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Travel


  • What do you budget for pet travel or care over the holidays? (10 comments)

    It used to be quite rare to find a pet in the cabin of a plane; but according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, about 2 million pets are transported by air every year in the U.S. Out of curiosity, I went to a couple websites to see how much it costs to travel with a pet: Southwest – $95 per pet carrier Delta – $125 American – $125 Jet Blue – $100 (non-refundable, but…

  • How do you entertain out-of-town guests for free? (9 comments)

    The holiday season is fast approaching, and you might be planning to travel home to spend time with family – or your family could be coming to see you. Either way, travel expenses add up quickly, leaving little to no room for entertainment once you’re together. Sometimes that’s not a problem because there’s so much to do anyway. But other times, it really could put a crimp in your budget or strain your guests’ finances….

  • 5 ideas for a productive staycation (13 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Honey Smith.

    According to a recent blog by the Wall Street Journal, Americans leave $52.4 billion on the table each year in unused paid time off (not including sick or personal leave). This lowers employee productivity and can lead to burnout and retention issues. It is also quite expensive for companies themselves, since the time and money associated with PTO are liabilities on their balance sheets. Sometimes, though,…

  • Ideas for a cheap vacation (21 comments)
    This article is by staff writer William Cowie.

    It’s been a long time since my wife and I had the luxury of thinking in terms of vacation. When we came to America more than 30 years ago, we also discovered two things: People in America work very hard, probably harder than anywhere else in the world. Two weeks’ vacation seems to be the norm here, while in Europe and the rest of the world…

  • 7 things camping can teach you about money (18 comments)
    This article is by staff writer William Cowie.

    My wife and I are new to camping. Well, it sure seems that way. When we came to America over 30 years ago, we bought Kermit, our green camping van, which we took coast to coast three times. We were young, our hair still had color. And we (being students) had time enough to see all the states (except, for some unexplained reason, West Virginia). But…

  • 10 amazing waterfront rentals for under $1,000 per week (24 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Holly Johnson.

    It’s getting to be summertime, and the living should be easy. But if you’ve ever priced out a week-long vacation, you already know what a shocking experience it can be. Even when you’re frugal, the costs that come with domestic and international travel are inescapable and really add up quickly. Not only are you on the hook for lodging at a hotel or resort typically, but…

  • Pay what you want — and get what you need (13 comments)
    This is a guest post from former GRS staff writer Donna Freedman.

    Looking for a cheap date, some budget-friendly culture, or ways to make your next vacation more affordable? Four words: “Pay what you want,” or PWYW. Theaters, museums, comedy troupes and other organizations may offer PWYW days or nights, where you hand over only as much as you can afford. Think of it as happy hour for entertainment — a way to get…

  • 12 ways to celebrate Memorial Day this weekend (9 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle.

    (From time to time, we look into the subject of frugal travel and vacation ideas. Holly Johnson’s post on How to save money on family vacations is one example. This year, we thought it would be fun to find some frugal and interesting ways to celebrate Memorial Day around the country. We’d love you to share your tips for a frugal Memorial Day weekend in the…

  • Best tips for managing money as an expat (14 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Ryan Takach.

    Have you ever considered taking an overseas assignment? Getting to see the world — while earning a steady paycheck and gaining valuable work experience — is a dream for many adventurous workers. Accepting an expatriate assignment was also one of the best career decisions I ever made — but it required some serious financial preparation and thought. If you are pursuing an expat assignment, hopefully you…

  • Ask the Readers: Cheap luggage or expensive luggage? (45 comments)
    This article is by editor Linda Vergon.

    It’s spring! Don’t you just feel like hitting the road? Well, maybe you do if you don’t travel for a living. Either way, luggage. I’ve had my fair share of experiences with luggage over the years. Lost luggage, broken luggage, matching luggage — you name it. Currently, I travel with a non-descript, black roller that I can barely distinguish from anyone else’s. I bought it for $49…

  • How to save money on family vacations (28 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Holly Johnson.

