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Archive for the ‘Free Stuff’ Category

18
Jun

Mini vacations withouth leaving town

Posted in Free Stuff, Money Saving Tips  by Traveler on June 18th, 2009

There are some days where your entire body is asking you for a vacation; a break from everything.  This is especially true if you had a hard week at work, filled with last minute or end of the month reports, deadlines, or your boss asking you to do more things that any human can possible do in 40 hours of work.

Unfortunately, what our body wants and what our wallets can afford not always go hand in hand. So what do you do when you need a brake, but can afford a vacation?

Use one day of the weekend and take a mini vacation without having to leave town.

Here are some of things you can do to get away from everything, and they won’t cost you much, plus they can really help you relax and recharge your batteries.

 Grab your camera

Most of us have a digital camera that we use to take pictures of our kids, family reunions, etc. The thing is that most people don’t even think about using their camera to take pictures of their surroundings.  As a matter of fact, because we are so busy going from one place to another, most of us don’t even notice our surroundings. So grab your camera, go to a park, a nature reserve, the beach, a lake, even downtown and start taking pictures of all the interesting things that you find. You will be surprise how many new things you will discover even in places where you have been thousand of times before. For some reason, when you go to a place with the sole purpose of taking pictures, you look at things in a completely different way. For example, you might see a weird looking tree that resembles a statue, or how different a building looks when you look at it from certain angle. Snap away, and don’t worry about the technical stuff, simple try to be creative about your picture, and soon you’ll find yourself immerse in your picture taking quest and you’ll forget about work and everything else that stress you out.

Cook out.

Having a BBQ on the beach or a park can be fun. You can really enjoy a day out in the outdoors if you are surrounded by family and friends. If you have a family, put the kids in the car, grab some charcoal, a bag of hamburger, some hamburger buns and head to the nearest park or beach. You can also invite a couple of friends or other family members. You will be surprise what a great time you can have with a simple barbeque and good company.

Go camping

When was the last time you went camping? Most of us loved to camp out when we were kids. Remember the campfire, the sky full of stars at night, the excitement of sleeping in the middle of nowhere? Almost every town in America has a place where you can go camping for less than $20 a night. Go ahead, relive those memories from long gone days, and if you have children, create new memories for them. They’ll never forget the experience.

 Visit a local attraction.

I bet you that there is at least one attraction in your city that you have never been to. It can be a water park, a museum, a gallery. Any place nearby that you have been thinking about going but put it in the back burner because you knew it was right there and you could go anytime you wanted. Well perhaps spending several hours at a local attraction is what you needed to relax and have a good time.

Spend a night at a local hotel

The idea of renting a room in a hotel located only a couple of miles away from you home sounds silly, but if you have never done try it. I am sure you’ll be able to find a local hotel or motel for a very reasonable price. Mi wife and I do this whenever we can. We send the kids to spend the night with the grandparents and just go and rent a room in a local hotel. Because we can focus our attention in ourselves, we have a very relaxing time, especially if after checking in, we go out to the movies or a restaurant to grab a quick bite.

Those are only some suggestions, but if you are really creative, you can have a mini vacation almost every weekend, and it won’t cost you much. After all, fun doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive.

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12
Jun

A letter is a powerful tool

Posted in Free Stuff, Travel Tips  by Traveler on June 12th, 2009

A while ago, I wrote an article with the title  When everything else fails, call headquarters”. This article talks about how sometimes it is best to skip the middle man and complain directly with the company headquarter if there any issued with booking, hotels, etc.

Following my own advice, I decided to send a letter to West Gage Resorts corporate offices to complain about what happened when I went to their sales presentation.

I sent two identical letters, one to the company owner, Mr. David Siegel and another to Mr. James Gissy, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales. To my surprise, 3 days after I’ve sent the letter, I received a call from Michele Colaci, Sr. Director of Specialty Marketing.

