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Low budget travel tips

Low budget travel tips

Old Mar 17, 2016, 7:05 pm
  #16  
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Originally Posted by EmailKid
Yes, but data plans in many countries are inexpensive, and allow you to buy train or local transportation on smartphone. Also can have transit maps - so while this works for you, I believe form many if not most, this is a bad "tip."

I have a couple of antique "smart" phones, and just slap a SIM for whichever contry I'm currently visiting. At the moment, that would be US.
I agree this is very much a matter of personal choice. Yes, technology can be useful and many people couldn't bear to be without it. I just enjoy having a break from it - it adds to the feeling of being in a far away place. It also removes the temptation to spend half the vacation glued to a 4" screen. It really is throroughly liberating. Try it some time - you might like it!
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Old Mar 17, 2016, 7:18 pm
  #17  
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Originally Posted by The_Bouncer
It also removes the temptation to spend half the vacation glued to a 4" screen. It really is throroughly liberating. Try it some time - you might like it!
Does not apply to me, as I'm not glued to my antique smart phone to begin with

Do have a bad habit of spending too much time in front of a 27" screen

But, to each his own.
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Old Mar 17, 2016, 7:31 pm
  #18  
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http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/budge...vel-items.html

This thread has hundreds of suggestions.
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Old Mar 18, 2016, 11:07 am
  #19  
 
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Originally Posted by WillTravel
For most plans, receiving text messages won't cost you anything. But definitely turn off roaming.
I'm from Canada (with Telus) and with my cell phone, unless I remove the SIM card, I receive text messages, which cost $0.60 in the US and $1.50 internationally. There is no way to disable this without removing the SIM card.

The only other option is to use airplane mode, but then I can't use wifi.

But it's good to know that not everyone is stuck with a terrible plan like me, I guess!
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Old Mar 18, 2016, 11:12 am
  #20  
 
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Originally Posted by EmailKid
Your profile does not list your country, but I can tell you that for Canadian and especially US based travelers, that is about the WORST advice you can give.

Trying to exchange $$$ to foreign currency is very painful in US, and with ATMs it is much easier and usually cheaper to exchange / use ATM once you get there.
Sorry, but I couldn't disagree more strongly. I am indeed Canadian, and if I shop around in my city, I can find great rates for buying foreign currency (I often pit one exchange boutique against the other to get an even cheaper rate!). The rates are WAY cheaper than at the banks.

But once in a foreign country, if I withdraw from an ATM, not only do I get hit with a $5 flat fee every time I withdraw, but I'm also forced to use the unfavorable exchange rate imposed by my bank (TD).
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Old Mar 18, 2016, 11:22 am
  #21  
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Originally Posted by gonebabygone
Sorry, but I couldn't disagree more strongly. I am indeed Canadian, and if I shop around in my city, I can find great rates for buying foreign currency (I often pit one exchange boutique against the other to get an even cheaper rate!). The rates are WAY cheaper than at the banks.
Don't know where you are finding these exchange places, but I can tell you that the ones around Inner Harbour in Victoria have HORRIBLE surcharges, and rates aren't much better than banks.

Guess we'll have to agree to disagree.

Originally Posted by gonebabygone
But once in a foreign country, if I withdraw from an ATM, not only do I get hit with a $5 flat fee every time I withdraw, but I'm also forced to use the unfavorable exchange rate imposed by my bank (TD).
The only place where I get hit with a large fee is Thailand - my Credit Union charges a small fee, and the exchange rate is OK.

Perhaps visit Credit Card forum to see if someone can advise you to choose a better bank @:-)
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Old Mar 18, 2016, 12:25 pm
  #22  
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Originally Posted by gonebabygone
I'm from Canada (with Telus) and with my cell phone, unless I remove the SIM card, I receive text messages, which cost $0.60 in the US and $1.50 internationally. There is no way to disable this without removing the SIM card.

The only other option is to use airplane mode, but then I can't use wifi.
What sort of phone do you have?
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Old Mar 18, 2016, 8:14 pm
  #23  
 
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Originally Posted by EmailKid
Don't know where you are finding these exchange places, but I can tell you that the ones around Inner Harbour in Victoria have HORRIBLE surcharges, and rates aren't much better than banks.
Hmmm, wonder if it's a big city thing? I'm in Montreal, and along St-Catherine Street, I can hit seven different ones between Concordia and McGill, all cheaper than the bank.

But now you've got me wondering if this is maybe a Montreal thing...?
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Old Mar 18, 2016, 8:17 pm
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Originally Posted by nux
What sort of phone do you have?
I have an old iphone 4. I don't have a data plan, so cellular data is always off. But I don't know of any way to prevent incoming texts or phone calls other than removing the SIM. If you know of a way please do share!
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Old Mar 19, 2016, 4:33 am
  #25  
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Originally Posted by gonebabygone
I have an old iphone 4. I don't have a data plan, so cellular data is always off. But I don't know of any way to prevent incoming texts or phone calls other than removing the SIM. If you know of a way please do share!
Turn on airplane mode then enable wifi.
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Old Mar 19, 2016, 10:55 am
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Originally Posted by gonebabygone
Hmmm, wonder if it's a big city thing? I'm in Montreal, and along St-Catherine Street, I can hit seven different ones between Concordia and McGill, all cheaper than the bank.

But now you've got me wondering if this is maybe a Montreal thing...?
I get great rates with no fee at Vancouver Bullion & Currency Exchange (several locations in Vancouver).
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Old Mar 19, 2016, 11:29 am
  #27  
 
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Originally Posted by WillTravel
I get great rates with no fee at Vancouver Bullion & Currency Exchange (several locations in Vancouver).
We use VBCE too but mainly for major currencies and for the convenience.
Charlie's Currency Exchange on Granville has better rates for the more common currencies. However, they interestingly only deal in cash (no debit).
[There are also a lot of sketchy currency exchanges in Richmond with good rates. There's been some interesting articles in the paper about money being transferred from China to Vancouver via these currency exchanges to buy real estate.]

We generally find exchanging for hard currency in Vancouver before a trip particularly not worth it if we're going somewhere like Vietnam and the currency falls under the "exotic" category since the spreads are pretty big.
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Old Mar 19, 2016, 2:54 pm
  #28  
 
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Great, I'll try that, thanks!

Originally Posted by nux
Turn on airplane mode then enable wifi.
Worked perfectly :-)

Thanks again!

Last edited by EmailKid; Mar 19, 2016 at 3:41 pm Reason: Merged back to back posts
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Old Mar 20, 2016, 6:06 am
  #29  
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Originally Posted by gonebabygone
Oh, and always exchange your money in your home country, where you can shop around for the best rate!
I never would exchange my money to chinese yuan outside of China (for example).
The rate is just terrible.
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Old Mar 21, 2016, 10:34 am
  #30  
 
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Originally Posted by qpr
I never would exchange my money to chinese yuan outside of China (for example).
The rate is just terrible.
Interesting! This is making me want to double check.

xe.com tells me that 1 Yuan is worth 0.2013 CDN. The exchange bureau near my house is selling Yuan for 0.2106.

Could I really get a much better rate in China?

I'm not trying to be obtuse, I'm truly trying to determine if my current strategy is a good one!
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