So here you are. You are on the vacation of a lifetime. You have always wanted to visit- Paris, New York, Rio, St. Kitts, or San Francisco. You are where you want to be. Even if the city or destination is not what I have written you are on your way visiting the city or the country side.
Just because you are on vacation my fellow travelers and dreamers you have not entered into the world of all you can eat. The world does not become an endless table of consumption. So how do you balance enjoying the local treats and still come home in even better shape than you left?
Stay active! While visiting Barcelona, Spain my son and I enjoyed all the treats the city had to offer. We had the fixed price lunch meals, pastries, amazing coffee with cream (cafe con leche), and so much more.
When I came home from that visit I noticed that I had lost 6 pounds. We walked all over the city and did not use the metro for short stops. We clocked an amazing amount of miles and enjoyed ourselves in the process.
It is simple math as far as I am concerned. Calories in versus calories used will always do one thing. Weight loss or weight gain. No matter what plan you use that is how it is calculated. No matter how techno advanced we become one thing is for certain our body is as how it was made since we first entered on the this planet.
Vacation is just that. A time to relax, enjoy and explore or for some just sit by the beach, pool or lake. What is your definition of vacation. Mine is for exploration and seeing new places. To embrace different cultures, meet new people, and broaden my knowledge.
When I am home it is a vacation. Sure I have chores and home repairs. This past week I was using pre-mixed cement to fix the foundation around the house. Repair the cracks on the steps and other places that needed mortar. Dragged bags of mulch in the hot sun to places around the yard. Lifted heavy bags of marble chips and placed then in between the concrete patio. The earthquake last year shifted part of my back yard and the steps shifted. I use my push mower to do the yard. I work hard at home.
However, I also have made a small oasis to enjoy the moments I am at home after working with clients and being at the hospital taking care of patients. Home for me extends itself when I go on vacation. I have shifted the way I look at travel and how I see myself when I am visiting new places.
I have stumbled upon a website called Loseit! The name of the site is exactly what it is for. Weight loss. This is a handy tool for those of you who are traveling through out the US or Canada. You can track what you are eating and put in your exercise for the day. It is not for a guilt trip. It is there to help you track every delicious morsel that you put in your mouth.
It seems to work. I have lost 4 pounds the first week. I have a goal It is me vs. me. I am no longer that hard on myself about life.
So why the discussion on travel and taking care of yourself? Quite frankly, from conversations I have had with people on how they feel after a vacation. There have been more times than not that I see the joy in someones face when they relay their amazing vacation and then they cast their eyes downward and say they have put on more pounds. One person grabbed their belly and laughed. Then quietly said ,”I guess I will have to work out harder to lose it.”
Vacation is designed to renew the soul. Give yourself the time to relax and enjoy life. Vacation is not designed from my humble opinion to create more guilt. We have the ability to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. We have the capacity to work and grow. We have the capacity to know what we want out of life.
In the book,”The Path of Least Resistance” the author speaks about “knowing what you want,” That is a simple phrase. What do you want out of life? I want to be able to enjoy life. I want to remain healthy. I want to have enough to always pay my bills, travel and save. I want to share my joy with others.
So far what I want seems to be on track. Enjoy your travel. Make plans. Find creative ways to stay healthy while you are enjoying all the food and drink of where you are. That was my thought for the day. It is just what I wanted to share. Check out that website and let me know what you think. Continue reading
Have you ever wanted to travel to somewhere new but, did not know where to go? That is not an uncommon question that I hear from many people who are getting ready to take off for parts unknown.
There are so many things to keep in mind when deciding what to do and where to go. Lets start with the basics.
How much money do you actually have to spend? If you have been reading my blog all along it is all about comfort before, during and after vacation. If you have to take out a small home equity loan to fund your trip. Well, does that make you feel relaxed? I do not recommend taking the dream vacation of a lifetime only to find out it has become a nightmare to pay back.
Everyone knows what their personal budget is. If you have money to burn and luxury is your mode of travel then break open the bank and jump in with both feet and if you are able fly in a private jet. It is not bad if you have people to share the cost with.
