Trading Thought Cards With Danielle Desir

by Aug 20, 2018Travel Resources34 comments

In the Row NYC Hotel in New York City, I was sitting in the lobby enjoying my coffee over the sound of the hustle and bustle of guests checking out, checking in or planning their day in the big apple.

As I reviewed the itinerary I created using the Sygic Travel app, a young lady entered the lobby from the elevator…wait a minute is that…yes it is. The Budget Queen herself Danielle Desir. Naturally, I invited her to join me.

Now, I’ve always been good at saving money for traveling so I never gave budgeting any thought. However, ever since I got my first credit card I’ve been constantly dealing with debt issues. I know I’m not the only one, so now is my chance to find out a little more about budgeting and travel from a pro.

thought cards
Danielle & Me @ The High Line Park in NYC
Name: Danielle Desir

Blog Title | URL: The Thought Card |

Blog Content is a travel finance blog that specializes in affording travel and making it a financial priority in your life. The Thought Card shares travel planning and saving strategies, cheap flight deals and practical personal finance tips like how to pay off your student loan debt and save for a car.

  • How do you make budgeting money and travel work together? How do you prepare? Can you give us some tips?

Budgeting for travel starts with your mindset. If you want to make travel an important part of your life, first make it a financial priority. This means saving for it and adding it to your monthly budget.In my monthly budget, travel is lumped in with my recurring monthly expenses. Travel is right there with with my cell phone bill, utilities and car insurance payments. The key to affording travel is to treat travel like a regular monthly expense (except you are saving for it). It’s just like any other important bill. Once you master making travel a financial priority, create a system where you can spend your travel funds wisely.

Zurich, Switzerland
  • Share one of your favourite travel stories. How do these type of experiences change you as a person?

I recently traveled to Europe with my mom. Mom and I spent ten wonderful days together discovering Italy and Switzerland. On the last day of our trip, we ate at a small bistro in Milan. During our meal we talked about all the cool sights we had seen in Zurich and Florence.  We even started planning our next mother-daughter trip. When the waiter came with our check, I handed her my credit card and she politely declined. They only accepted cash. Say what?! Since this was the end of our trip, we barely had any cash left. We searched high and low for funds. We even asked if they accepted Swiss Francs or the USD since we had plenty of those lying around. Just when we thought that we would spend our last day in Italy washing dishes as payment for our meal, we found enough spare coins to pay the bill – phew! Financial lesson learned…If you intend to use your credit card while abroad, make sure that you ask first… before sitting down.. and before enjoying your meal.

thought cards
View of Lisbon, Portugal from Santa Justa Lift
  • What are your top travel rules that you follow every time you travel and why? (Anything from safety to having the best experience)
  1. I always print out a map and an itinerary. I print out three copies total – two copies for myself and one copy for my family. I print out an itinerary for my family so that they know where I’ll be on any given day.
  2. I always join a free walking tour. Group tours are a great way to learn more about the people and local culture.
  3. I exchange local currency at my bank. I usually exchange about $200 USD equivalent. It’s always a good idea to carry cash for emergencies.
  4. Since I love a gorgeous city view, I try to visit at least one viewpoint in town. I recently visited a few viewpoints in Lisbon, Portugal – what a beautiful city!
thought cards

What are your top 5 travel hacking tips and tricks? (Anything from navigating a city to booking flights and accommodations) 

  • Need help finding the best flight deals? I curate U.S. departing flight deals daily on The Thought Card Cheap Flights Directory. I can attribute trips to Bermuda, Milan and upcoming trips to Montreal and Chicago to finding cheap flights.
  • Follow the deal. I let cheap flights dictate where I travel next.
  • I use Kayak heat maps to quickly find lodging near the hotspots in town for sightseeing, dining, and nightlife.
  • I book flights using different currencies to get the best deal. I regularly book cheaper flights with Norwegian Airlines by using the Nordic Krona.
  • I book flights that are less than $200 USD by redeeming points through my Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card – 20% off for travel booked through the portal!
thought cards
Bath, England
  • What are your top 5 travel things you must bring in your carry on, purse and/or satchel?

Carry-On Essentials 

  1. DSLR Camera – I never leave home without it!
  2. Laptop
  3. Small notebook – I jot down important notes that I’ll likely share on my blog and social media channels.
  4. Reusable bottle of water – An easy way to save money and be kind to the environment.
  5. Chapstick


thought cards
London, England
  • Where are you off to next and what are hoping to experience, eat, see and/or learn?

Next, I’m heading to Guadeloupe!
I’m looking forward to the sunny weather and some much-needed relaxation in the Caribbean. Since they speak French in Guadeloupe, this is also a great opportunity to practice my French! I have quite a few adventures planned including a sailing cruise to remote islands, and hiking to the top of an active volcano.


Follow Danielle’s thought cards on Social Media:
thought cards
Pin Me


Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you purchase a product, I may earn a commission. This commission comes at no extra cost to you. Please remember that I never recommend a product just for the commission — I only recommend something I genuinely believe in, trust and/or use personally. The small income I make here will help in maintaining this blog. Thanks for your support!