Browsing Category TRAVEL RESOURCES

Where Do Trending Celebrities Vacation?

by Thursday, March 3, 2016

When you are trying to plan your next vacation, do you ever wonder where do trending celebrities vacation? I know I do. My thinking is, if it’s good enough for them, it’s got to be good enough for me, right? I mean, they can literally go anywhere they want. It’s not like money is an issue.  The world is essentially their oyster. I decided I wanted to find out for myself. There are so many celebrities out there so I had to narrow it down a bit. I chose the top 10 trending celebrities on Twitter, in order, according to the number of their followers. If they aren’t influencers, than I don’t know who is? You may be surprised to where they go?  Maybe this will inspire you to want to go there too?

1. KATY PERRY (@katyperry/83,818,992 followers on Twitter)

This past June 2015, Katy Perry traveled to the Greek Islands, during her hiatus from her Prismatic World Tour. She vacationed with her family, including her older sister and her baby niece. This photo was taken in Mykonos with a backdrop of the Aegean Sea, with her instagram caption, “Oh my Goddess”

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2. JUSTIN BIEBER (@justinbieber 76,286,692 followers on Twitter)

Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin, daughter of Stephen Baldwin, spent the holidays in Anguilla with Justin’s dad and siblings. The couple claims that they are just good friends, but they seem pretty cozy in their pictures? I wonder what Selena thinks about this?

thewanderlustyogi.netAlso spotted in Anguilla: Kendall Jenner, Harry Styles, Jon Bon Jovi, Ronald Perelman, Shia LaBeouf, Liam Neeson, Ethan Hawk, Uma Thurman, Kevin Bacon, Robert DeNiro, Toby Macuire and Dustin Hoffman. (It is said that these celebs go to Anguilla now instead of their usual St. Bart to escape the paparazzi- unfortunately it looks like not for long)


3. TAYLOR SWIFT (@taylorswift13 72,059,519 followers on Twitter)

This past December, Taylor Swift took her entire tour crew on vacation to Australia. At the final leg of her 1989 World Tour she gave her squad a much needed holiday. Her and 125 crew members spent their vacay on Hamilton Island, Australia.

 

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4. BARACK OBAMA (@BarackObama 70,564,093 followers on Twitter)

I don’t know why I was surprised to see that President Barack Obama tops in Twitter followers. He is, after all, the coolest President the United States has ever had. I think it is fair to say that we all know that he is from Hawaii. Yes, that island in the United States of America Mr. Trump, not Kenya!  He and his family spend every Christmas season with family on the island of Oahu. On his visits, he enjoys golfing, spending time on the beach and eating a Hawaiian favorite, shave ice.

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5. RIHANNA (@rihanna 56,724,337 followers on Twitter)

Rihanna, a native of Barbados, goes back home to vacation. Rihanna was there this past August 2015, to celebrate the Carnival Festival. She partied with her friends and enjoyed this annual event. She may be a force to be reckoned with in America, but she never forgets where she came from.

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6. LADY GAGA (@ladygaga 56,424,580 followers on Twitter)

While on tour this past summer with Tony Bennet for their collaborative album, Cheek to Cheek , Lady Gaga took a little beach break in the Bahamas in June 2015. Although her career has never been so busy, as she notes in her caption on her photo on Instagram, “I take a Bahama mama. Work hard, play hard. Work hard again, play harder.”, she makes sure she takes time for herself and her loved ones, especially her fiance, Taylor Kinney, star of NBC’s Chicago Fire.

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7. ELLEN DEGENERES (@TheEllenShow 54,884,493 followers on Twitter)

Ellen DeGeneres and wife Portia deRossi spent the holidays with friends and family on St. Barth. On their holiday , they strolled along the shops, relaxed on the beach and dined on a yacht with Kendall Jenner and Harry Styles. These two love birds frequent this Caribbean island, as well as many other celebrities.  This is definitely a favorite among the rich and famous.  Maybe because St. Barth has a variety y of designer boutique, many fine-dining options, yachts and amazing views and it’s not too far of a flight from LA? In any case, a ton of the elite come to vacation on St. Barth.

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Also spotted in St. Barth: Gwen Stefani, Beyonce and Jay Z, Lindsay Lohan, Miranda Kerr, Derek Jeter, Mariah Carey, Leonardo DiCaprio, Heidi Klum, Jessica Alba, Chrissy Teigen and John Legend, Channing Tatum, Paul McCartney, George Lucas, Prince, Paris Hilton, and Star Jones. (This place has got to be awesome!)


8. JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE (@jtimberlake 52,427,307 followers on Twitter)

During Justin Timberlake’s, 20/20 Experience World Tour, him and his wife Jessica Biel spent some time in New Zealand.  They are extremely private about their relationship and sharing pictures of themselves. That’s why it was rare to see this Instagram picture on Justin’s account with the caption, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it” – a quote for the fictional movie character Ferris Bueller. On their vacation, they enjoyed hiking, spending time on the black sand beaches, exploring caves and being away from the public eye.

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9. BRITNEY SPEARS (@britneyspears 44,287,656 followers on Twitter)

This past summer, July 2015, Britney Spears, her two sons and her boyfriend, Charlie Ebersol vacationed in Hawaii. She enjoyed her time off from her Las Vegas shows, relaxing on the beach. She didn’t just relax though, she was spotted doing very difficult yoga poses while at the beach in Kauai. She is clearly determined to squeeze in some exercise, even while on vacation. Namaste!