If that is not your plan and you want to have the trip of a lifetime on a shoe string then it also has its challenges. I have read about people who have finally done away with money and travel in a van and use solar power for heating and washing. They also sleep in their van in various and sundry places around the North American continent. If that makes you feel like you have landed the lottery go for it.
If you are somewhere in the middle you need to decide. How much money can you afford to take that vacation? You can have the vacation of a lifetime if you plan. I know that is boring and self gratifying immediately but, if you plan the right way you can have the most amazing journey no matter where in the world you would like to go. If you are planning as a solo traveler, couple or family each has its own set of unique circumstances and goals.
Do you want to fly or is it worth it to drive 18 hours to Disneyland and save the hassle of the airport, luggage fees, eating at the airport, baggage pick-up, car rental pick up , car rental drop off and all of that outside noise. For families it can be challenging to drive a long distance but, look at the perks. You stop when you want. You can pack any food you want. You can pack as much or little luggage as the car can hold. You get to take your time and have your car to drive.
Of course the down side will be the miles you place on the car and wear and tear on your vehicle. The positive is family time or friend time. You can plan that trip and then hit Disney or where ever and not worry about missing a flight. You just have to plan properly so you will have enough time to drive home.
Think of it this way. By the time you read this blog look at the clock 18 hours later. Where are you now? Most of us are still home or at least in the same town , state or country they started in when they first read this. I always say to people so if it takes 18 hours to drive where would you be anyway 18 hours from now. A road trip is amazing if you do not put pressure on yourself. Not highly recommended for people who do not know how to relax in life or especially during vacations. For those of you who like to relax it is an amazing journey.
So its all about the cash to start. You have to plan on what your budget allows or increase your focus and have the goal in mind and plan. So what if it takes you a year or so to get to Fiji. If it is all paid for and you have money to spare who is having the best vacation of all?
What do You Love to Do?
That is the other part of the puzzle. What do you love to do? What would you really like to experience. I have been on vacations that I reluctantly took with one person and never did we ever enjoy the same thing. It was like going to the dentist and having a drilling without novocaine. Honestly, my idea and their ideas were so off the mark. I enjoy off the beaten path type of things to explore. The person I was with was not one to explore new things and booked every excursion and event that I never was ever interested in. Granted, you can find the good in all things but, this did not add to the vacation at all.
You need to know what it is that you are willing to compromise on if you are traveling with someone and what is a deal breaker. You will be going to places you have never traveled to and what do you want to experience. Make it something that you cannot do at home! Why look for a chain restaurant or deli to go to. Really! Where is your sense of adventure. Ok now I am just expressing myself but think about it. When I was in India I decided to go exploring. Maybe not the best idea alone but, I was safe and saw things that no one in my group knew existed. I took the advice of the person at the hotel and went on a journey to see simple things and they have stayed with me to this day.
When Are You Able to Do This?
When is a good question. If you think outside the box and travel during the off season you will have bargain airfare, hotels, car rentals, etc.. If you are going to Europe you need to be aware of the exchange rate. Possibly pick up money ahead of time when the Euro to Dollar conversion is in your favor. Just keep watching the exchange rate. One thing to make sure of is to call your credit card company and let them know you are going to Europe so you are able to use your card. Make sure you can use your ATM card as well. It will save you lots of time,money and headaches when you return home.
Exercise a great deal of care when handling your money. Know that smaller bills are appreciated in shops, taxis, restaurants and most places. It is not uncommon to receive a look of disgust in Europe if you do not have smaller bills. So insist if you are picking up money at your bank that they have smaller bills. Word of caution. The exchange rate at your bank is usually done with a 10 per cent increase. They are legally allowed to charge you for the conversion rate. My recommendation is take out approximately 500 Euro or less. Have it as emergency money and use your card for the rest of your purchases. You just never know when an emergency might pop up.
