to Travel on a Budget

Many people decide they cannot take a vacation because it will be too costly. This is unfortunate because you miss out on some quality family time, and your kids will miss out on seeing the great sights this world has to offer. Plan your next vacation frugally, and you won’t come back from your trip in debt. If you take some time to do some extra planning, your next vacation doesn’t have to break the bank.

Continental Breakfast

Few hotels do continental breakfasts anymore, but if you can find one that does, book it. When you’re on vacation, the costliest part is eating out. For a family of four, you can easily spend over $100 on each meal, including breakfast. By taking breakfast out of the equation, and taking advantage of the continental breakfast your hotel offers, you can easily save a ton of money on your next trip. Sure, the breakfast food might get boring, but lunch and dinner are the fun meals to eat out, anyway.

Stock Up On Food

Once you get to your destination, you can always make a quick trip to the grocery store and buy food to eat. For anyone who cooks regularly at home, you know this is a great way to save money, especially if you’re on vacation with the whole family. Unless your hotel room has a refrigerator, be sure you buy things that won’t go bad at room temperature. If you can, get a hotel suite that has a kitchenette, so you can prepare lots of your meals in your hotel room. This will save you even more money. Sure, going out to eat is fun, but seeing all the attractions you want is even more fun.

Find Free Entertainment

Lots of cities have free entertainment options, especially during the summer. Some museums have free days, and sometimes you can catch a free movie in a park. If you do a little research before you go and plan your trip around the days, you can see the sights at a reduced cost, and you’ll save a ton of money while still seeing the best that the city has to offer.

Stay Close to Home

A staycation is a great way to save money while still getting away for a little while. If you live close to a city, you don’t have to go very far to have a great time. Because you’re not spending money on airfare or gas, you can even splurge a little more and explore the parts of the city you never have time to explore when you go for just the day. If you find a nice hotel downtown and see new sights, a staycation can feel like a real vacation.

Shop Around for Airfare and Hotels

You definitely want to shop around for airfare and hotels. There are so many websites now that will give you discounted rates, that it’s silly to pay the full price for anything anymore. Check out a few travel websites before you book your trip to be sure you’re getting the best price. Also, if your travel dates are flexible, avoid traveling on holidays and weekends. Traveling and staying in hotels during peak travel times can cost you a lot more than you would like.

Budget Carefully

The best thing to do to be sure you don’t empty out your wallet on your next vacation is to go with a strict budget. Allow yourself a certain amount of money to spend per day, and once you’ve gone over that, don’t spend any more. If you have some left at the end of your trip, you can splurge on your last day, or go back home with money to spare.

Save Money on Food While Traveling

Hotels make a huge profit on room service, hence you should avoid calling for room service whenever possible.
Traveling is a great way to find oneself, and discover the beauty around. It’s an amazing way to explore different parts of the world, meet new people, try out new things, and have fun. However, everything in the world comes with a price tag, and traveling definitely comes with an expensive one.

When we plan for a trip, we tend to focus mainly on the airfare and accommodation. We leave the rest unplanned, and that is where our downfall lies. Expenses while traveling can quickly add up, and before you know it, you will have already crossed your budget. We make a mistake by not planning the rest of the trip, which includes our food. Most people think that food gets accounted for in the accommodation cost, but this is far from true. Of course, the hotel you are staying in might provide complimentary lunch or dinner, but the chances are slim. Most hotels offer only a complimentary breakfast, making huge profits when you dine at their restaurants.

In the end, you realize that the most expensive part of your trip was not the airfare or the accommodation, but the food. Well, thankfully, there are a few simple ways by which you can reduce the money you spend on food while traveling. In this article, we give you tips to ensure that your food expenses remain lower than your airfare.

Do Your Homework

You need to conduct proper research about the place you are going to be visiting. Once you have finalized the destination, look for people who have been there and ask them about general costs. Look for hotels or motels that provide complimentary food. These might be few and far in between, but you will end up saving a lot if you find such a place. Also, make sure you understand the terms and conditions that accompany the complimentary tag. Most big hotels will not provide lunch and dinner, so try to avoid big hotels. Look for a B&B, or a motel that is not too close to major tourist areas.

Look for Kitchenettes

While searching for places to stay, try to find places that provide a kitchenette facility. This includes a small refrigerator, some utensils, and a microwave. Again, stay away from big hotels, as you will not find such facilities there. A few hotels and motels might allow you to cook food in your room. Cooking in your room, even if it is something simple, saves you from going out and paying exorbitant rates every time you are hungry. Again, a bed and breakfast, or a small motel away from the city is your best option.

