Top Tips to Book Your Own Flight

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

A great way to find travel deals is to learn the secrets of how to book your own flights?  Watch the video to learn the top tips to book your own flights.  This video will teach a beginner how to search out the best deals and how to book your own flights.

How to Book Your Own Flight

First, clear your cookies. Then, go to Cheaptickets.com (or Expedia, or Orbitz). I just generally start with Cheaptickets. Find the code for your airport. Once you’ve done that, plug in your dates. I usually search about six months in advance, but buy my tickets about one or two months out – unless I have found a super rate. After you’ve checked for a base rate, you can try to go to Kayak.com to see if you can find the flight cheaper. The video will give you a tutorial in how to do this. Learn to book your own flights to save yourself some money!

It’s not always easy to search out your own deals, but it is almost always worth it to book your own flight rather than pay someone else to search for you or to pay for a higher priced flight.


 

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Divorce Your Travel Agent!

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Every year, I am amazed at the number of people who are using a travel agent to book their trip. If you are trying to book an inexpensive trip, you can often do it just as well (or even better, in fact) by divorcing your travel agent and looking yourself. Now, if you are just looking for someone else to do it for you to save you time, then by all means use a travel agent. But, it’s an easy process to learn. I did it, so anyone can!

Each summer, I get inundated with calls from friends asking me to help them find a good deal on airfare. While I don’t mind helping (in fact, I enjoy it), it’s an easy skill to learn. …Continue Reading

For a Few More Hours Only!

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

Travels in London is free today on Amazon. Get your copy now.

Some of my favorite places in the UK

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

Dunrobin Castle

Dunrobin Castle

Dunrobin Castle is located north of Inverness, and it has something for every member of your family. I loved it.

Holyroodhouse

Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh

There is not enough that could be said about how wonderful Edinburgh is! It is my favorite city in Europe.

Orkney

Orkney

There are so many neolithic sites in Orkney that you could be busy for weeks.

Sir Humphrey Gilbert

Compton Castle

A bit of American history in the UK-this castle was the home of Sir Humphrey Gilbert.

Corfe Castle

Corfe Castle

Corfe castle’s location is breathtaking. A favorite castle of King John, all that is left is magnificent ruins. Enough remains that you can see why he loved it.

Norwich

Norwich

Norwich is a great place for history buffs. You can visit medieval attractions, and the Norwich Castle museum is a must-see!

Tintagel

Ruins of Tintagel

King Arthur, anyone? If you are interested in early Celtic history, you must visit Tintagel.

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Travel Information

Saturday, March 17th, 2012

In today’s travel world, there are many places that you might want to check on travel warnings before you go.  For up-to-date travel information, the US government has a fairly easy to read website.  The Department of State has put together information on countries – where the US embassy is, whether or not you need a visa, and safety information.  The website is worth checking out before you go on an international trip.  Click here to find out more.  Knowing what to expect in any given country is important, and it does pay to have a plan in place if something bad were to happen on your journey.

 

Happy Travels,
Kristie

Solo Travel for Women: Going Your Own Way

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012

Solo Travel in harbour

Take time for yourself!

When I am unable to find someone to travel with me, I go solo.  It’s not worth missing out on a trip just because I couldn’t find someone else who wanted to go.  Very rarely have I ever felt worried or frightened.  However, a few solo travel tips can help make any adventure safer and more fun. I have found that many women are afraid to travel alone, as they fear it will open them up to unwanted advances from men. They also fear that they will be lonely or bored.

You can easily remedy these fears by taking a few precautions.  The tips below should help you feel more at ease on your solo journey.

1. Remember why you decided to go. Why did you want to go to London (for example)? Was it because there was so much you wanted to see on your own? Or was it because the lure of the location outweighed not being able to find someone else willing or able to go with you? Remember your desire to see the location and let that outweigh your loneliness.  With Skype and other means of communication, your friends are family are not that far away!

