Proven frugal travel and vacation tips

Proven frugal travel and vacation tips

While many people assume that a tight budget means postponing that long-anticipated trip, it doesn’t have to. There are ways to stretch your holiday dollars that won’t leave you feeling overextended.

Budget Travel

Be flexible as to days of the week, or months of the year. A surprising amount of money can be saved by taking time to research popular online travel sites like Orbitz or Travelocity. Nowadays, many bypass traditional travel agents altogether, but that can be a mistake. It’s worth at least getting a quote from a live person.

Be willing to fly to less-known airports, or to deal with more layovers. Once in Europe, take advantage of no-frills airlines such as easy jet, Ryan air, or atlas blue. Flying can be cheaper than more traditional budget choices such as taking the bus or the train, but check all options—sometimes there are special deals available to those outside the country. Check out options such as family passes or student discounts.

Be willing to stay a little further out; don’t insist on staying right downtown. There are other options besides hotels. Most larger cities have guest houses that are substantially cheaper, and that include a meal, or perhaps use of a fridge and stove top. Using public transportation, such as the subway or the busses, to get around is less expensive than taking taxis, and tourist sites are usually located right on the bus or subway lines.

Eating Out

Many hotels offer breakfast as part of the room rate. If not, consider stopping by the local grocery store. Start the day with a bowl of cereal or some bread and jam, and stop for a cup of coffee when out and about.

The same holds true for lunch. Many grocery stores offer ready-made sandwiches. Add a piece of fruit, a bag of chips and a drink, and lunch is ready. Or, buy a baguette, some cheese and fruit, and a couple of yogurts. Impromptu picnics in a city park are a great way to enter a little more fully into the life of a city, and frees up the budget for a stress-free and enjoyable evening out.

Research Local Attractions Online

Many historic sites and tourist attractions offer online discounts. Do your research, as some tickets are cheaper booked in advance, and some are cheaper if bought the same day. For example, if you are in London and want to see a theatre show, tickets are deeply discounted if bought that same day.

If time and budget are limited, choose one attraction to spend money on. Take the time to explore it thoroughly. For example, in London you might choose to visit the Tower of London or Madame Tussauds. However, it costs nothing to visit the Tate Gallery, the Natural History Museum, and Trafalgar Square, or to watch the famous changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace.