Thrifty Travels: How to Enjoy Traveling on a Budget

Holidays and saving money don’t really seem to go hand-in-hand and many generally thrifty people have seen their savings go up in smoke just because they’re trying to enjoy themselves a bit.

There is the pressure of having a nice holiday as well and your expectations for this short week or two of fun and relaxation; if you’re not going to enjoy yourself now when are you ever going to do it?

Luckily, you don’t have to go all out and spend all of your savings just to prove a point. Here is a handful of particularly thrifty spending tips for your vacations so that you can keep yourself a bit in check – and have even more left for the next vacation, of course.

First: Learn to enjoy the experience

As we get older, we tend to get a bit pickier. When you were a young backpacker, you probably didn’t see anything degrading about spending a night on the floor of a train, swiftly making your way through Europe without having to cough up your last money just to lay on a bed for a couple of hours.

While you certainly don’t have to spend the night on the floor in order to save money when traveling, you can still try to find your way back to the same kind of spirit that kept you going when you were in your teens or early twenties.

Not paying for luxury means that you get an adventure instead, you might meet some new and interesting people and can avoid all of those dreadfully boring families in the hotels who only spend their days paddling around in the pool.

Sure, you might have kids but keep in mind that they’re actually not the fuzzy ones; keep them entertained, let them enjoy the surroundings, and remember that luxury is something that adults tend to enjoy a lot more than children who really just want to have fun.

Next: Eat, live, and travel for less

Now we need to talk about the best ways to actually save money while traveling. First of all, you should try to stay in the kind of place that lets you cook rather than having to eat out all the time. Eating out can, after all, become a bit boring (and expensive) after a while.

There are, in fact, a lot of benefits to this compared to having to sit in a restaurant and wait for someone to bring you the bill and the food; by eating in, you can explore all of the city’s interesting markets, try some new flavors, and even learn some new recipes.

Ask around in the local food markets to see if someone wants to tell you how to cook a certain ingredient, befriend some locals and invite them over for a cook-off, and immerse yourself properly in the new culture. It beats sitting in those crowded restaurants, trying to find something new to order off the menu.

You can have a look at this site for some big apartments for rent in case you’re going with your entire family or a large group of friends.

It won’t cost too much if everyone chips in and keep in mind that some countries have started to ban Airbnb as it is hurting the money they used to make from tourism.

Support the locals instead and find an apartment to rent – or just stay in a cheaper backpackers spot or a bed and breakfast. It will be way more affordable than a regular hotel, that’s for sure.

Another tip that goes hand-in-hand with this is to travel like the locals do as well. This means that you can ditch those cab rides once and for all and get yourself a bus card instead; you’ll avoid a rip-off and, even more importantly, you get to see so much more of the city you’re in.

It’s going to feel like you’re actually getting to know the city rather than just being chauffeured around from one point to the next.

Talk to some people on the bus as well, by the way, and keep in mind that being a tourist is the only way to do this successfully without being seen as a crazy person.

Get out there, use your feet a bit more, and you might notice how much easier it is to save money. Your focus will be elsewhere, after all, such as on the beautiful surroundings, excellent company, and everything else that costs absolutely nothing.




3 Ways To Get The Most Out Of All-Inclusive Travel Deals

All-inclusive trips are a great way to save money on travel and take the stress out of the planning process. Your hotel, flights, food, and entertainment are all sorted out and you’ll just pay one single price for all of it.

Photo Credit: Public Domain Pictures

But people often get the wrong idea about all-inclusive trips and they associate them with tacky beach resorts rather than luxury travel, so they write them off. The truth is, there are some great all-inclusive deals in destinations around the world and they’re definitely worth looking into, especially if you’re traveling with the family.

If you’ve never been on an all-inclusive trip before, there are a few tips and tricks you should know. Here’s how you can get the most out of an all-inclusive trip.

Look For Luxury Destinations

There are plenty of beach resorts that offer incredibly cheap packages, but they’re not the most exciting places in the world and the quality of accommodation, food and drink, and entertainment isn’t going to be that great.

However, there are still plenty of options for reasonably priced luxury deals out there, you just have to search for them.

Check out these Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Club reviews to get an idea of some of the luxury packages that are out there. If you booked a trip to places like Mexico or the Dominican Republic and paid for everything separately, it would cost you a lot. But if you book a package deal with everything included, you can go to some incredible places without breaking the bank.

Check What Is Included

A lot of people get caught out with all-inclusive deals because they assume that they’ll get everything, but that’s not always the case. Some companies use the term fairly loosely and you might just get a breakfast buffet and a small selection of drinks from the bar.

If you get one of these deals, you’re still going to spend a lot of money on evening meals and the total spent will be quite high. Before you go ahead and book the trip, always check exactly what’s included and find a package that offers evening meals at a few different restaurants and a wider range of drinks.

