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50 Easy Ways to Stretch Your Travel Dollars


EVEN AT AN UPSCALE HOTEL GET MORE BANG FOR YOUR BUCK -- In San Francisco and in Charleston, SC I stayed at small hotels that included breakfast and also served wine and cheese from about 5:00 to 7:00 in the evening. If I had a late lunch, often at a museum cafe, I found that the wine and cheese were sufficient for dinner. The wine service included cheeses, crackers, fruits and nuts. Fellow travelers would gather and compare notes on what we had done that day. Since I don't always feel like having dinner alone in a restaurant this took care of the problem and also gave me a chance to mingle with people. The hotel in San Francisco was the Inn at Union Square. In Charleston it was the HarbourView Inn. The HarbourView Inn also had cookies and milk available in the lobby at night. Coffee and iced tea were available in the lobby during the day. I appreciated being able to sightsee or shop and come back to the hotel for an iced tea and a brief rest before setting out again. (Nancy, Springfield, USA)


TRY NOT TO USE TAXIS -- Do your research ahead of time to know what your transportation options are. For example, either bus #350 or #351 from Charles de Gaulle Airport into Paris connects to the Metro. It's a little longer than a taxi but much cheaper. Cost is three metro tickets or 4.80 Euro. The bus terminal is next to the train terminal. (Rette, Boston, USA)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Check out This site is the first of its kind global ground transportation website that empowers you, the traveler to make well informed decisions and reduce your personal stress. Pertinent information on all of your available transport options, costs & schedules from the airport, scams to watch for, tipping customs, health information, country profiles and much more.


BE A VOLUNTEER -- A money saver for me has been to volunteer at a place that provides room and board. Your living costs are minimal and time off can be used to explore on a shoestring. I did this for seven months at a conference center in the SW USA and got to see many amazing National Parks (using a Golden Age pass, again on a shoestring). A surprise on one jaunt was a stay in a 4-star Las Vegas hotel in January at $29./weeknight, booked at the state line welcome center. I stayed so long (5 days) that I got a visitor's pass for the library. I couldn't afford to leave. (Lucretia, Tennessee, USA)


LOOK FOR COUPONS ONLINE -- My favourite tip for saving money is researching the destination online well in advance and searching for any coupons or special offers in the destination city. I did just that when I won a three-day trip to New York but didn’t have much in the way of extra spending money. I visited, and as it turned out, the city’s tourism office decided to extend the annual winter discount program until the end of March. I literally had to stuff dozens of printed coupons into my carry-on luggage, but it was worth the effort. We enjoyed discounts on everything from theatre and dining to lots of museums, including the Guggenheim. (Heather, Toronto, Canada)


YOU NEED WATER BUT DON'T PAY TOO MUCH FOR IT -- Keeping hydrated while flying is important. Buying water in airports is expensive and during the flight attendants aren't always available when you're thirsty. My solution is to take an empty water bottle with me through security and then fill it at the drinking fountain on the other side. When traveling abroad, I go to a local grocery store and buy a large jug of water from which I keep refilling my small water bottle. (Dorothy, USA)


STAY IN CAMPGROUNDS -- I bring a lightweight tent and stay in campgrounds when possible, especially if I'm doing wilderness trekking in tropical countries. If that's not possible, I stay in hostels. Anyway, all I need is a place where I can sleep safely and shower. (Emmie, Manila, Philipines)


IF POSSIBLE DON'T USE ATM MACHINES OFTEN -- Before you leave home find out about ATM fees and how much you can expect to pay for each transaction. Fees add up quickly so don't keep going back for individual small amounts. Take out a bigger amount and keep it in a money belt under your clothes and next to your skin.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Click here for an excellent explanation of how ATMs work.


EAT YOUR MEALS ON A UNIVERSITY CAMPUS -- Whether you're 18 or 80, pay a visit to the local colleges or universities. They usually have a cafeteria that serves both students and staff. Alternatively, look for eats close to universities and pop into any crowded place. The food will probably be cheap, fresh and good.


PACK AN EASY RECIPE AND COOK DINNER AT A HOSTEL -- Tuna casserole is a cinch to make, the ingredients are inexpensive and the finished product can be shared with new travel friends. You'll not only save money you'll be the star of the hostel.


ARE YOU A MEMBER OF A MUSEUM AT HOME? -- Take your membership card with you when you travel. Chances are it will be honoured at museums abroad and you might even get a discount on purchases made in their museum gift shop.


Bonus! Travel off season and save...

This is the simplest rule of all. It's called travel supply and demand. More people can travel during the summer so airline prices go up. If you can travel in October when everybody is at home settled into their Fall routine, your tickets as well as your hotel will cost less. And there's a further wonderful bonus to travelling off season; there aren't hoards of tourists where ever you go.

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