Cheap Travel Secrets
There are two ways to save money traveling. The first way is
to get the best deals on the specific things you want. There
is a limitation to this type of approach though. If , for
example, you find the lowest price on the best hotel in
Honolulu at the height of the season, you will save
money, but still have a very expensive vacation. Trying to
get exactly what you want, or what you think you want, will
generally be an expensive proposition, in travel and in
Be A Travel Opportunist
The other approach is to be a true opportunist. This will be
difficult for some of you, and entirely unacceptable to
others. Nonetheless, the travelers who get to travel the
most, go to the widest variety of places, learn the most and
do the most, are the opportunists. This will be true until
you are so wealthy that you have no monetary limits.
The first time I went to Ecuador, I went there because it
was cheap. If it wasn't, I would have had a great time -
somewhere else. The trip lasted a month, and cost $1045,
which included airfare and even the $130 fee for a guide to
take me to the top of glacier-covered Mount Chimborazo.
I cut the cost by taking a bus from my home in Michigan to
Miami, and back again when I returned from Ecuador. The
round-trip ticket cost $158. The round-trip flight to Quito
from Miami was only $256, because it was a courier flight,
which meant I signed for some luggage (car parts), and could
only take carry-on luggage.
Never did I feel deprived, or bored. I had a great time,
eating wherever it was cheap and clean, doing all sorts of
inexpensive, but interesting things, and traveling across
the country to climb Chimborazo. I also met and fell in love
with my wife Ana.
How To Become An Opportunist Traveler
Can you drink rum at a dollar per bottle, instead of your
favorite beer? Can you eat chicken instead of steak? How
about visiting the free sights first, and dancing in the
street festival instead of the disco?
Being an opportunist means you'll have just as much variety,
and probably almost everything you want - eventually. You
just have to stop trying to get exactly what you want
exactly when you want it. If the guide that took me up
Chimborazo hadn't dropped his price from $200 to $130, I
would have spent $2 for a bus and gone hiking on El Altar,
another great Andean mountain. That would have left me with
enough money for several other minor adventures.
More Secrets Of Cheap Travel
Plane Tickets: My wife and I were planning a trip to
visit family in Ecuador. The cheapest airfare from Traverse
City, Michigan to Quito, was $1720. Out of curiosity, I
checked Miami to Quito, and it was only $404. Airfare from
Traverse City to Miami was $300. Book two separate flights
and save more than $2000! The discount sites aren't set up
to search in this way (yet), so you have to do this on your
own. By the way, the whole six-week trip, which we took in
2004, cost $2400, including losing $100, and being robbed of
Food: Whether traveling here or in other countries,
it is usually cheaper to buy some healthy snacks in a
grocery store, rather than eat every meal in a restaurant.
When you do eat in restaurants, it can be cheaper to to
order individual items on the menu from the list of
appetizers or side dishes. You also may get more variety in
Accomodations: For a long trip, you may want to rent
an apartment in an interesting city. We did this for two
months in Tucson, for about $600 less per month, compared to
even the cheaper motels. Watch for hotel coupon-books in gas
stations. The coupons will often save you $10 on a room you
would have stayed in anyhow. If you have a conversion van or
RV, you can camp a couple nights a week, like we do, to save
on motels. We love the hotsprings we've stayed at, for a $3
fee to the BLM, instead of $40 for the cheapest motel in the
Travel Expenses: Do more and travel less. It is often
the traveling part that costs the most, due to the cost of
gas, convenient fast food, and expensive hotels you are
forced to pay for when you just can't drive any further. So
if you find a place with a reasonable motel, and a lot to do
in the area - stay for a while!
About the Author
Steve Gillman traveled alone across the U. S. and Mexico at
17. Now 40, he travels with his wife Ana, whom he met in
Ecuador. His stories, tips and information on travel and
backpacking, can be found on his websites,
http://www.EverythingAboutTravel.com, and http://www.TheUltralightBackpackingSite.com
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