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10. KIM KARDASHIAN (@KimKardashian 41,014,992 followers on Twitter)

Last August 2015, Kim Kardashian and the whole Kardashian clan vacationed together in St. Barts. As stated earlier, this is definately a hot spot for the trending celebs. Kim being very pregnant still wore a tiny bikini and enjoyed playing in the ocean with her daughter, niece and nephew. Kim, her sisters, and her mom relaxed on the beach, shopped, dined at exclusive restaurants and went yachting. Most of the time however, the girls focused their vacation on taking their best Instagram photos of themselves. Well of course they did!

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In researching the places that trending celebrities vacation, I found that they have trends within their circles too. This includes where they live, where they shop, where they dine, where they party and also where they vacay.  It seems like they influence each other on where the hot-spots are for A-Listers, whether it be The Hamptons, Hawaii, St. Barts, St. Tropez or Cabo.  Most likely, if you spot one celebrity, you can be sure to find another one to follow.

I’m looking into my summer vacation currently and now Hawaii and St. Barts is high on my radar. I doubt I’ll be able to stay at the posh, high-end and exclusive resorts where the trending celebrities stay, but at least I can be close. Come to think of it, maybe I don’t want to be near them? It could be depressing.

Before You Rent a Car in Costa Rica: READ THIS!

by Thursday, February 18, 2016

I  just got back from Costa Rica a few weeks ago and there were many things I wanted to share about my experience. However there was one component that was most pressing. It’s in regards to renting a car in Costa Rica. From my experience and first hand observations, I wanted to inform travelers to consider not renting a car when visiting Costa Rica.  This may sound like an overstatement and must make you wonder why I feel the need to say this or even suggest this? To better clarify, I came up with ten reasons you shouldn’t rent a car in Costa Rica.

This is the one topic that came up continuously on my trip to Costa Rica and what my travel companions said I must share with people.

We rented a car because we knew we would be exploring many areas and figured it was the most economic and easiest way to get around. Boy were we ever in for a surprise. Even right from the start there were unexpected issues.


10 REASONS YOU SHOULDN’T RENT A CAR IN COSTA RICA

1.There are hidden fees at car rental companies in Costa Rica.

Before heading to Costa Rica and planning on renting a car, I was aware that it was highly suggested to get the extra insurance when doing so.  Thus, while booking my car rental through Expedia, I opted for the extra insurance, which was another $11.00/day. This was no big deal I thought. The price for the car rental was only $7.00 per day (which I thought had to be an error because it was so cheap), so when you add the extra insurance, it still only came to $18.00/day. I usually spend around $35.00/day for a car rental, therefore I thought the price was great and the extra sense of security would be worth it. However, when we got to the car rental place, that all changed.

They told us extra insurance or any insurance, for that matter, from a company in the USA  did not cover for anything in Costa Rica. What? How is that even possible and why would they offer it then? This is one of the hidden fees that I feel is so wrong. They use this loop-hole to pressure you into buying extra insurance, through them, and propose that you also give a $500.00 flat fee, to cover anything, which is (btw) non-refundable. So much for the great deal I thought I was getting! This was supposed to be $50.00 (for the car rental)+$77.00 (added insurance)= $127.00. I knew that was too good to be true. It was.  

After we said we didn’t want to cough up the non-refundable  additional $500.00, he told us, then he would  have to hold $2,500.00 on a credit card in case of damages.  So basically, even their insurance covered nothing! That was on top of my extra insurance through Expedia and my extra insurance through them!  It seemed completely ridiculous!

We ended up spending $408.00 for the week for all the added fees, GPS, hotspot, and extra insurance through them, and they held $2,500.00 which was released 48 hours after the car return. I really don’t understand how they can advertise such a cheap price on the internet, when it’s a total lie. This is even worse if you are a budget traveler. We saw four young backpacker guys renting a car at the same time as us. When they were explained all the hidden fees, especially the $2,500.00,  they were flipping out. That was all of their money. They didn’t have a credit cards, only debit cards. This could absolutely ruin someone’s vacation if they weren’t aware of this and didn’t have the money.  They ended up scrambling the $500.00 flat fee between them, but you could tell they were already upset about the unexpected spending that they were trying to avoid, and they were only there for less than an hour.   $125.00 to a young backpacker is a lot of money. Welcome to Costa Rica!

2. Costa Rican drivers are very aggressive.

 

I’m not trying to say the locals (or Ticos as they are called in Costa Rica) are not nice people. They are just the opposite. Every Tico or Tica I met was warm and friendly. It’s just that their driving is very aggressive and there seems to be no road rules that people follow. Now I’ve driven in New York City and other extremely intense driving situations, but nothing compared to the chaos that is felt on a busy traffic street in San Jose or a dirt cliff road in San Raphael, Costa Rica. Actually, that isn’t necessarily true, India was way worse, but nobody rents a car in India. That would be considered suicide! Luckily my husband was the one driving and he is a much better driver than I, but he agreed that they were the worst drivers he has ever dealt with.

