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Archive for the ‘Budget Travel’ Category

Happy Holidays from everyone at TWDHF!

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas around here! Check out the new Budget Travel Blog entry about cheap holiday travel and saving money on your trips with Twitter!

And don’t forget to get into the holiday season this year by donating to some amazing causes. Spend a little time giving or working with some of these groups:

Ronald McDonald House
St. Jude Children’s Hospital

Goodwill
Feeding America
Operation Homefront
Make-a-Wish Foundation
Easter Seals
The Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind
Homeless Shelters/Soup Kitchens

You can also look up great things to do all year round at DoSomething.org

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In order to plan a great travel experience, it is necessary to plan ahead as much as possible. I enjoy reading articles that will assist me in enjoying my next adventure with as few mishaps as I need to encounter. I like to see what advice fellow travelers have, research out locations, price different activities and plan my trip out as much as possible.

Last summer, I had a great time in New York and I plan on going again sometime this fall. Despite what some people might think, it’s possible to have a great time on a decent budget in the city that never sleeps. There’s also a wealth of information out there, numbers, websites, and tips for the weary New York traveler that I thought I would share:

Having your Hotel’s Local Phone Number- I cannot tell you the amount of times I’ve gotten into a cab, given the address to my hotel only to sit there while he or she circles the same few blocks trying to “find” my hotel. It’s so helpful to have your hotel’s number on hand for this reason and so many others. If your flight is delayed and you want to let them know you’ll be arriving late, you’ll be able to easily let them know so they don’t give away your room. If you’re heading back to your hotel after a late night out and can’t remember the exact address, a quick phone call will make it easy to get home safely.

Airline Phone Number- Whether you need to change your ticket or want to see if your flight has been cancelled or delayed due to bad weather, calling the airline directly is your best bet.

Dial 311-New York City has a fantastic free information service: 311. Government information and non-emergency assistance is a quick phone call away and all calls are answered by a live person, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Translation services into over 170 languages are available via 311. For calls made from outside of New York City’s five boroughs, you can access the same free information (with 24 hour live operators) by calling (212) NEW-YORK (212-639-9675).

NYC Car Service Phone Number- Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to hail a taxi, so having a car service number can be a tremendous help. When you’re stuck with lots of bags from a serious shopping trip, out in the boroughs looking for a ride back to Manhattan or trying to get to the airport, a quick call to a car service can get you a ride to your destination with little hassle.

NYC & Company Visitor Information Phone Number- If you’ve got a tourism related question, call 212-484-1222 to speak to a Visitor Information Counselor Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. They can help you with questions about attractions, tours or anything else related to New York City tourism.

Phone Numbers for Restaurants Where You Want to Eat- Even if you already have reservations, it’s a good idea to call and confirm them the day before. If you don’t reservations, it can be a good idea to call to see if they have suggestions about good times to get a table or if they have any same-day reservations available.

Travel Agent’s Phone Number-It’s not surprising that even the best laid plans can sometimes run into a snag. Having the phone number for your travel agent will make it easier to rectify any problems you might run into, whether it’s delayed flights, an overbooked hotel or a rained-out tour, your travel agent will be able to fix things more easily the sooner you let him/her know you’ve run into a problem.

Tour Operator Phone Numbers- If you’ve pre-booked tours or events on your own, it’s a great idea to store these numbers in your phone as well. It’s easier to let someone know you’re lost or running late if you can call them directly.

Traveler’s Aid Phone Number- Should you need travel assistance and don’t have somewhere else to turn, give Traveler’s Aid’s JFK agency a call at 718-656-4870. If you lose your ticket, find yourself at the wrong airport or run into another travel snafu, Traveler’s Aid may be able to offer you assistance.

New York Area Consulate Emergency Phone Number- For international travelers, it can be helpful to have the number of the nearest consulate available. Should you lose your passport, run into legal problems or need other assistance, the Consulate office of your home country can often provide help.

Securing Discount Broadway Tickets- Broadway discount tickets purchased at a TKTS Booth are typically 25-50% off full-price, meaning you’ll pay about $50-$75 per ticket. Standing Room Only and Rush Broadway discount tickets will cost approximately $25. Broadway discount tickets purchased through Broadway discount ticket newsletters and websites are typically 25-50% off full-price, meaning you’ll pay about $50-$75 per ticket.

Your best to get these tickets is to sign up for on discount Broadway ticket newsletters and websites — these sites offer discounts on advance sales for many Broadway shows. You should also check the websites for Broadway shows that you’re interested in seeing — they often have email newsletters and special offers available.

Where can I get same-day Broadway discount tickets- There are two TKTS Booths in Manhattan offering discount Broadway tickets. Standing Room Only (SRO) and Rush Tickets are available the same day of a performance, typically for around $25 at the box office.

What Broadway discount tickets are available for students-Many Rush Tickets are available only for students with ID. What Broadway discount tickets are available for Seniors? Some Rush Tickets are available to seniors as well as students with ID.

Broadway Discount Ticket Sources
TKTS Booth Discount Tickets
Online Broadway Discount Tickets
Standing Room Only and Rush Discount Tickets

Wishing you a fantabulous travel experience!!

“Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Others
stay for a while and leave footprints on our hearts and we
are never the same.”

-Anonymous

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Be sure to check out the new blog posts on our other blog: Budget Travel: When You Want To, But Don’t Always Have the Cash To by Chicago freelance writer Meg Hoppe. Hoppe talks about some great ways to get all of your summer fun in without compromise and without paying a huge price. She also gives us some great advice when buying a home one the foreclosure market. Something to definitely read up on.

