Things to do in Shaftsbury, Vermont.

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While Kyle and I have written-off international travel for the rest of the year due to the pandemic, it hasn’t stopped us from exploring our local area and planning a domestic getaway. In August, we spent four days exploring the rural areas of Shaftsbury, Vermont. While we usually pick accommodations based on the destination we’re visiting, we ditched our original plans after finding this cozy log cabin on Airbnb. While visiting Vermont during the pandemic, we spent lots of time outdoors, wandered around town, and wore masks in public. Did I mention we also saw a Black Bear right in our backyard?

Haven’t used Airbnb yet? Get $35 off your first stay with my referral link! Signing up via this referral link helps support the show.

*In this episode, I mentioned visiting Southeast Vermont, we actually visited Southwest Vermont.

In this episode we cover:

The things we loved about The Green Mountain State and how we planned a trip to Vermont during the pandemic.

  • Our favorite things about our trip to Vermont.
  • Why we picked Vermont as our travel destination.
  • Fun things we enjoyed doing in Shaftsbury, Vermont including:

Did you enjoy this episode? Listen to our other episodes recorded while traveling.

Tips for planning a trip to China

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In this episode, Kyle and I share tips for planning a trip to China and our favorite highlights. We booked our ten-day China tour with UTO Vacation for $299 per person. Yes, that’s right, only $299 per person! This included round-trip airfare from New York City, 4-star hotels, an English speaking tour guide, complimentary breakfast daily, and admission to some iconic attractions like the Great Wall of China.

Want to make travel a financial priority? Grab a copy of my new book Affording Travel.

Find the best international flight deals originating from the U.S. and Canada by signing up for Thrifty Traveler Premium

Things to Know about the China UTO Vacation Tour

Although this was an insanely cheap trip, it’s important to note that this is primarily a sight-seeing and shopping tour. There are designated local shopping stops in each city (Beijing, Shanghai, Wuxi, Suzhou and Hangzhou), and you will likely spend hours at each site. There is no obligation to buy anything.

How to Plan a Trip to China

Thing to Pack

  • Bring a couple rolls of toilet paper
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Pepto Bismol caplets or antacid medication used to treat diarrhea, indigestion, heartburn and nausea.
  • Pollution face mask
  • Portable power bank for electronics
  • Chinese phrase book
  • Express VPN will help you bypass China’s firewall which prevents you from using Google, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Challenges in China

  • Language barrier – most people do not speak English in China.
  • Because of “the Great Firewall of China”, access to Google, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Reddit and more are blocked.
  • Be careful if you have any dietary restrictions. Always confirm what you’re eating. It’s common to find meat and eggs in your food.

Our Favorite Foods in China

  • Dumplings
  • Noodles
  • Stinky tofu
  • Peking duck
  • Mongolian hot pot

Our Top Experiences in China

  • The Great Wall of China
  • The Forbidden City
  • Night cruise on the Huangpu River to see the Shanghai lights show
  • Chinatown in Shanghai (great for foodies)
  • West Lake in Hangzhou
  • Dragon Well Tea tasting at the Longjing Green Tea village
  • Shanghai maglev train 

Want to hear more episodes from our adventures around the world?

The Thought Card Podcast live from The Great Wall of China.

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Back in December, Kyle and I spent an incredible ten days exploring five cities in China. Climbing The Great Wall of China was one of the memorable experiences we had (there were so many). In this episode, we share what to expect and our thoughts from the top of the Juyongguan Great Wall, the closest section to Beijing.

Our Great Wall of China One Day Itinerary

On our way to the Great Wall of China, we visited the Beijing Jade Factory, where we learned about the jade making process and how to tell if jade is real or not. Here you can also shop all sorts of jade jewelry and decorations. In Chinese, jade is pronounced as “Yu”, and it has a history of four thousand years in China. Next, we climbed the Great Wall of China, one of the seven wonders of the world. We ended the day at the Chinese Herbal Institute, where we learned about traditional Chinese medicine.

What to Bring in Winter

  • Water and snacks (remember you shouldn’t drink from the tap in China)
  • Wear layers but be prepared to take them off during hike 
  • Sneakers or sturdy shoes 
  • Small backpack or bag for valuables
  • Camera or GoPro
  • Power bank to charge electronics – I recommend Anker PowerCore
  • Warm gloves for scaling walls  
  • Cash for souvenirs, photos and hot chocolate

Want to make travel a financial priority in your life? Learn how with my newest book, Affording Travel which shares step by step how to save for a travel abundant lifestyle.

