Travel is one of my favorite hobbies in the whole world. To me there’s few things better than the anticipation a week or so before a trip – scouring through various TripAdvisor reviews, looking through guidebooks, and dreaming of all the cool things you’re going to do. It makes getting through the work week so much easier when you see your calendar coming up with the words “VACATION” blocked off.
Because of that, I try to go somewhere and explore as much as I can, which of course is never as much as I’d like. I’m limited by both time and money. Sometimes, lots of money. I used to be the kind of person who defined travel as a “priceless” experience – those three weeks in Europe spent dithering around, boozing in the afternoon and drooling over boutique window displays? Invaluable for broadening my horizons and exposing myself to unique and vital cultures! Now, I feel differently. I don’t think travel is priceless at all – it definitely has a real value, and I try my best to maximize it.
I’ve been asked several times to put together my tips for traveling on a budget, which I’ve hesitated to do as I’m much less Rick Steves (love him by the way), much more priss who generally spends unnecessary amounts on cushier travel. I’ve put together some tips and rules that I follow though – and I hope that you find them helpful.
Book hotels early….and then periodically check on prices. As soon as we decide to go anywhere, my first step is usually to find a hotel. Yes, even before flights! For me, hotels are an integral part of almost all travel experiences. You can go out and have a great day, but it can be all ruined if you end up spending your night on scratchy sheets in a smoke filled room.
As soon as we’ve identified our preferred hotel, I go ahead and make a booking. Almost all hotel reservations in my experience are guaranteed by just your credit card number, and no deposit – so making a booking costs you nothing, and locks in a rate. This can be very valuable, especially as more and more hotels these days are doing fluctuating rates, just like airlines. Continue Reading