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Low budget travel tips

Low budget travel tips

Old May 20, 2019, 11:19 pm
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: LTN
Programs: Aeroflot Bonus, British Airways Executive Club
Posts: 464
Originally Posted by Doc Savage
Exchanging money at home is often one of the worst ways to do it. Use a debit card at an ATM in your destination.
I don't agree with you. Exchanging money at home on online banking, then taking out cash from the bank, is one of the best way to acquire currency where I live provided that the bank account supports such currency. The spread paid is usually less than the overseas fee of a debit card, and there are very few fee-free cards offered where I live (there are only 2 such cards I know - one requires a high-level banking account, another have 3% spread which makes the deal not worthwhile except in small amounts).

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.

But it's good to know that not everyone is stuck with a terrible plan like me, I guess!
I have never seen a plan where receiving SMS costs money - and I need those SMS because sometimes banks send SMS asking me to dial back to confirm an overseas transaction which I open Viber and dial back.

Originally Posted by Jay71
Currency exchange is a very destination and card type dependent IMO. Eg. Nearly all ATM's in Bangkok charge a 150-200B foreign card fee. The problem with getting cash exchanged in your home country is that the spreads on the less traded currencies is typically huge. Ideally, you're travelling with a no forex fee CC. With bank/ATM cards, you need to identify what usage fees they have (ideally none) and what kind of spread they charge on top of the interbank spot rate.
Unfortunately there are no Visa/MasterCards with no forex fee issued here - the cheapest fee is 1%, and most are 1.95%. However, most UnionPay cards come with no forex fee. Therefore if UnionPay is accepted I use UnionPay, otherwise I use cash unless there is credit card promotion / rebate for that card.

Originally Posted by EmailKid
Refundable tickets are not for Budget Travelers, as they often cost 5X more that cheapest tickets, often costing MORE than Business Class or domestic First Class.
Aeroflot is an exception to this - a fully refundable ticket usually costs about only 15% - 20% more than a non-refundable one, and a partially refundable ticket (with US$40 penalty for refundable) sometimes costs only 5% more. Therefore I sometimes grab a refundable ticket before my itinerary is completely fixed when the lowest booking class is still wide-open.

Originally Posted by ticoride
Hey Christhewriter..

Good Points for low budget travel. But somehow i would not agree withe some of your points like eating the street food. Well I think for cheaper meal one must not put his health in danger as we do not know what the quality of food is. Also, the prices of taxicabs are not same in all countries. I am from Costa Rica and in our country people can hire different transportation services whether shared and private. Shared options costs less as compared to private. So, it better to have a thorough research while visiting any country.
For me, if a restaurant is popular with locals, it is a good restaurant such that I will go in. I don't believe that a popular restaurant will likely have health issues.

To conclude, here are some points about budget travel I have done in my previous years:
  1. Never use a taxi unless it is shared by 3 / 4 / 5 people - I have never taken a taxi in a foreign country unless it is shared among my friends. If you are finding inadequate public transportation, rearrange your itinerary such that public transportation is available when you are visiting.
  2. If single-journey public transport is expensive, either avoid it completely, or buy a day ticket. Rearrange your itinerary such that you are taking public transport in the minimal amount of days, and no public transport on the other days. This advice does not apply to where public transport single ticket is cheap, for example in Russia.
  3. If you are visiting attraction outside the city centre, book a hotel room in a nearby town, and take the long-distance bus from the city on the evening before. This will be definitely cheaper than staying all the way inside the city and taking long-distance bus on the day you are going to the attraction. However the drawback is that, you will need to carry all your luggage as you will change hotels very often, and usually hit with evening peak traffic when you are heading to the outskirt suburb along with commuters off their work in the city. This the major reason I try to stay with carry-on only.
  4. Eat where the locals eat. This is self-explanatory. Bring a phone with offline translation installed to read the menu.
  5. Go to festivals. This is the whole point of travelling and you may meet new friends.
  6. Stay in hostels and cook there (preferably for breakfast). You will save money and meet new friends. Use your money to dine out at a good quality lunch buffet such that you can skip an expensive dinner.
  7. Buy museum packages if you are going to visit museums.
  8. Buy a local SIM card if you are staying for more than a few days, and enjoy unlimited domestic 4G data for €0.99 / day as in the case in Finland. Then call using Viber or Skype. This does not apply in Turkey. Avoid international roaming unless your trip is only for 1 or 2 days where the start up cost of a local SIM may not be worthwhile.
  9. Stock up your supplies in the city before heading out to the countryside.
  10. Avoid long-distance cross-border transport - this usually comes with a premium when compared to using local transport. Try to use local transport to the furthest point possible, visit the attractions along the route, and only take the long-distance transport for the shortest possible segment necessary. This only applies to the case when the long-distance transport makes rural stops along the route, and the fare is sold according to the distance travelled.

Last edited by miklcct; May 20, 2019 at 11:52 pm
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Old May 21, 2019, 2:39 am
Join Date: Jan 2015
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Find the kitschiest, most overpriced hop-on, hop-off tourist bus, pick up a free brochure map for it and walk its route. This will, in most cities, take you all the main attractions.
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Old May 27, 2019, 2:18 am
Join Date: May 2019
Posts: 13
Originally Posted by biteee
My top ways to travel cheap:

-Travel off season or shoulder season
-Eat local
-Walk or take local transport. Never use taxis or tourist buses
-Use budget carriers rather than major carriers for short hops between countries
-If I'm staying somewhere 5 days or more in (expensive countries) I always price apartment stays. They are frequently less expensive than hotels and I like being able to have breakfast before heading out.
haha. I often do it
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Old May 27, 2019, 2:08 pm
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: YYC/MNL
Programs: Marriott Bonvoy SE
Posts: 520
I agree with everyone on this thread with flying budget airlines, searching for sales like Kayak or comparing prices vs. AirBNB, and eating local etc.