2. Take precautions. Even if you were traveling with a friend instead of traveling solo, you would still take precautions. Make sure your door is locked at night. Watch your surroundings. Don’t go off with strange people. Basically, just use your common sense. People are generally friendly, and I’ve often been helped abroad by strangers. However, I wouldn’t get in a car with someone I did not know or go down a deserted street by myself.

3. Value your own company. One of my favorite parts of traveling abroad is the time I get to experience finding out more about myself. I learned that I can handle emergencies without having to turn to someone else for advice. I’ve learned that I like being alone at times. Take some time to find out about yourself while you are on your own. What do YOU like? Most women at heart are caregivers and look out for other people. Learn to look out for yourself.

4. Learn to eat alone. One of the hardest parts of solo travel is the nightly meal. It’s hard to sit alone while others are dining together. However, this is a great time to discover a culture! People watch while you dine. Make up stories about the people you see.

Don’t feel uncomfortable, either. Most people are admiring you for being able to be alone – it is a hard feat to be that comfortable with yourself.

Another way to enjoy your evening meal is to plan your next day. When you travel solo, it is often harder to navigate. So make sure you plan out your next day’s route ahead of time. Also, you can use this time to write in a journal about your day’s discoveries. My journals are so fun to go back and reread.   It’s like living the trip over again.

5. Enjoy the adventure! The best thing about solo travel is that you get to choose what you are going to do. No traipsing through museums you aren’t interested in so that your friend gets to see a certain painting. No going to dinner at restaurants you abhor! You choose. If you want to spend all day exploring a Scottish castle ruin, go ahead. Enjoy yourself. Also enjoy the fact that you’ve traveled on your own budget!

Solo travel for women is all about staying safe and enjoying yourself.

 

 

 

How I Travel to Europe on a Teacher’s Salary

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Hey, I just want to let everybody know that my new guide  is now available on Amazon.com.

As a gift to my loyal subscribers, I am offering it free until midnight tonight!  Even if you don’t own a Kindle, you can download the Kindle app for free for your Android, iPhone, Blackberry, PC, and iPads at this link.

Here is the direct link to my book.

It’s been up for two days, and at the time of this post I’ve had 721 sales.  I have a personal goal to reach a 1000 sales by the start of the Super Bowl.  I’ve included a screen shot of where it is currently at in the bestseller status for two categories.

 

Europe Budget Travel

Thanks,

Kristie

 

PS . If you like the book, please go back to the listing page on Amazon and leave your review.

 

Travel on A Budget

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

How I Travel to Europe Every Year on a Teacher's SalaryAt least once a week, someone asks me how I manage to travel to Europe every year on my teacher’s salary.   After answering this question over and over again, I finally decided to put together a short ebook chock full of tips on how I do it.  This book will answer all your questions on how I book my travel and plan my trips.   Click here to get the book for  $10 for a limited time only.

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Where are YOU going this Christmas?

Monday, November 21st, 2011

It’s that time of year again! Christmas is upon us, and many of us will be hitting the road traveling to our destinations.  Where do you plan to spend the holiday this year?

 

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Worcester Travel

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Travel Worcester

Travel in Worcester- it is an amazing place to visit.  Filled with shops and museums,  Worcester has something for everyone.  Make sure to see the magnificent cathedral.  Watch the video below to see some views of travel in Worcester. From views of the cathedral to Stranger’s Hall, you will see many sides of travel in Worcester in the video.


 

Norwich, England

Saturday, September 17th, 2011

Visit Norwich, England

Norwich

Norwich Castle

Norwich (pronounced Norridge), in the United Kingdom, is a fun town to spend time in. This area is rich in history, with associations with the Iceni, Romans, Saxons, and Normans. You could spend several days in Norwich and not scrape the surface. My morning started out with the Norwich cathedral. The cathedral has dominated the skyline for more than 900 years. I could have stayed in the cathedral for more than the two hours I spent there, but there was so much to see.

After leaving Norwich cathedral, we walked up Elm Hill and on to Stranger’s Hall. This medieval home is decorated to reflect several different periods of history, and it has examples of children’s games as well. You can find out so much about the history of Norwich while at Stranger’s Hall.