Pacifica's History by the Pacifica Historical Society

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In this episode hear from the Pacifica Historical Society at the Little Brown Church in Pacifica, California. From mammoth fossils to the site where Europeans first saw the San Francisco Bay to the restoration of the Ocean Shore Railroad Car which ran from 1905-1920, learn about Pacifica’s rich and colorful history. A special thank you to Patricia Kremer for the tour of the museum’s exhibits.

Want to visit Pacifica? Here are some of the best things to do in Pacifica, California.

Other Resources

Read my Iceland travel guide – Iceland: Nature, Nurture & Adventure.

Sign up for Digit, one of my favorite money-saving apps which helps you save your spare change. Here’s $5 to get started using my referral code.


Disney vs Universal which Orlando theme park is better?
Is Disney better than Universal?

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Should you go to Disney World or Universal? After visiting both Universal Studios Orlando and Disney World, in this episode, we compare our experiences at each theme park and share the pros and cons.

In this episode we cover:

  • The differences between Disney and Universal.
  • The extra costs that they don’t tell you about in advance.
  • The must-see attractions at each theme park.
  • The rides you should avoid.
  • Things we disliked about each theme park.
  • Why you should visit both and come up with your own conclusion.

Want more Disney tips? Listen to Episode 36: Avatar Flight of Passage where we chat about if this ride was worth the two-hour wait or not.


Looking for more ways to save money for an epic trip to Disney or Universal? I recommend using the Digit app which helps you save your spare change automatically. Use my referral code and get $5 for starting today.

Want to walk behind a waterfall or touch a glacier tongue? See why Iceland is my favorite travel destination by grabbing a copy of my new book Iceland: Nature, Nurture & Adventure!

Was Disney Avatar Flight of Passage worth it?

In this episode we share our experience at the Disney Avatar Flight of Passage ride at Animal Kingdom for the first time. From things to bring with you to make the wait more manageable to our first impressions of the ride, learn why this is one of our favorite rides at Disney despite the long wait time.

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In this episode we cover:

  • Why Disney Avatar Flight of Passage was worth the two-hour wait.
  • How this ride is realistic and immersive.
  • The visually entertaining things to see while waiting on line.
  • Our favorite things about this ride.

Tips for Disney Avatar Flight of Passage Ride:

  • Get to Animal Kingdom when the park opens at rope drop.
  • Plan to ride Avatar Flight of Passage first thing in the morning.
  • Check attraction wait times on the Walt Disney World app available on both Android and iOS Devices.
  • Get a Disney FastPass+ to skip the standby line.
  • Don’t get discouraged by the long zigzagging lines.
  • Bring a refillable water bottle and hydrate – there’s a water bottle refill station toward the middle of the line.
  • Bring a small backpack and pack snacks and a portable cell phone charger.

Next Listen to Episode 37: Disney vs. Universal Studios.

Looking to save money for a Disney trip? I recommend using the Digit app which helps you save your spare change automatically. Use my referral code and get $5 to get started.

Planning a trip to Iceland? Grab a copy of my Iceland travel guide here.

Iceland: Nature, Nurture & Adventure is an Iceland travel guide for planning an affordable and culturally enriching trip to Iceland.

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Despite Iceland being an expensive travel destination, there are plenty of ways to save money on your trip. In this episode, I share an excerpt from my Iceland travel guide Iceland: Nature, Nurture & Adventure. Follow along by reading pages 40 to 43. Tips include making the most out of happy hour specials in Reykjavík, why you should avoid using bottles of water (drink from the tap) and how visiting off-season can save you money in Iceland.

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About Iceland: Nature, Nurture & Adventure

Iceland: Nature, Nurture & Adventure was the #1 New Release in Iceland & Greenland Travel on Amazon in August and September 2019.

From what to pack to things to do in Iceland, this travel guide shares how to plan an affordable, adventurous, and culturally enriching trip to Iceland.

Written with black women in mind, it also encourages black women and other people of color to visit Iceland and experience Iceland’s incredible landscape, unique foods, and rich culture.

Order my Iceland travel guide here.


Next listen to Episode 29: Tips for Exploring Iceland’s Golden Circle.

Did you enjoy this episode?

Let me know by tagging me on social media, I’m @thethoughtcard on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Looking forward to connecting with you and hearing your thoughts!

Tips for visiting the Iceland Golden Circle

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It’s no secret that Iceland is one of my favorite travel destinations. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Iceland three times and as I wrap up writing my first book, an Iceland travel guide for adventure seekers, I figured I would share some quick tips for visiting Iceland on the podcast.

