Category: Travel and Vacations

The Pros and Cons of Using Public Transportation While Traveling

Are you going to be traveling to a part of the country that you’ve never been to before? Or better yet, are you going to be traveling to a different part of the world to see what it’s all about?

Either way, you should consider using public transportation throughout the course of your travels as opposed to renting a vehicle. It could very well turn into the most effective mode of travel transport for you when you’re trying to get around to different places.

Before you commit to using public transport, though, you should find out about the pros and cons of doing it to ensure you’re up for the challenge. Utilizing public transport when traveling is a great idea for a lot of people, but it’s not for everyone.

Here are the pros and cons of using public transportation while traveling.

Pro: Public Transportation Is Usually Your Most Cost-Effective Option

You are going to have to pay at least some money to use public transportation in most cities throughout the country and world. But that money will often be nothing compared to what you would have to pay to rent a vehicle.

If you’re on a relatively tight budget while traveling, the last thing you want to do is waste a bunch of money on a car rental when public transportation is an option. You’re better off using public transport to your advantage and saving your money so that you can spend it on more worthwhile experiences.

Con: It Can Be a Little Confusing Using Some Public Transportation Systems

If you live in a place where you use public transportation all the time, you probably know your specific public transport system like the back of your hand. But that doesn’t mean that you’re going to pick up on another system right away.

Using public transportation systems in some cities can be a very confusing experience. From figuring out where to catch a subway to finding out where a bus route travels to, it’s going to require a decent amount of research on your part.

You might end up spending more time trying to make sense of a public transport system than you do using it. That’s time that could be better spent on exploring everything in a new place.

Pro: Public Transportation Allows You to Experience Everything a City Has to Offer

When you use public transportation in a place that you’ve never been to before, it’ll allow you to rub elbows with all the locals. They’ll all be using the public transport system, too, in most cases, which will give you a unique look at how a city operates.

You’re going to miss out on this experience when you choose to rent a car. You’re not going to cross paths with locals as often as you would otherwise.

If your ultimate goal is to immerse yourself in a new place and soak up everything it has to offer, taking public transportation is the best way to do it. You’ll feel like you were really a part of a place for a few days.

Con: It Might Prevent You From Making Your Way to Certain Places

One of the biggest drawbacks of using public transportation is that it’s going to limit you somewhat as far as where you can travel to in a city. There are no doubt going to be places that you’ll want to see off the beaten path that you won’t be able to get to easily by using the local public transport system.

You might be able to get to them by getting off public transportation at a certain stop and walking a great distance. But that might not prove to be worth all the time and effort you’ll have to put into it.

Pro: Public Transportation Is Great for the Environment

Anytime you visit a new city, you should go to great lengths to ensure that you don’t do anything to leave a mess behind. That means not littering in the city and, if possible, using public transportation as opposed to renting a car.

A car is going to put out emissions that will pollute the environment that you’re visiting. Public transportation will also pollute it to some degree, but it’ll limit the carbon footprint that you leave in a city while visiting it.

You should be especially mindful of not polluting the environment when you’re visiting a city for an extended period of time. You shouldn’t spend days, weeks, or even months driving around in a rental car if you don’t have to.

Con: It May Stop You From Traveling Around at Different Times of the Day or Night

There are some public transportation systems around the country and world that operate on a 24/7/365 schedule. But there are others that shut down at certain times of the day and night.

If you happen to try and use one of these systems while traveling, you could find yourself in a position where you can’t use it at different times. This could limit your ability to see everything that you want to see in a city.

This could be particularly problematic if you need to find a way to get to the airport. You’ll want to think about using an airport transportation company instead of public transportation to guarantee you don’t miss a flight.

Is Using Public Transportation While Traveling Right for You?

There are so many great benefits that you’ll get to enjoy when you use public transportation while traveling. But as we’ve mentioned a few times here, it’s also not an option that’s right for everyone.

Consider whether or not you want to use a public transport system while visiting a new place. It could make or break the experience that you have there.