Spend Wisely on Water

Water is something you need frequently. You may not be able to carry a lot, which means you will end up buying a lot of it. However, spending on water can be done wisely. Buying a bottle of water every time you are thirsty is not the way to go if you are looking to save money. Instead, buy a big bottle of water and carry a smaller bottle, which you can refill, every time you head out. Try to avoid drinking tap water when you are traveling, especially if you travel to a different country. When you are thirsty, do not try to quench your thirst drinking sodas and the like; these will only make you more thirsty.

Choosing Restaurants

When you travel, your natural instinct will make you eat the local cuisine served at local restaurants. This means, you will be eating out, shelling out more money every time you do so. However, here are some ways to ensure that you don’t spend too much. Try to eat at modest places; if you opt to go to a swanky 5-star place to eat, then you are going to have to pay a lot more. Try to move away from popular tourist zones; prices here are generally higher. Some restaurants may have promotional offers, try looking for these in the local papers. Restaurants that have just opened are also a good bet; they usually have promotions and discounts that you can avail of. If you have kids with you, there are a few places where they serve kids for free. Simply stepping into the first place you see is not the way to save money.

Try the Street Food

Many places around the world have a huge culture of street food. Vendors prepare the food right in front of you, and the best part is that it hardly takes a few minutes. In some places, the street food may even be better than fancy restaurants. Such vendors are usually found in heavily populated tourist areas, so this is something that you don’t have to go around looking for. Street food is nowhere as expensive as food served in a restaurant, so you will end up saving a significant amount of money.

Look Out for Deals

Many stores, hotels, and restaurants have promotions that they advertise for in various places. While you are searching for your flight, or booking your hotel, you may come across these offers. Taking these offers can reduce a significant part of your expenses on food. Offers are also available at the airport, the bus-stand, or taxi-stand. Newspapers are another source of these offers and coupons. Make sure you research well before you finalize any restaurant.

Heavy Lunch

In most places, restaurants charge a different rate for lunch, and a different rate for dinner. Usually, the rate for lunch is cheaper. If you can identify any such restaurants around the place you are staying, then you can opt to make lunch a bigger meal, and eat less for dinner. Not only will this help you save money, but is a healthier option as well. Also, when eating out, there is no need to order all the courses, you can order an entree directly. You can even get your leftovers to be packed and taken back to the hotel to be eaten later.

Drink Smart

Having a few drinks while eating out is the fastest way to increase your food bill. It is best to avoid drinking at restaurants while you are traveling. If it is a necessity, then look for places that serve complimentary drinks with the food. Many places have happy hours, where the cost of drinks and food is slightly lower than the normal rate. You can visit these place during these hours to make the most of the offer. If it is legal in the country and the hotel you are in, then you can even have a few drinks in your room before heading out. Wine-tasting offers you free samples, so don’t forget to check for such deals.
These were a few suggestions that can help you save some money on food while you are traveling. You can also visit a supermarket and stock up on things that you can eat in your room, like chips, pretzels, and the like. Similarly, stock up on water and beverages instead of heading out for a coffee all the time. Also, make sure that you are choosing your restaurants wisely, and compensating for unnecessary expenses. Keep a track of all your food expenses in a journal. This should help you keep those food expenses in check. Have a nice trip!

How to Find Online Travel Agents

It is human nature to contact a reliable agent before you venture out into an unknown land in search of peace and relaxation. Travel agents come as a blessing in such times, as they take care of all the travel arrangements-right from booking the tickets to reserving hotel rooms. Their role is pivotal in making your vacation the most hassle-free and pleasurable one. From deciding which travel package is the best for you to planning your entire holiday, these professionals will do all the necessary homework on your behalf and tell you what are the best deals available.

However, because today’s world has become more and more fast-paced and everyone seems to have no time, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get in touch with an agent, sit with him or her, and spend time constructing the ideal itinerary. At the end of the day, you don’t want to take a day off from work just to receive a couple of stale and unimpressive travel brochures right? Yes, modern-day travelers have become a lot more demanding when it comes to finding the perfect holiday deal. Until a couple of years ago, the agencies found in main street offices were considered to be the most reliable because of their physical presence. However, one major recent development has managed to change the entire scenario drastically, and that too within a matter of just a few years. Let’s understand this through the below points.