In this episode, my best friend and I share our thoughts on visiting Iceland for the first time (Sosa) and third time (me). We also recap touring Iceland’s Golden Circle. The Golden Circle is one of the most popular routes in Southern Iceland. Don’t miss the must-see attractions like Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park – where the American and Eurasian tectonic plates are shifting apart and the roaring Gullfoss waterfall.

Ready to plan your epic trip to the Land of Fire & Ice? Grab a copy of my Iceland travel guide – Iceland: Nature, Nurture & Adventure available on Amazon now!

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In this episode we cover:

  • Iceland’s unpredictable weather
  • Things to do in Iceland
  • Benefits of going on bus tours in Iceland
  • Things to see on the Golden Circle
    • Þingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
    • Efstidalur 2 (farm) for homemade Icelandic ice cream
    • Feed Icelandic horses
    • Geysir
    • Gullfoss
Gullfoss Waterfall in Iceland.

Why go on bus tours instead of renting a car in Iceland?

I know a lot of people recommend renting a car in Iceland but honestly, I don’t feel like you have to if you don’t want to.

During my three trips to Iceland, I never rented a car. I’ve only done bus tours.

Each bus tour is dynamic – you learn about the Icelandic culture, the people and the unique things about the region you’re visiting.

On bus tours you also don’t have worry about navigating the roads. The roads in Iceland are really narrow, so narrow that if a tour bus is coming at you, you have to go off the road to let the bus pass. Driving in Iceland could be quite dangerous so take the necessary precautions.

Lastly, bus tours are economical. We got so much value out of our group tours. For the Golden Circle Tour, we boarded the bus at 11:30 a.m. and didn’t get back until 7:30 p.m.

We had a full day of sightseeing!

Natural Icelandic ice cream with a view.

Where to book your Golden Circle Tour?

We booked our guided Golden Circle Tour with Reykjavik Sightseeing.

Our classic tour cost 6,990 ISK or $60 USD per person.

You can also book a Golden Circle Tour with Guide to Iceland or any reputable guided tour company in Iceland.



A special thank you to our sponsor!

Awesome Maps

Do you love keeping track of all the places you’ve been?

Awesome Maps offers a wide variety of stylish and informative maps that inspire you to discover new places and create new memories around the world, from travel journal maps that you can take with you on the road to design pieces for your home. Each map is hand illustrated by designers with a passion for illustrating and drawing.

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Tips for visiting Curacao on a budget

Curaçao is a Dutch Caribbean island only 40 miles from Venezuela. Known for its colorful capital, voluptuous ChiChi souvenirs, blend of cultures and picturesque beaches, Curaçao is the perfect destination for those seeking culture, delicious food, and relaxation. Curaçao has been on my travel wish list for a while and I’m so excited to share that I finally got a chance to visit. In this episode, I share my top Curaçao vacation tips and how to planning an affordable Curaçao vacation.

Tips for an affordable Caribbean getaway to Curaçao!

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In this episode we cover:

  • Where to stay in Willemstad, Curaçao
  • Languages spoken in Curaçao
  • Things to do in Curaçao
  • Ways to save money on your trip
  • Tipping culture in Curaçao

Why travel during Spring?

Spring is one of my favorite times to travel.

Not only do you get to enjoy the warm weather but if you travel before and after the Spring Break crowds, you will likely find good travel deals.

My favorite times to travel are between April and May.

How much did my flights cost to Curaçao?

Flying with JetBlue was the most affordable way to fly from New York City to Curaçao.

I used my JetBlue TrueBlue points to redeem a round-trip flight from New York City to Curaçao for $65 USD (taxes and fees only).

What languages are spoken in Curaçao?

Curacaons speak several languages including:

  • Papiamento (Creole language) – spoken more than written
  • Dutch – official language spoken in Curaçao
  • English
  • Spanish

What currency to use in Curaçao?

The Netherlands Antillean Guilder (NAFI) is the national currency of Curaçao.

You can also use US Dollars.

If you’re coming from the U.S., there is no need to exchange your money, just bring some cash with you.

Major credit cards are also accepted widely accepted on the island.

Should I tip in Curaçao?

Yes, absolutely!

Tips are greatly appreciated in Curaçao.

It’s customary to tip taxi drivers and restaurant waitstaff 10%.

Be mindful that some places include a “service charge” in your bill which is equivalent to a tip.

