Budget Travel Tips

Indy the Introvert Kitty Cat is Ready to Travel

Posted by on May 19, 2017 in Budget Travel Tips, Travel Photo Thursday | 12 comments

Welcome to week 328  (05/18/ 2017) of Travel Photo Thursday. Indy and I leave Seoul for Canada at 3 pm. on August 8th. This week I want to share with you the adventure of getting Indy the Introvert ready to travel.

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This is one of my favorite shots. I call this the Queen Indy pose ūüôā BTW; she will be 13 years old in June. How time flies! We’ve been to the vet, and she’s had her two required shots. We have her kitty cat passport and a week or two before we go I will get another paper from the vet. Bringing animals into Canada is refreshingly easy.


The Beautiful Indy

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Getting More Out of Your Vacation Budget

Posted by on Nov 17, 2014 in Budget Travel Tips | 7 comments

Getting More Out of Your Vacation Budget…


Today’s economy makes it increasingly difficult to afford a quality vacation with the family. Some opt to purchase a vacation home at a favorite destination, but that means returning to the same place year after year. One way to enjoy good vacations with family friendly accommodations in new locations each year is to invest in a vacation club. With such a club, you purchase time at a resort property to use year after year. So how do vacation clubs work, and how can they benefit today’s family?
When you become a member of a vacation club, you are an owner of a vacation destination for a particular week or weeks. A family will purchase time at a resort and obtain a deed to the property for that time each year. Once you own a share of the property, you and your family can enjoy vacations at the resort on your deed, or you can exchange time to visit another resort for the same amount of time. Vacation clubs generally have multiple resorts and may partner with other vacation exchanges to expand available options. With the right vacation club, you can select locations all over the world. For example, Bluegreen Resorts has over 60 resorts in the United States and Caribbean within their network. They also partner with an international exchange network to provide access to over 4000 resorts worldwide. Becoming an owner with a vacation club provides your family with various opportunities.


Tropical paradise

Tropical paradise

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Chiang Rai’s Black House for Travel Photo Thursday

Posted by on Nov 6, 2014 in Budget Travel Tips, Chiang Rai, Featured, Travel Photo Thursday | 33 comments

Welcome to the 200th week of Travel Photo Thursday, and what virtual tours we have had during these weeks. I’m sure that we’ve been around this beautiful world of ours more than a few times. This week I’m taking you back to one of my favorite places, Thailand, and very specifically, Chiang Rai’s Black House, home to the artistic endeavors of Thai artist Thawan Duchanee.

To join in the Travel Photo Thursday fun simply post a photo on your blog.

Return here and place your link in the Mr. Linky at the bottom of this post.

Please post a link to a post featuring a travel photo, not simply a link to your blog.

The Twitter hashtag for Travel Photo Thursday is #TPThursday.

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Travel Photo Thursday


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India Travel Resources for the Intrepid Budget Traveler

Posted by on May 13, 2014 in Budget Travel Tips, Destinations, India, Uncategorized | 4 comments

Taj Mahal, Agra, India

 Photo Credit: Tix at HappyTelus.com (creative commons license)

Travel to India…hmmm. I’ve thought about it over the years, and have often daydreamed of standing in front of the Taj Mahal at sunrise. Though, honestly, the sheer number of people that inhabit this vast counrty, 1.27 billion in 2014, has always made me just a tad nervous. I’ve talked to a few people lately who have spent a lot of time in various parts of India, and I’m hearing more good than bad. On that note, I’ve decided to give India some serious consideration for next winter, and I’m starting my planning now. I’m hoping that I’ll have two and a half months. Anyone who follows Budget Travelers Sandbox knows that I like to travel slow. Slow travel stretches those precious dollars further, and it’s the only way I know to really get a good sense/feel of a city, its people, and of course, the all important ¬†FOOD CULTURE. Of course, the fact that it is a great destination for budget travelers appeals to my budget travel lifestyle!

I’ve heard such great things about Southern India that I’m thinking that will be my focus, plus Agra to see the Taj. My tentative plan at this point is to fly from Seoul to Delhi, see the Taj at Agra, and then head down to either Goa or Pondicherry. Both places appeal to me because they are on the coast — I’m missing the water badly these days– and travelers always have good things to say about both places.

These sites have proven very helpful so far…

  • Goibibo: A comphrehensive travel booking platform where you can book domestic flights (domestic fares looked reasonable) within India, international flights, hotels, train or bus travel, travel packages for every price range, and even prearranged taxis waiting on arrival. The site is easy to navigate, and I know that I’ll be going back to it often when I’m doing my bookings. One thing to remember, all prices are in Indian Rupees, so you need your favorite currency convertor handy.

One thing I have read several times is that train travel is a great option for budget travelers. Considering my luck with long, curvy rides in rickety buses, remember Mae Hong Son, I’ll be checking out the trains through Goibibo, and doing some bookings.

  • ¬†¬†Government of Goa–Department of ¬†Tourism: I ¬†like the transportation tab, which includes schedules for flights, trains and buses. The tab for acommodation includes some info for long term accomodation, which interests me.
  • Goa TravelWiki: Well developed travelwiki with information ranging from the best beaches, towns, what to eat, what to do.