Michelle was very professional, and I could tell she had a genuine intention of make things right. For once, she immediately acknowledged that I was grossly misled with the information I’ve received. She also explained to me that it was a third party vendor the one responsible for the marketing material I had received, but after my letter she send out a memo to all third party vendor informing them that West Gate would now allows this type of misleading practice to go on.

Michelle offered me a two night stay at their resort and two ticket to any Orlando park free of charge to compensate me for all the troubles, which I accepted.

In two weeks, I’ll be in Orlando enjoying the free accommodations and tickets.

This goes to show you once more, that a letter is a powerful tool if you send it to the right person, so don’t give up on your complains. I must also comment West Gate Resorts for making things right.

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21
May

No more “are we there yet?”

Posted in Free Stuff, Money Saving Tips, Travel Tips  by Traveler on May 21st, 2009

Car DVD

Car DVD

With summer vacation fast approaching, most parents are already making plans to take a road trip, or visit their favorite vacation spot with their kids. We prepare psychologically to deal with the “are we there yet?” or “I am bored” nagging from our kids because we all know that those classic road games that we used to play when we were kids, would not be enough to entertain our kids nowadays. For this reason, I have put together a list of free resources for parents who are planning road trips with their kids this summer. The list include places where you can legally download free music, videos, audio books and many other digital content guarantee to entertained your kids during the long drive.A couple of things about this list:

  • First, I am assuming that you own at least one of the following:
  1. An iPod, or any other Mp3 players
  2. A portable DVD player or any other portable media player that can play videos, music or both.
  3. A cell phone, PDA or any other device that can display text or PDF files.
  4. A portable CD Player
  • Second, all the content I am providing complies with copyright laws, meaning that the files are either public domain, or the owner had agree to share his/her work.
  • Third, all the content is free and safe to download (no virus, spyware, etc.)
  • Forth, no subscription is necessary to download this content, in some cases you might need to create a free account with the site, but you don’t have to subscribe to any services nor pay to download the material.

 This said, here is the list of FREE electronic content you can download and bring with you on your next trip.

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16
Mar

West Gate Travel Club rip-off

Posted in Free Stuff  by Traveler on March 16th, 2009

I recently got an invitation to attend one of those “travel club” presentations. In return for hearing the salesperson’s pitch, I would be awarded “4 wonderful” gifts that included 2 round trip airline tickets,  a 4 days cruise, a 3 nights hotel stay and finally a $1,000 gift certificate to buy thing from an website where I would have to pay only “shipping and handling fees” The travel club was owned by West Gate Resorts, the time share resort.

Since we had some time off to spare, my wife and I decided to go to the presentation last Saturday.

What a rip-off!!!

According to the salesperson, West Gate Resorts was doing this “pilot program” that allows them to sell unused weeks at their resorts to people who enroll on their travel club. In return for $6,900.00 you would have the right to purchase 2 weeks at one of their resort every year. Each week costing $500.00, plus you have to pay $199 every year in club membership fees.

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22
Sep

Free food, cruises and more for your birthday

Posted in Free Stuff, Money Saving Tips  by Traveler on September 22nd, 2008

If you are getting old and looking for a good reason to celebrate your birthday, here is a couple of good ones: free food, free cruise and free entrance to a Disney Park.

 Free Disney Park Ticket

 Disney just announced a new marketing plan to give free park tickets to any person on their birthday. That’s right, if you want to celebrate your birthday with Mickey, you can do it w/o having to pay a penny and go see the famous mouse.

All you have to do is register on their website and they’ll email you a coupon valid for a free ticket to the park that you can print and present at the park entrance along with an ID to show it is really your birthday and that’s it.

Please not that the free ticket offer is only good the day of your birthday, not a day before or after, so plan accordantly. Here is the website with all the FAQ and the page where you can register

 Free Cruise

Yeap, you can even take a free cruise to the Bahamas any time during your birthday month. Discovery Cruise Line takes you from Fort Lauderdale to Bahamas on a one day cruise where you can enjoy a little bid of gambling, sun, or simply doing some shopping at the Bahamas.

