50 Easy Ways to Stretch Your Travel Dollars
CAN SAVE YOU DOLLARS -- Seek out folks in
your city who were born and raised where you plan to visit.
They often 'go home' to visit and are experts on how to get
the best airfares. They also have contacts who can suggest
small, safe places to stay that aren't always listed in guidebooks.
FROM THRIFT SHOPS -- Why spend more money
for cute momentos in souvenir shops when you can have the
real thing for less? Check out the local thrift shops in the
cities you are visiting. Look for something quirky and original.
I still treasure a serving spoon purchased in a small shop
in Copenhagen, Denmark. (Evelyn, Toronto, Canada)
CONSIDER A HOME
EXCHANGE -- The best way to save money is
to avoid hotels. My solution? I swap my home using the websites
Homelink and Intervac.
I've exchanged homes with people in England (many times),
Belgium, Portugal, USA, and Australia and love the experience.
Meeting the neighbours and relatives; shopping in the local
grocery stores; using public transportation; and living like
a local is the best way to experience a country. With no hotel
bills and cooking some of your meals, you can afford to travel
more often. P.S.
If I cannot find a home exchange, I rent an apartment and
save money on meals. (Margot in Halifax, NS)
CARRY A PACKAGE
OF BLANK CARDS FROM THE DOLLAR STORE -- I
like to be prepared. When you travel there are so many situations
when a thank you note is both important and pleasing. Or,
you meet someone who has a birthday that day and you want
to surprise them with your good wishes. Greeting cards are
expensive. A pack of ten cards for $1.00 from the dollar store
back home are not.
LOOK FOR PUBLIC
LIBRARIES -- They are a great place for catching
up on newspapers, looking through guidebooks, some allow complimentary
use of their computers with internet connection and I'm always
amazed at the quality of their Speakers Programs and the films
that are absolutely free. Excellent example is the Women's
Library in London.
OWN TREATS -- Before you leave, buy almonds,
raisins and other dried fruits. In a bowl combine these with
thin, non-salted pretzels. Fill snack size plastic bags with
this mixture and you have treats to pop into your backpack
when you're on the road.
BRING YOUR BREAKFAST
FROM HOME -- I pack instant oatmeal packages
and use the in-room coffee maker to make hot water. Put the
oatmeal in a coffee cup, pour and stir. Voila, instant breakfast
for less than 50 cents. (Tracy, Fredericton, Canada)
SOME GIFT IDEAS
THAT DON'T BREAK THE BANK -- I'm a single
mom who travels with her five year old son. To avoid buying
too much I try to save my shopping for the end of the trip.
I make most of my purchases at flea markets. Sometimes grocery
stores have really neat things that you can't find at home.
In Poland my son bought "polish' bubble gum, a bookmark
and some chocolates. Coins and currency make cool gifts (I
use left over currency that we didn't spend). Postcards are
often cheap and buying a few gives us nice memories. I take
many photos of us and the things we love. They make beautiful
gifts in an album or picture frame or on a compilation CD.
(Christine, Corinth, Texas, USA)
DON'T BE AFRAID
TO ASK -- If your hotel room doesn’t
come with a fridge, ask the hotel if they can supply one at
no extra charge. Then keep breakfast items and snacks like
yogourt, milk and fruits. Also comes in handy for storing
leftovers like that half wrap you couldn’t finish but
might want later or tomorrow for breakfast. Ditto for a kettle.
(Debra, Toronto, Canada)
IN GROCERY STORES ARE ALWAYS CHEAPER -- Looking
for smart, inexpensive gifts to bring home? Buy store brand
cookies and teas in foreign grocery stores. They look ordinary
there but take them home and their packaging becomes unique.
These goodies are now imported and they make wonderfully posh
presents for pals.
Women's words on travel and money...
are few certainties when you travel. One of them is that the
you arrive in a foreign country your country's dollar will
fall like a stone.'
(Erma Bombeck, 1991)
abroad if you see something you yearn for
if you can afford it at all, buy it. If you don't you'll regret
it all your life.
(Ilka Chase, 1965)
'I think that
to get under the surface and really appreciate the beauty
of a country,
one has to go there poor.'
(Grace Moore, 1944)