Travelling On The Cheap - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 01-30-2005, 07:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Any ideas are helpful here. We are unschoolers and try to do lots of travelling. We go on a trip at least once a month. So far we try to stay in hostels, or the Homestead Suites hotels (cheap and have kitchens). I'm not much for camping, honestly... but if the circumstances are right, I'll do it.
Well, I guess that's about the frugalist thing I do while travelling. I do also research everywhere we want to go, and have at least one or 2 free things to do (parks, nat. monuments - usually only a dollar or two/car).

Is AAA a useful thing to have? How much is that? Any other wonderful ideas?

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#2 of 7 Old 01-31-2005, 03:15 AM
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You probably do all these things but this is what came to mind for our upcoming trip:
-Take own snacks
-Bring food for meals to prepare at motel w/kitchenettes or food for picinics
-Buy a childrens museum membership-this might be $100 upfront but ours gets into childrens museums for free all across US-we use ours tons!
-Depending on where you're going it may be cheaper in gas/parking to park your car and take the bus
-some places have certain days that are free or discounted-check your destinations before hand to plan accordingly


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#3 of 7 Old 01-31-2005, 04:20 AM
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I second the suggestion to take your own food when you go places. That helps ALOT. Annual memberships to places you frequent is a good way to save as well. I know here it cost 21 each adult to get into the zoo but if for 2 adults you can get a year pass to 2 zoos for 86 dollars and go as much as you like. Stuff like that saves money.

As far as travelling goes, if you go places where you need an airline, look at the airline directly rather than expedia/travelocity/etc because it usually saves some money. We are going to to Ireland, Scotland, and England later this year and we are going to to stay in hostels along the way and get a train ticket and ride the train instead of expensive car rentals, etc. Eat as late and filling breakfast as possible and make it last so you can skip lunch and have an early dinner and a snack before bedtime.....that saves a bit too. LOL


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#4 of 7 Old 01-31-2005, 12:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the great ideas... keep em coming. We do take all our own food, that's why I like hostels & the Homestead Suites hotels so much!
I've thought about buying a membership to zoos/museums, but since we don't have any of that in our town, we'd only use it when out of town. With only 2 kids, I was wondering if it would even pay itself off. I'll have to sit down and do the math.
Do airlines really charge less than internet sites? I thought it was the opposite. hmm... I'll have to check that out too!

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#5 of 7 Old 01-31-2005, 12:46 PM
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Not a camper either.

We like to travel and we've driven cross country three times. It is a challenge with three children but we do have a few things that we try.

-If we stay at a motel we sometimes stay at ones that provide a continental breakfast. These range in quality but many times they have fruit, yogurt and other items that you can take with you after you've eaten breakfast.

-We like to try and sample local cuisine so we plan on eating out one meal a day. The rest of the time we picnic or bring our own food and drinks.

-If you drive-we got a credit card that gave us bonuses in the form of gas purchase credit. We never ever carry a balance on our cards but at least this way we get something for the money we are spending.

-We've done great on priceline for hotel rooms. Once we got a four star hotel in an expensive major city for fifty bucks. Also we've gotten really cheap rates for motels/hotels that might not have been in the center of the action but there is usually free transportation provided.

-My AAA has paid for itself already this year. They set up trip ticks for you with maps and huge booklest listing AAA approved hotels/motels. We've also broken down a few times. We broke down in Canada once and the AAA came and was covered by our plan in the states. Their books also include what each motel offers in amenities. But I have found that the AAA isn't always the cheapest rate you can find for hotels/motels.

-We have the museum membership that is affiliated with other museums around the country. I think they pay for themselves in about two visits for a family.

--We enjoy the free stuff. Parks, ethnic neighborhoods, riding public transportation all adds up to free fun for us.

--We buy a local paper to see what free stuff is going on while we are there.

Hope some of this helps. I'm sure I'm forgetting something but I'll post it if it does come back to me.
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#6 of 7 Old 02-01-2005, 03:17 AM
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You may not like camping but some state parks have cabins you can use. We went camping last month and our cabin was nice but still primitive enough to feel like camping. It was one room, about 12 ft. x 12 ft. with an outlet and a light on the ceiling. There were screens going around the top half of the cabin. The floor was concrete. It was nice not to be in a tent. It was only $25 for the weekend. This is the most traveling we've done since our kids were born.



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#7 of 7 Old 02-01-2005, 03:25 AM
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As far as travelling abroad, which is what DH and I do the most of, the best way to be frugal when you're there is to get an ISIC card (You and your children should qualify, you as an instructor and your children as students, since you're home schooling) which gives you astounding discounts on lots of things, the whole world over. We also live like the locals do -- we don't eat out all the time, we do a lot of carry out, take away and resturant deli food as well as buying snacks from the grocery store. We carry disposable dishes for picnics, etc.

Flights wise, it has been my experience that it's often cheaper to fly into a central gateway and get other transportation to where you're going. When we're heading to Europe we always look for the cheapest fare anywhere on the continent (often Frankfurt or an outlying airport in London) and then hop either or to our final destination. We flew from London to Dublin for $7/per person when the train was $60.00/ticket. I'd kill to get airlines like that in the states!

It's a little harder in Latin America, because often the cheap flights are tourist charters flying in and out of special 'tourist' airports, where you need to pay a stiff taxi fare to get out of the airport. Which sucks. The only solution I've found is pay or walk down the road a bit and try to hail a cabbie to the bus station from there.

Other than that, I think it's just little things, you know? My biggest advice now pack light and do whatever you can to make travel easier because you're more inclined to spend money when you're exhausted and out of sorts. Also, try to look liek the locals, so you don't look like as good a target.

Spending all of my money and time on this wild, wild life.
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