One of the most read topics in the world is how to stay healthy. Weight loss is another big topic that relates to health. So how do you stay healthy and watch your weight when you are traveling?
There is belief by some, that being on vacation means anything goes. I know plenty of individuals that this is their idea of a vacation. Some people cannot wait to be able to do things in excess. We hear the slogan, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” Guess what? What ever you do anywhere has a ripple effect in your life.
I am not saying enjoy the food and have a good time. I am asking you is there any fun in having a hangover while you are on vacation? Some of you are saying yes there is. Why am I being a party pooper?
Well it’s your business how you manage your life. I am not here to tell you how to run your life at all. I do want to share with you how I see things. Vacation is a wonderful word. It means that you have time to either stay home and enjoy your life anyway that you chose. Some of those things may be: finish chores, begin a new project, get in touch with friends, relax, mow the lawn, paint the house, the apartment, have a bbq, go fishing, camping, bike riding, hang gliding, scuba diving, etc..
I look at vacation of the continuation of my daily life just with visiting places that I have not seen before. Life comes at us fast. I try to the best of my ability to have down time daily. I have started working out again with weights and my favorite dvd Turbo Jam. Hey I am frugal in my everyday life as well. I bought a work out bench weights, bands and a collection of dvds that act as my in-house coach.
The “gym” is located in my laundry room and I take the time to make it happen. Its my health after all. Working out has taken away a lot of stress that builds up in the day-to-day of my life. I have also been meditating. Taking time to sit and reflect is very important. There is nothing like it for me. I also take time to go to church. That is for me and not to say that is what you have to do.
If you are not geared towards a more spiritual side then read what makes you feel relaxed. Take a walk. Stop and just be. The more relaxed you allow yourself to become the less likely you are to accumulate stress related diseases. The less likely you are to want to do things to excess. One exception to that rule is – you can never have more joy than you know what to do with.
So about going out on vacation and enjoying the moment. I chose to walk around most cities and try not to use the metro system if I can walk to my destination. I clock around 7 to 10 miles a day. I eat what I want and I never seem to put weight on while on vacation. I like to be active when I visit. Sitting by the pool and just sunning I can do that at home sans the pool.
Even if I am in the country side I am exploring. When I am in the water I am swimming, snorkeling or scuba diving. I have not been on my motorcycle for a while. That to me is a great form of meditation . You cannot be focused in on anything but the road in front of you and staying alert. Extremely relaxing.
What are the benefits of taking a deep breath and enjoying exercise? For one while you are away you will feel awesome. You can work out in your hotel room. I do push ups against the wall in the morning. I do squats and lunges. I also do a bit of cardio by doing jumping jacks or just dancing to music. Stretching and working out in the morning limbers up your body. You are never too old to exercise.
I now am working out harder. One thing I have forgotten to mention about vacation. Take time to laugh! Laugh as hard as you can. Put a big smile on your face. I cannot tell you how many wonderful people I have met just because I am usually smiling. People will walk up to you and want to know why you are so happy. True story.
Sometimes people share with me how stressed out they get on vacation. Why? Because you got lost? Who cares? Just enjoy.
I know things can get frustrating. On my birthday in Zaragoza, Spain I was having a great time with my son. While we were having dinner at a local restaurant we noticed a large group that was trying to speak to the waiter in English. He did not speak English so we watched. No one in this group could speak Spanish so my son offered to help them order their meals. We were in the courtyard and it was a beautiful night. They were so grateful they asked us to sit with them and bought us wine for the evening. The group was from England, Australia and the USA. They happened to be working for the WHO organization. It was a great unexpected birthday surprise.
The next morning we were going to Madrid. I went into the garage to grab the car and found I had a flat tire. Well after a series of phone calls that matched any Monty Python skit I had to use American know how on the laid back car company and had a replacement car within……..7 hours. So yes, I was a bit stressed. When I saw they had delivered and Audi that replaced my VW Golf I said, “Yeah baby.” Put the car in gear and my son and I zoomed down to Madrid at warp speed. It was a stress relief. Kids do not attempt this trick at home.
My stress was gone. I was listening to music and enjoying the country side passing me by. I saw ancient aqueduct systems and modern turbine windmills. What a contrast to say the least! So stress does come but it goes. What is better to be all upset and waste time that you will never get back or to let it go? You can always make more money folks you can never make more time.
