A Cheapskate’s Guide to Traveling

Always make sure to include these in your to do and to have checklists when traveling and laugh your way to a fun but cheap vacation! Don’t mind the jealous looks of your fellow passengers if they find out you’re traveling for waaay less than what they are paying. Sucks to be them. :)

1. Consider below tips for your trip
– Cheaper if you depart/return on Tuesdays/Wednesdays. Avoid weekends.
– Better to opt for credit cards which offer airline miles which you can use to pay for your airfare instead
– Ask the attendant at the gate: “Am I eligible for an upgrade today?”. Most of the time you will get “No” for an answer, but if those plush First Class seats are vacant and you have that sparkling smile flashed at the attendant, you might get that sought after response: “Why not?”.
– At the end of 2014 and the beginning of 2015, fuel prices have plummeted to almost 50%. What that means for us is cheaper airfares. You know what that means. Now is the right time to book your dream vacay.

2. Finding the cheapest possible fare can be quite tricky. You’ll need patience, time, and perseverance. Follow below steps to help you through the process.
– Go to Momondo.com and Skyscanner.com first. These sites scour through thousands and thousands of websites to return to you the cheapest possible flight on your given itinerary. Click here for the travel hacking sites I personally use & recommend.
– Once you have found out the cheapest possible flights, check out the website of the airline and see if they offer the same flight for less. Remember that most airlines guarantee that flights found on their website are guaranteed.
– Use proxie sites like Proxysite.com, TORProject.org, or other proxy sites on the net to hide which country you are accessing from (surf anonymously) or to fake that you are accessing from a specific country. Note that sometimes, flight is cheaper if you appear to be booking your trip on the same country the hub of the airline / destination is in, even if you aren’t, through the help of proxy sites. Here is a simple explanation of how proxy sites work to our advantage: http://www.pcauthority.com.au/Feature/390138,how-to-surf-the-web-from-a-fake-location.aspx

3. For your accommodation needs, create a Couchsurfing.org account. NOW. When I say NOW, Couchsurfing StatisticsI meant you must create an account now if you haven’t yet so that your account starts to age even if you do not need an accommodation yet. Once you need to find a home to stay at, your profile will look like you’ve been active for a long time already and not loot like someone who just created that account for that sake which is considered a security threat to some hosts. Of course, you can stay at your relatives’/friends’ place as an option, but you’ll find this networking site useful if you wish to go to places in which you know no one and you’re low on budget. You get to stay at one of the couchsurfers’ homes for free (Yes, that’s a lot of savings there) and sometimes your hosts will give you a free tour / homemade meal, and you get to experience being a local, which is a great plus to your adventure. You also get to find out where the best bargains are with the help of your local host. As the saying goes – ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do’. Enjoy!

4. Long before you start your travel, google these words: “Free free stuff to do in (enter your destination city here)”. You should be able to find lots of free stuff (especially free access to museums/events/concerts) to do which you can then incorporate into your schedule.

5. Bring a reusable (and refilled) water bottle wherever you go. How many times have you found yourself in the middle of a city tour and realize that you are thirsty and you have to buy an overpriced bottle of water which is actually free if you know where to find one? This brings us to our next statement: when thirsty on a city tour and you do not have a water bottle with you, try to avoid buying bottled water- just go to the nearest McDonald’s or any other fast food chain to get a glass of free and clean water.

6. If there’s a Chinatown near you, PLEASE, just go there first before going anywhere else! Before you buy souvenirs and other stuff, go to Chinatown first and you’ll be amazed that there could be such unbelievably cheap souvenirs and gift items in such an expensive city you are currently visiting. When you’re done with Chinatown finds, that’s when you go to other places to buy your other stuff. I’ve learned the hard way by buying expensive souvenir items at a marked up price and then finding out that I can purchase a better option at a much MUCH cheaper price (as cheap as $0.45 for a large ref magnet that you could get for 4.99 in other stores) in Chinatown. Remember that you can haggle as well with the nice chinky eyed lady – the more you buy, the more discount on top of the already cheap price! If you’re hungry and there’s a Chinatown near you, go to Chinatown! I’ve survived traveling alone in San Francisco while munching on 5 dollar Chinese take out meals complete with a can of Coke. If there’s no Chinatown around, you’re better of asking the locals. You might also make a friend in the process.

7. Bring your own reusable big bag! Most cities are now into green/eco policies and that includes requiring you to have your own shopping bag – else you have to pay an additional $0.10 for each brown bag you’ll be needing at the checkout counter.

8. All you have to do is ask. When dining in, ask your server if they have promotions. When at a market, ask the old lady if she can give you a discount. Seize every opportunity to ask. Remember that if you do not ask, the answer is always ‘N-O’.

Folks, what are your secrets to having a fun vacation without spending too much? Write down on the comments section and share this article to your friends to spread the word!