Would you like to get your hands on more great travel tips prior to taking a trip? Check out the articles on our blog to find some.

Ocean Cay: Top 5 Things to Know During Your Family Vacation

As far as cruise experiences go, there are few that are more exclusive and over-the-top as Ocean Cay.

Situated just 65 miles east of Miami, Ocean Cay is a sprawling and idyllic private island that is exclusively for the use of MSC cruise ship passengers.

It is one of the most popular family vacation destinations in the region, owing to the huge amount of activities on offer.

Ocean Cay offers something for everyone, from those seeking family travel packages to those looking for a festive party weekend. If you’re considering traveling to Ocean Cay, here is what you need to know before you go. 

1. MSC Passengers Experience Ocean Cay for Free

Of all of the world travel family destinations in the Caribbean, Ocean Cay arguably represents some of the best value.

If you are stopping by on an MSC cruise, access and all activities on Ocean Cay are free of charge.

As this guide on things to know about Ocean Cay explains, entertainment, food, experiences, and activities are free. This means that you can enjoy all the island has to offer without spending a penny. 

2. Ocean Cay Is a Sustainable Island Destination

For many travelers in 2020, sustainability is a top priority when choosing where to go. If you’re looking for places to travel with family that have strong environmental credentials, Ocean Cay is the place for you.

The island was once an industrial waste site before a team of ecologists and scientists were brought together to transform it into an eco-sanctuary.

Today it is a licensed marine reserve featuring hundreds of protected coral reefs and more than 75,000 imported trees and shrubs. 

3. Several MSC Ships Will Be Stopping at Ocean Cay

If you’re wondering why MSC ships are scheduled to make a stop-off at Ocean Cay in 2020, we’re here to help.

As of this writing, the MSC MeravigliaMSC SeasideMSC Divina and MSC Armonia will all be making a scheduled stop at Ocean Cay during the remainder of this year.

If you’re planning on staying aboard one of these exquisite vessels, make sure to plan for your trip to Ocean Cay. 

4. Ocean Cay is an Ideal Family Vacation Spot

Although some might think that Ocean Cay is more of a tropical party paradise, it is also one of the best family travel destinations around, with something for everyone.

There is the family lagoon, which is perfect for exploring the waves and wildlife with the little ones. There are family-oriented entertainment shows across the island, as well as a dedicated Activity Pavilion designed just for the kids.

No matter what age, the evening lighthouse light show is something that simply cannot be missed.

5. You Should Pre-Plan Your Itinerary for Ocean Cay 

Finally, it is worth noting that Ocean Cay is very big and spread out, and there is an awful lot to do.

While Ocean Cay is one of the best places to travel with family, the sheer size of the island and the range of activities means you should plan everything before you arrive.

Consult a map of the island and plan a logical route to explore. Try and time your itinerary to coincide with the shows and activities you wish to partake in.

If you plan carefully, you can get the most out of your trip. 

Plan for the Perfect Family Vacation in 2020

Now that you have the inspiration and knowledge needed for a flawless family vacation at Ocean Cay, it’s time to start planning.

In our Travel section, you will find expert guides on how you can plan a vacation that is safe and fun for the whole family in 2020. 

 

7 Luggage Packing Tips That Will Save Your Trip

Are you all set for your next trip?

Whether its work or pleasure, getting away for a while is always something to look forward to. But properly packing your luggage is essential for a successful trip.

Make sure you’re ready for your vacation with these luggage packing tips.

1. Make a Packing List

You should start packing days (or even weeks) ahead of when you’re set to leave. Put together a complete list in writing, because you’ll likely have extra bits you need to buy. An itemized packing list ensures you never leave anything important behind.

2. Set Bag Limits

Buy a hard-sided suitcase, suited for your length of stay. For example, if it’s a long weekend or a week, use one that’s 22 inches tall so it counts as a carry-on. The structured shell is an automatic bag limit, and you can’t keep squeezing in those extras you don’t need.