Curaçao Vacation Tips For Saving Money In Curaçao

  • Bring cash with you to avoid ATM fees (credit cards are widely accepted in Curaçao)
  • Stay at a centrally-located hotel like Curacao Suites Hotel which offers free breakfast and free parking
  • Rent a car only if you want to explore outside the city center – Willemstad is a walkable city
  • Buses (9-person vans) cost $2 USD cash

Overall I had a wonderful time exploring Willemstad and I hope that you will consider visiting Curaçao sometime soon! Have you been to Curaçao, what Curaçao vacation tips would you share?

Want to explore more of the Caribbean?

Listen to Episode 26 for travel tips to Cuba and Episode 10 for travel tips to Puerto Rico.


Thanks to our sponsors!

Awesome Maps

Hey financially savvy travelers, do you love keeping track of all the places you’ve been?

Well, Awesome Maps offers a wide variety of stylish and informative maps that inspire you to discover new places and create new memories around the world, from travel journal maps that you can take with you on the road to design pieces for your home. Each map is hand illustrated by designers with a passion for illustrating and drawing.

Use the promo code “THOUGHTCARD” to get 10% off your order.

Cuba Solo Travel with Beatriz Reynoso
Practical tips for visiting Cuba for the first time as a female solo traveler.

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In this episode we chat with Beatriz Reynoso about how she traveled to Cuba solo after a breakup. After breaking up with her partner of six years, Beatriz wanted to get away as far as possible. At the time Cuba was legal travel to, several of her friends had already visited Cuba and it was affordable. Why not right?

Beatriz shares that if you just broke up with your significant other, consider going on a solo trip. She says, “This trip taught me that everything I need is within me. My happiness, my love and support – that comes from me and not someone else.”

In this episode we cover:

  • What it’s like traveling to Cuba as a female solo traveler
  • Resources to plan your trip to Cuba
  • Tips for saving money in Cuba
  • How much things cost in Cuba
  • Where to stay in Havana

Cash vs. Credit Cards in Cuba

For the best rates, Beatriz recommends exchanging your money when you get to Cuba. She exchanged her US Dollars at the airport and she never used a credit card. She also never saw anyone using a credit card in Cuba as well.

Read this article for more Cuba money tips.

How did you feel traveling solo to Cuba?

Beatriz Reynoso:

It was scary at first, however, once I started exploring on my own, I felt really safe. I walked everywhere and met amazing people.

Cuba is actually one of the safest places to travel for women.

How affordable is Cuba?

Beatriz Reynoso:

Because of the big boost in tourism to Cuba, I found that things cost similar to the U.S. – maybe somewhat cheaper. I was there for nine days and I still had money leftover. It’s all about how you optimize your spending.

Can you share any tips for saving money in Cuba?

Beatriz Reynoso:

I took a lot of my own snacks with me to Cuba because I heard that there were food shortages because everything is rationed in Cuba.

I took my own toilet paper and when I got there, I bought a case of water.

I would also recommend bartering with locals to get the best deals.

Connect with Beatriz Reynoso:

Instagram: @bettyrey902

Twitter: @bettyrey902


If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to subscribe to The Thought Card Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, Spotify or anywhere else you listen to podcasts.

Want to visit more of the Caribbean? Listen to Episode 10 where I share tips for visiting Puerto Rico for the first time.

5 Destinations Where the US is Strong Right Now
What is a foreign exchange rate?

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Did you know that visiting countries with a favorable exchange rate (where the US dollar is strong), is an easy way to stretch your travel budget without really trying?

In this episode we cover:

  • What is a foreign exchange rate?
  • How to take advantage of favorable exchange rates to save money on your next trip
  • 5 countries where the US dollar goes further right now

What is a foreign exchange rate?

A foreign exchange rate compares the value of two currencies.

For travelers, the exchange rate is very important because when we travel, we exchange our home currency for a foreign currency.

So as an American, I think of it this way, how far will $1 USD dollar get me in another country? How many euros or pesos can I buy with $1 US dollar?

What does it mean to have a strong or weak currency?

With a strong home currency, your money is worth more abroad which means that you spend less on everything. On the other hand when your home currency is weak, your money is worth less. This ultimately means that you’ll spend more on everything.

With that being said as you plan for your upcoming trips, consider visiting countries with a favorable exchange rate to get a bit more bang for your buck.


Don’t forget to support the local economies wherever you visit.

Some easy ways to support local economies include joining local group tours with local guides, eating at locally owned restaurants, buying souvenirs from artisans and staying at guest houses using Airbnb.


Where are the best places to exchange money?

