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Travel Book Review: Global Cheap Budget Travel Guide

Budget-Travel-GuideI’m going to do this travel book review as a post, though later I may change it to a permanent page – the book is that good.

A few months ago, our niece got married – it was a really nice wedding and we enjoyed it. My wife traveled to her sister’s house for both the bridal shower and the wedding (I went along for the wedding) as she was the “official” photographer (though I got the great shot of the wedding kiss!). Add to that, while she was down there for the shower, her father had a pacemaker put in, and she wound up having to stay an extra week or so to help out while he recovered… all necessitating some air travel changes. From my experience in taking shows on the road, I’ve had some travel planning experience (I once set up a site scouting trip where I was able to visit hotels in Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Dallas in one day! – I left New Jersey in the morning, and slept in Dallas that night… aren’t time zones wonderful), but the trips for our niece’s wedding tossed even me some curves that cost me some extra dollars.

If I had those wedding trips to do over again, I could do them a LOT BETTER and for a LOT LESS MONEY because I just discovered Brad Alexander’s gold mine of a book, The Global Cheap Budget Travel Guide.

So let me tell you a bit about it. First off, as I said, it is a real GOLD MINE of excellent money saving travel ideas. I’m not going to detail the book, it is inexpensive enough that you can just buy it, and from your first trip, you’ll be saving money – most likely at least enough to buy several copies of the book! Let’s start by highlighting the Table of Contents:

Introduction
Part I – Getting There

  • Chapter 1 – BT Tips
  •     Tips and Techniques
  • Chapter 2 – It’s I-Time
  •     Using the Internet
  •     Helpful Websites
  •     Bidding for Travel
  • Chapter 3 – Low Cost, High Service
  •     Defining a Low Cost Airline
  •     Low Cost Airlines in the United States
  •     European Low Cost Airlines
  •     Low Cost Airlines in South America
  •     Low Cost Airlines in the South Pacific / Japan
  • Chapter 4 – TA or No TA, That is the Question
  •     When to use a Travel Agent
  •     Must-Ask Questions
  •     Become a Travel Agent and Save
  • Chapter 5 – Divide and Conquer, Combine and Consolidate
  •     Airline Consolidators
  •     Benefits
  •     Finding One
  • Chapter 6 – I’ll Take That!
  •     Air Couriers
  •     Is it Right for You?
  •     Finding One
  • Chapter 7 – I’ll Fly for Free, Thank You
  •     Frequent Flyer Miles
  •     Getting Miles
  •     Redeeming Miles
  •     Expiration of Miles
  • Chapter 8 – Bump Me, Please
  •     The Bumping Game
  •     What to Expect
  •     Rule 240
  •     Redemption Rules
  • Chapter 9 – Give Me Back That Dollar
  •     Other Ways to Save In or Around the Airport
  •     Parking
  •     Luggage Cart Rentals
  •     Baggage Fee(s)
  • Chapter 10 – Planes, Trains, and Road Trips
  •     Other Travel Options
  •     Airpasses
  •     US Train Travel
  •     European Train Travel
  •     Travel by Car
  • Chapter 11 – Come Sail Away with Me
  •     How to Find a Good Bargain
  •     Cruise Line Categories
  •     Cruise Line Consolidators
  •     Cruise on a Freighter

Part II – Staying There

  • Chapter 12 – Sleep Tight
  •     Getting the Best Rate
  •     Hotel Consolidators
  •     The Online Search
  •     Loyalty Programs
  • Chapter 13 – Your Place or Mine?
  •     Home Exchange
  •     Timeshares
  • Chapter 14 – Think Outside the Hotel Room
  •     Bed and Breakfasts
  •     Hostels
  •     Camping
  •     Sleeping in the Airport

Part III – Hanging There

  • Chapter 15 – Pedal to the Metal
  •     Finding the Best Rate for a Rental Car
  •     Must-Ask Questions
  •     Fees and Fines
  •     Insurance