3. Use Vacuum Bags

There are several times of travel compression bags on the market. Some need a vacuum, others take the air out of bulky items by rolling them up. They compress your items down and save space (or let you use a smaller suitcase). You can also use them to put your dirty clothes inside throughout the trip to keep everything separate.

You should note that they can leave thin fabrics wrinkled. And because they save so much space, it can be tempting to pack too much. This could leave you with an overweight bag (and extra charges if you don’t spot it early).

4. Pick a Travel Palette

To cut down the number of clothes you’re packing, pick a struck color palette. Have a base of neutrals (black, gray, beige) and then one accent color. The accent can be any color; red, plum, yellow, or even a pastel shade.

From a few basic items, you’ll be able to set out a week’s worth of outfits. Then pack a few pairs of shoes that will work with each of them.

5. Use All The Space

When you’re packing, make use of all the space inside the suitcase. Fold socks into each other and put them inside shoes and roll up small items like underwear and tops. Make your items as small as possible and fill up every inch possible.

6. Keep it Clean

To keep those mystery travel stains at bay, pack toiletries in a secure bag. For light clothing, fold them and pack them inside out to protect them. And those disposable shower caps in your last hotel? Keep them to protect your clothes from the bottoms of your shoes.

7. Store Your luggage

Nothing ruins a trip around a new city like dragging your heavy luggage everywhere you go. Even if you bring only the bare necessities, a large bag (or two) will get in the way of your enjoyment. Use a luggage storage app to find a secure place to store your luggage so you can enjoy your trip and give you arms a rest!

Luggage Packing Tips Made Easy 

The two key rules of packing are to limit yourself and to maximize the amount you can pack. Following these luggage packing tips will let you pack everything you need, without weighing you down.

If you found this article useful, be sure to check out our other blog posts.

Fun for All Ages: 5 Awesome Vacation Destinations for Families

The tourism industry, raking in over $8.72 trillion, is one of the largest in all the world. And with good reason- there’s nothing quite so amazing as going to new places, seeing interesting historical sites, and learning about other rich cultures.

If you want to travel but have children, all hope isn’t lost. In fact, there are some pretty amazing kid-friendly locales all around the world where your child can grow and learn along with you. Read on to learn about some vacation destinations for families all around the world!

1. Grand Bazaar, Istanbul

The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey is the largest covered market in the world. It’s a huge place for families to shop for handmade goods, try authentic dishes, and mingle with locals.

It’s important to note that the Grand Bazaar is still an outdoor market where you can walk around the streets of Turkey. It simply is covered so that it’s accessible in any weather conditions. This means that there will be street art that your children (and you) can marvel at and that the many bright building colors will still be in full view.

2. Istanbul Toy Museum, Istanbul

The Istanbul toy museum is also a fun place for the whole family. The museum has over 4,000 toys on display from over 200 years ago and beyond. While your children enjoy the many toys that they dream of playing with, you can learn all about the history of Turkish toys and where they came from!

You can read more about this museum and other attractions at:

https://madeinturkeytours.com/15-awesome-things-see-do-with-kids-in-turkey/

3. Picadilly Circus, London

London is one of the most interesting cities in all the world, and nowhere is as interesting as Picadilly Circus. Located in the heart of Picadilly, there are always interesting panhandlers and street performers that kids are sure to love.

Picadilly is also home to Fortnum and Mason and Hatchards Bookshop, which are a 5-10 minute walk from the Tube station. You’ll definitely want to head to these amazing stores before hopping back on the Tube to Camden Market in Camden.

4. Ghibli Museum, Tokyo

If you or your kids are fans of Ghibli movies like Kiki’s Delivery Service, Spirited Away, Ponyo, or Castle in the Sky, the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo, Japan might be the place for you to go.

Here, you can watch how Miyazaki came up with his brilliant ideas and learn more about the animation process behind these movies. Kids will love seeing their favorite characters in action, and you’re bound to find the creative origins fascinating!

