I couldn’t have asked for a better first half of my Christmas holiday–Four perfect days (and these perfect eats) with the family, accompanied by Boggle, cribbage, cooking, knitting and fires in the fireplace.

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And then? Hopping on a plane to San Antonio, for an exercise in traveling cheap (but living large). While vacations certainly aren’t free, well, you know me, I still manage to do it on the cheap.

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Upgrades? Free. The hotel messed up my reservation (As in, gave me a room that already had someone in it–I’ve mentioned how awkward my life is, right? Try barging into an occupied hotel room), so I got a free upgrade to a king suite and free Internet for my stay. Did you miss that? King suite. I may or may not have spent an evening in a jacuzzi tub with a glass or two of wine…

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Food? Free. I stayed at a Double Tree, so let’s not overlook the TWO free cookies I was handed at check-in. There was an error with my TV, so I got a coupon for free breakfast at the hotel restaurant (delux huevos rancheros, baby!). I also ended up with a free lunch and free margarita just for chatting with a bartender.

Entertainment? Free. I toured the Alamo for free, the San Antonio Museum of Art for free, the Christmas lights of the Riverwalk for free, Market Square for free… Basically, if it was free and within walking distance of my hotel, I saw it.

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Airport refreshments? Free. I may have gotten stuck in the airport for a few extra hours due to flight delays, but I used the free Starbucks gift card my work gave me for Christmas to buy a latte and a treat. And really, a two hour delay is no big deal once you have good coffee and good books. Free relaxation.

How do you save money while traveling? What US city should I see next?

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