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?!?!
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