How to Go on a Walt Disney World Vacation on a Budget

The Walt Disney World park admission, hotels, and food costs can become very expensive very quickly! In an effort to entice families, there are now many Disney World vacation packages available, but upon closer inspection, these all inclusive Disney World packages aren’t always a great deal.

This is why I have sought out an expert to help identify how to take your family to Walt Disney World without bursting your vacation budget. Kelly Goode, author of “A Mom’s Miserly Guide: Orlando, Disney & Universal on $25 a Day!”, has generously offered to share some of her tips when planning a Walt Disney World family vacation.

Griffiths

Your guide to planning a family vacation in Orlando for $25 a day is such an intriguing concept! How did you come up with this idea and how long did it take you to write the book?

Goode

Having been a travel agent for over 15 years in Florida, and an avid Disney World fan, I sensed the need long ago for a comprehensive, realistic guide for families to save money when visiting Orlando and Disney World. I learned that people dream about and plan these vacations for years in advance, and it broke my heart to hear and see people struggle to afford their vacations when there were actually cheaper ways for them to enjoy their Disney Dream Vacation. The book took about a year to write, but it is an ongoing project due to the constant changes in Orlando and the theme parks.

Griffiths

When you say that you can go to Walt Disney World for $25 a day is that per person or is that based on a family of four, two adults and two children?

Goode

Families can visit Walt Disney World on $25 a day – and that is for real. The $25 is a per person rate and is based on real hotel choices, car rental choices, and discount tickets. I actually have a chart in my book that shows exactly how families can achieve this goal. All families may not, of course, only spend $25 a day because they may want different hotel choices, different theme park choices, or various restaurant choices that increase their vacation budget. My book, however, allows families to see how they can achieve this vacation on this basic budget and move up if they like.

Griffiths

How often is the eBook updated with information? I know that when I seriously consider buying such a guide, I worry that the information is dated.

Goode

As I mentioned, the book is an ongoing project because it must be constantly updated to give people the new information they need on hotels, attractions, and prices. I update it continually and I also have a blog which I update daily with updates that pertain to Disney, Universal, Sea World, Orlando, and saving money on their vacations.

Griffiths

What are the 5 top most expensive errors that families make when going on a Walt Disney vacation?

Goode

Well, every family is different, so I hate to label them with “errors,” but if you force me I have to say that these are the most common ways families deny themselves savings:

1. They travel at peak times, as opposed to taking the kids out of school for a day or two. Value season decreases prices tremendously.

2. Families think that the only way to see Disney is to stay at a Disney Resort, and quite often they are the most expensive accommodations to be found.

3. Discount airfares aren’t secured because people aren’t comfortable with purchasing discount airfares on the Internet – and they aren’t savvy to the sales. (My book helps with this tremendously)

4. Families don’t take advantage of theme park discounts, whether that means going through a special operator, purchasing tickets online, or just taking an extra step or two to find discounts.

5. Parents aren’t aware of the restaurant and food savings they can get from various venues in Orlando. Hundreds of vacation dollars can be saved with coupons, kids-eat-free locations, and special planning.

Again – my book helps in all these areas!

Griffiths

A Walt Disney vacation could easily cost thousands of dollars in a week if a family hasn’t planned an appropriate budget. How far in advance do you recommend families plan their Walt Disney vacation to ensure that they are squeezing every dollar effectively?

Goode

Planning is very important because everything from the dates, to the airfares, to rental cars, hotel accommodations and theme park tickets come in to play. I believe a family should start about 9 months out, but continue to be flexible when searching for the ultimate savings in vacation dates.

Griffiths

What impresses me most about Kelly’s Walt Disney vacation guide is that she doesn’t accept any sort of payment from the companies that she recommends. It really adds credibility to the guide as well as offering a 100% guarantee. Being creative with budgeting for vacation can often be part of the vacation experience! The more you plan in advance, the more likely you will be able to stay on budget while creating memories for your family.

Budget Travel in the Free State – Ever Present Windmill in the Agricultural Center

The best time to visit this part of South Africa is in the months of April and May.

