Category Archives: Spending/Saving

CityPASS Giveaway

Every major U.S. destination has its share of iconic attractions worth visiting, which can require even the most savvy traveler to factor admission prices into their budget. However, there are money-saving solutions like discount cards or booklets such as CityPASS that can extend your sightseeing options while keeping some cash in our wallet.

Recently, I met with a CityPASS representative to learn more about their admission discount program. It works like this. CityPASS booklets feature admission coupons to top-rated museums and institutions in currently 12 North American major locations.

They include Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, NYC, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Toronto, and Southern California. Southern California’s CityPASS comes in a card format, while the others are all booklets.

However, every destination’s version contains admission tickets about four to six top ranking sites, with some of them being a choice between using it for one place or another. For example, in the New York CityPASS, there are tickets where you can opt to use them for either the Top of the Rock or Guggenheim Museum or either the 9/11 Memorial & Museum or the Intrepid. Once you start using the booklet, it becomes activated and validated for nine consecutive days (except for Southern California CityPASS, whose admission cards run for 14 days).

CityPASS might be suited particularly for first-time visitors or even families (there are kids and adult versions), but the perk is that CityPASS can be bought online or at your destination for the same cost. Plus it’s set up where you don’t have to wait at the usual ticket line to get inside.

CityPASS is letting me give away a pair of CityPASS booklets through my site. The only thing is that you have to do is tell me in the comments section below which of the CityPASS cities I listed do you want to visit and why (sorry, but Southern California CityPASS is not included). You’ll have until Friday, April 29, at midnight EST to do so. U.S./Canada residents only. Good luck! And keep checking back to see the results!

Disclaimer: CityPASS has partnered with me on this giveaway, but this post is based entirely on my opinions. (Thank you for entering. The winner has been chosen and notified.)



Year In Review: Travel Highs and Lows in 2014


In getting ready to unplug for Christmas and other holiday fun, my last post for 2014 is about this year’s top travel moments. Here is a list of both my high points and low points with some takeaways.


  • Traveling across country by rail. In late August, I went to Germany with my cousin and we decided to use the Deutsche Bahn railroad system to get around. We started from Berlin to Hamburg, then on to Heidelberg, Cologne and Munich and then ended our trip in Lucerne, Switzerland. The overall experience was great and a money saver. Months before we went, I bought each advanced ticket online (my cousin gave me all the dates, times and destinations I needed to select) and printed out all of them to bring along with me. By doing this, I paid maybe between 35-55 Euros (roughly 40-60 in US dollars) per ticket. If I had waited longer, the prices would have gone higher. The D-Bahn is a very reliable service and it’s nice to be able to stare out the window while en route from one city to the other. I definitely recommend taking the train when traveling, especially abroad.
  • Going to my first TBEX. TBEX (Travel Bloggers Exchange) is an annual conference season for travel bloggers of all types and levels that happens usually at destinations in both North America and Europe. This year marked my first time going. In September, I was at its North American conference in Cancun and overall I had a nice time. Many friends went, and some even spoke, and I got to meet well-known travel media pros like Johnny Jet and The Planet D. Next year’s TBEX Europe is in Costa Brava, Spain and there is also going to be a first-ever TBEX Asia in Bangkok. Some might debate about whether TBEX is worth going to or not but there are perks like vendor discounts and good networking ops. Plus, if you’ve wanted to go to the destination TBEX is being held in, now’s your chance.
  • Visiting Jamaica. Another travel first this year was going to the Caribbean. I got picked by Visit Jamaica’s tourism board to go on a Bucket list themed press trip in four quick but fun days. My media group ventured along Jamaica’s north coast and spent time in Kingston, Ocho Rios and Montego Bay. I’ll be writing about each part of it soon but overall our trip involved cultural, culinary and thrill-seeking activities. Like going on a bobsled ride.


  • Getting pick-pocketed in Cologne. I’m usually pretty good with nervously keeping an eye on my stuff. I messed up in Cologne when I kept leaving my purse open when I took out my camera or iPhone to take photos inside the Cologne Cathedral. I can’t remember how long it took before I realized that my wallet had been stolen. I probably was distracted or maybe it was a bump and grab move. Still, it sucked to lose my credit card, driver’s license and insurance card. Thankfully, my passport and extra Euros were still on me. I wrote about it here if you want to learn more.
  • Running out of money in Lucerne. Another thing I think I’m decent with is travel spending money and bringing enough with me. But I really misjudged prices in Switzerland. The Swiss Franc is higher than the Euro, so something as simple as a fast food combo order can equal out to 12 Francs. Or even an over-the-counter bottle of ibuprofen can cost 9 (And that was for the smallest size I could find). My cash stash ran out two days before I was to head home and I had no cards on me (I didn’t bring my debit card). My cousin gave me some money, which made me feel bad, but thanks to him I didn’t go hungry.
  • Discovering how (not so) far my dollars go. Being a freelancer for the past four years has opened up some cool travel media invites and opportunities for me. At the same, I’ve been spending more this year than I should without balancing out the difference. For 2015, I’m also looking more at closer destinations with shorter stays. As of now, my set plans start in May, as I’ll be heading up to Toronto for a weekend getaway. My goal is to get to Asia next fall (hopefully for TBEX), so in order to afford to do that I’m planning in advance now by cutting spending and cutting down on debt. And getting more work going.

Hope this year was a good one for you and that 2015 will be even better. Happy Holidays and safe travels!