We found the best things to do in Concord New Hampshire - all while on a tight budget. But could we save enough to make our $200 travel challenge a success?
I often start a lot of blog posts by explaining that a certain destination has been on my travel bucket list for a long time, or that I've read a lot about a place and thus jumped at the chance to visit when an opportunity presented itself. But not Concord. The state capital of New Hampshire wasn't on my radar, not one little bit, when we booked our trip. However, travel in general was on my mind in a big way. I had returned from the always inspiring Women in Travel Summit and was highly motivated to see more of the cities around me. I instructed Ryan to find a place within a 6 hour drive that would cost $50 a night and, just like that, I was researching the best things to do in Concord NH, making lists of local cheap eats, and getting excited to discover something new.
The end result was one of the best spontaneous travel decisions we've ever made. Concord NH is just LOVELY! And it was filled with all sorts of me-ish places to explore. From an amazing bookstore to a delicious doughnut stand - I was hooked! But, of course, I wasn't in Concord just to have a great time. I was thinking of all my dear readers as well! I wanted to put Concord to the test with my $200 Challenge. The premise is simple enough. Can two people travel for two days and spend just $200? The $200 Challenge has to include clean, safe accommodations with a hot shower, three proper meals a day, and enough activities to fill two days. With past Challenges including London, Boston, and Washington, DC, how would Concord hold up?
Changi Airport's free Singapore tour is famous. But is it more trouble than it's worth? Here's what you need to know before you go.
I love layovers and I love great deals - and everyone knows it! As such, the free Singapore tour out of Changi Airport has been on my radar for a long time. During our first visit to Singapore in 2013, our lengthy overnight layover of nearly 24 hours called for a hotel and some independent time exploring. But during our recent 2018 trip, our layover was closer to 12 hours - just the right amount of time to enjoy the free Singapore tour and explore the city a bit. What could be better?
Turns out, there's a catch to this story. Or rather, there are several. We soon learned the hard way that there are a lot of important rules that are rarely mentioned. If you're planning a layover in Singapore and keen to take in the free Singapore sightseeing tour, here's what you should know before you finalize your plans.
I love to chat about money and travel... but penguins usually aren't included in the conversation!
Have you ever traveled to see penguins? And, if so, did they teach you any financial lessons? It's a strange question! You see, a recent conversation about these cute birds unexpectedly shed some light on money and my travel decision making process. Let me explain....
I was chatting with friends about how there are some things I'll happily pay a lot of money for when I travel, yet I get really annoyed at some minor travel expenses. Why was it so easy to assign value to one activity yet be so aggravated with another? That's when a friend piped up and said that in her circle of friends, they summarize this quandary with one quirky phrase: "penguins or no penguins".
She told me about some acquaintances - known for being rather frugal - who had saved up for the trip of a lifetime. They cruised to Antarctica, truly an incredible voyage, and a trip that easily cost thousands of dollars. And while they were there, they had the chance to pay an extra $20 each to leave the cruise ship and board a Zodiac boat that would take them closer to the penguins. But they refused! They must have spent over $10,000 on their trip - but they drew the line at an extra $40 in travel expenses. And thus, the phrase "penguins or no penguins" was born.
In 2013, we created the most incredible reward trip with Aeroplan, circling the globe with Star Alliance. And in 2018 we're doing it again!
TurnipseedTravel debuted nearly six years ago (and does anyone else remember our very first green and grey template?). Nearly 18 months later, that debut became a fully fledged launch when Ryan and I took our readers along for the journey of a lifetime.
We cashed in all our points for what was technically a trip to Australia but instead embarked on an amazing round-the-world trip fueled entirely by Aeroplan. See, we had learned about all the reward flight loopholes needed to "hack" our travel plans and create a mini round the world trip with Star Alliance partners. With stops in Europe, Asia, North America (and, of course, Australia), we had 9 flight segments on Star Alliance flights (and visited about 15 different locations) and paid about $300 each for taxes and fees. As you can tell from our nostalgic photos, thanks to Aeroplan, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Or so we thought....
How can the average person afford a trip to Hawaii? Is Hawaii travel affordable for the average family?
Ten thousand dollars. That's how much a friend told me they thought it would cost to go to Hawaii. Ten thousand dollars - EACH.
This breaks my heart. Hawaii is one of my favourite destinations. We've just returned from our third trip and I don't think we've spent ten thousand dollars on all three excursions combined. And we're not slumming it either - no illegal camping on the beach, no stealing fruit from private gardens!
Is Hawaii a bargain-basement priced destination? No. Are there plenty of expensive temptations at every turn? Yes.Is Hawaii travel affordable? YES. Can the average person, on a modest budget, still afford to go there? YES. YES. YES! Here's how Ryan and I travel in Hawaii without breaking the bank.
In Bern, Switzerland, hidden bargains and worthwhile treats await. That's a formula even Einstein would approve of!
What's your idea of a great bargain or splurge in Switzerland? Maybe chocolate from a hidden store followed up with a custom Swiss watch? Or a hike through the Alps before rounding out the day with some chic apres-ski? All good ideas, but Switzerland is a country that beckons you to dig deeper, look beyond the stereotypes, and explore the unexpected.
This is especially true of Bern, home to the seat of the Swiss government. It's smaller and less flashy than other Swiss cities and is often underrated by many as a result. But not by me! Bern has had a special place in my heart from my very first trip - and I was eager to discover it once more from a new perspective and with a new budget.
It's not a hoax or a hack. It's a helpful hint that will change all my future travel plans.
I've said it a hundred times: The great thing about travel is how you're always learning. But today I'm not talking about learning history or geography or languages. Nope, I've been schooled in a whole new way and it changes EVERYTHING!
It all started with my friend Andrea, who blogs at WanderingiPhone. She's an all round lovely gal who appreciates a savvy bargain as much as the next person. Andrea was telling me about an amazing trip she took to South Africa, "hacking" her points to get free layovers and stopovers in Ethiopia, Israel, and Poland along the way (much like we did in 2013 - seriously, we flew around the world for $350.)
And then Andrea told me that Ethiopian Airlines gave her a free night's accommodation at a Hilton in Addis Ababa, plus meal vouchers and ground transportation. Uh, WHAT?!?!
Vienna, the opulent capital of Austria, offers great travel savings and splurges.
Chatting with newly made friends at acooking class in Prague, we eagerly compared travel notes and I was fascinated to learn that they had just spent a week in Vienna before moving on to the Czech capital. A week! We were only going to be in Vienna for a day! Had we made a mistake? Were we going to regret such a short trip?
Now I can see that Vienna is the kind of city that can easily keep guests entertained and engaged for a week, especially if you're a music or architecture fan - or a fan of fine living. But for budget minded travelers like ourselves, we were able to easily find ways to save money and balance out splurges with bargain steals. It turns out that one day and night was more than enough to see everything on our list. Here's how to save, splurge, and steal in Vienna.
We found real value in one of the toniest spots in the United States.
Cape Cod is a tiny spit off Massachusetts, just an hour from Boston, where everything seems endless and open and large. There are massive beaches, gorgeous mansions, endless expanses of blue sky. And the friendliness is larger than life too!
I met my new friend Kelly, a former Cape Cod resident, at a cooking class in Prague. We bonded over a mutual appreciation of all things dumplings and goulash and she gave me invaluable advice for exploring Cape Cod. Thanks to her sage insider's perspective we had an unforgettable trip - plus a long list of activities to consider for next time.
In the spirit of travel friendships, I feel it's only appropriate to pass along our favourite (affordable) Cape Cod recommendations - and I can't wait to hear if you have any to add to the list!
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