This recipe is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser

This dish is not served often enough. Most people think it takes too much time to plan, but when done right, it takes less time than just about any dish you cook “the traditional way”.

It’s guaranteed to please the whole family, but the best part isn’t the dish itself… It’s the stories that follow for the rest of you & your loved ones’ lives.

Oh yeah – and if done well – the price you’ll pay will be a story in itself.

It’s called “Vacation”.

Most people don’t serve it nearly enough because, when done the traditional way, it’s time-consuming and EXPENSIVE.  Until we discovered this recipe, my entire family (myself included) thought that too.

But ever since trying “The JGOOT Way” of travel, both sets of parents are loving it. Our brothers, sisters, friends and cousins are visiting each other more often. By traveling smarter, they’re not wasting hundreds (if not thousands) on airfare alone and they’re taking more vacations. They’re staying at nicer resorts and doing cooler excursions.

All-in-all – “The  JGOOT Way” of travel has become a family favorite, and if you try the free recipe below, I think you’ll like it too.

Vacation “JGOOT Style”

  • Average cost: 50% to 90% less than what others on the same plane are paying
  • Time required: A few hours a week
  • Ingredients: Hawaii, Maldives, Paris, Cabo, Australia (and season-to-taste with any other destinations on your bucket list.)
  • Optional ingredients: Any destinations you have friends & family you wish you visited more.
  • Secret ingredients:
    • Advance prep. (6 months is recommended. 10 is better. Heck – Don’t even worry about how far in advance. Just start looking whether you’re planning a trip or not.)
    • Flexibility. (This is key. Painting yourself into a corner and going to Maui June 20th to June 27th leaves absolutely no room for cutting costs. It’s virtually guaranteed to cost you 3 times as much as watching flight-prices to all islands in Hawaii in late June – and island-hopping if needed. (And it’ll cost you 5 to 7 times as much as what you’ll pay for Caribbean destinations in late June.)

Step 1:

Go to AirfareWatchdog.com, enter your home airport, and enter any and all ingredients at this time.  (Don’t forget — the more destinations you watch, the better your odds of finding something.

If Hawaii is on your list, keep an eye on cheap flights to all islands. You can usually grab a $20 to $50 flight to island-hop to a specific island you have your heart set on.

If any destinations in Europe are on your list, enter neighboring countries too. You’ll exponentially multiply your odds of finding not just a good deal, but a deal so amazing – you won’t give a second thought to shortening or lengthening your vacation to take advantage of those prices.

Step 2:

Watch and wait.

Check your alerts every day. You’ll mostly see mediocre deals. Don’t waste your time on them (those deals are for the suckers who didn’t plan ahead.)

What you’re waiting for are deals so amazing – you won’t be able to resist. You’ll be able to fly four of you there for what the family sitting right behind you will pay per-person, and since the trips are usually months in advance, you will easily be able to plan your schedule around them.

Don’t want to do all of that work?

Join thousands of premium members who have delegated that work to us for as little as $97/year. We’ll search 365 days a year, cherrypicking the best deals of the day and we’ll tell you about them when we find them. You can peruse them over your morning coffee, and wait for one that strikes your fancy.

When you see a trip you like, you’ll know you’re getting maximum savings because you’ll book it straight with the airlines or Travelocity/Expedia – with no expensive commissions or “convenience fees” going to a middleman.

If you’re not thoroughly impressed within the first 30 days, you can cancel and ask for a full refund.

 

 

Honey! I shopped “The JGOOT Way” at the grocery store & saved 46 percent!

“Honey! I shopped The JGOOT Way at the grocery store and we saved 46 percent!”

Although my wife Michelle usually plans all of our meals out well in advance, it was a busy week for both of us. So rather than planning at the beginning of the week as normal, Michelle went to the store, grabbed the sale flyer at the front of the door, and planned dinner based on what was on sale.

  • She saw that NY Strip was 40% off so steak was our staple. (Cheaper than chicken breasts that weren’t on sale!)
  • Although we might normally make potatoes with steak, asparagus was 60% off.
  • We haven’t had couscous in a while, but guess what?!?! They were 25% off, so couscous it was.
  • Although ready-made salads aren’t normally our thing, a bag of Caesar salad was on sale for $1.99 (From $4.29).

Had she walked into that store with a pre-planned dinner in mind, we’d have spent a nearly twice as much on our grocery bill. Guaranteed.

By creating our dinner menu based on the 1% of the items in the store that were significantly on sale, we also got to step out of our normal routine with a lovely steak dinner on a weeknight – at a great price to boot.

Simple, right?