5. Tabiat Bridge, Tehran

This bridge in Tehran, Iran- which, by the way, is both a safe and culturally rich destination- is a public space and an architectural marvel that families are sure to love. It connects across a busy highway and connects Abo Atash Park to Taleghani Park, both of which are gorgeous spaces.

The best things about this bridge are the modern lighting and the fact that there are so many ramps and stairs connecting the curved pathway. Kids are sure to love this wonderland of a bridge, and you’ll love the rest of this gorgeous city and mingling with the interesting locals.

More Vacation Destinations for Families

Now that you know some great vacation destinations for families, it’s time to learn some more tips for having amazing life experiences with child companions. Check out the ‘parenting’ tab on our home page for more information on raising (and having fun with) your kids.

How to Find the Best Disney Summer Vacation Deals

Going to Disney over the summer isn’t as easy as you think. If you haven’t started planning at least a year in advance, you’re already behind. 

It’s important to book everything early to make sure you’re getting the best rates and have time to make advanced bookings for rides or restaurants.

From booking an all-inclusive package to only park tickets — and figuring the rest out on your own — there are many options for planning your vacation. With 52 million visitors per year, Disney is a busy place.

Are you trying to plan a summer vacation to Disney but don’t know how to find the best deals?

Below, we’re going to discuss the differences between Disney resorts and off-site hotels, finding the best vacation deals, checking summer costs, and considering the Disney Vacation Club. 

What to Choose: Disney Resorts vs. Off-Site Hotels

The first thing you’ll need to reserve for your Disney vacation is a place to stay.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to selecting accommodations. First of all, you need to decide if you’re flying or driving, what parks you want to see, and whether you prefer convenience or cost savings? 

If, for example, you’re flying (and staying at a Disney Resort) you can take advantage of a free shuttle service. You’ll also want to select a hotel closest to the park you want to visit, like booking Disney’s Beach Club next to Epcot Center. 

The clear difference between Disney Resorts and off-site hotels is the price. Non-Disney affiliated hotels only a mile away from the park can be hundreds of dollars cheaper.

But, beware of booking an off-site hotel to save money. Do a cost comparison before making a final decision. 

Disney Resort guests have no commutes (besides walking a few feet, taking a monorail, or gondola) and they get extra perks and amenities. They also get free MagicBands, Extra Magic Hours, and advanced ride bookings through the FastPass. 

With careful planning, you can save money by booking an off-site hotel but it’s easy for the costs of transportation, food, and services to pile up. 

Tips for Finding Disney Vacation Deals 

Disney offers many special offers, discounts, and deals for families planning a vacation. Keep checking their promotions page because new deals are updated regularly. 

Some Disney discounts are available all of the time, including discounts for military personnel, AAA members, Florida residents, and annual pass holders.

These deals can apply to the resorts or park admission. Some are only worth a few bucks but others can save you money. Many families on a budget also take advantage of Disney’s “Value Days,” or certain days of the year when prices are lower.

For the most part, prices drop when school is in session but Disney planning pros recommend booking your trip for January to February or August to September. Late fall can also be a good time as temperatures dip and rides are closed for maintenance. 

Want to get specific with your dates? Check out the Disney Crowd Calendar to see what days are busiest and what to look for when you’re there. The calendar ranks crowd size from 1 to 10, with 10 being extremely busy.  

Another option to save a few dollars is to visit a legitimate discounter like Undercover Tourist, TicketMomma, or Maple Leaf Tickets for wholesale tickets. Don’t try purchasing tickets from places like Craigslist or eBay, and be cautious of online scammers. 

Need a few extra tips? Avoid booking over the weekend because prices can be up to 25% higher. And when buying Disney tickets, the longer your trip is scheduled the more you’ll save on rooms and park admission. 

Check Disney Summer Vacation Costs Before Booking

If you’re serious about getting a deal with your Disney vacation, research is your best friend.