  • A recent phenomenon is the emergence of online travel booking sites, and this has taken the whole travel industry by storm. The biggest change that was observed was that physical presence was no longer a criterion.
  • Enter the World Wide Web, and there is an apparent change in the travel and tourism industry. The Internet is absolutely brimming over with cheap and discounted travel packages, resorts and hotels, tickets, and above all, hundreds of established agents.
  • All you have to do is select any one site, state your preferred destination, and your holiday is just a click of the mouse away. You will be introduced to a whole array of destinations, depending on your budget. What’s more, there are also a number of last-minute deals also available. Booking through these sites is not only convenient but also very cost-effective.
  • If you are traveling on a budget, or are looking for the best prices, then booking your holiday online is the best option. Online travel guides are becoming increasingly popular amongst travelers and vacationers all over the world.
  • With them, you will find better room rates, travel fares, and cheaper airfares. This is possible because they have lesser overhead expenses to pay than their brick-and-mortar counterparts, who have to tend to a large staff, and pay rents.
  • Online travel guides supply information instantly over the web, whereas the regular agents take time to research and check for information. So, customers can benefit from faster services, information delivery, and convenience.
  • They will allow you to choose and design your own trip. The level of flexibility provided by them is incomparable. Choosing a reputed service having the necessary knowledge, network, and expertise will ensure that you get the best deal.
  • All online booking sites provide functional, useful, and informative pages so that their customers can gain insights into their practices, which may not be possible with offline agents.

As a customer, you’ve probably never had it so good. And believe you me, travel agents have never been as efficient as they are today.

TIps to Plan a Hawaiian Vacation on a Budget

Maybe you’re planning a romantic honeymoon or an adventurous getaway with family/friends and Hawaii seems to be the dream destination. Well, let me just say that you’re not alone in this thought. Every year, more than 7 million people visit the breathtaking Hawaiian islands. Although there are hundreds of small islands that take up about 1,500 miles of space, there are 8 major islands which attract the highest number of tourists. These islands are Hawaii (The Big Island), Maui, Lanai, Niihau, Oahu, Kauai, Molokai, and Kahoolawe. With the promise of white sandy beaches, gorgeous sunrises and sunsets, magnificent mountains, excellent volcanoes, and plenty of romantic and adventurous things to do in Hawaii, you have a lot to decide, plan, and organize before you begin your vacation. In this Buzzle article, we will talk about what a tourist, just like you, might require to know when he/she plans to take a Hawaiian vacation. Whether it is a solo trip, romantic getaway, or a friends/family vacation, you can easily plan this trip at affordable prices.

Hawaii On a Budget Is Possible

Hawaii is one of the most sought-after, beautiful, romantic, and adventurous destinations in the world. There’s a lot of ground to cover when it comes to planning a trip. And however tedious this task may seem, one thing’s for sure, you are going have the time of your life in Hawaii; that no one can deny. So to start with planning and organizing your Hawaiian vacation, here are the steps to make everything go as smoothly as possible.

When is the Best Time to Travel to Hawaii
Which is the Best Island to Visit

Hawaii a.k.a. The Big Island
Maui
Oahu
Kauai
Niihau
Lanai

Finding Affordable Package Deals
How Do I Find Affordable Hotels for My Trip
What Are My Dining Options
Shopping, Sightseeing, and Other Attractions in Hawaii

As you read through the following section, you can see that we have divided the article into several parts. This way, you can easily navigate through the article and find the most relevant information for your upcoming trip.

When is the Best Time to Travel to Hawaii
It won’t be completely wrong for me to say that even though you wish to experience everything and anything Hawaii has to offer, you would like to avoid as many other tourists as possible. The reason is, when you travel (especially to a tropical location), you don’t want the beaches to be overcrowded. Since Hawaii has tons of fun, adventure, romance, and exotic locales to offer, it’s not a surprise that you will find a variety of travelers flocking toward it. And depending on who you are traveling with (or are planning a solo trip), you can be sure to find the crowd accordingly. Now when we try to decipher as to which months or time during the year is ideal for a Hawaiian vacation, just go through the categorization thoroughly.