3. The road conditions in Costa Rica is very bad.

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we had no idea how bad this road was going to get

The road conditions in Costa Rica go from bad to worse, depending on the area. If you are in the city of San Jose, the traffic is nuts and the road construction and potholes in the street make for bad driving conditions, not to mention the way they drive. If you get out of the city and feel relieved that you got away from all the craziness, it is almost worse in the mountains, but in a different way, especially if you are afraid of heights, like me. Many of the roads are dirt and have huge rocks throughout and if its raining, turns into muddy conditions, that without 4-wheel drive vehicle, it would be almost impossible to drive through. Then, you add the cliff drops on both sides of the road, shared bridges and the constant passing of cars, its enough to give anyone a heart attack. If that’s not bad enough, there is also fog when you get to higher elevations that is so thick that you can’t see one foot in front of you?  We experienced this near Monteverde and the Cloud Forest. This area is eerie, beautiful and almost mystical to witness, but driving in it is so scary.

4. The risk of car theft in Costa Rica is high.

Everyone told us over and over not to leave anything in our rental car because it will be stolen.  We figured since we would be moving around a lot that we could keep all of our valuables in the trunk.  “No way!” a Tico told us. “Everything will be stolen!” That was a huge inconvenience, especially when we were leaving one hotel, going on our day trip, and then checking into another hotel later that day. “Were we supposed to take our laptops and suitcases hiking with us?” It was awful. In certain situations we had to park and leave our stuff. We really had no other choice. We just took our money and passports with us and crossed our fingers. Fortunately, nothing was stolen, but the worry it would cause us, while we are trying to enjoy a nice hike through the amazing jungles of Costa Rica, kind of dulled our enthusiasm bit.

5. Driving in Costa Rica is so stressful.

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“cloud forest”

For most people, when you are on vacation you like to relax and enjoy yourself. The thing with driving in Costa Rica is you are always feeling stressed, whether you are scared while driving, hoping not to get into a car accident or drive off a cliff, or you’re worrying about the car getting broken into. How is this a fun and relaxing vacation? It’s not. On our worst day of driving, we had been on a four-hour drive from Jaco to La Fortuna and we drove literally over a mountain. It was the scariest, most intense car ride I have ever experienced. Being in the fight or flight response mode for that long was overwhelmingly exhausting. Once we arrived and were relieved that it was over and we didn’t die, we all were mentally and emotionally drained. I had a migraine and none of us barely spoke at dinner, we felt traumatized.  It was really that bad.

6. Driving in Costa Rica is time consuming.

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Most likely when you go on a vacation you have only so much time. With that being said, would you want to spend most of your one or two-week, hard-earned vacation in a car, fearing for your life? Me neither. I think one of our biggest mistakes about Costa Rica is how far each area was to one another. On a map, locations may not appear to be too far from one another, but if add the road conditions, construction, and traffic, you will most likely double the time you were initially expecting your journey to take. I think the best way to explore Costa Rica is to choose one area, and not four. If you are really keen on seeing more than just one area, then booking a tour might be the best option. That way you can leave the driving to the bus driver, who is used to these conditions and you can just sit back and relax.

7. The chances of getting into a car accident is very high.

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This one is an obvious one due to all that I mentioned above. The car rental place basically said to us that we were more likely to get into a car accident than not. Awesome! How is that for reassurance? I also had read about this and heard about this from others, which made me a little worried, but I thought it might be an exaggeration or at least I hoped it was. We hadn’t even gotten the rental car and we were mentally preparing ourselves that we would most likely get into a wreck. That seemed crazy to think like that, but we did. My head was spinning.

Thank goodness we didn’t get into a car accident, but there were numerous times that we came uncomfortably close to one. Each time it happened I thought, “Welp, here it is. They were right!”, but for some reason though, we narrowly escaped from any. I like to think it was because of my reiki energy protecting us and my husband likes to think it was because of his Nascar style driving skills. Maybe he is right? lol

8. Addresses in Costa Rica don’t always exist.

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If you do, after reading my warning about renting a car in Costa Rica, decide to give it a go, make sure you get a GPS and even better, one with a hotspot. If you don’t,  you will definitely get lost. Even with the GPS and hotspot that we opted for, there were some places that just didn’t have an address. Some places may have coordinates, but no physical address.  This was extremely difficult for finding things. So, what I would also suggest is if you have a place you want to go to and they have no physical address, try dropping a pin in the area you think it would be.  Then, drive to the pin and keep your eyes peeled for signs. It’s much better than driving through the mountains or jungle aimlessly. That just reminded me of another tip. If at all possible, don’t drive at night. It’s hard enough to drive during the day. Driving at night would just add to your anxiety and stress and if you are lost, it would be a total nightmare.

9. Parking in Costa Rica is sometimes a challenge. 

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Parking for TICOS ONLY

Parking is another tricky thing to deal with because some areas have nowhere to park, while others have parking, but you aren’t really sure if it is safe. The last thing you want to do is come back from an activity and find your rental car is gone or broken into. There were many times that we skipped stopping to see something just because we didn’t know where it was safe to park.  A total bummer.

10. They try to scam you out of more  money at car rental places when you return your car. 

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I met a women while we were at a dentist office in San Jose, for our dental tourism story, who was from Alaska and this was her fifth visit to Costa Rica for dental treatment. We of course discussed the driving and how nuts it was!  She learned as we did, that driving in Costa Rica was for the birds. When she comes to Costa Rica now, she refuses to rent a car. “The stress of it all is just too much!”, she said. She gave me a really good tip,  that I’m so glad she did before we returned the rental car.

