We stopped stating in hotels a long time ago. After paying $80 for breakfast at a Stockholm hotel, I swore that was it. Not only is it cheaper, but they have a kitchen. Now, we save money on breakfast, coffee and sometimes lunch. We get out foodie addiction fed at dinner, and the occasional lunch out. But there is something so special about having a picnic in the countries best parks.
I heartily agree with avoiding hotels whenever possible. When we travel we like to settle in and feel as much like a local as possible. We also use Airbnb, plus we've had excellent luck with VRBO, HomeAway, and FlipKey. Eat breakfast in your jammies, have your before- & after-dinner drinks sitting on your own balcony in your bare feet, and you don't have to drive home afterwards! As long as you don't mind cooking, or find a local take-away spot. Lots of markets in Europe have excellent frozen dinners (like Picard's gourmet frozen meals).
Great question! I like the tips already posted. Thanks to everyone who added those!
Just to add some into the mix--I travel fairly often to developing countries. Some tips/techniques I've picked up over the years that could work for those places or elsewhere: visit State Dept and CDC websites beforehand (check your vaccines/medical advisories), and bring a flashlight, stomach medicine, granola bars (great for a snack or a meal), hand sanitizer, color photo copy of your passport (kept separate from your passport; notarized if possible), tiny packets of tissue (since toilet paper ain't always available), USD in new bills (many money changers won't take older bills), small gifts (nice keychains, a souvenir from where you live) to give to someone who does you a kindness, aspirin, and a water bottle (for potable water if it's available).
Great question again! Would also be interesting to do the flipside and have a list of tips of what "not" to do for travel.
Not only do I use groupon but Living Social before a trip. Something I also learned recently about those two...
Call the business that is running the groupon or living social campaign. Tell them you have questions regarding thier offer and you want to purchase it. 9 times out of 10 the company will offer you a lower price since they will make more than you going through groupon or social media. You are helping the business AND getting a great price...jackpot!
I also use priceline for car rentals. Many times you can get one for $14-$20/day. If you are really flexible with your travel plans. Use priceline every day for large cities the night before you need a room. You can stay in 5 star hotels for about $100/day. Booking ahead and trying to do this for 1 week won't work in big cities but a night by night basis works fabulous. It does require moving hotels often but who cares if you are on the run! In smaller, less popular cities I have found 4 star hotels for $45/night!
Thats it for now! ;-)
I've always found sealable plastic bags very useful and versatile. Zip lock type and grocery bags as well.
Use them for:
They are light and do not take much space, so pack varying sizes in your luggage. You will find so many uses for them.
That's a really great tip @dkfromthebay! I love using zip loc bags to corrall and organize items, plus protecting items from liquids that could potentially leak.
I, too, travel with a selection of ziplok baggies.
But I also bring a fistfull of various size plastic zip-ties.
(The things we engineers often use to bundle a group of wires together with).
I specifically like the very small ones for 'locking' my zippers on my checked bags. It is an absolutely SURE way of knowing if someone has opened your bag, since they have to 'cut' the zip-tie. (Easily done with knife or scissors, if required).
Just as I'm sure all of you with the Barclay's WorldArrival Mastercard collect points for using your card, there are also other ways to earn points for travel.
I make of a point of signing up for every hotel loyalty program offered to me. Even if I don't stay in a particular hotel brand very often, I sign up because maybe the points transfer into another program, or can be put toward another night's stay.
If it's free, what do you have to lose? Even if you never use the points for anything, it didn't cost you anything anyway, so no one loses.
A particularly good scheme is Starwood Preferred Guest with hotels such as Sheraton, Westin, Le Meridien, etc under its umbrella. If you're staying at these hotels anyway, whether for business or pleasure, you might as well get something for it. Even if you don't use the points you'll at least benefit from a room on an "enhanced" higher SPG floor and free water, etc, during your stay.
Plus they transfer 1:1 into most airline loyalty schemes too which is great if you're really close to being able to book an award flight but just need a couple thousand more.