Top 7 ways to save money on a cruise vacation

Top 7 tips to save money on a cruise

 

Whether you are going for the first time or are a frequent cruiser there are various ways to save money when you go on a cruise.  From booking the cruise, excursions, and even while onboard. These simple tips can help you not break your bank when traveling and save money on a cruise.  Unless you want to go all out which is really fun too.  So read along as I help you learn “How to save money on a cruise”

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Everyone always wants to know how to save money on booking a cruise.  The various boards are full of post on how to get the best deal on a cruise.  How to get the best pricing, when, where, and on and on.  Well here is the number one lesson from a Travel Advisor.  Use a Travel Advisor.

I know, I can here you saying I can book it myself right?  Why yes you most certainly can but a Travel Advisor has the ability to check many different cruises at the same time.  They have access to sales from there own agency that you don’t.  They have groups that they could add you into that will give you a little extra something like and onboard credit.  They also can use whatever you received from the cruise line as a bonus when they book your trip.

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Tip number 2 sometimes the earlier the better especially if you want a certain cabin.  You can always update pricing if a sale comes out that is better along the way.  So you are in the cabin you want and when a sale comes up your Travel Advisor would just rebook you into the new sale if it is beneficial.

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Tip number 3 There are certain times of the year that prices drop for cruises.  A good Travel Advisor knows this and will help you with the timing.  That is if you don’t need the cruise to be during a certain time frame.

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Tip number 4 Saving money while on ship can be done.  I remember our first cruise, we bought the ship out I think.  Pictures, spa, drinks, specialty dining, shopping, excursions, Casino ect ect.  It was new and we were excited.  It was FUN!  We received our bill at the end and were WOW!  All in and all no regrets.  We enjoy our memories and I laugh and can tell you about it now.  So on ship there are extras and these all can add up.  My suggestion only do the things you really want to do.  Only purchase the pictures you really like not all the whole pack that you can never put up on your wall.

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Tip number 5 Excursions are great but can add up at every port.  My suggestion take a look a head of time at what you would like to do.  Sometimes if it’s not a crazy long trip in the jungle two hours you can pick up an excursion in port.  Like we did renting a golf cart in Bonaire.  You will learn about this later this week when our next update post.

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Tip number 6 Onboard credits, drink packages, free internet, the list goes on an on.  Everyone has things that are important for them.  Some don’t care for internet so this does not matter to them.  Others it’s a drink package they won’t use.  So for the perks on board companies like Norwegian often run a sale with pick 5 free and you choose between what they are offering.  Companies like Princess often run an onboard credit sale.  You can then take your on-board credit and use it for what you want.   There is usually a sale that can fit any traveler.  All these will help you save money on a cruise.

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Tip number 7 there are many other tips a travel advisor has for saving money on cruising one of my favorites is go River Cruising where the price you pay is the price for basically everything .  There are not a lot of extras as your excursions are included.   Overall cruising is an excellent value for your money.  You see many places, unpack once, food is included, and you have entertainment on board.  What are you waiting for GO CRUISING!  I hope you enjoyed the Top 7 things to save money on a cruise.

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If you have any questions on cruising or travel do not hesitate to reach out and I would love to help you.  Who are you traveling with?  Travel with T

 

What is the best way to see Vietnam and Cambodia?

What is the best way to see Vietnam and Cambodia?  When you think about Vietnam and Cambodia what pops into your mind?

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Do you imagine gliding along the Mekong Delta sipping on a Mai-tai as you watch a family washing their cow on the bank of the river?  Do you picture looking out from your open air panoramic window that takes up the whole wall of your suite?  What about having morning coffee as you watch Buddhist monks gathering along the bank to watch you as get ready to step off your boat?  Do you imagine evening dinner dining on local regional specialties that are not only there to entice your eyes but delight your palate.  These are indeed some of the things we experienced on our Luxury River Cruise along Mekong Delta.

Floating Markets

To experience Vietnam and Cambodia there is no better way than a Luxury River Cruise.