So relax, enjoy, and take a deep breath. I am going to work out after I post this. After seeing that woman on You Tube. I have no more excuses but to get in shape and enjoy my life so I can get ready for my next trip. This year its Texas to see Mom as always, Kona, Hawaii, Palm Springs,California and Spain again. I do it all on a shoe string and because I do I enjoy the ride. Have a great day yourself. Denise
It has been a while since I posted on the blog. I have been working on too many things and constantly think that I have neglected what I enjoy doing and that is writing and sharing my thoughts to those of you who really enjoy traveling.
Recently, I was on the phone with a friend and explained how much fun I had while visiting Hilton Head, South Carolina on my own. The person on the other end of the phone said, ” Oh I am so sorry you had to travel on your own. I imagine it was not much fun.”
I never thought of traveling alone as a sign that I needed sympathy but none the less it seems to me I would like to write about how much fun it can be to travel on your own. First things first always leave an itinerary of where you are and where you are staying. It is the same for camping alone or biking or hiking alone. Needless to say there was a movie recently that put it into perspective how you can get stuck and if no one knows where you are. Well just fill in the blanks you get the idea.
So you are going solo. The positives are so many I do not know where to start. Well it is easy to not have to wait for someone while you are getting ready to leave for your trip. Booking is the same as anywhere else. Find the best price for your ticket. Rent a car. Double check with the hotel, bed and breakfast, timeshare what ever you are doing and be on your way.
One of the most liberating things about opening up the door to your room is if there are three bedrooms like the condo I stayed in you can stay in all three or just pick one. You can go shopping for food or go out to eat and there is no bargaining of where you should go. You just do it.
Places to see? Be adventurous. I was at the Marriott Surfwatch. They have a few amazing pools. Its amazing how many people just swim up to you and start a conversation. I met a great family and enjoyed wine and cheese with them and then went on my own. I walked on the beach. After a long afternoon I headed out to dinner.
Sit at the bar and enjoy dinner. I met more people who were from all over the country and they were more than willing to share their favorite places to go and visit and eat. I decided after hearing about Charleston I would take a ride and enjoy the day.
It was a quick two hour drive and it was a beautiful drive. Once I arrived in Charleston I did a quick tour of the Southern Museum and looked at the Confederate Soldiers uniforms and other artifacts. Being from the North I was interested in seeing their perspective. Well we all know how that war ended.
I walked through their slave market and it was sobering thinking about all the lives of the individuals at that time. The market now is filled with artists and shops not unlike any other tourist area.
I headed back to Hilton Head and had a great time while I was there. I realized by the fourth day I was saying hello to the furniture and announcing that I was home. It struck me that maybe I needed to connect with some other people and enjoy socializing. Well it did not take long. There are plenty of people who are willing to entertain you if you are open to meeting people.
I am far from shy so it was easy to just sit and talk to people. We covered a tremendous amount of ground and I was content. The subject of Savannah came up so I decided to go to Mrs. Wilkes and have lunch. Oh you do not know who Mrs. Wilkes is? Well I want to tell you that I have been there many times before. She was an amazing woman. Sadly, she passed away last year. However, her family still carries on the tradition. It is the best of the best in Southern cooking. I went to Paula Deans after Mrs. Wilkes and there is no comparison. Its like comparing your best recipe to an imitation. No offense to anyone who thought Paula Dean was the only way to go.
See the secret of finding good eats is asking the locals where to go for a good meal. They will search their memory banks and tell you about some local great blah blah place. Stop them and ask,”Where do you like to go?” Best food found that way and inexpensive.
So the moral of this blog is if you want to travel alone. Do it. Do not let anyone or anything stop you. I love to travel with my son, friends and who ever. The best time you can have is traveling alone. It helps set the reset button on getting to know yourself again. You do not have to travel far. Take a day trip. Walk in the woods. Go to the beach. Go to the lake. Unplug and just hang out in your backyard. Spend some quality time with yourself. Work on healing yourself and learn to like yourself. You are all you have. You may meet tons of people but when they walk away you are left with you. Enjoy your travels and enjoy your life. Denise
I was enjoying this morning soap from Brazil. Yes it is the simple things in life that make me smile. You know for the last few years when ever I travel I collect two things. Stones and soap. That is right. The first flight was to India. I went with a group to experience Darshan. It was a wonderful experience. I watched everyone else picking up really great things to bring home. I looked at the ground and picked up the most amazing stones and geodes. I still have them to this day. I have a small collection of rocks from all over the world.
