Most people mistakenly think that you need a lot of money to travel, or that vacations are simply too expensive and lavish. This is a good example of a wrongful assumption. Traveling ‘light’ so to speak, with limited cash, combined with a positive attitude and a deep personal commitment, persistence and resourcefulness is possible.
To put in plainly, planning pays and travel budgets save money. Taking the extra time to review sources at your disposal prior to, during and after your trip encourages a hands-on, pro-active approach to traveling and vacationing in general.
Most of us want to focus on having a good time and ensuring that a couple of the smaller details are taken care of. Taking advantage of saving opportunities and discounts, limited offers and utilizing tips and tricks from frequent travelers seem to be the keys to travel success.
Lessons learned will serve us all well when taking our next trip, whether to the campgrounds, some exotic tropical paradise or both!
There are various useful information and travel sources to assist you in this money-saving undertaking for traveling on a budget:
• websites and online travel providers whom specialize in great deals for vacation package bargains.
• travel websites brokerages and discount fare operators, airline carriers and websites with last minute fares and seat sales.
• travel speciality portals like booking.com where taking advantage of overnight flight flights, empty seats and multiple connections and other ways to save money while traveling the globe, is a mastered art of comparison-shopping and the budget travelers paradise so to speak.
• Printed materials, traveling on a budget-style magazines (like Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel Magazine) and books, other e-zines online, offering industry and insider travel tips, student and backpacking tips, and even specific destination guidebooks.
• Other specific budget-travel, industry-related publications and resources like: “First-Time: Around the World,” by Doug Lansky (published by “Rough Guides”) or “The Travel Detective: How to Get the Best Service plus the Best Deals from Airlines, Hotels, Cruise Ships, & Car Rental Agencies,” by Peter Greenberg (Random House)or the ever-handy: “The Traveler’s Handbook,” published by Globe Pequot Press.
• Various topic-specific guidebooks like, “Let’s Go,” guidebooks by and for students, are ideal for backpacking and exploring Europe for example. “Lonely Planet,” guidebooks to remote and popular destinations, with lots of valuable information for both upscale as well as budget travelers.
• Word-of-mouth via novice and skilled travelers, colleagues, family and friends who travel frequently often share great insights. We cannot discount these value-adding insights.
• Coupons and special vouchers, Family discounts and specials, online, limited-time internet-bargains.
• Condominium or developers, resort, time-share Promotions. Sales-pitch pop-up windows, Camping (sites and cabins, bring own linens and towels), tourist boards and information centers, and many more…
Setting up a quick quote or cost-analysis for your planned journey, a rough travel expense account or budgeting outline to get started, is always a good idea to give your dreams some wings.
At the very least, you will have an idea and some kind of baseline and starting point. Initially though, forget all about expensive restaurants, business class flights and luxury car rentals and all you might have to sacrifice or cannot have on your budget, at least for now.
Here are some hotel hints.
• Check with the hotel if they have a frequent guest plan.
• Ask about package deals.
• If attending a conference, ask for the delegate rate.
• Explore other options than hotels – homes, apartments, guest rooms and houses, B&B’s , sub-let or short-term ‘lease’-like agreements for example: rent a St Thomas vacation house for a month, staying with family or friends, relatives or business contacts, farmhouses, self-catering apartments, Monasteries and convents in Europe are also cheaper options – – Always consider a fabulous Vacation Villa when visiting St Thomas instead of staying at those big overcrowded resort hotels.
• Avoid big Hotel bills, try AAA memberships, family-friendly hotels, ask for a first floor room, as most have pools (if you are fearful for little children wandering around and falling in).
• Continental breakfasts are a great money-saver for large families.
• Ask about any reduced fares at hotels, consider last-minute check-ins – hotels are rarely really fully booked.
• Eating in a supermarket deli-like counter proves to be much cheaper than fast-food locations or expensive restaurants.
• Explore online offerings, comparison shop and then consider booking with discount airlines are all smart strategies. Remember flexibility on your part regarding dates and times will translate into savings.
• Consider enrolling in several air miles, reward or frequent flyer plans which often includes discounts on hotels and car rentals.
• Timing is everything. Avoid peak periods for example, holidays, spring break, and peak business hour time’s makes for more travelers en route and supply and demand will dictate pricing and cost – usually higher. Take advantage of shoulder and low season travel periods.
• Often the better airfare rates involve a Saturday night stay.
• Book flights at least two weeks in advance. Typically the closer you book to your flight date, the more expensive it is likely to be.
• Log on to the airline’s website and check out unadvertised flight specials.
• Booking online typically can save you a few dollars as well.
• Use a park-and-fly service and park your own vehicle at the airport. Driving your vehicle there and back is far less expensive than a taxi if you live far from the airport. Sometimes you may discover that airport bus services or shuttles may be cheaper than taxis.
• When boarding the plane, bring your own water. Airplanes often have dry air conditions and flight attendants rarely have time to keep refill your glass.
• Never eat at the airport. Airport food is twice the price of food anywhere else. Try to eat before arriving at the airport or pack a few snacks to tie you over until you reach your destination.
• Once you have landed, be sure to ask the information desk about free shuttles to your hotel or use public transit.
• Save time and headaches by traveling with a bag, you can carry on the plane. Some airlines have express check-in counters for passengers traveling with carry-on luggage only.
• Travel passes for public or mass transportation offers a good deal and can save you some money.
• Shuttles or trains are often cheaper than flights, sharing cab-fares if traveling alone
• Taxis are convenient but rarely worth the price. If you do hire a taxi, consider asking someone to split the fare with you.