So you want to take a trip, somewhere, anywhere! Anywhere beyond the four walls of your home, your job, and everything else familiar to your life, but there is only one fatal flaw, EXPENSE! More affordable then ever you can travel not only nationally but internationally to see new things and experience something other then your surroundings. Sometimes a fresh prospective requires a fresh environment to explore. Tap into your creative side by sprinkling a little inspiration in your life. Nothing is more inspiring then traveling on new adventures and experiencing life abroad, afar from your daily worries or concerns.
Grab a sheet of paper and right down at least 5 places that you would like to visit. It can be anywhere in the world. You have played it safe your entire life don’t choose now to be the time that you play it safe, take a risk. There is nothing that removes the mundane in life quite like taking a leap of faith in stretching yourself beyond your comfort zone. Allow the place you want to go to be your motivation that will propel you into the extra hours you will work to get just a little bit more spending money as well as get in good favor with some of your fellow workers when you need to switch days off so that you can take this trip of a lifetime. If you’re not married then create a traveling friends club. Remember you are looking for someone adventurous not the person who will spend the kind of money you will spend on a trip across the waters only to want to stay in the hotel room watching t.v. all day. The appropriate companions will be essential.
Perhaps a cruise is more your speed? Join the Critique travel advisor to find out how you can save a ton of money on cruises, even for balconies and suites. But the tip of the day will be on cheap flights. This too is a great option for travel and with the right resources can be done at a steal of a deal. Bottomline, is get ready, get set, and most importantly go!
Now that you have where you want to go locked in, the next step is to know from where you are leaving. if you are leaving from a major city then you should be ashamed you didn’t think of this sooner, however, if you live quite a distance from a major city then you have to broaden your horizons because some driving will be involved. If you are a distance from a major cruise port this too means a few extra steps may be required but do not fret the tip I am providing you in this article will help you to get on course.
Once you have narrowed down your list of exotic places you would like to explore, or if you are real adventurous and just want to get a way then your opportunities have just expanded as Airfare Watchdog is a website that is based on bringing endless opportunities to your mailbox, email box that is. Find out real time information and rules of engagement for booking your once or twice, or three in a lifetime dream vacation. Participating is as simple as:
1) Whether your adventure starts in the air or on water for many of us an airplane trip will be the most convenient mode of transportation. Should you find the need to use this mode of transportation then these updates in your mailbox will prove to be most beneficial. While I know, I know, many of us are inundated with junk mail coming in our inbox on a regular basis if you are a travel or potential travel explorer trust me seeing the fabulous deals that come about fresh off the press this e-mail update will be much like receiving a gift in your inbox. It is not unexpected that one can find flights as low as $49 round trip, and the very first bill that must be paid and to take advantage of the good sales it will require that you have the lump sum available all at once so depending on how far your adventure will take you try to save at least $700 and anything that comes in for less consider the balance as a travel gift card because trust me it will be used. So getting these updates will get you started. Also you are not bound by your dream vacation should you find a round trip ticket to Bora Bora for instance for $500 or less make that the next spot on your hitlist.
2) Pick the nearest major airports near you, or at least the ones you’re willing to drive or take a bus too. Airfare watchdog allows you to customize your search based on the airports you are willing to leave from. The great news is when you get your e-mail updates they will also throw in at the bottom any hot sales available from other airports near you.
3) Found what you like? Pick dates around the rules required to get that price. Unfortunately, if you are going to get the good deals you are going to have to be flexible. So if this is your plan for travel then I wouldn’t put in for vacation just yet, wait until you have found your flight and if you have a job that limits your travel time then also keep that in mind when reserving your plane ticket as these are nonrefundable especially if you do not have insurance. But for sure you won’t have a lot of time to lock in that favorable price so as much information as you can find out about vacation days available to you from your job the better. Because once that deal comes in you have just enough time to book it. All the information you need to get the price you are looking at is provided for you including when travel must start, when it ends, and the airline providing it. Also as you can see this particular deal is sold out. So the best I can say is as soon as you see an update in your e-mail make it a priority to scan the offerings and pick your trip. If everything meets your qualifications then a space is provided for you on the site to take you directly to your deal.
If Israel is your dream vacation then sign up with The Critique to find out how you can travel like a native in the Holy Land. Save a bundle and experience Israel through the people and like you are a resident and my video documentary is like a how-to video that will show you what you need to do from beginning to end.
Thus far my overseas travel portfolio as far as overnight stays only applies to one nation and that is Israel. However, I have experienced traveling there staying in a hotel and staying in a bed and breakfast. This review is just my personal view as well as travel tips concerning both. On our first trip to Israel our entire stay with the exception of one overnight stay in a Kibbutz in Dimona was in a hotel. The location was perfect as this hotel was literally only a few feet from the Central Bus Station in Jerusalem. This made traveling the land as a native extremely easy and so for the location I would say this was a pretty good choice. This is basically where the buck stops as it relates to staying in a hotel versus a bed and breakfast. The cost to stay in the hotel was roughly $89 a night and to stay in a bed and breakfast $25 a night.
