• SIMply Fantastic!

    New York City, NY…I AM HOME!

    After 4 1/2 months I have returned to New York post Hurricane “Sandy”…luckily all at my apartment in Chelsea is ok! My roof deck garden didn’t fare as well, but it’s far from a disaster!

    I departed on this journey June 26 and covered 25 countries:
    Czech Republic
    United Kingdom
    South Africa
    New Caledonia

    One of my saving graces and best investments was my unlocked IPhone I picked up in Hong Kong used! This unlocked phone allowed me to buy prepaid SIM cards in each country so I could always be connected and utilize lifesaving travel apps and tools like GPS as I walked around unknown cities! Doing this also saved me thousands of dollars in roaming charges that Verizon or AT&T charge travelers!

    Jet lag has taken hold, but I still adjusting to being back home…Where to next??


  • Fabulous on a Budget!

    St. Tropez, France…this destination is beautiful but it can be harmful to your wallet! I have prided myself this trip on creating major wows on a fairly low budget! Usually, I live by a “Don’t worry, live it up…it’s vacation!” mentality when I travel. But when the trip is 4 months long, that policy needs to be re-examined!

    I knew the French Riviera would be my expense challenge! How can I play with the International elite without breaking the bank? Well, a lot of research and planning and I did very well by Cote d’Azure standards…

    The 5 star hotels like Hotel Sezz or Hotel Byblos start at $500 a night and more often hover around $1000 a night! I found a lovely French hotel, Hotel Mouillage, and by booking in advance secured a rate well under $200. I was worried, but it’s a lovely French style hotel…clean, air conditioned, and decorated in a Provencal style…I have an amazing room with large terrace overlooking their great pool and gardens! Plus, its walking distance to town which saves on overpriced taxis! A total Score!

    Now I needed to keep my spending in check…I decided to splurge on the beach clubs and lunch since that is the essence of life in St. Tropez! That splurge cost approx $150 a day between beach chairs and food! Of course, there are public parts of the beach which are free, but I am not a bare bones kind of guy! The hotel owner was so friendly and he matched me up daily with other guests so we could carpool together in a taxi to the beach! A huge savings…

    I stocked up on drinks and snacks at the grocery store and there are a plethora of take out places, gourmet shops, and little bakeries that have delicious delicacies for take out! I would do dinner on my private terrace for $10-15 and really have a lovely and relaxing time. Grazing on authentic cous-cous, rich salads, delicious sandwiches, or amazing French pizza!

    Then it was off to town nightly to enjoy the parade of yachts and the energy of the beautiful harbor!

    I wasn’t luxuriating on a yacht, rubbing elbows with celebrities, power shopping at Hermes, or indulging in bottles of champagne…but I created my own “lifestyles of the rich and famous” week in the home of Brigitte Bardot, St. Tropez!



  • Change of Plans!

    Experiences teach you lessons!

    I am a firm believer in being fluid and not over planning a trip. The worst is to feel “stuck” in a place you don’t like, a hotel you hate, or a setting that doesn’t interest you!

    I hit a snag in the road and needed to do an about face…I loved the hotel in Vienna, but I suffered miserably through a night of unbearable heat and I needed to make a change! And QUICK!

    I plotted out my entire trip and made sure to book hotels throughout, but I used booking.com which doesn’t make you pay upfront and I made all reservations that were fully cancelable…so in this instance, I was able to break free from the idea of 3 nights sweating it out! I got a great last minute deal on hotwire.com and made the switch. Ahhh!!! The comforts of air-conditioning!

    I double checked my upcoming hotel in Budapest, it too was un-airconditioned! So I quickly canceled and rebooked an amazing last minute flash sale on booking.com…

    Don’t let travel freak you out and definitely don’t allow yourself to become a victim to a booking mistake, we all make them, just be flexible!