TRIPPIN' WITH THE TRIP CHICKS®

TRIPPIN' WITH THE TRIP CHICKSĀ®
Thanks for stopping by! The Trip Chicks® are two unconventional tour guides/travel agents with 25+ travel industry/airline years, mischief in 85+ countries, and a heap of travel (mis)adventures under our belts. Our goals? To educate, entertain, and help save you time, money, and stress on your next trip. Sometimes we digress. Happy travels!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Travel That's Easy on the Wallet


(photo courtesy World Money.com)

It's a Sunday night in ATL & we're talking about some of our favorite ways to travel smart on a budget. Thought you'd like to see a few of our tips. The rest will be in our upcoming book! Here we go:

A. Airfare:

* Use FareCompare.com & other "fare aggregator" sites to see the best airfares offered by many airlines.

* Monitor the ups & downs of your airfare between your town & your intended destination (fare alerts) at Farecaster.com.

* Buy international airfares through an experienced travel agent for the best consolidator/wholesale deals in high season; otherwise, consider traveling in low or shoulder season to your destination to save big.

* Be flexible with your travel dates, if possible. Buy your ticket immediately if a good fare pops up. "You snooze; you lose," esp. in the airfare world.

* Go to whichbudget.com or flybudget.com for great inter-European, etc. fares to places more "under the North American tourist radar"...i.e. certain eastern parts of Europe, Scandinavia, etc. Then buy airfare from your gateway city to the more affordable European hub & connect on a "puddle jumper" to your destination. (i.e. fly into London Gatwick on Delta/British Airways) & get a separate ticket to Dubrovnik on easyJet, Monarch, etc. Not recommended for packers who take a lot of luggage or travelers extremely particular about roomy seats!

* Use those soon-to-expire frequent flyer points for your complete ticket or to get a partial discount on your fare.

B. Lodging:

* Explore the U.S.A. & Canada! Find the perfect campsite listing in Kampgrounds of America's online camping directory: http://www.koa.com/ Or, head to our national parks for affordable lodging near the best of America's natural wonders: http://www.nps.gov/

* Consider staying in hostels to save money. From castles to more rustic digs, many of these budget accommodations are no longer only for youth. Good sites to check out: hostelbookers.com, hostels.com, hostelworld.com, or hostelz.com

* Join homestay programs like Coachsurfers, Servas, Women Welcome Women World Wide (5W), Hospitality Club, etc. Not only will your wallet smile, but you'll meet some fascinating people too.

* Rent an apartment, stay on a farm, & overnight in a convent or monastery. There are some wonderful opportunities out there both in North America & worldwide. For organic farmstays: wwoof.org. For apartment rentals: vrbo.com, interhome.com, homeway.com. Check out our post January 14, 2009 "Sleeping Pretty on a Beer Budget" post for more details.

C. Activities:

* Tourist offices & chambers of commerce are terrific sources of free info.

For a listing of many world tourist offices, go to: towd.com. Remember to time your museum visit for the day admission is free or greatly reduced. Advance research before your trip can pay off royally!

* Spice up your stay with a neat folk festival, free concert, or other local happening. In addition to the tourist office sites, this one offers a good overview of events: whatsonwhen.com

* Many shops/stores give discount coupon booklets for savings on local attractions. (movies, concerts, skiing, etc.)

D. Eating:

* Eat your main hot meal at lunch time when specials are common.

* Buy supplies at a deli or grocery store & picnic in your room or outside (depending on weather) for suppertime. Carry healthy munchies in your small daypack to stave off hunger during the day. Avoid impulse eating.

* Ask a local (esp. college or university-age student) where he or she most enjoys a good affordable meal. We've discovered many a great restaurant value by following a person-in-the-know to a favorite hole-in-the-wall. Believe it or not, university cafeterias ("Mensas") in Europe are often open to visitors of all ages.

E. Local Transportation:

* Recheck your rental car rate just before you go on vacation. If the price is lower than before, you can score even a better deal.

* Consider rail passes, esp. in the countries "with the more expensive cost of living." Twin passes (for 2 or more travelers joined at the hip for the whole trip) can be a great value. Did you know for example, that the Swiss Rail Pass is valid on lake steamers, on private mountain railways, & for free admission to over 400 museums all over the country?

* Get in shape before you leave. Use local transport, your feet, & bikes for the environment, your wallet, & your waistline. Happy travels!

Ann Lombardi & Wendy Swartzell

The Trip Chicks 404-320-3033

3 comments:

Tamara Rice said...

These are such great tips. Thank you!

The Trip Chicks™ said...

Thanks, Tamara. Stayed tuned for more helpful tips. Happy travels!

Australian Visa said...

For cheaper Airfares and hotels, call a travel agent because they can help you work through all the several questions you might have and sometimes help you save money.