2/17/09

3 Budget Travel Tips to Stretch Your Dollar and Imagination



Think traveling this year is out of the question? You may be surprised to find some of the best travel deals around during this economic lull. The money may be limited but the opportunities aren't if you plan well. Here's three tips for your traveling stimulus:

  1. 2nd Tier Destinations: Think of this as getting the Monopoly community chest card, "Second Place in a Beauty Pageant." These spots won't be as mainstream, but they're definitely winners. Budget Travel lists Austin, Texas as budget hot spot for 2009. Lots of festivals means fun while new discount carrier flights equate cheaper tickets. Add Asheville, NC, Chattanooga, TN, and Savannah, GA to the list of gem cities.

  2. Accommodown: Always ending up at a business traveler's hotel? Why not opt out of amenities you're not using, and pick accommodations that fit your particular needs? Research online to find out bed and breakfast locations where you can email the proprietor and negotiate fees and what you'll be needing during your stay. (Bonus: Many are also pet friendly) Cabins and condos also provide seclusion and a better value for longer stays. Eating out can eat into your budget, so consider shopping for fresh local produce and utilizing the kitchen to trim fat off dining costs.

  3. Open Agenda: If you have some wiggle room with your vacation leave, you can score the best bargains. Set up a separate folder within your email and label it "Getaways." Save the info you get on destinations there, and even if you can't pounce on a certain offer, you'll notice trends in pricing. Sites like Kayak.com and Farecast.com help compile data from multiple vendors and let you know probabilities of rate fluctuations during the coming days. Make sure you factor in international fees for flights out of your home country, as must searches show the base fare without tax and fees. (Not so much for national travel, but can really add up for certain destinations beyond our borders) And don't neglect the rate of exchange, as your currency may go further.
It's a bit like math sprinkled with magic and an adventurer's heart, but budget travel can and should be had. Spend a little bit of time researching and your pockets will thank you.

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