Our hotel suite provided us more space then the average hotel room would as we did have a miniature refrigerator, a living room and dining table area which is an excellent space for guest with a beautiful view of the city. These amenities were nice to have, and staying in Israel means that any spot you stay in will be beaming with character, fortunately this is a trait that either a hotel or bed and breakfast will provide. Having said that the benefit of a bed and breakfast is that you have access to a kitchen, which will include some sort of cooking surface apparatus, a full size refrigerator, and occasionally laundry area both of which are excellent amenities if you keep the Sabbath or plan to stay for more than a few days in the country.
The other bonus to staying in a bed and breakfast is the personal connection you get to make with the host. Having a host that is dedicated to a few customers will always be more valuable than a hotel concierge who must see about the needs of potentially hundreds of guests. Not to mention a host is an invaluable resource to not just helping you get around affordably as a native, but helping you learn how to maneuver the area safely and can help you truly understand the culture from the eyes of a local. Especially if they speak both English and Hebrew or Arabic this means you have a translator just within a few feet of view, and all this for a price of between $25 and $39 per night. No hotel in Jerusalem will be able to compete with a deal that good or provide that personal touch.
Living in the U.S. bed and breakfast has a different meaning. We are used to victorian style homes which are beaming with character, but usually consists of uniquely designed rooms which may or may not include a private bathroom, and also means sharing the home with other strangers while the host makes you breakfast downstairs. Well, my experience overseas has been somewhat different as no one has made us breakfast and occasionally you’ll find fresh eggs in the refrigerator and home made bread that may be dropped off outside your door, but you will be cooking the eggs yourself and you have your own private apartment that you don’t have to share any of the common area with others. Obviously, the second image is usually more desirable then the first and unless you choose to share a space with strangers will be the likely accommodations you will receive. For the reasons mentioned in the U.S. bed and breakfast is not quite as popular yet as resort and hotel accommodations. However, in my albeit limited experience I was pleasantly delighted with the value and the security I felt living in the residential area of the land. Staying in a bed and breakfast is not as easy to choose as perhaps a hotel will be. Admittedly you do probably take more of a risk choosing this option as they will not come with the plethora of reviews that one will find for hotels which have been usually established for years and decades. However, there are a couple of reliable websites that will give you some reviews that are usually very thorough and provide lots of pictures and details so that you can make an informed decision about where you choose to stay.
There are two companies that we used in order to secure our bed and breakfast, and although there are others available online and I plan to write reviews on the other I mentioned in this article I will only give a review of the ones I actually used which includes:
Functions much like a social media community that focuses on everything traveling accept flight purchasing. While securing accommodations is its primary purpose it also provides you with information and options to purchase experiences along the way. I have yet to purchase any tours from there so this review will be mainly on my experience using them for accommodations. I just recently booked a room for national travel, but will have to update you about that experience later on. Airbnb is a good place to start because it is like a well established neighborhood, it has been in this space for a while now and as a result have lots of options for you to choose from. The pricing is fair just make sure that you read the sites thoroughly the price for the actual room is one thing and that can be alluring but these services also include other fees that can drive your overall price up higher then the per day quote. However, you will know before you pay what you will owe. They also take the money out immediately after you reserve the location. Another excellent feature of using this platform is you have access to the host before and obviously after you secure your accommodations to ask them whatever questions you need. This operates much the way e-mail does so it is fairly self explanatory. Get updates through the Airbnb app on your phone. As soon as your host has sent you a message it will come directly to your phone. Giving you real time information as needed for your trip.
A note on security, like ebay and any other platform that relies on positive feedback to continue to thrive, Airbnb operates much the same way. People typically leave feedback when they have stayed in these places and rest assured if its not a new listing and people have stayed there with a complaint this spot will be the first place they make known their problems. Be mindful when you read though of the age or purpose of the visit if this information is provided by the one giving a review. For instance, a couple may be looking for different things then a few college students on vacation backtracking through Israel. Their assessment of a property will not necessarily measure up to the experience you desire to have. So try to find reviews if available that are very detailed and specifically take in consideration the date of their stay especially if multiple reviews are listed, and details like if this was a couple, a family, or a college students review. This will help give you a balanced view of the review so that you can book with your eyes wide open. I personally won’t stay in a place that has no photos available for me to view. I also will not book if the only pictures are pictures of the surrounding area, you will find pictures of what might be views from the property, but none of the property.
