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Showing posts from 2019

7 Tips for Summer Travel on a Budget

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Winter is over (although, I know for some, it feels like it's still here).  We are now approaching summer.  We're on the "downward slide" for kids to finish school for the year, and for people to prepare for summer vacations from work.



Planning a vacation is sometimes a dreaded task for some, but if you are a bargain hunter, like me, vacation planning can be fun. Seriously.  If you have some flexibility in terms of where you are going, and when, the planning can be even more fun!  It's like starting with a blank canvas, waiting for the first swipe of a paintbrush.  
These are a few basic tips to keep in mind to help find some deals for your upcoming summer travel:
1 - Be as Flexible as Possible - the more leeway you have in terms of your travel destination and/or dates, the more you can potentially take advantage of last minute promotions.  In terms of a hotel, some hotels may offer last minute discounts to fill their hotels.
2 - Monitor Prices - This is a sugges…

Travel Destination: Ottawa - Part 2

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Welcome back!

In my previous Ottawa Post I discussed air travel and accommodations.  Did you miss part 1?  Check it out here (link also available at the bottom of the post).  In this post, I will discuss a little about what you can see and do in Ottawa.

The activities I experienced were during two separate trips, one in Winter and one in Spring.  Keep in mind that Ottawa has a number of festivals that happen during different times of year, and surrounding communities have a lot going as well, so searching what may be going on before you go is a good idea!

I will start with one of the winter activities I experienced, hockey!  From September to approximately March/April (depending on the playoff situation) you can attend Ottawa Senators hockey games.  The September games would be "pre-season" games, which are often offered at reduced prices.  As for regular season, the tickets are pretty reasonably priced - for the game I went to, the prices ranged from $25 to $200.  I sat in …

Maximize Your Travel with Travel Points Programs

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I love earning rewards.  In fact, my husband may even say that I'm obsessed with it.  I wouldn't go that far, but I do love to be rewarded for purchases I already make.
Rewards programs are not all created equal, so it's a good idea to do a scan of what is available to you and what is worth your time.


Let me start by saying - I'm not hear to sway your opinion towards one program over another.  I will speak to the programs I'm most familiar with, but my information is not all encompassing, so be sure you have a good understanding of what's out there and what works best for you.
I belong to a lot of loyalty programs - Marriott, Best Western, IHG, Hilton Rewards, Expedia, and the list goes on.  And that's just travel related rewards programs. Don't even get me started on coffee loyalty programs.  But I digress.
For hotel rewards programs, I do belong to multiple loyalty programs.  This may seem counter-intuitive, because if you aren't staying at the s…

Travel Destination: Ottawa - Part 1

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While I typically post general tips and tricks on saving money on holiday travel, occasionally, I like to shine the spotlight on different travel destinations.

Recently I had the opportunity to travel to Ottawa.  My trip was brief, but what I experienced in my short time there made me want to head back.  Here are some of the highlights from my travels.


As many of you know, I'm from Saint John, New Brunswick.  When I'm researching travel options, I'm fortunate that I have many airports to choose from within a reasonable drive.  To my (pleasant) surprise, on this occasion, my cheapest flight options to Ottawa were actually from my home airport.  Bonus!  I had options with Air Canada and Porter.  Porter offers one direct flight from Saint John a day, and Air Canada offers a couple of options to Ottawa, all Air Canada flights do have you transferring at another airport (usually Toronto or Montreal).  I opted to go with Porter, as I had never flown with them before.
I am going …

Welcome to my Blog!

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Welcome to my blog!  Perhaps you have been here before, in which case, welcome back!
My name is Katie, aka the Overtired Mama.  I started this blog many years ago, when my little girl was a baby.  When I started this blog, I didn't know exactly what it was going to be, so it's had a lot of transitions.  My posts ranged from ramblings about parenthood, recipes, product review, crafts, entertainment, and more!  But over the years, the topic that always seemed to make its way in to my cycle was travel.



I did some family travel as a child with my family, and traveled with friends as a teen, and I made some amazing memories over the years.  Now, as an adult, I love those moments of making memories while on holiday with loved ones.  Vacation offers the opportunity to connect with friends and family, away from your usual every day stressors and distractions.  That is why I love travel.



As my desire to travel has grown, so has my need to budget.  My personal discovery was that the mor…

Video: Saving Money on Flights

Periodically I do live videos on my Facebook page to talk about travel.  The latest video got some great feedback so I thought I would post here.


