that period to comply with the refund policy.</p> <p>The company holds payments for the first 24 hours, to give the guest time to verify that all is as it should be. Shapiro explained that since Airbnb staff can't verify complaints in person, caution is necessary.</p> <p>&quot;It can be easy for a bad actor to fabricate evidence, which ultimately hurts a host. If a guest contacts us on day three of their five-night reservation complaining that the listing is messy, there is no way to know if that mess was caused by the guest or not.&quot;</p> <p>If you discover a problem late at night, don't wait until business hours to complain. Airbnb provides 24/7 customer service everywhere.</p> <h2>2. Contact the Host</h2> <p>If you call Airbnb to complain about a rental, they'll tell you to contact the host first.</p> <p>&quot;Giving them a chance to fix an issue is the fastest way to make sure you get what you need,&quot; Airbnb explains on its website. But don't wait long to hear back from the host before you request that refund. Remember, the clock is ticking.</p> <p>For this reason, meeting the host for a walkthrough is a good idea, and the best time to bring up any problems with the property.</p> <p>When Diane and her husband met the owner at that nearly empty Airbnb, they accepted the keys and said goodbye to the owner, a move she now realizes was a mistake.</p> <p>&quot;I wish I had been less worried about being polite, and more assertive about the missing items right from the start. Having to confront the person who has your money and holds the keys is really challenging. You just want the guy to leave so you can make a game plan and take it all in,&quot; she said.</p> <p>Another way to prevent problems that the host could fix is to communicate with the host before you arrive,&quot; Shapiro advised.</p> <h2>3. Communicate Through Airbnb</h2> <p>Use Airbnb's messaging system when you contact the host, so that the company can see your message, when you sent it, and the host's reply. Also save a copy of all communications for yourself, in case you need them later.</p> <h2>4. Read Airbnb's Refund Policy Carefully</h2> <p>Only certain conditions may be eligible for a refund in Airbnb's policy, even in that first 24 hours:</p> <ul> <li>If you can't get into the rental;</li> <li>If the listing misrepresents the unit;</li> <li>If the place is dirty or unsafe;</li> <li>If there's an animal there that wasn't disclosed in the listing.</li> </ul> <p>When you submit the refund claim, make it clear how the property qualifies for a refund under these specific conditions.</p> <h2>5. Re-Read the Listing Closely Before Complaining</h2> <p>In order to comply with Airbnb's narrow refund qualifications, it's a good idea to study the listing before contacting them to pinpoint any misrepresentation. It's not a bad idea to print the listing before you travel, in case you have trouble accessing the listing while on your trip. And don't forget to check the photos and captions, not just the main listing text.</p> <p>&quot;Some of the promises for the apartment were in the photo captions,&quot; Diane explained. &quot;So when I first wrote to the owner and Airbnb, everyone claimed there was no promise of a stocked kitchen, etc. I felt like I had imagined it. By the time I realized they were in the photo captions, it was really too late.&quot;</p> <p>It's important to plan your initial complaint carefully, because changing or adding to your complaint later could work against you. Remember, Airbnb staff is looking to protect owners from bad actors.</p> <h2>6. Document the Conditions</h2> <p>Airbnb requires proof in your refund claim, as in photos. Take a picture of that broken window, dirty bathroom, or the gaping hole where the kitchen stove should be, and send it along with your claim.</p> <h2>7. Check the Cancellation Policy</h2> <p>Even if Airbnb and the owner refuse to refund the first night of a stay, if the owner has chosen the <a href="https://www.airbnb.com/home/cancellation_policies" target="_blank">&quot;flexible&quot; cancellation policy</a>, you can go on Airbnb and cancel the remainder of your stay for a refund. Of course, you'll need to check out at that point.</p> <p>With the &quot;moderate&quot; policy, you can get a 50% refund for unused nights. For the stricter policies, you can't get a refund for cancellation after checking in. For a long-term rental, the first month cannot be canceled.</p> <h2>8. Try Social Media</h2> <p>If you feel the host and Airbnb are not being helpful, or you've complained but didn't hear back, a nudge on Twitter or Facebook can get things moving.