Disney offers more discounts than they posted online, they just don’t broadcast it to the masses. You have to be savvy and bold to hunt these deals down. 

The easiest way to research your vacation is by going straight to the source: Walt Disney World.

Planning pros recommend making a spreadsheet of all available vacation packages, with specifics about costs, perks, and amenities. This is part of the cost comparison we mentioned earlier. 

Don’t forget that Disney rates change daily. You may want to try different days to find exactly what you’re looking for, and always click on the actual resort or hotel links to discover the lowest prices. 

Buy Points from the Disney Vacation Club 

Have you ever heard of the Disney Vacation Club? It’s a timeshare program where members buy DVC points to save money on staying in a deluxe-level Disney Resort. This program is perfect for people who visit Disney multiple times a year. 

Points typically cost between $140 to $165 and members have to purchase a minimum of 100 points. Members book reservations at one of fifteen DVC properties or a few affiliate resorts around the world. 

When planning your vacation you can choose to “rent” points from DVC members who didn’t use up all of their credits or sign up for your DVC contract.

Another DVC option to consider is the resale market, which is for members who want to sell their contracts to someone else. 

Members of the Disney Vacation Club are also responsible for annual maintenance fees. They range from $6 to $10 per year, depending on the resort. This should factor into your decision about joining the DVC. 

Book Your Dream Summer Vacation to Disney

You’re now ready to book the Disney summer vacation of your dreams!

Remember to select the right hotel for your budget and needs, regularly check for Disney discounts online, and book as much as you can in advance. 

Do you love a deal? We know you do otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this article. Check out more of our blog for tips on planning vacations on a budget.

We also have frugal living tips on fashion, cooking, crafts, fitness, gardening, and more. Visit our deals section for coupons and hot deals from big retailers and food chains.  

Save Time and Money at Disney World With These 8 Practical Tips

Are you planning a trip to Disney World?

Visiting Disney can be a magical experience, but only if you plan ahead and arrive prepared. Otherwise, you might wind up wasting tons of time and spending a fortune.

If that sounds stressful, don’t worry. This article is for you! 

We’ll cover eight essential tips for visiting Disney World, handpicked to help you save time and money. Keep reading to learn more.

Top 8 Tips for Visiting Disney World

With over 20 million annual visitors, Disney World’s Magic Kingdom is the world’s most-visited theme park. So, showing up unprepared can leave you standing in line for hours, spending more than you want, and enjoying your vacation less.

For the best experience possible, follow these Disney World vacation tips: 

1. Buy Tickets in Advance

Did you know that most theme parks increase their entrance fees every year? Buying your tickets in advance can help you avoid these price hikes and save a bundle on admission.

Plus, the longer you stay in the park, the cheaper each day becomes. But, only if you buy ahead! Adding an extra day or two to your trip suddenly can add hundreds of dollars in unnecessary spending.

2. Stay on Property

Most room rates include complimentary shuttles to and from all the different Disney parks. For you, that means no parking or rental car fees.

Plus, you’ll have easy access to Disney’s Extra Magic Hours. On these select days, certain parks open earlier or stay open later, and staying on property will give you a head start on the crowds.

3. Shop Around 

Discounts for Disney are few and far between. But, sales on tickets, hotels, and vacation packages do exist.

Frequent fliers should contact their airline about reduced rates. And, if you work for a major US company, research whether they offer any benefits for taking a trip to Disney World. You might be surprised at what you find! 

4. Free Activities

Some hotels offer free nature walks, campfire sing-alongs, movie nights, and more! You can also find free shows and boat rides in smaller parks like Disney Springs.

Traveling with kids who like to use their hands? Plan a stop at the Lego store, where your family can spend time using the hands-on play tables and check out larger than life Lego models of Disney characters.

5. Avoid Peak Season

Visiting outside Disney’s peak season, which includes major holidays and all of the summer months can save you up to $50 a day in park admission fees. And, visiting during the week is far cheaper than on a weekend when it comes to ticket and hotel prices.

