Money Saving Strategies & Resources

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Here are some very powerful and helpful travel tips, resources, and unique cost-saving bargains strategies:

Travel off peak season - see more on this below
'Follow the Disaster' - look for places with recent bad news. People hold back from traveling there long after it is safe again and bargains can be great. See more below about this very powerful travel bargain-finding strategy.
Explore a region more rather than flying to many destinations
Use the Internet to find bargains (see many great websites below)
Look for 'last minute' travel deals often available as much as 2-3 months before departure - see more on this below
Include less expensive but interesting smaller cities and towns
Eat in local restaurants for better prices and more unique local travel experience
Get to know locals and other travelers. Enjoy experiences with them and the fun places they suggest instead of many expensive tourist attractions
Take home great photos and memories and less souvenirs

2) Sample of over 200 specially selected and described Travel Websites and Apps in our travel book Plan Your Escape®:
Studies show best for Airfare deals: Skyscanner.com
International Flights and Trip Planning: AirTreks.com
• To find budget airlines in Europe: Flycheapo.com 
• Studies show best for hotel deals: HotelCombined.com 
Good for Hotels in Asia: Agoda.com 
Discounted Cruises: VacationsToGo.com
Good travel deals: TravelZoo.com   
Comprehensive Travel Resources:
   JohnnyJet.com
Travel Precautions and Vaccination 
   Requirements - CDC: wwwnc.CDC.gov/travel
Research countries' Visa requirements: travel.state.gov
Research City & Country Destinations: WikiTravel.org
User Reviews for Hotels and other: TripAdvisor.com
Internet Forum to Answer Travel Questions - Lonely Planet's 'Thorn Tree': LonelyPlanet.com
Currency Conversion: Oanda.com/currency/converter
Airline Fare Tracking: Yapta.com
Spare Room and Private Studio Apartments: AirBnB.com 
Rent Your Home or Rent a Home: VRBO.com 
House Trading: HomeExchange.com
Budget Hotels and Hostels: HostelBookers.com
Very inexpensive Phone Calls: Skype.com
Inexpensive Business/Travel cards: VistaPrint.com
Interested in Expat: InternationalLiving.com 

3) Good Mobile Travel Apps:
Yelp: Reviews 
Google Maps: Directions 
Google Translate: Language translation 
Uber: Ride Share 
Skyscanner: Locate best deals on airfare 
XE: Currency exchange 
TripIt: Trip organizer
FlightAware: Track the real-time status of any commercial flight worldwide
Measures HDAllows you to convert most everything (i.e. temperature, distance, currency).
World Clock Pro: See the time around the world.
National Gerographic World Altas HD: Download the entire globe onto your iPad. When countries are selected, details are displayed. You can download maps to use offline.

4) Best Day of the Week to Book Airfare: Travel deals on airfare can be found all week long. According to an expert source (Airline Reporting Corporation) that studies millions of airline ticket transactions, new trends are showing up. 

Sunday is the cheapest day to purchase U.S. domestic airfare with Saturday being the second least expensive day.


Sometimes early in the week many airlines release sales. By Tuesday afternoon (the third least expensive day), many competing airlines have matched or maybe beat the lower price. These sales sometimes last through Thursday, but because they often have very limited availability, you should check airfares on Tuesday (early Wednesday at the latest), and be ready to book.

Avoid Mondays and Fridays that tend to be the most expensive days.

Also, the average least expensive domestic airfare were purchased 57 days prior to traveling. For international flights, the lowest average rate is reported to be 171 days before leaving.

6) Achieve Great Travel Values Traveling During Off Season: One of the best secrets to enjoying your travel adventure and saving money is to go off-season, when you can achieve 20-50% savings off peak-season pricing.

The travel industry’s name for the best off-peak season times is called the ‘shoulder’ seasons. These occur immediately before and after the peak tourist season. In addition to better prices, during the “shoulder” seasons the weather is usually good and without the crowds. During a shoulder season, you often see 30% to 50% savings and sometimes even more. Yet, still enjoy good weather (sometimes better weather in fact) and the best that destination has to offer.

The travel industry’s name for when people typically do less travel to a destination is called the “off season” or “low season”. Low is actually a very appropriate name since at this time you can get the lowest prices on everything, sometimes 50% off or more. Plus, sometimes there are very good reasons to go during this period.