    Earlier this month, my little family of four embarked on a much-needed spring getaway to the Caribbean. I’m sure that doesn’t sound frugal at all, but rest assured that it was. After a year of planning and a whole lot of strategizing, we were able to book that particular trip for what amounted to a boatload of hotel loyalty points, a bunch of airline miles, and…

  • Ask the readers: How are you saving on spring break? (29 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Holly Johnson.

    How are you saving on spring break? A few weeks ago, I attended a daytime get-together comprised mostly of mothers of school-aged children. With spring break approaching, the topic inevitably came up, to which everyone in the room simultaneously let out a grunt of frustration. Unlike some parts of the country, our school system works on a modified year-round schedule. So instead of one week of…

  • Should you travel in your 20s? (60 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Holly Johnson.

    When my mom was in her early 20s, she took a few months to travel abroad with a few of her college friends. I wouldn’t call it an around-the-world trip since they only visited a few regions, but I would call it amazing. So amazing, in fact, that my mom shared numerous stories of her travels with me as I was growing up. I remember those…

  • Best way to redeem travel points: Why hoarding points is a bad investment (17 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Holly Johnson.

    For most people, pursuing credit card rewards is a game of cat and mouse. You keep a watchful eye on your credit score, seek out the best offers, and strike when the iron is hot. But that is just one component of the hobby; the other part of the equation is that it can be extremely exciting to watch your point balances climb. Obviously, the more…

  • Retirement Travel and Frugal Living (47 comments)

    Retirement travel is in. Out is the era of spending unending retirement days on a golf course in plaid pants and interminable games of bridge with the blue-rinse set.

    The new generation of retirees is looking for more adventure, with more activity … and lower costs. Few strategies deliver like the recreational vehicle (RV) retirement lifestyle. A few years ago, my wife and I got a glimpse of it in the most unexpected…

  • Honey Progress Report: 2014 wrap-up and 2015 goals (48 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Honey Smith.

    The new year is a time to look forward; but in order to do that, you need to know where you’ve been. Before I set my goals for 2015, I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss anything that happened last year. Updated reckoning for me in chart form: 2012-present Please note that I have consolidated some separate accounts of the same type into one category…

  • Ask the Readers: How much are you budgeting for holiday travel? (24 comments)
    This article is by editor Linda Vergon.

    Nearly two thirds of Americans are planning to travel at least once between Thanksgiving Day and New Years Day this year, according to the Orbitz Holiday Travel Insider Index. The survey is based off the popular site’s consumer research and booking data, which also indicates that 60 percent of travelers are willing to spend as much as $2,500 on their getaway. Most travelers (68 percent) plan to…

  • Painless ways I save money in every category of my budget (71 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. I get frustrated when people don’t understand what it means to be frugal. A few criticisms of frugality I’ve come across: Frugality is a waste of time. Frugality distracts you from earning more money. Frugal people deny themselves of any enjoyment. I’ve already written in detail about how these arguments are silly. They might apply to being cheap, but they don’t apply to being frugal. The point…

  • 9 reasons you may never retire (45 comments)

    This article is by staff writer William Cowie. My mom passed away a little less than a year ago. All her life she was the picture of health: She walked every day and ate super-healthy. The extended family dreaded going there, because they knew there would be no sugary goodies, only healthy (boring) eats. We used to joke and say she was so healthy they’d have to shoot her on the Day of Judgment ……

  • Lifestyle inflation: How to decide if it’s ever okay (81 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. Despite that I don’t own it, I like my apartment. It’s got a mountainous view, it’s comfortable, and my neighbors are few but friendly. Sure, I’d like to own a home someday. But, unless I move to another city, that probably isn’t going to happen in the next few years. I’m fine with that. Like my neighbor said, I’d rather live here than anywhere else, at least for…

  • The cure for vacation deprivation: A vacation budget (51 comments)

