Wednesday, September 25, 2013

European Discounts for Seniors

Friends in Benalmadena Pueblo, Spain
Are you a senior who wants to save money on your next trip to Europe?  Seth Kugel, frugal travel writer for The New York Times, will give you a few tips in this article published yesterday, "With Age Comes (Some) Discounts."

Kugel says, "Most of the countries that responded to my survey claimed that discounts are frequently given at theaters, cinemas and tourist attractions to those aged 60 or 65 and over."  He goes on to list countries that recognize age with reduced public transportation fares or reduced admissions, and he gives two websites with information geared to the older traveler.  

Getting a discounted price in countries that have never heard of AARP is helpful, but I think it's also valuable to plan a trip that will save you money every step of the way.  My book, Europe on a Dime:  Five-Star Travel on a One-Star Budget, is geared to the baby boomer, and it shows how to travel in style for less than $98 per person per day! 

Use Kugel's article and my book to plan your next frugal visit to Europe.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Cheap Sleeps

Fort Payne, Alabama
Want a room for less than $55 a night?  Then look for those old motels with names like Dew Drop Inn or Three Roses Bed and Breakfast.

I wrote about these colorful accommodations a few weeks ago, and now Seth Kugel, frugal travel writer for The New York Times, has discovered them, too. On a recent trip through the heartland of America, he enjoyed staying at these roadside motels, the mom and pop places that have sometimes been in the same family for fifty years.

He found that, "... the old roadside motel has gotten an upgrade. Though they are still decidedly one-star, my experience indicated travelers can expect flat-screen televisions, free Wi-Fi and beds that are perfectly comfortable."

I'm sure he'd agree with me that most of these places also have character, a trait missing in most of today's motel chains.

If you'd like more details about Kugel's experiences and information about how to find these places, read Kugel's article, "Finding the Right Roadside Rooms," here.   Check my blog post for additional resources.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Mexico Is Land of Opportunity

English Library Courtyard in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
An article by Damien Cave in The New York Times yesterday detailed the changes in Mexico that are making it more attractive to big business and expatriates from the United States, Canada, and Europe.

In "For Migrants, New Land of Opportunity Is Mexico," Cave says that not only is Mexico appealing because it offers cheaper industrial costs and lower wages, it is also attractive because of its creative opportunities.

My three-story house in Ajijic with pool and two-story casita (not visible) for $550 a month.
As Cave states, "Europe, dying; Mexico, coming to life. The United States, closed and materialistic; Mexico, open and creative. Perceptions are what drive migration worldwide, and in interviews with dozens of new arrivals to Mexico City — including architects, artists and entrepreneurs — it became clear that the country’s attractiveness extended beyond economics."

My living room which is the first floor of the three-story house pictured above.
Of course, Mexico has long been a destination for retirees looking for a cheaper, simpler, and culturally diverse retirement destination.

For more information on how to make a move to Mexico, see my book, Retire in Mexico--Live Better for Less Money. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Credit Card Bonuses - Two Questions

Two posts ago, I wrote about earning free flights by using your money, and your credit cards, wisely.

A couple questions that arise are, How do I meet the minimum spending requirements so I earn all those credit card sign-up bonus points?  And, after I've met the spending requirement, should the credit card be cancelled so I don't have to pay the yearly fee?

The Points Guy blog has answers to both questions.  To find ways to meet those spending requirements click here.  To determine whether it's in your best interest to cancel the credit card or pay the yearly fee, click here.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Food for Thought

Would you rather explore this Ajijic, Mexico, market or consult your smart phone?

Jonathan Look says, "Comfort is sacrifice – Ultimately, everything comes down to balance. It is impossible to enjoy the full beauty of a hike from your easy chair. You can try but you can’t get the true street food experience from your dining room table. Cruise ships require shorelines. All-inclusive resorts isolate you from the locals. A homogenized 5 Star hotel in one place is at least 80% the same as a homogenized 5 Star hotel in any other place. If you really want to see and learn about a place you probably need to give up some comfort instead of sacrificing your experience."

Look, a man trying to experience the world by living in ten different places for a year at a time, lists his thoughts about seeing the world involving sacrifice in his post entitled, "Top Five Observations from My Two Years of Minimalist Travel."  To read the rest of his observations, click here.

Frank Bruni also talked this week, in The New York Times, about how frequently travelers cocoon themselves in the comfortable familiarity of "home," even when they're thousands of miles away in an exotic locale.  With our technology, he suggests, we can insulate ourselves from everything around us.  He says:

     "I’m talking about our hard drives, our wired ways, 'the cloud' and all of that. I’m talking about our unprecedented ability to tote around and dwell in a snugly tailored reality of our own creation, a monochromatic gallery of our own curation.
     "This coddling involves more than earphones, touch pads, palm-sized screens and gigabytes of memory. It’s a function of how so many of us use this technology and how we let it use us. We tune out by tucking ourselves into virtual enclaves in which our ingrained tastes are mirrored and our established opinions reflected back at us."

To read Bruni's complete article, "Traveling Without Seeing," click here