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50 Easy Ways to Stretch Your Travel Dollars


AVOID EXTRA BANKING CHARGES -- Before you leave home check with your bank to find out how easy it is to find ATM machines where you are going. In many countries nowadays they are widespread, making this the most cost effective way of getting local currency. However, you need to know which ATMs to use so that you don't pay fees to your own bank at home as well as the foreign bank dispensing the cash. (Sa, Hong Kong).


STAY IN A UNIVERSITY OR COLLEGE RESIDENCE -- If you are travelling during the summer try to stay at university and college residences. They're always clean, convenient and inexpensive. Breakfast is available and these residences are usually on a bus line. (Marg, Cambridge, Canada).

EDITOR'S NOTE: Take a look at Journeywoman's A Girl's Guide to University Sleeps for a listing of dorms.


SHOP AT SECONDHAND OUTLETS AT YOUR DESTINATION -- Check out second-hand clothing shops at your destination. I found Scandinavia especially good for this. What may look like old or out-of-fashion in one country, will look cool, retro, cozy, quaint back home. Plus if you are travelling from country to country, you can always recycle such inexpensive clothes without feeling guilty. (Tuija, Vancouver, Canada)


STAY IN A CONVENT -- Be sure to check out convents in Europe. I stayed at one in Zurich for a very low cost although the guide books all said Zurich was a very expensive city and I almost skipped it. It was so affordable (and the city so fascinating) that I stayed three days. I ended up with a dorm mate from Brazil who showed me around town for a morning.

EDITOR'S NOTE: If you plan to visit Austria, Czech Republic or Italy, a good guide to convents and monasteries is called, 'Good Night & God Bless ' by Trish Clark (Lucretia,Tennessee, USA).


DO YOU REALLY NEED A TOUR BUS? -- I use guide books to plan my itinerary when I visit a new destination. I find it's cheaper to take trains and buses to the specific sites that interest me and eliminate the stops that I'm not interested in at all. (Daphne, Renfrew, Canada).


EATING A NICE MEAL IS CHEAPER AT LUNCH TIME -- When I do go out for a nice meal, I go for lunch when the menus are much less expensive. Also I'm not the only woman sitting alone. There are many businesswomen enjoying a meal by themselves at that time, too. (Pam, Boulder, CO, USA )


AVOID ROAMING CHARGES TO YOUR CELL PHONE -- Sometimes it's smarter not to use your wireless device. Seek out cheap Internet cafes and email from there rather than garnering huge roaming charges with your wireless devices. (JC Lam, Toronto, Canada)


GO TO A MATINEE INSTEAD OF AN EVENING THEATRE PERFORMANCE -- Especially if you are a solo woman traveller who chooses not to stay out too late in the evening, going to a matinee or preview performance in place of a regular evening one is a perfect solution. It suits your needs and you save money doing it. (Debra, Toronto, Canada)


DRINK WHAT THE LOCALS DRINK -- While on the road don't insist on ordering the same alcoholic drinks you are used to at home. Doing that will generally cost you a fortune. Instead try something new and drink the less expensive beers and wines of the regions you're visiting. That said, drink less wine and more water. It's better for you. (Cherie-Lynn, Ottawa, Canada)


STAY IN A HOSTEL THAT OFFERS FREEBIES -- Some hostels offer free breakfast, free airport pick up and free use of towels (as opposed to the ones that charge you for one). I recently stayed at a great hostel in Cairns, Australia (Castaways Baackpackers) that had wine and cheese night plus they gave us coupons each night for a free dinner at a local restaurant/bar. Some offer free Internet and/or wifi. The hostel I stayed at in Sydney organized outings at night that were either free or ridiculously cheap. I use the website for booking the places I stay at (Alison, Atlanta, USA).


Bonus! Local carry bags make great gifts...

Be creative and save on great gifts. All supermarkets are now working hard to be eco-friendly. They're also trying to create reusable and stylish shopping bags for a very low price. For a dollar or two you can buy one for every one of the girlfriends who can't wait for you to come home and relate all your travel adventures. Guaranteed they'll be showing them off the next time they go shopping.

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