    After a long and brutal winter in parts of the U.S., warmer temperatures and sunshine are finally heading our way. And, although it doesn’t seem possible, an entire quarter of this year is behind us already. In most places, schools are out of session — at least for a few weeks — which means that families are taking their first major hiatus of the year. And everyone seems to be on Spring Break … except for…

  • Thoughts on Financial and Personal Independence (88 comments)

    Note: This article is from J.D. Roth, who founded Get Rich Slowly in 2006. After a year off, J.D. is once again writing here at GRS. His non-financial writing can still be found at More Than Money. ¡Saludos de Ecuador! For the past two weeks, I’ve been enjoying my third trip to that seldom-remembered continent, South America. I love this place, and love it more each time I visit. My past trips have been personal…

  • How to cure a spending hangover (37 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Holly Johnson. A few weeks ago, my husband and I took a somewhat frugal vacation to an all-inclusive resort in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. And while I was very excited to visit a new city and explore, I was equally excited about the financial details of the trip. Since we had chosen an all-inclusive resort, our entire vacation was easy to budget and plan for. A sum of $800…

  • Travel on a budget: The all-inclusive vacation (60 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Holly Johnson. Last year, I was talking with a friend right after she had returned from a relaxing week in the Caribbean. “We did an all-inclusive,” she said to me with a glimmer in her eyes. “A what?” I had no idea what she was talking about. After chatting about it for a quite a while, she clued me in on how an all-inclusive vacation works and what some…

  • Want to get rich quickly? Start looking for hidden treasure (28 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Holly Johnson. Ever since Forrest Fenn revealed that he had hidden a treasure chest worth an estimated $2 million in the mountains north of Sante Fe, much of America’s southwest has been in a frenzy. In fact, thousands of people have descended on the area, all of them hoping to strike it rich. If you watch the news, you may have heard about the eccentric millionaire who came up…

  • How to save money while seeing the world (40 comments)

    This is a guest post from Matt Kepnes, who writes about travel and more at Nomadic Matt. His advice has been featured in The New York Times, CNN, The Guardian UK, Lifehacker, Budget Travel, BBC and Yahoo! Finance among others. Kepnes is the author of the just-published How to Travel the World on $50 a Day. Forget what the magazines say about travel. Forget what you see in commercials. They’re all wrong: Travel isn’t expensive….

  • The value of vacation (57 comments)

    As you read this, my husband and I are just days away from a romantic, kid-free vacation in the Caribbean. Since we weren’t able to take a honeymoon, we spent the last few years saving like maniacs in order to have enough money for this special trip. We reached our savings goal in June and decided to take advantage of an early booking discount on Expedia.com. Since then, we have been eagerly counting down the…

  • 8 reasons you should throw away your cash-back credit card if you love to travel (42 comments)

    This reader post is from Hilary Stockton, who is the founder of TravelSort, which helps savvy travelers earn millions of miles without flying, redeem them for first-class flights, and stay in luxury hotels at wholesale prices. Follow her on Twitter @TravelSort. My husband and I used to think we were savvy, using a cash-back credit card for most of our spending. But given how much we enjoy international and luxury travel, it was actually a huge mistake….

  • A few things to consider before becoming an expatriate (23 comments)

    This post is from Justin Boyle. Justin is an experienced English tutor and writing coach who works as a designer in the tech industry. He lives in Austin, Texas, and finds a lot of things interesting, especially food, finance, education, gadgetry, software, art and travel. He never stops thinking about food. He is probably eating right now. There are plenty of possible reasons you could want to leave the U.S. Perhaps you’ve always dreamed about making the sand…

  • Everything You Need to Know about Using Credit Card Bonuses for Free Travel (86 comments)

    The following guest post is by Craig Ford. Craig blogs at Help Me Travel Cheap where he helps newbies turn credit card sign-up bonuses into free travel. To entice you to sign up for a credit card most credit card companies offer a sign-up bonus. The sign-up bonus is the life blood for a growing population of American travelers. They scour the web looking for the best credit cards with sign up bonuses. They get…

  • Hostels For Adults: Spend Travel Money Where it Counts (163 comments)