Before heading into the castle (which is video of its own!), we walked around the market area. I almost purchased another suitcase in order to hold all the books that I had bought on this trip. There were some very good deals!

Take a few minutes to watch the video of Norwich and experience it for yourself.

Norwich Video

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Bourton On The Water: Cotswold Venice

Friday, July 8th, 2011

Watch this video about the charming Cotswold village of Bourton on the Water.

Henry VIII: Along the Thames

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

Henry VIII

Henry VIII and Greenwich Palace

A lifelong fascination with Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, and the other Tudors led me to visit Greenwich on a bright, sunny day in June. Fortunate enough to have a friend who is a solid source of information on the Tudors as a guide, I set out to discover more about the area. Valerie, my guide, met us for a ride down the Thames. Along the way, she pointed out Henry VIII and other tudor-related sites and explained the historical significance of each. If you have never taken the boat from Westminster Pier to Greenwich, I suggest you do so on your next visit to London. It’s an experience worth repeating.

 

Once we arrived at the Palace, Valerie reminded me that Henry VIII had been born here on June 28, 1491. We took a picture by the pavement that shows this.

Greenwich Palace

Henry VIII stone at Greenwich

The palace had been built by his father, Henry VII. While none of the original palace remains, Valerie was able to make it come alive for us by showing the dimensions of the Tudor palace. The easiest way to picture it is that it mainly fits within the green of the current palace.

 

The Painted Gallery

The Painted Gallery

After we took a decidedly un-Tudor break to see the painted ceilings (which I fell in love with) of the Painted Gallery, we went to see the tiltyard area where Henry VIII and the rest of the Tudors had jousting matches. This is where Anne Boleyn would have been on that fateful May day.

 

After revelling in the Tudor era, we took some time to walk up to the Royal Observatory. It was well worth it. A visit to Greenwich is a must on anyone’s United Kingdom visit, especially if you enjoy Henry VIII and the other Tudors!

For more Henry VIII information, feel free to check out my Katherine Parr article.

Watch the video of my Henry VIII tour and see these sites for yourself!


 

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Travel Tips for The UK

Monday, May 30th, 2011

Travel Tips for the UK: Why Travel?

Travel Tips for the UK

St. Mary's Church, Carew, Wales

Travel tips for the UK will help make your trip complete.  But why travel in the first place? Travel is an adventure – you are leaving behind your normal, everyday life in order to experience another culture. Traveling is one of the best ways to learn about the world, and to learn about yourself. When you travel, you are cut loose from the support that you normally have at home, and you must learn to function on your own. This feeling is exhilarating.

Traveling in the United Kingdom

Each year, I spend some time in the United Kingdom. I love to visit the UK. Most people avoid international travel because they think it is “too expensive.” I’ll be the first to say that it is a lot more expensive right now than usual, but I still find, with a little bit of planning, that it is as cheap as most American destinations. I typically stay in London for a few days before moving out into the countryside where it is much cheaper. I find it easy to drive in the UK, so I am in charge of where I’m going instead of being dependent on others for transportation. So, how do I make the trip fairly inexpensive?

Travel On a Budget

First, I look for deals on hotels or bed and breakfasts. I usually stay at the Travelodge chain. It’s clean and functional. Since I’m only in my room to sleep, it serves its purpose well.

Second, I watch what I eat. It is so easy to spend a fortune on food, when you can get a comparable meal for cheaper elsewhere. I plan ahead to see where I might eat, and I normally eat at pubs. In fact, I often go to Boots and get its sandwich deal for lunch. I then find a nice place and have a picnic. It’s relaxing, quicker, and much cheaper than a restaurant.

I rent a car through a discount site such as AutoEurope.com. I’ve never had any problem doing this, and in fact have saved as much as $400 on a two week rental. That’s a substantial savings that I can put toward food, attractions, and gas. I try to rent an economy or compact car that I know gets good gas mileage.

