Travel Tips – Save Time and Money

I love traveling. I love seeing new cultures and places. I don’t, however, enjoy the amount of wasted time spent trying to get to/from all these wonderful places. I’m always amazed at how much time can be spent on the logistics of the trip taking away from the enjoyment (and time) actually involved in exploring these new places. Alas, help is here. I’ve found a few worthy tips to help save time and improve your sanity while traveling:

Global Entry

So, your bags are packed, you’ve arrived at the airport excited about your next destination only to find a massive line at airport security. You have time to make the gate but suddenly it’s getting tight and the stress begins. Airports are now offering all sorts of different ways to simplify the security process and I’ve found one solution that’s absolutely worth the time and money. It’s called Global Entry. The cool thing about Global Entry is this allows you to bypass some of the long international customs lines when returning to the States (especially from Canada and Mexico). And, on top of all this, it includes TSA Pre-check (a must have for almost all domestic airports in the US). TSA Pre-check not only commonly has a shorter line but it also allows you to skip removing your shoes and laptop making the security line go faster. Without a doubt I’ve made a couple of flights I wouldn’t have otherwise caught due to this and I’ve enjoyed a beverage at the gate (getting there early) rather than stressing with the standard airport security line. Global Entry costs $100 but is valid for 5 years (and includes TSA Pre-check which costs $85 anyway) so you’re essentially getting two valuable services for the price of one (for $20/year which is worth it if you make one trip a year).

Airline Upgrades

I consider myself a pretty frugal traveler always trying to get the experience at the lowest possible cost. Over time I’ve quickly realized this isn’t always ideal for the best travel experience. When I get back from my trip I’ll look back and regret not buying that unique item that wasn’t really that expensive from a street vendor and would be a great keepsake and I look back at some of the stress and discomfort I encountered. One option to reduce this is to pay a little bit more and enjoy some of the perks airlines often offer. One perk I’ve found invaluable is paying for a slight upgrade to the seat I’ve purchased. After I buy that deep discounted seat for a steal, why not spend a little more getting a seat with more legroom (even in Economy or Economy plus) to enjoy the trip to/from my destination? Airlines often offer upgrades when checking in or at the boarding gate that can allow you to get on-board early with your carry-on bag, use their airport lounge for a long layover and have a seat that provides more legroom or comfort. These are often well worth the additional expense. If you’re traveling, you want to enjoy the experience, right?

Skip the checked bags

If you’ve ever traveled to Europe you’ll quickly realize the generous luggage limits of the airlines in the States don’t apply – at all – to European airlines. Europeans travel lighter, gas costs more and airlines are very strict with your bags. Combine the additional expense (to check a bag) and the time (waiting for it to be delivered at baggage claim) combined with the additional weight to lug around on your trip and you will quickly realize the benefits of packing light in a carry-on (even if it means you may wear the same outfit twice, or, aghast! 4 times). So, you couldn’t pack your large bottle of shampoo or moisturizer. Every country I’ve ever visited has a ton of stores that sell something similar and allow you to skip the trouble of checking a bag. Just grab some necessities at your destination and enjoy the additional time you have skipping the wait (and weight) of your checked bag.

Duty free isn’t free

You’ve landed in London and have a few hours layover at the airport and can’t miss the duty free stores lit up everywhere. This can be a little bit of a misnomer. Duty free means you don’t pay the duty/tax (of that country) when purchasing a product. What it doesn’t mean is the product actually costs less in the country you’re headed to. They can mark-up the price of the product and it will cost less than on the street when duty is applied but that doesn’t mean it’s a great deal. A quick example, I was looking at a bottle of Jack Daniels at London Heathrow at Duty Free and it cost about $30 for the bottle (which is cheaper than on the streets of London) but when I land Stateside, I can get that same bottle at a liquor store (with duty applied) for about $20. Why drag that bottle back and pay $10 more on top? Be sure to do your research before you realize that steal of a deal wasn’t actually a deal at all.

