Tuesday, July 06, 2010

$ense & $ensibility Monday: Travel Large on Little

Katharine Albritton is a writer and art market specialist. Follow the art market with her at 360 Degrees of Art or search for tranquility with her on Twitter.

Happy Tuesday, lovely Tranquilistas! I hope the Americans amongst you had a lovely Fourth of July weekend. Today I want to share with you all a few tips for keeping the costs down on any upcoming vacations you’re planning.

Luggage Fees Add Up Quickly
Try to pack things a roller carry-on or a large weekend bag so that you’re not paying those crazy baggage fees. You don't get cool luggage labels anymore, so what's the point?

Stay With Friends and/or Family If Possible
An easy way to cut out hotel costs. And, if you’re even more adventurous, you can try Couch Surfing. Just remember to be a courteous guest: clean up after yourself, offer to cook a meal or two, and don’t expect your hosts to be your tour guide or at your beck and call. And when you get back home, be sure to send a gracious thank you note.

Don’t Go Insane on Buying Souvenirs
No, your best friend’s mom’s sister does not need a miniature Eiffel Tower. You don’t need to bring home something for everyone. Also, do you want some tchotske clogging up your shelves, or would you rather have one or two beautiful things from your trip to cherish? In my own case, when I was exploring Venice I searched out true artisans and bought myself a gorgeous worked leather journal and a carnival mask that I watched the artist make. Not only do I treasure these two souvenirs because they remind me of my time in Venice, but they also brighten my apartment with their beauty.

Take Public Transport
It might be scary in a city you’ve never been to before, but it can save considerably on cab rides. Also, most cities with public transport offer deals on multiple tickets or on passes for multiple days. Ask at tourist information centers to learn more.

Museum Madness
Some cities offer passes that will get you into multiple museums over a certain number of days. This usually allows you to skip the lines at the museum ticket desks and waltz right in. Again, ask at tourist information centers. If you’re a member of your local museum, ask if they have reciprocal agreements with any museums in the city you’re visiting.

Oldie but a Goodie
It’s clich├ęd, but for a reason: if you can’t afford to travel this year, take a staycation. Explore a new part of your town or check out a neighboring city for a day. Just take some time for yourself out of your ordinary routine.

Keep living big on that budget,

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Amanda said...

The biggest money saving travel tip I have is to travel to less-touristy destinations. I'm an American currently living in the UK. Most people I know from home only travel to major destinations like Paris, London or Caribbean resorts. But if you travel to eastern europe or asia, it's so much more affordable! And in lots of places, you can still have all the comforts of home. Just need to have an open mind :)

purplepaperplanes said...

Thanks for the link to Couch surfing- great tip! Will check it out!!

My tip would be to go to places during the 'off-season'- not only is it cheaper, but you miss the crowds and actually get to see the local people..We went to Italy (Rome, Florence and Venice) last Thanksgiving and even though it was chilly, we escaped a lot of the crowds and it was much cheaper. The weather also added to the beauty and magic of the place, but ofcourse YMMV..

Also, I would highly recommend staying away (but not too far away) from the most touristy spots (Away from the historic center etc) so you actually get a feel for the neighborhood you are staying in.