Life on the Delta

 

A journey along the Mekong Delta is a fascinating immersion in ancient traditions, cultures and history.   As you glide down the Mekong you are witness to centuries old traditions and culture that will create memories and experiences you are not likely to forget.  You will be immersed in iconic scenery as you view life along the delta, from silk towns, fishing villages, floating markets, to monasteries.  The crown jewel on your luxury river cruise if you choose to go from Vietnam Cambodia (which I recommend) is Cambodia’s Ankor Watt.  This is truly a trip of a lifetime.

View from our stateroom

The truth is most will not imagine visiting Vietnam and Cambodia on luxury river cruise but there is no better way to immerse yourself in the culture and experiences of life on the Delta.  Its where you can visit a local family and be invited to share what life is like as they invite you into their home.  Visit the floating markets and spend time with a local fisherman as he shares his family’s life on the delta.

Mekong Viewing

As you pull up towards the embankment you realize you are not pulling up to a dock you are docking on the bank.  You step off into a small village of silk weavers and your visit helps to support and maintain an art that is not only beautiful but not easily learned.  To experience these opportunities it would take months of journeying through the country.  With a river cruise the work has all been done for you.  You unpack once your luxury hotel travels with you and you make new friends along the way.

 

Blessed in Ankor Watt

To truly visit a place is to experience it’s people and a river cruise allows you just that opportunity.  What about a chance of a life stop in one of the small local villages to spend time helping to teach English in Cambodia?  Truly unique and so very rewarding these are the experiences that build memories that last a lifetime.  These are the experiences you can live on a River Cruise.

Cooking Cambodian Style

So if you are looking for a little adventure with a little bit of luxury included a River Cruise along the Mekong Delta might just be what you are looking for.

The Monkey’s of Ankor Watt

If you would like any information about booking a Luxury River Cruise in Asia or any of the other amazing destinations please contact me and I would love to help you.  I am a River Cruise Travel Agent Specialist.

 

 

River Cruising the Art of Luxury

The art of luxury river cruising

River Cruising
River Cruising

River Cruising and the Art of Luxury

Picture gliding down an ancient river with a gentle breeze just sweeping across face as you sit sipping a glass of wine from the local region you are visiting.   You’re escorted down the river with picturesque countryside and you never worry about unpacking and packing, you never worry how you are going to get from one destination to the next, you never worry about paying for anything on board, you never worry about making a bed, or even what you are going to eat.  

 

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You dine on regional specialties and traditional fare that is not only delicious but a feast for the eyes as well.  All the while in casual comfort.

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A casual yet refined style of travel known as river cruising is blooming into a new style of travel for most.   The value for the lifestyle is enough to make the luxury minimalist drool a little.   Try pricing out everything you do and see on a river cruise individually and your head will spin as the dollar signs start to rise.   It appears almost exponentially as you start adding things like transfers, comfortable hotels, and exquisite meals.   Yes, I guess you could go really budget and stay in a hostel but why?

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Travel is meant to be a journey, not rushed, not hurried but a wonderful journey into life.   It is not only the destination you discover but the culture and the people.  It’s meant to be smooth, it’s meant to be lived.  It’s meant to be EXPERIENCED.  I captured these moments with my love Nikon 3300 SR I can’t tell you how many times I have dropped it and it still works amazing.

 

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Daily Life along the Mekong Delta

 

 

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Floating Markets in Cambodia

 

The only thing I regret is I hadn’t discovered it sooner.  For those with a passion to travel and experience river cruising provides a wonderful venue for you.  Your back drop is the world and your mode of transport is a vessel that glides along the most beautiful rivers.   If you are lucky to choose the correct line you may be presented with a panoramic view and more than likely you will settle for no less later on.  Yet for the budget minded you can also experience everything a river cruise has to offer in a room with slightly different set up that still will provide you all the experience and wonder you desire.