I am not talking about boulders. I mean pebbles that are still there. They are not big enough to be called rocks. Still they are colorful and I did not break apart the road or trail when I picked them up. I live in a very rocky part of New Jersey where my garden seems to grow rocks on a daily basis. So taking one or two stones from an area is not going to create erosion.
The next favorite part of being in a country is buying soap from where I am visiting. Some countries have incredible soaps. They are light and fragrant. When I have visitors who come and stay with me that is the one thing that I ask for. Please bring me a bar or two of your favorite soap. It is simple and the memories that it brings up are wonderful.
Well I am in search of today. I am going to the Ironbound section of Newark which has a supermarket that may have what I am searching for. The reason I started this post was really to provoke in you what do you bring home from your vacations? Is it something simple like a feather or a sea shell that you found on the shore.
I had a visitor from Finland who stayed with us for two weeks. We went to the Jersey Shore which is amazing number one. She was really taken aback looking at the mountains one day and the ocean the next. She thought that New Jersey was what most people think it is. I guess we like it that way. Who would guess that the phrase the Garden State is still true. Well as we say here “Stay Away”. You would not like the beauty of the ocean and the magnificent coast line anyway.
Back to the post. Oona collected some shells that had washed up on shore. We carefully looked around and she found the most delicate small shells and polished stones. My guest grabbed them as if someone else might take them out of her hands. She smiled and said that her mother would really enjoy them as a memento of her trip.
It is the simple things that make me remember the good in life. When I visited Hawaii last year I enjoyed the coffee and a sun tan lotion call Maui Babe. I ordered it when I ran out. I have fresh coffee “imported” from Hawaii monthly. I know being a part of the US it is not really imported but I dream about Hawaii and the can still see the mountains and peaceful coast when I settle down with a cup in the morning.
So what do you take home with you when you go on vacation. How do you make memories? A book of matches? Its the simple things in life that make me smile.
One of the worst experiences a person may have to live through is the trauma of hearing a loved is ill, in an accident or has died. Whether you receive the information at home, work or while away the intensity of the loss or change in your day-to-day pattern may cause you to go into panic mode. Some people go into high action and others just stop in their tracks.
No matter what level of emotion you are experiencing there are things that you need to know before that event occurs.
So how do you plan for the family emergency? What are the steps you can take if you away on holiday and something does come up? First things first you need to remember it is never too late to plan.
One thing you might want to consider investigating is international travel health insurance. There are many companies that handle international health insurance. If you are traveling with family you do not want to be without care. Look into plans that have emergency transportation and air transport back to the States , Canada, the EU or where ever you live.
Investigate by calling your domestic travel insurance number and really grill the person on the other end of the phone. Find out what their time requirements are for reimbursement. What do they cover? Ask hard questions about medical care and air evacuation. Meaning transport back to the States or where ever you live. What is the deductible and what are you responsible for. Medical coverage is really important. Planning ahead and knowing you are covered is such a relief.
I know when I had an accident with a car I called and spent one hour on the phone. I found out I needed the exact location and time of the accident. Photos were needed. A police report. Then reporting it to the rental car company. Filling out their paper work and making copies of their paperwork. I made lots of copies mailed and faxed the company their paperwork .
I had to call the company to follow-up every few days. It ended up that they paid in full. It took time on my part and I did not let up. I had everything they asked for including my credit card statement which they also needed as proof of rental. Find out all the details and follow them to the letter of the law.
Look at the countries you are going to visit. Become familiar with their hospital policies and how their 911 services work. If you are going to be traveling in the country far away from urban services then how about going to your local first aid squad or to the American Heart Association and take a CPR course or basic first aid skills. Being forewarned and forearmed is the best way to approach this.
Now imagine you are the lonesome traveler. You are feeling pretty good about that trip to a tropical paradise. Finally, you are going SCUBA diving. As a diver myself I know how important it is to know your equipment and know your surroundings. Never go anywhere whether its diving, climbing, walking or riding around without having a friendly note or two given to someone nearby that you trust or a trusted friend or family member to look out for you if you do not return.
Traveling alone is great but have some basic first aid supplies with yourself. Include a flashlight, a map (yes they still exist), water and non perishable food. You never know. The reason I said a map is for the obvious reasons. You do not have internet access everywhere in the world. I know for some of you that may be hard to imagine but it is what it is.