This Province of South Africa is famouse for its `boerekos (traditional Afrikaner farm-style cuisine) and decidedly slower-paced lifestyle.

The Free Sate Province is the third-largest province in South Africa famous for its warm South African hospitality. It has the second-lowest population density, on about 129 480 km2 of land. All the towns display a mix of cultures. You will find the most valued San (Bushman) rock art is found in the Free State. The Free State South Africa offers you open plains between the Vaal and Orange Rivers.

Bloemfontein is the ideal place to start a tour of the Free State. North of Winburg, the Willem Pretorius Game Reserve is a must see, offering a wealth of wildlife, excellent fishing conditions, and a wide range of sports facilities.

Loch Athlone, one of the major attractions of Bethlehem, is a magnet for fresh water fisherman.

Starting at Harrismith and ending at Zastron, the route is particularly notable for the Golden Gate National Park, beautiful mountain scenery and charming country towns. In the south-west, the Gariep Dam resort offers an extensive range of leisure activities including water sports, tennis, bowling, horse-riding, golf and 13 nature reserves.

This province presents the classic scene of veld, grass-covered prairie land with deep-blue African skies.

The Free Sate is known, locally, as our ‘bread basket’, the this part of South Africa is cultivated by more than 30 000 farms to produce over 70% of South Africa’s grain consumption. It is also home to the most productive gold and diamond mines in the world.

The Free State climate in the summer-rainfall region is warm but can be relatively cold during the winter months.

This Province boasts an extensive system of parks and reserves, including one national park (Golden Gate) and more than 80 provincial, municipal, and privately owned nature parks, nature reserves, game reserves, and game farms. Activities include bird and game viewing, trophy and biltong hunting, hiking, horse-riding, biking, 4×4 off-road driving, camping and climbing.With its wealth of historical and cultural attractions and excellent facilities, Bloemfontein is the ideal place to start a tour of the Free State. North of Winburg, the Willem Pretorius Game Reserve is the Free State’s major provincial reserve, offering a wealth of wildlife, excellent fishing conditions, and a wide range of sports facilities. Kroonstad has all you need for a relaxing break, including an excellent holiday resort. Loch Athlone, one of the major attractions of Bethlehem, is a magnet for anglers and those who enjoy pottering around in boats. No visit to the Free State is complete without following the renowned Highlands Route.

Attractions:

Motheo (Central Bloemfontein)

Botanical Gardens & Zoo Gardens

National Museum

Loch Logan Waterfront

Rustfontein Dam and Nature Reserve

Thaba ‘Nchu Sun

King’s Park & Prince’s Rose Garden

Transgariep

Gariep Dam

Jagersfontein Open Mine Museum & Koffiefontein Open Mine Museum

The ‘Eye’ of Zastron

Mayaputi Nature Reserve

Goldfields

Winburg Voortrekker Monument

Welkom Gold Museum

Saltpans Mining

Underground mine tours

Willem Pretorius Game Reserve

Phakisa Racetrack

Northern Free State

Vredefort Dome – the world’s largest meteorite impact site

Viljoenskroon Tractor Museum

Frankfort Sandstone NG Church

Eastern Free State

Golden Gate Highlands National Park

Titanic Rock in Clarens

Ficksburg Cherry Festival

Bushman rock art

Basuto Cultural Village at Qwa-Qwa

Bushman Rock Art

Seekoeivlei Wetlands at Memel

Suggested Travel Route

Day 1: Bloemfontein

Bloemfontein Reyneke Park

Motheo

Tel: 051 523 3888

Fax: 051 523 3887

Day 2: Fauresmith

Kalkfontein Dam Nature Reserve

Transgariep

Tel: 051 722 1441

Fax: 051 723 0134

Day 3: Ventersburg

Africas Best Aldam Resort

Goldfields

Tel: 086 183 6237

Fax: 057 652 0014

Day 4 & 5: Parys

Dimalachite Nature Resort and River Lodge

Northern Free State

Tel: 056 818 1860

Fax: 056 818 1854

Day 6 & 7: Clarens

Golden Gate Highland National Park

Eastern Free State

Tel: 058 255 0012

Fax: 058 255 0901

Distances in km from Bloemfontein:

Aliwal North 207 km

Bethlehem 238 km

Clarens 298 km

Harrismith 339 km

Kimberley 175 km

Kroonstad 211 km

Sasolburg 344 km

Welkom 154 km

We invite you for a visit.

