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Another week in Orlando

Posted in Money Saving Tips, Vacations  by Traveler on August 19th, 2009

Last week we returned from our one week annual pilgrimage to Orlando. As usual we stayed at Orange Lake Resort, which to my surprise began offering free wireless access all the villages.

 Wet and Wild

This year we decided to purchase the annual tickets to Wet and Wild. After doing some serious search on the internet, I was able to find this coupon, which lower the weekday annual pass at Wet and Wild from $49.00 to $40.00 per person. The coupon also have discount for daily passes, and it is good until December 31st. 2009. You can download it here.

Wet and Wild is much smaller than any of the Disney water parks, and in my opinion, everything inside the park is much more expensive. Lockers cost you $8.00 to rent, and if you want to do water ski in the lake, you must pay extra for that too. The food it is expensive as well, although this is something I had expected.

Some of the most popular rides have long lines, while in the smaller rides the lines were short and they moved fast. The good thing about the park is that they allow food and drinks inside the park, as long as there are not in glass containers, so if you pack some sandwiches and some drinks you will save a lot of money.

In general my kids enjoyed the water park. We visited twice during the week.

Bongos Restaurant

One of the biggest disappointed this summer vacation was the dinner we had at Bongos Restaurant in Downtown Disney. Bongos is owned by the singer Gloria Stephan and her husband. They serve Cuban food and on the weekend they have live music at the restaurant. This was our second time having dinner there and I must say that it was a completely different experience compared to our previous visit to the restaurant.

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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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No more “are we there yet?”

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



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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Lower Fare Guarantee Policy

Posted in Airline Industry, Money Saving Tips  by Traveler on February 11th, 2009

I usually do my homework whenever I’m looking for a good deal on airfare. I compare prices on sites like Kayak, and others. But even if you do your homework, there is not guarantee that a couple of days later the same airline you booked your flight with, will post a new lower fare on their website and then you are stuck with the price you paid.

So is there any way to protect your purchase against lower fares after you make your reservation?

I emailed several airline companies and asked them that question. Here is what each one had to say regarding their lower price guarantee policy.

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Too good to pass up

Posted in Money Saving Tips, Vacations  by Traveler on November 22nd, 2008

I recently wrote a post recommending that if you find a similar low airfare,  avoid flying in Spirit Air. I recognize that sometimes it is hard to resist the temptation when you are bombarded with emails from Spirit Air advertising round trip flights for less than $15.00. So I succumbed to the temptation and booked a flight to Fort Lauderdale -Puerto Rico. The cost? Just $130.00 for me and my wife (taxes included) I actually paid more in taxes that in airfare.

I’ve been wanting to go to Puerto Rico for the longest time. None of the cruises I’ve taken had gone to Puerto Rico, so I couldn’t resist booking a quick getaway for the two of us and decided to spend 4 days and 3 night on the Caribbean island during Thanksgiving week.

Once I booked the flight, I began searching for a nice hotel. I did the regular searches: hotwire,, and the likes. I found several affordable hotels in San Juan, but when I read the reviews I was not impressed. So I dedicated my second round of searches to my favorite money saving technique: Timeshare presentation.

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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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Bald-headed? Make some money!

Posted in Airline Industry, Money Saving Tips  by Traveler on September 10th, 2008

Bald Head ad

Bald Head ad

Bald people now have a reason to celebrate their lack of cranial hair. New Zealand’s national airline is looking for 50 bald people to use them as walking billboards by temporarily tattooing an ad on their head advertising a new speedy check in service the airline will begin offering.

For allowing the airline to use their bald head, each person will receive $666.00 (any resemblance to the “mark of the beast” is just pure coincidence as this is the equivalence of $1,000 NA dollars each person will receive)

The idea is that people standing in line at the check in line can learn about the service by reading the ad on the head of the person in front of them.

Would you shave your head and temporarily tattoo it for $666.00? With the economy the way it is, I would at least consider it!


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Jet Blue auctioning airline tickets on eBay

Posted in Airline Industry, Money Saving Tips  by Traveler on September 8th, 2008

In an effort to increase revenues in a slow economy, Jet Blue has decided to put to auction several round trip tickets and vacation packages on eBay, the most popular internet auction site.

Bidding started around $0.10 per ticket; however a quick look at the Jet Blue auction site, showed that a lot of people had bid on the tickets, and the prices continue to rise, so at the end, I really don’t think they would make too much difference compared to regular ticket prices.

The site also has “mystery vacation packages” where you would bid for a hotel and air fare package to one of the several Caribbean destinations where Jet Blue flies.

The round trip tickets originate from Boston and more than 20 other cities, and all of the flights will depart on a Thursday or Friday and return on a Sunday or Monday, with the last one landing on Oct. 6.

The auctions can be found at Taxes and fees are additional and will vary according to the route. Bidders will need a PayPal account.


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Using discount codes to save money on cruises

Posted in Cruises, Money Saving Tips  by Traveler on September 2nd, 2008

 Have you ever booked a cruise only to find out later on that a fellow passenger paid much less than what you did for the same cruise and even the same category and cabin type?

 There are several myths among cruise fanatics regarding how to save money on a cruise. The most common one is to wait until the last possible minute to get a great deal on a cruise, based on the idea that cruises will lower the price of unsold cabins as the embarkation date approaches. This might have been true in the past, but as cruises have become more and more popular and security measurements increased greatly post 9-11, the reality is that those last minute special have almost disappeared completely.  

 What many people don’t realize is that every cruise line provides travel agents with specials codes that allows them to get additional discounts for their clients. If you have an honest TA, he/she will use those codes to save you money. On the other hand, if your TA is more interested in a big commission rather than getting you a cheaper cruise, you are out of luck.

 Booking codes usually translate into big savings. For example, sometimes Costa Cruise has kids free special cruises, where up to 2 children can cruise for free when accompanied by two paying adults (except for port fees and taxes) But unless your TA enters the code KIDS when doing the booking, chances are you won’t benefit from the offer. Other times, there are special codes for past guests or military personnel and their families.

 The following table gives you a list of current discount codes for the most popular cruise lines.


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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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