Know how to say help in all the languages of countries you are visiting. Learn to say “I need your help.” “I am lost.” “I am injured.” “I do not speak much_____.”That I would say is one of your biggest weapons concerning emergencies. Learn simple phrases so you are not passed by when you are in distress. It’s just good to know simple phrases anyway when you travel. My most important phrase is, ” Coffee with cream to go please.”
Know where the local embassies of your nation are. If you do not want to register with them that is fine. Just know where they are. Also find out in advance how much currency from your home country you need with you incase you have lost your passport. That is right you need dollar bills to get a new passport. I do not know about Canada or other countries.
Email a copy of your birth certificate and your passport to yourself and family members as insurance incase yours is lost. These are good things to have available and accessible if you are in another country.
If a family member becomes ill in the United States and you are home first thing I would do is call the airline. Let them know what your emergency is. If one person is unwilling to help you then hang up and call back. You will find a person who actually is able to give you a decent price for the flight you need.
In the case of death you may have to prove to the airlines for reimbursement a death certificate. Also in the event of an illness you maybe able to receive a discount by providing a note from the attending facility or physician.
Do not wait until it’s too late. Do not wait until you are facing your ground zero. I am a firm believer in calling the airlines, trains, buses, cruise line and rental companies. Call before you go. Call and ask them what is their protocol. Is there written material they can send you? Have it somewhere safe. Bring it with you or email it to yourself.
You may still be standing their stunned if an emergency arises. However, when you get your composure back you will be grateful that you have the steps, the knowledge and the plan to get you out of this painful situation.
I know that you are a wonder filled person and plan to enjoy every second of life. I know that you will enjoy every second of life. I also know that there is peace in knowing how to handle emergencies with grace. May you be well. May you and your family be healthy. Most of all enjoy life. Its the best vacation that you will ever enjoy.
Hello everyone. Today I am going to discuss how to make a plan for your trips. You see everyday we have the opportunity to live life to its fullest or just let the day whittle away. For myself I have been gathering information for my new book and find it really amazing at how many quotes, ideas and inspiration is just flowing through me, again.
I just got off the phone with a friend who works for Jimmy Buffett. She has been on the road for many years and has traveled to many of the places that I would like to visit. We both shared our concepts on what makes a place an ideal area to visit. For me its the people, the food, and nature. Sometimes its the buildings but always is there a beach or mountains close by. That is my idea of a great time.
So what drives wanderlust in a person? What makes it go from a dream to reality. Well my fellow readers it takes desire. Without the original desire there is no interest to get to your goal. Ah the goal. So how do you go about making your dreams come true? Well there are lots of ways that I know of first do as much research as you possibly can from books at the library to various websites that provide the information that you need.
You can also visit embassies, AAA, or just download what you need. Speaking to friends or people who have lived or visited the places you are interested in is also a great resource. So now where is your plan? Please know that you can do what ever you want to do. You just have to start. That is the hard part for most people. Have the dream and then the execution of that dream.
Start with how much you want to spend then get busy and make that happen. Look at the cost of first class, business class, and economy class. If you are going on a long trip well break it up if you have the time.For example traveling from an airport in New York to an airport in Asia is a very, very long trip.
Give yourself time to enjoy where you are going. Learn that it is ok to take a break stop off in San Francisco, Los Angeles or Hawaii. Spend a day visiting on either way or both ways out. You are allowed to have breaks or (legs) on your flight. Besides it gives you a new place to visit. Maybe you always wanted to see Hawaii or you name it just let yourself be in control of how you journey.
Do not stay loyal to your airlines if they do not give you a great price. I was checking flights to Fiji(NAN). I could go on United and be loyal and pay over $5000.00 for economy. Yes, that is right, economy! So I researched at who lands in the airports that I want to land. That is always a great way to start. Find out who flies in before you waste your time trying to match schedules.
I discovered that Pacific Air flies there. I took the time to find the reviews of the airlines and their service however, its not receiving great reviews. The price was $1600 from Los Angeles. I looked at using airline miles to LAX(Los Angeles). It would cost me approximately 25,000 miles and $15 round trip. Hugh savings out approximately 20K miles but hey is it worth the $5k in dollars!