Part IV – Getting Back

  • Chapter 16 – Show Me the Money!
  •     Make Money Traveling
  •     Travel Jobs
  •     Contests
  • Chapter 17 – Right On, Write Off
  •     Tax Write-offs
  • Chapter 18 – That’s All, Folks!
  •     Final Thoughts
  •     Getting a Good Seat
  •     Sitting in First Class
  •     Avoiding Penalties
  •     Useful Information
  •     Final Tips / Reminders

The first thing Brad does is introduce us to the BT… The Budget Traveler. And from then on, he shows you how the BT does things to SAVE MONEY. You could almost say that every chapter shows you how to keep more of your money IN YOUR POCKET to save to spend really enjoying yourself.

And talk about knowledge from the inside! Brad shows you everything… even to becoming your own travel agent to take advantage of the perks that travel agents enjoy. I don’t say this to disparage travel agents… I’ve worked with too many of them over the years, and they earn every penny of their commission and every travel perk that is available… they’re great people, and have their clients’ best interest always top of mind. And I’ve often traveled under the auspices of a travel agency, and I’ve seen how well these folks are treated.

(I’ll put in a sidebar story here: I was scouting a hotel in Monte Carlo for a meeting I was putting there in a couple of months. What I didn’t know was that the night I was staying there was also the night they changed to Daylight Saving Time. So, of course, I woke up an hour late… and was late getting to the airport in Nice for my flight home. I showed my agency ticket to the Air France folks and explained what happened. I would assume that they would do this for any traveler, but they effortlessly, and with a warm smile, adjusted my flights and I got back to the U.S. only a few hours late. As I said, travel industry folks work REALLY HARD for the commissions they earn.)

So I really recommend this book – it is great! And, as I said, well worth the price, as I’m sure you’ll likely save the few dollars you spend on the book with just your next trip… and it’s all gravy from there. I might put one caveat in here: I’ve noticed that a small number of the companies that Brad refers to have changed since the book was written… but the changes are minor, and since the names are so well known, you’ll still get the great money saving service from the new entities – so don’t worry about the changes.

Check out Brad Alexander’s, The Global Cheap Budget Travel Guide. here.

DanSig-02

Top 10 Tips for Last-Minute Savings on Your Vacation Travel

Ships_in_PortWe’ve all done this… left planning for a trip to the last minute and find travel costs are much higher than we had hoped.

Researching and booking vacation travel early will always save money, but today, we live in the wonderful age of the internet which almost makes it, “never too late” to find last-minute savings.

  1. Compare – Compare – Compare. Even if you don’t have much time, the Internet makes comparison shopping quick and easy. By all means, check out travel aggregator sites like Orbitz, LastMinuteTravel.com, and CheapTickets.com, but don’t forget to look at the individual airline’s sites also. And as you compare costs, don’t forget those extra fees, like baggage fees, food, etc. They can eat up the savings on a good fare quickly.
  2. Grab it and Go. When you do find a good deal, book it. Many times, companies make great deals available only for a limited time, so those great prices may evaporate before you come back to try to find them again.
  3. Plan Non-Peak Travel. Days immediately before or after holidays are always peak travel days, and have fewer bargains available. Also, midweek rather than weekends tends to be where lower fares are found.
  4. Look at Near-By Airports. Rather than looking at main destination airports, check to see if it may be less expensive to fly to an airport that is, “close” rather than, “right there.” It is possible that transportation may offset some of the savings, but if you are renting a car, this may be negligible.
  5. Connecting Flights are Cheaper than Direct Flights. Of course, direct flights are faster and much more convenient… but they’re more expensive too. If you can afford the extra time – and usually if you’re not traveling with small children – you can often save a bunch by taking several connecting flights to get to your destination.
  6. Save by Staying with a Friend or Relative. Or, if you don’t want to impose, look for special hotel family packages or holiday deals. Another neat trick is to rent a condo or apartment, or find a home swapping deal.
  7. Off Season is the Best Time to Save Money. For instance, you’ll find great rates in Florida in the summer rather than the winter.
  8. Look for deals on car rentals. Again, use the internet to search the aggregators like Orbitz, LastMinuteTravel.com, and CheapTickets.com, for car rental deals.
  9. If You Take Your Own Car, Optimize Fuel Consumption. Make sure your tires are properly inflated, replace your car engine’s air filter, and get the oil changed. Let you mechanic know you are planning a driving trip so he can make extra sure that you don’t have trouble on the road.
  10. Pack snacks and lunches to eat while you’re traveling. Food expenses can really add up when you’re traveling, so your own snacks will save some cash… and when you get there, plan on preparing some of your own meals – especially if you found a rental condo or apartment.

