5 Tips for Enjoying Antelope Canyon

This trip was as spectacular as it looks. If it’s on your bucket list, keep it on your bucket list!

I have been asked by a few people how much hiking we had to do for the Lower Canyon. Really there is not a lot. You have to get down to the canyon, which is just a few minutes walk away. Then you have to go down the stairs to get into the canyon. After that you go through at a very slow pace. They give each group time to take lots of pictures without having to have others in your photos. They do such a great job of this. Plus [Read more…]

5 Tips to Planning the Perfect Road Trip in Europe and Beyond

5-tips to planning the perfect european road trip

We just did a trip in Italy and Spain in which we discovered and enjoyed some beautiful small charming towns. From Instagram to Facebook all my friends were asking me,  “How did you even find these little towns?” Well I wish I could say I have this great method, but instead it’s just happy accidents. I will show you 5 ways I stumble upon these happy accidents that end up [Read more…]

6 Crazy Packing Tips

How to make it all fit in a carry on. You got this!

How to make it all fit in a carry on. You got this!

I’ve been thinking that I have needed to write this post for awhile now. I recently had a few people ask me for my packing tips, since we always pack so light, and they can’t seem to do the same. So I decided it was finally time to make my wacky secrets known to all. I did warn one girl (a friend of my daughters) not to make fun of my tips, since they aren’t typical, or at least I haven’t seen anyone post these things, but then again I have not read every single travel blog.

We like to move around as we travel, which means getting in and out of our suitcase almost daily and repacking it daily. The longest trip we have done is [Read more…]

7 Fun Things To Do In Palm Springs

Palm Springs vacation

Palm Springs vacation

We booked a 9 day trip to Palm Springs and our friends assured us it was way to long and we would get bored. My husband golfs but I do not, so that was not on the agenda for this trip. Truthfully we were just chasing some sunshine and looking for some down time. In the end we did quite a few things and we did not get bored in Palm Springs.

Here are 7 Ways to keep yourself Busy in Palm Springs (Especially if your not a golfer) [Read more…]

14 Travel Tips for Seattle

Things to do in SeattleWe arrived to Seattle by train and from there we explored as many different types of transportation that we could, including lots of walking. Since we didn’t have our own personal transportation we decided to go it the whole way with just backpacks. The first thing we decided to do was drop our packs in our boutique hotel , The Roosevelt. From there we had the freedom to experience all of Seattle.

There are all the usual suspects of Seattle like the Space Needle, Pike Place and Starbucks coffee. Yet there is so much more to see and do in this great city. Finding a cheap place to stay is tough, but not out of the question (I have a few suggestions).  And there is a lot of ground to cover, so check out how we did it without completely killing ourselves. [Read more…]

9 Ways to Save Money While Vacationing

traveling-deals

This is a tough one.  We try really hard to have saved enough money that we don’t have to skimp while on vacation.  But, I would rather choose to skimp if it meant at least taking a vacation.

  • Plan your meals – Have it all worked out.  Know what meals you will buy and what meals you will take and what meals you will make.  Food is a big factor and fast food is cheap, but sometimes just not an option, so have a plan in place.  We usually try and pack snacks, eat light lunch then hit a nice local restaurant for dinner.
  • Plan your stay – Some places offer a free night if you stay for 3.  Check and see what deals are being offered and ask if you see nothing.  Stay in a place that is close to what you are doing.  Sometimes the places can be close enough you don’t even have to use a car.  Saving on car rentals or just gas. Also check and see if you can park your car for free.
  • Decide on souvenir purchases ahead of time – I have seen a couple of moms that bought cheap Mickey ears or t-shirts before going on their Disney trip and pulled them out of the suitcases when they got there.  Brilliant!!  If you decide to buy on your trip give your kids a budget.  Here’s a great example of how to set a budget.
  • Plan a destination that is not touristy – Want to keep from spending money aimlessly the whole time, go to beautiful Montana and take in the sights and enjoy the outdoors.  Hit beaches outside of big cities and just enjoy the sand beneath your feet.  You get the idea.
  • Don’t feel like you need movement every single minute – If you spend the day out and about, be ok with sitting in the hotel resting in the evening.  Don’t feel like you need to pay for the whole family to go to a movie.  It’s a vacation just relax.
  • Go to a Mexico all inclusive resort – I have a hard time spending money at these places because all your needs are met and paid for.  Sometimes we will leave for a meal, but what’s the point.
  • Don’t give up your money – I think cruise ships are the worst, but there are ways to stay frugal while on a cruise.
  • Going to Grandmas house on the farm is a vacation – especially if this is the opposite of the life you live in the big city.  Sometimes it just nice to get away for a few days.  I personally love leaving town and heading to the country where I grew up. In a town of 150 people you don’t tend to spend a lot.
  • Every city offers something free – Do your homework ahead of time and find free things to do.  Sometimes cities aren’t all about shopping and eating.  Sometimes just wandering the streets or the gardens they have is more enjoyable and that’s really getting to know the city.
  • Do your homework – Go into any trip with a plan.  Have your budget and stick to it.