Want to choose from nothing but 50% to 90% off flights for your next vacation?

Stop thinking “What are flight prices to Vegas?” or “How much is it to go to Paris?”  That’s a guaranteed recipe for paying high prices (or getting a mediocre deal at best.)

Start asking one simple question: “What is on sale?

When you find a trip you like at a good enough price, plan ahead and go there.

Want to review the best priced flights to take advantage of over your morning coffee?
Give our premium trip-alert service a try risk-free for 30 days.

 

Extra credit:

Whether you subscribe to my paid service or look for trips yourself…

Start searching for what is on sale every day and just watch what begins to happen to your travels.

 

The more often you look – The luckier you get

I’m flying my family of four across the country for only slightly more than what most people would pay for one passenger and just had to share…

I was about to admit defeat and pay more than I’ve paid for a flight in over 2 years: $222 per person to fly my family from Denver to Raleigh. (I even did a video to document why I was going to suck it up and pay $222 vs. flying for free by dipping into my backup stash of frequent flyer points.

But then, GUESS WHAT?!?!

I.

Got.

Lucky.

Because Rule #1 of “The JGOOT Way” of travel is to watch fares every single day starting as early as possible, I waited a couple more days, and stumbled across a Frontier sale. It turns out we got those same flights for under $100 each – round trip. (That price is WAY better than a “free” flight that would have cost my family of four 120,000 to 150,000 frequent flyer points. (And I can save my frequent flyer points for what they’re supposed to be used for: As a backup plan when flights are too expensive.

Want to travel for $.10 to $.50 on the dollar EVERY time you travel?  It’s not rocket science.  Watch fares (and watch for sales) every. single. day. You’ll be surprised at how often you get lucky. Here are plenty of free tips showing you how. Don’t want to read? Try my YoutubeChannel.

Don’t want to go to all that trouble? Click here and let my team of analysts watch for them for you. For as little as $8 per month, we’ll watch for trips day in and day out. We’ll alert you of the ones we find that are so inexpensive – you would be better off paying cash than using frequent flyer points.

Whatever the case, I wish you happy travels!

–Joel

PS – You know what’s even better than flying your whole family across the country for about the same price as what most people pay for just one person? Being able to get there plenty early, relax at the lounge, and feed your whole family for free.  Here’s a quick video from the archives about how we do that almost every time we travel.

Here’s that link again if you want to give our trip-alert service a try.

Divorce lawyers, Taco-Tuesdays & vacationing with reckless abandon

It was 2012 and I was in the middle of a brutal divorce.

Although the kids’ Mom and I were doing a decent job of shielding our kids from our disagreements, our lawyers were duking it out like the final fight scene of Rocky IV. All of my assets were frozen, and after paying the majority of my income to maintenance (AKA “alimony”), I was left with about $2000 per month  in order to keep me from “wasting money on frivolous travel.”

Screw that!

Having gone from living large on two incomes vacationing every chance we had – to living in a sad and lonely apartment complex… From eating out as a family 5 nights a week – to taking the kids out on Tuesdays because Tacos were 39¢…

…Travel was one of the ONLY constants I could give my kids and I wasn’t about to let some asshole divorce lawyer tell me I’d be in trouble if I did it.

So when I stumbled across cheap flights to Houston that aligned (almost) perfectly with my kids’ Fall break – it was time for the first-ever vacation with just the three of us.

“Don’t do it! Her lawyer will destroy you.” my lawyer told me.

I didn’t care. For the prices I paid, this was a vacation I NEEDED to give my kids. It was a bonding experience I wanted to have for the three of us during this delicate/fragile stage of our lives.

Sure enough… A month after our trip, my lawyer dragged me into her office to go over a letter from the kids’ mom’s lawyer demanding explanation and details for my latest frivolous vacation. Her lawyer claimed if I could afford to travel like that, I must have been hiding money.

“Tell me about this flight to Houston over the kids’ fall break.”
They were $41 each, so I couldn’t resist.
“OK, so $82 times 3. That’s not bad.”
No, $41 was round-trip, so $123 total.

“How about the all-inclusive cruise?”
That was what sealed the deal on the vacation. It cost us $184 each and included all meals and entertainment. Between birthday parties, bowling parties, presents, and bouncy-houses – we’d have spent more than that just staying home.

 

“The kids told their Mom about a cool limo ride from the airport. What about that?”
I had planned on taking the bus, but our flight was delayed so we missed it. Cabs were quoting $120 each way, so I went to the “departures” section of the airport and found a limo driver dropping someone off. I asked him if he was free for a ride and he said he’d take us to Galveston for $50 cash (The bus was going to be $75). He enjoyed my kids’ excitement so much, he offered to pick us up for the same price when our cruise returned.

