With summer in the Northern Hemisphere in full swing, dozens of travelers are taking a vacation. Travel expenses are an issue for most travelers, especially as they emerge from a protracted recession.
As an avid world traveler, I am always looking for ways to find a good price without sacrificing quality. These are 20 of my tips for staying on a budget.
1. Off-season travel is cheaper for 2 reasons.
Although I traveled to Siberia in January, there are far less drastic solutions. First, airlines will have lower occupancy rates and lower fares. Second, even the best hotels in the French Riviera receive a 50% discount around the second and third weeks of September. For travelers not limited by work or school schedules, they will find sunny skies and much less crowded tourist sites.
2. Location Matters:
Currently, 5 star hotels in Madrid are reasonably priced, in some cases cheaper than in Athens. Central and Eastern Europe are very affordable in major capitals and especially in rural areas.
3. Consider substitutions.
In the past, I longed for an island vacation in the South Pacific, but found the hotels in Tahiti too expensive. With the help of Air New Zealand, I replaced Rarotonga and Aitutaki for a third of the price. At the time, the Cook Islands were largely unexplored and formed an abundance of travel stories for my return.
4. Sports holidays have special rates.
In addition to hotel and air fares, active sports include additional fees for lift tickets, guides or submarine rentals. The best way is to carefully research in advance less visible but equally attractive destinations. While St. Moritz may be chic, I chose to ski in both Andorra just north of Spain and Hafjel, Norway.
5. Exchange / rental of apartments / houses:
I have not tried this myself, but have friends who are enthusiastic about exchange / rental of local houses from Brazil to Paris. I recommend making sure the location is safe and convenient.
Stay out of town on a local commuter train or subway route. Paris airport hotels have had low rates for ten years with the metro within walking distance.
7. Combine with work or family visits or other add-ons.
From domestic to international travel, airlines can allow free layovers at minimal cost. I discovered that I was flying to the Brazilian Amazon from Washington and that an extensive connection in Panama City, Panama would allow for a few hours of sightseeing and sleeping before continuing onward travel. Savings Without Sacrificing Quality
8. Research shows that booking on Tuesday or especially Wednesday offers the best rates.
9. Depending on your destination,
the day of the week is important for your trip. For popular holiday sites, mid-week rates are usually best. Conversely, cities like New York, which are major financial / business centers, often cut rates on weekends.
10. Cruises are especially expensive for individual travelers;
As cruise line break-even points can reach 104%. As a result, they often have to fill each cabin with two passengers and sell drinks and souvenirs daily. The next time you see 2 for the price of 1 pre-purchases, calculate. This is probably the best rate.
11. Air travel:
For airline deals, consolidators may have the lowest price. Alternatively, the longest connections and the most frequent stops are always cheaper than non-stop service.
12. Economy can still be a good value and not as daunting as it seems for long distances.
I’ve flown on some of the world’s longest flights in economy. Many airlines offer small costs for economy seats with more legroom or that leave a center seat empty. While first class on a wide-body jet is a huge stepping stone, on a smaller plane it may be little better for space than in the economy, especially in the front row.
13. Airport transfers:
Every major capital seems to have local monopolies, making airport transfers expensive. Combined with the fact that airports are often 45 minutes outside the city, the best option for daylight arrivals is a local train, metro or airport bus. In the south of France, I paid $ 2.00 for a commuter train ticket from Nice airport to arriving within walking distance of my 5-star hotel in Beaulieu-sur-Mer. (The hotel’s limousine was $ 200!) Savings Without Sacrificing Quality
14. Airline Add-ons:
Carry as little luggage as you can easily carry/push. In addition to higher airline costs, the options above are limited on both sides if you pack too much. Do you also want to be in the baggage claim after a foreign flight, since the bags are unloaded for 300 fellow passengers?
If you congratulate yourself on the great rate you’ve locked up, remember that most are exclusive of taxes. In New York City, several layers of local taxes can be considered.
16. Don’t pay for what you don’t use.
Even if your workouts are an important part of your daily routine at home, do you have to pay for a hotel with special health club facilities? Outside resorts or the tropics, major capitals don’t often have swimming pools, so do extra laps before heading out.
17. Stay connected:
Internet costs can be $ 25 / per day. If there is no free WiFi, visit the local cyber cafe and combine the morning cappuccino with checking / sending emails. Know what your data plan offers abroad. Even if you don’t open emails, you pay when they hit the local cell tower. The bill can be more than the plane ticket, so plan accordingly.
18. New hotel openings or recently upgraded often have short-term promotions. Last year, Hotel Castille, located near a top-fashion studio in an elegant Parisian neighborhood, had hugely low rates after their reopening and upgrade to 5 stars for Savings Without Sacrificing Quality .
Nothing beats a local mini-mart or a full-service supermarket for bottled water and snacks instead of looting the minibar. For forgotten items, look for local brands as replacements. If you can’t get by without morning coffee or tea, pack a small electric tea kettle, tea and coffee bags with hot chocolate sachets for unrefrigerated coffee milk.
20. When traveling abroad,
I always do my Christmas shopping and collect birthday gifts for friends and family. For quality and prices, avoid the tourist shops and go where local people shop. In Slovenia, I took the public bus to a shopping center and although I didn’t have a common language, I really found several items to buy with Savings Without Sacrificing Quality .