Let’s begin from the beginning of the year, January. From mid-January till the end of February (and somewhat in the first two weeks of March), you will find fewer tourists as they would have just left the islands. Why, you ask? Because during the month of December, Hawaii is stormed by the holiday crowds wanting to celebrate Christmas in the warmer climates. The season again picks up from mid-March till mid-April due to spring break. You will find loads of college students wanting to loosen up and enjoy their time in Hawaii. So if you wish to avoid this crowd, you can plan your trip in the first two weeks on March. The last two weeks of March and the entire month of April can be a bit crowded with Japanese tourists. Since this is the time for their holiday, Golden Week, you will find tons of tourists heading toward Hawaii. June to the first couple of weeks of October are the most affordable months. This is because the weather is quite warm (the warmest months during the year in Hawaii), and so the hotel rates and airfare go down. Even though you may find ideal months for your travel plans, do keep one thing in mind – the holiday times (Christmas, Thanksgiving, Labor Day, Easter, Super Bowl, etc.) will play a huge role in your total expenditure. So plan wisely.

Which is the Best Island to Visit
Hawaii is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful and amazing places on earth. So when you ask which is the best Hawaiian island to visit, it is tough to answer that query in one word or sentence. The reason is, the answer to this question will vary according to the type and kind of vacation you wish to have in Hawaii. So how can you decide on this? What you need to do is make a small “must have” list. Here, you will write down all the essential factors which you would like to experience during your vacation. This list can include (must have) beaches, volcanoes, sightseeing (mountains, national parks, historic landmarks), adventurous water and beach sports, hiking and trekking, nightlife, shopping, romantic atmosphere, etc.; include as many factors in your list as you like. After all, this is your vacation and you should make the most of it.

Hawaii a.k.a. The Big Island

This is one of the larger islands in Hawaii which has an abundance of white sandy beaches (along with black, red, and green sand beaches), snow-clad mountains (yes!), active volcano (Kilauea Crater), and tropical rainforests. You not only get the most ideal scenery on this island, but have tons of opportunity to engage in other tourist activities like scuba diving, surfing, snorkeling, mountain biking, hiking, trekking, deep-sea fishing, sailing, etc.; doesn’t that sound amazing?! And if you are interested in spotting humpback whales, manta rays, and dolphins, then The Big Island is the perfect place to be.

Maui

If you’re traveling with family, apart from The Big Island, even Maui has fantastic attractions and scenic beauty to lure you in. Apart from the gorgeous 42-mile long, shimmery beaches, Maui is home to the Haleakala National Park, the Hana highway, and the Haleakala crater. You can enjoy beautiful sunrises and sunsets everyday, go deep-sea diving, kayaking, snorkeling, whale watching, and hiking in Maui. Also, there are about 13 different volcanoes in Maui. With all these amazing things to do in Maui, you can say that this island has something for everyone. And since Maui is one of the favorite hot spots in Hawaii, be sure to plan ahead of time to get great deals.

Oahu

One of the busiest islands in Hawaii, Oahu has a worldwide reputation for amazing surfing beaches; for example, Waikiki beach. If you wish to learn the sport or watch experienced surfers show off their skills, you can count on having an excellent time here. Oahu also has magnificent green mountains, art galleries across the town, banana plantations, has a vibrant nightlife, shopping, offers clear waters for snorkeling and scuba diving, sunset dinner cruise, and is home to the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. Apart from the Waikiki beach, which can get crowded due to its reputation, there are other isolated beaches for couples to explore and spend quality time in.

Kauai

If your love for nature is one of the stronger points in wanting to visit Hawaii, then Kauai is the place for you. This island has undisturbed natural beauty; visit the Wailua Falls, Poipu beach, Waimea Canyon, Kalalau trail, Limahuli Garden, Kokee State Park, and Na Parli Coast (just to name a few). Not only do you get fabulous scenery to explore in Kauai, you can also enjoy the crystal-clear waters and clean, sandy beaches. Also in Kauai, you can enjoy kayaking, snorkeling, hiking, and dining and shopping nearby.

Niihau

Alright, first things first. Niihau is a privately owned island with a very small population. Now, the good part is that you won’t find a lot of tourists on this island because it’s a private island. The bad part is, you need to have an invitation to visit this island by someone who already resides in Niihau. However, and this is the silver lining, you can try to get around the whole “off-limits to tourists” concept. How, you ask? One option is that you can hire a helicopter or try sailing alongside the secluded coastline. This way, you can enjoy the tourist-free Hawaii while you scuba dive, snorkel, kayak, and do some whale watching.