“Well, that shouldn’t be too bad since you only spent $775 for a 6-day vacation for three of you.”
Especially considering we spent more than that paying you AND her lawyer $350 an hour to argue about it. [I ended up firing that lawyer.]

Although we’ve taken dozens of trips since, my kids still talk about that vacation. Despite being broke at the time… Despite the legal fees as a result of that trip costing more than the trip itself… Despite being about the worst timing possible… It was the best money I could have invested towards my kids’ and my future memories.

Happy travels.

Joel

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Want 3 free tips on how YOU can travel for ten or twenty cents on the dollar? Click here.
Want to hire my army of researchers for as little as $8 a month to find those kinds of trips FOR YOU? Click here.
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Mother & son fly to Belize for $320 to get SCUBA certified

I recently got this video from a Mother about a recent trip to Belize. She and her son flew there for $320 round-trip to celebrate their birthdays and got SCUBA certified. In the spirit of Mother’s day, I thought it would be appropriate that I share her story today.

Their secret?

  • They watched airfares every day until they found something that interested them.
  • They eventually found one that was several months in advance, they worked their schedules around that trip, booked it on Travelocity and saved over $1000 on airfare alone.
  • Since Travelocity offers significant discounts if you book airfare & hotel at the same time, they saved even more by bundling their cheap flight with a hotel. (Here is a blog post describing how you can sometimes even score FREE hotels with this strategy alone.)

Follow that simple formula yourself & you can travel just about anywhere you like for less than you’ve ever spent in the past!

Want help from a Commercial real estate expert who also has a passion for travel? Click here to contact Amanda Hardin.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Want to review the most affordable 1% of travel deals on the internet over your morning coffee?

Click here to try out my premium trip-alert service risk-free for as little as $8/month.

Meet Brooke – Our Senior Support Rep

 

Hi There,

I’m Brooke and I’m the newest member of the Just Get Out Of Town team (abbreviated JGOOT)!

I help Joel keep on top of correspondence with his blog subscribers, so if you reply to an email from us, it will probably be me who will be helping you. In addition to helping customers, I’ll be adding my unique perspective on travel to the blog.

Like many of you – I stumbled upon JGOOT from an ad online. Curious, I clicked on the ad and signed up. I did plenty of research and read all of the reviews. Incredulity satiated I began to poke around. I wanted full access to the site so I subscribed for a premium yearly membership.

I received a welcome e-mail from Joel McDonald, founder of Just Get Out Of Town, along with some great, user-friendly videos on exactly how to use the site. It was a bit of a learning curve but within 20 minutes, having carefully reviewed the videos and read the blog, I’d gotten the hang of it.

Since I have school aged children I popped over to the section that was vacations and deals exclusive to school holidays. There are 44 different sections so feel free to find the one that is right for you! We had wanted to take our children to DisneyWorld so when I saw Orlando I clicked on it immediately. What I found was direct, nonstop, roundtrip tickets to Orlando for about half the price I was seeing on other travel websites. The key was, I had to be just a tiny bit flexible. Instead of flying home on Presidents Day, we had to fly home the next day early in the morning. That wasn’t a problem for us, so I clicked, booked, and a month later off we went to Orlando. When we left Denver it was -8 degrees at DIA. 5 hours later we were on the beach in Florida where it was 78 degrees. 

Being so thrilled at the service I sent Joel an e-mail with a photo of us on the beach, thanking him for the amazing deal he had for us; that a teacher could take her kiddos on vacation for such a reasonable price was beyond comprehension! After Joel found out that I was a teacher he offered me a free lifetime membership (he does for teachers and other peace officers). While delighted, I politely declined. The small sum I had paid for my membership had already paid for itself 10x over. 

After that, I was hooked! I’ve since gone on 11 JGOOT trips, each one as unique as the next. While sometimes we found trips that we had been looking for anyway (we planned ahead and watched vigilantly), sometimes the deals were just too good to pass up and we planned our vacation around the deal that JGOOT had found. 

I am passionate about travel and excited to share that with you. I think my favorite part about JGOOT is that you, the end user and consumer, can book everything directly. Joel finds the deals, sends them to you, and you can take it from there. Instead of spending hours scouring the internet I am just a few clicks away from vacations all over the world. And if it were possible to have a second favorite part, it would have to be working with Joel. He’s spirited and brilliant and passionate about his business and his customers and it shows. He has such an extensive background in business, including authoring books, and I am thrilled at the opportunity to learn beside him.

