How To Travel – CHEAP!

You say you want to travel?  You want to hit the road, but you don’t have lots of money to spend?  You are in luck! There are options, for ways to cut corners, and get a bit more out of every dollar you spend.  The realty is, I’m cheap.  I don’t like to spend money unless I know I’m getting my money’s worth.  Over the years, I’ve come up with an assortment of ways to feel better about how I’m spending my travel dollars, and I thought I’d share a few of them.

1.  Check your email.  There are several services like “cheaptickets.com” that will email you weekly with the best deals.  If you have a travel itch, but it hasn’t turned into a full on travel bug yet, this is a great way to see what’s out there.  The airlines will also let you sign up for emails of deals that they are offering, and sometimes the deals can’t be found anywhere else.

2.  Take a tour.  Traveling as a group can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars when compared to trying to make all of the arrangements on your own.  If you are going to travel with someone or in a group, why not let someone else deal with the headache.  The only thing you’ll have to do is show up at the airport.  For example, if you want to go to, say Vietnam, making arrangements for hotels, transportation, sightseeing, etc. may be a bit intimidating if you don’t speak Vietnamese.  However, Viking River Cruises has a tour for that.  They’ll pick you up at the airport, and you float down the river ways, stopping every day for sightseeing excursions.  If you want to see more of the landscape and want to get a quality educational tour as you go, why not check out the American Council for International Studies’ (ACIS) tour options.  I can’t recommend these two, highly enough.

3.  Beat the heat.  Why not travel off season.  If you want to go to Paris, for example, go between October and the end of March.  Airfare is half of what you would pay if you went in the late spring or summer.  Rooms are also considerably cheaper.  Don’t give me the old, “but it’s winter and cold boo- hoo-hoo,” routine.  Everyone knows that to be chic in Europe, you must wear a scarf, so wrap one on, stop complaining about the cold, and head out into the city looking great.  Even if you are planning a trip to the Gulf Coast, for example, going just after the official end of summer in mid September, means the weather is warm, the beaches are not crowded, and the rooms are available.

4.  Have a BIG breakfast.  Many hotels now serve a complimentary breakfast to their guests.  Why not drop a few croissants and some fruit in your day pack or purse and voila! You’ve got lunch as well.  This may seem silly but $10 a day for lunch for an entire trip can add up.  Similarly, buy a bottle of water on your first day, but don’t throw it away.  Instead keep it, and fill it up at the tap in the bathroom each morning.

5.  Use the internet.  Technology is a great thing.  You can use any of dozens of websites to compare prices on hotels, flights, and even compare the prices of buying tickets to museums ahead of time, verses at the door (which are often much more expensive).  You can also rely on the flight advisor function on bing.com.  It’s a handy little feature that tells you the likelihood of the price of the flight increasing or decreasing based on the history of sales.  Use the internet to look for a place to stay other than a hotel.  You can stay in homes or even an apartment while you are away, often at a cheaper rate than an hotel room.  Great accommodations can be found at vrbo.com and airbnb.com.

6.  Travel light.  It’s possible to travel with only one bag, that isn’t checked.  I think it’s ridiculous for domestic airlines to charge us for a piece off luggage.  Plan on wearing clothes more than once, and wear items of clothing that can be mixed and matched.  If you plan accordingly, you can travel for a week to most places with just a backpack and a piece of carry on luggage.  Remember, can always have a lazy night mid-trip and do laundry.  If laundry night isn’t an option, my only real requirement is a clean pair of socks and underwear each day.  It’s amazing how the simple act of putting new underwear can make you feel better when you are on the road.  All of this adds up to saving you $25 a bag on the plane, each way.  Ouch!

7.  Take Day Trips.  It’s amazing what’s around you.  Do your homework, and keep the roads hot to the attractions, even minor ones that are within a few hours drive.  I learned more about Alabama doing this over the summer than I ever had before.

8.  Fly small.  Check the price of airport tickets other than the major one in the area you want to travel.  Often, you’ll find that by flying into a smaller airport the price of the ticket is considerably less.

What are your thoughts?  How do you save money when traveling?  I’d love to hear any tips you may have.

Cheap Tickets- http://www.cheaptickets.com

Viking River Cruises – www.vikingrivercruises.com

ACIS – www.acis.com

Vacation Reservation By Owner – www.vrbo.com

Air B&B –  www.airbnb.com

Bing – www.bing.com

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Categories: Asia, Europe, North America, Thoughts

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4 Comments on “How To Travel – CHEAP!”

  1. call in
    October 30, 2012 at 9:54 pm #

    Couchsurfing.org is also a great way to travel cheap (can’t beat free!), and it has the added potential of providing you with a contact, tour guide, and potential friend in the city that you’re visiting. If you utilize search words like “bed,” you can snag a spare bedroom pretty easily and not worry about the couch part. There are thousands of people of all ages and interests in most cities just looking for a chance to play host and have a cultural exchange. Definitely recommended!

    • October 31, 2012 at 1:13 am #

      I’ve heard great things about that!

  2. June 6, 2013 at 4:13 am #

    It’s hard to come by experienced people for this topic, but you seem like you know what you’re talking about!
    Thanks

    • June 6, 2013 at 10:47 pm #

      Happy to help, and thanks for taking the time to read my blog!

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