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There she is my girl Nikon 3300 SR

 

From the Castles of Europe to the exotic venues of Asia you will not be disappointed.  If there is a navigable waterway there is likely a river cruise company that will carry you on your journey.  Gone is the hustle and bustle of the larger lines here you find the destination is the experience.  Everything glides along in a river pace.  Not to be confused with nothing to do and boring because as I mentioned earlier the destination is the discovery and the experience.   You are free to relax and enjoy on your own or join the group as they go out and explore each new stop.  Discover River Cruising and the Art of Luxury you will not be disappointed.dsc_0289

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Contact Travel with T @ TravelwithTtoday.com to discover your next destination discovery

Why River Cruising is the best way to see Europe

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Travel with T Photography

I have experienced one of the best ways to see certain parts of Europe in a short amount of time which is the American Vacation and that is River Cruising.   Everything is taken care of including getting around the various countries.  No worries over hotels, where to eat, what to do, and countless hours getting to and from someplace.

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In late fall right around Thanksgiving we opted for a different style of travel.  We selected our first River Cruise.  We were very delighted and extremely satisfied and discovered this type is travel is well suited to the luxury minimalist.  There is nothing more satisfying then gliding down one of Europe’s ancient waterways in complete comfort.   From castles, to historic cities, to story book villages you are traveling on a luxury hotel and your trip is as smooth as glass in more ways then one.

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Think luxury hotel, concierge, all inclusive, all in a pace to allow you to see the sights and sounds of a delightful cities along the way.   Think someone to take care of you every step of your journey from your room to your food and drink now this is river cruising.   Comfort, elegance, active, romantic are some of the words I would use to describe this wonderful mode of travel.   For me I discovered there really isn’t anything more romantic than sitting with a glass of wine as you glide down the Rhine taking in the sights of Europe.  Sitting back and just dreaming of how throughout the centuries people have traveled along this river.  Then to think you are doing the same thing except with a little more elegance and definitely more comfort.

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Travel with T Photography

We opted to cruise the Rhine over the holidays and just in time for the start of Advent season.  What a charming time of the year, everything is decorated in Christmas splendor and the Christmas markets are a wonderful breath of fresh air.  You are surrounded by extraordinary delectable delicacies to suit any fancy.

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Travel with T Photography

Now being the luxury minimalist the timing is very good because the prices have dropped, this makes it a great value for the product you are getting. Edging into winter the temperatures are dropping, the sun sets earlier and it is becoming colder.  Fair weathered travelers don’t necessarily want to travel because temperatures are often not ideal.  The crowds are fewer because it is cooler.  Yet here you will discover the Christmas markets which always seem to have crowds.   They are filled with delightful smells and the warmth of many of Europe’s traditional Christmas pastries.   Here you just join in the fun and have a glass of Gluewhine (hot spiced wine)  one of my favorite little indulgences.  A visit to Europe during this time is magical. and a whirl wind of colors that fill the eyes with an experience you will not likely forget.

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The lines are pretty much non existent and you can see what you desire without the rush of summer travel.   You can visit many awe inspirational places of prayer and worship without the press of time from those who in summer are rushing to get to the next tourist attraction.  The brisk weather creates an experience not be missed as the clouds and mist gather around your backdrop of castles.  It is completely magical.

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Travel with T Photography

So if you really want to see Europe and experience some amazing travel try off season travel.   Bundle up enjoy the sights and sounds of Christmas in Europe and try and book a River-cruise you won’t regret it.   It can really save you some money, time, and is a great value.  It appeals to my luxury minimalist style which means it comes in a a great price for a valuable product.

I would love to help you plan your next River Cruise.  Just send me a little note and let me know what you are looking for.

 

My 5.60 cent Flight to Paris for two.

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Europe Christmas Markets Photo Credit Travel with T do not use without permission.

In my post about the German Christmas Markets I touched on points and travel.   Today I am going to delve a little deeper into the actual world of free and almost free travel.  So my husband “the man way guy” and I are catching a plane out of Salt Lake City on Wednesday and we are flying into Paris for a 2 week European trip which will include stops in France, Belgium, Amsterdam, Germany, and Switzerland, and a quick stop in London for an overnight stay.