She told me that the car rental companies (not all, but many in Costa Rica) have a sneaky way of adding charges at the end. She said it happened to her, a few of her friends, as well as to people that she has met along the way through her travels in Costa Rica.  She didn’t want it to happen to me.

THE SCAM

What they do is check the car for damages after.  That’s the usual part. It could be anything from a scratch to a dented bumper. They look, jot a few things down and then ask you to sign the release form without saying anything and while you are signing, another worker takes the car off the lot.  What’s unusual is, then when you get back home you may find a charge for $100.00 for damage to a rental car, taken straight out of your deposit that you signed for.  By that time, going through all the steps to remove it becomes such a hassle that most people don’t bother fighting it.

She suggested you stay with the worker while they are looking and when they ask you to sign, look at what they wrote, even if they say, “it’s just signing that you returned the car.” Also, if possible, to have someone stay in the car. That way they can’t use the excuse,“Well there was a scratch on the car but now its off the lot so you can’t see it”  That’s what they did to her and they knew she was in a rush to get to the airport and didn’t have time to wait for them to go back and get it. How convenient.

They, in fact , tried to do this with us. I stayed in the car while my husband walked around with the worker, he wrote something down and asked my husband sign. My husband asked what he wrote.  He wrote that there was a scratch and they were charging us $50.00 for it. When my husband asked,” Where?”, the guy couldn’t produce a scratch. He was pointing to an area of the car that just had some dirt on it.

Luckily, he knew we were on to his scam and didn’t charge us for it, but otherwise, I’m sure the same exact thing would have happened to us.  Can you imagine how much extra income they make from this little scam that unknowing tourists fall for on a daily basis?


thewanderlustyogi.netI hope this warning will help better inform those who are considering renting a car in Costa Rica. Even after reading this, you may still decide to rent a car, which is totally fine, but I’m convinced that learning these tips and words of caution beforehand would be very beneficial. I know I wish I knew what we were getting ourselves into in hindsight.

In closing, I  want to express, although I would never rent a car again on any upcoming visits to Costa Rica, that doesn’t mean I didn’t love this country. It was a gorgeous country with so much biodiversity. This place is absolutely beautiful and offers so much in one small country. Costa Rica is literally a nature lovers dream. I will be going back in six month for my husband to finish dental work he is in the process of getting in Costa Rica. On this next trip, however, we will leave the driving to the Ticos. You live and learn.

 

HOW TO AVOID BAGGAGE FEES FLYING SPIRIT AIRLINES

by Friday, January 15, 2016

If you have ever flown with Spirit Airlines (www.spiritairlines.com), then you already know how no-frills they are. Not only are their seats cramped, they don’t serve you any drinks or snacks for free, not even water, but the biggest complaint by customers, are their outrageous baggage fees. That was why I decided I needed to help my readers with tips on how to avoid baggage fees flying Spirit Airlines.


 

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SPIRIT AIRLINES BAGGAGE FEES (BASIC BREAKDOWN):

  • 1 personal bag (12x14x16)= FREE
  • 1 carry-on bag(10x18x22)= $50.00
  • 1 checked bag (H+W+L= 62 inches)= $45.00

The prices vary, depending on when you purchase the extra baggage, the size of baggage and if you are in their “9 fare club”( $59.95 membership):

  • if you book baggage using “9 fare club” at the time of purchasing flight(carry-on=$25.00 and checked bag=$30.00)
  • if you book baggage at the time of purchasing flight (carry-on bag= $35.00 and checked bag=$30.00)
  • if you book baggage when you do online check-in(carry-on bag= $45.00 and checked bag=$40.00)
  • if you book baggage at the airport ticket counter(carry-on bag= $50.00 and checked bag=$45.00)
  • if you wait until the gate to discover your bag isn’t (12x14x16) be prepared to pay $100.00 per bag!

For the latest details on pricing for optional baggage and special sized items on Spirit Airlines, here is the link to the website with this information: Spirit Airlines baggage fee prices


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If you are going to suffer through this style of travel, you might as well make it worth while and not let the airline trick you with hidden (or unanticipated) tacked on fees. Otherwise, you might as well pay the extra for a fancier airline, because you will end up paying the same in the long run,  if you don’t know the inside scoop and how to avoid these hidden fees.

Being an avid traveler, I know travel isn’t always pretty, especially when you want to travel more, for less. I am a very low-maintenance girl and love stretching my dollar, so I don’t mind sticking with the bare essentials, if it means I get to see more destinations.  Somehow when I changed from a regular traveler (2 weeks per year) to a travel blogger; fashion, makeup, accessories, dressy clothes, hair styling tools, all kind of went out the window.

Also, the type of accommodations that I accepted prior to a life of travel, to now, has drastically decreased. I guess when you look at it as work, as opposed to going all out, for your “big vacation”,  you look at things differently? That doesn’t mean all travel bloggers are like me. Some travel with a tons of beauty accessories, always dolled-up, have lots of bags and only fly business class and stay at 5 star hotels. Many though, learn through experience, ” The simpler, the better.”  So flying Spirit Airlines wasn’t an issue for me until I realized how expensive it could actually be, if you weren’t aware of all of their restrictions and additional costs.


