Shereen Travels Cheap

Shereen Travels Cheap by Shereen RayleFull Title: Shereen Travels Cheap: For the Budget-Minded Travel Enthusiast
Shereen Rayle
Publisher: Squircle Publishing (2011)
Number of Pages: 208
How long it took me to read: 1 month
Where I got this book: Uncustomary Book Submission
ISBN: 978-0615508443

Like a Moth to a Flame

I already have my little system of looking for deals when planning trips, but I still feel like I’m overpaying, particularly for air travel. I don’t pay retail for clothes, and I’d really prefer not to for travel. Although I wouldn’t have actively searched for a book on discount travel tips, I’m glad it came my way.

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Favorite Five

Whittling 11 down to 5…I propose that the top 5 quotes from this book are:

5. “If you know before you get to the airport that you will need to check your bag(s), check them in online and pay for them then instead of waiting until you get to the airport. Not only will this save you time, but also money since most airlines charge more for in-person baggage check-in by $3 or more per bag.” (p.35)

4. “If you need to resolve a problem as soon as possible with the hotel, airline, your credit card company or anything else, look up the company on GetHuman. There you will find a direct number to reach a customer service representative instead of wasting time and becoming super frustrated by having to use the automated phone service and being put in the hold queue. You can download the free app to your iPhone as well. Each company will have useful numbers to call, any available online support e-mail addresses to get answers from and reviews of each by actual customers.” (p.150)

3. “If you find a particularly low fare and can fit it into your budget, save your miles for when your ticket(s) will cost more and just buy the cheaper ticket now. The general rule is that if you must pay 25,000 miles for a $500 ticket, then you are paying $.02 a mile. Anything under a $500 ticket redemption is somewhat of a waste if you can afford to save your miles and pay for your ticket outright. No sense in only saving $200 on a ticket to Chicago when you could potentially save $500-800 on a ticket to Rome in the future.” (p.22)

2. “The best shoes I’ve found for coordinating with everything are Clarks and Aerosoles. But there are many other great shoes out there for walking. My husband swears by his New Balance. His feet never hurt. Hush Puppies, Ecco, Columbia, Ryka and Easy Spirit are great as well…” (p.110)

…and my pick for the No.1 quote is…

1. “Look only for individual tickets, even if you have two or more people in your traveling party. If you search for more than one seat, if there is one seat that is cheaper than the others it won’t show up and you end up having to pay whichever rate tier has as many seats available as you are searching for….You will have to make more than one purchase this way, too, so either open up two windows and simultaneously put in all your information and hit the buy button one right after the other or use the hold feature, if the site has one, and make sure you can get all the seats you need before going back and purchasing.” (p.26)

Conversation with the Reader

While I read, I write, and as I write, I read. Here’s some of what I wrote while I read this book:

“My experience with the book starts off with a postcard marketing the book and listing the author’s website, and her Facebook and Twitter profiles. I would normally dock points for loose-leaf inserts (would you find them in national best sellers?). Translation: inserts make you look like an amateur publisher. However, the postcard ties in nicely with the travel theme of the book. Would I recommend a branded bookmark or postcard to every self-published author? No. Does it work here? Well, I’m not docking points for it. Self-Publishing Rule No.3: if the national best sellers don’t do it, that’s reason enough for you not to either.

“The back cover of the book does have an interesting aspect to it that most self-published hardcopies don’t. There are quotes from readers/reviewers on the back praising the work. Points for trying to make it look like a professional book cover, but I have to take them right back for the nature of the reviewers who are quoted. Yes, it does make the book more approachable to have moms of multiples endorse your book on budget (family) travel, but support from legitimate travel magazines (even if they’re online publications) or newspaper travel columnists would have made a much stronger first impression.

“And a final note on opening your own publishing company (presumably in an effort to position yourself one rung higher on the self-publishing ladder): make sure the website doesn’t look like a blog, and remember to add content to it before it goes live.

“These are all aspects of the first impression your book gives off, and although it’s true that not all readers will look at your work from a critical editor’s eye, it doesn’t mean that you won’t pay a price for launching before you’re ready. That brings us to Self-Publishing Rule No.4: Don’t launch a publishing company if the only book you’ve published is your own, and the only person working for your company is you.”

“This is very much a case of a book that should have stayed a blog. There’s a ‘reference vibe’ to it, so I suppose that if you prefer paper copies of reference books, this might still appeal to you, but since there are so many unclickable links in it, it makes for a tedious paper read. Sitting next to a computer while reading it somewhat redeems the book, but I read books to remove myself from my computer, so maybe I’m not the best person to judge this book or its cover (which has gotten me some very strange looks on the train, by the way).”

“It’s certainly clear from the amount of information and advice presented in this book that the author is not only an avid traveler, but a very observant one at that. I can’t count the number of people I’ve seen get turned away from entering St. Peter’s in the Vatican who would have found Shereen’s advice about the usefulness of packing a sarong invaluable (it’s a great way to cover those bare shoulders). It’s those little things that can make or break a vacation, and she seems pretty on the ball when it comes to being prepared.”

“Shereen is an incredibly organized traveler. From her uber-functional carry-on (I wonder when the last time was that she checked a bag), to packing spare zip locks for oddball items and a #10 envelope to store all her receipts, brochures, and flyers, she’s on top of her game. I’m willing to bet that this book could be marketed to travel bloggers and it would make a killing. The detailed instructions on how to stay organized and observant would make writing detailed travel entries post-trip incredibly easy, filling them with the sorts of rich details on locations and contact information that trip planners find invaluable.”

“I just added Fluxx to my wish list. I have a feeling this could be the beginning of a whole new world!”


  1. […] Shereen Travels Cheap by Shereen Rayle […]

  2. Teta Bombardieri says:

    Yes … I’m among the ones packing a “sarong” for a just in case use ….

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