Sunday, April 29, 2012

How to Have an Inexpensive Vacation

So I am always planning trips and seeing how much it would cost to go to places that I want to visit. While I plan vacations that aren’t happening anytime soon I often wonder two things 1) what is the best way to get free or nearly free flights (because I read about people doing it all the time) and 2) how can we stay in a nice place for not a lot of money. I find this is a topic that is discussed in MANY blogs out there (some even wanting to charge you to let you in on their secrets) but I think I have found some realistic ways to travel cheap.

The first way to get some SUPER cheap flights would be to work for an airline. I was reading the finance blog and learned that the blogger use to work for Continental Airlines. In his post he talks about how employees can get round trip flights in the US for $10-$30 and international flights were about $50-$100. I can't imagine getting a flight that cheap! He did say working for them had some drawbacks; you need to be awesome in customer service (which I am not) and you better have a sofa to crash on in your final destination because they don’t  paid well.

Another way to get discounted or free flights would be to use an airline credit card to earn your points. United Airlines boast on how you can earn 40,000 points in the 1st year (which I believe is enough for a domestic round trip flight). You also get the perks of priority boarding and two tickets a year to a United Club of your choice (kind of worth having the card just for priority boarding). It took me a long time to convince my husband that this was something we needed to do. It was a hard fight (because we don’t live in debt; therefore using a credit card is the devil). But after taking his first big vacation (to Hawaii) and his first long flight he realized I might be right. We got our card shortly after that and have been using it on EVERYTHING ever since! I mean everything just to get those points, hoping that the year and half of spending will help us get a free flight. And we just pay it off at the end of each month so we don’t carry a balance J

After taking our trip to Hawaii we decided that we would rent a house the next time we go anywhere for a long period of time. That way we could save some money by cooking for ourselves and not pay resort or parking fees. With this on our minds we found You can get really good deals from people renting out their vacation homes and condos (some for less than $50 a night). Then a few days ago I stumbled upon this article about these retires that were doing home swaping as a way to save money and get to travel at the same time!

This US couple owned their own vacation home in San Diego, California and had never traveled outside the US until they were 60. They started taking short, one week trips to Europe and caught the travel bug! Then they found and Now what they do is they house swap for a few months at a time with other people around the world. They have been able to live, breath, and take in so many cultures by doing this…can you tell I am SO jealous! After reading this story we decided that this was something we were going to do too when we can purchase a vacation home (I don’t think any ones wants to visit Houston, TX). Check out their whole story here.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Retire in Cuenca, Ecuador on a Budget

So I was surfing the web and came across this article about Cuenca, Ecuador and how its a really great place to retire. In the article, written by Kathleen Peddicrod, she talks about how you can rent a furnished apartment for only $400 a month or buy a small condo outright for $40,000. Ecuador uses the US dollar so you don’t have to worry about converting your money and you can get a better deal on the dollar over there too. She mentions how lunch would only cost between one and two dollars! And that you can take a bus through the city for $0.25. The city doesn’t lack in culture either, Kathleen talks about how you can attend orchestras, plays, tango shows, and art openings all for free. Since the city is a popular destination for international tourists and students there are many offerings for super affordable Spanish lessons.

When moving to a new country one major thought is health care. Will you be able to get the kind of care you could get in the states? The answer is yes! Cuenca heath care is high quality, honest, and inexpensive. In the article Kathleen links to another article she wrote about Latin America's Top Health Care. She mentions that some friends of hers had the same procedure but one was in Ecuador and the other in Arizona. The total cost in Ecuador was $110 and in Arizona it was $5,190 with the patient's portion being $347.

I have to be honest this article made me want to check out this city and look into traveling there. You can check out the whole article here. And check out Kathleen's websites and This would also be the perfect place for people who can work from home to move to for a while and take in a new culture!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Airlines with the Most Delicious Food

Courtesy of Australian Airlines AG
Now a days you're lucky if they offer you a free meal on the plane. Even some of the five hour flights are getting stingy and making you purchase food if you are hungry. Might as well buy something in the airport if you have time. But if you are looking for the best in flight food when you travel I think some of these airlines will be a good fit for you! Sometimes its worth the extra money for comfort :) Read the whole article here.

Best Food for First Class Award goes to …
Etihad Airways

Best Food for Business Class Award goes to …
Austrian Airlines

Best Food for Premium Economy Class Award goes to …
Air New Zealand

Best Food for Economy Class Award goes to …
Thai Airways International

Best Food All-Around Award goes to …
Turkish Airlines

Best in the U.S. Award goes to …
Virgin America and United Airlines

U.S. News Editors' Choice Award goes to …
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