 

In November, I bought a Spirit Airlines flight on a flash-sale because of a ridiculously low fare, from Boston to San Jose, Costa Rica, that was unbeatable.  $150.00 ROUNDTRIP! I have been searching for these flights for a while, planning our upcoming “dental tourism” trip”. This price was more than half off the normal fares I was finding.

(Here is a link to it if you are interested:Dental Tourism in Costa Rica)

That was so cheap and I knew I would never find a fare any lower than that. So, I booked it and felt like I beat the system. Wooo! In order to really get my money’s worth though, I would also have to not pay for extra baggage. This would be very tricky, but not impossible. I would have to bring a carry-on ONLY and not even have a purse or small bag in addition. It’s not allowed. Well, for FREE anyways. Also, take note, their bag allowance is called a “personal item” and is so small (12x14x16), no wonder why people always end up bringing the wrong size and paying up to $100.00 each way for that bag.

No way! That’s not happening to me, or you either, once you finish reading this.


 

Initially,  I was just going to get the smaller sized NorthFace women’s surge backpack, since that’s the brand of my big backpack and I feel like it’s very durable and functional. That would set me back $129.00.  I didn’t really want to, but I’d rather spend the money on something I can keep for future Spirit Airlines trips and I surely didn’t want to hand that money over to them.

 

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women’s NorthFace surge backpack $129.00

My husband pulled up Amazon Prime and we were ready to order. On closer inspection, we discovered that NorthFace backpacks (even the smallest ones) were 2 inches larger than accepted as a “personal item” with Spirit Airlines. Damn it! And, OMG! We almost spent the money for new backpacks (specifically for this trip, flying with Spirit Airlines), and would have found out (at the airport!) that they weren’t allowable and would have to pay the baggage fee on top of that! Yikes!


I’m so glad we were paying attention to this huge detail.  So, we starting looking at all other brands of backpacks. Wouldn’t you know it, none would fit Spirit Airlines criteria. I googled, “what bag to use on Spirit Airlines as a personal item” and other subject lines close to that search. Not to my surprise, so many others had that same question in the search que.

The repetitive and consensus answer was the same from almost every source:  American Tourister- Atmosphera II, which can be bought at your local Wal-Mart store.

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American Tourister Atmosphera II (overnight bag)

The size of this bag is the exact dimensions needed (12x14x16) for a FREE, personal item on Spirit Airlines. Perfect! I went to Wal-Mart to see for myself, I even used measuring tape to be absolutely sure. It was true, so I had to get it. You can too. They sell it at all Wal-Mart stores and online for $39.00.

Here is the link:Walmart.com American Tourister Atmosphera II overnight bag $39.00


 

To be honest, this bag is not the fanciest bag, nor one I would normally be excited to buy, but, and the big but is, it is how to avoid baggage fees flying Spirit Airlines. If you use this bag, and I mean, “This bag ONLY.” 

*YOU WILL NOT HAVE TO PAY ANY BAGGAGE FEES* 

With that said, I also wanted to show you how it IS possible to pack for a one-week trip to Costa Rica, (because that’s where I’m going) just using this American Tourister-Atmosphera II bag.


 

I also made a YouTube video that shares this packing list, that uses the American Tourister Atmosphera II bag ONLY. It takes a lot of will-power (even for a light packer like me) to not want to bring way more things. I will admit that this is the lightest I have ever packed, but if you can do it too, it could save a lot of money.

You could use this money  you saved on more excursions, souvenirs, or a nice meal on your trip, or even use it towards your next trip. Whatever you use it for, at least it isn’t good money being thrown away just to lug stuff around with you.

Here is the video:

 


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What I’m bringing for a one-week trip to Costa Rica, flying on Spirit Airlines, using an allowable FREE bag

PACKING LIST:

  • 2 pens
  • mini notebook
  • passport
  • wallet
  • chapstick/ lipgloss
  • feminine products
  • small flashlight
  • cell phone
  • GoPro
  • camera
  • selfie stick
  • tripod
  • floating GoPro handle
  • phone charger/GoPro and camera chargers
  • GoPro chest mount/ GoPro head mount, GoPro accessories
  • adaptable charger (if needed)
  • disposable wipes
  • deodorant
  • toothbrush, toothpaste, floss
  • 8 shirts
  • 5 shorts
  • 1 yoga pant
  • 1 elephant casual pants
  • collapsible backpack
  • 1 pair sandals or flip-flops
  • 1 pair water shoes
  • snorkel set
  • 2 bras/ 2 sports bras
  • 7 underwear
  • 3 swimsuits

*if you don’t have a GoPro and all those accessories, you can use that space for 3 oz. sized toiletries and makeup. On Spirit Airline trips, I’ve decided to purchase toiletries at my destination to save space.


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What to wear (layered, comfortable clothing):

  • leggings
  • bra and underwear (or wear a swimsuit as your undergarments)
  • tank top
  • t-shirt
  • sweatshirt
  • light cardigan or sweater
  • socks
  • sneakers or hiking shoes
  • scarf
  • hat
  • sunglasses
  • ear buds

 

I hope these tips helped to show you how to avoid baggage fees flying Spirit Airlines. Trying to get great deals traveling can be a bit of a challenge sometimes. However, the more travel tips people share, from their own experience, the easier, cheaper, and better, travel becomes for everyone!