Also, always be sure to read the cancellation policy and the house rules before you book. Another important point to consider is make sure that when searching criteria that you specify if you have a preference concerning sharing a space, renting a private room, or entire home. There are some really good prices out there no matter which you choose but if you are looking for a space that will accommodate two people and it is a 6 bedroom apartment for $20.00 for instance then more then likely this is for a private room in a house rather then you having the entire house. This is not necessarily a problem, just be aware that this may mean sharing a bathroom with someone else, and if you don’t have a private key to your room could also be a security concern. Whenever we have booked we have been sure to look specifically for properties rented as “entire home/apartment” and my review is based on renting an entire space.
If you’re not completely sold out on doing a bed and breakfast then booking.com is an excellent resource to consider. This will not limit you to bed and breakfast properties, but will allow you to shop a whole host of different properties from hotels, resorts, airbnb’s, or whatever is available to be rented you can pretty much get. Functioning more like Expedia or like many commercial online travel sites this website allows for you to see all the options available in a given area with whatever your criteria is from price range to ratings. Another great feature is many of the properties that you search from here do not require payment for reservations and typically will offer more flexible cancellation policies. Booking also unlike Airbnb does not provide an option for renting a room for an apartment as far as I have seen the entire space was rented out which means you don’t have to concern yourself with the possibility of renting a space that has unexpected strangers sharing your common areas. However, as far as bed and breakfast properties go you won’t find quite as many as you will with Airbnb so I would highly recommend that you shop both before making your final decision.
Also, Booking.com also offers a phone app that will help you to keep track of any of your reservations and make changes as necessary with your own secure account much like Airbnb your personal information is kept safe and secure. Rest easy knowing that your vacation is booked and there is nothing left for you to do but to pack and go.
The Critique is working on a comprehensive video that will give you step by step instructions and is available with workbook that will show you how to get the most out of your Holy Land trip at an affordable price. Under The Jerusalem Sun will be a must have item for planning a trip to the Holy Land and with a video download price of $20 you can’t beat it, or purchase a bundle and get the downloadable workbook that includes fill in the blank checklists and worksheets to make each step of the process easy to follow, order the bundle for only $39.99. Unfortunately, the documentary is not ready, but will be soon.
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This kit is what you need once you get to your destination, but to keep you safe while you’re in the air be sure to order an airplane survivor kit assembled by yours truly.
A must have app to have in areas that the train doesn’t go in after 7pm. Straight forward, pay before they arrive and you can schedule in advance. A safe, and excellent way to meet people indigenous to the area. The rate is much more reasonable then haggling with regular taxi drivers. I want to be charged a fair price for fair work and that’s what I got. Depending on where you are traveling Get Taxi also provides you the option of paying a flat fee or “by the meter”. In remote areas usually the only option available is “by the meter”. Personally, this is a wild card for me because if you aren’t sure what the distance is from the location you are picked up at to the location you are going to you cannot estimate whether or not you are getting a good rate or not. Sources online state that “by the meter” is best because Israel has a set rate that they can charge so this is allegedly regulated. However, depending on the distance you could come out better using the flat fee. Besides which if you’re like me I like knowing before I go what I am going to pay. It gives me peace of mind and I can already have the money available in hand before we exit. Don’t like surprises. Also, I do like the fact that the money is taken out automatically with Gett taxi from your account through the third party vendor. This means you can just get out, get your things and leave.
Also in Israel it is not customary to tip, so you pay in advance and go, and if you would like to pay a tip Gett taxi offers you that option as well. That’s what I call a sweet ride.
Beware, however the cons to this is if you are in an area with too few taxi services which we found to be the case in Nazareth. We never got a taxi even though we booked two hours in advance. In Yeruham (pronounced Yerocham) service appeared to be available coming from larger areas only like Dimona, but the problem is Yeruham is virtually a new community area that doesn’t have street addresses properly posted so you run the risk of not being found. This is only a problem if you are carrying lots of luggage and traveling to a bus stop roughly a quarter of a mile away. Moral of that story if staying in Yeruham I suggest car renting or travel lite. Bus system however in Yeruham is regular, convenient, and is ALWAYS cheaper no matter what city you are in in Israel or Palestine. Also beware Gett taxi does have a lot of hidden fees to consider. If purchasing in advance there is an additional cost, 4.80 shekel, if you are late to your pick up additional cost, and if you have lots of luggage requiring assistance with additional cost. Biggest issue these additional fees other than the advance set up is not made known to you upfront. However when traveling in Israel/Palestine this is a convenient option, while again not most inexpensive, but you have lesser margin of error then you do if you travel public transit. As traveling outside of Jerusalem area by bus insures greater possibility your bus driver won’t speak English. This could mean you missing your stop if you’re not able to find signs in English, which is more frequent the case if traveling beyond the city. These factors, plus the ability to pay in advance via credit card and know in advance the main fee by Gett taxi made this a great option where available.