If you do not have airline miles then look to see which airlines are having promotions or specials to the places you want to visit. There are plenty of times where you can save a bundle by flying into the airports who offer the special. The only thing it is costing you is time. If you like to save your money for other things than the savings of $50.00 to $400.00 interest you then do your homework ahead of time.I would rather have the money in my pocket and know I have more to spend on what interests me than give it up to the airlines.
Back to the task at hand. Have an idea or a dream to know where you are going. Search out and research. Look at all your options. Decide on how much to spend on your flight, hotel, B&B, transportation and food. This will help you write out a game plan on how much to save weekly to make your dream vacation come true. Do not lose sight of your goals. What are you willing to give up in order to make it happen?
You have heard this all before. Buying coffee daily at $3.00 (figure you have a bagel or yoghert when your buy your coffee right?) a pop is $21.00 a( 7 day) week times 4 weeks is $81.00 a month times 6 months is $486.00. Lets face it on your days off you stop to buy a coffee. Some habits are just habits.
Bringing your lunch to work will save you an additional $8.00 a day so that is times 5 work days is $40.00 a week got the idea for a month its $160.00. Here we go again at 6 months its $960.00. Oh and that $1.00 tip you leave 5 days a week times 4 weeks times 6 months give you an additional $120. So lets add this up by just bringing in your own coffee, lunch and oh I forgot water. That cost is from .99 to $2.00 correct so let’s use the middle number and that is an additional $160.00 in six months. Where can you find a place to visit with the money you have saved. The total is $1686.00. That is correct. Add it up.
So grab a pen and paper or get out a notebook on your notebook and look at the endless possibilities. Imagine what you could save if you made your own dinner 6 nights of the week. The average night out costs between $30 to $75 a person. If you go out at least 2-3 times a week you are spending $90.00 a week on what? Make it once a week or just have appetizers instead of a meal. Drink water and cut out the wine. Go to a BYOB. You will save loads of cash.
Take that $30.00 a week times 4 weeks times 6 months and guess what that is an extra $720.00 for your trip. So lets add it all up. $2,400.00 saved. Your trip is paid for and you will not have a bill. Be creative and look at other ways you can save so you keep the money for your future. Well for another time.
Dream big. Enjoy life. Plan well. Life is best lived with joy.
Peace to you all .Denise
Have you ever wondered if you are going to visit the places that you have always dreamed of? Do you look at your wallet and say there is no way I can go to visit this place or that. It’s just a dream and dreaming is all it will ever remain.
I have the following questions for you. Since I enjoy writing about travel and finance there is another topic that is near and dear to my heart. The question of how long will you live?
That is right I went there. One thing about life is that we always assume death is a visitor that will come into our lives but we look at it as a destination that we see in the distant future. We base most of our decisions on the ability to block that out of our minds and look at either the present or a future that may not come.
I am not trying to stir an emotion of fear or morbidity. I just want to state a fact. Recently, I noticed that on many sites that I have been visiting the one thing they talk about in being frugal is to deny yourself and live on a shoe string budget. While it has its merits there is one thing they never take into consideration. It is that you do not know when you reach that magic age of 30, 40, 50, 60 or beyond will you have the strength, energy or health to do the things that you always wanted to do.
2011 I decided to put my dreams on the table and go for the big guns. I enjoyed so many trips with my son that I was almost traveled out. Is that even possible? This year due to changes within my life I have stepped out on my own and have a business that is doing well. I have to say. I will talk about that later.
Looking at my income, expenses and long-term goals I took a deep breath at the cost of my medical insurance and all the day-to-day bills. I must have looked like the RCA Victor dog. My head was tilted as if I was waiting to hear a voice from above. “Take a trip to see Mom.” That is what my inner voice said loud and clear.
So on the web I go searching all the flights that go to Del Rio, Texas. Let me tell you the only direct flight to that Texas town is Continental Airlines. The price from Newark Airport fluctuates. Sure I will look at other airport to depart from. It does pay to leave from airports that are within a 50 mile radius. There may be sales that you have not thought of. I also include in my cost parking.
Many times I will fly out of Stewart Airport because of the price of parking and time on the Thruway out ways the $24 a day to park in Newark. Honestly if I am paying $60 more for a flight and the cost of the over all trip is decreased even by $40 that is more money for me to save or spend.
The cost of my final destination is also factored in. At times it is just cheaper to fly directly into San Antonio and rent a car for $60 and drive. The only issue with driving to Del Rio is that most rental agencies put a big warning that driving within 50 miles of the Mexico border is not recommended.There is also the border patrol that has a permanent building and stop along Highway 90.
