- June 27th 2012
Europe is a place full of different cultures, nationalities and customs. Deciding to go there on vacation is definitely something that everyone should consider at least once in their lifetime. Unfortunately the money side of things is always a problem, especially if you travel in peak seasons – such as in mid-summer, when all the kids are on the summer break. A great time to go to Europe is in the spring, as a lot of travel providers lower the cost of their prices as the demand is less.
Getting to Europe is no problem, but how do you travel comfortably and affordably when you get there? There are many cheap airline companies operating in Europe, such as EasyJet (UK), Germanwings (Germany) and Ryanair (Ireland). Here you can get book cheap flights around the continent without any hassle. However be warned that you don’t always get free check in baggage with the basic fee. With Ryanair you have to pay an additional amount to check up to 40lbs a bag. The airline, however, allows you to take on 20lbs worth of stuff onto the plane (for free)… although there are baggage dimensions that you have to adhere to. This is a great opportunity if you want to head to somewhere for a weekend or for a short break away.
Another idea would be to go ‘Inter-railing’. This involves using the train around Europe, going from one city to the next. InterRail offers a great selection of places to visit, and also gives you the option of booking hostels or hotels in the cities where you wish to spend some time. There are different passes that you can purchase to cover your trip around Europe. The two options that you can choose from are either a ‘one country pass’ or a ‘global pass’. It is definitely worth visiting the site to find more information about this style of traveling. Many people like to do this as going by train offers a more scenic route that going by plane sometimes lacks. It is more suitable for the person who has time to spare, as getting from one country to another can be time consuming if traveling this way.
Couchsurfing & Hostels
Choosing to ‘couchsurf’ can also be a very cheap way of staying on this continent. However it may be better, if you are traveling in a group, to book yourself and your party into one of the many hostels that are available throughout Europe. Another great way of spending your time in a city is renting out an apartment or a room from a local. There are plenty of providers out there that have host listings, where you can contact them to organize a place to stay for a short period of time. This is great if you really want to experience the local culture.
Harriet Pagan writes for Wimdu. If you are looking for comfortable apartments during your vacation in Europe, then visit Wimdu’s website to find some amazing offers to suit you and your budget!
Image 1: PlanetObserver; Image 2: Antonio Ponte
- May 21st 2012
The best part of travel is the trip itself; the worst can be how much it costs you. Nobody wants to spend more money than they have to so here are a few tips to help you save.
Credit Card Payments
Let’s start with how you pay. Since you have to spend some money anyway, you might as well pay with the right credit card. As well as the points you can rack up with your regular card provider, which you might be able to use for travel rewards, there are also branded cards which give additional points. If you have a Disney credit card, then you might gain enough for an extra night’s stay or early admission to one of the attractions. The more rewards you can get for a single spend, the more cost effective your vacation will be. One warning, though, read the fine print when you sign up for a card – you don’t want to have to pay annual fees if you can avoid it. Read more »
- April 30th 2012
With May here and June around the corner, a lot of people will be getting married. Today’s guest post offers tips on planning the honeymoon.
Planning a honeymoon? You want it to be memorable, even if you don’t have a lot of spare cash. The good news is that your honeymoon can always be enjoyable – here are some tips for couples honeymooning on a budget.
Establish a budget – what can you afford? Is it $200? Is it a $1000? Once you know that, set the goals for the honeymoon trip. Do you plan to stay in the room, go to a beach, explore a national park, or take a cruise?
2. Use Honeymoon Registries
Travel registries work just like gift registries for your wedding. This is a good idea if you already have household items, but little cash for a trip. You should pick a basic trip that is affordable, then use any gifts to add distinctive features, such as an extra day, a visit to an expensive attraction, or a celebratory dinner at a five-star restaurant.
3. Travel Agents
Check out a few actual travel agents and try to find some that have been in the business awhile. Even though you can find travel reservations online, these people know the complete industry and can help you customize a trip to match your budget. Plus, this takes one thing off of your plate before the wedding. Look for agents that specialize in the trip desired; it is perfectly acceptable to ask for references from other travelers, especially if traveling overseas.
4. All in One Trips
Some people find these trips limiting, but for those on a budget, they can be an economical way of traveling to many places. You have the added benefit of knowing that the trip is paid for, and that there will not be any extra fees such as parking or room taxes. If you find you need a change from the activities provided by your resort, you can still book an activity off the resort area. Some resorts will even arrange discounts on trips to local activities.
