Finding the right hotel for your vacation can be a tricky thing. In order to ensure you are choosing the best hotel for your needs and expectations, it is important to understand what the purpose of your trip actually is. If it is just you and a partner, for example, chances are you are going to be looking for a completely different type of hotel experience than would a family with young children.
In the new and wonderful world of budget airlines, there are new lessons to be learned. The ability to fly for a fraction of the price is a brilliant change, one that travelers have been calling for, for years and years. But the old rule of ‘there’s always some bad that comes with the good’ is even true here too. The way that budget airlines are able to offer such low costs is due to limited schedules and cutting down on the extra features and frills. But as the devil is in the details, they also make a boatload of money to those who skip the policies and the fine print. Some charge you for how many items you bring aboard the plane, others will stop you and measure your carry-on luggage, as well as weighing your check-in bags. But this wasn’t enough for some airlines – a few airlines have found more creative ways to make a quick buck from their customers.
When you’re backpacking the world, every little purchase can add up at an alarming rate. Most backpackers that I’ve met live on a shoestring budget – and I typically travel in a similar frugal way. Recently I’ve backpacked through Spain, Morocco, France and Italy – and knowing that I wanted to stay out as long as I possibly could, I started cutting corners and finding ways to get by on as little as possible. Some of these tips may seem like no-brainers, but you might be surprised at how many travelers thought that my frugal tips were brilliant, and many began changing their own traveling lifestyles as well.
While preparing for my first big travel venture - a six-week backpacking trek through Europe - a friend said to me, “Hey you’re on couchsurfing.org, right?”
“No. What’s that?”
“It’s a database of people that let you stay with them for free in places all over the world.”
“What??” I replied incredulously. “For free? But why would they do that? And how do I find them? And how do I know I can trust them?”
I took a chance. My very first couchsurfing host (in Paris) picked me up from the airport, cooked us delicious French food, showed me around the city on her day off, then left me alone in her home with a set of keys while she jetted off on her own vacation. I could get used to this.
Some of what I’m about to talk about may sound basic or redundant, but you wouldn’t believe the amount of mail that I receive from novice travelers asking for help with some of the more basic strategies of saving money when purchasing airfare.
But then again, there may be some tips that you've never heard of until now!
Ask yourself, do I need to stay in a four or five star hotel? Do I really need a mini bar or jacuzzi in my room? Am I so unwilling to step outside the box as to order American food through room service while I’m in Budapest and miss the local culinary experience?
The answer to all of the above is a big fat NO!
I always counter travel overspending with questions as to whether or not the purchase will bring me closer to the real culture and history of the place I’m touring. For example, will this five star Four Seasons help me meet the locals and get in touch with their personal perspectives on life? That’s another HUGE NO!
If getting in touch with the destination you’re visiting and you want to travel right, then I suggest to make it a habit of asking yourself those questions - besides, they can often save you money.
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