The towns of Ulvalde and Hondo are speed traps. If they say 35 miles and hour just do it. They will pull you over going 2 miles over. It happened to me I received a warning because the patrol man happened to have worked in Jersey City, New Jersey at one time. We spoke for a while. He wistfully spoke about his days in Jersey and all the food I take for granted like Pizza. Seriously, that is what we discussed. After 20 minutes chewing the fat I was on my way. Factor in the 2 1/2 drive to Del Rio from San Antonio sometimes it is just not worth the so-called savings. Remember I have to make the trip back to the airport.
With that in mind many times it is a wash to fly directly into Del Rio and just enjoy the extra hours with my mother. Money is not everything. That leads me back to the original thought I began with. Travel, money and savings.
Life is short my readers. I am not saying go overboard and go into debt. What I am saying is if you really want to do something that is a burning desire that desire is there for a reason. Do things while you are working. You can always make the money back. Start saving right now for that trip to where ever in the world you thought you wanted. Research like mad. Look into all the bargains there are.
For example right now if you wanted to go to Iceland and were thinking about renting a car well visit the SIXT.com site. This car rental agency is offering a great price on rental cars to that beautiful country. Imagine flying to Iceland from Boston for around $675 round trip. Rent a car for the week for approximately $125. Look for bed and breakfasts to stay in or look to friends who might have time shares. Ask them if they would be so kind to help you find a deal. They are able for $75 on top of the getaway packages let you have a coupon to stay at an incredible hotel or resort. However, if you have a car then you can explore like a native.
That was just an example so lets say there are two of you. If you travel the right way and book a trip 7 months ahead you would be able to pay off your trip in advance including the hotel or bed and breakfast. You need to have around $1000 or so for the week. I think in 7 months of being psyched and going on a vacation diet you can make it happen. You know the show the Biggest Loser. Well how about taking that concept and seeing how much your dream trip would cost and give yourself 6 months to a year to make it happen. This is the vacation diet. You would be the Biggest Traveler.
If you do this week by week you will be surprised how much money you can save. With my handy calculator that is $416.66 a month. So lets see you would have saved $2499.99 that includes airline ticket for one, car rental and money for hotel plus $1000 of spending money! I never take a credit card out on my trips. I only use it for rental cars. Why go home with debt? Listen can you save $104.16 a week. Ok, let me make is so much clearer that is $14.88 a day. Really that coffee and lunch or dinner out with friends will always be there. Bring them over your house for a dinner. Someone brings wine. Go to the library and take out a DVD and enjoy your life.
Honestly folks. When I last looked no one promised you the future. I know for a fact that life is extremely fragile. Our lives are about fragile as an egg that drops out of our hands and crashes to the floor.
So what are you waiting for. Look up that trip. Go see your family, friends or new and exciting places. Plan and then just do it. Conversely if you have to opportunity now to go then just pay it off in the reverse plan of what I just proposed above. Listen folks my mom like all people well she is aging. The time I have with her is very precious.
What is more important to you? The love and the life you have now? Or the belief that you will live forever and life can wait. I worked as a paramedic for many years and know that life is short. You have no guarantees.
Feel the life flowing through your veins. Dance to the music of the never-ending joy that comes your way. Do not end up waiting until you retire to enjoy life. Live well and stay healthy. Oh yeah I almost forgot I have a new business. I have ventured on my own. I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. I have a private practice and work with individuals, couples and children. I love what I do.
Feel free to contact me about my blog or any questions you may have. Life is large my friends but our lives move faster than the speed of light. Embrace life. Embrace yourself. You are the most loving person you will ever meet. You are the most interesting person you will ever know. Explore this wonderful world of ours.
My hope for you is that I am adding to your life. Take my tips about travel and try them out. I will continue to share what I have learned along the way. Peace to you all Denise
Hello today I will be writing about travel however I also want to address something that is also very near and dear to my heart. There is a reason I write about about travel, personal development and money. It is because I am writing what I know about and have taken the time to learn. Life my readers is the best teacher in any phase of your life. It takes you out of the classroom and into the world which you live.
