Plan a Cheap Escape – Part 2

Cheryl Agondini works as travel consultant for Rubys Travel Agency. She has helped my family and I plan a number of memorable vacations while on a budget. I contacted her with a few question regarding affordable travel for college students. Enjoy ❤

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Q: What destinations would you consider most affordable for college students? 

A: The most affordable Caribbean destinations would be Cancun, Riviera Maya, Punta Cana, Jamaica, and even Costa Rica.   Generally airfare is reasonable with nonstop travel to Mexico and the Caribbean. The all-inclusive hotels include almost everything up front such as all meals and snacks, all beverages including domestic alcoholic drinks (some resorts include premium brands), daytime activities and nighttime entertainment as well as hotel taxes and gratuities. As a travel consultant I can find all-inclusive resorts suitable for every taste and budget, from value-priced, casual hotels to elegant 5-star luxury resorts.  Providing a budget will help get the best resort or room for your money.

Q: When’s the best and worst time to book airfare?

A: It is best to book as far in advance as possible for the cheapest air rates, especially for summer vacations or holiday weeks.   The worst time is waiting until the last minute.  As a general rule, airlines set a certain amount of seats at a reduced rate and when they are sold, the next segment of seating is at a higher price and so on.

Q: Do you get better deals when booking at a group rate versus individually?

A: Yes, group bookings have discounted rates and add-on amenities in certain cases. A group is considered 10 rooms however in some instances a group can be as little as 5 rooms depending on the location of travel.

Q: Is there a cheaper day of the week/ time of the day to leave and return from your trip?

A: Usually, leaving mid-week can save several hundred dollars in airfare versus traveling on a weekend. I have the ability to check the airfare for the cheapest rates within a 30 day period.

Q: Is it more affordable to purchase a package that includes airfare, hotel, and car rental versus booking everything separately?

A: As a travel consultant I have access to many tour operators and resources that offer many benefits and often discounts of booking a “package” that would include air/land/insurance and transfers. This will take the work, worry and guesswork from you making the arrangement onto the travel agent.   If any issues arise you will always have someone to refer back to for assistance.

Q: Any other quick tips that will help a college student plan an affordable vacation?

A: Plan early, contact a travel agent, and beware of “cheap” online booking. Be sure you a have passport and that it is valid for travel from 6 months from your return date.  Remember to factor in any possible luggage fees that may apply.  Also, check with your phone carrier for any fees that may apply when you travel internationally.  Any property recommendations are safe but please book any tours through the hotel tour desk and be aware of your surroundings and go with someone, if you leave the property.  

Did you find these tips helpful? If so, go ahead and share this post. Also, if you need assistance planning your getaway, you can contact Cheryl at Cheryl@rubystravel.com. She is aaamazing.

Good luck with your planning.

$ale of the Week

We all love a good sale but the truth is, finding the best ones can be downright overwhelming. Different stores and brands will do almost anything to persuade you that their rate is the most conveniently priced, making it hard to identify the better deal. Well, there’s an app for that! Check out this top ten list of shopping apps that let you compare prices and start saving.

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Any other shopping apps you guys are into? If so, feel free to comment.

Happy Shopping my friends ❤

Plan A Cheap Escape

Summer’s right around the corner, so I’m sure you guys are in the midst of planning an overdue vacation but first; let’s do the math on all that needs to be taken care of before you head out. You’ve got your flight, hotel fees, luggage fees (crazy, right?), food, spending money and emergency cash, just in case. Depending on where you’re going, all your necessities should add up to around $1,000 plus, but don’t sweat it.

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 I’ve done some research and found a number of transportation services that offer student discounts.

1. Amtrak  – Sign up for their Student Advantage Cardholder program and become eligible to receive a 10% discount on most adult rail fares. Earn Amtrak Guest Reward points as you go to be used for FREE travel.