Disney World crowd calendar can help you find your perfect dates, avoid unnecessarily long lines, and get you the best value for money possible. 

6. Plan Your Meals

You should avoid all-inclusive meal plans if you want to visit Disney World on a budget.

Be sure to travel with plenty of healthy snacks for before and after your day in the park. These can come in handy while you’re waiting for an early morning shuttle, or if you want to piece together a low-cost meal in your hotel room, too. 

Pick where to have meals in advance. Otherwise, you might end up spending extra on pricy restaurants or spend hours waiting for a table. 

7. BYOB

You’re planning to spend days in the sun and Florida heat, so you and your family will definitely get thirsty. Skip the cost of disposable water bottles by bringing your own.

Every quick-service restaurant on Disney property will provide water and ice to guests free of charge, even if you don’t buy a meal. This can save you up to $5 per refill, and it’s an earth-friendly way to improve your trip.

8. Skip Some Extras

Simply put, if it doesn’t sound essential, you probably don’t need it. Skip extras like photo packages and character meals. We promise you’ll never miss them.

Instead, opt for extra spending when it comes to experiences like visiting water parks or taking a side trip. 

Start Planning Today

Now that you’ve got some time and money-saving tips for visiting Disney World, you’re probably excited to start planning.

Remember, you’ll save the most if you start looking for discounts on admission and accommodations months before your visit. Plus, with this strategy, you’ll have plenty of time to save up for a few little extras.

If you enjoyed this article, check out the rest of our helpful blog posts for tips on parenting, travel, family wellness, and more.

5 Tips for Visiting Disney World on a Budget

Did you know that Disney World attracts over 58 million visitors each year?

If you’re planning a vacation to Orlando soon, learning the best Disney tips and tricks can help you save tons of money.

Do you want to learn how to visit Disney World on a budget? Keep reading to learn 5 different ways you can get more bang for your buck.

1. Plan Your Trip During a Slow Season

If you want to know how to do Disney World on a budget, planning your trip during a slow season can make all the difference. People who want to save money on all of their Disney tickets should check out the Disney Crowd Calendar to score the best deals. As a general rule of thumb, avoiding school vacation weeks and holidays is a guaranteed way to save.

2. Weigh the Pros and Cons of Hotel Locations

One of the most important tips for visiting Disney World is to take your time choosing your hotel. On one hand, staying off-site can help you save hundreds of dollars. However, these savings come at the cost of your convenience.

Although staying in a Disney hotel is more expensive up front, you can save more in other ways. Many locations offer free meals, transportation, and the closer proximity gives you more time to explore the parks. After you weigh these pros and cons, you can make the decision that suits your unique needs best.

3. Visit One Park Per Day

Lots of visitors are drawn to the Park Hopper ticket that allows you to visit any park in one day for $169. If you plan on going to the parks on multiple days during your stay, it’s a lot cheaper to buy one ticket per park. Since there are plenty of rides and attractions to keep you entertained, you’ll be busy all day and night tackling one park at a time.

4. Bring Your Own Food and Water

One of the easiest Disney World tips to follow is to bring your own food and water. Since meals and snacks at Disney are extremely expensive, packing a sandwich, a water bottle, and some fruit can help you stick to your budget. Just remember that Disney doesn’t allow people to bring in coolers, so pack items that can withstand a little heat.

5. Don’t Make Impulse Purchases

As you wander through Disney, you’ll be surrounded by festive treats and fun merchandise. If you want to have the full Disney experience for your photos, buy Disney-related clothing and accessories online beforehand where the prices are more affordable. Don’t forget to pass on unnecessary perks like all-inclusive meal plans or Memory Maker photo passes.

Going to Disney World on a Budget Can Still Be Magical

If you follow these 5 tips for visiting Disney World on a budget, you can plan the vacation of your dreams without breaking the bank.

Do you want to know other ways you can become a thrifty globetrotter? Explore our site to find more traveling and finance tips.