Frugal Travel Tips
A few frugal travel tips will ensure that you can "get your travel on" when that longing for far away places takes hold.
Budget traveling does not in any way diminish the vacation experience, in fact, it can be quite the opposite. Many of our suggestions put you in closer touch with the people and lifestyle at the places you visit.
Here are some ideas that take a big bite out of your travel expenses while still delivering the "vacation to remember" adventure.
Frugal Travel Tips That Seriously Stretch the Vacation Budget
- House sit - One of our favorite frugal travel tips is house
and/or pet sitting. You can house sit your way around the
world or start a perpetual staycation close to home. There are lots of
resources on the internet and my
preference are the ones that have a large database and allow a visitor
to look at what they have for listings, and even set up a profile,
before paying for a membership. Sites like
Trusted Housesitters and Housecarers have a large database
of sits and sitters to choose from.
More about being a house sitter.
- House swap - Instead of leaving your house unoccupied, consider a
vacation house swap. It's an idea gaining considerable ground
and it addresses some issues that crop up when you travel. Having someone live in the house appeases insurance companies and
discourages lowlifes who look for homes with evidence that the owners are away.
Occupants notice little things - like leaks, before they become big things - like floods.
But the very best part is that you're living in their house while they're in yours.
- Take the bus - The bus is an experience that shouldn't be
missed and it's a super cheap way to get around and mix with the
Some of the most interesting things we've seen have been while riding
public transport. In Mexico, don't be surprised if someone boards
and starts strumming a guitar and breaks out into song - some more
talented than others. They collect tips then depart a few stops further
In Antigua we boarded a small bus and quickly all of the seats were
taken. A woman tapped me on the shoulder and pointed. Wide planks
had appeared from somewhere and the passengers were placing them
between the seats (one end on each seat straddling the aisle)
making more room. Once the bus was full from one side to the other,
we were off!
- Get a kitchenette - If you decide on hotel type
accommodation, opt for a kitchenette. You can save a ton by making some
of your own meals. And while you're saving all that money you get
the experience of shopping for ingredients and meeting people
who are knowledgeable about the area you're visiting.
- Shop at local markets
- Find out where and when the market is.
When we visited Antigua WI the open market was teeming with
vegetables, fruits and spices some of which were familiar and others we
could only guess at.
Chuckling at our naiveté the vendors answered our questions, encouraged
us to sample their goods and bagged our purchases.
We selected nutmeg with the mace still clinging to its outer shell and
an assortment of fruits and veggies for next-to-nothing
while the heartbeat of Antigua washed over
us. In Mexico, most towns have a
roving market place where the vendors set
up once a week. They make the circuit and sell their wares in
a different pueblo each day of the week. It's an experience to walk
through and if you're looking for anything
from clothing to tools to farm fresh vegetables the market is the where
you should start. Once, at a market in Las Varas, a bent and withered
slowly wheeled his rickety barrow through the shoppers. It was half
filled with honey and a towering honeycomb tottered in its midst with
the bees still hovering around.
- Eat local fare - The least expensive way to go is to eat
what and where the locals eat and truly experience the gastronomy of the
you're visiting. Foods grown nearby and in season are always
the least expensive, the freshest and the tastiest too. Imported
goods always cost more so immerse yourself in the regional culture
and save some bucks at the same time.
- Do lunch instead of supper- When you decide to go out for a meal make it lunch (or breakfast or brunch). Supper menu items
are priced about 50% higher than morning and afternoon meals. It's better to eat your big meal early in the day anyway.
- Long term accommodations - If your stay will be for weeks
or months book only one week accommodations online.
Online booking is convenient but frequently you can get way better
prices if you walk around and ask around once you reach your
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Articles for the Shoestring Traveler