Happy travels!

Brooke Merkle
11-time JGOOT traveler and Director of Customer Support
support@justgetoutoftown.com

 

[Edit from Joel:]

Since this writing this letter, Brooke booked her 12th trip and holds two records among JGOOT subscribers:

        1. The cheapest domestic flight: $105 for 4 round-trip tickets to Austin.
        2. The cheapest international first-class flight: $450 round-trip to Dominican Republic

Want to become a member & beat one of Brooke’s records?

Click here.

 

 

Jerry West’s trick to getting business class flights for 1/2 to 1/3 of what people paid for their coach seat

Jerry West is a master negotiator, seasoned Europe traveler, and JGOOT premium subscriber. In this video, we chat about how he put a combination of his JGOOT subscription and his negotiation skills to work to score two different business class flights for less than what most people on the same plane paid for their coach seats.

Warning: He cusses twice in this video but once doesn’t really count since it was a mispronunciation of “Phuket.”

Here are some bullet points from our conversation:

  • How he found $400ish tickets to Thailand when most sites were charging $2300 to $4000.
  • How much he HATED Bangkok.
  • How much he LOVED Phuket (which is a $30 to $100 flight from Bangkok)
  • How little we Westerners know about “spicy” food and what it can do to the bowel system.
  • How he found $298 tickets to Paris and a $62 flight to Belgium when most sites were charging $1200 to Belgium.
  • How he got TWO different business class flights for about 1/3 of what most people paid for their coach seat.
  • How AWESOME airport lounges are in Asia compared to anywhere else.
  • Hanging out in a bar. On a plane. At 35,000 feet.
  • Amazingly cheap (but really good) food, even better prices on lodging, and three foot massages a day.
  • How Jerry can help online business owners get more free traffic to their website, AND get more out of their site traffic (visit JerryWest.com)

If you are unable to watch the above video, you can also find it on our Youtube channel.

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Want to travel like Jerry travels, and pay the prices Jerry pays?
Give JGOOT a try risk-free for 30 days.

While supplies last:
Use discount code “Phuket” at checkout and I’ll throw in a $100 travel savings card.
(If discount code no longer works, I’ve run out of cards.)

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This site is not for you if…

Actual screenshot of a text from a subscriber

Actual screenshot of a text from a subscriber

Yesterday, I got a text from one of my subscribers, Brooke Merkle, while she was on vacation.  When CBS News profiled her less than a year ago, she had taken her family on 3 JGOOT-inspired trips and was going on her fourth trip to Hawaii. She’s now gone on ten trips that she found with the help of her $100 per year JGOOT subscription. TEN TRIPS at an average savings of $350 per person, per trip.

Granted, Brooke is a teacher, and she gets out of town more than most of us she and her husband travel just about every time their kids have a school break…

BUT…

Brooke’s schedules aren’t the primary reason they are traveling more than they used to.

  • The reason Brooke’s family is now traveling more is that they no longer occasionally look for a vacation, painting themselves into a corner asking something like “What will it cost to go to Cabo for Spring Break?” (For a family of four, that can easily be a $5000 to $10,000 question.)
  • Instead, they now watch for deals every day with a slightly different question in mind; “What exceptional travel deals that fit my schedule in the next several months can I take advantage of?” (Which can easily be a $500 to $2500 question. Yes… For a family of four, and yes – during peak times like weekends & holidays when everyone is out of school.)

This site is not for you if…

  • If you tend to wait until a month before a trip, and you have a very specific timeline to work with.
  • It’s also not for you if you’ve got your sights set on a specific place at a specific time every time you travel.

You don’t need my services in either of the above scenarios.  You have two choices:

  1. You can keep looking the way you always have, find exactly what you’re looking for on Travelocity or Expedia, and pay the prices they’re charging.
  2. Or you can read this free report at least 3 months before you expect to take a trip (preferably 6 or 8 months in advance).

Either way, you don’t need a JGOOT subscription. The fares I share on JGOOT have about a zero chance of helping you if you have little to no flexibility on when/where you want to travel. If that’s the case for you, I don’t advise wasting another minute on my site.

Although The JGOOT Way WILL allow you to take a family of four on vacation for the same price as what 90% of other travelers pay per person…

…it simply won’t work if you aren’t willing to make some slight adjustments to take advantage of the deals that are there for the taking day in and day out.

  • Sometimes, that might mean snatching up a trip to Belize, Aruba, or Thailand instead of Cabo (Yes, when you travel The JGOOT Way – you can vacation in Thailand for the same freakin price as what most people pay to go to Cabo.)
  • Other times, that might mean vacationing the second week of July instead of the third week…
  • Maybe it means taking the kids on a Thanksgiving trip instead of Winter Break because the same destination is 1/3 the cost
  • Or maybe taking an extra day off of school/work to save $2500 on airfare.

