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

Passports & Pizzazz

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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Before you book: Check if you need a Visa

There is nothing worse than booking a trip, packing to go, and arriving to the airport only to find out you needed a travel visa to enter the country! Believe it or not, this happens quite a a lot.I recently had a friend call me super excited about a trip to Brazil only for me to ask her about her visa and her appear dumbfounded. Not only did she not know she needed a visa, but she was due to leave out the next day- there was no way that was going to happen. Sadly, she lost out on the money she used for the flight and she took vacation days from work only to stay home and not use them for vacation.

I don’t want the same thing to happen to YOU ! When you find a flight deal, please check first to see if you need a visa, the costs of the visa, and how long it will take before you receive the visa!

Here are some of the most popular countries where USA passport holders NEED  a travel visa! For a larger list, visit http://cibtvisas.com/visa-quick-check

  1. Brazil
  2. China
  3. Cuba
  4. Egypt
  5. Ethiopia
  6. Ghana
  7. India


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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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Cartagena, Colombia: What a colorful treat!

 

When Spirit Airlines offered 75% off of flights to Colombia, I knew I had to jump on the deal! Not only did I wan’t to experience South America for the 1st time, but I had always heard how beautiful, bright, and gorgeous Cartegena was so I jumped to the opportunity!

From Dallas, Texas it was a 4 hour trip in total (45 minute layover in Ft Lauderdale). I landed in Cartegena mid day and right away I noticed the HEAT!! Now I have lived in India, traveled to Abu Dhabi, and I live in Houston TX so I know all about heat and the heat in Cartegena was all to familiar. I recommend bringing your best shades, sunscreen lotion, and as little clothes as possible!

I stayed in Cartegena for 5 days and here are my recommendations of activities:

  1. Visit El Totumo Volcano and roll around in the purifying mud!
  2. Visit Playa Blanca, it is about 45 minutes outside of the city but totally worth the drive.
  3. Eat all the fresh seafood you can take in! The fish is literally caught and cooked the same day! Delicious
  4. Practice your spanish/bring a spanish dictionary as not too may locals speak English fluently
  5. Budget your money, but don’t fret because Cartegena was not too expensive at all!
  6. Try Colombian coffee, it’s strong, but tasty!
  7. Watch the sunset from the top of the city center walls- the most beautiful sight ever!


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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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