 

P.S.  Three other tips that could help:

  1. Don’t forget to print your boarding pass and check-in online. If you wait until you get to the airport to get your boarding pass, they charge you $10.00 to print it for you. 
  2. Bring your own snacks or get something at the airport to bring with you on the plane.
  3. Purchase liquids (soda, water, coffee) at gate before boarding. 

 

 

 

Pet Friendly Vacations

by Monday, September 14, 2015
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She hates when I leave her

Pet owners like myself, usually have to leave our fury friends behind while traveling. The biggest issue is trying to figure out who will care for your pets while you are gone. If that isn’t hard enough, leaving them can be even harder.

My dog Gabby always knows when I’m ready to go on vacation. She notices the backpack and pile of clothes I intend to bring (always way more than I should) and gets sad. She usually mopes around and most of the time, lies on my clothes (possibly hoping that if she is on them, I won’t be able to go).


 

Leaving my dog to travel always makes me feel bad, but what else can I do?


 

thewanderlustyogi.net

“Please don’t go Mommy”


Then I went to a travel bloggers’ convention and met a girl who works with an awesome company called www.bringfido.com. It is a site that gives heaps of information on traveling with your pets. I have heard about, so-called,  “pet friendly” hotels in the last few years, but I was overwhelmed by just how many there are, and not just in the USA, but worldwide too!

This site not only gives you the low down on accommodations that allow pets to stay in, but has information on air travel, attractions, dining, and event options that are all “pet-friendly”.

The only vacation I have ever taken my dog with me, was camping. If you want to call that a vacation? Now, with all of the options I have that allow my pooch to join me, I just might take her on my next adventure? Who knows, she may even catch the travel bug too?

thewanderlustyogi.net

Gabby (my dog) paddle boarding


 

Here are some links for other “pet friendly” travel information:

www.petfriendlytravel.com

www.gopetfriendly.com

www.dogfriendly.com

www.petswelcome.com

www.tripswithpets.com


 

Have you even taken your dog on vacation with you?

 

 

42 Killer Resources for Travel Planning That Will Save You Tons

by Wednesday, July 1, 2015

thewanderlustyogi.net
thewanderlustyogi.netBack in the day, not so long ago actually, planning a trip required a visit to a travel agency. You would tell a travel agent where you wanted to go or the type of vacation you were looking for, and they would do all the planning, organizing and bookings for your trip. In present day, the internet has so many resources that make it easy for you to do all the planning yourself, and usually at deep discounted prices.

I came up with a list of 42 resources that can help you plan your next trip.  From discount airfares, accommodations (all types), excursions, car rentals, travel insurance, volunteer vacations to house sitting. Here are examples I use myself and that I highly recommend. Researching and planning your itinerary should be part of the fun. I am pleased to see that more people traveling today than ever. I am confident that these resources are just part the reason. If you still have trouble trying to navigate through these sites, feel free to contact me. I’d love to help.

Some forms of travel I suggest may seem odd, (I realize) but if you think outside-the-box, you will see that traveling can be accessible to anyone, no matter what financial status you are in, if you are willing to be open-minded.  If you decide to be brave enough and  try to stay on some stranger’s couch for FREE (couch surfing), you may not only have a wonderful (and super cheap) trip, but may make new friends with people from all around the world.


 

42 Killer Resources for Travel Planning

  1. tripadvisor
  2. expedia
  3. travelocity
  4. priceline
  5. kayak
  6. skyscanner
  7. airbnb
  8. hotels.com
  9. orbitz
  10. cheapoair
  11. airfarewatchdog
  12. lonely planet
  13. hotwire
  14. agoda
  15. trivago
  16. insanely cheap flights
  17. groupon getaways
  18. secret escapes
  19. living social escapes
  20. uber
  21. vayama
  22. momondo
  23. booking.com
  24. hostel world
  25. couch surfing
  26. which budget
  27. travel pony
  28. vacations to go
  29. get your guide
  30. farecast
  31. last minute
  32. roomorama
  33. seat guru
  34. woofing
  35. volunteer HQ
  36. Go Eco
  37. housesitters
  38. housecarers
  39. wegolo
  40. yapta
  41. viator
  42. wiki travel

Do You Make These 9 Mistakes When Traveling?

by Friday, June 12, 2015
thewanderlustyogi.net

given to me by a patient that knew I was going to Paris

Traveling is a lot of work! With that being said, you may wonder why people go anywhere?  The reason for me is, no matter how much preparation and planning and research I have to put into a trip, once I arrive at my destination, the reward is worth all the effort.

My globetrotting ex-mother-in-law had the perfect phrase that she would always say, that when I wasn’t such a “world traveler”, I didn’t quite understand and would always laugh at her.  She would say, “traveling is a full-time job, but someone’s got to do it!”  In present day, I absolutely agree with her.

It’s easy to make mistakes while traveling. Unless you are resourceful and find out information, you are pretty much on your own. Even smart people fall prey to common mistakes.  It doesn’t make you stupid, it’s just that you haven’t been exposed to these sorts of things, until you are faced with them.

To be fair, I came up with a list of  9 mistakes, because I’ve made them myself.  Don’t judge. You live and learn. Maybe by reading this article, I can help you to not make the same mistakes I have in my past travels?

