Travel en-US The Secret to Getting Great Hotel Rates Anytime <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-secret-to-getting-great-hotel-rates-anytime" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="hotel receptionist" title="hotel receptionist" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Did you know that you can shave thousands of dollars off your travel expenses just by timing your trip correctly?</p> <p>Hotels all over the world discount their rates at certain times of the year, sometimes by more than 50% during the less popular vacation months. So assuming you've got a little flexibility, try booking your hotel for for these times and places.</p> <h2>Beginning of the Year</h2> <p>Travel seems to be a great way to start a new year, <a href="">according to Agoda</a>, a growing online hotel booking service. Out of the 25 cities Agoda studied, all offer lower hotel rates during the first two weeks of the year compared to the year-long averages.</p> <p>Hotel rates in New York City, for example, are dramatically slashed at the beginning of the year. On top of that, prices for other activities like watching Broadway shows and ice skating are lower as well. Agoda says that you can save as much as 40% off the average hotel rate if you travel to New York City in January or February. Trivago agrees that the cheapest month to <a href="">visit the Big Apple is in February</a>, when the average hotel rate is $267 per night &mdash; a lot cheaper than the $436 average nightly rate that hotels charge in October.</p> <p>You can also find great deals in Boston in January, when Trivago says hotel rates are $190 cheaper than they are in October. However, to enjoy this discount, you'll have to contend with Boston's winter, which can see temperature lows in the 20s. For the same reason, hotels in Chicago are $138 cheaper in January than they are in June.</p> <p>Barcelona, Istanbul, London, and Rome are similarly cheaper during the first two months of the year. (And probably not 17 degrees Fahrenheit.)</p> <h2>After School Break</h2> <p>Theme parks are packed during school holidays. If you want to visit Orlando, do it when the kids are back in school. You'll enjoy shorter lines and may actually have enough time for all the rides. Trivago says that hotel rates in Orlando are $38 lower per night in January than they are in March during the spring break season.</p> <p>For the same reason, Miami Beach hotels are cheaper in September, when families are busy with school. Worries about the hurricane season may also have something to do with these low hotel rates. In March, Miami Beach hotels charge an average of $387 per night, in contrast to the $194 average nightly rate they charge in September.</p> <h2>Skiing</h2> <p>Going skiing? You don't have to do it in the dead of winter.</p> <p>The ski resorts in Colorado, for example, offer their best rates at the beginning and end of the season. Go in January or sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas.</p> <p>If you plan to travel further north, you can go later in the year. In Whistler, British Columbia, there's often great snow even in spring, when the hotels rates are much cheaper. For example, in April the <a href="">Fairmont Chateau Whistler charges $189 less</a> per night than it does in February.</p> <h2>Anytime But Summer</h2> <p>Traveling in the summer has it's advantages: outdoor festivals, busy nightlife, and long sunny days. But you'll also have to deal with the heat and the crowds, not to mention the sky-high hotel rates. According to Agoda, hotels in Oslo and Istanbul can be 50% more expensive in May compared to the year-long averages.</p> <p>In much of Europe, you can get the best hotel deals from November through March. Some hotels may be closed during this off-peak season, but those that remain open often offer great rates.</p> <p>You can find the best bargains in San Francisco from November through May. In December particularly, hotel rates average $201 per night, compared to $324 per night in September.</p> <h2>The Holidays</h2> <p>Hotel rates during the end-of-year holiday season are notoriously high. However, some cities actually have their low season during the last week of December. If you want to spend Christmas away from home, choose Oslo, Stockholm, or Riyadh for the lowest hotel rates.</p> <h2>Stable Cities</h2> <p>In some places, hotel rates don't change much throughout the year. If you plan to travel during peak season, you may do well be to choose these cities.</p> <p>Agoda's survey finds that popular Asian destinations don't discount their hotel rates much. In Tokyo, for example, hotel rates during the first week in January are only 17% cheaper than the average. Around the same time of the year in Seoul, hotel rates are only 10% cheaper than the average.</p> <p>Taipei's hotels are at their cheapest during the first week of July, but even then they're only offering about 9% discount off the average nightly rate.</p> <p><em>Have you taken advantage of off-season discount pricing to travel? Where did you go?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The Secret to Getting Great Hotel Rates Anytime" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Deia B</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Travel discount discount travel off-season travel Thu, 21 Aug 2014 15:00:04 +0000 Deia B 1189787 at 7 Ways You're Wasting Gas Without Realizing It <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-youre-wasting-gas-without-realizing-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="driving car" title="driving car" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>At the time of this writing, the average cost of a gallon of gas in the U.S. is $3.52. And while most of us can remember significantly higher prices at the pump, today's costs don't quite qualify as bargain-basement by anyone's definition. (See also: <a href="">How to Turn Groceries Into Gasoline</a>)</p> <p>So, if you'd like to save some cash on gas, it might be time to change the way you drive. Go from a slurper to a sipper by avoiding these seven fuel-wasting habits.</p> <h2>1. Idling for More Than 10 Seconds</h2> <p>Want to learn how to reduce your fuel efficiency to zero MPG? Let it sit with the engine running. For modern fuel-injected cars, idling for more than 10 seconds is a waste of gas, even when you compare it to the alternative &mdash; just turning off the engine and restarting it when it's time to move again.</p> <h2>2. Driving Too Slow</h2> <p>Everyone knows that driving too <em>fast</em> can waste fuel, but did you know that driving too slow can do the same thing? Driving below your car's optimal speed means the engine is putting out a lot of effort and not accomplishing much. And while optimal speed is a bit of a gray area and depends on the type of transmission your car has, it's usually achieved by balancing the lowest possible RPM with an appropriate speed for the roadway you're on. Just remember: Trying to conserve gas by crawling down the expressway is both dangerous and ineffective.</p> <h2>3. Racing to the Reds</h2> <p>Ever notice how anxious some folks are to floor it when a red light changes to green in heavy traffic? It's as if the drivers don't realize they'll be hitting another red light or stop sign in mere yards. Quick acceleration is a fuel burner and the only thing it efficiently achieves is a smokin' case of car sickness. Instead, retire your drag-racing uniform, lighten up your lead foot, and accelerate slowly to boost fuel economy and save gas.</p> <h2>4. Avoiding Cruise Control</h2> <p>I've always considered the cruise control feature on my car to be the foil against my own driver's ego. But whether we realize it or not, many of us fall into a familiar rhythm when we're driving on an interstate. We speed up to pass, gun it for a mile or so, and then slow down again. Sometimes we even speed up when we anticipate being passed by another motorist. Using cruise control to maintain a reasonable and steady pace makes a lot more sense from a safety and fuel-efficiency perspective.