Travel tips for the UK

Wallingford Castle Ruins

Finally, I try to see as many free attractions as I can. I add up the costs of the places I plan to visit and then decide if a London Pass or a Great British Heritage Pass will be my best buy. Sometimes I am better off going without a Great British Heritage Pass,like I will be this year, but other years the pass has saved me a lot of money.

You can see the world with just a little pre-planning. Enjoy your travel with these travel tips for the UK.

 

Travel in a Bad Economy

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

Travel in A Bad Economy

Travel in A Bad Economy is Worth It!

Travel in a Bad Economy: Finding a Good Airfare

It’s hard to travel in a bad economy, and I’ll have to admit that I didn’t think I would make it to the UK this year. Prices for plane tickets were far higher than in any year prior to this one, and I am just unwilling to pay 1,000$ for a plane ticket. So, how am I getting to go this year? By careful planning! Each day, I would check all the aggregate sites out there for my city and the city nearest to me. I played with dates and time frames, and lo and behold, I found a ticket for $850, which is still higher than I wanted to pay, but much lower than the prices I had been finding. I am going to get to travel in a bad economy, and I hope to have so much fun!

Travel in a Bad Economy: Car Hire

After booking the ticket, I went to my favorite car rental site and almost stroked out. Car prices were also at an all-time (for me, at least!) high. So, I started scouring the internet for lower prices, and once I found one, I went back to my favorite, dependable car rental site and asked them to match it. They did, and instead of paying $650 for a car, I am paying around $350 for the car. Success!

Travel in a Bad Economy: What about a place to sleep?

I searched my favorite hotel chain in the UK for prices, and I was dismayed to find how high they had gotten. However, by tweaking my itinerary, I was able to find a hotel in London for 33$ a night per person (2 people). No, that’s not a typo.

Anyone can find a deal to the UK (or to anywhere, for that matter!), it just takes tenacity, determination, and a little luck. Happy travel! You, too, can travel in a bad economy!

Traveling with No Agenda: New Adventures in Traveling

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

Traveling With No Agenda

Shem Creek, Charleston

Relaxin' at Shem Creek

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m a pretty brisk traveler – that is, I like to go and go when on vacation. But sometimes, you have to sit back, relax, and travel with no agenda. This is what happened last week. I went with my husband and good friends to Charleston, S.C. Instead of focusing on doing, I focused on being. I was more interested in enjoying the view and my friends than I was in making sure I got to Boone Hall plantation(which is still on my list for next time!). And you know what? I enjoyed it.

 

So, on your next vacation, take some time to *be* in the moment. Don’t just snap a picture; make a memory. You’ll be glad you did!  Take some time and begin to try traveling with no agenda!

Edinburgh: Castle and Town

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

Edinburgh:Castle and Town

When most people think of traveling abroad to Europe: Paris, London, or Rome come to mind. However, just a little further north is Europe’s diamond, the city of Edinburgh. The city has so much to offer in terms of history and culture – a magnificent castle and so much more!

Edinburgh awaits

Edinburgh

Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is divided into the medieval Old Town and the Georgian-era New Town. This blend of old and “new” make the city a fascinating place to visit. The wide streets of the New Town are in direct contrast with the Old Towns tiny closes.

Castle in Edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle at the Gathering

One thing Edinburgh has to offer is a spectacular castle. At the top of the Royal Mile, Edinburgh castle sits high above much of the town. Part of the castle dates back to the 12th century. Here visitors can see the Honors of Scotland (crown jewels) and the Stone of Destiny. At the foot of the Royal Mile, visitors may also visit the Palace of Holyroodhouse.  History comes alive in the palace, and you can almost see the dramatic murder of Rizzio and feel the anguish of Mary, Queen of Scots.  As you wander down (or up!) the Royal Mile, stop in at any of the many museums and stores along your way.  It can easily take a day just to check out half of what the Royal Mile has to offer.

