Budget Travel Basics

The world of budget travel is one of the most exciting and interesting, and in today’s world traveling on a budget is becoming more and more of a necessity for all those aspiring tourists. Keeping costs low while traveling is important, whether you are a solo traveler seeing the world for the first time or a family with a carload full of kids heading for the beach or the theme park.

When it comes to coming up with a travel budget, the first step should be to decide what is important to you and where you can cut back a bit. For instance, some travelers are comfortable spending a bit more for a better class of hotel, while others prefer to save money by using budget accommodations and spend the money they saved on sightseeing or a special meal for the family. Again, it all depends on your tastes.

As with other aspects of finance, it is a good idea to create a travel budget before you start your trip. Determine a budget for the various aspects of your vacation, such as hotel, airfare, rental cars, sightseeing, gasoline, etc. Once you have a good idea of what each element of the vacation should cost, it is time to start shopping around for the best deals.

Once you have determined what is most important to you, it is time to start determining how to get the best deals. Often, admission deals on area attractions are the easiest to come by, since many theme parks, museums and other destinations run specials to attract out of town guests.

To score big discounts on area attractions, the best place to start is the web site of the attraction itself. Be sure to check the web site for any specials, such as two for one deals, free admission for children, special reduced admission days, etc.

If you are a member of the military, a senior citizen or a member of an organization such as AAA, there are often additional discounts available. Most AAA offices sell discount admission tickets to theme parks, museums and other popular attractions within driving distance, and most AAA offices sell discounted admissions to popular attractions like Walt Disney World as well. The key to making your travel budget stretch farther is to ask about, and take advantage of, all discounts that may be available.

If you are driving to your destination, one great way to make your travel budget go further is to make sure your car is in tip top shape before embarking on your trip. Small details, such as under-inflated tires or worn spark plugs can really eat into your gas mileage and end up costing you a bundle, especially on a long road trip.

A good map can also be a money saver, since it will keep you from driving around in circles and wasting gas. Finding your way easily to and from the hotel and the surrounding area will make your vacation more pleasant and less costly.

No matter how you save money on your next vacation, having a budget and sticking to it will help you enjoy your vacation more, and worry less about paying for it.

20 Safety Tips for Budget Travelers

1) When taking taxis from an airport to your hotel, travel in the more expensive airport taxis and ensure that the drivers have official identification. Never take a taxi waiting outside the airport grounds.

I know this sounds extreme, but it is by far better to be safe then sorry.

2) When traveling from your hotel to the airport, go with a taxi recommended by the hotel.

Again, taxi’s can be very dangerous. I can’t express that enough.

3) Try not to arrive in a new city or town late at night.

This can just go wrong in a number of ways. It is much easier getting checked in during the day time and security at night in certain areas is just horrendous.

4) Travel in a group if possible.

Since when is traveling in numbers not a good idea?

5) Learn the basics in the local language before you arrive. Don’t expect that people will speak English.

English is becoming more widely spoken these days, but you want to be sure. You should always check on these things before your arrival.

6) Keep your valuables hidden.

A money belt is great if it is an option that you willing to look into. There are many different styles of money belt. One of the most popular is an “over the shoulder” style wallet on a strap that you were underneath your top. This makes it very difficult for a thief to make off with your valuables.

7) Avoid going on your own to remote areas/ruins where tourist would be expected to go. Seek local advice or take a guide.

8) Read the guide books and talk with other tourists to find out which areas are best avoided.

9) When leaving discos late at night take a taxi home no matter how close your hostel is. Outside most discos you’ll find a street vendor selling cigarettes. Usually these people know all the taxi drivers and can recommend a safe one.

10) When arriving in a new town, keep to your original plan and stay in the hostel that you have decided on. Don’t let the taxi driver persuade you that your hostel is fully booked and that he knows a cheaper and better one. He’ll be working on commission and the hostel probably won’t be in a safe part of town.