    This post is from new staff writer Sarah Gilbert. When I was 23, I stayed at my first (and last) Ritz Carlton, in Palo Alto. It was only a stop on a string of fabulous business hotels from which I’d collected small bars of soap and shoe shine mitts: The Breakers in Palm Beach, Hotel Nikko Beverly Hills, the Pierre and the Plaza and the Waldorf-Astoria and three different W Hotels in New York City…

  • Why I Love the Megabus: A Closer Look at a Seldom-Used (but Cheap!) Way to Travel (129 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer Donna Freedman. Donna writes a personal finance column for MSN Money. She also writes about frugality, intentional living, and life in general at her own blog, Surviving And Thriving. I’m in the middle of a month-long trip to the East Coast: a little work, but mostly tourism. Although the conference I attended was in New York City, I flew to Philadelphia because it’ll be easier for me to…

  • How to Learn a Foreign Language Without Spending a Cent (92 comments)

    Last week at Far Away Places (my new travel blog), I shared some tips on how to learn Spanish fast. The short version: Hire a tutor. But what if you can’t afford a tutor? What if you don’t want to spend money but still want to learn a language? In this guest post from Benny Lewis, the Irish polyglot, he shares tips on how to learn a language on the cheap. For more info, visit…

  • Is Unlimited Air Travel a Good Deal? (37 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Sierra Black. Sierra writes about frugality, sustainable living, and raising children at Childwild.com. Air travel is rarely anyone’s idea of a good time. It’s expensive, time-consuming and difficult. There are the byzantine demands of the ticketing process, in which you have to confirm your exact travel dates and times weeks or months in advance and then pay exorbitant fees if you change your plans. (Or if you buy super…

  • Ask the Readers: I’m Getting Older — Should I Save or Should I Travel? (112 comments)

    Long-time GRS reader Sheila (aka PawPrint) dropped a line earlier this year because she’s facing a financial dilemma. She and her husband want to be responsible — to save for retirement — but they’re afraid that doing so means they won’t be able to pursue other passions, such as travel. Sheila writes: My husband is nearly 60. As we watch friends and relatives succumb to cancer (mostly) in their late sixties, I wonder about our…

  • Free Round-Trip Tickets with British Airways Card (or, J.D. Discovers Travel Hacking) (103 comments)

    Yesterday, I met with a group of local Portland bloggers to plan for world domination. Over the past year, we’ve met regularly to organize an upcoming conference for readers of Chris Guillebeau’s The Art of Non-Conformity. Usually our conversation is focused on gift bags and tour groups and the absolute racket that is event catering. ($15 cups of coffee? Give me that job, please. I could get rich quickly.) Somehow last night, the discussion turned…

  • From the Rich to the Poor (or, What I Learned in Africa) (151 comments)

    After 36 hours of travel (followed by twelve hours of sleep), Kris and I are back from vacation. For the past three weeks, we’ve been exploring southern Africa. With a tour group, we visited South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, and Zambia. We had a great time, and we learned a lot. It was well worth the expense. In fact, I loved what I saw so much, that I’m eager to return. (On my next trip,…

  • Living on less in Mexico (66 comments)

    In 2006, my husband and I bought a house in the center of Guanajuato, a city in Mexico’s Central Highlands, where we live about one-third of the year. We didn’t buy the house because it’s a cheaper place to live; we were motivated because we’d been visiting this town for five years and fell in love with it anew every time we came. Despite the fact that we live pretty simply in the States, it’s…

  • Geographic Arbitrage: Save Money by Leaving The Country (76 comments)

    This is a guest post from Gary Arndt, who has been traveling around the world non-stop since March 2007 and has visited over 80 countries. He blogs at Everything-Everywhere.com, which was named one of the 25 Best Blogs of 2010 by Time Magazine. Let’s start with the obvious: Costs aren’t the same everywhere. You may already be aware of this on some level, but until you’ve traveled extensively, it isn’t something you really understand. The…