Bottom line:

If you want to start spending less than what 90% of travelers spend on travel – you have to stop thinking like them.

Little adjustments to how you travel can mean massive savings.

Is JGOOT the best site for you to save big on your next trip?

I don’t know.

Although my premium trip alert service is stupid-cheap, and you’re more at risk of missing out on an amazing deal that saves you thousands – than the twenty bucks you’ll save by putting off upgrading another couple months…

…There is no sense in even trying it out if you aren’t willing to change the way you approach finding travel deals. If that’s the case, feel free to continue to receive my free trip alerts and check out the free tips on my blog &  Youtube Channel until you’re convinced that “The JGOOT Way” will save you tons of money on your travels. If you don’t agree with my way of finding travel deals, feel free to use the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of any email you receive.

Happy travels!

–Joel

[UPDATE: Upon returning from her 11th trip (a $450 first-class round-trip flight to the Dominican Republic) Brooke responded to an announcement that I was hiring. Now, she works on the JGOOT team, and has taken  12  13 JGOOT – inspired trips! Click here to read a letter from Brooke.]

Exploiting the airline industry’s “Achilles Heel”

Whether dealing with discount airlines, or one of the big three – all airlines use extremely expensive software and algorithms to extract every dollar possible out of every seat on every one of their planes.

But much like Achilles’ heel, even the millions of dollars airlines put into predicting how much customers will pay for a seat on their planes, they don’t always get it right.

About .1% of the time, the airlines get their “supply and demand” charts wrong and they find themselves in a bind. As early as 10 months before a flight, if they don’t have at least 15% of their seats booked, they realize they’re not on-pace to fill enough seats on the plane.

The way they fix that problem and get to their 15% target? They drastically slash prices on a handful of seats. Since staying on pace to fill as many seats as possible is EXTREMELY important to the airlines, these price slashes have to be enough to get someone’s attention so they can fill those seats in a hurry.

You never know when or where those price-cuts will happen, but one thing is for sure… They disappear FAST, and as soon as they do, the airlines go back to charging what they know passengers will pay.

Want to spend less than everyone else on the same plane as you?

Watch every day and look for the .1% of seats in planes that are 70% to 90% below normal prices.

Not when you get around to it…

Not 1 or 2 months before you’re ready to plan a trip…

Every. Day.

Unbelievably good deals to destinations all around the world are out there every day, and all you have to do is watch for them.

Don’t want to look every day?

That’s fine, but Murphy’s law says that perfect trip 6 months from now will pop up in the next week or two, and when you get around to planning for it in 3 or 4 months – you’ll probably pay double to triple than what you could have paid if you watched for that trip every day.

Don’t think .1% gives you enough options to choose from?

Think about this:

  • If the average international airport flies to 700 destinations around the world…
  • If they have an average of 4 flights to those destinations per day…
  • If there are 365 days in the year…
  • If there are an average of 250 seats on those planes…
  • That gives you 204,000,000 options to choose from. (700 * 4 * 365 * 250)
  • If you only took flights that were among the cheapest .1% of those 204,000,000 choices, you’d have 204,000 options to choose from (per year).
  • With that many options it’s virtually impossible not to find something that can work with your schedule.
  • Besides, how many trips do you need to take a year?

Is “The JGOOT Way” perfect?

No. 

Will “The JGOOT Way” get you to exactly where you want to go, when you want to get there?

Absolutely not. 

Will it allow you to take an annual vacation or two to amazing destinations at a price YOU are willing to pay (vs what the airlines (and hotels) are charging everyone else who doesn’t know any better?)

Hell yes.

Want someone else to look every day so you don’t have to? Try my trip alert service for a buck.

 

 

 

 

“It’s five minutes of dreaming and fun” – Robert Horvick

Below is a recording of a conversation I had with JGOOT premium subscriber Robert Horvick after he left these kind words on our Facebook page.

Robert & his wife live in Raleigh, NC. Since joining my trip-alert service, they’ve only travelled domestically, but they’ve taken 3 trips and saved $600 to $800 so far.

They watch for trips every day but even when none of the trips interest them or work with their schedule, he describes opening his daily trip alerts as “Five minutes of dreaming and fun.”

Don’t have 30 minutes to watch the whole video? A list of highlights is below.