11) Even better, when arriving lane/train in a new city, try to reserve your hotel in advance, preferably with a hotel that has an airport/station collection service.

12) Don’t wear expensive looking jewelry.

13) On public transport have your day pack close to you at all times, preferably with the straps around your legs or padlocked to the luggage rack. On buses your backpack will normally go outside, either on top of the roof or in the external luggage compartments. On long distance buses ask for a receipt for your bags. On short rides just keep a careful eye out each time the bus stops to off-load bags. In the event of having your bags stolen, stay with the bus – you will probably require a declaration from the bus company accepting responsibility for the loss in order to claim any money from your insurance company.

14) Leave your valuables in your hotel safe when making day trips or longer tours. Obtain a receipt not just for your money belt/wallet etc. but for its contents, with each item listed.

15) If you have to leave your passport and credits cards together, place the credit card in a sealed envelope and sign your name across the flap. This way when you return you will know that nothing has been tampered with.

16) If planning on going to market areas, crowded streets, fiestas etc. don’t go with all your valuables. Leave them in the hotel. If you’re planning on buying something expensive keep your money safely in a money belt. Try to be discreet when opening it! To protect small change in your pockets you can stuff a handkerchief in after.

17) If the pavements are really crowded, especially in market areas, walk in the road.

18) If you suspect someone is following you, stop and stare them in the eye until they go. If you really get a bad feeling about a place, go with your first instincts and leave. Bag slashing is rare nowadays but for added safety you can wear your day pack on your chest.

19) If it’s on your back try to walk without stopping. If you need to stop, sway your pack gently from side to side so that you can feel if anyone is tampering with it.

20) When putting your bag down on the floor, to take a photo or just to sit in a café, remember to put your foot through the strap. Not only will it be impossible to snatch, you also won’t forget it! This is the most common type of theft – tourists forgetting bags in cafes and on returning to ask if anyone has seen it, you’ve guessed it, it’s gone.

Budget Travel: Top Tips on Traveling Cheap

Whether you are traveling for business or for pleasure, some of your trips may involve very long distances. So, it would only be natural for you to want to travel cheap whenever possible. Well, aside from poring over travel comparison websites day in and day out and waiting for great deals, there are other easy ways to minimize your travel costs altogether, whether you plan on traveling by train or by plane. Read on.

If you plan on traveling by train, then the main tip you need to follow is to make your reservations early. Remember: some of the best train deals out there can easily be obtained just by booking way ahead of your actual departure date. In fact, you might even be able to afford a First Class ticket this way instead of just getting a Standard Class ticket a few days before your trip.

Another tip you need to follow is to avoid taking the train at peak hours. Peak hours usually cover the period when people go to work and leave work, and will usually be more expensive compared to off-peak hours.

Lastly, try to find out whether you can save money by booking your train tickets in segments instead of paying for a one-destination ticket. A lot of the time, booking a train that goes from one place to another instead of stopping off at other stations will be more expensive, so make sure you check this out.

Now, if you plan on traveling by plane, then it only makes sense to go through various travel comparison websites to find the best airline travel deals out there. There are also a lot of cheap airlines in operation now, in general. However, it would still be well worth your time to check out what your flight would actually include. After all, if you take certain things into consideration, you might get to save more money.

The first thing you should consider is your baggage allowance. First of all: are you paying for it? If you aren’t, then how much would you have to pay to take both cabin and checked luggage? Also, are there any penalties if you exceed the allowance?

Next, find out about the on-board facilities. Will you get refreshments? If you won’t, how much would food and drinks cost? Also, will you get free headphones for the entertainment system?

Unfortunately, travel costs are necessities that simply cannot be avoided if you have an important meeting to attend abroad or want to take a vacation. However, if you follow all of the tips mentioned above, you should be able to avail of the best deals available on trains and planes, in general. Happy traveling!

Luxury Travel on a Shoestring Budget – Money Saving Travel Tips

Love to travel but don’t have the thousands of dollars to do it?