2, Coach USA – Coach USA offers discounts on scheduled routes to college students with valid ID’s. Check out their website for a list of schools they service and the discounts available. Join their free V.I.P. Student Travel Club for further specials.

3. Greyhound – Not only does The Greyhound Student Advantage Discount Card offer a 15% discount off their bus fare, but it also provides exclusive discounts of up to 50% off at thousands of locations nationwide. This is probably the best bargain on the list, so be sure to visit the website.

4. Rail Europe – Backpacking through Europe this summer? Lucky! If you or anyone in your party is between the ages of 12 and 25, on the first date of travel, discounted rates are available for passes and tickets on some trains. Check out their site for a list of passes that offer youth discounts.

5. United Airlines– While United Airlines may not offer any special discounts for college students; the carrier’s College Plus program gives students enrolled in both the College Plus program and Mileage Plus frequent flier program a graduation present of 10,000 bonus miles. How cool?!

6. STA Travel – STA Travel claims to be the largest student travel agency, so you can only imagine how many affordable travel options they offer. Browse through their website with your roommates and book an end of the semester getaway.

For discounted plane tickets and other travel accommodations, visit these websites created exclusively for students.

This is all I could come up with for now but continue to do your research. Many transportation services offer hidden student discounts. If you aren’t sure whether or not a service offers a discount don’t be afraid to ask.

Safe travels!

9 Ways to Earn Money without Punching the Clock

It’s finally spring! Only a couple of more week’s until we can store away our bulky, winter attire and indulge in all the pretty pastels this season has to offer.

I’m sure we’re all ready for some outdoor fun but with the semester winding down you may have had to cut your hours to get some school work done. Don’t stress it. There are plenty of easy ways to earn cash without punching the clock.

1.Online Surveys

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Most online surveys offer $3-$5 dollars for each survey completed. Doing this may not make you rich but think about it this way, if you take about 3-5 surveys you’ll have earned around $15 which is just enough money for a movie ticket or half off apps. Click here for a list of legitimate companies that will pay you for taking online surveys.

2.Research Testing

There are plenty of medical teams that offer the chance to help test a medicine or treatment to be sure that it’s safe for the general public. Most testing is done over an extended period of time and generally pay around $100, which is good money. Many medical studies looking for participants will advertise in college newspapers because they know most college students are eager to make money, so be sure to pick up a copy of your school’s current edition.

3.Trade in Old Electronics for Cash

Back up all your contacts, photos and videos from your old phone and trade them in for some cash. The amount of money you receive will depend on your phone’s condition and current value. Head to your local mall where there are usually drop boxes that will give you an automatic quote or check out Amazon where you can trade in almost anything for an Amazon gift card.

4. Sell Old Jewelry

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Those 80’s doorknocker earrings you have will probably never be back in style, so sell those along with the other pieces you wouldn’t be caught dead wearing.

5. Create and Sell D.I.Y Crafts

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Are you an art major? If so, why not sell some of your pieces? Etsy is a great website for selling your crafts. Download Pintrest for some inspiration on cute jewelry or decorative items that can you start making and selling to others.

 6. Become a Freelance Writer or Ghost Blogger

If you have a niche for creative writing you’re in luck. There are plenty of blogging and content curating opportunities for freelancers on job.problogger.net where you can earn around $20-$30 per post.

7.Tutor

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We’ve all got our areas of expertise. Spread your knowledge by conducting 1 hour writing, math or science tutoring sessions on campus. There’s no better feeling than helping your peers while getting paid.

8. Organize a Yard Sale

Get started on your spring cleaning and sell things that you no longer want at a yard sale. Advertise the sale by posting up flyers throughout your neighborhood and be sure to post pictures on social media during the actual event for some extra publicity.

9. Babysit, Housesit or Dog walk

If you’re a kid or animal lover and hanging out at the park or going for a stroll doesn’t feel like work then this is the perfect job for you. Offer to walk your neighbor’s dog or create a nanny profile on care.com.

Enjoy the first Sunday of spring ❤