TRAVEL SECRETS AND TIPS
|Secrets Of Cheap Travel
by Steve Gillman
There are two ways to save money traveling.
The first way is to get the best deals on
the specific things you want. There is a limitation
to this type of approach though. If , for
example, you find the lowest price on the
best hotel in Honolulu at the height of the
season, you WILL save money, but still have
a very expensive vacation. Trying to get exactly
what you want, or what you think you want,
will generally be an expensive proposition,
in travel and in life.
Be A Travel Opportunist
The other approach is to be a true opportunist.
This will be difficult for some of you, and
entirely unacceptable to others. Nonetheless,
the travelers who get to travel the most,
go to the widest variety of places, learn
the most and do the most, are the opportunists.
This will be true until you are so wealthy
that you have no monetary limits.
The first time I went to Ecuador, I went there
because it was cheap. If it wasn't, I would
have had a great time - somewhere else. The
trip lasted a month, and cost $1045, which
included airfare and even the $130 fee for
a guide to take me to the top of glacier-covered
I cut the cost by taking a bus from my home
in Michigan to Miami, and back again when
I returned from Ecuador. The round-trip ticket
cost $158. The round-trip flight to Quito
from Miami was only $256, because it was a
courier flight, which meant I signed for some
luggage (car parts), and could only take carry-on
Never did I feel deprived, or bored. I had
a great time, eating wherever it was cheap
and clean, doing all sorts of inexpensive,
but interesting things, and traveling across
the country to climb Chimborazo. I also met
and fell in love with my wife Ana.
How To Become An Opportunist Traveler
Can you drink rum at a dollar per bottle,
instead of your favorite beer? Can you eat
chicken instead of steak? How about visiting
the free sights first, and dancing in the
street festival instead of the disco?
Being an opportunist means you'll have just
as much variety, and probably almost everything
you want - eventually. You just have to stop
trying to get exactly what you want exactly
when you want it. If the guide that took me
up Chimborazo hadn't dropped his price from
$200 to $130, I would have spent $2 for a
bus and gone hiking on El Altar, another great
Andean mountain. That would have left me with
enough money for several other minor adventures.
More Secrets Of Cheap Travel
Plane Tickets: My wife and I were planning
a trip to visit family in Ecuador. The cheapest
airfare from Traverse City, Michigan to Quito,
was $1720. Out of curiosity, I checked Miami
to Quito, and it was only $404. Airfare from
Traverse City to Miami was $300. Book two
separate flights and save more than $2000!
The discount sites aren't set up to search
in this way (yet), so you have to do this
on your own. By the way, the whole six-week
trip, which we took in 2004, cost $2400, including
losing $100, and being robbed of $174.
Food: Whether traveling here or in other countries,
it is usually cheaper to buy some healthy
snacks in a grocery store, rather than eat
every meal in a restaurant. When you do eat
in restaurants, it can be cheaper to to order
individual items on the menu from the list
of appetizers or side dishes. You also may
get more variety in that way.
Accomodations: For a long trip, you may want
to rent an apartment in an interesting city.
We did this for two months in Tucson, for
about $600 less per month, compared to even
the cheaper motels. Watch for hotel coupon-books
in gas stations. The coupons will often save
you $10 on a room you would have stayed in
anyhow. If you have a conversion van or RV,
you can camp a couple nights a week, like
we do, to save on motels. We love the hotsprings
we've stayed at, for a $3 fee to the BLM,
instead of $40 for the cheapest motel in the
Travel Expenses: Do more and travel less.
It is often the traveling part that costs
the most, due to the cost of gas, convenient
fast food, and expensive hotels you are forced
to pay for when you just can't drive any further.
So if you find a place with a reasonable motel,
and a lot to do in the area - stay for a while!
About The Author
Steve Gillman first hit the road on his own
when at sixteen, and traveled alone across
the United States and Mexico at 17. Now 40,
he continues to travel and backpack with his
wife Ana, whom he met in Ecuador. Many of
his stories, plus tips and information on
travel and lightweight backpacking, can be
found on his websites, http://www.EverythingAboutTravel.com,