Edinburgh Festivals

Another exciting aspect of Edinburgh is its many festivals. From the Edinburgh International festival to the funky Fringe festival, there is something for everyone. This year, from August 15 – 31, the city hosts a book festival where visitors may meet some of their favorite authors.

Edinburgh also has numerous restaurants which serve dishes from traditional haggis to spicy curry. Scotland is well known for its whisky, and visitors may have a wee taste of whiskey at the numerous shops or at the Bow bar.

Edinburgh is a city on the move, yet steeped in its cultural heritage. It is an amazing place to visit. From the past to the future, there is something for everyone in Edinburgh.

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Christmas Travel Tips

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

Tips for Christmas travel

Traveling at Christmas can be stressful

Christmas Travel Tips

Christmas travel – It’s one of the busiest travel times of the year. People are flying home to visit family and friends. The airports are crowded and people are stressed. You want to have the smoothest travel possible. Christmas travel tips can help ensure that you have a good experience.

1. Call ahead to make sure your flight is on time. Call the airlines to verify that you will be leaving on time and that your flight has not been cancelled or delayed. It is easier to call the airline directly to fix travel problems than to stand in line at a desk.

2. Read the TSA security guidelines. Know how to get through the line as quick and as easy as possible. Allow yourself extra time because of the new security procedures.

3. Don’t prewrap gifts that are in your carry on. TSA will unwrap them. It’s better to know this in advance than to be disappointed that the beautiful paper you wrapped your gift in is on the airport floor.

4. Be prepared for stressors. Christmas travel is almost always stressful. Knowing in advance what might stress you out will keep you calmer.

5. Relax. There are some things you cannot change. If your plane is delayed due to weather conditions, screaming about it will not change the issue. It’s best to stay calm and see what can be done.

Keeping the above Christmas travel tips in mind will help you have a safer (and saner!) Christmas trip.


 

Wales Images

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

Images of Wales, including what may be the oldest church in Wales.

Don’t Touch My Junk

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

If you’ve been reading the papers for any length of time, you’ve seen the reports on the new TSA body scanners. You’ve most likely seen the “Don’t Touch My Junk” video that’s making its round on the Internet. After refusing to be screened by the new TSA body scanners, John Tyner made the statement that if a TSA agent “touched his junk” he would have him arrested. This prompted the agent to call his supervisor with the final result that Tyner did not make his flight and now might face a substantial fine.

Many opponents of the new scanners say that radiation is concentrated on the skin instead of being dispersed throughout the body and point to the fact that there are no long-term studies on the effects of the machine. In fact, a National Opt-Out day is planned for the day before Thanksgiving (a typical high-traffic day). In addition, the pat-downs have been called extremely invasive. Some groups point out that women who have been assaulted might have real issues with the pat-down, yet might not want to risk the radiation in the body scanner.

Proponents say tougher screenings are important for security and point to the Underwear Bomber and 9/11 as examples. They say that not all devices could be found with the body wands, and it is important to be thorough. So, where do you stand on this issue?


 

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My First Book Review – the lost girls

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

I was wandering around looking at the travel section of my local bookstore when a book caught my eye.  The title was the lost girls: three friends, four continents, one unconventional detour around the world.  (The case setting is not a typo – it was all lower case).  Loving to travel, I picked it up, thinking it might be a good read.  It turned out to be a “great” read…one of those, “I can’t put this book down” reads. 

The book chronicles the year-long journey that these three 20-something girls took around the  world.  Unlike many people who dream of ditching their jobs to travel, these three girls DID it.  Their adventures range from the wacky to the extremely serious.  The book makes you look at your life in different ways.  I highly encourage you to pick up this life-changing book (and yes, I do feel that strongly about the book!) today.

The link below is my affiliate link with Amazon.  If you purchase the book here, I will get credit for it.  Thanks!

Visit New York City!