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page St St. Augustin
Traveling in different times of the year really gives you a better feel for the true flavor of a destination than just visiting in the height of peak-season. Often spring and fall have nicer weather, less crowds, and better bargains. In most places summers can be hot, expensive, and packed with tourists, especially when schools are out and most people take their vacations. Many Europeans take a month off in August and restaurants and other places can be closed and the remainder are filled to capacity, charging top-dollar.

It’s important to keep in mind that in the Southern Hemisphere the seasons are opposite of the Northern Hemisphere. In New Zealand they are skiing when Europeans are sweating in record-breaking temperatures. New Zealand’s peak summer and overall more expensive season is mid-December through early February when their schools are out. Traveling in the shoulder seasons, Pat and I had beautiful weather in New Zealand in November and in Chile and Argentina in late January and February.

The best time to go and off-peak seasons vary in different places in the world. You can easily learn the best times by consulting your travel guidebooks or searching on the Internet with a phrase such as “best time to go to Paris” or “shoulder season Miami”.

With a little careful planning you can save money, enjoy good weather, avoid the crowds, and have a better travel experience when traveling during the shoulder or off season.

7) Follow the Disaster: We have had some wonderful trips costing us almost half the normal cost by using our ‘follow the disaster’ travel-planning model. This idea takes some careful explanation. When a country experiences an unexpected tragedy and the 'news' reports the worst things, people will cancel their planned trip. For months, sometimes years, tourism will be significantly reduced to the whole country. What many people see as potential risk, we recognize as a potential travel bargain.

Let’s examine this concept a bit deeper. The terrible 9/11 incident in New York saddened and concerned all of us. As bad as it was, a couple of months later were you concerned to walk around your hometown? Would you have been concerned to visit San Francisco? If you answered ‘probably not’ then you are a candidate to consider the ‘follow the disaster’ travel-planning model. 

After the tsunami that hit Thailand in and around Phuket, Thailand became a travel bargain. Of course, Phuket in the south needed time to recover. We planned our Thailand trip to start in Bangkok over 500 miles away from Phuket and worked our way north to Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. What a wonderful trip! Hundreds of miles away there was no evidence of any problems and we took advantage of much reduced tourist crowds and amazing prices including our flight to Thailand.

We have benefited from many more examples of this. When China experienced the SARS outbreak, people were rightfully concerned about traveling there. Fortunately for us they stayed concerned long after the outbreak was over. For about half of what you would normally expect to pay, we took a terrific trip to China visiting the Great Wall, Forbidden City, and Tiananmen Square in Beijing; the terracotta soldiers in Xian; the beautiful canal city of Suzhou, and the modern city of Shanghai.

Even political and terrorist incidents can provide travel bargains. For a fraction of the normal prices we went to virtually unaffected places such as Bali after the bombing of the disco, Fiji after their coup, and more recently found amazing bargains during peak seasons in the Greek Islands after the demonstrations in Athens.

This concept also applies to economic recessions. Our 2-year travel adventure was much more affordable because we did it during the global economic downturn starting in 2009. We were able to negotiate much lower hotel prices even in peak times for hotels that were only 40% occupied when a couple years previously required a year in advance to get a reservation. Flights, tours, cruises, car rentals, and meals were all significantly more affordable.

A word of caution is more than appropriate when considering the ‘follow the disaster’ travel-planning model. First, ‘follow’ is the key word. Be sure conditions are safe where you are planning to visit. Usually you will have time to do so because people are overly concerned for a period of time after any disaster. Do your research, be aware of travel warnings, and talk to travel experts knowledgeable of the country you are planning to visit.

8) Travel Security - Staying Safe on the Road:

a) Fanny packs worn outside are a magnet for pickpockets. Use a money belt for your security wallet. Wear it under your clothing around your waist, hung around your neck, or stashed away in a leg of your pants.

b) When tired, confused, or using public transportation you are especially vulnerable. Take turns with your travel partner watching the luggage. Always be in close physical contact with your possessions. Be extra cautious anytime in crowded areas or if there is a disturbance because it is often a cover for a theft.


c) Tourist cars can be targets for thieves. Judge the safety of a parking place by the amount of broken glass indicating broken car windows. Paying to park in a garage with an attendant can be a good investment. Take everything, especially valuables and suitcases, out of your car when you leave it. 