Lanai

Last, but certainly not the least, Lanai. Now I know that we are talking about planning a Hawaiian vacation on a reasonable budget, but I didn’t want to leave Lanai out of our list. The thing about this island is, it is more of a luxury island where people like to come and have a quiet, luxurious, and peaceful vacation. Hence, as you must’ve guessed it, Lanai is not really budget-friendly. And since there are only two hotels in Lanai that you can choose to stay at, Lanai may not be what you’re looking for. However, the sheer beauty of this island is undeniable.

Finding Affordable Package Deals
Once you have decided which of the main islands you wish to visit, the next step will be to find affordable deals. Here, your travel dates will also play a huge role. If you plan and organize your vacation few months in advance, you can really get some amazing discounts and deals. Keep in mind that traveling to Hawaii during the off-season is a smart way to keep your total expenses as low as possible. But that’s not all. What you need to understand and decide on is what you wish to do once at the island. Do you want to have a nice, relaxing time in the hotel (with all the amenities like spas, swimming pool, sauna, etc.), want to spend the maximum amount of time at the beach (sunbathing, beach and water sports, etc.), or want to explore the island as much as you can? According to your answers, you can find an ideal package for the trip.

To put it as simply as possible, the package deals will vary for a single traveler, for couples, and for families (with children) and large groups. There are many travel agents who can help you find the best deal possible that cater to your requirements. So make sure that you research as much as you can, approach as many travel agents as possible, and do a little bit of research on your own (booking flights, hotels, and other attractions on your own). This way, you can be sure that you’ll get the best deal that’s out there. But the key to all of this is making reservations way ahead of time.

How Do I Find Affordable Hotels for My Trip
There are various options when it comes to lodging in Hawaii. Depending on your budget, you can either plan to stay at a 3 star or 2 star hotel (since you are on a budget), opt for a bed and breakfast, or even hostels. Many a time, travelers don’t really wish to spend a lot on luxurious hotels with room service and other amenities. If you are one of those travelers, then go ahead and book a bed in a dorm room or a bed and breakfast. Now, if that doesn’t sound fun, you can try to find a decent hotel slightly away from the beaches. The farther away from the beach your hotel is, the less expensive it will be.

What Are My Dining Options
There are package deals available where breakfast and dinner, or even all 3 meals are included in the final amount. If you find this deal, and it is well in your budget, then kudos to you! On the contrary, if you’re not so lucky, when you check-in, inquire a little at the reservation desk. Since they are locals, you will find amazing, unheard of restaurants to dine at that fit well in your budget. Inquire about happy hours and other less expensive places to eat. Trust me, it won’t hurt to ask.

Another option is, you can look for guidebooks in bookstores. Depending on which island you want to visit, you can purchase the book and see if they have any ideas on dining in Hawaii. It might surprise you, but there are times when you can find excellent restaurants around town that don’t cost a lot. Prepare a budget, according to how many people you are traveling with, and decide on your daily food expenditure.

Shopping, Sightseeing, and Other Attractions in Hawaii
There are various shopping places in Hawaii. Some are, of course, high-end galleries and boutiques that you can shop in, but what we want to do here is concentrate on keeping your expenses as low as possible. Hence, if you think that you don’t actually require anything specific, don’t spend unnecessarily. There are times when we think we want to buy something but truly end up wasting money. And if you really want to buy something specific, inquire at the reservation desk of your hotel. Again, they are locals and they will be well-informed about the places to shop on a budget.

If you are going to explore the island, see if it is included in your package itself. There are many hotels that provide sightseeing and shopping options when you stay with them. If your package doesn’t include that, you can choose to take the public transport (bus). This way, you won’t have to rent a car and spend on gas every now and then. Many of you may wish to enjoy water and beach sports on one of the islands. And as you know, for every one of these sports, you’ll require specific gear. In order to save money here, you can bring your own gear while traveling. If you wish to go surfing or bodyboarding, snorkeling, scuba diving, or even deep-sea fishing, bring your own gear (boards, snorkels, fins, masks). This way, you won’t have to rent the equipment from the beach and pay a hefty amount. Isn’t that a neat idea?!

If you ask me, your dream vacation to Hawaii, that too on a budget, is possible. All you have to do is a little bit of research, make reservations ahead of time, and keep an eye on good, affordable deals. Your dream vacation in Hawaii isn’t a dream; you can make it happen. All you have to do is really want it. Have a fantastic time in Hawaii and do take care of yourself. Aloha!