Avoid currency exchange places – use your ATM card instead

Before you head off to that foreign land there’s always a tendency to want to make sure you have the right currency before you go. Try to hold off getting this currency until you get there! And don’t use a currency exchange at the airport. Find a local bank ATM in the country you’re visiting and use your ATM card (not your credit card cash advance where you start paying interest immediately) to pull out cash. You’ll save on the conversion fees and the conversion rate.

Skip the foreign transaction fees

I’ve just landed back home and going to enjoy all the things I bought along the way. I open up my credit card statement and see all of these additional charges for EVERY transaction. What? These are foreign transaction fees that are applied every time I’ve used my credit card (to handle the transaction and the currency conversion). These add up (often 1-3% of every purchase) and can be charged by the issuing bank AND the payment network. There are a multitude of credit cards that offer no foreign transaction fees. Be sure to get one. You’ll thank your wallet later.

Why Choose a Vacation Rental

Vacation time is always something to look forward to with much anticipation. Most see it as a great way to spend time with their family, as a personal reward or to explore new and exciting destinations. However, going on vacation can end up as a disaster if it’s not carefully planned. Experienced travelers plan for a vacation at least a few months prior to the actual date to ensure that it will go smoothly and with no delays. Aside from plane fare and itineraries, booking for accommodation is on top of the priority list. Most would opt for hotels but for seasoned travel enthusiasts, a vacation rental home is a top pick.

What’s a Vacation Rental?

A vacation rental is a process of temporarily renting out a furnished home or condominium unit to tourists as an alternative to staying in hotels. It’s gaining popularity in the U.S. and all over the world because it has many advantages. At present, the top players in the vacation rental industry include Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway.


It’s a privately-held international company based in San Francisco, USA and it hosts various listings, from simple to lavish accommodations. Its founders are Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, and Nathan Blecharczyk. The main premise of Airbnb is to connect homeowners to tourists and travelers who are looking for short-term rental homes. As of 2017, the company boasts of an estimated 4 million listings in around 191 countries.  


HomeAway has a wide selection of vacation rentals for tourists to choose from. They have more or less two million places to stay in an estimated 190 countries. The company founders are Carl Shepherd and Brian Sharples. It offers its rentals of cabins, villas, condos, and farmhouses, among others through their 50 websites which are available in 23 languages. 


This travel website company was founded in 1995 by David and Lynn Clouse and it’s based in Austin, Texas, USA. VRBO is an acronym which means Vacation Rental by Owner and it allows homeowners to advertise their homes to prospective renters. Its vacation rentals come in various types like houses and villas.  It was acquired by HomeAway in 2006. And HomeAway was acquired by Expedia in 2015.

Benefits of a Vacation Rental 

Posh hotels may appeal to most tourists but for the budget-conscious traveler, a vacation rental is a perfect choice. Check out these advantages that make vacation rentals all the rage these days!


This is one of the top reasons why vacation rental homes are becoming popular. You can save money! You can shop at local stores, cook your own food and set aside extra cash for the tours and sightseeing galore.

Cost effective and convenient for families or groups.

Hotels generally can host up to 4 people in a room. This can be tight and provides very little personal space. Vacation rentals on the other hand can offer multiple rooms or an entire home allowing a family or large group to all stay together. You get more space and it’s often more cost efficient.

Gives you the luxury to have more space and privacy.

Choosing a short-term vacation rental home is more advantageous than staying at inns or even hotels since you’ll have more room and privacy. With the right place, you don’t have to worry about shared bathrooms, too.

You can settle in without the hassle of continuous unpacking.

Getting settled in a vacation rental is convenient as you only have to unpack once for the whole duration of your trip. This arrangement works best for seasoned and frequent travelers. 

The luxury to have a home base.

What’s great about a vacation rental is you can be comfortable and treat it as your home away from home. You and your family can do whatever you like since the whole place is all yours for a certain period of time. 

Allows you to choose the amenities that suit your needs.

