How to Travel During Tough Economic Times
Most people shudder at the thought of budget travel. It conjures up images of standby-by or red eye flights, questionable hotels and unrealistic travel tips that can turn a vacation into a complete nightmare. How do you take the focus off money and keep an open mind to create a sense of adventure? The answer is less about “budget” travel but rather smart travel with an element of creativity.
Getting From Here to There
Due to the high cost of air travel considering airport taxes, fuel and security taxes in a post 9/11 travel world, the largest expense when traveling is usually transportation. There are multitudes of internet discount travel sites that can occupy your vacation time just searching for that price break. But two sites consolidate the search by amalgamating all published fares into one search engine.
The site www.kayak.com is the easiest and cleanest to navigate. It searches 140 plus airlines at once to offer the most competitive fares. Kayak.com links you directly to travel sites rather than wholesaling products. According to their website, Kayak was in fact created by the founders of Orbitz, Travelocity and Expedia.
Another site is www.bookingbuddy.com, which is practical but not as inclusive as kayak.com. Airlines are fierce in competition for your business, so research is imperative. Once you have reached your destination, getting around can add up. If possible and safe, rely on city buses, subways, or walking. Going on foot allows you to see things you might miss in a subway or car and it allows you to go at your own pace. Most major metropolitan places have user friendly public transportation systems.
A Roof over Your Head
The next greatest expense can be lodging. The above mentioned sites to find lodging deals. Accommodations don’t have to be teenage-filled hostels, communal bathrooms or one star no tell motels. If you plan your stay mid week or start your stay on a Thursday; rates are usually less. Many hotels offer corporate or club discounts such as AAA for members.
A friend and fellow traveler from Atlanta, Georgia suggests “staying with friends or use the website www.couchsurfing.com to set up free places to stay.” The reputation of hostels precedes them as low grade lodging, but they are changing. An October 2007 travel story in the Los Angeles Times featured a story on the ten most unusual hostels including a castle in England at hostel prices (October 12, 2007 Travel section).