5. Apply Real Estate Rules
In buying real estate, the principal rule is to spend your budget on the most expensive street possible. It is always better for future value to buy a smaller house on a more expensive street, then to buy the largest house on a less expensive street. This works in the travel industry, too. With some research, you may find that you gain more from staying in the cheapest room at the most expensive hotel you can afford to get the benefit of hotel amenities and a nice location.
6. Stay Close But Not Too Close
Another way to save is to book at hotels and airports away from the main cities. While staying in San Francisco is expensive, there are plenty of cities in the Bay Area that are much cheaper, even when adding the cost of renting a car. Check out all of the local airports. Many urban areas have public transportation that can be used to move around. Unless time is of the essence, this is an area worth looking at.
Meals are a huge expense when traveling. Cut the cost by booking hotels that offer a free breakfast. Also consider having one expensive meal a day and two budget meals. And if you are planning to be out at an attraction, remember that the restaurants closest to the attraction are often the most expensive. Walk a little further away and you may get a better meal for the same budget.
These tips will help you save on your honeymoon – what would you add?
Sarah Taylor is a wedding planner and in her spare time blogs for honeymoondestinations.org, a site that can help you plan a honeymoon in Belize.
Image: Jacobus van Eeden/Flickr
- September 29th 2011
If you have wanted to take a vacation that is entirely different from one you’ve ever taken before, you have a lot of choices.
Some of them may require you to do a little work, but even that can open your eyes to circumstances different from your home.
Here are some ideas:
Go on a Mission or Humanitarian Trip
Depending on what you are doing, the chances are you will stay at a central location and take all meals there. You will also most likely have transportation to the “field” or “site” if you are not within easy walking distance.
Local churches and other houses of worship are good places to find out about these types of trips. You can also check with national and international charities, such as the Red Cross or others.
Join a Working Farm
Some foreign countries, such as Mexico, have these. You work on the farm a few hours a day or only on weekends, which gives you plenty of free time to sightsee. Your host family provides meals and lodging when you’re on the farm and in the city, lodging may have been arranged for, or you might be able to find reasonable accommodations on your own.
You may have to stay a certain amount of time, say a month, and you may have to travel with members of the same sex, but still, even with these limitations, you should enjoy yourself.
Teach English as a second or alternate language in a foreign country or offer to teach summer school at a school outside your home state.
Summer school classes usually only last a few hours a day, leaving you free time in the afternoon and at night to sightsee. For ESL classes, you may be able to set your own schedule, especially if you are teaching only a few people. You may need a teaching certificate or college degree in order to do this.
If you go through an educational organization to do this, your room and meals will be provided, or you will at least be given information on where to stay and eat for reasonable prices.
Build Hiking Trails
If you like to hike and camp, and don’t mind getting a little dirty, consider helping maintain or even build a new hiking trail. Accommodations will most likely be camping ones – possibly even relatively primitive tent camping – but generally you won’t work all day. Some of these assignments are located in the U.S. Virgin Islands, so you can actually choose a tropical locale to do this at.
If you do decide to do something like this, make sure your passport is in order if you will be leaving the country, and check with your local health department to see if you need any vaccines. Also, check the U.S. Government travel website to see if any countries have recently been added to the list of those where travel is prohibited or advised against.
These types of trips are a great way to broaden your horizon, experience a new culture, help others, and save money. Having international experience is very appealing on college applications and resumes.
- August 6th 2009
Most business trips are short and sweet, but occasionally there’s the chance to spend a couple of extra days seeing the new city. If you want to see the sights without blowing a hole in your budget, then couchsurfing might be a great option. Since we first covered the topic at the start of 2008, the numbers of couchsurfers have grown and grown, with an estimated 1.2 million couchsurfers around the world, according to Couchsurfing.org, the site founded by the originator of the movement, Casey Fenton.
How Couchsurfing Works
The premise is simple – sign up for the site, set up a Facebook style profile, say where you want to go and find someone in the city prepared to offer you a couch for a few days. That’s not all you might get, either. Many hosts are willing to show you around, give you tips on where to eat and places to visit and generally make sure that you have a great time without spending a lot. It’s a wonderful way to see a place from the inside – the way the locals see it. You can avoid tourist traps and have experiences that you might otherwise have missed.
Rating The Experience
Is it safe? Statistics suggest that most people have a fantastic time with no negative reports. On the Couchsurfing site you can rate each experience. Even if you don’t want to stay with a complete stranger, you can use the site to meet people in your destination who will meet you for coffee or a drink and point you in the right direction. You can also have just as much fun playing host to new friends visiting your town – and when the holiday’s over, there might even be business opportunities.