Overall, where available Get taxi is an excellent tool to use even with the hidden fees. It’s customized features include deciding what type of taxi service you use along with the ability to take a private taxi or a shared taxi also called in Israel a Sherut. Shared taxi’s with get taxi will be based on availability and clearly will be a more affordable option where available. Due to the complex nature of renting a vehicle this may be the next best option where public transportation is not available.
We have been conditioned to without question accept that America is better, and once upon a time that might have been the case, but at least in aviation and I suspect in many other areas we are definitely falling behind. On this trip to Israel I was able to first hand experience the difference. Due to pricing we found the best rate with a Jordanian airline which has a in the country partnership with American Airline and in every area Royal Jordanian beat out American Airline. When managing my services online Royal Jordanian provided me with the ability to select services such as wheelchair assistance, select special meal needs, as well as choose seats. However, when using American Airlines from Dallas to New York or from Chicago to Dallas we were unable to choose seats, manage wheelchair needs and even worse was expected to pay extra for wheelchair services in the Dallas area. Another added bonus to Royal Jordanian is we were allowed to carry two checked bags 50lbs each for no additional charge. That alone made the ticket worth it.
The Onboard Difference
The staff of American Airlines was acceptable, but Royal Jordanian was exceptional. Royal Jordanian’s staff was well dressed, and always professional which made it easy to determine who worked for the airline and who was a guest onboard. A growing trend I have noticed in traveling within the states on many U.S. airline companies is the more casual approach to servicing customers. You know what I mean, flight attendants making jokes, flirting, or just simply feeling relaxed enough to speak over the intercom and to their customers like they are friends or co-workers. While for many this may be preferred, but in my opinion it is a slow simmering recipe that will lead to failure. Because inevitably at some point you will cross the line once you stop maintaining professionalism. Now, I will say my American Airline flight on this trip I didn’t witness this sort of behavior, but on many other flights with American fleets I have. I have witnessed airline attendants and even pilots over the intercom speak in a way that you felt like you were on a Carnival cruise party ship, but there is a reason why people will pay more to cruise with Royal Caribbean. Fortunately, neither airline made me feel like a second class citizen because I wasn’t in business class or first class seats. But Royal Jordanian made me feel like I was a business class customer even though I sat in economy seats. American Airlines did provide more leg room in its coach class then Jordanian, but as far as cleanliness and appearance, Royal Jordanian was far better. A class act to be sure that seriously sought to accommodate families needs, special needs, and personal needs.
is more difficult to judge since obviously shorter flights offer more limited services, but I will say the food quality onboard Royal Jordanian could have been better. Quantity of food was very modest, variety of options limited to only two, and staff was not knowledgeable about food being provided. For instance when asked what type of fish they were serving on the dinner menu, the flight attendants response was fillet fish. This doesn’t tell me what kind of fish it is just that there would be no bones based on the cut. Because my flight on American Airline was no more than two hours on both flights, meals were not provided, just the usual pretzel or peanut snack and a drink.
What I want my readers to take from this experience is if we allow our society induced biases to prevent us from stepping out of the box of “America is better” without testing it to see if that statement floats on water we can find ourselves paying for that way of thinking with more than our money. Don’t get me wrong I am an American, born and raised on American soil in a State that was a part of the original thirteen colonies, but if we are ever going to improve our current position in society and the world, we are going to have to know where we are positioned. We cannot afford to any longer judge our current status on our past accomplishments. Bottomline is we are slipping, we are slipping as it relates to customer service, we are slipping as it relates to quality, and we are slipping as it relates to security. If you are allowing fear of the unknown or the perceived political climate overseas to hinder you from stepping out and experiencing life amidst the borders we live in then you are doing yourself a disservice. The same people who were concerned about my safety overseas watch the news everyday and see four times as much violence, devastation, and disaster within the very same borders that we both share. Yet, an occasional terrorist attack or natural disaster in another country makes international news and we find ourselves paralyzed with fear to venture out, when the same attacks have infiltrated our borders and the same natural disasters have hit our homes. Don’t let what might happen in life hinder you from exploring life outside your borders. If lack of money is the problem, understandable, but don’t let fear be your excuse. You work hard to acquire whatever quality of life that you have received and if you have the health and financial ability to explore this beautiful world our Creator has given us then you owe it to yourself to take the leap of faith and fly wherever the Lord will lead you.
If you would like to read more reviews, travel tips, and to be kept abreast of my upcoming documentary that will guide you through traveling as a native in the land of Israel and Palestine then follow my blog. Full reviews, pictures, videos, and more will be added on the documentary such that I will be able to prepare you for travel from planning to landing in the land of Promise at prices you can afford and with information that will allow you to explore on your terms.