When you know you love what you do then you are not working. I have taken this to a new level in many areas of my life. Finding your joy is so much a part of our daily lexicon. For some it makes them say “What?” for others they say, “Ah!” Living life on life’s terms is not that easy when you have a basket full of things that you have to work on. However, if you are able to surround yourself with individuals who are supportive and really have your best intentions at hand you will find that you can move through any situation. Remember everything in life is temporary even our lives are temporary.
I was in contemplation yesterday and realized how I was casting a shadow over my accomplishments and joys in life. When we have something large or small we are faced with it really does “overshadow” our thoughts. It is having the capacity to pull back and recount all the good you have created in your life. Really go to a place when you felt confident, happy, loved or just peace. When you can anchor your thoughts and resume balanced thinking. That simple formula is true. Control your thoughts and you will be able to control your life. Not anyone elses but your own. Have confidence in yourself always.
So how will I blend this into travel today well here it is. How to get the courage to take the trip you have always wanted to on a shoe string budget. There are those of you who are able and have the resources to travel where ever you choose and when ever you choose. I will attempt to unravel the crazy world of travel and how to be your own travel agent and guide.
First decide how much money you want to spend and how much money you need to save. My first choice does not depend on distance it depends on my ability to take time off and how to continue to have a flow of income while I am away. For those of you who have vacation time available plan your trips on a long weekend. Take off on a flight on Wednesday night take off work Thursday and Friday and Monday. That will give you 5 days of travel and 4 nights at a hotel or bed and breakfast.
Depends on how good you are with lack of sleep on going back to work on Tuesday you can actually travel abroad for an abbreviated trip and with a little planning you can have the trip of a lifetime. I use all resources. As a AAA member you can have your passport photo taken for 75 cents ($0.75) that is correct people. They have free maps of various countries. You can buy their guide books and that is just a tip of the iceburg of their services.
Travel off season. I love to travel off season. The price breaks are unbelievable. You will not be missing anything traveling to Savannah, Georgia in the spring or the fall. The only thing missing is the heat. Not just heat but the door open to hades heat. I love Hilton Head and Savannah at the end of the season in September. Everyone is back at school and you have the beach to yourself and its still warm enough to go swimming. Think outside the box.
Buy your tickets either way ahead of time or last minute that is the only way to get a great price. Join Farecompare and look at Trip Advisor. I have been a contributing writer lately its fun. Make sure you are reading the review of a traveler and not a planted comment from a rival hotel or facility. It does happen.
If you are renting a car make sure you have a loyalty program attached to collect airline miles. I know I did mention this before but its worth mentioning always. Even in Europe and the UK when you rent a car it is not like the US. Get the full coverage and if you are able to find the full and I mean full coverage in the discount price go for it. I have found SIXT as a great rental service in Europe. A small car for a week to ten days will cost around 475Euro. However that is with the full coverage. Why you may ask pay for the full coverage.
Well in Europe and the UK every little ding and scratch you are responsible for. That is right every ding and little itsy bitsy scratch and if you chose the waiver you will be billed directly to your credit card. I was standing at Heathrow Airport listening to a woman who was so upset. I had never rented a car in the UK before.She thought it was an outrage that she had an additional 100 British Sterling Pounds added to her bill for a scratch in the windshield.
I was so glad I was behind her in line. I signed up for the full boat. At that time I had rented from Hertz and it was quite a financial lesson. That is what made me research rental car companies thoroughly afterward I now realize that if you are going to travel and move about the country you need to know the strict rules and regulations in regards to that particular country.
So why rent a car? Well I added up the train costs, bus costs and other costs and for myself and my son it was cheaper to rent a car and travel around the country side. Besides it gave us a certain amount of freedom to go and stop and see small villages you are unable to see when you are on mass transit. Parking was not a problem. We usually parked for free at the bed and breakfast or hotel that we were staying in and used the metro system of the area we were in or just walked everywhere.
So that is that for today. Travel smart and plan well. I will discuss plane flights, best seats and best places that are off the travel radar to visit. Why not see things and places that you will hold close to you for a lifetime. Life is worth living even when you are having a bad day. Take care. Write me anytime Denise
There are so many things about the new year which is very exciting for me and hopefully for you. I have made a decision to share with you many things about my life and travel. Last year I had made many of my dreams come true with travel. I have already explained to some of you the way the ways you can save on travel. This blog is going to be explaining how I saved my airline miles by using a specific credit card. There are many out there that offer miles however you have to tailor to your specific travel needs. There are plenty of airlines that have alliances or work as teams.
