Hot tips for thrift travelers

Published 3:14 pm Thursday, October 8, 2015

From eating to entertainment, college student Amber Deemer is learning to stretch her dollar by being frugal at everything she does. She shares her hot tips on how she travels on the cheap.

The first place to begin is planning in advance by doing research. Map out your travel route, meals, hotel, and attractions to make certain they will fit your budget. The last thing a thrifty traveler needs is a costly surprise. Advance preparation is the key to traveling on the cheap.

1. How will you travel?

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If you prefer to fly, check airline prices often. Look for last minute deals; they are cheaper. Don’t be afraid to look at airlines that are non-U.S as they tend to be cheaper.

Depending on your destination, driving may be the cheaper route. Map out the mileage and compare gas prices over airline tickets. Decide which is cheaper.

2. Where will you stay?

Look for smaller independent hotels, rather than big chain hotels. They are often less expensive, just as comfortable, and family friendly. If you are reluctant to choose an unknown hotel, you can always check online reviews before booking your stay.

An even better idea is to travel to a place where you have family or friends. They are often more than welcome to offer a room for free.

3. Where will you eat?

Find out where the locals eat. Ask where the hidden best places to eat are. Often, family-owned restaurants are cheaper than chain restaurants.

Avoid room service. Since you are paying for convenience, it’s often very costly.

Hotel drinks, even water, is often costly. Bring a small ice chest and pack your own drinks.

Do an online search to look for coupons or specials for the nights you will be traveling.

When traveling with kids, some restaurants offer free meals for children under a certain age. Find those kid-friendly restaurants. Some even offer a “kids eat for free” night.

Bring your own snacks so you don’t have to eat out between meals.

4. What will you do?

Have fun with the locals. Look for local festivals or fairs. This can be cheap, fun entertainment.

Look for coupons or vouchers in advance. Most hotels provide a coupon book that provides cheaper rates.

Find local parks where you can rent bicycles or roller blades (bring your own) take a walk, or enjoy a day of hiking with family. Nature is typically always free. Some attractions even offer cheaper or no cost for children under a certain age.