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Most of our trip has been paid by points.  The first portion of our trip was procured using Delta points.  We booked it using 30,000 points total for two and of course the fee for taxes which came out to 5.60 when it was all said and done.  I used two 15,000 one way options on points when they were up for grab in July for a Thanksgiving trip to Paris to see some of Europe’s Christmas Markets.  So how did I earn those points?   Most are saying well I don’t fly that much how can I earn that many points it will take me a lifetime.

 

I earned the points with a little thing called a credit card bonus sign up.  Meaning I applied for a Delta Credit card which offered me a sign up bonus.  I received 30,000 points just for signing up for the program.  This gave me one flight to Europe round trip or as I used it two one way tickets to Paris.   The best thing was I did not have to fly anywhere to accumulate these miles I received them for signing up for American Express Credit card and then spending 1,000 dollars in one month on the card.  Which was easy for me being I used it to pay for my daily expenditures like food, gas, utilities and such.

There are plenty of blogs out there on how to do this and on how to do it to maximize it to fly basically free.  I am not here to go into all of that.  I can say if you email me though I can send you a link where you too can apply for a Delta Amex and you get 30,000 for doing it and I can earn a few miles if you are approved.  So if you are thinking about a Delta Amex at all and enjoyed my article just email me and I will send you a link.  This is called a friend referral.  It earns me about 5000 points for a referral.   Not too bad but they do cap it.  I am ok with that though.

The Delta Amex also gives me a luggage allowance which would normally cost 25.00 per checked bag.  I have used this for up to 4 people flying with me and it saved us 100.00 in checked bag fees.  So the yearly fee so far has paid for itself.  I am not sure how long I will carry it though being it has to be worth it.  If I don’t continue to fly Delta it won’t pay for itself.

A couple of tricks if you are not using points and trying to get the best fare.  Book on Tuesdays and checking in the afternoon is best.   For some reason the sales go out during this time.    Off season times are sometimes cheaper but not always.

Airline points programs and rewards change often so it is best to use them.  After all you applied so you could get them not just sit on them.  The longer you sit on them the easier it is for them to devalue.   The sky is the limit here folks.  Decide where you want to go make a plan and pick up a new card.  You will be on your way in no time at all.

Where will I be staying at?  Well I booked us a room at the Paris Opera Marriott!  Great property and if you are ever interested in booking a hotel please use my site as this is how I make a living in the blog world.   Travelwitht.mtravel.com    That is if you are not traveling on points.

All in all for my luxury minimalist lifestyle this option for travel appeals to me a lot.  I enjoy paying less but also experiencing more.  Let’s see a trip to Paris for 5.60 well I am pretty sure you can’t beat that for luxury on a minimalistic budget.  It also means I will have more money for wine and I always can use more money for wine.  I managed to learn one French phrase too “Une Bouteille de vin rouge sil vous plait”  A bottle of red wine please.

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Redwoods are for Boomers or anyone else really including a luxury minimalist

Dinette-Recliners             How do you choose a moving earthquake on wheels.   Well you look.  Then you look again.  Then you narrow it down and look again.  They you choose one you like.  Then you change your mind.  Then you look again.  Then you go back and start all over.   Then finally you decide on the features you need and the floor plan you like and if you are lucky you just might get it or you can order it.

Well, that is somewhat how are choice began.   We knew we needed something that would stand up to the cold of Colorado, after all  I did not want to freeze.  Again, I am a minimalist but a luxury minimalist.  I knew I wanted to live with less, so what ever fit’s in the 5th wheel that is less.  I knew I would maintain a small little storage area for family pics and such.  I also new that I am 50 plus make decent money and don’t want to suffer too much.  I know all of you travel free, with less stuff, people are cringing.  I admit it I did not want to go to the extreme.  I am a realist who likes heat, and comfort.  I especially like comfort, and wine I like wine, and nice hotel rooms I like nice hotel rooms.

