2018 Year in Review The Thought Card by Danielle Desir

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Happy New Year! I can’t believe that we are already a week into the new year.

I experienced a lot this year. Many great things happened and I learned a lot of important lessons along the way.

Throughout 2018 I was bold.

I got a promotion (which I negotiated), I started this podcast (with no experience), spoke at a podcasting conference and I even found love.

In this episode I share what worked in 2018, what didn’t work and the most important lessons I learned. I also share my top goals for 2019 and why “committed” is my word for the new year.

Year End Review Resources Mentioned

Back to Budgeting Basics Course

What Worked in 2018

  1. Got a promotion at work. I’m now a Grants Manager.
  2. Launched The Thought Card podcast with over 500 downloads in the first month.
  3. Created WOC Podcasters (Women of Color) an inclusive podcasting community for learning, networking and sharing resources.
  4. Presented at Podcast Movement in Philadelphia, the world’s largest podcasting conference.
  5. Became an editorial board member of Podcast Business Journal.
  6. Participated in my first panel discussion in New York City with A.I.M. Unlimited.
  7. Went on lots of short trips in 2018 including trips to Ireland, Chicago, Oslo, Iceland, Puerto Rico, the Finger Lakes (New York), Orlando and Toronto.
  8. Attended FinCon and TBEX North America – Listen to Episode 8 where Yasmine and I share tips for attending FinCon for the first time.
  9. Got featured on lots of podcasts including Chronicles Abroad, Comfortably Excluded, WTF?! IDK Podcast and Travel Fuels Life.
  10. As a freelance writer, I also contributed 5 articles to Go Banking Rates, a leading personal finance banking website.
Tips for paying off credit card debt and student loans faster.

What Didn’t Work in 2018

  1. Overworked myself and got really sick.
  2. House hacking and having roommates was challenging – don’t worry, they moved out!
  3. I didn’t finish working on my book. 
  4. Planned too many trips, too far in advance and had to cancel.

Lessons Learned in 2018

  1. Health is wealth. 
  2. Budgeting is still very important

What are your goals for 2019?

Leave me voicemail or join the conversation over at Financially Savvy Travelers and share your top travel or money goals for the new year! Happy New Year!

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)


$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


$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.


$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.


$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.

We Travel Too - Daniela Gibbs and Jadon
Yes, single parents can travel the world with their kids too!

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Although traveling the world as a single parent isn’t something that we hear a lot about, there are single parents out there who are opting to move abroad and live nomadic lifestyles with their children. Daniela Gibbs is the perfect example.

Daniela Gibbs is a single mom who travels with her son. Together Daniela and her son have embraced the nomadic lifestyle and moved to Thailand. They plan to call Germany home next.

Daniela inspires parents to travel with their children and informs them of the possibilities of achieving their goals, especially travel goals, through sheer will, desire and determination.

Daniela is the author of “We Travel Two” the resource guide for keeping your child educated while traveling.

“We Travel Two” is a 3-part series (part 2 and 3 coming soon) that shares educational tips and resources for traveling parent(s) dispelling common fears that single parents can’t show their children the world.

In this episode we chat about:

  • What inspired Daniela to move abroad with her son
  • How moving abroad has changed her family dynamic
  • The top destinations she considered when moving abroad including:
    • Indonesia
    • New Zealand
    • Colombia
    • Thailand
  • What life is like living abroad in Thailand
  • Factors to consider when moving abroad with children
    • Safety 
    • Fertility of the market 
    • Cost of living 
    • Food 
    • Cultural immersion (strong family values)
    • Natural landscape 
    • Political climate
    • Language 
  • Is living in Thailand as cheap as they say?
  • Average cost for breakfast, lunch and dinner in Thailand
  • The difference between worldschooling and unschooling
  • How parents can reinforce learning with CCQs (concept checking questions)
  • Debunking myths parents have about the nomadic lifestyle

What is unschooling?

Worldschooling and unschooling are alternatives to traditional educational curriculum which offers a more natural and holistic approach to learning.  

Unschooling is the natural method of learning – children have a natural desire to learn and understand the world around them by watching, engaging and experiencing things either on their own or with family.  

With unschooling you don’t follow a curriculum but instead allow the child to take control of their own education pursuing their interests and passions. 

What is worldschooling?

Worldschooling takes the unschooling concept and adds travel. Worldschooling is a global approach to education. 

Worldschooling is when you let exploring destinations and experiencing and interacting with the world guide a child’s learning.

Essentially you’re letting cultures, religions and the way of life do the teaching. With worldschooling, the world is a classroom!  

Since worldschooling doesn’t have an official definition, each family defines worldschooling differently – there is no right or wrong way to do it. 

Resources Mentioned:

Connect with Daniela Gibbs:

Website: http://wetraveltwo.com

Instagram: @wetraveltwo

Twitter: @we_travel_two

Thanks again for listening! Are you enjoying the show?

If so, leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or share this episode with your friends on Facebook or Twitter! 

Also, listen to more episodes of The Thought Card like Episode 3: Teaching English in China. In this episode Richelle Gamlam shares tips for teaching in China and why teach abroad programs may not be best fit for aspiring teachers. 

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)

Kylie is a British Expat living in the U.S. and blogs over at Between England and Iowa.

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Kylie Neuhaus is a British expat living in the USA. She enjoys drone photography and writes about expat life, the USA Green Card process and finding unique, active adventures in England, Iowa and everywhere in-between. She’s a lover of all things adrenaline including paragliding in New Zealand, glacier hiking in Austria and camel trekking in Morocco.