Just Want to Keep Your Attention 
- Has Nothing to Do with This Travel Tip
d) You and your travel partner should each carry different ATM and credit cards from separate accounts. In case one of you gets their cards lost or stolen you will still have an ATM and credit card to use until they are replaced. 

e) Make sure the doors and windows of your hotel room are locked. Do this when you leave and when you are in your hotel room. Windows are often overlooked.

f) Be deliberate, confident, and walk with purpose. Looking confused, reading maps, or acting like a tourist may bring unwanted attention to you.

g) Use your common sense. Do not enter questionable streets or buildings especially at night. Staying in well lighted areas where other people are is usually a better option even if you have to walk a little further. Ask your hotel manager or other locals you meet to mark dangerous areas on your map.

h) Get into the habit of checking over your shoulder to see if you are being followed. Walk closer to the street to avoid hiding places in doorways. Cross the street if you do see a questionable person. Jump into a taxi if you feel uncomfortable about the area. They can take you back to your hotel or to a local landmark with which you are familiar.


i) Pickpockets and purse snatchers often use distraction in order to catch you off guard. Be extra cautious if someone drops something in front of you, touches you, or comes near you in a crowd with something like a jacket over their arm. Be particularly aware when using public transportation, in crowded areas, or when you are distracted watching something. Items hung over the back of chairs, placed on the floor, or left unattended (e.g. at the beach) are particularly vulnerable. When eating at sidewalk cafes, keep your bag under the table with the strap around your leg.

Travel is safe. Click on these links to learn more ways to help insure your safe travels:
Safeguard your money while traveling

Some online travel scams you should watch out for

9) Always Pay with a Credit Card: Fraudulent discount travel clubs and other operators have been known to take people’s money and run. Also, legitimate companies can go out of business. Credit cards are safer because you can dispute the charges if you do not get the promised services or they were misrepresented. For best protection, report any problem as promptly as you can. Also, call the airline, hotel, cruise, and car rental companies and verify that the reservation has been made for you.
10) Read the Fine Print: What you think is a great deal may have hidden costs and mandatory fees not included in the price. Airline flights often have additional fees. Hotels can add up to 20% extra to your bill for taxes and fees commonly named resort, service, parking, Internet, and energy. Car rentals may require additional insurance and other fees. Flight and hotel costs may be left out of a great deal on a cruise.

11) Check Your Passport and make sure that you have a validity of 6 months past the end of your planned trip. Also you can check for Visa requirements of countries you plan to visit at: travel.state.gov.

12) For Less Than the Cost of Flying, You Can Travel to or from Europe or Asia on Repositioning Cruises.

Miami to Barcelona
Here's why are repositioning cruises such a great travel bargain... Cruise ships need to be repositioned twice a year. For example, when the cruising season is over in the Caribbean, the cruise company will move their ships to Europe taking about 2 weeks (one week visiting port of calls and one week for the Atlantic crossing). Because most people do not have enough time for this type of travel and want to visit more ports of call returning to the same port they left from, repositioning cruises can be a bargain. The great thing is the cost of a repositioning 2-week cruise on sale can be about the cost of flight to your destination and there is no jet lag. 

Fort Lauderdale to Rome
We have done four repositioning cruises. Our days pass quickly. They include some interesting ports of call and while at sea, they schedule entertainment, interesting lectures, and special activities in addition to all the regular cruise features. We relax, read, eat well, play, enjoy the entertainment, exercise, and get to know some interesting people. Click here to see an example of a repositioning cruise.

Get a good deal: You can research repositioning cruises at: VacationsToGo.com.

13) Renting Your House: We rent our home to pay for our trips. We rented it for several weeks last summer and took a driving trip of California’s coastline. Many people prefer renting a furnished home with kitchens, etc. when they go on vacation. This could be for a week or so or for months.

Rentals during special seasons of the year usually receive a higher than average rent. One of our neighbors has rented their home to a European family every summer for years. Years ago, we rented our home for 6 weeks and took our son for his first tour of Europe. Other families must relocate for a few months for the parent’s work requirements.

Longer-term rentals can be done with people relocating within your town or moving to your area but who are not ready to buy a home. We rented our house for the 2 years we were on our round-the-world travel adventure (see our Profile below for more details). The rent covered our home expenses with a little extra positive cash flow. If you plan to have an extended trip, then you should consider renting your house arranging short stays with friends and family if you return for short periods of time. We use Vacations Rentals By Owner (VRBO.com) to find renters.