1. OVERPACK

The classic. Been there, done that. I have gotten better. I even now only bring a back pack and try to not check any luggage.  I still find myself bringing many things I didn’t need. You learn after lugging heavy bags all through airports that, having 5 pairs of shoes just isn’t necessary. Minimize is the key. Also you can re-wear clothes and bring laundry detergent. Nobody is going to know that you wore those jeans yesterday. Also, layer up. Wear sweaters and coats on your body. The airline can’t charge you for clothes you are wearing. Not to mention, airplanes are always so cold and uncomfortable. Your clothes can double as blankets and pillows. win-win.

2. NOT GET TRAVELER’S INSURANCE

Traveler’s insurance is one of those things that you hope you will never need. Many people roll the dice and don’t get it. I am guilty of this.  This is a huge mistake! The cost is very low, when you compare the cost of having to lose your non-refundable ticket or accommodation due to sickness or uncontrollable circumstances.  I know that saving for a trip can be hard and you want to make every penny count. Some think, “well, that $50.00 I spent on travelers insurance could go towards an activity instead”, but if you really think about it, that $50.00 can save you thousands, if you suddenly got sick or hurt on vacation and have to go to a hospital that doesn’t take your countries’ insurance. Getting traveler’s insurance is easy and gives you the security that no matter what happens before and during your trip, you are covered.  That security helps me be more relaxed on my trip. I always use world nomads travel insurance.  They have a great reputation and all the travel people who I know, use them. If you are still unsure of how important it really is, read this story of a travel blogger who broke his back on vacation. Dave from the planet D would have had hospital bills of about $75,000 without it!!

Here is his story:The Planet D- need medical insurance

3. NOT DO RESEARCH

Again, a common one. You may think than over planning and creating a hour-by-hour itinerary isn’t fun and you would rather wing it. Yes, some people aren’t very structured and I understand that. I don’t like making my trip too rigid a schedule either. That’s no fun, but what I do think is important is preparing and tentatively planning activities that you want to do.  The worst thing is arriving at your destination and planning to visit, say the Louvre in Paris, and realizing the only day you had available to do this, it was closed!  Yes, I did that. I wasn’t completely heart-broken, I did however get to see the Musee’ D’ Orsay, which was nice, instead. I am not a museum type person, but come on, I was in Paris and didn’t see the Mona Lisa? I’m sort of embarrassed about that. If I was a museum type person though, I can only imagine how upsetting that would have been. Don’t make that mistake. Research, research, research!

4. BRING THE WRONG THINGS

I’m guilty of this too. I have brought only summer clothes to places that were cold at night. I forgot to bring a travel adapter/converter and had frizzed bomb hair my entire trip because I couldn’t use my hairdryer. I brought high heels and nightclub clothing to a resort that was super casual. I brought way too much stuff (as I already mentioned earlier). And one time I even forgot to bring my entire suitcase! I’m totally not kidding.  I had absolutely nothing! I will never make that mistake again. I was a walking celebrity at the resort I was staying. As I’d walk by people would wave and say what a trooper I was, and then whisper, “I’d cry if I was her.” ” I’d want to go home. ” “She is the one who forgot her suitcase and has nothing!” It was bad, real bad!

5. BRING THE WRONG CREDIT CARD

This one is kind of unique. Maybe I’m the only one who has done this? Who knows? I’ve already embarrassed myself on what a rookie traveler I have been, I might as well continue. It’s my way of paying it forward. When I went to London a few years ago, I was single and didn’t have a ton of money to spare.  I decided the best way to budget my trip was to get a “trip credit card” and would use it exclusively for my trip and then pay it off when I got back.  I did have my debit card, but I didn’t want to use all of my money. Not the best idea, I know, but I didn’t want to give up the opportunity to go to London!  As anyone who has been there knows, the place is hella expensive!  I am very budget conscious and usually only eat one meal a day on vacation. I never really splurge and if I wanted to on this particular vacation I couldn’t. My choice for my “travel credit card” was a Discover card. Guess what? Most places in London (or at least the places I went to) don’t take Discover card! I had to use my debit card for everything. This was not in the plan at all. It made me worry about my finances and to top it off the last day of my trip I needed to get some extra cash for the train to Heathrow and the machine ate my card. I not only had a credit card that wasn’t accepted anywhere, but I also no longer had a debit card or any money! It was awful. Thankfully, I was visiting a local and he lent me money that I later reimbursed him on my return. I was not only stressed out, but was utterly embarrassed. My suggestion: make sure you check what credit cards are accepted in the country you are visiting and take 2. You don’t have to use them both, jut keep one in your safe for back up.

6. HAVE AN OUTRAGEOUS INTERNATIONAL PHONE BILL ON RETURN

I have done this one, but it wasn’t my fault. Really! I was going to a destination wedding in Dominican Republic. We got a hotel on Expedia for a great deal and upon arrival were told the hotel was overbooked! What? How is it that I already paid in full and we do not have a room. I was outraged. This seemed so unfair and wrong.  I understand, maybe if we made a last-minute reservation and didn’t pay yet, but we were confirmed with a confirmation number and had paid for the entire stay upfront. The hotel was not helpful at all. Every time we would try to talk to them about a solution, they would refer us to the travel company we purchased through. They said since we bought then through a third-party, we could not get a refund and would have to take to up with them (Expedia) I immediately called the 800 number for Expedia, which was based out of Houston, Texan in the US. I explained my dilemma and was transferred over and over and was on hold for hours.  I didn’t have global calling on my phone because I really wasn’t planning on using it on a quick 5 day trip. Every minute that went by, I was calculating in my head of how much this was going to cost me, but I had no choice.

