traveling cheaper…you don’t have to be rich-

monday.  jan. 26.  2016

today was a windy day-but we still hung out at our awesome beach.  the girls would run back and forth from the swings to the beach, getting in some great exercise.  managed to get some sun today too-the feeling of the warm sun on your skin is the best!

it’s interesting how so many people in the world think you have to be rich to travel.  i have learned how to travel for much cheaper than most people understand.  and even then, there’s even cheaper ways than that of course.  bob our neighbor, was telling us about an amazing website-trustedhousesitters.com.  owners leave for a trip- for any period of time, and need someone to take care of a pet and housesit.  in exchange for doing this, you can stay for free.  they don’t charge you, and you don’t charge them for housesitting.  i’ve been checking out the site, and seriously-my mouth was drooling.  three months in the country of france to take care of some dogs and horses-beautiful home and countryside-and it’s free!  we’ve wanted to plan a trip to england this year for my 40th…so we are going to see if this site ends up working out for us-but what a bonus for the kids at the end of the day to have a dog or cat to play with when we get home from site-seeing.

there are so many sites of people who travel the world for free-yes they blog it, advertise it, and it’s really a job.  i don’t want that-my full time job is my kids.  but at the same time, there are ways to save money.  there’s a professional travel guy(thepointsguy.com) who has like 26 credit cards to get all the bonus miles, and keeps track of when to dump a cc or which ones to keep as time goes on.  my mind would explode trying to keep it straight.  maybe its easier that he isn’t trying to travel with a family too.  we have found just having a low limit southwest cc to use for things here and there and paying it off each month, has been beneficial to reap the benefits of adding more points monthly.  also, hubby travels about once a month, which helps keep his status on southwest, and our status with marriott.  we used marriott points when we were in rome for 4 days(double rooms) a few years ago, didn’t even pay to stay there-it was fabulous.  we just have stuck with one hotel chain, and one airline, and keep collecting.

flying down here to mexico was free, we just had to pay the taxes on the airfare, which was something like $11/person.  then i usually like to go to vrbo.com to find a place to stay instead of a hotel for a couple reasons…we are a family-and a hotel room is too small, we need a kitchen, hotels are too expensive for long term stay, and usually you can find someone who can accommodate a good deal for a longer period of stay on vrbo-like a month-instead of a week.  another reason, as we have rented apartments in paris($125/night with 2 bedrooms and full kitchen-amazing deal!), and a large townhouse in the south of france($1200 for the month), a home in guatemala($1500 for the month), and a condo in mexico($2000 for the month-over half off during high season), is being in with the locals.  we love being with the locals, instead of the tourists.  what a different perspective!  a better perspective!  since we like to stay longer than a week, but no matter what the timeframe of the getaway, i always ask the owners on vrbo if they are willing to accept a lower offer than they have listed for our timeframe.  so far, it’s worked in every place we’ve been. it’s been cheaper than three days at disneyland!

as we are hoping to go to london this year, and southwest obviously doesn’t fly to london, we figured instead of paying $1100-$1500 ticket per person, which i would never do, and have always found good deals below that(especially since we like to travel when everyone else is in school-and icelandair frequently has good deals), we figured out that flying southwest to the east coast using points(so free), and then flying from there to london, would save us at least half the cost.  we have seen tickets for as little as $430/per person.  then to stay, we will do either vrbo, or this new site trustedhousesitters, which would be great if it worked out, because then we wouldn’t have to pay for a place to stay-and the kids would have a pet to play with.

a friend had asked for me to write about how to travel for cheaper, so i wanted to share what we do.  maybe people already do this, and i’m not saying anything new.  i know people have figured out great inexpensive ways to travel besides us-we are newbies on the scene-but it blows my mind how many people we know pay full price airfare and hotels when they travel-crazy!  our system so far has worked great for us-and you can always travel cheaper staying in hostels and camping too. also, traveling for one week somewhere is never enough-especially after paying for the flight for 6 people, usually your largest cost.  so we make it worth it by staying longer-which we can do since we homeschool.  we also don’t care for lines and hoards of people, so traveling in low season is perfect for us.  less lines, the weather is better, prices are cheaper, it’s a win-win-win.  we love to go in april/may timeframe, or september-october timeframe usually.  we’ll see this year what happens as we will be getting our oldest ready for college in the fall.

hope this helps somebody get out there and travel, while doing it a bit cheaper.  cheers!

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