</p> <h2>5. Buying High-Performance Tires</h2> <p>High-performance tires are those super-grippy numbers that hug the pavement and make even the most humble cars feel just a bit more capable and confident. But tires that grip take more energy to move and that takes more gas. Opt for a high-quality standard tread tire instead and don't give your engine more friction to work against.</p> <h2>6. Taking Multiple Short Trips</h2> <p>Is your day filled with short hops and skips in the car? Unless you're planning them right, you're probably wasting fuel. Since engines work most efficiently when they're warmed up, driving a short distance, stopping, letting your car's engine cool down, and going again is a fuel-sucking strategy. Instead, combine trips, schedule the longest one first, and keep each stop brief enough that the engine doesn't cool down in between. Better yet, get a bike for quick errands or consider walking.</p> <h2>7. Deferring Maintenance</h2> <p>Dirty fuel filters, clogged air filters, and malfunctioning oxygen sensors are just three maintenance issues that can be a drag on your car's fuel efficiency. And remember those high-performance tires? You can make any old set hug the road (and slowly lower your MPG) by tooling around while they're under-inflated. Keep on top of basic auto maintenance issues to improve your gas mileage and lower overall costs.</p> <h2>Start Really Saving Gas by Hypermiling</h2> <p><em>Hypermiling</em> is the practice of increasing a car's fuel efficiency by making tweaks to the way you drive or modifications to the car itself. Techniques like turning off the AC while driving, keeping tires properly inflated, and modulating speed to reduce the need to brake so often are just a few simple <a href="">ways to start hypermiling</a> now. And yes; there's an app for that. <a href="">Hypermiling MPG Calculator</a> lets drivers track fuel usage and apply tips and hypermiling strategies to reduce consumption.</p> <p>For more ideas on how to save money at the pump, download Wise Bread's free <a href="">Wise Driving Guide</a>. And for more fuel-defensive driving tips, learn the <a href="">techniques of extreme hypermilers</a>. But remember, with any driving strategy, safety always comes first. Some hypermiling driving methods may not be legal in your area or not advisable under certain conditions.</p> <p>In the end, conserving gas is a lot like conserving any other resource &mdash; it all starts with sharpening our awareness. With a little planning, better choices, sensible techniques, and maybe even an app or two, saving gas can become second nature. And until science perfects the hydrogen car or solar-powered engine, saving at the pump will only have a bigger impact on our personal budgets.</p> <p><em>How do you conserve gas? What's the simplest and most effective tip you have for others?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="7 Ways You&#039;re Wasting Gas Without Realizing It" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Kentin Waits</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Lifestyle Travel 7 Ways You're Wasting Gas Without Realizing It Tue, 19 Aug 2014 11:00:03 +0000 Kentin Waits 1189080 at 15 Airport Hacks From Professional Travelers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-airport-hacks-from-professional-travelers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="businessman sleeping airport" title="businessman sleeping airport" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you want to save money on drinks and baggage fees, skip airport lineups, get good prices on flights, keep the kids amused, and stay safe when arriving in airports at unwieldy hours? Then read on, because I've rounded up 10 professional travelers and invited them to share their <em>best</em> airport hacks. (See also: <a href="">How to Get Through the Airport Faster</a>).</p> <h2>1. Apply for Global Entry</h2> <p>U.S. Citizens can clear customs quickly with <a href="">Global Entry</a>. (Citizens of Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, the Netherlands, and other countries have <a href="">similar pre-screening programs</a> that work in tandem with Global Entry). Application involves a rigorous background check and interview, but once you're a member you can clear customs in a jiffy, and also take advantage of special security lines and procedures.</p> <p>Lisa Ellen Niver of <a href="">We Said Go Travel</a> is a global citizen who has traveled to over 100 countries on six continents. After traveling with her parents and experiencing the benefits of Global Entry, she lodged her own application. &quot;After you apply and have your interview, you no longer have to stand in long security lines. You are whisked ahead with no need to remove shoes or take computers out of cases. It makes travel seem almost civilized again!&quot;</p> <h2>2. Bring Your Own Liquor</h2> <p>Are you taking a domestic flight (and/or flying a budget airline) and want to have a drink but don't want to pay the airline's prices for liquor? Carry on a mini bottle of your favorite libation and mix it with the free soft drink, says Tamara Elliott, who offers savvy practical travel advice on <a href="">Globe Guide</a>. &quot;This works well since mix (Coke, juice, etc) is already included on-board &mdash; plus, the TSA doesn't have restrictions about what liquids you can bring, just how big they are.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Hitchhike Into the First Class Lounge</h2> <p>Turner Wright of <a href="">Once A Traveler</a>, who has lived in Japan, South Korea, Peru, Thailand, and New Zealand, <span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: verdana, georgia, arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 22.100000381469727px; orphans: auto; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; display: inline !important; float: none; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">has an unconventional method for accessing first class lounges:</span></p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">Some first class lounges allow you to bring in a guest for free, so as long as you're not too smelly and relatively personable, just hang out at the entrance and ask someone if he or she wouldn't mind signing you in (including a sob story about how you've been cooped up for 30 hours and/or missing your family wouldn't hurt).</p> <h2>4. Pay for the First Class Lounge</h2> <p>If schmoozing into the first class lounge doesn't work (or isn't your style), you can often buy a pass. It usually costs $30-$50 and gives you access to all the lounge amenities such as comfortable seating, free food and drinks (including alcohol), Internet, and sometimes even showers and quiet rooms for sleeping. If you have hours to kill before your flight or between flights, this can be money well spent.</p> <h2>5. Wear Your Extra Luggage</h2> <p>Benny Lewis as been on the road for over 11 years and was named National Geographic's Traveler of the Year in 2013. He travels with everything he owns (including books!), and flies budget airlines with over 80 pounds of gear without paying for it. His secret? He <a href="">wears his luggage</a> with the unfashionable but arguably practical <a href="">Jaktogo</a>. &quot;It's not a great fashion statement, and uncomfortable to wear while you do it, but that's only necessary while you [check in and] board the plane (since that's the only time your number of bags are truly checked). The rest of the time, you can walk around the terminal and even go through security with it in its extra bag folded up mode.&quot; (Benny himself a polyglot who teaches people to become <a href="">Fluent in 3 Months</a> with a variety of tools including a <a href="">free crash course</a>.)