The good news is that even after the horrible situation with this hotel, Expedia was amazing! They claimed that this wasn’t the first time this resort has done this to their customers and will no longer use them.  They set us up at a nicer resort, for no extra charge, and once I got my dreaded phone bill, ($700.00!!) they paid it for me. I was so impressed of the customer service of Expedia. Although our situation was bad, they did everything they could on their end to rectify the problem. It was a great trip and wedding and still to this day I always use Expedia, with great experiences,  and suggest the company to anyone I know.

Now, when traveling, especially of its more than a week, I do get global calling on my phone for my time away. Just incase. My last two-week trip cost me $40.00 extra on my cell phone bill. That was nothing compared to if I needed to use it and what the international, minute-to-minute rate would be.  I did have to use it a few times to call home. I didn’t have to worry about incurring charges and it was a security knowing that I could.

7. NOT READ THE FINE PRINT

This can be in any aspect of travel. From your vacation packages, to hidden fees or surcharges, etc. I have made this mistake a few times, but an example that I could share is when you get a room and want stay in an oceanfront room, but chose a seaview room, they are completely not the same! The wording can be tricky and this is on purpose to confuse you. I had my heart set on an oceanfront room on one of my trips and ended up with a room that was facing a swamp and a parking lot, but if you stick your head out the balcony and lean to your side, you can see the ocean, from the corner of your eye. This was so disappointing and when I complained that this wasn’t what I was anticipating, they quickly explained the difference and that for an upgrade, with double the cost per night, I could have that view I was hoping for. The best advice I can give, is read all of the room descriptions and you can usually figure them out by price. If you are still confused, call the hotel/resort and have them explain the differences of their rooms offered. I didn’t want to ruin my vacation by having this terrible view and settle. I worked hard for this vacation and my one week off I had,  and decided it was worth the extra money. After talking with the reservationist at the hotel and discussing room options and prices, for $700.00 more, which was $100.00 more per night, we could get the penthouse Governor’s suite that was available. It also came with free wifi, availability to a special private club, a master suite, 2 outdoor balconies each with their own hot tubs, a living room, a full dining room and a panoramic view to die for. It was a no-brainer and it was one of the best vacations my family went on together. We laughed to think of the room we would have been stuck in. Sometimes you have to splurge.

(Below is a video of the Governor’s Suite we upgraded to at the Now Jade in Riviera Maya, Mexico)

8. MISS YOUR FLIGHT

My friend and I were just talking about this. Many of us have been there. I have, a few times. It’s really a pain in the neck and can screw up your trip or your return, especially if you had work or school or any other obligations. My friends’ missed flight story is worse than mine, and she allowed me to share this with you. She and her friend were on their last night in Italy and decided to have one last celebration with drinks, many, many drinks! They were definitely over the limit, but it was okay, they weren’t driving and they could just sleep on the plane home and what the hell, they were in Italy! No biggie. Well, in the morning when their alarm clock went off, her friend, instead of hitting the snooze button, hit the off button. Later, upon waking up, right before the time their flight was to take off, they sobered up instantly, with the realization that they were going to miss their flight.  They proceeded to go to the airport and explained to the airline what happened, maybe not the entire story, and that they needed to book the next flight back to Boston. Of course they knew there would be additional fees (no travelers insurance either), but they were shocked to hear that the price was going to be $1,300.00 more! They wanted to cry. I would too, but they really had no other choice.  So their awesome last night with too many cocktails ended up being a way bigger bar tab then they ever imagined! Ouch!

9. GET STUCK WASTING HOURS OF YOUR VACATION LISTENING TO A TIMESHARE SPIEL

With promises of free prizes and excursions just for giving them one hour of your time, many of us fall into the timeshare selling trap. I have done this, not once, but twice. I never learn. Each time we said we would just listen to their pitch until the hour as promised, and then politely decline buying anything and collect our gifts. This never really happens. If someone has managed to do this, they deserve an award. These high pressure sales associates don’t stop talking and trying to get you to buy. Unless you are really in the market to buy a timeshare, don’t waste your precious vacation time sitting in a room with 25 other helpless vacationers. You should be spending your time relaxing or doing the things you want. Even if they offer great gifts, like half prices to popular activities and such. I found that the deals aren’t as good as they appear and usually come with restrictions and blackout dates (the fine print again). You are better off just paying the regular cost of your activity or look for a groupon. Your time is money. And every minute you waste doing these things is costing you.


 

You may be guilty of one or more of these mistakes, but don’t feel bad. We all make them.  I’ve made them all, and then some. If you personally made a travel mistake or have heard horror travel stories from others, it can teach you how to not make them again, or ever.  There is definitely more to travel then just buying a ticket and hopping on a plane. You can try that, but I’m sure problems will arise.  Being prepared and learning through others may not just be helpful, but it can be the difference of an okay trip or an amazing trip.thewanderlustyogi.net

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