Cheap Ways To Travel Overseas
October 16, 2002
For those who love to travel, and don’t mind stretching your buck a bit further, these travel tips will allow some of the same great experiences as other travel opportunities for two to three times less the amount of money.
[GO DURING OFF-PEAK TIMES]
Traveling during “dead” times in travel season generally means getting some great deals (and avoiding lines and crowds at the same time). For example, warm places usually have their off-peak times during the summer, and areas that attract skiers usually have their off-peak times in early fall. Many restaurants will offer buy two for the price of one deals for many tourists during this time. Check with tourist information centers ahead of time about peak and off-peak seasons.
[BUY A FROMMER’S TRAVEL BOOK]
Whatever you’re going, it’s a good bet that a Frommer’s travel book has been written for your destination. This line of books—a valuable resource to purchase and bring with you on trips—includes locations and descriptions of local hotels, restaurants and tourists spots, as well as listing them in categories based on pricing. They include maps, phone numbers, tourist information and addresses of points of interest, as well as time and money saving tips.
[STAY IN HOSTELS, BED AND BREAKFASTS AND LOCAL HOTELS]
When many tourists travel, they stay in nice chain hotels, and while this guarantees consistency, you’ll pay for it. If you’re traveling with a group of friends, youth hostels are a great way to obtain a private room with your basic necessities (clean sheets and a shower). You won’t be living in luxury, but staying in a bed and breakfast, hostel or local hotel will teach you a lot about the culture and traditions of the country and region and will allow you to meet other travelers and locals. (Many of these lodging places are listed in Frommer’s books).
[TAKE THE BUS]
Most places you go, especially in larger cities, will have buses, trains and subways as public transit. Renting a car or even getting a taxi can add up quickly, but taking buses and subways can add to the adventure, as well as eliminate the hassle of trying to get around…And you’ll avoid getting very lost.
[SHOP AT EL SUPERMERCADO]
It’s a pretty good system of eating if you stick to it. Find a supermarket and shop for breakfast and lunch items (sandwiches, vegetables, fruit, juice, bread, etc.) as well as plastic baggies. Eat a light breakfast in your hostel and then pack your lunch so you can be on the go as you travel. Then, after a light breakfast and lunch, treat yourself to a nice dinner out on the town.
[DO YOUR HOMEWORK]
Many travel agencies offer an all-inclusive one or two-week travel package. These can be pricey, and you can do just about the same trip on your own for much less—if you don’t mind doing a little homework. Check out travel books from the library and learn about the history, culture and layout of the places you are exploring. Plus, if you don’t mind being flexible, it adds to the experience!
[BRING YOUR STUDENT ID]
If you’re still in school, bring your official school ID. Many restaurants, museums and places of interest around the world will offer a discount for flashing your card. It may be a little discount every time, but it adds up in the end.
Attempt to put all your stuff on your back and pack as light as possible. It’s a good general rule of thumb to pack two pairs of pants and a few shirts by dressing in layers. You’re not trying to impress anyone—just be comfortable. This will allow you to travel more freely and to remind yourself you really don’t need a lot of stuff to enjoy seeing amazing places.
[BE WISE WITH YOUR WALLET]
It may seem pretty attractive in the market, but by the time your statuette of Julius Caesar reaches your fireplace mantel, it’s lost most, if not all, of its luster. Choose wisely the things you want to bring home (and remember, you will have to carry around all your purchases with you the rest of the trip, and besides, pictures are still the best souvenirs). In addition, don’t be afraid to negotiate prices with vendors in the market. For the most part, bargaining is fairly commonplace in other countries, especially in the markets. Negotiating can be a fun way to interact with the locals and get a better deal than you had originally anticipated.
If you don’t mind roughing it even a bit more than usual, try the adventure of camping and hiking. If you like the outdoors, what better place to be outdoors than in another country? (But remember to be wise and understand the customs and safety of the area before you camp).
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