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How to travel even if you aren’t rich

How to travel even if you aren’t rich
Image use through Creative Commons
Image from Travelzoo weekly Top 20
Image use through Creative Commons
Image from Booking.com site
Top image credit Janet Christian / Bottom image use through Creative Commons
Prague Astronomical Clock and Old Town Square / Image use through Creative Commons
  • Although museum entry doesn’t cost a fortune, everything on a trip adds up (the Louvre in Paris is €15 per person, Národní muzeum (national museum) in Prague is €11, the Prado in Madrid is €15). There are exceptions—the Victoria & Albert Museum in London is free, although they ask for a donation.
  • Most city/national museums have the same general things: old tapestries, ancient bits of ceramic pots, busts of long-dead people almost no one has ever heard of, lots of paintings of other long-dead people, rusty weapons, silver urns and serving pieces, old and tarnished jewelry, etc.
Crowds at the Mona Lisa / Images credit Eric Marsh
The Glória Funicular in Lisbon / Image credit Eric Marsh
Image credit Janet Christian
  • Avoid ALL restaurants near points of interest. It doesn’t matter how good the view is. Don’t eat there.
  • Avoid restaurants with posted Tourist Menus or with pictures of the food. This is a clear sign the food is expensive and crappy.
  • Never eat at an international chain, especially if it’s something like (god forbid) McDonald’s. This one’s more about depriving yourself of delicious local food than it is about saving money, but I had to include it.
Image credit Janet Christian
  • They are affordable and offer the kinds of accommodations (i.e., 3-star hotels) we already prefer because of convenient location
  • They stay a minimum of two days in each location, so we aren’t packing/unpacking/packing every single day
  • They give us a lot of free time instead of a constant “follow the flag” schedule
Expat Explore’s Highlights of Turkey tour map / Image from Expat Explore web site
  • Pack light so you don’t have to check a bag. (I’ll be writing another article about packing tips.) There’s nothing wrong with washing clothes during a trip. For longer trips, assume you’ll be making a trip to a local laundromat. Never use a hotel’s laundry service.
  • If your destination is in an area where discount airlines (Ryanair, Spirit, EasyJet, Frontier, etc.) operate, take advantage of them. We recently took Ryanair from Valencia to Rome that was only €60 round trip. Just remember they’re called budget airlines for a reason. Everything extra costs money. For shorter flights, though, you can probably manage without an assigned seat, food service, free snacks/drinks, in-flight movies, etc. A couple of hours of minor discomfort is worth it.
  • Consider how you’ll get to your flight. Often a shuttle is cheaper than even long-term parking. Eric signed up with the people who run most of the airport parking garages in Spain. By being registered with them, and booking parking in advance, he saves over 50% on the cost to leave our car at the airport. I generally don’t recommend relying on friends, because unpredictable things happen.
The Pyrenees in northern Spain / Image credit Janet Christian
Hensel
Hi, I’m Hensel and have been working in the business services sector for over 20 years and have considerable experience working for a number of public and private companies.