</p> <h2>6. Fly Red-Eye</h2> <p>Matt Stabile, founder and Editor-in-Chief of <a href=""></a> and <a href=""></a> says the best way to avoid the hassle of getting through airports is to choose red-eye (overnight) flights, especially if it's a long flight. &quot;If you book a flight that leaves past, say, 10:00pm, you'll avoid rush hour traffic on the way to the airport, lines at check-in are going to be minimal, security will take a fraction of what it takes earlier in the day, and once you settle in for the flight, you can simply go to sleep and wake up at your destination.&quot;</p> <h2>7. Get Help Booking Flights</h2> <p>If flying red-eye doesn't appeal, Benny Lewis also recommends using <a href="">Flight Fox</a> to book flights; he says they can often find a convenient travel time for the same cost as a red-eye flight.</p> <h2>8. Ask for Assistance</h2> <p>Airports usually involve lots of walking and standing in line, which not everybody can manage. If you or somebody you're traveling with has trouble getting around (due to age or injury), don't let pride get in the way; ask for assistance.</p> <p>Jeanne Dee of <a href="">SoulTravelers3</a> discovered this life-saver while suffering serious medical challenges and traveling with her family. &quot;Airlines can help you with wheelchair assistance, making the whole process doable for someone with health challenges, and they escort the whole family through security and customs and such.&quot; Jeanne and her multi-award-winning digital nomadic family of three have been on the road non-stop for almost nine years, visiting 47 countries on five continents for $23/day per person.</p> <p>Although wheelchair assistance shouldn't be taken advantage of, it's a huge time-saver if you have a tight connection and are unable to move quickly. I discovered this myself after suffering a near-fatal accident and traveling to the States for medical attention. I would never have made the connection in my condition without being skirted through the airport's &quot;secret passages&quot; and ushered through special lineups. (Bonus: Your travel companions are escorted through with you!)</p> <h2>9. Eat at the Airport</h2> <p>Tiffany and Chris Soukup of <a href=""></a> have been traveling and working around the world for the last 10 years. They've learned through experience that eating a solid meal at the airport can actually be cost-effective, and arriving well-fed helps battle <a href="">jet lag</a> and even helps you make better (money-saving) decisions. Tiffany uses some hacks to make it cost-effective and fun. &quot;I can't say the airport is my favorite place to eat, but I look forward to walking around to find where I'll dine. [Also], look ahead to know what restaurants are at the airport and see if you can get coupons.&quot;</p> <h2>10. Family Travel Hack: Entertain the Kids Without Gadgets</h2> <p>Rachel and Greg Denning of <a href=""></a> have been traveling since 2007 with their five (now six) children. They know better than any parents how hard it is to keep kids entertained during long hours of waiting in airports, and they say using less technology (tablets, smartphones, etc) creates better travelers.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">The mind-numbing, easy entertainment of many [tablet/smartphone] games can lead to boredom, because children get accustomed to being passively entertained, instead of actively entertaining themselves. Reading books, talking, singing, playing games (cards, iSpy, etc.) can hold their attention and lead to bonding and personal interaction, which makes travel more enjoyable for parents and children alike.</p> <p>She adds, however, that if your kids are already addicted to technology, going cold turkey in an airport isn't wise; best to start &quot;weaning&quot; them several weeks before traveling. (See also: <a href="">The Digital Detox &ndash; How and Why to Do It</a>).</p> <h2>11. Jump the Line (and Other Perks) With Frequent Flyer Status</h2> <p>&quot;The Guy&quot; dubs his website <a href="">Flights and Frustration</a> for good reason; he has been traveling internationally with his work nearly every month for over 14 years. He has found a way to use business class and priority lineups even if he's flying economy. It's all about achieving elite status with frequent flyer miles. (See also: <a href="">Everything You Need to Know About Frequent Flyer Miles</a>).</p> <p>&quot;A prime example is my KLM Flying Blue card. With higher status I can use my economy ticket and still go to the business class check-in queue.&quot; For those with miles but no status, try asking for a points-upgrade. &quot;Inquire at check-in (or even before you go to the airport) to see if you can redeem points to upgrade your ticket to business class. Then it is queue jumping and luxury travel all the way.&quot;</p> <p>Having status with one airline can give you access to perks on all airlines in the alliance. &quot;I collect frequent flyer points on my Singapore Kris Flyer card for Star Alliance flights. I held a Gold Status with this Kris Flyer card whilst checking in for a domestic flight in the US with United. Due to my frequent flyer status with Star Alliance, they waived the baggage fee.&quot;</p> <h2>12. Go Through Priority Lines Anyway</h2> <p>Turner Wright (of <a href="">Once A Traveler</a>) doesn't even bother flashing a frequent flyer mile status card to jump the line. &quot;Depending on the rush, I find it pretty ridiculous to cue up in one security line when there's an empty one for first class or priority passengers. Usually I just walk up and ask if I can go through, assuming they don't just wave me in. The same goes for lines at immigration and customs.&quot;</p> <h2>13. Flash Your Travel Rewards Credit Card</h2> <p>Even if you don't have super-elite frequent flyer mile status, you can flash a travel rewards credit card to gain lounge access. Stephanie Zito has been to over 115 countries living and working on the road for the last 20+ years. In addition to her humanitarian work and <a href="">Wandering For Good</a>, she's also the managing editor of the <a href="">Travel Hacking Cartel</a> and a travel-hacker extraordinaire.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">If you live and work on the road and take advantage of lounges for showers, meals, Wi-Fi, and free drinks, it's worth carrying a card like the <a href="">American Express Platinum</a> getting you Priority Pass access into more than 600 lounges around the world. If you just need a pass or two, many co-branded airline credit cards offer one or two lounge passes a year as a sign-up bonus.</p> <h2>14. Catch a Rest in the Chapel (and a Shower Nearby)</h2> <p>If you've got a long layover or delayed flight and need some peace and quiet, look for the airport chapel. It can be a great place to catch a catnap, meditate, or simply enjoy a cell-phone free environment. Stephanie Zito also says it might lead you to a shower in certain parts of the world: &quot;If you're traveling through the middle east, there is almost always a public shower room somewhere in the airport &mdash; you just have to find it. The trick is to locate the prayer area. The showers will always be nearby.&quot;</p> <h2>15. Sleep in the Airport</h2> <p>Wade Shepard has been traveling since 1999 as founding editor of <a href="">Vagabond Journey</a>, and he has a formula for sleeping in airports. &quot;I usually sleep in the airport when I have an early morning flight leaving between 3 a.m. and 9 a.m. or when I land between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. It's free, relatively secure, and cuts out the hassle of taking [costly] late night transportation and checking in/out of a hotel at an hour when humans are better off tucked away in bed.&quot; He even argues that it's safer to sleep in the airport than to navigate a foreign city late at night, where you might be more of a target.