Welcome To Vietnam – Budget Travel Paradise

Vietnam is becoming a very popular travel destination. People have put Vietnam on their itinerary for 2 main reasons: Vietnam travel is a great bargain for the budget minded tourist and when they arrive in Vietnam they are greeted by great hosts.

Airfares to Vietnam are bargains if you shop. You can be in Ho Chi Minh City (known as Saigon to the Vietnamese in the south) from the west coast of the United States in less than 19 hours and this includes a 1 ½ hour layover.

Domestic transportation is cheap! An open tour bus ticket from Saigon to Hanoi costs less than $30.00 and your get to see some of the greatest scenery imaginable. Don’t want to take the bus? Comfortable trains and fast planes are available. A two hour flight from Saigon to Hanoi is about $100.00.

Tourist hotels are cheap and inviting. The staffs are helpful and courteous. You can travel from town to town with out a reservation and always find suitable lodging.

As mentioned earlier the scenery is fabulous – misty mountains to lush green rice paddies to sunny beaches. Vietnam is home to 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including Halong Bay. Bring 2 cameras – you’ll probably wear one out.

I have saved the best for last. The Vietnamese cuisine is awesome. Most restaurants still get their daily fares fresh from the local market. Fresh herbs, spices, vegetables and local meat make for great meals. Seafood and chicken dishes are specialties, together with those made from pork and beef. Vietnamese food is light and flavorful at the same time. Oriental and a bit of French influence create the right mixture for the Western palate.

Don’t hesitate to put Vietnam in your travel plans. You won’t be sorry. And you won’t forget.

How to Get Budget Travel Insurance for Students

The world is a smaller place today and students regularly travel abroad to study. Or they may be taking a gap year to travel the world. Whatever be the case, these students don’t have access to funding or support from family and friends the way they would at home. And since youth also brings a certain amount of carelessness, accidents and illnesses are not out of the question.

One of the most important things students who are planning to go abroad can do is get travel insurance before travelling. The preconceived notion is that insurance policies are very expensive is not true anymore. Today, there are tailor made policies designed just for student who are working with a really tight budget.

Choosing the Right Kind of Travel Insurance for Students

Choosing the right kind of travel insurance for students is very important. Here is a list of things you should look for in your insurance cover to ensure that you have a comprehensive budget travel insurance package:

  • Ensure that hazardous activities are covered as standard in your insurance package. Students will take part in sports, and these can cause injuries. Having coverage means that they are covered and need not worry about prohibitively expensive medical bills.
  • Look for a policy that offers 24-hour emergency assistance. You never know when you could need help, so it is important to know you have a support system in place.
  • Look for standard coverage for pre-existing medical conditions. Insurance companies can provide free medical coverage as part of the standard cover for a range of conditions. Check to see if your condition is a part of that list. If it is, you could save a lot of money in medical bills.
  • If your medical condition is not listed as a part of the insurers’ standard coverage, connect with them to see if they can provide extra coverage for your condition.
  • Go through the policy in detail and see if there are add-ons that you need which are not a part of your standard cover. You may need to customize your policy so that you can get cover for your valuables, cover for cancellations, excess waivers, etc.
  • Make sure that there are no hidden costs when you are buying your travel insurance policy. Ask for details of all costs up front so you know exactly how much you are paying for your policy.
  • Ensure that there is a repatriation back home option in your insurance plan.
  • Choose the right kind of cover for your trip. If you plan to stay in Europe, you will get a cheaper plan. However, if you plan to go to countries other than Europe, be prepared to shell out some extra cash.

Ideally, you should not have to use your travel insurance at all during your trip. However, if the worst does happen, then you will truly appreciate the protection that you travel insurance plan offers you.