Zombies are everywhere! So think about where you want to go. Dream- LARGE. It is your life. You get one shot at having fun, exploring and learning new things. I also highly recommend learning key phrases in the languages of the countries you are going to visit.
If you are going around the United States find out where you want to go. I recommend all the states. I love Alaska, Hawaii, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Maine,Texas and Florida. In Europe I enjoy Spain, France and for the UK- Wales, Scotland and England. There are more places in the world I have seen and places I love to visit. I enjoy Scuba diving, hiking, wine tasting, exploring and just general knocking around the Earth. I have plans to see Australia, New Zealand, and places beyond. Fiji is on my radar screen. Where do you like to go and when will you get there. Enjoy your life. Dream big everyday and remember to just explore where you live. Hope to hear from you soon. You are the best person you know. Remember to create a list.
Remember first and foremost. Before, you go out on the next big adventure of your life. First write down a list of what you are grateful for right now. That is right my friend. Right now! If you are not feeling it just do it anyway. You cannot go anywhere in life if first you are not grateful for where you are. Who you are! What you have already in your reach!
The last few months I have not posted has included some life changing positive moments and some life changing moments that created a significant timestamp on my life. The most powerful moment in my life changed in February when my mother died.
Life has a way of changing our perception and this was a huge emotional awakening for me as I am sure it is for those of you who have lost a parent. I am in a new club of adult orphan. I no longer have a mother or father on this planet to go to for advice. One thing that is for sure is that I did everything in my power to make sure that I was there for my mother when the time came.
December of 2012 I had been focused on travel I spent time that past year.I was attending “A Date With Destiny” Seminar in Palm Springs, California the week of December 1- December 8, 2012. I had been changing up my life and asking for my life to change. I was working on my life and fears. I decided to investigate what stops me from living the life I know I can have.
In the end I realized it was the limitation that I gave myself and no one else. It is funny that I did not realize I would be working on those powerful techniques I had studied as soon as I finished with my workshop on December 8, 2012.
I was on my way back from Palm Springs and had a connecting flight to Newark(EWR) at San Francisco Airport (SFO). I was reaching to to turn on my phone. As soon as it was on it rang. I looked at the number it was my brother calling me from Del Rio, Texas. My mom had fallen and from the description of her fall I said to him , ” Mom has fractured her hip. Call 911 immediately.” I knew that it would not be a good for my mom at her age to have such a fall and a tremendous break.
I continued home. I was already getting ready to call out at work and make plans for my turn around trip to Del Rio, Texas. I looked up all the flights and you know things do not work out the way you want them to when it is an emergency situation. I called a few friends and one girlfriend, Yvonne to be exact. said to me,” USE YOUR MILES!” Oh how could I be so dense at this time. I used my miles and flew to see mom right away. She did not look well. I stayed for the weekend and came back. The following weekend I was flying to Madrid to see my son.
It was the Wednesday night before my flight to Spain and the phone rang. It was the physician who worked on my mom and stated her surgery needed to be redone. I questioned the physician on why. Her response was not satisfactory. I spoke with my mom who said, “Go to Spain and give my grandson a kiss.” I was in Madrid and my son and were enjoying our time together tremendously. We kept track of our journey through countless pictures, train tickets, metro cards and receipts. I wanted to share with my mom as soon as I returned to the US.
I came home to New Jersey and made travel plans to Texas. When I arrived I took one look at mom .She was not in a good way. I stayed again for the weekend. My mom was always saying I spent too much on travel and tickets to come to see her. Spoken like a mom. After a quick visit I went home.
I was talking to my mom on February 10 and said to her “Mom I love you and remember I will be there Thursday.” Mom repeated back twice “I love you. I love you too.” Only I would end up being there on Tuesday not Thursday. February 11, 2013 I received the phone call I knew I would receive one day. I just did not want to receive it. It was from a nurse who was incredibly compassionate.
