Category Archives: Budgets and Discounts

Those Don’t Seem Like Such Friendly Skies Anymore

Do I even have to mention it?  *IT*?  The fact that United Airlines demanded a man ALREADY BOARDED AND SEATED get off the plane, and called the police to force him to leave with a few bits of blood thrown in along the way?  We already all know that story, right? And although most of the internet is firmly on the side of hating the airlines, there are some defending the airline’s actions as well.

I’ll get to that, but first, I think we should have a little fun playing a game I came up with called Flying United Airlines Bingo.

How many categories can YOU get? And what would be an appropriate prize?

Continue reading Those Don’t Seem Like Such Friendly Skies Anymore

Family Vacation Planning as a Second Career

Last night my husband broke into one of my nightly monologues (I feel the need to narrate everything that has happened that day to him, since he travels quite a bit for business) with this, “I know you’re really excited about our December vacation, but I honestly don’t really care what you decide we’re going to see. You’ve always chosen good places, I’ve loved all of our travel.  I’m sure this will be wonderful as well.”

Dude.  Buzzkill.  I know that half-an-hour on this hotel vs. the other hotel might seem like overkill to the uninitiated, but I love figuring this stuff out.

Continue reading Family Vacation Planning as a Second Career

Cash Back on VRBO and Booking.com

You know that feeling when you discover something that you wish you had known a long time ago?  That’s exactly how I felt when I discovered that I could get cash back on my VRBO and Booking.com just by making my bookings through Ebates.

I’ve been using Ebates for years, and have earned hundreds of dollars in rebates for things I was already going to purchase online.  Somehow, I failed to notice that there were lots of travel options available.  Duh!

While there are over 115 listings in the travel section, the ones that jumped out at me are:

Booking.com  2% rebates

Home Away   up to $6.00 rebates

VRBO  up to $6.00 rebates

I have used these websites many times, and I can’t believe that I have missed out on all those rebates.

Ebates rocks for all your online shopping, even travel.  If you haven’t joined, you can earn a $10 gift certificate to Target or Kohls when you make your first purchase.

I hope this trick helps you stretch your travel dollars just a little further.

Hotels and Apartments and Campsites

I’m a HomeAway junkie, I’ll own it.  Whenever we decide to make a trip, HomeAway is my first stop to find accommodation.  We’re usually traveling with at least three children, and like any parents we like a little bit of privacy.

Two weeks in single hotel rooms with two double beds and a roll-away is a recipe for disaster.  Also death threats.  Possibly sanitarium time.  Definitely a need for a vacation-from-the-vacation.

That’s where my obsession with HomeAway comes in.

Our HomeAway rental in Rome included this baby donkey in a side yard.  For real.
Our HomeAway rental in Rome included this baby donkey in a side yard. For real.

Continue reading Hotels and Apartments and Campsites

Don’t Fear… One Way Tickets

This summer I’m sending my husband on a very short trip, but one he has been dying to take since… forever.

Shanghai?  Kuala Lumpur?  Sydney?  No.  No.  No.

 

Definitely not Marrakech.

A fantasy and gaming convention.  You’re welcome, honey.

But of course, I want to get him there cheaply, and I don’t want to waste our precious airline miles on it.  Done and done – how?

Continue reading Don’t Fear… One Way Tickets

In Which I Grind My Teeth and Make Terrible Faces

I love travel.  I love exposing my kids to travel.  I love that my family is absolutely insufferable when watching the movie European Vacation.  I know that sounds snotty, and I don’t mean it to.  I put a job’s worth of time into getting the most out of our travel, because goodness knows that we’re not at an income level to be able to just throw down the Visa card whenever a place strikes our fancy (case in point – Australia and New Zealand.  My kids are DYING to visit those two and we have not been able to find a way to swing it as of yet.  But, you know, goals are good).

We have not yet resorted to a Third World minibus vacation, but I'm sure it is coming.
We have not yet resorted to a Third World minibus vacation, but I’m sure it is coming.

Because we are not independently wealthy, we pay close attention to sales, promotions and airline points.  It is those airline points which are today causing the ridiculous headache, and I have vowed they WILL!  NOT!  WIN!

Continue reading In Which I Grind My Teeth and Make Terrible Faces

A Closer Look at Expedia Miles

Right outside a hotel we booked via Expedia.  The most important thing here to Surly is the UFC poster.
Right outside a hotel we booked via Expedia. The most important thing here to Surly is the UFC poster.

Go ahead – sing the Expedia theme song.  Right now.  I know you know it.

Now that is out of the way, let’s move on to the why of Expedia.  It’s actually very simple – of all the aggregators I’ve tried for hotel, car, and flight reservations, Expedia is the furthest reaching and the most easily tweaked.  While I adore Kayak’s little map with pictures of special price deals (gives me ideas!), there have been several times I’ve been able to find and book flights on Expedia that I could not find on Kayak.

Plus, Expedia has a points program – Expedia Rewards.  But right up front I’ll say that if the points program is your main reason for choosing Expedia, don’t bother.

Continue reading A Closer Look at Expedia Miles

Vacation Planning Junkie

Christmas is done planned.

Sort of.  I mean, we have airline tickets (yay for airline miles!).  I’m working on hotels and transportation.  I have three of four guidebooks…

The whole travel guide thing is ridiculously addictive.  I have thirty.  So far.
The whole travel guide thing is ridiculously addictive. I have thirty. So far.

Continue reading Vacation Planning Junkie