It’s also a good idea to check what the food options are and whether they suit you because if you’re trying to eat healthy while you’re away, you don’t want to book a deal that only offers burger and chips every night.

Make The Most Of Free Activities

Even if you’re eating and drinking for free, you can still end up spending a lot of money on day trips and activities if you aren’t careful.

That’s why you should always look for a package deal that includes a lot of these things already and make the most of them.

Do some research into the country and then make a list of the things that you want to do. Then you can try to find package deals that have those day trips and activities included, otherwise, you won’t be saving that much money.

Package deals are a great way to save a lot of money when you travel, but only if you find the right ones and take advantage of all of the perks that you get.




Why You Should Choose Glamping as Your Next Getaway

People either love to going camping or they don’t. There doesn’t seem to be any in between view.

Glamping Getaway

Camping is one of those amazing experiences that many adore. Getting back to nature and taking in the beautiful views while enjoying a campfire and s’mores is exhilarating to say the least. The truth is though, for many people, going deep into the wilderness to pitch a tent can be a little too rugged.

For those who love getting away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city but would rather not climb into a stuffy sleeping bag at the end of the day, there is an option. Glamping!

Glamping is quite literally an amalgamation of camping and luxury. It’s a glamourous way to enjoy the great outdoors and sleep under the stars while keeping the comforts of home.

There are many reasons to choose glamping as your next getaway, especially if you want many of the benefits of camping without any of the discomforts.

Photo Credit: Westgate River Ranch

Comfort

When you go glamping, you are essentially “roughing it”, but without the “roughness” part.

No need for you to bring a tent that forces you to contort into strange shapes just to enter and exit. Glamping means a tall canvas tent with room to move. Not only that but you won’t have to sleep on the ground as you will have real beds to sleep in, all while enjoying the fresh air of the great outdoors.

When you go glamping you will have access to many amenities you wouldn’t otherwise have if you went traditional camping, like electrical outlets.

Photo Credit: Westgate River Ranch

Locations

Glamping can take you places that resorts and hotels just can’t. You could be waking up on a private island, or just steps away from the beach. As soon as you leave your room you will be right in the middle of nature and it doesn’t get much better than that.

Cost

Living luxuriously in a yurt, tent, teepee or cabin doesn’t have to put a large strain on your finances. In reality, glamping can turn out to be much less expensive than a hotel. Just make sure to shop around and do some research. Technically, camping can end up being quite expensive as well considering all the equipment and gear you will require. Glamping is a fantastic alternative to both camping and hotels.

Photo Credit: Westgate River Ranch

Good for Beginners

When glamping, you are rarely required to bring much equipment. You won’t have to worry about remembering a rain cover or a camp stove. There are very little skills required to go glamping. This makes it perfect for beginners.

Glamping allows you to have a comfortable, cost effective outdoor experience with several different location options. When booking your next travel experience, glamping is a fantastic choice, and you don’t have to be a camping expert to enjoy it!

 




Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista at Disney Springs – The Perfect Place to Stay!

Wyndham Disney Springs

Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista at Disney Springs is one of the seven Disney Springs Resort hotels and the closest of the seven to Disney Springs. It is less than a five minute walk across the street right into all that Disney Springs offers.

I’ve stayed here several times and I’m always blown away by what a great resort it is. You feel as if you are on Disney property without paying Disney on-site prices. Because I visit Walt Disney World multiple times per year, being able to save some money without giving up quality, is always high on my list.

The Wyndham offers continuous transportation to all of the Walt Disney World theme parks that run every 30 minutes. The hotel offers a variety of food beverage options including a full service restaurant, room service, pool bar & grill, 24 Hour Cafe and lobby lounge.

And . . . a Disney Character Breakfast on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings that is a fraction of the cost of any Disney character breakfast and just as good (the characters are official characters that come over to the resort from Disney!).

Beginning in January, 2018, the Disney Springs Resort Area Hotels offer major perks to their guests. In addition to your extremely affordable stay at the Wyndham, you will now have access to many of the same benefits as Disney Resort on-site guests:

  • Extra Magic Hours
  • You can link your room reservation with your My Disney Experience account.
  • You can purchase park tickets in the hotel or online in advance of your stay and link them to your MDE account to book your FastPass+ selections at 60 days – the same time as Disney Resort on-site guests!
  • Book on-property golf tee times 90 days in advance with greens fees and rental equipment discounts.
  • Disney Springs Passport Coupons full of discounts.

Each of the guest rooms are spacious and clean and come equipped with plush bedding, high-speed wireless Internet access, 37-inch HDTV flat-screen TV, mini refrigerator and an in-room safe.

All of the employees at the Wyndham are friendly and go out of their way to help with anything you need. My all time favorite guy is Shelton in Bell Services. You will never find a happier and more eager to please employee anywhere. I always look forward to seeing him when I stay at this resort.