</p> <p>He consults <a href=""></a> to find the best places to sleep, and likes to be out of the way but still around other people (who are preferably sleeping) so there is security in numbers. As for his luggage, he secures it: &quot;I either lock my bag to the chair I'm sleeping in or I tie it my wrist &mdash; so if someone was to try to snatch it I'd wake up.&quot;</p> <p>Wade even does this with his wife and child in tow. &quot;Having three people to fend for makes the money saved even greater! I also found it works better just to let my daughter stay up late, go crazy in the airport, then crash on the plane rather than waking her up in the middle of the night and moving her out [of a hotel].&quot;</p> <p>For more from frequent travelers, check out these 25 other fantastic travel tips and secrets: <a href="">25 Secrets From the World's Most Frugal Frequent Travelers</a>.</p> <p><em>Do you have any reliable airport hacks? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="15 Airport Hacks From Professional Travelers" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Nora Dunn</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Travel air travel airport secrets airports frugal travel travel secrets Mon, 18 Aug 2014 15:06:06 +0000 Nora Dunn 1185372 at 7 Popular Vacation Spots That Aren't Worth the Money (and Where to Go Instead) <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-popular-vacation-spots-that-arent-worth-the-money-and-where-to-go-instead" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="las vegas" title="las vegas" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When it comes to vacation benefits, America is in poor shape. According to the &quot;<a href="" style="text-decoration:none;">Vacation Equality Project</a>,&quot; America is the only advanced economy in the world that does not guarantee paid vacation days. As a Brit, I was shocked to learn that the guaranteed four weeks of vacation that I got in the UK was going to become just one week when I arrived here in 2001 (and I was told by my employer at the time to be thankful for that). (See also: <a href="" style="text-decoration:none;">11 Vacation Destinations That Stretch Your Travel Dollar</a>)</p> <p>So choosing where to go on vacation is crucial. These vacation days we get are precious; we don't want to waste them. But so many of us ignore incredible vacation spots for more popular ones that are overpriced and overrated. Here are seven spots you should know about that aren't worth your hard earned money; let's call them the seven deadly sins of vacationing.</p> <h2>1. The Bahamas</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Quite possibly one of the most overrated vacation spots in the world, the Bahamas is where people go when they think they want a relaxing beach vacation. Everyone has the same idea, and the beaches are not even that good (although they are wonderfully crowded). This is tourism hell, but you'll pay through the nose for it, especially is you stay at the Atlantis. If you're looking for beaches without the fuss, try other parts of the Caribbean. The Dominican Republic is beautiful and affordable, and you will get a lot of the beach to yourself it you visit Trinidad and Tobago.</p> <h2>2. Naples, Italy</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>When someone tells you they're off to Naples, you immediately think of all the best parts of an Italian holiday; incredible architecture, amazing food, beautiful scenery. However, one of the first things you will notice about Naples when you arrive is the <a href="" style="text-decoration:none;">smell</a>. There are frequent garbage strikes, and Naples gets very hot. That's not a good mix. Organized <a href="" style="text-decoration:none;">crime</a> is big in Naples (look up the Camorra network) and if you're not very careful, you could easily be robbed or mugged. Instead of Naples, or Rome, try something a lot less &quot;popular.&quot; <a href="" style="text-decoration:none;">Sardinia</a> is a much better bet, with a crystal clear sea, white beaches, and very few tourists to battle it out with. It's soul, without glitz.</p> <h2>3. Disneyland or Disneyworld</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>What?! No Disney? As comedian Jim Gaffigan said, &quot;How can I spend an enormous amount of money, be uncomfortable, and listen to my children complain and whine?&quot; That's the Disney experience for adults, and you really do pay for the &quot;privilege.&quot;</p> <p>Let's get it straight. You will be spending a lot of time standing in line for rides that last a few minutes. You will also be spending an awful lot of money on food that makes cinema popcorn look like a great deal. Disney is also designed to part you with your money as often as possible, and the nag factor (&quot;mommy, daddy, can I have that pleeeeeaseeee&quot;) is huge. Forget Disney. There are plenty of great amusement parks out there that offer much better value. (See also: <a href="" style="text-decoration:none;">8 Affordable Theme Parks That Are Just as Fun as Disney</a>)</p> <h2>4. Dublin, Ireland</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>You know, there is more than one place in Ireland that sells a decent pint of Guinness. And yet every year, people from all over the world flock to Dublin for a taste of the other black gold. <a href="" style="text-decoration:none;">The Huffington Post</a> named it one of the most overrated places on earth, and for many good reasons. For a start, Dublin caters to the tourist trade, and as such has become focused on keeping tourists happy. It's no longer a slice of traditional Ireland, and you won't see the the Emerald Isle's real culture or customs there. There are much more &quot;Irish&quot; places to visit, and they won't be bogged down by tourists. <a href="" style="text-decoration:none;">They include Dunmore East and County Kerry.</a></p> <h2>5. Las Vegas, Nevada</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Vegas baby! Vegas! Vegas!! Yeah, yeah... Vegas. If you have a lot of money and are prepared to lose a chunk of it, Las Vegas is going to be great. Then again, anywhere is going to be great if you're that rich.</p> <p>But if you're looking for a frugal vacation, Vegas is going to get old pretty quickly. Yes, you can get free alcohol if you gamble. You can even play the penny slots. But the alcohol is watered down, it's not served often, and you're still in a dimly lit casino. The clubs? They're expensive and you'll stand in line for hours. You will be hounded constantly about timeshares and &quot;female company.&quot; And the famous hotel buffets are just buffets. You even stand in line for those. Forget Vegas. If you really must gamble and want to stay in the US, try Atlantic City. It's on the coast, it has the boardwalk, a lot of family activities, and it's nowhere near as crowded and sleazy.</p> <h2>6. London, England</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>As someone who lived in London for six long years, I am speaking from a great deal of experience. Yes, London has some wonderful historic buildings, but it is dirty, smelly, and incredibly expensive. Anyone visiting from the U.S. should plan on spending at least three times what they would spend on a vacation to most other parts of the world, due to the rotten exchange rate and the vastly overpriced goods and services in the big city.</p> <p>Now, this is not to say you should avoid The London Eye, Big Ben, Hampton Court, The Tower of London and other attractions. What you should do instead is find a much more affordable part of England to stay in, and then pop to London on a train or National Express coach on one or two days of your vacation. Oxford, Cambridge, Brighton, Arundel, and Whitstable are all beautiful, affordable and about an hour from the center of London.