14) Home Exchange: Another option is to exchange (also known as house swap) your home reducing your lodging expenses while spending time to get to know another place in the world. Free or low cost long-term lodging can be obtained though home exchange. We have done a home exchange and it worked out well. You live in each other’s home and work out other arrangements like use of cars and home, maintenance, and pet care. To find more information about home exchanges, you can go to Intervac.com, HomeExchange.com, or HomeLink International.org.

15) Find Good Travel Values with Last Minute Travel: Last minute travel is defined as much as 2-3 months before departure with even better deals appearing the last few weeks. Although it is not always easy, being flexible will give you more options for the best last minute travel deals. Cruises, hotels, and sometimes airlines are the best bets for last minute deals. They want to book their offering so they will offer discounts if they are not full. Keep in mind most of the last minute travel deals will be nonrefundable and they do book out if you wait too long trying get an even better deal.

A good way to learn of last minute deals is to click on last minute deal offerings on the travel websites mentioned in this chapter. You can also sign up for their e-mail newsletters. Some other good travel websites that will alert you by e-mail of special travel deals and last-minute deals are: LastMinuteTravel.com, LastMinute.com, TravelZoo.com, BudgetTravel.com, and there are many others where you can sign up for the e-mail updates and newsletters.

16) Staying Healthy as you Travel Around: We all have overindulged while traveling. Many of us believe that following a healthy lifestyle is not important. Hey, “we are on vacation!” Here are some things we do with good luck of rarely being sick:

Water - Always drink plenty of clean bottled water.

Eating Healthy - We highly recommend trying local foods including pastries and desserts with all things in moderation. Make mealtime an enjoyable not hurried time. Studies show you eat less feeling satisfied if the meal is spread over time (at least 30 minutes). Avoid fast and junk foods and anything fried. Eat smaller portions – we often share one appetizer and one main course. Eat whole grains and stay away from processed grains low in nutrition and fiber and high in calories. The basic rule is nothing white.

Exercise - It is important to get plenty of exercise while traveling. Walking is a good way to do so. Walking is a great way to learn about the new places you are visiting and you will discover much more.

Sleep and Rest - Traveling and discovering new things can be stressful especially when your body is deprived of sleep and it is unable to rebuild and recharge itself. Sleeping in a new bed or on a plane surrounded by new noises sometimes adds difficulties. Try to create a sleep-promoting environment that is dark, cool, and comfortable. Starting late afternoon, do not have simulates such as nicotine and caffeine (i.e. coffee, tea, soft drinks), do not eat or drink too much close to bedtime, and turn off the TV. A white noise machine helps many people. Exercise done early in the day can reduce stress and promote sleep.

Manage Stress - Just as poor diet, lack of exercise, and not enough sleep, stress and worry can rob you of your vitality and joy of traveling. It is important to deal with stressful events as they come up. Try not to get agitated when stressful events happen. Take a couple of deep breaths and relax your shoulders. Then put the stressful event in perspective by giving yourself an affirmation such as “will this cause us to die?” or “is our whole trip ruined?” Most likely the event is not significant enough to cause you to have a bad day, damage your health, or diminish the enjoyment of your travel experience. If you can, try to laugh about it. Sometimes unexpected events create the best stories when you get home. Be flexible and create an alternative option. Many times our alternative plan turned out to be better than the original plan.

Sun - Exposure to the sun can lead to unhealthy sunburn and heat stroke. Long-term exposure can accelerate skin aging and cancer. It is wise to use sunscreen every day and reapply after you have been swimming. It is also wise to regularly wear polarized sunglasses and carry a hat and sunscreen in your daypack.

Wash Your Hands Often - Good old soap and water can be a blessing to your health by making it harder on microorganisms that cause illness. In addition to washing your hands before meals and after using the toilet, try to wash them whenever you can such as on flights, when you get back to your hotel, and after touching things or handling anything like animals. Carrying and using a small bottle of hand sanitizer can also be beneficial.

17) How to Choose the Best Travel Guidebook for You: Reading about our chosen destinations gets us excited and the anticipation of the trip is one of the wonderful things about traveling. If you do not have a favorite travel guidebook series you use, a good way to pick the right travel guidebook for you is to review the different guidebooks for a destination you have already visited. See how they rate places you visited and how their suggestions and descriptions fit your impression of the place. When you find one that agrees with your experience, style of travel, and other tastes, you have found your travel guide series for other places.

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