Brit on the Move FAQ’s
Question: Why did I write this blog?
Answer: I was asked to by tons of people asking for the type of information I share.
Question: What inspires me to travel?
Answer: Growing up in England it’s the norm to travel overseas. What has propelled the journey is my mother passed away at 62. None of us know how long we have. I am not waiting until retirement to see and do all the things I want to. I will do it now because who knows how long we have on planet earth.
Question: Is there anywhere we would not travel?
Answer: Yup, anywhere that’s at war, or anywhere that is high risk. I use the United States Travel Advisories to get a feel for the potential risk factor of a place. You must keep in mind, where within a county you are visiting. Crime varies region by region the same way it does here in the US. Mexico always has some form of advisory and sometimes it’s been classified as reconsider. There are many places in Mexico that are perfectly safe. Yes, you will read about crime, but it’s no different from the crime we experience in the US.
Question: Favorite tip or travel advice?
Answer: Once you get where you are going immediately put your passport in the safe and leave it there until you are leaving. When out and about, only carry cash and just as much as you are willing to spend or lose. We look at it like this, if we get mugged and someone cleans us out it will only be for what we were about to spend. Lastly, ladies don’t travel with real jewelry – leave it at home. In some countries, your engagement ring is worth more than a year’s salary to locals.
Question: Have we ever been mugged or had any hassle?
Answer: No but unfortunately, we have seen it first hand in many countries (including the US). I’m not going to explicitly call out a list of places where we have seen it as it will scare people. It happens all over the world. You need to have your wits about you wherever you are, no different than being in our favorite city NYC. Carry cash and be mentally prepared to lose it. Most importantly, use common sense and follow your instincts. If it looks and feels shady, it is!
Question: What’s the worst thing that has ever gone wrong?
Answer: It depends on how you define wrong. I could write an essay for this but here are some highlights. Vacation with no bags for an entire trip, lost, gone, never to be seen again. This was during a solo trip I did to the Bahama’s years ago. Another trip I had no bags for a few days. We have experienced this more than a couple of times. Flights have been canceled, my personal favorite NOT. Hotel rooms have been canceled; we have experienced every type of cancellation possible. I’ve also booked a rental car at the wrong airport and been stranded! I can’t count how many flights I have missed, but I will attribute that to being irresponsible earlier in life. I have not been late for a flight in years. Another favorite “eye roll here please” is getting bumped, although I’ve mastered avoiding this too and fortunately not been bumped in years.
Question: What are my favorite travel tools?
Answer: Travelzoo, Google Flights, Kayak, Skyscanner and Vacationstogo
Question: How do we manage to afford as much travel as we do?
Answer: I employ several strategies:
Try to travel where it is financially to our advantage aka favorable dollar exchange rate or where flights are so cheap that the dollar value is a moot point.
- Typically book international flights with airline carrier direct. There are occasions when I don’t know for example if the route I want is not available or there is just a killer package on a 3rd party site.
- It’s best to combine multiple locations. Almost all airlines now have a multi-city option where you can do week layovers in countries on the route at no extra cost. We paid $1k for flights on Emirates from MCO>Dubai>Dubai>South Africa>South Africa>Dubai>Dubai>MCO.
- Use our timeshare whenever possible, see my post on timeshares for detailed information.
- Use frequent flyer and hotel points where possible, but I am beyond cautious about how I use points to stretch the value.
- Travel internationally over major US Holidays. Most American’s are flying domestically, so it’s a perfect time to get cheaper flights.
- Book in advance. Brian and I already have 2 of 2019 trips booked! All 2018 trips were booked by the end of Jan 2018.
- Compare, compare, compare and compare. Remember to check airlines like Allegiant Air and Southwest directly because they do not advertise their fares on 3rd party sites. The same concept applies internationally as all countries have low-cost carriers and you can bounce around from place to place for very little.
- If flying domestically, try to avoid American holidays unless you can find a deal, use points or must have that specific date. We almost always travel over holidays but usually overseas, and when domestic it’s usually because we got the timeshare or free flights.
- Go to popular places off-season. For example, Yellowstone is stunning in April when there is still snow and no crowd, but its jammed packed in the summer. It’s also cheaper to avoid peak season but make sure you know what you are getting into. Some places are four seasons and offer different experiences with each season. Some places are cold and cold or hot and hotter!
Question: Are there places we would not re-visit?
Answer: Technically, no because if someone’s last wish were to visit Egypt, I would go with them. This being said, there are two places I would be very happy never to see again: Egypt and Nicaragua. There are also several states that are lackluster and I could do without seeing again. Brian concurs on Nicaragua, that’s on Brians never again list.
Question: Why don’t we repeat the same destinations if we loved it?
Answer: There are some that we do. The reality is there’s too much to see to repeat the same experiences.