</p> <h2>7. Dubai, UAE</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>For some reason, Dubai has become an insanely popular tourist destination over the last 10 years. Yet in polls taken by many travel websites, Dubai came out on top as <a href=";page=6" style="text-decoration:none;">the most overrated</a> and <a href="" style="text-decoration:none;">overpriced place to visit</a>. It has a lot of tall buildings. If that's your thing, it's a start. But as the construction work is constant, it's not exactly going to be a calming experience.</p> <p>The city is a shrine to consumerism, and is home to things like &quot;world's biggest mall&quot; and &quot;world's largest theme park.&quot; Get ready for the &quot;world's largest disappointment&quot; and the &quot;world's most overpriced vacation.&quot; Give Dubai a pass, and instead <a href="" style="text-decoration:none;">try more cultural cities</a> like Sharjah (home to many galleries, festivals, and museums), Muscat, or Abu Dhabi.</p> <p><em>Vehemently disagree? Have another overrated destination? Let us know below.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="7 Popular Vacation Spots That Aren&#039;t Worth the Money (and Where to Go Instead)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Travel cheap travel expensive travel overrated destinations theme parks vacation deals Fri, 15 Aug 2014 15:00:04 +0000 Paul Michael 1184471 at 10 Insane, Life-Affirming, and Cheap Things You Must Do Before You Die <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-insane-life-affirming-and-cheap-things-you-must-do-before-you-die" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="mountain climber" title="mountain climber" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Like the poet William Ross Wallace said, &quot;Every man dies &mdash; not every man really lives.&quot; So how do you know if you're really living?</p> <p>Well, you could read up on existentialism or employ a life coach &mdash; or you could tackle this bucket list of must-do's that are both frugal and utterly life-changing. (See also: <a href="">5 Cheap, Amazing, and Undiscovered Vacation Destinations</a>)</p> <p>Just reading our round-up of the top 10 is sure to light a fire in your belly.</p> <h2>1. Travel Alone to Someplace You've Never Been</h2> <p>Pull out a map and <a href="">pick a destination</a>. It doesn't have to be Paris or Dubai, but it could be. The biggest myth about foreign travel is that it's prohibitively expensive. The second biggest myth is that it's dangerous to make the journey on your own. Buses, budget airlines, <a href=""></a>, and hostels catering to backpackers are just a few of the tools that can help you travel on-the-cheap. Guidebooks and common sense will help keep you safe. All you have to do is pick a place.</p> <p>Now here's the catch: Don't plan an itinerary. That way you'll be wide open for spontaneous, wonderful things to happen. Oh, and about that knot you'll feel in your stomach upon embarking on a trip full of unknowns... That's the whole point! Travel experts say overcoming that feeling and learning to thrive on your own in a strange, new setting is precisely what makes solo travel so rewarding.</p> <h2>2. Climb a Mountain</h2> <p>Research shows that <a href="">mountain climbing gives people a sense of achievement</a> and boosts their self-worth. It's also downright exhilarating. Rocky peaks, narrow ledges, and burning calf muscles are all part of the experience. And the rewards are oh-so-sweet &mdash; an adrenaline high, sweaty mountaintop selfie ops, and stunning panoramic views, to name just a few.</p> <h2>3. Find Your Passion</h2> <p>Life's too short to be spent doing things we don't love. If you haven't found a career or hobby or person worth living for... well, what are you waiting for? Studies show that <a href="">people who are passionate about their work</a> perform better. And those who have established, loving relationships perform better at their jobs and feel more fulfilled in all aspects of life. So maybe it's time to change up your career. Try out surfing. Learn a new language. Take up woodworking or acting or one of the martial arts. Give online dating a fair shot.</p> <p>You'll probably always have to take out the trash and mow the lawn, but once you've found your passion you'll find you can do just about any task with a smile. (See also: <a href="">5 Simple Ways To Find Your Passion</a>)</p> <h2>4. Watch a Rocket Blast Off Into Outer Space</h2> <p>This here is free and mind-blowing entertainment, folks. Brought to you by NASA, <a href="">rocket launches can happen as often as twice a month</a> at Kennedy Space Center in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Watching the future shoot skyward in a cloud of smoke and fire is about the next-best thing to visiting space yourself. Just don't forget your camera.</p> <h2>5. Shower in a Waterfall</h2> <p>Need we say more? To find a waterfall near you, check out <a href=""></a> or the <a href=";msa=0&amp;ll=37.996163,-94.042969&amp;spn=46.173152,107.138672&amp;dg=feature">World of Waterfalls</a> map.</p> <h2>6. Play an Epic Game of Bossaball</h2> <p>This game of balance and strategy &mdash; a hybrid of volleyball, football, gymnastics, and capoeira &mdash; is <a href="">played on an inflatable court</a> with trampolines. It can be played anywhere, anytime. And despite the unique playing field, set-up only takes about 45 minutes. Oh, yeah. We should probably mention that you'll have about as much fun playing Bossaball as humanly possible. Intrigued? <a href="">Join a league</a> or <a href="">organize your own game</a>.</p> <h2>7. Roll Around in a Giant, Inflatable Bubble</h2> <p>If you're not already familiar, a Zorb is <a href="">a giant, inflatable sphere</a> that you climb inside and ride down hills or across wide open spaces. Why do people go zorbing? Because it's ridiculously fun. Invented in New Zealand in 1995, this gravity-trip has gone international. It's also reasonably priced. A Zorb ride typically costs about $40.</p> <h2>8. See a Volcano</h2> <p>There are about 6,000 volcanos in existence and the Smithsonian has created <a href="">a user-friendly database</a> of them all for your convenience. Now there should be nothing stopping you from checking out one the most mesmerizing geographic features that link the land we walk on to planet earth's fiery core. Don't be fooled &mdash; you can do a lot more than just look at them. You can ski the Cascade Volcanoes in the Pacific Northwest, witness the fiery lava of Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano as it drizzles into the ocean, and scuba dive around the underwater White Island Volcano in New Zealand.</p> <h2>9. Conquer a Fear</h2> <p>Turns out that <a href="">facing your fears really works</a>. Research shows that people who expose themselves to the thing that unnerves them &mdash; be it a gigantic, hairy spider or standing at the edge of a cliff &mdash; can actually reduce their fear of that very thing. The results can be truly liberating. So if you're afraid of spiders, go to a zoo that will let you hold one. If it's heights that make you squeamish, go cliff jumping. Life is too short to let irrational fears keep you from living vibrantly. (See also: <a href="">9 Techniques That Can Help You Conquer Any Fear</a>)</p> <h2>10. Learn How to Meditate and Practice It Daily</h2> <p>The <a href="">ancient practice of meditation</a> is proven to make you happier, more focused, and more even-keeled. Researchers say it can even make you nicer. Yet perhaps it's not scientists but Hugh Jackman who best sums up <a href="">why we all should do it</a>: &quot;Meditation is all about the pursuit of nothingness. It's like the ultimate rest. It's better than the best sleep you've ever had. It's a quieting of the mind. It sharpens everything, especially your appreciation of your surroundings. It keeps life fresh.&quot; What a wonderful tool to have at your disposal as you progress on this wonderful, crazy ride we call life.</p> <p><em>What have you checked off your life's &quot;Awesome To-Do List&quot;? Please share in comments (and cross &quot;Comment on Wise Bread&quot; off the list!)