Over time hopefully we accumulate enough life experience to avoid certain things which are detrimental to us. For travelers, this is important , not only for the enjoyment of each trip, but for the ability to afford to travel. It's as easy as K-I-S-S , keep it simple stupid.
Everyone of us that loves to travel have made, at one time or another, a mistake, which has caused us to make that all important mental note, " I will never do that again ! "
Here is the accumulated wisdom I have garnered when it comes to saving money so I can enjoy my vacations with out my subconscious yelling at me.
1) DON"T BE LAZY- I DIDN'T KNOW THE HOTEL WAS NEXT TO THE GARBAGE DUMP !
If you are reading this, then you are most likely on the internet. The internet is your friend. Do your research. Google, Yahoo Dogpile or whatever search engine you like, the destinations, modes of transportation, points of interest and accommodations you have in mind. There are so many sites and blogs geared to providing information and reviews, where ever you want to go, someone has been there and is willing to tell you about it, how much it costs and what to avoid. The more opinions you get, the more of a complete and accurate picture you will have to base your decisions on.
2) BOOK IT YOURSELF- WHY DID HE PAY HALF OF WHAT I DID ?
Again, if you are reading this then I guess you didn't get a million dollar bonus this quarter. Why would you pay someone to do something which you probably can do better yourself. For instance, you have found the hotel you want to stay at, you have done the research on at least 5 travel sites and found the cheapest rate, you have searched for any coupons applicable to this hotel, now it's as easy as calling the hotel and asking for the best rate. Usually the online rate at the corporate site is the best but sometimes a travel site will have a better rate. Quote this better rate to the hotel and ask for the same, most of the time they will give it to you.
3) TRANSPORTATION- AIRLINES ARE NOT YOUR FRIEND !
If you can drive, drive.Having your own car allows you to be on your own timetable, visit what you want, when you want. If driving is not an option, whether it's cross continent or overseas, then again, don't be lazy. Find the best rate but, if it's too good to be true it usually is. Like flying into a secondary airport, will transportation to the city negate the savings ? How much do they charge for checked luggage. Cancellation rules, what are they. Remember this, airlines are there to make a profit and since most of them are so unprofitable, they will try anything, read the fine print ! Trains are a great way to travel especially in countries that value their rail networks. Most rail networks have passes available to save money on multiple trips.
4) PACKING- DO I REALLY NEED 15 T-SHIRTS ?
Pack efficiently but pack what you need. Don't assume you can purchase what you need where you are going, it's alway cheaper and easier ti buy your supplies at home. Medications, over the counter like sunscreen and anti bacterial lotions to prescriptions. Clothes, from bathing suites to gloves. Money, get yours at home from your bank not the machine in the airport, and last but not least, a travel sheet, nothing will ruin a vacation faster than a crummy bed, with a travel sheet, no worries.
5) FOOD- ARE THOSE SCORPIONS EDIBLE ?
Sampling the local fare is a large part of the travel experience but use your noggin. Just because Mr Bourdain ate it, doesn't mean you can. Street food is great just be sure to eat what a lot of others are eating. If locals eat there, then it's probably good. Search the web for highly recommended restaurants where you are going, food blogs are a great way to do this, nothing angers a food blogger more than a crummy restaurant, and , number one food rule ,don't eat in the hotel ! It's expensive and most of the time the food sucks.
So, there you have it, the accumulated wealth of my traveling acumen. You don't have to run a ponzi scheme to afford to travel, just KISS.