These are just a few of the ways you can really save on the cost of your vacation and holiday trips. For more in depth money saving tips, you can download a free report from Globe Cheap. This is an interesting report because most of the tips are insider tips only a former travel agent would know (which the author is).

So if you can be more flexible with your travel plans and spend some time and energy finding great travel deals (unlike using a travel agent) then you’ll probably save big money following these tips. Go here to claim your free report now.

DanSig-02

 

Save Money on Cruises– Take a Specialty Vacation Cruise

Boat_on_Rhine_RiverNever heard the term “specialty cruise?” You’re not alone. This is a concept that has really been gaining in popularity, but it is by no means as well- known as your standard Caribbean cruise on a monster ship. Actually, specialty cruises can mean many things: a special type of ship, a special theme for the week, or just a small select group of like-minded passengers. There are hundreds of specialty cruises available; here are just a few ideas to get your wheels turning, and whet your appetite:

  1. Barefoot Cruising has been attracting people for decades and may be the perfect, “different” cruise experience that you’re looking for. It’s a simple idea: pretty much the opposite of a typical mega cruise ship. Generally, barefoot cruises are small, sailing boats rather than the usual “floating city” ship, and there may only be 100 or passengers. While you are on board the barefoot cruise, you are encouraged to actually “hands-on” participate in the day-to-day workings of the ship. You might, help man the sails, swab the decks, or haul some lines (ropes). Generally, you choose how much you want to participate, and how much you want to relax.
  2. Cropping Cruises have become fun, extended girls night out events. Many women, and some men, enjoy them. These cruises are often sponsored by scrapbooking magazines and craft experts, and the cruises feature activities for scrapbooking and learning – you’ll finish the cruise having created a ton of new pages for your scrapbooks, and come away with many new techniques. If you enjoy scrapbooking, want to get a bunch of pages done, want to learn new ideas, this trip may a great one for you… and even better if you can get some friends to join you.
  3. Adventure Travel Cruises are an exciting alternative to some of the standard destinations. If you’ve been looking for the “journey of a lifetime” trip, try cruises on the Amazon – or the Mississippi, to the Galapagos Islands… even to Alaska or Antarctica. When you come back from one of these cruises, you’ll have stories and pictures that very few of your friends can match.
  4. How about The Food Network? Love to cruise, cook – and eat? This is the cruise for you. You’ll find demonstrations, classes and the chance to mingle and swap recipes with like-minded folk, and even Food Network personnel. This specialty cruise is great for foodies.
  5. How about a Non-Ocean Cruise? There are specialty cruises on the Mississippi River, or the rivers in France, or the Rhine in Germany. Cruises through the Great Lakes are also popular. There are even fall color cruise tours that book sometimes years in advance.

So if you’re interested in something beyond the, “run-of-the-mill” cruise vacation, by all means research specialty cruises that might offer you new adventures, new experiences, and learning beyond the norm. Cruises that focus on music, art, poker, fitness, and so much more… they’re all out there looking to offer you the new vacation that you never imagined was waiting for you.

DanSig-02


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