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Well when the decision was coming into fruition we had really narrowed it down to 2 styles.  One was the Landmark who I think is absolutely beautiful and then our choice the Redwood.  We were all set to pull the plug on a brand spanking new baby when we hit a little snag at Camping World in Arizona.  Nothing on the Redwood itself as we love it.

It was our experience at Camping World.  We went through everything paper work and everything at CW, and we were not ready to pick it up but wanted everything set for when we came back in a few weeks.  So we waited, then waited, then waited and days had passed and we were already home and still knew nothing.  Called finance manger who was the worst at calling back, called the sales manager again the worse.  Finally, when we did get them we heard several different stories from each.  You would think if someone is dropping that much money in today’s economy they might want to give them a little better service.  I mean I don’t expect any one to drop down and kiss my feet but an email or phone call letting us know how everything is progressing.  NOPE, NADA, NILTCH every single time it was me calling.

I figured out that if this is the way sales worked I surely did not want to have to deal with service (which most know with a new rv is inevitable).  My husband and I pulled the plug and stopped the transaction (not sure it had even started really).   The final straw was after we decided never again the assistant GM called and tried to smooth things over. He tried to be nice and understanding yet when we stated we weren’t interested and refund our deposit his tune changed.  Talk about never visiting a company again.  With employees like that it makes you wonder why they have any business at all.  We took our business elsewhere.  To La Mesa RV really nice folks who gave us impeccable service across the board.

So we ended up at LA Mesa RV in Arizona and we are truly happy with our choice.  The Redwood is definitely a nice rig (Rver slang).  It is completely a four season choice in the world of 5th wheels.  A heated undercarriage is completely important when the temperatures in your area can be below zero at times.  Two fireplaces and a 40,000 BTU furnace are also important to us.

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Yet, what caught us is the elegance and beauty of the Redwood.  It’s products are made with high quality materials and construction.  It is labeled as a luxury residential 5th wheel and I believe it lives up to it’s advertising.  You know that word luxury would appeal to the luxury minimalist in me.   What appealed to me also is that I can purchase a residence that I can take anywhere and my front door can be anything from a barren but beautiful warm desert to a alpine setting in the mountains and it is luxurious.   The beauty is not only in the area I am visiting but the 5th wheel itself.

Redwood-Pantry

I simply love the kitchen with it’s beautiful and functional design.  The pantry is lovely and has plenty of storage.  The kitchen itself is filled with extra cabinet storage which is really important when you are full timing.  My husband refers to it as a two butt kitchen in that both of our derrières fit nicely in the space.  We have a gas stove and an oven and it has worked for us well.   We don’t have a full size refrigerator but it is pretty decent and seems to work for us with no issues.

Redwood-bedroom

Our bedroom is completely comfortable and has more than enough storage and space for us.  There are little drawers and spaces everywhere for you to place items.  Being we are full timing in it closet storage was important.   We still work and have work attire and play attire and we live in an area with four seasons.  We don’t have any issues what so ever.  I do however remove summer cloths in winter and winter cloths in summer.  This helps to have a more organized area and increases the ease of use in the closet area.  I just take what I am not using and place it in plastic bins in our under carriage area.  It is then neat and organized.

So we have scaled everything down to fit into less than 300 sq feet.  You really have to like each other in that amount of space and lucky for us we do.  The Redwood does not feel cramped or even small and we enjoy everything about it.  Our original idea and we had read all of the RV blogs was to go big.  Big enough to give you space you need but still able to fit into various places you might want to see like national parks and such.  At our first initial stop this is just what we intended and we were looking at a 41 footer.   After our initial issue with the above mentioned worst customer service ever place we located our new home at LA Mesa RV.   This is when we did our final search on the internet and our beauty came up she was basically 36′ inside and 38′ in exterior length.  I have to say we love it!   It is not too small at all and Redwood has taken care of everything as far as storage and placement of furniture to maximize every space.  We have storage we have yet to even use.  I have to say I was quite surprised at the efficiency of everything in the Redwood.  Very well planned out and a beautiful place to call home.  Especially for the Luxury Minimalist.  So if you happen to be in the market for a 300′ sq ft living space I would not hesitate to recommend a Redwood Fifth Wheel not only for comfort but luxury too.