In my case I have chosen Chase cards because I have had a Star Alliance account and used my miles for travel. This year alone I found that if I want to visit a friend in Alaska it would cost me either $367 plus 25K miles and a tax of $7 to make it the grand total of $374. This would be a long day and I would have to have a total of three connecting flights. I would still be able to collect miles one way but forfeit collecting miles on the reward travel. So this is how I went about looking at my trip.
Usually if you fly on a week day you have a better chance of flying a more economical flight. It is not possible for everyone but this is the ideal. For example if I am leaving a New York City airport on a Thursday and decide to return on a Thursday the full fare as of todays date from Continental Airlines is $1000. Looking at Alaska Air it was $874. Looking at my budget it was not working for me at all. In this economy to pay that price for a week trip just does not seem worth it. Last year I spent $580 for the same ticket. Again timing is everything. Last year I left in March. This year I may be going in June. There is a lot to be said for traveling off season.
So I began the usual routine of looking at both airlines and seeing if there was another airline as part of the Star Alliance that I could use my points or airline miles. I found a flight from Newark one way to Anchorage with two stops and a total of 10 hours for $478 one way and return 25k airline miles. Because I know how to bank my miles this year I have achieved Gold status so even with an economy ticket there is a strong indication I will be placed in first class.
Basically I am looking at going first class for the price of a one way ticket. This past year I have learned a tremendous amount of information about how to achieve point status. You can do this many ways. You as a traveler can fly everywhere and pay lots of money to achieve mileage or you can economize and travel via train and other partnerships and earn segments. It takes 30 segments to achieve Silver Status on the Star Alliance. That allows you to have your luggage being tagged at the airport as Elite. You have access to the Clubs at the Airport and you have an upgrade of your ticket if there is availability.
Segments are technically given as anywhere from point a to point b. So if you fly direct from NYC to Madrid. That is one segment but approximately 9k miles. So you need 25,000 airline miles to reach this status or 30 segments. So if you fly to Boston non-stop from NYC its one segment and 300 miles. If you take a train its one segment. So there are many ways to accomplish the same goal if you are looking for Silver, Gold or Platinum status.
Recently, some airlines such as Continental, United and US Airways have added features that can help you reach these goals. You can use a mileage maximizer from Continential to boost your miles. You can double and triple your miles and it does count towards your goal of trying to achieve Status.
US Airways and United help you buy your perks. Economy seating for a year. Free luggage for a year. Other perks can be bought at a price. It is steep so you have to evaluate whether it will work for you.
So how can this work for you all this wheeling and dealing. Well for one thing I visit my mother in Del Rio, Texas quite often. She is elderly and has a medical condition that I monitor from afar. It can be quite nerve wracking at times but it is what it is. I am not in a position to be able to always spend anywhere from $250 to $500 round trip depending on the market for a round trip ticket. I make my way there every 6 weeks or so.
Deciding whether to fly into San Antonio Airport and drive the 2 1/2 hours one way is not as bad as it sounds. However, if I can fly directly into Del Rio then it is a few miles to her house and I could walk if an emergent situation called for it. I always weigh out the cost of a ticket vs car rental. With that being said because I have a Veterans Advantage Card I receive 5% off my airline ticket. I pay with my Chase Card. Rent a car with my airline membership which is tied into the program. Pay gas with the card and have points adding up besides the airline miles. Miles are coming in from everywhere.
Of course you have to be goal oriented and know that this takes work and will spend approximately 2 to 3 hours of researching in order to make it happen but it is worth it to save your hard earned money.
I am not advocating that you buy or find this credit card. I am writing from my perspective and what I use to make my life work. This is template for you to use for yourself and I will be more than happy to help you if you need the help.
What I am going to let you know is that I am trying to have the best life I can have without going into debt. My budget is my own and I am attempting to assist you into your goals of independence.
I have been discussing travel and finance. The other issues I will be discussing in the coming weeks will also be about personal changes. As a therapist I know that life sometimes is not fair. It is not easy to make life work when you think life is working against you. I know for some of you it is a temporary situation but when you are faced with challenges they may seem overwhelming it feels like it may never end. This is when you find out who are your friends and who was just there to tag along. The next few blogs will be about life and its adversities and how to work with them and hold on to living the best life you can. You are always free to write me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Peace to you and be prosperous in all areas of your life. Denise