money saving tip

Travel Tip: Avoid Airline Luggage Fees

I recently wrote a blog in which I described how I was able to avoid paying an extra fee for my luggage on several overseas flights. In case you missed it, airlines, especially foreign airlines, have very tight weight restrictions for both checked and carry-on luggage. They also have zero-tolerance policies and extremely high fees for going over their limits. In my blog I described how I wore a jacket with a number of inner and outer large pockets in which I stuffed underwear, t-shirts, camera, etc.

O.K., the word cheap comes to mind (I prefer frugal), but the fact is I saved some real money by employing this clever idea. After writing the blog, I heard from people who thought my concept was great. At that point, my entrepreneurial spirit kicked in and I set about to research and design my new line of “travel luggage.” Unfortunately, like most of us who have great ideas, we often discover others have beaten us to the punch.

While I’ve now found several types and styles on the internet, let me share my favorite with you. It’s called the Stuffa Jacket. I like its concept and design. Other travel luggage I’ve found simply looks like horse blankets with pockets and even the most frugal among us would probably be embarrassed to wear something so grotesque.

For what its worth, and I believe you will save enough on your first flight to cover the cost of the jacket, here is the Stuffa.



Capacity: 3/5

The Stuffa is designed more as an additional storage space rather than a replacement for a bag, but the 12 pockets concealed within the lining of this bodywarmer (which can hold up to 5kg of clothing) along with the two external pockets for your phone, passport or tickets, offer a considerable amount of supplementary storage space, allowing you to travel lighter.

Ease of use: 5/5
The bodywarmer’s mesh pockets can be stuffed full of clothes very easily, then just slip the jacket on: simple.

Durability: 5/5
The Stuffa is a well-made and nicely designed product that looks the part and should stand the test of time.

Style Factor: 5/5
By far the most stylist garment in our test, this looks like a normal item of clothing (rather than a bin-bag) and you could happily wear this out and about without getting any odd looks.

Value: 4/5
It’s twice the price of the Roo – but for that extra money you do get a stylish jacket, albeit one with slightly less capacity.

Best for: stylish light-travellers
If you want to save money on airline baggage charges, and look good whilst doing it, the Stuffa is the luggage jacket for you.

I haven’t purchased mine yet. My wife Trisha says she might not stand next to me when boarding the plane if I’m wearing this thing stuffed to the brim. We’ll see how this one turns out. Saving money is something she is really good at so I think she’ll eventually go along with it. If you see somebody at the airport that looks like a giant hot dog, it just might be me.

John and Trisha Parker

John and Trisha Parker

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In this post I begin with a couple of ideas that concern Google. One is a time and money saving tip, and the other is just for fun.

Everyone should put 1-800-goog411 into the speed dial on your mobile phone. By calling this number, you can connect with any business within the U.S. for free. No more fees for calling information, and it’s much easier. Just dial the number, and a voice will ask you for, “City and State?” You will then be asked for the “Name or type of service?” The voice will say, “Connecting,” and the next thing you will hear is the business answering. Simple as that. I want to thank my good friend LaReign for passing this information along to me. Here is a link to the video that describes the free service:

1-800-GOOG-411: Find and connect with local businesses for free from your phon

The next Google idea I want to tell you about is interesting and possibly a bit disturbing. I’m sure most of you have “googled” your own name. But what about your image? When you go to the Google Search connection, you will notice there are a number of ways to search. Find the one that says, “Google Images,” type in your name and see what comes up. When I tried this, the first image I saw wasn’t me, and was a bit disturbing. Actually, it made me laugh out loud. Yikes!!!!!

Try it and see what you find. I hope you have better luck than I did.

Super Travel Tip

If you have read my blog before, you know I try to provide valuable travel tips when I find them. Here is one of the best I’ve ever discovered. While traveling, we all know that feeling of going into a public restroom, or worse yet, that uncomfortable feeling of sliding into the sheets of your hotel room wondering if they changed the sheets and pillow cases. Here comes the Nano Wand Sanitizer to the rescue.

This little handheld battery operated device is a must for the traveler. By passing the wand over almost any surface, you can kill up to 99.99 percent of bacteria, viruses, eggs of dust mites, fleas, and lice in 10 seconds. Incredible. Just think of all the other uses beyond those for travel. Sickrooms, offices, restaurants, virtually anywhere you feel could be a threat to your health. Here is the link:

Zadro Products

Shopping Tip from Trisha

As many of you know, my wife Trisha is a world class shopper. I don’t mean she shops constantly, but when she does, her goal is to save as much money as possible. She’s not cheap, actually, she’s a very generous person. She is simply very careful when it comes to spending our hard earned money.

Yesterday, I was in a store buying a pair of shoes. Unless you have feet my size, you don’t know how frustrating this can be. Not only did they have the shoes I wanted in my size, they had two pair. Well, Trisha noticed that the store was offering half off on the second pair. Cha-ching. When we went to the cash register, she remembered that she had recently received an email from the store offering more saving with the emailed coupon. Not having the coupon with her, she took out her smart phone, looked up her email, and showed the clerk her coupon. He jotted down the bar code number and gave her the further discount.

I was impressed and so was the clerk. Now we don’t have to print out all the coupons we might possibly use. Hope you can do the same.

Great Money Saving Website

If you haven’t heard of this website,, I want you to know about it. Trisha and I have been using it for some time. Let me assure you I have no connection or financial association with them.  The only recommendations I  make on this blog are ones that we have tried and found to be beneficial.

By going to this webite, you can purchase $25 gift cards for popular restaurants for $10. There are a few restrictions such as the total meal price, but we have never found it to be a problem. Whether you are traveling to a certain city, or just going out in your local area, there are great restaurants to choose from. We do both and have saved a lot of money. Click on this link and bon appetit.

Best Deals and Discounts on the Best Local Restaurants – Save Money on Food wi

Back from Maine

Trisha and I have just returned from a wonderful trip to Maine. We were also able to sneek in visits to Boston and parts of New Hampshire. The weather, scenery, and people were fantastic. We were lucky enough to have been asked to do some book signings in the Kennebunkport area and jumped at the opportunity. A local newspaper, The Tourist News,  wrote a lengthy article about us and our book which included a picture. It really gave our visit and signings a warm reception and provided a good turnout. Our host for the visit was Brandy Hynes, owner of the well know eatery The Wayfarer in Cape Porpoise. Brandy and her brother Chris Hynes also own and operate the newly established nearby Brandy’s on the Rocks. Chris is the chef and let me tell you, if you are ever in this part of the country, don’t miss out on one of his meals. I would love to make a specific recommendation, but everything on the menu was absolutely delicious. Thanks to both of these wonderful and gracious people for a great visit.


After such a fantastic trip, rather than write about it, I thought I would simply share some of our pictures. They may not be worth a thousand words, but will hopefully convey some of the charm and quaintness of this beautiful part of the country.

John Parker                                                                                                                                                                        www.TheBestofOurLives