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Oh and I get nothing from this endorsement but if you want to send me a check I would not turn it away.  (smiling deviously)

The New RV Luxury Minimalist

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Ok so we have started this journey to simplify our lives.  I have to say we really have, we sold our house, we got rid of a lot of stuff, and we are down to what will fit in the 5th wheel.  Yet, I am sorry I admit it “I am Teresa, and I am a luxury minimalist.   I think I have coined the phrase myself.  So just what is that you ask?

Well, it’s a simplified version of the dream.  What does that mean it means I still enjoy a lot of little things I enjoyed before just on a different scale.  I have ditched pretty much everything that went with a 2500 sq ft home.  EXCEPT; my coffee, my wine, and my food not necessarily in that order.

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I mean really, I am in my 50’s and I like my little comforts.  I don’t want to live in a van or pop up.  Not that there is anything wrong with that.  I mean if I was in my 20’s, 30’s, maybe early 40’s I might even enjoy it.  I even might enjoy a little back pack trip now and then.  A couple of days trekking around the Colorado mountains or for that matter Europe with a back pack and in a hotel.  I like my hotels and I love Marriott for my hotel choice.  Although I might be open to trying some others.  I will have to see after I finish the Year with Marriott Gold experience I am on.  I don’t want to stay in a hostel and being I still work full time I am ok with forking out the money for a little extra comfort.  Or better yet POINTS!  My favorite way of getting great rooms on vacation with little or no outlay of cash.

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So for the luxury minimalist I enjoy cooking and creating wonderful meals, I enjoy wine, and wineries, and then more wine.  I enjoy a nice bed, a nice hotel, and I enjoy a city visit as much as a country visit.  I am not the new extreme version of the Minimalist, no car, no television, and other things like that.  I am a minimalist in the aspect of things and where we live.  I really can’t purchase anything because we can’t fit too much in our 5th wheel.

Yes, I have moved into a 5th wheel and some may gasp at the thought.  Yet, the Redwood is not your classic small tin can.  I have wonderful rustic cherry wood cabinets, actually nicer than I had in my stick built home.  I have a wonderful air-conditioner which I had not owned in 12 years.  I have solid surface corian countertops, I have a lovely king size bed all in the space of 325 sq feet or so.  This is what I mean I am a luxury minimalist I have a small space but it is equipped with very nice amenities and comforts.

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My husband and I have managed to scale down tremendously but I still enjoy many things I did before and we have reduced our cost exponentially.  It takes a nice outlay of cash to keep up 3 acres, with a 2500 sq ft house and greenhouse.  Not to mention the time it needs for maintenance and upkeep.  So now my husband has way more time on his hands too.

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So in a sense we have upgraded and reduced our cost.  It’s a wonderful win win idea.   There are many who prefer to maybe buy a vacation home on the beach or in the mountains.   We decided why not buy our home and move it to where we choose?  Why not be able to have the beach one year, the mountains one year, and or the desert, and or city at another time?  Perfect for the wanna be vagabonds!

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Style, one thing I was worried about having to pair down my selection of wardrobe.  I was introduced to the concept of capsule wardrobes and project 333.  These are ideas that you can use a series of items in your wardrobe to make lots of different options.  I loved it and I am working on this right now.  I do not want to live in shorts and a tee shirt as I am the luxury minimalist.  I like to look nice and I like nice outfits.

This lifestyle goes hand in hand with my affordable travel.  In the aspect that scaling down allows us to be free and go where we want when we want.  It allows us the freedom to pack up and just move in a matter of hours.  We know longer have things tying us down are a place we are tied too.  We can stay at our current jobs or not.  Our choice.  That alone is a beautiful thing.