Of course all the phone calls began. I found my son right away in Spain. My son reminded me to use my credit card and use the service they provide for flights. I used my United Mastercard and it was definitely worth the price I pay for yearly membership. This woman worked miracles she found flights from various carriers that would put my son and I in Washington, D.C. at the same time and make the connecting flight to San Antonio together. It was the kindness of a stranger on the plane who gave up his seat so my son could sit next to me on the flight to San Antonio. The rest is a rather surreal experience with the service and packing up my mothers things at home. The only things we wanted were her photos and a place setting that she had for silver. This is my mom ,Odilia, in her finest in New York at Central Park, back in the day.
So where have I been? I have been in a very reflective state. I am really very blessed to have been able to see my mother so often. I am really very thankful I have the ways and means to be able to make this all happen.
I am very happy that I have had a good relationship with my mom. I know that not everyone has the same type of relationships. It was not always a relationship that was harmonious we had to work at it. In the end I realized that my mom did the best she could. I could write a book about that but who couldn’t.
We really only have one set of parents a lifetime. We may have people in our lives who love us like parents and they are gifts in our lives. Gifts that we can carry in our hearts forever.
I know that I appreciate the fact I had recorded all of my moms messages that she left on the phone. One I love is the happy birthday that she sang to my mom for his birthday. These are the small things in life that we treasure.
Life is one big journey. Never forget what is important in your life. Keep moving and life stops for no one. I know that to be true more so now then ever before. Travel well. Stay healthy and go out and tell someone you love them. Peace to you and enjoy the ride.
I almost forgot. My mother gave me her jewelry before she died. I put it in a really safe place in July 2012. I could not remember or find it for months. I cleaned my house and it is so organized now it is bizarre. I found my fathers dog tags from WWII and other treasures he had from the war. I found my back stage passes from when I worked in the music industry and letters from college. Ok I found other things but where is the jewelry. Well after Mom died guess what happened. I found it in the kitchen.I looked there countless times and cleared all the cabinets. I know I did not put it there. There it was. So maybe she left the earth but, she has not left me. Amazing. Mom’s do the most loving things.
What was the one experience that completely changed your life? What happened? What did it change? That is something to think about. I cannot answer for you. It is a thought provoking question. Is it that you wanted to change your relationships? Is it that you wanted to change jobs? Is it that your health changed or you wanted to change it?
What ever it is completely changing your life is an amazing journey. Today, I will discuss one of the biggest changes that ever happened to me that changed my life forever. I have so many so today I will pick health. I had cancer oh 11 years ago. While I was home after chemo therapy I would have a tremendous amount of energy. Who knows if it was the steroids!
What would happen is that I would go out and complete these amazing projects. I was very focused. My son was 10 years old and my mom came out from Texas to help me. I had just started my second year of my masters at Fordham University. I would have chemo on Thursday at Memorial Sloan Kettering and attend Fordham University on Saturday. It was on Saturday night where the chemo would kick in and make me tired for days. The couch was my bed.
It upsets me to this day that my son thought I was dead laying on the couch when I was sleeping. During this battle of the cancer cells I experienced many things. I had set my sights on the prize.The prize was completing the treatment and death was not an option for me. Each chemo treatment I was getting closer and closer to winning the battle. I actually saw a golden ring for each round of cancer treatment. I was set for 8 rounds of chemo and then radiation.
During this time I had set up what was important and what was not important. I had my goals and values straight! Time passed and then I re-entered the work force. I had an employer who was kind to most but, it seemed to me that he never really appreciated who I was and had already made a snap decision on who I was. It was not the most comfortable interactions. He always appeared to me that he was uncomfortable with who I was.
One of my co-workers, we will call him DB. DB would always seem to find a very strange pleasure in sharing with me, of course in secret, that my employer had it out for me. Is there anyone one out there that can relate? There is always that one person who has personal issues who likes to make others uncomfortable. Not everyone was like that.There were plenty of good hearted individuals who made it a pleasure to be there.
You cannot take in what people say about you You know what is true about you and what is not! You know who you are and what your intentions are. It does not matter how someone else judges you or what they say about you. You need to hear your own voice and not give in to the voice of others.