</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Insane, Life-Affirming, and Cheap Things You Must Do Before You Die" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Brittany Lyte</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Travel adventure bucket list cheap thrills Thu, 14 Aug 2014 17:00:30 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1183824 at The Easy Way to Negotiate a Cheaper Hotel Room <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-easy-way-to-negotiate-a-cheaper-hotel-room" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="man on phone" title="man on phone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Here's something you may not know: Hotel rates are not set in stone. It's often possible to get the best deals simply by picking up the phone and negotiating your way into low rates, upgrades, and freebies. (See also: <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="">20 Secrets of Last Minute Travel</a>)</p> <p>Very rarely will these opportunities be advertised, so the only way you can find out if a hotel negotiates is by picking up the phone and asking the hotel staff. Just follow the steps below, and remember to be nice, be polite, and charming as hell.</p> <h2>Timing Your Visit</h2> <p>If your trip coincides with the busy season, it's unlikely that the hotel will negotiate their rates. When they can get other guests to pay full price, they're probably not going to give you any discounts.</p> <p>If you travel during the off-peak season, however, you're in luck. Hotels are more willing to negotiate when business is slow. The front-desk staff should have some leeway to allow discounts for guests who ask.</p> <p>You'll have a better chance of succeeding if you call as soon as you know your dates. You can try calling at the last minute or even negotiating in person when you arrive at the hotel, but you may end up not getting a room at all.</p> <p>Regardless of whether you speak with the hotel staff by phone or in person, do it when they're not busy. Avoid check-in and meal times; call in the late afternoon instead. You don't want to speak with someone who is overwhelmed by arriving guests at the reception desk. You want his full attention, so it may be a good idea to ask if it's a good time to talk at the beginning of the call.</p> <h2>Making the Call</h2> <p>Before you call, arm yourself with the hotel's published rate, as well as the rates of its competitors. You can get this information from the hotels' official websites and hotel booking sites. To minimize your searching time, go with comparison sites like <a style="text-decoration:none;" href=""></a> and <a style="text-decoration:none;" href=""></a>.</p> <p>If the hotel is part of a chain, there may be a national or even international hotline. The operator at the 800 number will probably not have any power to give you a discount. Call the hotel directly instead and ask to speak with the manager, if possible.</p> <h3>Ask for the Best Rate</h3> <p>Start the negotiation by saying something like, &quot;I found your rate online for $200 per night. Is that your best rate?&quot; You may or may not get a better deal right away.</p> <p>Follow up by asking, &quot;Is that the best you can do?&quot; or, &quot;Can you do better than that?&quot;</p> <p>If you still don't get the rate you want, continue by saying, &quot;I can't spend more than $150.&quot; Then, see what response you get. It's a good rule of thumb to try getting 25% off your starting rate because hotels generally pay that amount to third-party agents like online booking sites and travel agents for finding guests.</p> <h3>Mention the Competition</h3> <p>You can also try dropping the names of the hotel's competitors. For example, you can say, &quot;Hotel Down the Avenue has a free gym for guests to use and they only charge $175 per night. Would you be able to give me $150 per night?&quot;</p> <h3>Tweak the Dates</h3> <p>If you have some flexibility, ask the hotel manager, &quot;Does that happen to be a busy time for the hotel? Would you be able to lower the rates if I change my dates?&quot; Hotel rates fluctuate a lot, so simply adjusting your travel dates could affect the rates dramatically.</p> <p>Another trick you can use is to start out with a two-night stay and later say, &quot;I can extend my stay to three nights if you could give me a better deal.&quot;</p> <h3>Special Discounts</h3> <p>Ask if there are any special discounts. The hotel may call it a special rate or saver rate.</p> <p>Hotels often have discounts for AAA members, AARP members, senior citizens, government workers, military members, veterans, travel industry employees, hotel shareholders, business travelers, and loyalty program members. Boutique hotels may even offer introductory rates for first-time guests.</p> <h3>Discount Rooms</h3> <p>Much like the clearance racks at clothing stores, hotels also often have discount rooms that they don't offer to regular customers. There's usually a defect that makes the manager decide to keep the room empty. For example, there may be a stain in the carpet or a lamp may be missing.</p> <p>Depending on the hotel, you may be able to get this room at a discount. Just ask, &quot;Do you have any out-of-order rooms? I'd be willing to stay there if the price is right.&quot;</p> <h3>Upgrades and Special Requests</h3> <p>If you have a special request, leave it for later in the phone call. Otherwise, you may be given a more expensive room. You want to know their base rate so you can decide for yourself if whatever addon you want is worth the extra charge.</p> <p>Once you get a rate you like, ask, &quot;Oh, by the way, will this be an ocean-view room?&quot; If the hotel manager says it's not and that you'll have to pay more for an ocean-view room, you can judge for yourself whether to pay the higher price.</p> <p>This is also a good time to ask, &quot;Could you throw in the breakfast?&quot; You can also ask for a room upgrade or free parking.</p> <p>Before you end the call, get your reservation confirmation code and the name of the person on the other end of the phone. These details will help you if there's any confusion or problem with your reservation later.</p> <p><em>Have you ever negotiated a lower room rate? What worked for you?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The Easy Way to Negotiate a Cheaper Hotel Room" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Deia B</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Travel accommodations hotels lodging negotiation room rates Thu, 14 Aug 2014 15:00:03 +0000 Deia B 1183823 at The 10 Most Creative Ways to Avoid Airline Fees (Like Wearable Suitcases) <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-10-most-creative-ways-to-avoid-airline-fees-like-wearable-suitcases" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="stewardess helping passenger" title="stewardess helping passenger" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The cost of flying has never been higher. Which means the ways to potentially save on airfare have never been as&hellip; creative. (See also: <a href="">8 Airline Fees That Are Actually Worth Paying</a>)</p> <p>For those interested in bending a few rules, or looking a bit silly, you can skip some of the fees and chop down the price of a ticket, with these 10 of most ridiculous ways you can avoid those pesky airline fees.</p> <h2>1. Invest in Wearable Luggage</h2> <p>Ask yourself the following question &mdash; &quot;Is it more important for me to look good on the plane, or save money on my flight?&quot; If you choose the latter option (and you're reading Wise Bread, so that's highly likely), consider saving on checked bag fees by <em>wearing your luggage</em>. That's right, a website called <a href=""></a>, which has been around since 2010, has created clothing lines that can store up to 33 pounds of luggage. It's not exactly chic or stylish, but who cares if it saves you a bunch of cash every single time you fly. Not only that, if you're not checking bags you can avoid the baggage claim delays.