Do you follow my Facebook page? Be sure to check it out, as well as my other social media! I often share some great travel tips and deals!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/overtiredmama/  Twitter: https://twitter.com/Overtired_Katie  Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/katie_nb/ Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUfSBYVJfyLpZWn0ihYuoZg

Budget Travel Doesn't Have to Mean Sub-Par Travel

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After sharing a link to a link to one of my "Budget Travel" posts on social media, I had someone send me a message asking me why I would ever want to give up "quality travel" for the sake of price.  This message prompted me to clarify something - when I say "Budget Travel", I am not suggesting that you book accommodations or travel arrangements that risk your health or safety.



Tonight I likened my "travel bargain hunting" to hunting for deals at a secondhand clothing store.  Have you ever had that feeling - at a secondhand clothing store, and you find a brand name outfit, and it costs you less than $20?  It feels great, right?  You can still snag a great brand name dress or shirt, while paying only a fraction of the price. That is the same feeling I get when I search and find a great deal on travel!  And that is the feeling I am trying to share with all of you.

With the tips I share in my posts, my hope is that the tips can help people research …

The Best Time to Book A Vacation

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There are lots of factors in play when you plan a vacation - when you will have the funds available, when you can get time off, etc.  So those are decisions that I can't help you with, but I do often get questions about when the best time is to book a vacation.  When people ask me this question, it's because they've already picked their travel dates, and they are looking for the best time to get the lowest prices on their trip.



In terms of hotel rooms, unless you are booking for a "sell off" discount travel site that sells off un-booked rooms, I haven't found a particular time frame offers better deals than others.  Sales and offers can come and go, and there doesn't appear to be a "magic formula" related to how far in advance you book your room. 



Rental properties are a little different than hotel rooms, however, the closer your get to your dates, the more prices tend to come down (not always, but frequently).  The difficulty is, as you get clo…

Travelling on a Budget Series - Part 4 - Rental Vehicles

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We've covered accommodations, flights, entertainment, and now I will talk about rental vehicles.  But first, have you missed any of the previous posts in this series?  I will link to the previous posts below so you can catch up on all of the previous tips.



I realize this post will not apply to everyone, but it's an area that if you are planning to rent anyway, you can save some money here.

Many travel points programs allow you to redeem for rental cars.  We did that for the first time this year.   Just as a rough example, when we used Air Miles for a rental van in November 2018, it was roughly 3400 miles plus roughly $100 in taxes and fees.  Pretty close to what you would pay and redeem for a round trip flight from the Atlantic Provinces to Orlando.  If you don't require a van, smaller vehicles were nearly half of that redemption amount.  To also put in perspective the cost - we priced the same rental period, with a minivan, and it would have cost us approximately $750.

If…

Travelling on a Budget Series - Part 3 - Entertainment/Park Tickets/Tours

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I've given you some tips on how to save money on your accommodations (Part 1 - http://www.overtiredmama.com/2019/01/travelling-on-budget-series-part-1.html) and how to save money on your travel (Part 2 - http://www.overtiredmama.com/2019/01/travelling-on-budget-series-part-2.html), so next, we are going to cover "activities" that you may do on your vacation.

This post was a little more difficult to put together, as not everyone is interested in the same types of activities, so hopefully I've covered a wide enough range that you may find some information that would apply to your vacation.


Activities
Amusement Park Tickets
The discounts you can get on amusement park tickets can vary from park-to-park.  That may seem obvious, but, just as an example, it's very rare to get substantial disounts on Walt Disney World tickets.  There are a few exceptions - if you are a resident of Florida, Disney usually offers "Florida Resident Offers" that offer discounts if yo…

Travelling on a Budget Series - Part 2 - Flights

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Welcome back to "Part 2" of my travelling on a budget series.  If you missed "Part 1", that post covered accommodations, a pretty critical part of any trip, so be sure to check that out (you can link directly to it by clicking here or copying the address: http://www.overtiredmama.com/2019/01/travelling-on-budget-series-part-1.html

In case you didn't read my previous post, a little disclaimer - It's important to have an in depth understanding of your own budget.  It's important not to travel "beyond your means".  So that being said - Understand that in addition to my regular full-time job, I have taken part-time jobs in the past (fitness instructor, paid contributor to blogs, etc) to help us save for vacation.  I am not a financial adviser or any kind of financial professional, but my best recommendation is to go through a budgeting exercise first, before you start planning for vacation.  We revisit our budget every year (sometimes more frequen…