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

Passports & Pizzazz


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Milwaukee: 4th WITS in a row

I had the pleasure of speaking at my 4th annual WITS (Women In Travel Summit) and I couldn’t be happier!

It’s also my first time in Milwaukee!

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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?

 

 

Beautiful Belize

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Belize is one of those countries you just have to see for yourself. I first visited Belize last year and had the opportunity to visit again last week.

I want to help you out on your Belize excursion so I have jotted some useful notes to help you maneuver your trip to make sure you have the best trip ever.

  1. It costs $50 Belize Dollars ($25 USD) for 2 people to catch a cab from the airport to the ferry.
  2. If you are visiting Ambergris Caye, make sure you rent a golf cart and drive the hour ride to Secret Beach, you wont regret it.
  3. If you want a true island feel, stay on Caye Caulker. It is an extremely small island filled with cheap local food (lobster, seafood, etc), very low cost massages, and tons of souvenir vendors.
  4. Don’t have a tight schedule. Leave room to just go with the flow and enjoy your visit to this beautiful country.

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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!


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To Dubai or not to Dubai? That is the question.

Last year I was of the few lucky one’s to catch a glitch fare to Abu Dhabi and I had a tremendous time! This year, for a friends birthday, a group of friends visited Dubai, which is only about 1.5 hours away from Abu Dhabi but in my opinion, was totally different. Abu Dhabi had an abundant of mosques, local restaurants, and museums and I couldn’t find as many cultural things to do in Dubai.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Dubai was a beautiful city! It was clean, modern, and the architecture was breathtaking!! I simply felt like instead of being in a foreign country a 15 hour flight away, that I was in New York, or Boston, or maybe even Miami.

While there, I visited the Gold Souks, the Burj Khalifia, the Desert, Jumeriah Beach and took a speed boat trip around the Dubai Marina- which were all fabulous activities! The one thing I wished I got more of in Dubai was the Arabic/ Emirati culture ! If you follow me closely, you know that when I travel, I love to experience the true culture, food, people of whichever country I am visiting but I found that difficult to do there.

I still encourage you to visit and when you do, let me know your thoughts! If you have traveled to Dubai, I want to hear from you too!

 

 

 


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Vegas: More than casinos!

 

If you are anything like me on my first visit to Las Vegas, you only stayed on the strip and you gambled, partied and ate at the buffets. Now, while there is nothing wrong with that itinerary, there is so much more to Vegas and the surrounding areas!

I took my 2nd trip to Vegas recently and made sure to venture out and see new and exciting things- and boy am I glad I did!

Here are a few things I suggest on your next trip to Sin City:

  1. Go inside some of the super expensive hotels and look at the beautiful decor. I went inside of the Bellagio and the artwork was beautiful and amazing!
  2. Go on Fremont Street! I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised with all of the entertainment available!
  3. Take the 45 minute drive to the Hoover Dam
  4. And then take the 3.5 hour drive to the Grand Canyon (If you don;t prefer to drive, there are shuttle bus companies you can choose from)


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WOMEN’S TRAVEL FEST: 2016 EDITION

 

Earlier this month I got the amazing opportunity to speak to women at the Women’s Travel Fest conference in New York City. This was my 3rd time attending the conference and my 2nd time speaking!

I spoke about budget traveling and gave all the women easy and helpful tips to help them secure the most fabulous budget travel trips!

If you have never attended this conference and you are a woman who loves to travel, make sure you put it on your agenda for 2017. The speakers give so much wealth of knowledge and the networking is amazing!

If you have any questions, let me know and I will be happy to help! In the meantime, make sure you follow me on Instagram: deidreworldwide