Author Archives: InTown Suites

15 Budget Travel Tips for 2015

1. Stay in One Location Longer
Avoid hopping around multiple destinations. While you might feel the urge to see as much as possible, lingering in one area, for a week or more, mean that you’ll really get to know your destination, and it will save on travel costs like fuel and flights.

2. Travel With a Buddy
Solo travel is great, but spending a trip with someone else can help in the cost sharing. You can split gas money, rental fees, accommodations etc. And you’ll have someone to share your memories and experiences with.

3. Self Cater
Eating out three times a day can quickly eat up your travel budget. Choose accommodations that come with a mini-fridge, microwave and more. You’ll save a ton of money if you shop at the grocery store and make most of your own meals.

4. Save Up & Make a Budget
If you know you’ll be traveling, set aside a portion of your income each week and don’t touch it until you travel. Then when the time comes, add up your money, and divide it by the amount of days you’ll be away. This will give your your daily budget, try and stick to it as close as possible.

5. Download a Budget Planning App
To stick to your budget in #4. download a budget planning app on your phone to help you track your spending. Some budget apps let you scan your receipts, and are very helpful.

6. Research Admission Princes
Many attractions offer free or reduced admission on certain times or on specific days. Look up the attractions you want to visit on your trip, most websites list the admission times and prices.

7. Ask for a discount
If you can’t find reduced admission prices online, try asking what discounts an attractions offers when you arrive. Many places quietly offer discounts to seniors, students, AAA members, military, etc.

8. Search the Web for Coupons
A week or two before you head out on your trip, do an internet search to see if you can find any coupons or deals. Attractions may be offering 2-for-1 admissions, restaurants will often offer free appetizers etc.

9. Use Your Feet
Walking is a great way to explore a city. Along with some great exercise, you’ll save on fuel, parking and more. To get the most out of your walk, see if there are any free walking tours or tour apps that you can download.

10. Take Public Transit
Can’t walk to your destination? If your destination has a good transit system (like Chicago), it can be a good way to save some dollars. It will also save you the hassle of trying to find parking, and you’ll avoid the stress of road rage.

12. Skip the Souvenirs
Don’t feel guilty for not buying any gifts to bring back to people. They are often poorly produces and made overseas from the same factory as the stuff you could get at home. One alternative is to send the person a postcard, people so rarely get snail mail for anything other than bills, so it will be a nice surprise in their mailbox.

13. Put Your Phone in Airplane Mode
Be careful with your data package if you travel out of state. Many carries charge roaming fees, which can add up quickly, To avoid these, put your phone in airplane mode unless you find a place with free wireless.

14. Travel Off Season
While some popular destinations are expensive all year round, many destinations are considered seasonal. If you travel during a time that a destination is not popular, you can save with off-season rates, and in most cases the destinations are still worth visiting!

15. Travel Off the Beaten Path
Skip New York this year and head some place a little less known. Prices are often lower in smaller cities and lesser known areas. In 2015, why not try Memphis, Tennessee instead of Nashville, and El Paso Texas, instead of Austin.

Where are you planning on going in 2015?




A Cozy Christmas Eve at Your Home Away From Home

“I’ll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams” If you’re staying out of town this Christmas, we’ve got just the thing you need to have a cozy Christmas Eve, no matter where you are – hot chocolate!

We’re not talking about that powdery mix where you just add hot water, but real, thick, steaming, hot chocolate – it’s easier to make than you probably think. It can be made in one pot, or in a pinch, it can be made in the microwave. So this Christmas Eve, if you’re staying at one of our InTown Suites locations, put on some Holiday tunes and whip up this delightful decadent drink.

Christmas Eve Hot Chocolate

1 liter of whole milk
1 chocolate bar (see step 1 for details)
Pinch of salt (optional)

1. Pick out your favorite chocolate bar, avoiding those that have fillings, nut or candies added to them, you want to pick a pure chocolate bar. For a sweeter drink, choose a milk chocolate bar. For an intense chocolate drink, pick a dark chocolate bar

2. Finely chop the chocolate bar

3. Pour the milk into a pot, and warm it until it just starts to want to simmer

4.  Add in the chopped chocolate, and the salt if using

5. Stir continuously, until the chocolate is fully melted and the mixture is nice and hot (without bringing it to a boil)

6. Carefully pour into cups or mugs

If you want to stop there, you’ll have a perfectly delicious cup of hot chocolate. If you want to take it to the next level (it is Christmas Eve after all) here are ten easy additions to jazz it up.

10. Add a big dollop of whipped cream on top9.  Add a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg
8. Make it a Mexican hot chocolate by adding in a dash of cayenne pepper
7.  Make it adult only with a splash of Baileys
6. Use a peppermint stick as a stir-stick for a mint chocolate flavor
5. Like Terry’s chocolate oranges? Add in a little orange peel or orange extract
4. Add a spoonful of dolce de leche for a carmel-y delight
3, Stir in a tablespoon of malted milk for a hot malted milkshake
2. Fill your mug with half coffee, half hot chocolate for the ultimate mocha
1. Stir in a teaspoon of melted peanut butter, it tastes like a melted peanut butter cup

From all of us at InTown Suites, we wish you a safe and Merry Christmas!