All the information about this offer can be found here

 Free Food

Do you remember way back when Denny’s  Restaurant used to invite you to have free dinner on your birthday?. Well those days are gone, but there are still plenty of places that offer you free dinners, ice cream and other food related items during your birthday.

I found an excellent list on this site, so check it out and Happy Birthday!.




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26
Aug

A cheaper way to make phone calls from your cruise

Posted in Free Stuff, Money Saving Tips  by Traveler on August 26th, 2008

Magic Jack

Magic Jack

I still remembering the time when we went to the tiny island of Caicos during one of our cruises and I needed to call home to check on the family. We had waited to disembark in order to purchase a phone card and use a public phone instead of paying a ridiculously high per-minute rate on the ship. To our surprise the only two public phones on the island were broken, and if it wouldn’t had been for a good samaritan who lend us his phone, we would have been force to pay the cruise rate or not call home at all.
A new little invention called Magic Jack is a money saving device that will allow any cruise passenger to call home from the ship at a much lower rate.
Magic Jack is basically a small device that you connect to any USB port of any computer with internet access, then you connect a regular phone to Magic Jack and voila! You have free unlimited calls to the US and Canada.

The device costs around $39.00 and it comes with the first year of unlimited local and long distance calls. After the first year, the service is $20.00 a year. All calls to the US and or Canada are free, it doesn’t matter where are you calling from. So, you might be in Europe using Magic Jack and the call is still free.
In order to use Magic Jack on a cruise ship, you still need to pay for regular internet access, but because the price of internet access is around $0.75 per minute (even wireless internet access) compared to $6.99 per minute for a phone call, you’ll be saving over $6.00 per minute on phone calls.

Many cruise lines have now signed contracts with wireless phone companies such as AT&T and T-Mobile that allows you to make calls from any ship using your cellular phone; however the rates is considered as international roaming by your cell phone provider and it might cost you between $1.75 to $4.50 per minute. This is cheaper than using the cabin phone, but much more expensive than calling home using the Magic Jack.

 



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13
Aug

How to get free stuff in Las Vegas

Posted in Free Stuff  by Traveler on August 13th, 2008

We all love free stuff, not matter what it is. Las Vegas is especially good at given free stuff. Good free stuff!

Here is the list, and how you can get it:

 

Free backpack and other goodies:

 

Ever hotel and casino in Las Vegas tries to get you to become part of their player’s club. Becoming a club member allows the hotel to track how much you spend on their machines, plus it also gives them the opportunity to mail you (or email you) their marketing material. It is a gold data mine for them. Several hotels were giving away travel backpacks. They retail between $20 to $30.00 each. Their free stuff usually varies from month to month. If you are traveling with you spouse, each one can enroll on their player’s club individually, so you can get two gifts.

 

Free Money

Along with the goodies, several hotels gives you either free money in the form of a refund check or in the form of credit to play in their slot machines when you enroll on their players’ club. On my resent visit to Las Vegas, there were several hotels refunding back the first $100.00 that you loose on their casino. The refund would come in the form of a check that they would mail to you 4 to 6 weeks after your visit. (the catch here is that you would need to go back to the same hotel at a later time in order to cash your check, but if you are planning a second visit to Las Vegas, is free money nevertheless)

 

Free Food and Free Shows

Timeshares sales are very popular in Las Vegas and if you are willing to spend 2 hours of your time listening to a motivated sales person trying to sell you a timeshare, then you can really get compensated for your time. Most developers selling timeshare will give you 2 tickets to a Las Vegas show plus dinner for two at a popular buffet as long as you go to their presentation. Most of them allow you to pick the show you want to see from within a list of shows they have available. In addition, they even give you a free hotel stay as part of the package. When we went to Las Vegas, my wife and didn’t have anything planned for one of the days, so sit through one of those timeshare presentation and in return we got two tickets to a show, a buffet dinner for two and 4 nights hotel stay in St. Thomas, US Virgin Island. Not bad for two hours of your time.




 

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