Budget Travel Expert, Author, Solo Traveler, Wanderstay Hotels Owner

Passports & Pizzazz


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The Holy Land! (And so much more!)

Israel, I’m really in Israel!

After flying to New York from Houston and landing in Tel Aviv, I was in awe. I’ve traveled quite a bit, but this is one country I never thought I would get to see, and yet there I was in the Holy Land!


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New Zealand in Photos (And me jumping from a 700 ft building)

New Zealand is literally one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. Stop right now and just do a google search on photos of NZ, see how amazing the photos look? Well, that is how it looks in real life. I have been in New Zealand for about 11 days now and here are some amazing photos I have taken! Also, watch the video of me jumping off of the Auckland Tower, 700 feet in the air!!

Deidre jumping from the Auckland Tower: Deidre Jumping 700 ft of the Auckland SkyTower.


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Denver, Colorado. 2 days for less than $150.

I am a sucker for travel deals! This is the first thing you must know about me. When the opportunity came for me to visit Denver,Colorado with airfare, hotel, rental, and activities included for less than $150, I had to take advantage of it.

Here is a breakdown of my cheap trip:

  1. Flight: $11.70. I fly Southwest airlines a lot! So much so, that I have accrued tons of flight points (If you are taking flights without collecting the points, you are literally robbing yourself of free travel). When I saw that they were offering round-trip flights from Houston for less than 10,000 miles, I took advantage of it. So after taking 10,000 points, I only had to pay sales tax which was $11.70.
  2.  I use hotels.com for all of my hotel bookings and they have an amazing deal where after you stay 10 nights, you accrue a free night. Surprisingly I had a free night just sitting in my account so I choose to use it for one night in Denver.
  3. For a rental car, I again used Southwest to book (you get flight miles for booking rentals via the Southwest site) and was able to snag a car for 2 days for a total of $45.

For flight, rental, and hotel I spent a whooping $56.70.

After arriving in Denver, I dined at Snooze restaurant for breakfast and Jelly restaurant for lunch. Combined I spent a total of $30 for two full meals.

I also visited the Denver Botanical Gardens which is a MUST! It is just o beautiful for words, you must go see for yourself. My entrance into the gardens was $13.

After visiting the Gardens, I took the 45 minute drive to Lookout Mountain which was free and came with an amazing view! Bring your sweater as it can get a bit chilly up there, and don;t forget your water bottle to keep hydrated!

At this point, I had spent just $99 for a day filled with amazing adventures! After filling the rental car back up with gas and grabbing a quick bite to eat, I was able to board the flight back to Houston without spending $150.

Although you may not have the same travel perks as I do (tons of flight points, free hotel nights, etc) hopefully you can take these pointers away to help build you a low cost trip.

  1. Every time you fly, make sure you are getting credit for your trip.
  2. Sign up for hotel rewards, there are tons of sights to choose from (Choice hotels, IHG, Hotels.com, etc)
  3. Sign up for airline alerts.You will be among the first to know about discounted airline costs.
  4. Travel with a friend and cut the cost in half! And also have someone to help you take amazing pictures of your adventure!.

Do you have any tips? PLEASE SHARE THEM!

 

Happy Travels.


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Toronto anyone?

Just two months ago, I had the opportunity to visit a place I have wanted to travel to for quite some time- Toronto, Canada! Just a few hours in the air, Toronto was very easy to travel to and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t made the trip sooner.

During my 3 day trip, I got to visit the top of the CN Tower, stroll the downtown shopping mall, visit many unique restaurants, and eat tons of poutine fries! Yum!

Here is a breakdown of some of my activities:

1) If you are into unique dining experiences, you will LOVE eating at “Signs”, a deaf restaurant. Yes, you read that correctly! Everyone in the restaurant is deaf- the bartenders, the servers, and even the kitchen staff. There are  menus with sign language on the table that show you how to properly order the meal of your choice. Not only was the atmosphere amazing, the food was good too!

2) I had to wait over an hour to visit the top of the CN Tower but the view did not disappoint. I would recommend going very early in the morning to avoid long lines. The entry ticket went for about $35 and was pretty worth it to me.

3) Try the Poutine fries and make sure you have a friend to share with!1 Before I visited Toronto, I kept hearing about the poutine fries so I knew I had to try them. They are essentially fries topped with cheese and gravy and they are oh so yummy.

4) If you are traveling solo or with just one other person, take the bus from the airport into the city, it will save you tons of money. I paid about $3 to take the bus into the city whereas if I would have taken a cab, it would have cost me about $45. It take about an hour to make the commute, but imagine what you could use the extra $40 on!

 

Have you visited Toronto, what were your thoughts?

 

 


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Wanderlust Hostel needs YOUR help!

As you all know, I am opening a hostel in Houston, Texas summer 2017 and we need your help!
The hostel will sleep 40 people and be located within a 10 minute walking distance from the Houston Metro system. In order for me to secure a particular piece of property, I have to get certifications, licenses, and pay certain taxes which totals about $5,000. I started my campaign  Wanderlust Houston Hostel  to raise this money and I have a little over 35 days to get it done.
So where do you and others come into play:
1) Donation
2) Sponsor
3) Invest
1) A donation is a short term gift towards the major goal of 5k! All donations help overall!
2) Sponsor: If you are looking to receive a tax write off and sponsor a business, this is a great opportunity! You will sponsor at least half of the project ($2,500) and receive free hostel stays, a spot on the hostels website for the first 2 years of operation, and you will be able to name one of the rooms at the hostel!
3) Invest! If you are willing to invest the total project of $5,000 the owner (Deidre Mathis) will be willing to discuss a payback schedule (i.e. 1% of gross income for the first 6 months of the hostel openings PLUS the initial investment. The hostel is currently projected to profit $275,000 in the first 6 months which makes your payback: $7,750 ($5,000 PLUS $2,750)
Thanks for your time!