Best Vacation Destination Dupes (AKA: More Affordable!) with Jen on a Jet Plane – EP 386

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There’s nothing you can’t do now that you’re in New York! 🎶 Just like the song, the streets of New York will make you feel brand new without breaking the bank. Tag along as Jen and Jill, together with Jen on a Jet Plane, list down travel tips and vacation destination dupes you can visit within the US and overseas that are affordable and enjoyable!

I don’t think you have to necessarily leave the country to feel like you’re getting a really cool vacation


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Jen Ruiz is a lawyer turned full-time travel blogger and author. She’s a 5-time Amazon bestseller, 3-time TEDx speaker, and 4-time national award-winning travel journalist. She’s the solo female traveler behind Jen on a Jet Plane, where she helps you stop waiting and start living.

French-inspired Destination in New York

France is perhaps everyone’s dream destination, or at least they once considered it a place they wanted to travel. Jen notes that going to France can be done easily now with the advent of budget airlines.

But if you’re someone who’s intimidated by planning big trips, start by exploring domestically. Jen recommends traveling to New York State to get a similar experience in France. She highlights New York’s Finger Lakes wine trail and artisanal cheese scene as reminiscent of France, with beautiful lavender fields during the summer. There’s also Washington State’s tulip fields in April that are reminiscent of the Netherlands.

A Budget-Friendly Taste Of Italy

Guatemala offers an affordable alternative to Italy, with Lake Atitlan resembling the charm of Lake Como but at a fraction of the cost. Jen says there’s plenty of activities to engage in Guatemala like cocoa chocolate making, featuring some of the world’s best chocolate. During Jen’s hiking trip in Pacaya Volcano, she was able to see an active volcano while enjoying a pizza cooked on the volcano itself.

Finding Europe in the Cities of USA

Exploring European-inspired cities within the United States offers immersive vacation experiences without leaving the country. Destinations like Helen, Georgia; Leavenworth, Washington; and St. Augustine, Florida, show glimpses of German, Alpine, and Spanish cultures, respectively. However, if you really want to travel to Europe, budget airlines like Play Air, TAP Air Portugal, and French Bee offer affordable options. Jen suggests opting for Eastern Europe and off-season visits, which can significantly reduce costs, just like when she visited Milan in January. Thanksgiving is the perfect time for international travel, with cheaper flights and fewer crowds.

Welcome To New York!

It’s been waiting for you like how Jen was welcomed and has fallen in love with New York. It stands out as a prime travel hub for its accessibility from major airports, making it a gateway to international adventures. She uses this as a travel hack for finding affordable flights worldwide. January is said to be an ideal time to visit New York. Jen was able to catch Harry Potter and The Cursed Child on Broadway at a discounted price through an app called TodayTix. Also, she was able to indulge in luxury travel experiences like riding a blade helicopter that transfers her from JFK Airport to Manhattan for faster and more efficient transportation.

Second-tier Destinations To Visit

Jen’s venturing into capital cities and tourist hotspots reveals hidden gems like Madison, Wisconsin, and Tempe, Arizona. She loves Madison as it’s known for its vibrant college scene, which offers diversity, museums, and amazing food. Similarly, Tempe, home to Arizona State University, has plenty of activities for you to enjoy, such as the Desert Botanical Garden and scenic hiking trails. Jen specifically likes adventure that is balanced with safety, ideal for those seeking active experiences amidst nature without compromising on comfort.

What destinations are you currently eyeing for future travels (keeping in mind the theme of affordability)?

  • Jen R: A birthday trip to Vietnam, where she intends to have a custom-made wardrobe tailored to her measurements.
  • Jill: Columbia for its architecture, and Mexico City.
  • Jen: Plans to take her family to see snow next winter. She’s considering upstate New York.

Bill of The Week

Thank you Jen for sharing your bill about paying for class pass and ENJOYING to pay it! Fitness classes, wellness/beauty treatments!

Thanks so Much for Listening!

Thanks so much for listening. Many of you know we have a newsletter called The Friendletter that goes out 3x a week where we send out freebies, saving tips, and life hacks to help you save money. We want to give a shout out to this friend for replying to us this sweet email:

HI! Did I do the no spend challenge no! But I DID try to not spend as much as I can, see why I was impulse buying stuff/emotions, pay off one credit card (put stuff on it again but will be paid off again next paycheck) and make extra payments to my other credit card. Along with opening a savings account cit CIT thanks to your emails (part of why I can pay off one card again since I saved the money for a big thing) and plan to open one with Ally so the CIT is my emergency fund/sinking fund for some things while the other one is for different goals. Thanks for the pod.

Thanks for listening if you want freebies, saving tips, and values-based spending hacks sent to your inbox every week head to to get the goodies! And if you already get the friendletter start sharing it with your friends to get more free goodies!

Don’t forget to share your favorite quote from the episode by using the hashtag #FrugalFriendsNote. 😉

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