There doesn’t seem to be any indepdent traveler blogs devoted to Goa, or at least I didn’t find any. I did find one article here at Wego which was informative.


Vagator Beach, Goa

             Photo Credit: Dominik Hundhammer (Creative Commons)


I’m also thinking of ¬†wiling away some time in Pondicherry (or Puducherry, as it was known by they French. This quote from Pudcherry Tourism sums it up nicely.

“The air filled with nostalgia and the present is living up to a heritage that speaks so much. A trip to puducherry is like a journey in time with a vibrant present celebrating its interesting past. ‚ÄúHistory goes back to the Roman times, but factually started with the arrival of the French in 1963 (I think this a typo – 1673 seems more accurate!), who founded the town and built it in its present form, during the two and a half century they occupied it.‚ÄĚ

Apparently French is still widely spoken, so maybe I’ll get to put my rusty French to good use!



Pondicherry, India

Photo Credit: Avaid2001  (Creative Commons)


A visit to the Taj Mahal is a definite MUST DO on this visit. Who knows, it could be my one and only opportunity!

  • Taj Mahal Official Website¬†–Very comprehensive site including info. on ticketing, how to get there, do’s and don’ts, and general tourism info. for Agra. This will be a site that I’ll use often.
  • Just Another Taj Mahal Post..Recent blog post on a visit to the Taj. Some interesting tid bits to be aware of such as the challenge to get to Agra, rickshaw drivers taking you to places you don’t want to go ¬†ūüôā ¬†the traffic challenges in Agra, ¬†and of course beautiful photos of the Taj.
  • Taj Mahal Photos


Now I am officially excited. I try to never wish my life away, but I am really looking forward to next winter in India. If you have any tips for me, don’t be shy. Leave them in the comments below.


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Tips for Hassle Free Car Rental in Canada

Posted by on Apr 28, 2014 in Budget Travel Tips, Canada, Destinations, Featured | 0 comments

UNESCO Site: Grand Pre, Nova Scotia

Renting a car when I travel home to Nova Scotia gives me a huge sense of freedom. I can go where I want, when I want. Halifax has an okay bus system, but even when I lived in the city I always preferred to get around by car. Beyond the metro area you really do need a vehicle. It’s almost impossible to get to popular tourist destinations like Peggy’s Cove, Mahone Bay, or the Annapolis Valley without a vehicle.

Car rental is relatively easy in Canada, and these tips will make it a hassle free experience:

1. If you’re not a Canadian, you’ll need to determine if your driver’s license is valid in Canada. You might need an International Driver’s License, which must be obtained in your home country.

(From: Trail Canada)“Foreign visitors can use their driving licence in Canada so long as it is readable to Canadians. This means it must be in either English or French. If this is not the case then an international permit is required. If the licence states the class, date of birth, expiry date and conditions it can be used in Canada for up to 6 months. International driving permits can be used for up to 12 months on the condition the holder is a visitor and not a resident.”

2. Rent your car online, and book early for best availability and price. A Goggle search will quickly provide you with the all of the rental car companies available. It’s easy to do comparison shopping. I would even check with your airline. Quite often they offer special car rental deals for their customers. If your airline isn’t offering any deals, go coupon hunting. I often spend as much time looking for coupons as I do selecting the car. I want a bargain! I’ve always been satisfied with Dollar Car Rentals through Car Rentals.com.

3. Vehicle insurance is mandatory, and you have a few options. First, you might have the option to purchase a “rental car rider” through the company that insures your domestic vehicle. This transfers your coverage to the rental car, and usually at a very reasonable price. Remember, you can’t lend your car to family or friends while you’re away. The car will have to be parked. Secondly, the credit card you use to pay for the rental may offer insurance at no extra cost to you. I have a Canadian issued American Express Card, which I keep active simply for car rentals in Canada. Using my Amex card gives me the insurance I need at no extra cost. Finally, you can purchase insurance through the rental car company. This will most likely be your most expensive option, and one to avoid if at all possible.

4. Where should you pick up your vehicle?¬†Everything I have read on the Internet says that you’ll pay more if you pick up at the airport. I have not found that to be the case, or at least not in Nova Scotia. The price offered is always the same, regardless of where I pick up the vehicle. I always pick ¬†up and return my rental to the airport. A return taxi fare is at least $120.00. I’d much rather put that money towards the price of the rental! On a side note, the highway into Halifax is modern and signage is good.

5. Should you take the free upgrade?¬†I always choose the most economical (ummthat would be cheapest) car available, and I almost never accept the free upgrade. It’s as simple as that. I would rather have a cheaper, smaller car for more days, than an expensive, larger car for only a few. Plus, I want the biggest bang for my buck when it comes to gas mileage.

6. Protect yourself against being liable for damage that you didn’t do by simply taking a few shots of the vehicle with your cell phone. Shots of the back, front and sides should do the trick.

and finally…

7. Fill up the tank before returning the rental, and be sure that the inside is clean. Rental car companies generally charge a premium for gasoline. Returning the car clean, makes a good impression.


Do you rent a car when you travel? What do you do to make the experience hassle free?


Rushton Beach, near Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia

                                                                               Rushton Beach, Nova Scotia


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