10 Travel Tips That Will Save You Time & Money

I was thinking the other day that I should write a few essential tips that I have learned over time when preparing to travel. They are true and tried.

  1. Go to skyscanner and look for flights that you are looking for. If you are flexible on time search by "cheapest month". If you are like me and have to travel when you have to travel, then put an alert to watch prices. This has saved me hundreds of dollars. Book when you feel comfortable that prices will not get lower than what you are aiming for.
  2. Use TripAdvisor for booking hotels. I read pages and pages of reviews and more often than not whatever people say is usually true. Try to skip reviews that have incidences that are isolated, you may skip on a hotel that is very nice because of a one off incident.
  3. Search for hotels you know you cannot afford. TripAdvisor can help you find a hotel close to the one that you want but cannot afford. For example in Japan we obviously could not afford staying at Park Hyatt however I searched for it and then scrolled down to hotels that were "like" Park Hyatt at considerably lower prices. In Mykonos we had a BARGAIN where we paid a fraction of the price for our hotel through getaroom. It was ridiculous because we got an upgrade too when we arrived.
  4. Read blogs and articles. They will usually lead you to places that you were not aware of and they will provide tips that will be helpful. Travel blogs are a gold mine for me. You will find tours, hotels, sights etc on blogs that you will not find on main stream sites.
  5. Do not go to places because everyone is going there. Read up and decide for yourself. Usually again if you find people saying something about a place it is usually true. If you read in more than a few places that a particular site isn't worth it then leave it. It is most likely not worth it. If you find that a place is a must go then GO!
  6. Book tours. I said it. I do not advocate for tours on every trip I take but sometimes when you are short on time it is the best way to see a city. I try to avoid big tour companies and go for smaller ones that have a personal feel. You get more for you money and a better experience. We will be taking some free tours soon in South America I will be sure to update this post on our experience.
  7. Eat where the locals eat. I love walking into restaurants that are literally holes in the wall. In Florence and Venice we had the most amazing experiences. We just walked into a non pretentious restaurant with minimal advertising and had some of the best food and ambiance of our travels. Also you will interact with the locals and find out things that you probably wouldn't have.
  8. Travel with someone who understands and gets you. This should probably be number one. But seriously go with someone who won't ruin your experience. You do not want to be thousands of miles away from home fighting over BS.
  9. Pack lightly. I like to be able to maximize my travel so when we go into a city I like to be able to move around fluidly. Also I do not like to check in luggage. In Bali we made this mistake and regretted it. We waited over an hour for our luggage. Pack a bag or suitcase that's a carry on and enjoy a baggage less trip pun intended.
  10. Have a plan for your trip. Don't free lance once you have bought your tickets. Make sure you know what you are doing and when. Buy entrance tickets for sites. Reserve places that need reservations before you arrive to save time. Leave room for impromptu stuff but have a plan or you will probably not leave your hotel pool the whole time you are there (unless that's the plan).
Listening is loving...

Juice Cleanse Series - Week 1 Journal

Day 1
I started my morning with a weigh in and yikes my weight is up. I then had some hot water with lemon to set up my stomach for the day.
I had my first juice for breakfast and it was oh so good quite refreshing.
My second juice was just as good. I drunk water in between my juices. Remember you have to drink half your weight in water.
I took a yoga class and I was feeling okay until some point in the afternoon I had a strange headache. I say strange because it wasn't a full blown headache but rather one of those headaches that seem to be in the background so you have some discomfort.
Then my stomach started acting up and I was super bloated. The noises it was making were not normal at all. I wasn't hungry and the bloated feeling did not go away. It was so bad I couldn't suck in my stomach. I looked pregnant.
Below is how my juicing goes. I put everything I need in little containers depending on what the recipe is and then I juice.





Day 2
I woke up hungry which is probably normal. But I am down 4 pounds. Must be water weight but hey I'll take it. Also when I woke up my sense of smell was so acute it was quite strange. Anyways I'm feeling okay just a little sluggish.
It's in the late evening and I am super bloated, I can hardly zip up. Is this how I'm supposed to be feeling??? Hopefully tomorrow is better. The noises my stomach is making are not good at all.
Interestingly I am not as hungry as I thought I would be. I only had five juices today instead of the six I had planned.

Day 3
Woke up feeling super rested. This morning I am hungry, I can't wait to start on my juices but first my warm water with lemon. I am down 2 pounds today.
I'm starting to think it's always good to start with a juice you enjoy. I don't particularly love the kale ones so I am putting those off to midday and trying to finish with the juices I like also.
So far so good. I do not feel bloated today. I had a yoga class and I felt so light on my hands and feet.

Day 4
Nothing new to report still going strong. I cheated a little but it was due to unavoidable circumstances.