I decided that travel was my passion. At least one of them. I wanted to share seeing the world with my son after I was finished with chemotherapy. It is something that I felt was extremely important. Since, I had a job that offered paid time off I took full advantage of my days off and planned accordingly. I scoured the internet and took hours upon hours looking for the best deals. I also looked at hotels vs bed and breakfasts. It seemed that most times B & B’s were the best bet for myself and my young son. He is a grown man now and we still have a great time. This was taken in Alaska.
For longer vacations I chose apartment style residents. It saves a tremendous amount on meals. Car rental vs trains, buses and the metro. It depended on where we were. The best days to fly. It is fly on a Wednesday and come home on a Monday. Short vacations vs. week long. Jet lag vs why the heck not!
I noticed once or twice I would come home from either Europe, Alaska, or Hawaii (This was on the beach at our resort in Maui )or where ever I had just come back from, my former employer would ask why I took so much time off? I know he had a different view of life. He was somewhat constricted at that time when he thought of time off. Many people do. He was a good man just not seeing the big picture. You never know when you may leave this planet. I did not know if I was going to live or die at that time. Evidently, my physicians felt the same way.
People in your life, workplace, or wherever have their own opinions of who and what you should and should not be. You do not have to follow the pack and live in a state of, “What will they think of me.” Honestly, if the truth be told they do not think of you at all. People who are toxic or unconscious say things and do not remember the next day. There are some people who are very lonely and scared on the inside and say terrible things to others so you do not look to deeply at them and see what they are really made of.
I have since left that place of employment. I work for myself and have taken a part time job that I enjoy. That is the key. Do something that you enjoy. Do not let anyone tell you that you cannot do what you want to to.
One thing I know to be true is that you can do what ever you want in this world. What ever your mind believes you are capable of you can do it! I throw the question back to you and please write back. What was the one experience that completely changed your life?
I am committed to assisting others fulfill their hopes and dreams. No one on this earth should have to wonder what if. I have met many people along the way who have been dealt a hard life. I have watched in awe how they have pulled themselves out of the dire straits they had found themselves in and made life a life worth living. I will continue to share my experiences in the hopes your find inspiration or at least relate to life as life appears to me.
Travel well, eat wisely and never let yourself think you cannot. I know you are able to do great things. No matter where you are on your life’s journey I wish you well.
Recently, I attended “A Date With Destiny”. It was a powerful program aimed at defining life on life’s terms. What it did for me was set a reset button on my life. While I attended the program I made some major break throughs in my views, beliefs, and values. Honestly, what transpired goes beyond just words.
Since words are all we have to convey experiences I will do my best convey what worked for me. Values are what we define our life by. We may have high standards and stringent beliefs of who we are and where we are going. Our beliefs also include what we believe ourselves to be. You may stop yourself from fulfilling a greater life goal due to the fact that others have already achieved it. So, you wonder what value you may have in sharing your views, discoveries, hopes or dreams.
We all see things differently. We all have value. Intrinsic value that others will see once they get to know or hear who we are. The more important part of this component is who are you? That is the most important part of the journey who are you?
In this journey at this intensified university of learning I experienced joy and released my fear. There is a lot to be said of losing fear. Fear is an appropriate response to danger. It is not an appropriate response to living life. How many of us become prisoners of our own device when it comes to actually living life on life’s terms.
This change has also caused me to re-evaluate what I hold dear and what I want to hang onto. Relationships can suffer tremendously when we are myopic and want people to just fit into our box. Relationships grow when we look inward and really listen to what someone is saying.
To be able to ask for what you want clearly and with enthusiasm will get you places. To ask for what you want with being timid or yelling has a non effect on getting you to be heard. Maybe it is a tool that you have used in the past because you hide behind who you believe yourself to be however, that is just a cover for saying I am not comfortable in my skin.
Well with this new way of being. I have decided to step out and do something bold for me. I am reworking this blog to include not just travel but what I started out to do which is include how to live your best life ever.