As an added bonus when you stay in one of the tower rooms there’s a good chance you will have a Disney view! You’ll be able to see the fireworks right from your room!

Overall, I highly recommend staying here if you want to feel like you are staying in Disney without paying Disney’s on-site higher prices. The resort is great, the prices are great, and you’ll get many of the same perks you get while staying at a Disney on-site resort.

Also, I have heard some really good things about Wyndham Bonnet Creek timeshare resales right down the road. The location is a timeshare resort, and if you buy or rent a timeshare on the secondary resale market, you can get up to 50% off a week’s stay. What could be better than that?

I was provided a highly discounted stay for the purposes of this review. All opinions are my own.

 




Eating in Animal Kingdom for $14.99 and Under

We’ve come to the end of our series on eating at the Disney Parks for $14.99 and under and are finishing up with Animal Kingdom. In case you missed them, be sure to check out our Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios posts for eating in each of those parks for $14.99 and Under.

As a frequent WDW visitor, I don’t always make dining reservations and prefer to eat in quick service locations to save time and money, so Julia’s list is a big help for me!

Budget Food Animal Kingdom

Here are some ways Julia beats the high cost of food when visiting Epcot:

I often order kid’s meals at quick service locations. They are more than enough food and much less expensive! Some of the lunch and breakfast items at Animal Kingdom are ideal for using the kid’s meal rule – they are more than enough for an adult. The portions are large and offer the meal along with a small drink and some fruit. Don’t forget – some snack or dessert items are HUGE and can be a special treat to have dessert for lunch! Live it up! You’re on vacation!

For some reason, some items cost more in one location than another and I don’t know why. If an item is on the list, it is at the cheaper location (Turkey leg in MK is currently $10.99 but in EPCOT is $11.75 and in AK it’s $14.50 w/chips! Cheese sauce is $1.00 in MK and HS but only $.75 in Epcot). This seems to be the case with some alcoholic drinks too. TIP: EPCOT is the priciest of parks when it comes to food and drinks, but also has some items/drinks you can’t find in other parks.

Information is accurate as of August 2017.

Harambe Fruit Market

  • Banana, Apple, Orange ($1.99 each)
  • Flame Grilled Corn On The Cob – flame-grilled, Butter-dipped, with Market Curry Spice ($4.29)

Harambe Market

  • (Kids’ meal) BBQ Rib – glazed with Barbecue Sauce and includes two selections: Apple Wedges, Carrot Sticks, or fresh Broccoli Spears and choice of small Lowfat Milk or small Dasani® Water ($7.49)
  • variety of soft drinks not commonly found in USA ($3.29 each)
  • Frozen Flamingo – delicious non-alcoholic frozen concoction with flavors of Strawberry and Passion Fruit served in an ocarina musical sipper ($12.99)
  • Beef and Lamb Gyro Flatbread – served with Green Papaya Slaw and Black-Eyed Pea Salad ($10.99)
  • Grilled Vegetable Stack – served with Green Papaya Slaw and Black-Eyed Pea Salad ($9.99)

Kusafiri Coffee Shop and Bakery – Breakfast

  • Hot Breakfast Wrap – Egg, Sausage, Spinach and Goat Cheese ($6.79)
  • Cereal with milk, Fruit cup, pastries, yogurt, muffins, huge cinnamon roll for 2 ($3 – $9)

Kusafiri Coffee Shop and Bakery – Lunch/Snack

  • Tomato and Mozzarella Sandwich ($9.49)
  • Roast Beef and Cheddar Panini – Fire Roasted Beef, Smoked Tillamook Cheddar, and Horseradish-Sherry Vinaigrette on Ciabatta Bread. Served with House-made Curry Spiced Chips ($10.99)

Mahindi Market

  • Cinniamon Glazed Almonds OR Pecans ($5.39 each)

Tamu Tamu

  • Adult Dole Whip cup ($7)
  • Cocolate Covered Espresso Beans ($5.39)
  • Chocolate Waffle with Vanilla Ice Cream or Chocolate Mousse ($5.59)

Drinkwallah

  • Adult Coconut-Lychee Lemonade ($8.25)

Thirsty River Bar and Trek Snacks

  • Frozen Banana – Chocolate-covered with Nuts ($4.79)

Yak & Yeti Local Foods Cafe – Breakfast

  • Breakfast tacos, breakfast burritos, English muffin sandwiches ($9 – $10)

Yak & Yeti Local Foods Cafe – Lunch and Dinner

  • Vegetable Tikki Masala – Garbanzo Beans, Zucchini, Peppers, Onions and Tomatoes in a creamy Tikka Masala Sauce served with White Rice ($10.99)
  • Mini Mango Pie ($4.99)