Unlike hotels and inns, it’s not limited to just mere essentials. There are countless of listings to choose from, with amenities ranging from a jacuzzi to a kid’s playground, a mini swimming pool or anything that you might fancy!

Limitations of Vacation Rental Homes

While vacation rentals have a lot of advantages, there is also a downside to it. These are some of the things you have to consider before deciding if a vacation rental home suits you:

Don’t always have the amenities of a hotel.

Unlike hotels or inns, a vacation rental home doesn’t always have all the amenities so you may have to bring bath essentials like soap and shampoo. And, if you forget your toothbrush or run out of toilet paper, you have to head to the store to replace.

You have to provide your own mode of transportation.

This may not be quite a hassle if you’re staying in an urban area where a taxi is easily accessible. However, if the vacation rental home is located near a beach or up a mountain then you’re required to have your own car. 

No access to concierge or staff to assist you.

Definitely, there won’t be any housekeeping staff or bellboys to attend to your needs, and this may not work well for some travelers. 

A property manager or staff is usually not available on-site.

There’s no property staff or manager that you can easily reach should there be minor repairs to do like a leaking faucet. It’s something that you have to really consider especially if you’re not the handyman type. 

It’s not always what you expect. 

Since you’re basing mostly on what you see online, a vacation rental home may not appear as what you’ve expected it to be. So, it would be helpful if you seek out recommendations from trusted friends and family members before deciding if a vacation rental home is right for you.

Corporate Travel Management

Companies that offer CTM services should not be confused with typical travel agencies. Corporate Travel Management goes beyond the normal function of a travel agency. It exists to function as a strategic plan of a company when it comes to travel policy. For most companies, travel expenses are considered to be the second highest controllable cost. And since it is controllable, employing a team to control these expenses can be very helpful in cutting expenses. Travel expenses do not only apply to a plane ticket, hotel, car rental, and etc., but also apply all costs incurred during the trip, including food expenses, fares, and hotel accommodation.  

With increasing complexity in managing a business, a little help from your travel program can be really beneficial to your company’s bottom line. Here are the few advantages you can get from having this one:

  • Simplifies everything. Having a separate team managing your travel program simplifies everything. Corporate Travel Management makes things easier with booking solutions and tools. In addition, CTM also manages the company’s strategic travel policy. 
  • Cost cutting.Again, the traveling cost is one of the highest controllable costs in a company’s expenses. Properly management of this cost can greatly affect the company’s bottom figure. CTM is designed to provide a company with a cost-effective approach in handling travel expenses. Usually, they are the one to look for vendors that offer the best deal at the very lowest cost. They also plan expenses and work within the budget. A CTM can help you with travel expenses inconsistencies that will help you save big money in the end.  
  • Smooth company’s travel policy. With the help of CTM, the company can set up and have a definite travel program and policy. Having this program can lead the company in the right direction in terms of travel decisions. TMCs know already the keys to successful travel policy and what is recommended.  
  • Provide safety and security. Having a Corporate Travel Management ensures more the safety of your employee. They are the ones who find vendors with the safest and most secure facility. They manage also the travel insurance of the one traveling. Securing the safety of the employee is very important, knowing that high risk comes when traveling.
  • Customer and care support. In the event of an emergency, the CTM can easily track the employee who is traveling. CTM have this online tool that can help your employee’s tracks and location. They help also the employee in getting where it should be.
  • Organizes travel documents. One of the important advantages of having CTM is that it helps the company to have organized travel documents.  The CTM often secure and store travel itineraries and key travel documents, such as plane tickets and passport. This helps the one traveling to focus more on the purpose of the travel. 