What other ways do you stay frugal while on vacation?

 

GasBuddy App Great for Traveling

gas buddy app

It’s Summer and that means travel. For some it means getting on a plane for others it means getting in your car. If you fly, you don’t have choices, but if you drive you can try and cut some costs.

If you haven’t already done so,  you need to download GasBuddy on your iPhone, iPad or Android. This is a free download that tells you where the cheapest gas is in your current location.

This will be so nice when traveling, because sometimes gas stations can be as much at 5¢-10¢ a gallon different, and every little bit helps right?? No more straining your neck to see what the station across the way is selling their gas for.

10 Ways to Save Money on a Cruise

Drinking a local beer in Roatan

Drinking a local beer in Roatan

Cruises are deceiving.  You pay a big price, but it’s anything but all inclusive. We love them and we have done quite a few, but you need to be ready to know what you are getting in to or they will nickel and dime you right out of your budget.

1.  Drink what’s Free – They do offer pop/soda cards, but they are expensive and the only way to get your moneys worth is to drink a lot and then it just becomes unhealthy.

2.  Don’t eat a the restaurants that charge – There are more than enough “free of charge” restaurants to choose from why would you even consider paying for a meal?  If you do want to pay for a meal do it while in port and try some of the local flavor instead.  That’s why you are on vacation right??

This was a bean dip fondue in Honduras

3.  Choose the Free activities – There are plenty of things to do on the boat.  Plenty of shows to see and game shows to watch, don’t pay for your entertainment.  Walk past the casino, you can do that anywhere.

4.  Don’t feel like you need to have an excursion at every port – Big, big money maker here.  We met up with a couple a few years back and they had booked something at all but one port.  By the time they were at the last one they were happy they could do their own thing and not have another excursion.  They almost felt like they had missed out on a few ports because they were whisked away to an activity instead of enjoying the culture.

A private island I found online before we went. We walked over to the boat ferry. We did not book it ahead of time.

5.  Book excursions through another company, not the cruise ship.  You can save up to $10-$20 a person just booking it yourself. (UPDATE: I know cruise ships are trying to crack down on this so double check that you have plenty  of time to get back to the ship. When excursions are not booked through the ship, they don’t wait for you.)

6.  Grab your drinks while in port – Ships charge lots of money for alcoholic drinks and they charge a 15% (although it could be higher now) tip right on there, and give you an additional tip line.  Really??  We like to stop at a local place and try one of the local beers or drinks.  Tons cheaper and you get to do something more authentic.

7.  If you want drinks on the ship try and bring some of your own.  It’s risky, sometimes they go through and sometimes they don’t.  But if you can get your own on the boat it will save you tons. We personally have never done this, but we saw lots of people doing it.

8.  Once off the ship, walk a little ways – If you get a block or 2 away from port the taxis start to get significantly cheaper.  Acapulco was a huge price difference.  We went to see the cliff divers. We paid  $2 and the couple next to us grabbed a taxi right at port and paid $17.

9.  Buy local – You are cruising so you can see different cities in different countries or areas.  Don’t buy the silver on the boat, instead walk the city streets and pick up something from the locals.  It will be a fraction of the price.

Some of the Many Shops in Cozumel

10.  Don’t tell your kids the card is attached to an account – They make it so easy to spend money on a cruise.  Your room key will also get you drinks.  As a matter of fact our last cruise didn’t accept cash or credit cards. It was room keys only.  Either don’t tell your kids or make sure they know they are responsible for anything charged.

There are so many more ways to save, but this is just some of the basics.  For us it becomes a game. You want my money and I try and see how little I give you.  We don’t have regrets about things we haven’t purchased, instead we love the new things we tried and the adventures we have found, at a fraction of the price.