  • Intro: “We got married young and travel was limited to road trips. Now that kids are older…”
  • 1:05: $97 Delta direct afternoon flight Raleigh to Austin that we’ve paid $350 for multiple times in the past.
  • 3:30: $63 mid-day direct Raleigh flight to Minneapolis (not-last minute. Months ahead.)
  • 4:50: Plans for Paris next Summer
  • 5:30: Using points as a backup plan
  • 7:10: Orlando/Disney flight that added two days to their vacation for the same cost
  • 8:45: WAY cheaper to get a great deal on a flight and a bad deal on a cruise, than a great deal on a cruise and a bad deal on a flight.
  • 11:00: Opening JGOOT emails is like scratching a lottery ticket. Even when you don’t win, it’s five minutes of dreaming and fun.
  • 14:10: How we saved $600 to $800 in the 6 months since we subscribed.
  • 15:20: It’s as fun to dream while sitting at home as it is to be traveling when you are able to get out
  • 15:50: The benefits of building travel plans around deals vs Planning to travel, and hoping to find a deal
  • 17:45: Co-worker paying $3000 flights to Shanghai vs $600 including 7 nights.
  • 18:35: Getting your butt on the plane for cheap, and then getting a business class upgrade for less than the cost of lunch.
  • 22:20: How we get these trips at the price advertised.
  • 25:30: How we used to travel vs how we travel now.
  • 29:20: Recap of the two strategies behind “The JGOOT Way” of travel.
  • 31:30: Robert’s final suggestion to get the most out of your JGOOT trip-alerts

Like the Gideons give Bibles to Hotels

Sean and Janelle of Toward Awakening Travel were kind enough to invite me to talk about the concept of remnant travel at their monthly meetup in Denver.

Here is a recording of that interview, and here is a copy of the quick-start guide I gave to attendees. (I give it away like the Gideons give Bibles to hotels.)

First world problems

Photo Credit: https://www.123rf.com/profile_snowing

For the past several days, my wife has been laying out clothes and texting/coordinating with her girlfriends finalizing what they’re going to wear on their annual girl’s trip. (Last year it was Miami. This year… Mexico.)

Last night, she spent 2 hours trying to figure out what to take out of her bags without sacrificing any shoes. (Because we all know a woman can’t do without at least 8 pairs of shoes on a 4 day trip to a beach, right? 👠 👠 )

Tonight, my daughter and I pack for a daddy/daughter dive trip that we leave for in the morning. (Four months ago, I snagged $47 flights and we’re staying at an all-inclusive resort that that will cost less than what most people pay for their bar tab.)

We already have our first two dives booked with the best rated dive shop in town thanks to a travel discount card I’m testing out, and our biggest debate (after we verified the card works is whether we use the rest of the card on our second day for snorkeling with whale sharks, or more scuba diving.)

#FirstWorldProblems

Four years ago, debates like this wouldn’t even have been an option in the McDonald house.

Four years ago, I was so busy being busy – I didn’t have time to think about getting out of town and unplugging every couple months – let alone still have room in the budget for fancy excursions.

Now, I not only insist on 6 or 8 “unplug and relax” trips per year, but I make it a daily mission to evangelize about how much more affordable travel can actually be with just a couple simple changes.

I can’t do anything about how busy you tell yourself you are, but I do know how to find trips that are so ridiculously affordable – that cost is no longer an excuse for not traveling more.

The most important thing…

is that you stop telling yourself you’ll start looking for your next trip “when you’re ready.” That’s what 99% of travelers tell themselves – and that’s why they pay an arm and a leg, they don’t travel as much as they’d like to,  or worst of all – that day never comes.

If you want to start paying less than what 99% of travelers pay, you have to stop traveling like them. The best way to do that is to look for deals every day – whether you’re planning a trip or not.

When you find that perfect trip that is 4 to 8 months from now and 80% less than you were expecting to pay, you’ll be surprised at how flexible your schedule actually is. The months before the trip, you’ll continue to check prices and pat yourself on the back for booking months earlier because they’ll be 3x to 5x higher. Even better, when you board the plane, you’ll be quietly snickering to yourself at what you KNOW everyone else paid for that same flight.

More first world problems:

Michelle and her girlfriends have already gone through 1/4 of their 400 pounds of runway-worthy outfits. They’re now heading out for a fancy sunset dinner on the beach, hoping to avoid the Paparazzi who may mistake them for celebrities because of the outfits they painstakingly debated and coordinated via 762 group texts & pictures over the past 6 months.  (She just alerted me they can see whales breaching from their balcony too! #LivinTheDream)

Meanwhile, my daughter and I are all packed.  In the morning, we’ll hop on our $47 direct flight to Cabo, and we’ll we’ll kick off “Daddy Daughter Weekend” by seeing whose Spanish is better when ordering dinner at the resort’s ocean-front steakhouse. (Although she’s only taken a semester of Spanish, my money is on her. My 3 years of Spanish has about 30 years of rust on it.)