For the best exchange rates, exchange your money at your local bank in your hometown or an ATM when you arrive at your destination. Both options allow you to get local currency at the current exchange rate.

Avoid airport currency exchange counters, they charge exuberant fees unnecessarily.

Alternatively you can use a debit card with no ATM fees or a credit card with no foreign transaction fees. Also for the best exchange rates, always opt for paying in local currency.

To check currency exchange rates use an exchange rate calculator like Oanda Currency Converter.

5 Destinations Where the US Dollar Goes Further

(Exchange rates as of January 2019)

Turkey

$1 = 5.22 Turkish Lira (TRY)

Turkey is at the top of my travel wish list.

Turkey’s art, culture, and landscape make it an incredibly diverse country. I hope to spend lots of time in Istanbul, but I also want to visit Troy, Ephesus, and go on a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia.

For more on Cappadocia check out Christopher Rudder’s 48 Hours in Cappadocia Itinerary

Mexico

$1 USD = 19.39 Mexican peso (MXN)

So far I’ve had the chance to visit two Mexican cities, Cancun and Mexico City.

During both trips food, lodging and Uber rides were affordable. For big city enthusiasts, I highly recommend visiting Mexico City.

How affordable is Mexico City? Plan your trip with my Mexico City Budget Breakdown.

India

$1 USD = 69.23 Idian rupee (INR)

India is home to great architecture like the Taj Mahal (one of the seven wonders of the world), the Ganges River (considered the holiest river in the world), sensory overload and history dating back thousands of years. India is also full of eye-opening experiences and vibrant colors.

Did you know that there are 37 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India!

Here luxurious accommodations are affordable, eating out costs less, and transporation is very cheap. With the recent drop in rupee value, India continues to be a bargain destination for travelers on a budget.

South Africa

$1 USD = 13.95 South Africa rand (ZAR)

Home to nature reserves like the Kruger National Park and wild safaris, South Africa is the perfect destination for wildlife enthusiasts. There are also plenty of colorful beach towns like Cape Town and museums detailing the history of apartheid.

Argentina

$1 USD = 37.34 Argentine peso (ARS)

You might be surprised to see Argentina on this list but Argentina’s currency has fallen dramatically recently due to economic crisises.

Flight prices to Argentina are less expensive now and bottles of wine are a third of the price.

What are some of your favorite affordable destinations to travel to?


 Looking for the best time to book flights?

Listen to Episode 5 for the latest airfare trends and the best times to buy flights according to CheapAir.com.

Visit New Orleans Traveler Broads

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Fender and Maloney are the dynamic duo that make up Traveler Broads. Together they share domestic and international travel tips and help people find creative ways to interact and support local communities through hyper-local travel. Fender and Maloney are also enthusiastic New Orleans locals who know the French Quarter inside and out. In this New Orleans podcast episode, they’ll share with us their favorite tips to explore NOLA like a local.

In this episode we cover:

  • What is hyper-local travel?
  • Ways to support the local economy while traveling
  • Why New Orleans is a unique travel destination
  • Some of the things most tourists overlook when planning a trip to New Orleans
  • Ways to save money in New Orleans
  • Where to eat and drink in NOLA

Resources Mentioned

  • French Quarter Off the Record Map – The French Quarter Off the Record Map is perfect for those who want to learn what the French Quarter is like when you live there. Order your map before you get to New Orleans or find them throughout several stores in the French Quarter. It includes shopping, eating, bars to go to and lots more. 

Ways to save money in New Orleans:

  • Look at the events calendar and avoid price spikes from events like New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Mardi Gras, Essence Festival, Halloween etc.
  • You are allowed to drink on the streets – so you technically don’t have to go into a bar to have a drink if you don’t want to.
  • You don’t have to spend a lot of money on good food in New Orleans.

Where to find the best drinks in New Orleans?

The best food spots in New Orleans?

Where to stay in New Orleans?

Favorite Quotes

“Write those reviews because they mean something and they are important and people will see those.” – Maloney 

“The first thing we do when we get to a new place is take a food tour if we can.” – Fender

“Everyone here is living their life and having fun.” – Maloney

“Seek out the good stuff, that extends to food and drink.” – Fender

“Always sit at the bar if you’re an oyster person.” – Fender

Connect with Traveler Broads

Blog: http://www.travelerbroads.com

Facebook: @travelerbroads

Instagram: @travelerbroads

Planning a trip to New Orleans? What are you most looking forward to?


Check out these other popular episodes:

Affording Luxury Travel with Nadeen White

San Juan Puerto Rico Travel Tips (After Hurricane Maria)