With those said advantages of Corporate Travel Management, it is indeed beneficial for a company, especially a big company, to have one. To know more about CTMs and their roles in a company, here is the list of their definite functions:

  • Negotiate with vendors and contact third-party contractors. One of the important functions of the CTM team is to get the best deal with vendors. Looking for vendors that offer the best deal is very critical since this is the very reason why CTM exists. Usually, CTM companies who have run business for quite some time have already a list of vendors that offer the best travel package. 
  • Day-to-day operation of the travel program.Aside from negotiating with vendors, the CTM is also responsible for the itinerary of your travel. They are the one who plans for your day-to-day activities. This is very critical since it helps the company to have more efficient transactions throughout the travel.
  • Provides and ensures safety and security. The safety of the employee who is traveling is very important. This includes securing an insurance policy for the one who is traveling. The CTM is also responsible for choosing vendors with the highest credibility when it comes to safety and security.
  • Credit-card management. Corporate Travel Management is also responsible for the management of the billing for the whole trip. One of the unique roles of these CTM companies is to monitor the credit transactions of the company, making sure it does not exceed its limit. 

Why You Should Hire a Travel Agent for Business Travel

If you’re an entrepreneur or run a business, your time is precious. You want to focus on your business and not logistics. This is where a travel agent can step in and save you time and money. Booking, evaluating and purchasing your travel itinerary can be very time consuming. A great alternative is to hire a knowledgeable and efficient travel agent to do the work for you.

Before you decide to hire one, here are some facts on what a travel agent actually does:

  • He/ she plans and organizes vacation and business trips for persons,families and groups and sees to it that details like flights, hotel accommodations and mode of transport are taken care of with the help of online reservation systems.
  • He/she informs the clients about their trip such as flight and accommodation options as well as important facts about their destination like the local culture and traditions, tourist spots and safety measures to take.
  • He/she is always updated on the latest travel trends and popular travel destinations.
  • He/she sees to it that clients’ profiles are maintained to keep track of their clients’ travel history, personal information and travel choices.

So, why should you avail the services of a travel agent? Here are just some of the reasons why you should hire one:

  1. A travel agent has the ample training in going through your travel plan and trip itinerary.
    Reputable travel agents know what they are doing because they are well-equipped with the necessary knowledge and training and know their way around the complicated world of bookings, reservations and making sure that clients like you can get the best travel deals around.
  2. Getting the help of a travel agent saves you time and money.
    Booking your airfare and hotel accommodation can be very time-consuming especially if you’re unfamiliar with all the travel options.  Travel agents spare you from all the trouble since they know their way around, thus helping you save precious time. Similarly, they know how to find the best airfare and hotel deals and can get you the best upgrades and extras which help you save your hard-earned money.
  3. A travel agent fixes any unnecessary changes and discrepancies; all you have to do is sit back and relax.
    Whether it’s a cancelled flight or delayed local transportation bookings, your travel agent can fix these discrepancies for you in a jiffy.  He/she also knows whom to contact when things go wrong such as problems with your hotel room booking, for instance. You just have to sit back and relax and let your travel agent straighten up any untoward discrepancies promptly.
  4. A travel agent has all the right connections.
    Travel agents have a wide network of industry connections such as hotel managers, tour operators and transport providers so you are assured that they know their way around and can get the best deals for you anytime.
  5. A travel agent is well-informed and knowledgeable.

You do not have to go through all the trouble of researching when it comes to amenities, bookings and other needed information of the destination.  Travel agents are updated and well-informed of the ins and outs of the industry and will provide you with the details and facts that you need to help you prepare for your business trip and overseas travel.  They can even advise you on things like the best restaurants in a city, the best places to visit and what local recreational activities to try.

Understandably, there are some setbacks when you hire a travel agent:

  1. You can save money if you do the booking yourself as travel agents usually charge additional fees for travel bookings.
  2. You can gain more insight on your preferred destinations if you do the online research yourself and gain access to various travel deals as well.
  3. You don’t really have to deal with travel agents especially if you’re an experienced business traveler unless your trip involves complicated details and routes.
  4. If you intend to make revisions to your business trip you can instantly do it yourself via online booking without having to go through the trouble of calling a travel agent.

