Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Traveling on a Budget: Pt 2

So I know I have talked about this before but I'm going to talk about it again. How to save while on vacation!

Check out this post on finding things to do for free and packing your own food: Traveling on a Budget

And then look at this one on how get airfare and lodging for next to nothing: How to have an Inexpensive Vacation

They both have some really good ideas that I hope you'll check out!

If you have a travel tip of your own, head on over to Budgets Are Sexy to enter his $1,000 giveaway, in partnership with HotelClub

Happy Travels

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Trip Advisors Top 25 Destinations in the World

Trip advisor has once again compiled their Travelers' Choice 2012 list of the top 25 destinations in the world. Some are classic favorites and some may get you researching new places to go (like I did!). Click on the links below to read more about my trips to these locations! If I didn't comment on it it's because the location is not really on my bucket list…but if someone gave me a free trip I wouldn't turn it down!

1. London, United Kingdom - 2012 is definitely the year to go to London…with the Olympics happening and all. London is a great town and I believe can be seen in a weekend; although, I do think to really immerse yourself in the history you need more time. I went to London over a weekend when I was studying abroad. We went to Museum of Modern Art, Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, rode the London Eye (at dusk, very pretty) and saw a play! And we did all this by walking and taking the tubes. We visited some cool and different neighborhoods including Notting Hill, my favorite movie!

2. New York City, New York - I have been here once as a child where we saw the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island and then once as an adult where we went out on the town and saw things like 30 Rock and Time Square. I still want to go back because there are two things I want to see/do there: 1) have ice cream at the original Serendipity 3 and 2) see the Russian teardrop 9/11 memorial (which is technically in New Jersey and I think it's something to be seen by boat).

3. Rome, Italy - I went to Italy for Christmas in 2008. My friend and I took a Trafalgar tour through the entire country. We saw everything you need to see in Italy in 11 days! I like Trafalgar because they take you to what you want/need to see while still giving you plenty of free time and since they pre-book tours of museums and such you don’t have to wait in line (which comes in handy at the Vatican, Colosseum and Sistine Chapel).

4. Paris, France - Ah, Paris! What travel doesn’t have this on their list! I am hoping to get over there soon! Maybe in the next few years, fingers crossed.

5. San Francisco, California - I went to San Fran when I was young and we saw all the sights including the Golden Gate Bridge and Pier 39. On this trip we also went to the Red Wood forest which was amazingly beautiful!

6. Marrakech, Morocco

7. Istanbul, Turkey - I am hoping to visit Turkey on a cruise of some sort, maybe Greece and Turkey. I hear it's beautiful!

8. Barcelona, Spain

9. Siem Reap, CambodiaThis is somewhat of a new addition to my bucket list. I am so into how beautiful the ancient buildings and temples are! I really hope I can convince my husband to go!

10. Berlin, Germany

11. Chicago, Illinois Chi Town! A place I really want to go to! I don’t know why I want to go there but once we see more distant lands we'll spend a long weekend in Chicago and enjoy all the sights and deep dish pizza they have to offer!

12. Florence, Italy One of the cities we visited on our trip threw Italy and where we had the best pizza and saw the most beautiful masterpiece in the world, Michelangelo's Statue of David. I'm not a huge fan of art, especially old art but I have to say it's one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. I literally sat and stared at him for 2 hours.

13. Buenos Aries, Argentina

14. Sydney, AustraliaYep, the down under is on the bucket list too!

15. Beijing, China

16. Prague, Czech Republic I visited Prague in 2010 and it was a fun trip. I went on the Trafalgar tour, Imperial Europe and Prague was the 2nd city we visited. I would say, traditionally, you might want to stay in one place longer but that’s the thing I like about Trafalgar is that you can see SO much in just a few days. So if you don’t mind living out of your suitcase for your vacation these tours are right for you!

17. Las Vegas, Nevada I have been twice and that is enough! I went once when some friends were visiting from Europe and then again for my brother's 21st birthday. I don’t plan on every going back. Some people LOVE Vegas and make a point to at least once a year, but I really don’t see the point. For 2 trips to Vegas I can go to Hawaii!!! To each his own I suppose, I'll take the Aloha Spirit over the desert any day.

18.  Bora Bora, French Polynesia I think when people picture paradise this is the place they think up in their minds, whether they realize it or not. It is most definitely on my bucket list!

19.  Shanghai, China

20.  Honolulu, Hawaii All the Hawaiian Islands are on our list of places to go but we are probably saving the capital for last. It's such a big city and that makes it easy to sink into the touristy stuff (which we don’t want to do). Plus, they have a Disney Resort on the island so we might just save Oahu for a family trip in the far and distant future.

21.  Los Angeles, CaliforniaLA's tourism draw is obviously Hollywood and really nothing else. I went there when I was about 15 for a wedding and we did all the sightseeing things like the Walk of Fame, the Hollywood sign, Grauman's Chinese Theater and Rodeo Drive…and that was it.

22.  New Orleans, LouisianaEven though I live "right next door" in Houston, TX I have never been to New Orleans. It was always some place I wanted to see until the hurricanes destroyed it. I have heard that it is just not the same. Maybe we'll go one weekend when all the other place on this list have been visited. 

23.  Cape Town Central, South AfricaAlso another place that is on the bucket list!

24.  Chiang Mai, ThailandChiang Mai is in Northern Thailand and I really want to go to Southern Thailand, particularly the island of Ko Samui. I stumbled upon this island by chance when I was looking at a Groupon getaway.

25.  Dublin, IrelandBoth my husband and I have a wee bit of Irish in us so it would be fun to go; partake in the drinking and seeing those emerald hills.

Monday, May 7, 2012

When Browsing Turns to Buying

In my last post I mentioned that I like to price and plan future vacations that are happening WAY in the future. We'll a few weekends ago I was doing just that! I was checking out an email I got from AAA that said "Hawaii was on SALE!" so I started clicking away to see how much it would cost IF we went. First I looked at Maui and it would cost about $4,000 for a 10 night stay at a hotel, flight and car for two people. This wasn’t a bad deal and we were really considering it. Then I looked into Kauai and saw that we could get the same deal for only $3,200!!! WHAT?!?!? REALLY?!?!? So called the travel agent, told her I would be in her office that afternoon and by 5pm our trip was booked! We couldn’t believe the deal we stumbled upon!

photo from napaliriders
So this is where my crazy love for travel and planning comes in handy! Booking unexpected great travel deals! So now I am in full on planning mode on the activities and fun things we'll do on the island. Kauai is where many movies and TV shows have been filmed so we plan on watching all of them before we go! Can't wait to get back into the Aloha Spirit!

Read about our last trip to Hawaii's Big Island.

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