Dino-Bite Snacks

  • Edy’s No Sugar Added Butter Pecan ice cream ($5.29)

Restaurantosaurus

  • Vegetarian Black Bean Burger – Spicy Southwestern-flavored Patty on a Toasted Bun with Cheddar and House-made Avocado Spread served with Southwest Salad and French Fries ($13.49)
  • (Kids’ meal) Turkey Wrap includes two selections: Grapes, GoGo squeeZ® Applesauce, or steamed Broccoli and choice of small Low-fat Milk or small Dasani Water served with a Sand Pail and Shovel. ($9.99)

Eight Spoon Cafe

  • Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Pulled Pork ($6.29)
  • Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Shrimp and Sweet Chili Sauce ($6.49)

Flame Tree BBQ 

  • Ribs, Chicken, & Pulled Pork Platter – Smoked Ribs, Chicken and Pulled Pork served with House-made Baked Beans, Coleslaw and Jalapeño Cornbread ($19.99 GREAT FOR SHARING!)
  • Ribs & Chicken Combo – Ribs and Chicken served with Home-made Baked Beans, Coleslaw and Jalapeño Cornbread ($16.49 Great to share!)
  • 1/2 Chicken – Marinated Slow-smoked Chicken served with Signature Baked Beans, Coleslaw and Jalapeño Cornbread ($13.99)

 Pizzafari

  • Flatbreads served with Tomato and Cucumber Salad: Cheese, Mediterranean, Shrimp, Cheeseburger, Pepperoni ($10 – $13.50)
  • Broccoli ($2.39)
  • (Kids’ meal) Cheese Flatbread served with choice of two sides of Grapes, Carrot Sticks, or fresh Steamed Broccoli and choice of small Lowfat Milk or small Dasani® Water ($6.99)

 The Smiling Crocodile – SOME OF THE MOST AFFORDABLE SANDWICHES

  • Salmon BLT Sandwich – Open-faced Smoked Salmon Sandwich made with Thick-cut Smoked, House-roasted Bacon on Ciabatta Bread ($5.49)
  • Pimento Cheese BLT Sandwich – Open-faced Sandwich made with Hand-crafted Pimento Cheese, Thick-cut Smoked, House-roasted Bacon on Ciabatta Bread Topped with Chives ($5.29)
  • Turkey BLT Sandwich – Open-faced Turkey Sandwich made with Thick-cut Smoked, House-roasted Bacon on Ciabatta Bread ($5.29)

 Terra Treats

  • Hummus with Vegetables ($4.39)
  • Buffalo Chicken Wings ($5.99)

Satu’li – Lunch and Dinner

  • Slow-Roasted Sliced Grilled Beef Bowl – Slow-Roasted Sliced Grilled Beef marinated in a blend of Garlic, Herbs, Red Pepper Spice, and Red Wine Vinegar topped with Crunchy Vegetable Slaw and Boba Balls served with your choice of Base and Sauce ($12.99)
  • Chopped Wood-Grilled Chicken Bowl – Wood-Grilled Chicken Thighs marinated with Garlic and Olive Oil topped with Crunchy Vegetable Slaw and Boba Balls served with your choice of Base and Sauce ($11.49)
  • Cheeseburger Steamed Pods – Bao Buns – Steamed Cheeseburger Pod stuffed with Ground Beef, Ketchup, Mustard, Pickle, and Cheddar Cheese served with Crunchy Vegetable Slaw and Vegetable Chips ($10.99)
  • Vegetable Steamed Curry Pods – Bao Buns – Steamed Vegetable Curry Pod with Eggplant, Cauliflower, Sweet Potato, Carrots, and Shallot Cilantro Cream served with Crunchy Vegetable Slaw and Vegetable Chips ($10.99)
  • Sustainable Fish Bowl – Panko Breaded Sustainable Fish topped with Crunchy Vegetable Slaw and Boba Balls served with your choice of Base and Sauce ($12.99)
  • (Kids Meal) Slow-Roasted Sliced Grilled Beef Bowl – Slow-Roasted Sliced Grilled Beef marinated in a blend of Garlic, Herbs, Red Pepper Spice and Red Wine Vinegar topped with Crunchy Vegetable Slaw and served with a choice of Base and small Dasani Bottled Water or Low-fat Milk ($8.49)

I hope you enjoyed the Eating for $14.99 and Under series! Don’t forget to look at Eating in the Magic Kingdom for $14.99 and Under – Eating in Epcot for $14.99 and Under and Eating in Hollywood Studios for $14.99 and Under.

Julia and her son are frequent visitors to Walt Disney World and Disney Cruise Line. She admins a great Facebook group for Disney lovers that you can find HERE

You might also find 50 Great Tips for Doing Disney on a Budget helpful for planning a trip to WDW. Also check out Using Memory Maker at WDW and Understanding the Disney Dining Plan.