  • Reader Story: Sailing Away from the American Dream (52 comments)

    This guest post from Michael Robertson is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. Two years ago, Michael shared a guest post about direct stock purchase plans. Today, he shares his personal story, which is about sailing…

  • Reader Story: How Moving to a Developing Nation Improved Our Financial Situation (81 comments)

    This guest post from Craig Ford is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. Craig writes two blogs: Money Help for Christians and Help Me Travel Cheap. On 16 May 2006, I boarded a Folker 100 aircraft…

  • The Legal Nomad on Saving for Travel (39 comments)

    As you’ve probably noticed, travel has become a priority in my life. There are number of reasons for this. For one, I love it. I love visiting other cities, other states, other countries. I love seeing how different people live, and how they do things. Here in the U.S., we are so myopic — we tend to focus on just our way of life, so that it becomes difficult to imagine that there are billions…

  • Is a Weak Euro Good for U.S. Travelers? (52 comments)

    It had to happen eventually! A GRS staff writer has finally submitted an article on a topic I was planning to cover. This post from April Dykman is stronger than the one I’d put together, though, so I’ve just tacked an addendum to the end. Europe’s financial crisis is leading to a weaker euro and more travel deals designed to attract American tourists. According to media reports, the state of the euro might make a…

  • Reader Story: Traveling cross-country dirt cheap (74 comments)

    This guest post from Michelle Russo is part of the “reader stories“ feature here at Get Rich Slowly. Some reader stories contain general “how I did X” advice, and others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity, and with all sorts of incomes. This story is perfect for Memorial Day weekend, which kicks off the summer holiday season in…

  • Searching for the Cheapest Airfare: Is There a Silver Bullet? (56 comments)

    J.D. is on vacation in Alaska. This guest post by G.E. Miller gives a real-life example of trying to find the cheapest airfare online. For more from G.E., check out 20somethingfinance.com, where he covers personal-finance matters for young professionals. At one time or another, we’ve all been a day late and a few air miles short when purchasing a plane ticket. So we turn to the internet. But with all the bargain travel sites out…

  • Planning a (Debt-Free) Dream Vacation (58 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer April Dykman. Most people agree that a vacation is supposed to be relaxing, but planning for one can be just the opposite. Still, poor planning can cost money and time, causing headaches and frustration when you’re supposed to be getting away from it all. Some people like to book a ticket and see where life takes them. Others prefer cruises or tours where the planning is taken care…

  • 5 Little-Known Websites That Will Save You Time and Money When Booking Airfare Online (34 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Adam Baker. Baker recently reflected on just how much money affects our internal values. When booking airfare online, most people think of the popular online aggregation sites. You know the ones: They have the fancy commercials, catchy jingles, and washed-up celebrity pitchmen. While those sites aren’t inherently bad, there are a few well-documented problems with relying solely on these larger engines: Many of the aggregation sites neglect to include smaller,…

  • How to Earn Free Plane Tickets and Cash Back by Shopping Online (100 comments)

    This is a guest post from April Dykman, an avid GRS reader, and a writer and editor by trade. April is a potential Staff Writer for Get Rich Slowly. In her first article, April described how she discovered freedom from mindless spending. April is an active commenter at this site. When my husband and I went to Italy in 2006, we spent $2500 on plane tickets. We’re planning to spend much less for our next…

  • How to Use Couchsurfing to See the World (108 comments)

    This is a guest post from Baker, who writes about personal finance at Man vs. Debt. Baker is a potential Staff Writer for Get Rich Slowly. Along with his wife and 15-month-old daughter, Baker has recently moved overseas to New Zealand, where his young family is passionately continuing their own personal “war” on debt. What if I told you there was a different way to travel? A way to see the world outside of the…

  • Lower Your Expectations, Increase Your Happiness (87 comments)

    “Did you listen to Rick Steves this afternoon?” Kris asked me on Sunday. I shook my head. “That’s too bad,” she said. “It was about the relationship between money and happiness. I think you would have liked it — and so would your readers.” “But I just wrote about happiness!” I said. “J.D.,” she said. “You can never write too much about happiness.” And so I tracked down last weekend’s episode of Travel with Rick…