But the one thing people tend to forget is the value of 'time'. Sure, Hotel A is way cheaper than Hotel B but it'll take more time getting to Hotel A vs. Hotel B.

Value of time is subjective to each person and if you're stuck, you can use your hourly wage; divide it by 60 minutes; you have a price per minute.

You save $200 on Hotel B vs. Hotel A
However, it will take you 30 minutes to get to Hotel A
Let's say you make $20/hr
That trip will cost you $10 of 'time' + transportation cost

Your savings will fluctuate based on your value of time and the relevant cost of getting there. Sticker shock of the value of time is more substantial on layovers.

Time is money! Cherish it Happy travels.
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Old Jun 20, 2019, 4:52 am
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 24
Same experience with miklcct, found better rates at home than overseas. Never exchanged money at the airport unless it's a small amount that can be used for public transportation.
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Old Jul 20, 2019, 1:58 am
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 2
Originally Posted by christhewriter
A few tips I've learned from my trips:

1. Travel off season.
2. Eat at street.
3. Avoid taxicabs and its high rates.
4. Buy your flight tickets with months in advance.
5. Pack light and avoid extra charges at airlines.

1. Shop at farmer’s markets and local stores.
2. Carry snacks/water during outings.
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Last edited by EmailKid; Oct 24, 2019 at 3:37 pm Reason: Really no reason for bolding
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Old Aug 3, 2019, 10:19 pm
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: SNA
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Day passes on public transportation can be phenomenal deals. For e.g. i purchased a 3-day Ventra card in Chicago for $20 and went all over the city on the cheap. As a bonus it worked for transfers to and from the airports, both ORD & MDW.

Paired with Google maps public transportation option it is unbeatable. It tells you the route, stops, transfers etc etc
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Last edited by PilgrimsProgress; Aug 3, 2019 at 10:35 pm
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Old Aug 4, 2019, 12:54 am
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Poland
Posts: 869
Try to find all of the local apps. For example, Uber & Lyft were common in the US, but here Bolt is a fraction of the cost and the drivers are professional and dependable. There are all sorts of apps to help you get around using public transportation also that make it a lot easier. Check into that hotel app that will only contact you via SMS (It's similar to Priceline, but because it's done via SMS they can tell you the name of the hotel which means that you can check out reviews in advance. I believe it's called SnapTravel and is offered with several different apps. That being said, they are not always the cheapest, just usually the cheapest.)

Depending on where you're traveling to, negotiating on price might be appropriate and expected. It seems to depend on the country though, so please keep that in mind. I've gotten some great discounts and upgrades simply by asking politely though. Not really a budget tip, but always ask the front desk to put you on a floor with good wi-fi. They seem to know where the complaints come from and can easily book you into a room with more consistent wi-fi.
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Old Sep 17, 2019, 11:26 am
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: GRR
Programs: Delta Plat & Million Miler
Posts: 1,382
1. Buy useful souvenirs (I have a very cool doorstop from Berlin).
2. Buy souvenirs in local groceries and drugstores.
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Old Oct 24, 2019, 12:40 pm
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 8
One option is to rent apartments in airbnb! They are as cheap as low quality hotels with the added benefit of a kitchen. If you are traveling with mates it is perfectly priced imo
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Old Oct 26, 2019, 9:56 pm
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Poland
Posts: 869
I've got to add one more. Don't forget to check sites like Groupon. I know it can be hit on miss with deals on there, but I recently saw a deal at a hotel that was less than a 5 - 10 minute walk from Old Town for $35 and included 2 meals per day. Use a cashback site and a 20 - 30% off Groupon coupon and there's just no way that you could beat it. I think I saw that your meals are limited to pasta dishes, eggs/bread for breakfast and such, but even still it seemed like an amazing deal.
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Old Oct 27, 2019, 1:20 am
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Bregenz, Austria
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The big one: Travel out of season.

Doing this saves a massive amount of money. I am now on my way to the Italian Adriatic coast, where the weather is still around 22c/70f but the season has completely shut down.

I have booked a room at a 4* hotel with balcony and sea view. The price: $157 for 5 nights, including full breakfast and all taxes. That's not per night, that's the total.
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Old Nov 6, 2019, 2:55 am
Join Date: Nov 2019
Posts: 4
Buy your bus tickets when traveling in multiple cities with months in advance. When I buy ticket 3 months in advance I save cca. 70%.
Also, take the bus instead of plane and save.

Eat one meal out. Cook in the hostel. Buy food in grocery market (especially in Sweeden, Norway, Finland, etc.).

Last edited by EmailKid; Nov 6, 2019 at 10:23 am Reason: Back to back posts
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Old Nov 6, 2019, 2:15 pm
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Tokyo
Posts: 63
Originally Posted by Pupa84
Buy your bus tickets when traveling in multiple cities with months in advance. When I buy ticket 3 months in advance I save cca. 70%.
Also, take the bus instead of plane and save.

Eat one meal out. Cook in the hostel. Buy food in grocery market (especially in Sweeden, Norway, Finland, etc.).
I think I will save my back instead. Plane vs bus usually means too long in a suspended meat locker (= freezing bus). Not worth the savings IMO.
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Old Nov 6, 2019, 2:47 pm
Join Date: Jan 2015
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Originally Posted by kasmersensei
I think I will save my back instead. Plane vs bus usually means too long in a suspended meat locker (= freezing bus). Not worth the savings IMO.
Depends on the length of time.

A 6 hour daytime bus ride over messing around at airport security and all the waiting around? Give me the bus every time.

16 hours on a bus overnight? Forget it.
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