</p> <h2>2. Make Your Layover Stop Your Final Destination</h2> <p>This is also known as the &quot;hidden city&quot; airline ticket, and none of the airline carriers will tell you about it. In fact, many of them say it's something you cannot do. But, if the airlines insist on charging additional fees while cutting services, I say &quot;power to the people.&quot;</p> <p>The trick here is to avoid booking a non-stop flight, and instead book one to a very popular destination with a big hub. The 1-stop or 2-stop flights are cheaper than direct flights, and what you want to do is find a layover that is your actual destination. Then, instead of switching planes, you just get off at the layover city and enjoy your vacation. You can save 30% or more by taking this route. Of course, you can only do this if you have no checked baggage, you must book one-way tickets, and if you get caught, you may get suspended from the airline.</p> <h2>3. Wear Layers Of Clothing</h2> <p>The blankets and pillows used to be free on your flight. That's increasingly not the case. So, if you're in for a long flight and don't like the chill, double or triple the layers of clothing you're wearing. Two to three shirts or sweaters, or maybe even a blanket tied around your waist, can come in very handy when you're flying. Ball them up as a pillow, or use them for cover. If you're hot, it's easy enough to take a few layers off.</p> <h2>4. Check Your Bag at the Gate</h2> <p>You'll pay to check your bag at the service desk, but you can skip that fee if you decide to take the airline's generous offer of a free bag check at the gate. Of course, you have to ensure the bag would fit in the overhead compartment first; they won't let you carry a massive suitcase onto the plane. But these days, with flights being overbooked, they are always looking to save a little room. If you want to make sure you've got the best chance of being asked to check your bag for free, hang back and board last.</p> <h2>5. Carry an Empty Water Bottle</h2> <p>You can't take big bottles of liquids, like water or juice, through security. But there is absolutely nothing stopping you taking an empty water bottle through the scanner. Once you're through the gate, you can fill it at a drinking fountain, or take your bottle onto the plane and ask them to fill it with water; either option is better than paying for the expensive bottled water on the flight. Seriously: <a href="">Spirit charges $3 per bottle.</a></p> <h2>6. Baggage? Just Upgrade to Business</h2> <p>Wait, what? Isn't that going to cost more? Well, that all depends on the airline, your destination, and how much luggage you're checking. Business class seats often come with two or three checked bags free of charge. Sometimes, it can be as little as $40 for an upgrade (anyone who listens to comedian Hannibal Buress will know that story). If you do the math, you may find that you're paying the same for the business class seat as you are for the coach seat with checked bags.</p> <h2>7. Bring Chocolates on the Flight</h2> <p>These sweet treats aren't for you; they're for the flight attendants. When you board the plane, hand over a gift-wrapped box of delicious chocolates and thank them in advance for the wonderful job they do. Not only will you make their day, you will now be their favorite passenger. Suddenly, you're not paying for headphones, movies, drinks, meals, or anything else you'd normally have to pay for on board. It doesn't always happen, but when it does you'll save a bunch of money.</p> <h2>8. Buy Round Trip for One Way Journeys</h2> <p>It seems so odd that round trips are often cheaper than one-way tickets. Airline representatives state that they don't like people flying one way as it upsets schedules, so they discourage it with higher costs. There is also the corporate factor to take into account; business people will fly one way and their travel departments won't even blink at the high price. So, next time you're looking for a one-way flight, do a search for round trips as well. You may save hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars.</p> <h2>9. Send Your Baggage Through the Mail</h2> <p>Sadly, it has now become less expensive (in some instances) to mail your belongings to your destination than paying the additional baggage fees. Some will often charge over $100 extra for a heavy bag as well, and it can be much, much cheaper to simply box it up and send it via USPS or FedEx Ground. You'll have to make sure you analyze the weight, the time, and the hassle of going to the post office. But if it makes sense, why not?</p> <h2>10. Get a Bereavement Fare</h2> <p>Finally, the title of the article does include the word &quot;ridiculous,&quot; and this is certainly the most questionable one on the list. I asked several friends to tell me the craziest thing they had done to save money on airfare, and two came back with &quot;bereavement fare.&quot; It seems that if you are flying for bereavement, most airlines will discount your ticket. Now, the ethics of this are highly questionable (actually they're not&hellip; it's just wrong), <em>but</em> if you really are flying because of a death in the family, you should definitely take the airline's offer of a discounted ticket.</p> <p><em>To what great lengths have you gone to avoid paying airline fees? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The 10 Most Creative Ways to Avoid Airline Fees (Like Wearable Suitcases)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Travel Airfare airline fees luggage travel savings Tue, 12 Aug 2014 17:02:01 +0000 Paul Michael 1181399 at The Best Times of Year to Travel Anywhere <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-best-times-of-year-to-travel-anywhere" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="couple travel" title="couple travel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Sometimes, it's a bit of a hassle getting a trip together. Whether it be work, school, or social schedules, a family planning on traveling domestically or abroad may find it impossible to do so. And, worse, once you get to where you thought your dream vacation should be, is virtually shut down because of &quot;low season.&quot;</p> <p>Truth is, any time of year is a great time to travel &mdash; you just need to know where to go, when.</p> <h2>Winter</h2> <p>Beaches, of course, both north and south of the equator, will be popular, but you can also escape the crowds and still have a great time.</p> <h3>Europe</h3> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>If you are thinking about Europe, think again. While the summer crowds for popular sights in Western Europe will be gone, the weather will be cold and rainy across most of the continent. The only place that I would recommend traveling to would be the ski towns of Europe, in the Pyrenees and Alps. These winter months are great for skiing, and is considered &quot;high&quot; season.</p> <h3>Asia</h3> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>To avoid the summer heat, why not Southeast Asia? Notoriously humid, countries like Thailand and Cambodia cool down considerably, and are out of the monsoon season during the winter months</p> <h3>Africa</h3> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Beach season hasn't arrived yet in Northern Africa during the winter, but if you were wanting to backpack through the desert or check out the Pyramids of Egypt, the winter would be an excellent time to cross the Mediterranean. Further south, crossing the Equator, the high season in South Africa has arrived, and the beautiful beaches are full. I&nbsp;would avoid the East Coast of Africa, which can see cyclones during this time of year.</p> <h3>The Americas</h3> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>South America is great during this time. The Caribbean coast of the continent is cooled off from the summer heat, and Argentina and Chile are in the midst of their summer seasons. Virtually the entire continent is open for business during this time!