I am also looking for contributors and other bloggers for this site. I also will include this year personal consultations and sessions for those who want a more in depth discussion on travel or personal growth. I offer Pay Pal and Square for payment. I will gladly email you my rates. Write to me at my email address
Life is definitely what you make it! Make it feel full and alive! Peace to you all.
The link that is above is this website. http://www.styleandthecity.com I found this site while I was sitting at the airport in Houston. I was wondering why when I traveled all over the world no one took the time in the fashion industry to show people as they are.
I have found people dressed in the most amazingly simple styles where ever I go. I actually get some of my inspiration for dressing from some of the people I do see on the street or in some cases in the airport.
I wanted to share this link with you because if anything it will make you smile. There is a link within her website that is about Love. It made me smile all the way through.
I have not written in a while because I have to take care of family business. My mother who lives in Texas is not feeling her 100% best and I am flying every 4 weeks to Texas. It is not easy to find cheap flights at times but I am making my airline miles work for me on this one. I have researched alternative airports and am using the Star Alliance co partners to fly out of smaller airports to Houston. While in Houston I am using my points to fly round trip to Del Rio, Texas. I have looked at the cost of flying into San Antonio(SAT) and driving the 2 1/2 hours it takes to get to her town.
The drive is long but I have been doing this drive for years. It does not seem long at all. For those of you who live in Texas or Alaska know what I mean. It is a short ride in comparison to what you are used to. Believe me in Alaska it is a short ride’
Normally, I would drive. However, what I am finding is that in order for me to do a three day weekend I would have to leave my mom’s home at 330 am to make the 630 am flight back to NYC Airports ( JFK, LGA) or Newark (EWR) Airport.
The best course for me is to get into Del Rio(DRT) late and leave late on Monday. As I was stating I have been leaving out of Stewart (SWF) Airport in Newburgh, NY. There are so many pluses to having less to pay at the airport for parking. Yes, I have to always have a connecting flight however, the comfort of not being a sardine at the airport and having long lines is a bonus for me. I know that many of you do not live near smaller airports but think about looking anyway and seeing if the cost benefit works for you.
Recently, I had a great reunion with a friend in Colorado. They live in Fort Collins, Colorado so the airport of choice was Denver(DEN). Lots of construction is going on at Denver Airport so be aware if you are going there to be mindful of that. It took a little bit longer than usual to be picked up and dropped off. The airport in Denver can be a bit confusing so I recommend you get on the website before you go.
I actually recommend anyone who is traveling to go to the direct site of the airport you are arriving to. It has a wealth of information about arrivals and departures. It provides all the airlines that it serves. It also gives their scheduled flight time from your city of departure to the flight times of the city you are arriving to. It helps me to decide which airlines I will use before I spend countless hours figuring out which airline to use. I go here first before I plug in airlines and destinations and cost.
So enjoy the month of October. Here in the East Coast the leaves are changing into incredible golden and red colors. Many of the trees outside my window are still green but when I drive around the area mother nature is giving her annual show. It is beautiful. It is worth a trip to the East Coast this time of year just to enjoy the beauty.
So look at the link above and enjoy the various cities, people and style. I hope you and your family are well. Peace to you and enjoy life. Life is short and there is no time like to present to live. Keep smiling and learn to travel. Your wandering writer- Denise
In December I will be leaving for Palm Springs, California and then Madrid, Spain later in the month. Christmas with my son who is in Graduate School will be wonderful.
- TSA implements “precheck” program at Denver International Airport (denverpost.com)
So you have decided to purchase a trip online. You look everywhere and pull everything in your house or apartment or flat apart. My credit cards! Where are they?
Welcome the land of dematerialization. You have experienced this I am sure. You put them in a safe place. So safe in fact that you cannot find where they are. All you have are the bills that prove you have paid for them.
What should you do? If you are absolutely certain they are not stolen then there is a simple way to receive new cards. It is called the “replacement card.” What is this actually?
It is exactly what it sounds like. Replacement cards. They will be sent out overnight if you need them right away or in 5 business days. Why replace the card? More and more people link up their credit cards to pay for various services. Some do this for the airline miles or bonus awards. Here in good old New Jersey you can link up you EZPASS account to a credit card. You can do this with almost any utility service. I am sure there are those of you who do this.