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Visit beautiful New York City, where there is something for everyone.  I had so much fun in this non-stop city.  From the middle ages (the Cloisters) to modern-day, I found something new and exciting every single day.  There are the shops of SoHo, the food in Little Italy, the Lower East Side atmosphere, and the fun in Times Square.  Check it out for yourself.  Visit New York City today.  I think you will be glad you took the time to do so.


 

Driving Overseas

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Driving Overseas

I get so many questions about driving overseas.  Should I do it? Is it hard (this one especially comes when people are asking about the UK).  It is my preferred mode of travel.  When driving overseas, you have the unique ability to design your own trip.  You don’t have to answer to anyone but yourself.  No deadlines, train schedules, or tour buses for you!

Driving Overseas: Where do I Start

After I book my car, I do research to see how much I can reasonably accomplish in one day.  I pad about an hour to the estimates that rac.co.uk gives me, just in case we have to stop to eat or stop for gas.  I also use a road atlas to map out the trip.  While I trust RAC and MapQuest to produce time estimates, I prefer the old-fashioned way to map it out, as I can get a clear overview of where everything is.  Also, I once spent a half-hour looking for a road that a driving directions site gave me.  It didn’t exist.  After mapping it out, I estimate the mileage for the whole trip, multiply it times the average cost for petrol and estimate how much I will spend.  For more information, watch my video on driving overseas.

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Budget Travel – Decisions!

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

I am always looking for ways to budget travel.  Now, I am about to embark on a trip to New York city. Prices right now are out of budget range to fly, so I’m considering renting a car and driving. It’s a long journey, but I think I can make it interesting by breaking it up with a stop in Philadelphia. I have a budget of $1000 for two people for one week, and it looks as if I will be able to stay in my budget travel range. Making decisions like this is part of being a budget traveler. It is fine to go without a budget if you can afford to travel this way, but for most of us – we need a budget and need to stick to it!

I know that things will occur that might put me out of my budget range, but at least I know WHAT I am shooting for, which will allow me to make wise decisions. I plan to enjoy myself and not count every penny (that is just too stressful) but I also do not want to come home broke.

Making decisions is important when you are trying to remain within budget parameters. It’s difficult, but not impossible, to travel on a budget. Best wishes on your travel journeys –  and remember to budget travel!

For more information on budget travel, read How to Travel in a Bad Economy.

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Fayetteville, North Carolina

Monday, September 6th, 2010

Visit Fayetteville, North Carolina

Travel to Fayetteville, North Carolina. It’s a wonderful place for a family vacation – the beach is within two hours, there is the Airborne Museum, and a children’s museum. Fayetteville is the home of Fort Bragg.

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Dunstaffnage Castle

Monday, August 30th, 2010

The castle at Dunstaffnage

Dunstaffnage Castle

Dunstaffnage Castle

Dunstaffnage Castle was not a castle that I had heard a lot about. Unlike Stirling, or even Castle Campbell, Dunstaffnage was not on my “list of places I must see,” but I am sincerely glad I found this place.

Located at the mouth of Loch Etive, this castle was in a strategic location. Dunstaffnage castle eventually fell into the hands of the Campbell family, under the leadership of the Lord of Argyll. The views from the castle are spectacular. According to the castle guidebook, the walls tower 30 feet above you, and I believe it. If I was part of an invading force, I would certainly feel small in comparison.

Dunstaffnage Castle

View from Dunstaffnage Castle

Murder

As all castles, Dunstaffnage has an interesting story to tell. One of the keepers of the castle, John Stewart of Lorn, was on his way to be married at the chapel when he was fatally stabbed by his enemy, Alan MacDougall. Despite the stabbing, Stewart lived long enough to say his vows. The chapel is in ruins, but it is in an evocative location, and I highly recommend you take the time to walk there.

Stewart Chapel

Dunstaffnage Chapel

 
Dunstaffnage Castle is easy to find, and it is located near Oban – another must-see location.

 


 

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Kilkenny, Ireland

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Watch some images of lovely Kilkenny, Limerick, the Cliffs of Moher, and Galway. It will make you want to visit today. Subscribe below for more videos/blogs about travel.