Hasta mas tarde

–Joel “First World Problems” McDonald

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Want to be inspired daily with trip alerts to exotic destinations all over the world at prices you didn’t think possible?
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An epic Vegas bachelor party… On a budget.


Years ago, my brother-in-law was getting married. (We’ll call him Kenny, and we’ll call his fiancé Kelly.) I was his best man and he wanted to have his bachelor party in Vegas.

When he gave me the list of friends he wanted to invite he said “These guys are all in grad school and most of them are on REALLY tight budgets.”

Dude…

How are we supposed to have a bachelor party in Vegas on a tight budget? Cover charges for one night of club-hopping alone was going to break the bank for most of these guys.

OK… Challenge accepted. Let’s roll our sleeves up & get this figured out.

Two of us had a ton of points, so a couple free flights and a couple free rooms added money to the dance club-hopping budget.  But still, $20 to $25 cover charges and $10 to $15 drinks can add up fast when you’re on a tight budget.

A few guys were within driving distance so they said they’d bring a couple cases of beer. Pre-drinks for 10 guys will save another few hundred bucks. Not exactly living the dream, but hey – you gotta do what you gotta do when many in the group are on a beer budget but have champagne taste.

Then, during the planning stages, LIGHTNING STRUCK!

We realized we were going to be there during Mardi Gras. Granted, we weren’t going to New Orleans, but what the hell – we could have a little fun with some mardi gras beads. We hopped on ebay and found about 500 sets of beads from China for under fifty bucks.

Knowing people in Vegas would get arrested for public displays of boobs, we came up with a different plan.  We had Kenny wear a t-shirt that had had a bunch of checklist items custom printed on it with a list of things people could do to “earn” a set of beads.

Things people could do to earn beads included:

  • Yelling “I love Kenny!” (at which time he was obligated to yell “I love Kelly!”)
  • Buying drinks.
  • Asking Kenny to dance (and he HAD to say yes.)
  • etc.

About 400 of the beads were regular beads that cost less than a nickel a piece.  100 of them were “special” beads. They were extra large, and were things like beer extra-large hearts, dice, a pair of aces, etc. They cost 5 to 10 times times as much as the normal beads at a whopping $.25 to $.50 each.

Little did we know how much those beads would change the course of our night.

People. Ate. It. Up.

Saturday morning, we realized the beads were so cheap they stained our shirts, but we didn’t care. We wore them out Saturday night too.

By the second night, people were greeting us as we walked into clubs yelling “I love Kenny!” People were buying drinks, they were making Kenny feel like a king, we were ALL dancing non-stop.  Not just the girls either. Big, buff dudes were greeting us with “I love Kenny!!” in the middle of a crowded dance club!

THEN there were the “special” beads…

We made sure Kenny was the only one of us who had the special beads. He only had a couple at a time, and people almost always asked “What do I have to do to get a set of THOSE beads?” Kenny named the terms at first and it was initially stuff like dancing with him.

BUT we quickly realized that people REALLY wanted those beads and were offering to do things we wouldn’t have even imagined.  I think our record was someone offering to buy us a round of drinks.  The guy easily dropped $100 buying us all drinks so he could get his girlfriend a set of coveted heart beads…

Fifty-Freakin-Cent-Heart Beads.  (Out of respect for them, we waited until we left that club before pulling another set of heart beads out. 😉

It was better than we ever imagined, and we felt like celebrities all weekend. Not bad for a bunch of grad-school dorks (and an even dorkier over-the-hill brother in law walking around with a backpack full of beads.)

The moral of the story?

Travel memories hold a special place in your heart, and stick with you forever.  That trip was one of the most tight-budgeted trips I’ve ever been on, and it was over a decade ago. But those memories still seem like yesterday, and will forever bring a smile to my face.

An unexpected ending:

Bleary-eyed and hung over Sunday afternoon, we said our goodbyes at the airport before heading to our respective terminals. As Kenny and I got on the tram to head to our terminal two girls came running up beating on the window yelling:

“I LOVE KENNY!”

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(*Beads not included) 
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Ummmmm… Hell no.

[TL;DR? Watch a video at the bottom of this post instead.]

I bargained with my sophomore son and told him if he took a free ACT practice test on Friday, he could take a friend snowboarding today.