Once you call a credit card lost or stolen the account is frozen. Any services that you have linked up to that card will be stopped until you notify that service with your new credit card number. Simple enough. However, you may forget. I know I am projecting a bit but, we are human and we do forget. That is how you misplaced your card in the first place.
That is why ordering a replacement card is much easier than ordering a new one. Nothing has to change and you just will end up with two credit cards with the same account number when you find the lost one.
Now if you are one of the rare human beings who shred the paper statements as soon as you pay them. You know who you are. You are the person who does not go online to pay for anything. There are those of you out there. I know plenty of people who still are concerned about how safe online payments are. I want you to remember this. PUT YOUR CREDIT CARD NUMBERS and CODE somewhere safe. Along with the CUSTOMER SERVICE NUMBER. If you do misplace your card in the house or somewhere safe but cannot find it- having these numbers makes it much easier to have a replacement card sent to your home.
Now what about international cards that are lost or stolen. Again, email yourself the account number and the international phone number on the back of the card. You will find that they are quite helpful. When looking at international travel make sure you contact your credit card company in advance and notify them of the countries and approximate dates of travel.
There is nothing like going into a restaurant and being refused service for a card that will not process. It is for your safety. I do this approximately 10 days before travel. This way I am guaranteed access to my cards if I need them. Please do the same thing with your bank cards if they are ATM cards. They will be flagged if you do not notify your bank.
Now about going foreign exchange. When traveling to Europe it is not a bad idea to find the cheapest place in your area to do this. Today the Euro exchange to the US Dollar was $1.21 = 1E (Euro). So one would think that going with $1210 would equal E1000. The answer would be a big fat no. Banks and other agencies add their exchange rate and fees. Today we paid $1344 for E1000. Banks and other organizations charge usually $0.12 to $0.15 more per the usual exchange rate.
This is why using your credit card on trips without the foreign transaction fee at times can be a benefit. You will be paying the exchange rate for the day plus their small fee with out the usual $3 or $4 fee by using the ATM outside of the country. You can weigh out the plus and minus of using the credit card vs the ATM yourself. Having cash whether its Euros, British Sterling, Loonies, or US Dollars is my preference. Which reminds to to remind you always have at least $500 cash available US Currency in case of emergency. Remember you will be coming home to the US someday and you may need that money if you lose your passport, credit cards or foreign currency while traveling.
Now where to safely put that money. Well here goes. I have books that I travel with and place the large bills in between the pages far enough apart that it does not expand the book. I had two travel books from AAA and placed approximately E750 dispersed through out the pages. No one thought to look through the pages. I felt very safe. Did I mention that I placed one book with approximately E300 in my suitcase by mistake and even with customs going through my bags nothing was moved. Guess the book was too boring.
I do not recommend you leaving it there on your trip but it is a good cover to say the least. I have other tricks of the trade but that is for another time. So travel well and enjoy the ride…Denise
It’s early enough in the morning and I have been going over plans for travel in my upcoming future. I have to parlay how much money to put aside for travel.Every week I put aside just enough to pay for the trips I am planning for a year in advance. That means I look at my airline miles and decide whether this trip will take miles away or is it cheaper to buy the ticket.
First thing you could do is to take a look at the landscape of what the airlines are pricing and then divide that round trip ticket by the amount of months ahead you are ready to travel. So if the trip is lets say $350 and you are leaving in 10 weeks then put aside $70 a week plus the cost of parking and gas it will cost to do this. With careful planning buy the ticket and have it paid off before you are ready to book. It is a forced savings. Also look at how much money you will need to make up for while you are away. Make up your own vacation fund. You are in charge of your life no matter what happens to you.You never want to be short money when you come home as well. Why be stressed out about life? It just makes my head hurt. So lets face it I am always trying to save for travel.
I seek out through all different web sites the availability of flights and put together all types of fares by leaving from one city and looking for bargains in the others.