Day 5
I made it to day 5 whoa. I am down 0.4 pounds today, feeling okay nothing unusual.
By mid afternoon I was starting to feel the effects of my cheating the previous day. My stomach started making those noises again.

Day 6 - 7
I haven't been hungry as I would have expected. I went for hot yoga on the weekend both days. For the week I was down a total of 6.4 pounds. I am very happy. I'm going to keep doing it for as long as I feel healthy.

Listening is loving...

Juice Cleanse Series - Cost and Preparation Time

Pre-Game
As I had mentioned in this post I plan to do a juice cleanse/fast for the next two weeks. Basically I will be a vegetarian for the next couple of weeks. Yikes!!! I love my meat but two weeks (or more) won't kill me. My goal is to lose weight.

Yesterday which happened to be a Sunday I went to the grocery store to get my juice supplies. My juicer also came in the mail, thank you two day shipping from Amazon!!! : ) and I also got a 6 pack of 16oz bottles for my juices.


I had planned to use a local juicery but it became quickly evident that it would not be cost effective. At about $39  per day it would cost me around $546 for 14 days. So I went shopping yesterday and got what I needed.

My costs were as follows:
Fixed Cost Breville JE98XL Juicer  $               148.95
Fixed Cost 6 Pack of 16 oz Bottles  $                 14.95
Variable Cost Fruits  & Vegetables - approx 4 days   $                 55.54

As you can see even with my having to buy the juicer the cost isn't half of what it would be if I bought the juices from a juicery. If my average cost is $55 for 4 days then it would be around $200 for the whole cleanse which would still be cheaper than a juicery : ).
Plus if you can spend $55 for 4 days worth of food that's a win in my book.

After buying my supplies I went home and prepped my fruits and vegetables. The preparation is really fast because with this juicer you do not need to cut up your fruits and vegetables if they can fit. The process is simple and the juicer came assembled which is a win because I do not like assembling anything! It took an average of five minutes per bottle for my juices. Just wash and juice. The clean up was fast as well. I had watched videos on youtube and it was as really quick and efficient as the videos I watched.

Below are photos of my juicer and my juices. I also took a picture of my weight and tomorrow I will update you on how day 1 went.


 

As always thanks for reading.

Listening is loving...

Juice Cleanse/Fast Plan

You have probably read about my weight journey and the myriad of issues I have with weight. Seriously it's like you hit 30 and weight loss becomes an issue you didn't have before. I'm not trying to say that I have been skinny all my life bla bla bla. No. My weight has fluctuated over time and I have tried various things, some with great success and most with failure. Which sucks!


I hit 30 and I couldn't just go to the gym and lose the extra pounds I was packing. It became harder no matter which workout regimen I tried and needless to say it is frustrating. So I decided to do a juice cleanse to jump start my metabolism. It's a 2 week juice cleanse/fast that will probably drive me nuts but I am willing to give it a shot. So how will it work? Here are a few pointers:

Las Vegas, Hoover Dam, Route 66, The Grand Canyon, The Horseshoe and the Antelope Canyon Part 2

We drove to Page in a few hours from the Grand Canyon. It had been snowing on and off but it did warm up a little when we reached Page. We checked in after a break headed to the Horse Shoe bend. I had become a popular destination so you can ask the local and they will direct you to it. Also there are no guard rails, there is no set up. It is just you and nature which makes it very rustic and very dangerous. It would be quite easy to take a topple over the edge.


Las Vegas, Hoover Dam, Route 66, The Grand Canyon, The Horseshoe and the Antelope Canyon Part 1

After enjoying a couple of days in Miami we headed of to Las Vegas and later on to Arizona. In Las Vegas we enjoyed the restaurants, the shows and really energy that you can only find on the strip. It was loads of fun.


Japan Travel Guide - Kyoto Day 1

Now that we are back from Japan I can do a travel guide on one of the most beautiful countries I have ever been to. From the vibrant culture, amazing food, wonderful people and beautiful sights there is so much to do in Japan and certainly to really explore you need more than one week. However I only had a week and I made sure to fit in as much as I can.

On arriving in Tokyo late at night I cleared immigration and custom pretty fast especially because all my stuff was carry on. I try to avoid checking in stuff because it always ends up wasting time for example we waited over an hour in Bali for our luggage so this time I left my perfumes at home : ).


So if there is a tip I would share is to avoid checking in luggage. The second tip is to buy the Japan rail pass. It saved me so much money seriously if you plan to travel between cities just one round-trip may put you over what you spend on the JRP. You do have to buy it before you leave your country of origin. Once you get to Japan you show your passport at one of the Japan Rail offices and they give you the pass. They will ask you the day you would like to activate it so depending on when you want to start traveling between cities that's the day you choose as your 'start' date. I had a 7 day pass so I packed my travel in those 7 days and saved my last days in Tokyo for when the pass expired.