Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Travel on a budget


I love to travel, but it can get expensive, especially when you live in Australia so you are hours from anywhere. Today I am guest posting at PFFirewall with 5 tips for overseas travel from my recent experience with a conference in Chicago. Today I am sharing just a couple of the things I have done to save money traveling. I have been to the USA twice, New Zealand and on various trips around Australia. Along the way I have learnt a few things which saved us a lot of cash.

Stay with others
If you can, staying with others can save you a lot of money. We often stay with friends or family. I cannot even begin to imagine how much money this has saved us. We let people stay with us and growing up we often stayed with others. Sometimes it is squishy and it is not always as awesome as staying a flash hotel, but I love staying with people I know because I get to really catch up with them, it's is more like being at home and when you are with locals, they can let you know the best places to go, get discounts and things for you.

Research
Know where you are going, what free things there are to do and see, where you can get coupons or vouchers for a discount to attractions and what the best times of year to go are. Many holiday locations are cheaper just after school has gone back or once the season has finished. For example with snow fields they have an official ski season, but there is often snow before and after that season. It is much cheaper to go then.

Don't fully plan everything
We pretty much booked our first night or two wherever we were going if not staying with friends and just winged the rest. Yes, I flew to the other side of the world with my first night accommodation booked in LA, the next night in Las Vegas, 2 nights with friends, then nothing for a week, 5 days with another friend, then 1 more night booked and that was it. I was gone for 3 1/2 weeks, but only had planned part of my holiday.

Usually failing to plan results in things costing you more, but by not planning exactly here is what I got:
- Free accommodation for over half my trip including LA and a house on a beach in Maui.
- Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure park were free
- Free meals for most of my trip
- I did not need to hire a car at all
- Free souvenirs and
- I got to see everything I wanted for about 1/3 of the price we expected

Some times it was stressful, but ultimately I would travel that way again.

One thing I did not look in to properly and it probably cost me a bit, but I wasn't so financially savvy then was which credit card to use and how to avoid transaction fees overseas. This week I am guest posting at mozo about this. Click here to check it out.

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