In this episode we talk about:

  • Emigrating to the USA
  • The ongoing visa and visa extension process
  • The difference between a visa and a green card
  • Ideas for what to include in your cover letter when looking for a job as an expat
  • Solo travel as a married woman
  • Ways to earn extra miles with American Airlines
  • Differences between healthcare in the USA and UK
  • How loyalty to airlines may not be the best strategy


Resources Mentioned:

Between England & Iowa: A Year in the Life of an Emigrating Wife – Available in paperback and Kindle

AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Credit Card

Ryanair – cheap flights throughout Europe

Silver Lake Sand Dunes in Michigan


Kylie’s Articles: 

Turks and Caicos Islands: Things To Do In Providenciales


Connect with Kylie:

Blog: Between England and Iowa

Facebook: @betweenenglandandiowa

Instagram: @englandandiowa

Twitter: @englandandiowa


Thank you so much for listening, if you enjoyed this episode please share it!


To listen to more episodes of The Thought Card don’t forget to find us on your favorite podcast player – Apple Podcasts (iTunes), Google Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher and leave us a thoughtful review. Also join our community over on Facebook – Financially Savvy Travelers.

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How the Delta SkyMiles Companion Certificate Saves You Money

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If round-trip tickets from New York City to San Francisco cost $317 per person (at the time of booking), how did I manage to only spend $345 for 2 round-trip tickets? I share this buy one, get one free deal and more in today’s episode!

Today we’re going to talk about the Delta SkyMiles companion certificate. If you don’t already know, the Delta SkyMiles Companion Certificate is one of the exclusive perks that come with the Platinum Delta SkyMiles credit card. As a card member, you automatically get a companion certificate every year you renew your credit card and pay the annual fee of $195.

To some this might sound steep but hear me out.

I love the Platinum Delta SkyMiles credit card because the companion certificate allows you to buy one round-trip main cabin ticket and get another round-trip main cabin ticket for free. You’re only responsible for paying the taxes and fees on the freebie.

Why is the companion certificate so beneficial?

Although the upfront cost is $195, the Delta SkyMiles companion certificate works great if you want to book a round-trip flight with your significant other, family or friend that costs more than the credit card’s annual fee.

Since most round-trip flights within the U.S. generally costs more than $195, you’ll reap the benefits right off the back by redeeming your companion certificate.

Remember the goal here is to offset the credit card fee so use the companion certificate on flights which cost more than $195.

How to find your Delta SkyMiles companion certificate:

Step 1: Log In to Delta.com with your Delta SkyMiles information.

Step 2: Navigate to “SkyMiles” → “Manage Your Account”.

Step 3: Next go to “My Delta” → “My Wallet”.

Step 4: Inside “My Wallet” click on “Credits and Certificates”.

Step 5: Select your certificate and go on to booking your flights.

Important things to remember:

  • The companion certificate can only be used on domestic flights within the contiguous 48 states. That means if you’re based in the states, no round-trip flights to Alaska, Hawaii, USVI or Puerto Rico.
  • The round-trip companion certificate has to be used on domestic main cabin or business class fares.
  • Both your ticket and your companion tickets has to be booked on the same flight.
  • You have to pay for taxes and fees of no more than $75 for domestic round-trip flights.
  • If you cancel your itinerary, you can’t reuse your companion certificate.
  • You must book and fly by the date listed on your certificate.
  • Can’t accrue miles from your companion certificate.
  • Can only claim this through delta.com.
  • You have to pay for these tickets with your Platinum Delta SkyMiles credit card.

Platinum Delta SkyMiles credit card perks:

  • First checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Access to priority boarding.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • 2x Miles on Delta purchases like flights booked on Delta.com, seat upgrades and in-flight purchases. 

If you’re interested in the Platinum Delta SkyMiles credit card sign up and get 60,000 SkyMiles (equivalent to a round-trip flight to Europe) after spending $2,000 in 3 months. This is a limited time offer.

Not sure when to book the cheapest flights, check out Episode 5 where we chat about the latest airfare trends and the best times to book a flight deal.

What’s your favorite thing about earning and redeeming points and miles?

To listen to more episodes of The Thought Card don’t forget to find us on your favorite podcast player – Apple Podcasts (iTunes), Google Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher and leave us a thoughtful review.

How to subscribe to the show?

  1. Head to your favorite podcast player.
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Travel Tips For Visiting Puerto Rico

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Eseosa “Sosa” Eke is a brand stylist and design consultant with a knack for helping real estate professionals, entrepreneurs, and small businesses build authentic and recognizable brands. At her nine to five, she runs the marketing department for The Bronx and Westchester’s largest privately held commercial real estate firm. Sosa is also my best friend and frequent travel companion. Over the years we’ve traveled to Bermuda, Iceland, and San Francisco together. This was Sosa’s second trip to Puerto Rico and my first.

In this episode we cover:

  • San Juan on a budget
  • Our travel styles – why we love short trips
  • Our favorite things about San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • What we would do differently next time
San Cristóbal, Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
Condado Beach, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Resources Mentioned:

Getting an Airbnb in San Juan is an affordable way to save on lodging.

Uber is also affordable, fast and convenient in San Juan.

Helpful Tip: There are no Ubers available from San Juan International Airport (SJU) only metered taxis. Our 15-minute taxi ride to our Airbnb (which cost $70 a night) in San Juan cost $26 which included tip.

Connect with Eseosa:

Instagram: @real_inspired 

Email: hello@eseosaeke.com

Want to afford to travel more? Listen to Episode 2: Why You Need a Travel Fund and learn why having a travel fund is an easy way to start making travel a financial priority in your life.

Need help packing for Puerto Rico – grab my essentials packing list!

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