Recent Posts, The Frugalista Life

My Tasteful Ventures’ Saba Ferdinand is the Travel Bestie We All Need

I met Sabatini “Saba” Ferdinand earlier this year on Instagram when we followed each other and met in-person shortly thereafter. What I enjoy most about Saba is her love of traveling. She knows all the tips, tricks, and hacks that save us coins and enhances our traveling experience. She perused all over Europe a couple months ago and it was like I was living through her IG stories; I craved all the food and wine she had in Barcelona. Her blog My Tasteful Ventures, relaunched this year btw, is chock full of resourceful content related to travel, food, money-saving how-tos, and navigating social media.

Saba started My Tasteful Ventures as a one-stop-shop for her friends and family to keep up with her whenever she traveled. My Tasteful Ventures is the website to go to when you want to learn anything and everything. Her travel tips are A-1 because she makes it seem simple and accessible.

What made you interested in traveling? Have you done any solo trips before?

I traveled quite a bit when I was younger every summer to visit my family in Haiti, Canada, New York. It was that mixed with the fact I’m super duper obsessed with aviation like how they’re made, how they fly, etc. All that stuff really intrigues me to this day and I think that’s why I keep traveling. I’ve thought about becoming an air traffic controller but it’s not me. I didn’t want to be a flight attendant either because you’re stuck on the plane and it’s not what I wanted. I wanted to work with the mechanics of the plane then I realized that might not be a good fit for me either.

I know it seems as if I haven’t but I did my first solo trip to Tulum this year for my 26th birthday. What made it interesting is I took public transportation. Instead of getting a driver, I landed in Cancun and took a 2-hour bus ride to Playa de Carmen then another 2-hour ride to Tulum. It was a charter bus so there’s was wifi and A/C. It was dark by the time we got to Tulum and there’s less street lights plus my phone was dead so I was a little nervous. My Airbnb was great and I rented a bike to go down to the water the next morning. I met another girl in LA who was also solo traveling and we ended up spending the rest of our days together.

How do you look for travel deals? What sites do you use? 

In the beginning of the year, I sit and think of all the places that I want to go or all the places that are possible then I narrow down the list. All the places I’ve been this year were on my list of destinations except Mexico and Atlanta. When I’m looking at possible locations, the first thing I use is Google Flights because it’s the most accurate. From there on, I determine which airline I’m using and how much I want to spend. I’m going to Costa Rica soon and I want to spend less than $700(including the ticket) for the 5 days I’ll be there.

I really like Hopper and that’s how I found my ticket to Europe. You can put in dates and it watches flights for you plus it lets you know when you should buy it or wait. I like Skyscanner because I can put in my current location and it tells me all the deals of where I can go in the world from that specific location. Skyscanner breaks it down to price, which weekend or month, etc; it does everything for you. I love Airbnb Experiences too and I try to do at least 1 in every location because it helps with the planning. I’ll type a destination into Pinterest and it pulls up a bunch of itineraries from people who’ve already been or some kind of list. I don’t have to search and everything is in 1 spot.

What are 3 tips and tricks you can share about looking for travel deals?

  1. Search for flights in a private browser (incognito mode) because your computer tracks your search. When you’re not in a private browser, it remembers your search and increases your ticket prices because it knows you’re in need. The private browser doesn’t save your history because it doesn’t know what you’re looking for each time.
  2. Don’t be caught up in a cheap ticket because sometimes a cheap ticket is to just get you to the destination but once you’re there, you can’t afford to spend a couple days there. It has to be a balance of both. I found a $200 ticket to Grand Cayman and Airbnb’s cost about $470 a night. It was going to be just me so how was I going to afford that? Sometimes you have to spend more to get more.
  3. Go where you want to go. There’s so many people who say “I can’t believe you haven’t been to *insert place here*” and I can’t hit everything at once. I can’t get so caught up on where everyone else has gone and end up not going anywhere. I went where I could afford: London, Portugal, Barcelona. I didn’t do crazy things like going to the cenotes in Tulum. I didn’t go because I got there and decided I was going to do what I wanted. Plus, I can’t swim so the only way to get a picture is to get in the water. It made no sense. Do what you want to do at the end of the day.

How are you able to travel extensively throughout the year? If anyone asked you how they can begin traveling, what would you suggest?

Someone asked me if I worked and I’m like ‘Of course I work. How else do you think I can afford this?’ I think a lot of people get it mixed up because when I’m home, I’m really working like crazy. I also manage my money pretty well. You’re not going to see me out drinking a lot; you’re not going to see me out at all. I go to work and I go home to enjoy my bed. I go home straight from work and rest because I’m looking forward to my trip. I have to say no to certain things when I’m home so I can enjoy what I like to do. I cook a lot too. I love my home.

Three of my trips this year were paid for using flight points: New York, Mexico, and I went to Europe completely free by using points. Also, because I work for the Marriott, we do get discounted rates at other Marriott hotels. It’s the biggest hotel chain so that’s a lot of hotels at my finger tips.

I’d tell anyone to travel to Chicago or Atlanta because there are pretty good flight deals and there’s a lot to do in both places because they’re so big.

What’s a lesson you had to learn when it comes to traveling?

I learned you can’t go everywhere with anyone. You have to know who’s who because it can make or break your time. Been there, done that. It might not be your good friend because they’re cheap and you don’t wan to be cheap. It’s best to sit down and talk about the expectations for where we’re going. That will help determine who’s the right person to take with you on a trip. The first time I went to Europe, I took the wrong person because she wanted to go all out and I had a budget.

Where is your favorite domestic and international destination?

Chicago is my favorite domestically. My favorite international destination is Colombia because it’s my best trip. I went in August for 2 weeks and it’s because I went with my roommates, who are Colombian. I’ve talked to their family over the phone for 5 years before finally meeting them. I’m a planner and I didn’t plan anything. I bought a ticket and they took care of me. My roommates planned everything they knew I liked. They treated me overwhelmingly great so when I was leaving, I started crying because it felt like I was leaving family.

To keep up with Saba and all her travels, read her blog My Tasteful Ventures here and follow her on IG here.