You can get luxury travel on a shoestring budget by planning your vacation or trip just a bit more carefully.

Read a few of these tips, and then go on your well-deserved getaway without burning a hole in your pocket.

Always remember: When planning your trip, timing is key.

For example, school vacation weeks are the worst times to plan trips. Most parents have no choice but to travel at these high-peak seasons, so school vacation periods in any country are always going to be crowded. The airfare is always sky high – no pun intended.

If you’ve traveled during these peak seasons, you may noticed that coach seats during a school vacation week could cost you more money than a first class ticket during the off-season. So remember, unless you MUST travel during these peak periods, avoid winter and spring breaks at all costs.

Here’s another important tip: Regardless of how you decide to book your luxury travel arrangements – either through a travel agent or through an online travel website – make sure that you know exactly who you are working with. For example, your best bet to save on a hotel and car rental package is probably going to be with Priceline.com’s “name your own price” option. However, Priceline.com is not the best choice for international airline travel. You’d be better off with an agent. Either way you go, try to use the same travel agent or service. This makes sure that you build a solid relationship with the company you’re dealing with. If you are loyal to them, they will be loyal to you. Always remember, they want your business.

Think about how frequent flier programs work: if you choose their airline consistently, they’ll reward you by giving you a free flight. Granted, you’ll need to do a lot of flying if you’re just going to earn points sitting on a plane, but with a little research, you’ll find ways to make loyalty programs work in your favor. When booking online or with an agent, make sure you always ask questions. You will never get anywhere from being silent.

If for some reason the company you’re working with makes an error, be sure to take advantage of it. Most companies want to keep up a high level of customer satisfaction, and they rely on their guests to provide them with information on how to achieve that. See if they could possibly upgrade an aspect of your trip. Your coach tickets could turn into first class, or maybe your suite could turn into a deluxe version. Don’t be scared to ask for upgrades. If they say no, then you’re no worse off than before. Your criticism will ensure that yourself (and other travelers) will have a satisfactory luxury vacation.

When you’re looking your vacation online, you should search travel review sites for agents or an agencies who have shown they willing to work with unhappy customers, an have proven that they excel at customer service. Many times, customer service representatives get aggravated with customers who complain, or the service reps are based in a foreign country and can only read from a script. And you probably already know that scripts don’t cover every possible customer service issue that a traveler may encounter.

You’ll find just about any travel service rated on a review site somewhere. Just keep in mind that people like to complain about bad experiences, so you’ll find many more complaints than good reviews for even the most well-known travel services. So take the complaints with a grain of salt. Look for the most commonly re-occurring complaints (like bad customer service). Most bad experiences are not usually the fault of the service. Rather the experience occurred because of the traveler’s misunderstanding of the travel site policies.

* * * Read your travel site’s terms and conditions BEFORE you book reservations * * *

You want to consider all aspects of your deal; not just the price tag. Quality wins over quantity in some cases. You find a rate online offering a room at $20.00 a night. It may sound appealing, right? Maybe you’re taking your family to Disney World and you figured you just need someplace to rest your head at night. But when you check-in, that’s when you discover the bathroom is shared with everyone on the floor, there’s police tape strung across the the door to the room next to yours, and you see prostitutes wandering in the parking lot. Maybe this deal WAS too good to be true.

Do your research. There’s plenty of information available to educate yourself on discounted travel mastery. Most of it is available for free; some of it you may have to pay for if you don’t want to do the research. Go to travel websites and forums specific to the type of trip you’re planning to take: Cruise, adventure tour, etc. If you are itching to take a trip that you don’t want to pay full price for, and you opt to pay for money-saving travel information online, I’d recommend that you only consider offers that give you a 100% money-back guarantee. If you don’t get great money-saving travel tips, at least you can get your money back.

Follow these simple practices, and you’ll have the luxury you want on a shoestring budget.