Follow her on Twitter @CallMeHoppe of us @TWDHF

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Be sure to check out the new blog posts on our other blog: Budget Travel: When You Want To, But Don’t Always Have the Cash To by Chicago freelance writer Meg Hoppe.

Hoppe talks about some great ways to get all of your summer fun in without compromise and without paying  a huge price. She also gives us some great advice when buying a home one the foreclosure market. Something to definitely read up on.

Follow her on Twitter @CallMeHoppe of us @TWDHF

Read Full Post »

Be sure to check out the new blog posts on our other blog: Budget Travel: When You Want To, But Don’t Always Have the Cash To by Chicago freelance writer Meg Hoppe.

Hoppe talks about some great ways to get all of your summer fun in without compromise and without paying  a huge price. She also gives us some of her favorite summer cocktail ideas for nights out with friends.

Check it out!

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If you’re planning a wedding, you’re probably wondering what will be trendy and hip while not leaving your honeymoon fund completely depleted. Thinking about all of the happy couples out there, I went looking for information on 2009 weddings.

One article I found mentions that the wedding industry is already seeing ways in which a smaller budget has inspired couples to have more creative, intimate, and personal weddings. These weddings are benefiting from a heavy dose of style, influenced by the many images and ideas circulating around the blogosphere. Other than the economy, 2009 weddings will also be influenced by a chic sense of style. Rather than huge weddings, where cost cutting means a lack of details or fun, the 2009 wedding trends are full of fabulous details meant for smaller, affordable weddings.

Here are some predictions that I read that will be the top 2009 wedding trends:

Farm Weddings

garden-weddingNo, I’m not talking about getting married amongst the combines, or having a cow for your bridesmaid. However, farms can be an affordable place to get married with a lot of charm. Several of them allow your guests to interact with the animals, while the others just provide idyllic pastoral settings.

Add some additional down-home touches like gingham tablecloths, pitchers of jam or other country weddings styles. Make sure to look for a barn suitable for a reception and you have a large, blank canvas for decorations.fernbrook-03

Small Luxurious Weddings
Budgets might be tight, but that doesn’t mean that luxury and glamor are going away. Instead, couples are opting for an intimate glamorous affair. By having fewer guests, weddings can have more opulent details, like elaborate favors, beautiful wines and gourmet tasting menus.

With such a backdrop, it then feels right to be in your tuxedos and gowns, surrounded only by your truest friends and loves ones.

Macarons

MacaronsThe delightful French cookies not only have a delicious almond flavor and light texture, but bakers have a tradition of making them in bright, eye-catching colors, making them perfect for weddings.

The newest trend is creating a tower of macarons instead of a wedding cake, but they’re also stunning as favors or as accompaniment to wedding cakes.

Gray
For the past few years, chocolate brown has been the “It Color” popping up inGrey Bridesmaids Dresses

weddings as a hip neutral, and combined with bright pink or cheery yellow. While chocolate brown isn’t going anywhere, the hippest color for 2009 is gray.

You may thing of gray as too dreary for weddings, but on the contrary, it can serve as a sophisticated foil to brighter colors. It’s great paired with pink or yellow, but perhaps the hottest combination will be silver and royal purple.

Affordable & Renewable Bridesmaids Dresses
Forget the peach tulle atrocities of yesteryear, 2009 brides are considerate and mindful of the economy, the they’re looking for bridesmaids dresses that are truly renewable and don’t come with a high price tag. For a beach wedding, consider telling your bridesmaids that they can wear a knee-length, spaghetti strap dress in any shade of blue. They’ll not only be able to shop the department store sales, but your wedding will reflect the beautiful colors of the ocean. If you still want a unified bridal party look, consider gathering your maids for a group shopping expedition.

Vintage Fashion and Fascinators
birdcage41Having a vintage-inspired wedding is a great way to add some style without adding a lot of cost. 1920’s weddings will be especially hot this year.

Especially look for brides wearing birdcage veils (photo) and fascinators. If you’re a Project Runway fan, you’ll definitely recall Kenley’s fascinators-the feathery charms that perch on your head. But many other designers also make a wide range of them.

Whatever you do, remember that your wedding is a day of love and bliss that will be yours forever so make it perfect! Click here for more budget wedding ideas.

“When you make a sacrifice in marriage, you’re sacrificing not to each other but to unity in a relationship.”
-Joseph Campbell

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Even though the economy is slow right now, people still want to travel locally or abroad. With some adventures, a car is a must in reaching a particular destination. With Earth Day upon us, I tried to think about some environmentally friendly, budget travel tips.

Ever heard of car sharing? This is not borrowing a friend’s car to do some shopping. It’s a form of car rental in which you, as a member of a car sharing club, have access to a vehicle for an hour or two. You swipe a card in a reader by the windshield to gain access and you’re off. Hourly rates at car sharing clubs sure beat renting a car for several days and paying expensive overnight parking fees; not to mention, that car sharing clubs typically pick up your gasoline costs and insurance, too.

I find that car sharing meets the needs of individuals needing a car. This car sharing can be a blessing for a family wanting to just take a one day outing.

Read more about car sharing here to consider if it might benefit your travel budget. And be sure to check out this site and this one for information on Earth Day and how you can do your part to help the environment today and everyday!

Have yourself a great travel experience!!

“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”
-Native American Proverb

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