  • Travel Hacking: Smart Ways to See the World (35 comments)

    I’ve spent a lot of time lately thinking about financial goals. Now that I’m out of debt and have built an emergency fund, I’ve actually decided that maybe I should set a budget. And one of the things I want to budget for is travel. Until recently, I hadn’t traveled much. I grew up in and and around Portland, and that’s where I tended to spend my vacations. But after my wife’s parents took us…

  • How to Find Great Deals on Vacation and Travel (56 comments)

    My wife and I have begun to explore the idea of taking a trip later this year. We’re in the preliminary stages of our research and budgeting. Though we aren’t ready to book anything yet, it’s fun to look at what’s available, and to dream of where we might go. Over the weekend, I polled my followers on Twitter to ask their advice for finding great travel deals. Here are some of the tips and…

  • The Razor’s Edge: Lessons in True Wealth (161 comments)

    Our friends have a profound effect on our personal finance habits. Some friends can lead us to spending and to debt. Others offer insight into the virtues of thrift. For me, my friend Sparky has been the latter. Through his example, I learned that frugality can help me achieve my goals. “Develop a plan that is so amazing, so glowing, that you are willing to walk blurry-eyed to work every day to make the money…

  • Cost to Drive: Simple Web Tools for Budgeting Road Trips (32 comments)

    Making a long road trip soon? Sure, gas prices are low right now, but you’ll still have to pay at the pump to motor into the next great adventure. That means budgeting is essential. Many frugal travelers use apps and online tools to help them factor all costs. Here are some of the more popular options: AAA Gas Price Planner Gas Buddy Cost to Drive Fueleconomy.gov Travel Math Which one do you like to use?…

  • Grocery Shopping in New Delhi (26 comments)

    This is a guest post from my friend Kris, an American writer living in India. She and her husband are in New Delhi to participate in an educational exchange program. The juxtaposition of cultures has been interesting. When you think of grocery shopping in New Delhi, please don’t imagine your local Safeway or City Market, with aisles wide enough for two pushcarts passing as shoppers stroll, browse, select. Our grocers — or rather, “departmental store” — is…

  • Ask the Readers: Planning a Cheap Road-Trip Vacation? (118 comments)

    Jonathan has an interesting request for Get Rich Slowly readers. He wants to make a month-long cross-country road trip next summer, and he wants to do it on the cheap. But how? He’s hoping that you can help. Here’s an abridged version of his e-mail: I’m trying to figure out how to save money on vacation. My girlfriend and I have always had a dream of spending a month driving out to the Grand Canyon then…

  • Cheap Vacation: Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown (56 comments)

    Last weekend, long-time GRS reader Vintek came to Portland. Kris and I joined him and his wife for a Saturday morning culinary tour. On our four-hour trek, we visited a bakery, a cooking store, and a brewery (where I drank beer for the first time — seriously). Along the way, I saw places and learned things about the city that were new to me. Afterward I realized how fun it would be to actually spend…

  • How to Take a Sabbatical (56 comments)

    In his book, The 4-Hour Workweek, Tim Ferriss proposes that we shift our focus from end-of-life “macro” retirement to more frequent mini-retirements, which might be spaced throughout a working career. Consider it a type of sabbatical, but one that you can take multiple times throughout your working life — and not reserved for academics or the super rich. Ferriss took time to speak with me about his notion of mini-retirements. Last week, I published the…

  • How to Track Travel Expenses and Stick to a Vacation Budget (37 comments)

    This is a guest post from Debbie Dubrow, who writes about traveling with babies, toddlers, and kids at Delicious Baby. Her site contains personal travel stories, family-friendly city guides, and lots of tips and advice for traveling with children. Most families need to stick to a budget when they travel. But tracking daily expenses, especially in a foreign currency, can be tricky. Here are some easy tips to make it easy to keep track of…