At times this is a part-time job just looking for flights that suit my budget. In the end I usually end up saving more than $400 or greater per trip. That savings allows me to purchase another ticket for another trip.
Travel does have its rewards. Right now I am in Gold Status with United. What that means is I am usually bumped up to first class by my carrier. So I pay the lowest price possible for my round trip ticket and get to fly first class. Things they never teach you in school.
Right now since the merger of United and Continental Airlines I am revisiting my status and leaning toward another Star Alliance air carrier US AIRWAYS. They have been decent so far in US travel and my son will experience first hand how they are (US Airways) on an over seas flight. I am looking forward to hearing the report.
I am a bit disappointed at how the service is with United Airlines,lately . Its a cattle car experience in all classes of travel. Maybe the merger caused some hard feelings with the workers. I noticed that the flight crew are not treating the customers (who pay for their salary) as well as they have in the past.
Back to the discussion of to book or not to book. Why would I not fly directly to my destination? Why not just give up the coin for the time being spent? A couple of reasons. Since I have a United credit card I am able to sit in the Presidential Lounge. That access allows me to sit in a comfortable chair. Enjoy free coffee, tea, water, drinks, fruit, cheese ,crackers, newspapers, magazines, and a way to recharge my laptop or cell phone. There is privacy.
All this for way under what I have paid for my economy ticket. So if I find a ticket that usually cost around $450 or $500 round trip and pay $250 to $350 and sit first class well, ultimate score on my part. I do not know about you but I look for all types of ways to be able to do what I enjoy and not pay full price.
What if you had a layover in a city that you always wanted to explore? That is what I will do sometimes. If it is for a prolonged trip then why not sit the extra couple of hours and see the town. There is usually a bus or train at the airport.
I also take into consideration in planning my trip – parking at the airport. That cost can be quite high here in the New Jersey/ New York area. There are budget parking lots and then there are alternative airports. I found on a few occasions it was cheaper to leave from SWF ( Stewart’s – Newburgh) Airport then either EWR ( Newark) or LGA ( La Guardia) or JFK airport. On the rare occasion there is an airport in Allentown, Pa. that is approximately one hour from my home that is cheaper to fly out of. You just have to add in the costs.
By this I mean with each trip add in the cost of travel. That is why I look around the various sites. The $100 I save in airfare will pay for the parking. To give you an idea of what we pay here in the NJ/NY area. JFK, LGA, EWR all cost approximately $18-$24 a day to park.This is at the airport not the budget competitors that sometimes are not so user-friendly at the end of your trip.
SWF parking per day costs are $8 daily. Parking for one week at the airport may end up costing anywhere from $56 SWF to $158 EWR/JFK/LGA on the high side. Let’s not forget the valet parking at Newark Airport which is $40 a day I believe.
That is why looking for sales when flying become such an important part of the planning. This is what most people do not add into their travel plans. You can save by parking at a train station and taking the train to the airport. Smart ways to park include the park and fly at some bus stations. Stay and fly at some hotels also could be a way to save. There are private companies and if you have great friends or family then you are going for free. Of course you will bring them a present or take them out to dinner.
The extra expenses of travel can be reworked into your daily budget. Sometimes you have to fly out of specific airport just due to schedules. Then look at all the carriers and see if there is anyone who is less expensive going to the same place.
In my search engine I wrote flights NYC to MAD (Madrid). I found all the air carriers their prices and flight schedules. I chose the one that worked and booked the flight. The price range was from $985-$1825. These were all the economy flights. I changed the dates of travel and the prices dropped by a couple of hundred dollars round-trip. If you are able to be flexible with your planning you will save a bundle.
So enjoy your travel. Be creative. Save money for your trip and you will be happy to pay that trip in full. Planning in the future means you never have to feel stressed to see new places and be a world traveller even if it means finding new and exciting places in your own back yard. Book wisely and you will be smiling while you sit comfortably in your economy plus seat that your purchased for the same price if not lower than regular economy.
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