</p> <p>When Rose Maura Lorre and her family checked into an Airbnb that didn't live up to the listing photos, had treacherous stairways, a minor bug issue, and &quot;a bedroom that really wasn't,&quot; her husband first tried emailing customer service, but then, Lorre said, &quot;I took it to their Facebook page and got an immediate response.&quot;</p> <p>Airbnb found them a new place to stay by the next day, and refunded them for the first night.</p> <p>Diane got a quick response from Airbnb's Twitter team, although the team's proposed solution didn't work for her. They offered money to buy the missing items, but she didn't feel that she should have to spend her vacation time stocking someone else's kitchen.</p> <h2>9. If the 24-Hour Window Has Passed, Complain Anyway</h2> <p>Shapiro acknowledges that sometimes guests discover a problem mid-stay.</p> <p>&quot;This is where our customer service team has more responsibility to make a judgment call,&quot; Shapiro said. &quot;We have to ask questions like, 'Why was this not discovered until now?' 'Is this something that the guest somehow could be at fault for?'&quot;</p> <p>Airbnb didn't give Diane a refund, claiming that, although she had complained right away, she had raised the qualifying issues with the apartment too late. But other customers have had better luck. The blog Root of Good describes getting a <a href="http://rootofgood.com/bad-experience-airbnb/" target="_blank">full refund and an apology voucher</a> when he complained two days after checking into a filthy apartment.</p> <h2>10. Try the Owner Again</h2> <p>For Diane, more problems popped up throughout her stay, like a hairball lurking under the bedsheets. When she wrote to Airbnb again, they directed her to its <a href="https://www.airbnb.com/resolution_center" target="_blank">Resolution Center</a>, where you can request money back directly from the host with a click of a button. Asking doesn't necessarily mean getting, but you can try. Diane was able to convince the host to refund the days she didn't use his apartment.</p> <h2>11. Contact Your Credit Card Provider</h2> <p>As with any unsatisfactory customer experience, you can request that your credit card provider withhold payment. One Airbnb customer, who <a href="http://www.airbnbhell.com/tag/chargeback/" target="_blank">described on AirbnbHell</a> being locked out of a rental for hours, reported successfully getting a refund through this method.</p> <p>If your credit card offers travel insurance, you could also ask for a refund via that route. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-perks-you-didnt-know-your-credit-card-had?ref=seealso" target="_blank">12 Travel Perks You Didn't Know Your Credit Card Had</a>)</p> <h2>12. If Nothing Else Works, Try the Media</h2> <p>Columns such as Christopher Elliott's The Travel Troubleshooter are able to spur companies &mdash; <a href="http://elliott.org/the-troubleshooter/cant-get-refund-airbnb-rental/" target="_blank">including Airbnb</a> &mdash; to give refunds after initially refusing. Besides, it might feel good to vent about a frustrating experience to a columnist or on TV. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-vacation-rental-alternatives-to-airbnb?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Vacation Rental Alternatives to Airbnb</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwhat-to-do-about-a-terrible-airbnb-stay&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhat%20to%20Do%20About%20a%20Terrible%20Airbnb%20Stay_0.jpg&amp;description=What%20to%20Do%20About%20a%20Terrible%20Airbnb%20Stay" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/What%20to%20Do%20About%20a%20Terrible%20Airbnb%20Stay_0.jpg" alt="What to Do About a Terrible Airbnb Stay" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-about-a-terrible-airbnb-stay">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/5-cities-where-airbnb-is-way-cheaper-than-a-hotel">5 Cities Where Airbnb Is Way Cheaper Than a Hotel</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-ways-to-save-on-accommodations-online">8 Ways to Save on Accommodations Online</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/9-of-the-craziest-coolest-airbnb-listings">9 of the Craziest, Coolest Airbnb Listings</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/travel-and-money-using-your-credit-card-on-the-road">Travel and Money: Using Your Credit Card on the Road</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-cash-in-on-getting-bumped-from-a-flight">How to Cash In On Getting Bumped From a Flight</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Travel accommodations AirBnb Airbnb stay hotels travel tips vacation vacation rentals Fri, 20 Jan 2017 10:30:36 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1877411 at http://www.wisebread.com