Business trips are necessary to help entrepreneurs and business owners build partnerships and networks and in exploring financial opportunities.  The role of a travel agent is therefore essential as they act as your personal shoppers and advocates who help you clinch the best deals and upgrades. Moreover, they help you save time and money which are two very important resources.

How to Sell Your Timeshare Property

Have you invested in a real estate property and regretted doing so because of skyrocketing maintenance fees? Did you recently acquire a vacation house that you realized would be of little use to you?  Whatever your reason may be in selling your timeshare property, there are basic procedures that you need to follow if you want to put it back on sale in the market. Here are some important facts to consider when selling your timeshare property:

Beware of resale agencies.

Scammers are lurking everywhere so be sure that a resale agency is legitimate and duly-licensed, if and when you decide to sell through one.  Be wary of a resale company that is asking for upfront fees beyond US$100 and be cautious when a resale agent communicates mostly through phone.

Determine your timeshare’s value.

Timeshare properties tend to devalue easily so be sure to determine the appropriate value of your timeshare property by referring to sites like Redweek, Sharket and Timeshare Users Group.

Consider an agent.

If you’re too busy to supervise the listing and selling of your timeshare property then it’s time to consider a real estate agent to do the work.  However, these agents tend to demand a larger commission for such transactions as compared to usual home sales and may be selective with the properties that they are willing to sell.

Be sure that your decision to sell is final.

Ask yourself if your decision is final as being hesitant to do so may cause untoward stress.  Timeshares now also come with points that can be accumulated such as frequent flyer miles which may work to your advantage after all.

Look for a buyer yourself.

It’s now easy to look for a buyer so long as you have the patience and the right connections. Social media networks can be utilized and along with the right connections you can easily find a buyer for your timeshare even with little or no external help at all.


If you want to proceed with selling your timeshare property, the following are options to consider:


Put it on sale on consumer sales sites like eBay or Craigslist.

These sites are popular among consumers and frequently visited by prospective property buyers as well.


Utilize online advertising sites dedicated to timeshares like Timeshare Users Group or Redweek.

These sites are solely devoted to promote timeshares which are up for sale and most prospective property buyers visit it regularly.

Sell it through a licensed resale company.

Resale companies help in the prompt sale of timeshare properties. However, make sure that it is a registered and legitimate resale company and check with the Better Business Bureau to verify it.

Place an ad on the real estate section of the city or area where the property is located.

Don’t forget to post on the local ads of the city or area where the timeshare property for sale is located so it can be viewed by more people.


Here are some important things to remember on how to avoid scams in selling your timeshare property:

Do not divulge personal information to anyone who is offering to help you sell your timeshare without doing your due diligence.

Searching for a suitable buyer for your timeshare property takes time and resources so be ready to take on the risks.  However, if a resale agent tries to contact you and offers help in selling your timeshare then be on guard.  Giving out your personal information is a red flag as you don’t have any clear idea about the person you’re dealing with.  He or she may just be one of the countless scammers around who are out to make a quick buck.

Always do your homework with the help of the internet when contacted by a suspicious company or agent.

Thanks to the internet and Google you can easily search for a person or company online if you’re ever contacted by a resale agency or resale agent that you hardly know or were not recommended by friends, family or colleagues.   Check out if they have an existing website and search for their list of entries.  Legitimate resale agencies and companies place their company information, headquarters, address, list of owners, services and other pertinent information on their websites.  If a company’s website provides very little information and only lists a toll-free number then more often than not they are scammers.

Get in touch with your timeshare company and inquire about give-back or resale programs.

One great way to avoid scammers is to directly get in touch with your timeshare company for any resale or give-back programs they may have for owners like you who intend to sell timeshare properties. If they don’t have such programs they can always refer you to licensed and registered real estate brokers who will assist you in selling your timeshares.


Selling your timeshare property has its share of risks and set-backs so it’s best to stay informed and up-to-date with all the necessary steps.  Scammers are always on the look-out for their next victim so be sure to equip yourself with the necessary knowledge and procedures so you won’t fall prey to these heartless people. And good luck with your sale!