I was going to go boarding today too, but it was NEGATIVE TEN DEGREES outside, and was only going to get up to a high of 2.  Ummmm… Hell no.

Unlike the out-of-state visitors who all paid thousands of dollars to ski in Colorado during the second-most crowded week of the year – One of the nice things about living just over an hour from the slopes is that you can occasionally say “no thanks” if conditions aren’t absolutely perfect.

Instead, you can grab your laptop, a hot coffee, and work by a warm fire while your kids freeze their butts off on the slopes.

Wanna know a secret?

Traveling for pennies on the dollar works the exact same way.  Unlike the suckers who decide to look for a travel deal every once in a blue moon and settle on somewhere in Mexico (again) because that’s the only destination where they could find a flight for under $400, you can be a lot more picky about the trips you take and the prices you pay.

  • Mexico? Not unless it’s under $150.
  • Europe?  Not unless we can spend less than $400 per person AND get a week of lodging included.
  • What? $29 flights to my Alma Mater for a big game? Let’s grab some friends & go!

But there is a catch…

Since the majority of those fares only last days (if not hours), you HAVE to watch for them every day.

The best way to do that for free?  Airfare Watchdog. Simply enter as many destinations as you want to go to, and they’ll send you the best price they can find to that destination. Every day.

99% of the time, you’ll say “no thanks” and go on with your day.  But about 1 in 100 times the fare will be so low – you’ll think “Ummm… OK!!!” – and you’ll snatch the fare up knowing it will likely be the cheapest seat on the plane.  (The best part? These trips are often months in advance so you can easily work your schedule around them.)

Try it & see for yourself. For your convenience, here’s a link to their free site.

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Have more than a few places you’d be willing to travel to for the right price?
Every trip we send to our subscribers is at “Ummmm… OK!!!” prices that are virtually guaranteed to be the cheapest seats on the plane.

Right now, you can check out my premium trip-alert service for 30 days, for a dollar.
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The 60 second method to finding amazing travel deals

Remember that scene from Karate Kid where the culmination of all of Daniel’s “karate training” painting fences, waxing cars, and sanding floors comes together?

Click on the video clip below and watch Daniel’s face as he instantly goes from exhausted, discouraged and pissed – to seeing a whole new world of possibility.

 

Daniel’s breakthrough is like travel

Just like Mr Miyagi had Daniel do a bunch of stuff he didn’t think would help at all with Karate… I’m about to tell you the most powerful thing you can do to find a mind-bogglingly cheap trip:

Look every day. Even when you’re not planning a trip.

Let’s first talk about how most people book a trip.

  • They decide to book two or three months before a trip. They spend hours hunting down the optimal times/dates, and sometimes they get an OK deal.
  • Sometimes, they give up and have to repeat the procedure several other nights.
  • Eventually they either settle on something that seems like the best deal they can get, or they don’t go at all.

“The old fashioned way” is impossible…

Looking for a travel deal “the old fashioned way” might get an OK deal with enough work. But getting an exceptionally good deal is simply not possible except by random luck.

The exceptionally good deals only last days or hours, and came and went while the average traveler wasn’t even looking. The result? The average traveler ends up settling for mediocre deals or not traveling as often – never even knowing they could have paid 50% to 90% less.

The JGOOT Way: “Give me 60 seconds a day & I’ll show you the world”

Whether subscribed to my free or paid service, you get several trip-alerts a week – all from your home airport. Every one of them represent the best travel deals I could find on the internet for that day.
    • Whether you’re planning a trip or not, take 60 seconds a day and read the emails I send you with an open mind.
    • Rather than thinking “This trip doesn’t fit my schedule.”
    • Try thinking “Could I slightly adjust my schedule (or slightly adjust the dates) to take advantage of this ridiculously affordable trip?”

Most days, the trips either won’t interest you, or they won’t fit your schedule and that’s fine. You’re only out 60 seconds.

But some days…

You’ll see a trip that’s so affordable you won’t even have to think about whether it’s in the budget. You’ll know that going any other time would cost two to ten times as much, and if you adjust your vacation schedule just a little – it won’t impact your budget nearly as much as finding that exact same trip “the old fashioned way”. (It won’t take as much time either.)

I promise

Whether you use my service, or set up dozens of free Google fare watches and watch fares yourself…

If you simply take a minute a day to look at trip possibilities for 7 days in a row – you’ll begin to see a whole new world of affordable travel that are physically impossible to find “the old fashioned way”.

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If you’ve read this far, thank you. I’m honored. Would you mind helping me get word out about “The JGOOT Way” of travel and sharing this post on Facebook, Twitter, etc? Thanks!