</p> <h2>Spring</h2> <p>If you can get the kids out of school early, spring is a wonderful time to travel.</p> <h3>Europe</h3> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>This is a great time of year to visit Europe, and especially if you can push the trip to as close to summer as possible. The crowds have yet to descend upon the cramped continent, and the summer weather is beginning to come back. In the south of Spain and Portugal, summer-like weather abounds.</p> <h3>Asia</h3> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>The only places in Asia that may be decent this time of year are in North Asia, especially Japan, which experiences its famed cherry blossoms during this time. China also experiences pleasant weather during the springtime.</p> <h3>Africa</h3> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Central African nations are good to visit this time of year, since the heat of summer has yet to arrive. Island countries in the Indian Ocean like Reunion are also very pleasant in the spring.</p> <h3>The Americas</h3> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Central America and the Caribbean are still open for business, as springtime is right before the rainy season and hurricanes, which are definitely to be avoided. Baja Mexico and its Pacific coast are also good to go.</p> <h2>Summer</h2> <p>Everyone is on the road during summer, which means plenty of options, and unfortunately, plenty of other travelers.</p> <h3>Europe</h3> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>If you can handle the crowds (and a little heat), summer in Europe is a delight. If you plan on hitting Iceland during your travels, I would recommend going now, with temperatures in very comfortable ranges and almost 24 hours of daylight!</p> <h3>Asia</h3> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Tourist season is certainly up in Asia, despite the heat. Indonesia's weather is quite nice during this time of year, so maybe meet up with some of your other backpacker friends and have some fun! It is monsoon season, though, which I wouldn't want to be a part of!</p> <h3>Africa</h3> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>I would stick with Northern Africa during the summer, as the beaches can be quite nice this time of year.</p> <h3>The Americas</h3> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>In South America, check out the Andean highlands of Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador, which are quite pleasant this time of year (I've been).</p> <h2>Fall</h2> <p>Moderate temperatures and sometimes unpredictable weather make fall a comfortable and thrilling time to travel.</p> <h3>Europe</h3> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Deep in the Mediterranean, you can still find swimmable weather in Sicily, Malta, and Ibiza/Mallorca in Spain. Everywhere else may be a bit cold, but ski season should be open by late November in the Alps.</p> <h3>Asia</h3> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Autumn is a particularly amazing time to visit South Korea when the leaves change. Hong Kong's notoriously humid weather has given way to quite a temperate climate. And, don't forget about usually steamy Singapore.</p> <h3>Africa</h3> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>It's shoulder-season in Morocco, and empty of tourists if you want to see the sights on a budget. In Mali and Mauritania, river cruises make for a good vacation at this time.</p> <h3>The Americas</h3> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>In the Americas, Central America is still in the rainy season, but Costa Rica's temperatures and prices might be good at this time. In the USA, the South is great this time of year, and the beaches are still open in Miami.</p> <p><em>When's your favorite time of year to travel? Where do you go? Please share in comments.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The Best Times of Year to Travel Anywhere" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Mark Jackson</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Travel international travel off season travel when to travel where to go Wed, 06 Aug 2014 17:00:04 +0000 Mark Jackson 1167642 at The World's 11 Craziest Frugal Hotels <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-worlds-11-craziest-frugal-hotels" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Hotel Sidi Driss" title="Hotel Sidi Driss" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I love a good hotel as much as the next guy. Unfortunately, many of those &quot;good&quot; hotels cost a pretty penny (or a lot of points) to stay at for just a night. But, luckily for all of us, it's a bright, big world out there, full of chic, hip hotels that won't break the bank! So, let's take a look at 11 budget hotels around the world (that are pretty cool, too)! (See also: <a href="">How to Stay in a 5-Star Hotel for Less Than the Cost of a Motel</a>)</p> <h2>1. Karostas Cietums, Latvia</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Ever been to Latvia? Me neither, but there is a pretty unique hotel option there for those that can handle a little bit of discomfort. A former military prison, <a href="">Karostas Cietums</a> is now open to overnight guests (by choice) during the summer months. The prison operated from 1900 until 1997, and still features hard beds and thin blankets. Some amenities include signing up for harsh punishments the prisoners used to face (really). The price? $20 a night.</p> <h2>2. Lundy Island, United Kingdom</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Want an island vacation on a budget? Well, it can be yours in the United Kingdom, on <a href="">Lundy Island</a>. You won't find any beaches here, though. What you will find are medieval castles, a lighthouse, cottages, and a stately manor waiting for you to explore. The island hosts a population of about 18, and does have a pub (in case you were wondering). Rooms can be had for 24 pounds a night.</p> <h2>3. BaseCamp Bonn, Germany</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Want the camper experience, but none of the outdoors? Come to <a href="">BaseCamp Bonn</a>, where you can sleep in your choice of 15 themed trailers, two VW buses, two Airstreams or two sleepers. The entire hotel is housed in a former warehouse, making for a fun environment of &quot;indoor&quot; camping. Room rates start at 24 Euros a night.</p> <h2>4. Nicolle Tower, UK</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Returning to the United Kingdom, <a href="">Nicolle Tower</a> is located in Jersey. Built in the 1800s, the tower was taken by the Germans in 1943 and renovated, adding another floor and is about 160 feet high. It serves as a great lookout for the sea, and starts at 31 pounds a night.</p> <h2>5. Husky Lodge, Switzerland</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Do you love dogs? Specifically, huskies? Well, there's a hotel on earth for you. In Muotathal, Switzerland, you can sleep in a hotel that <a href="">hosts a bunch of Siberian Huskies</a>, who pull sleds and bikes year round in this mountainous region. Rooms start at 34 Swiss Francs.</p> <h2>6. The Bungalow on the Beach, India</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>A decidedly luxurious option on this list, you can have access to a <a href="">former British Governor's beachfront villa</a> for roughly 35 British pounds a night. Featuring sprawling grounds and a pool, this hotel would be very hard to pass up on any itinerary!</p> <h2>7. The Gate House, India</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Remaining in India, another villa crosses our path in southeast India. Built in 1620s, <a href="">this fort</a>, built by the Dutch who were exporting spices and tea at the time, has been protected ever since, and lovingly restored. The manor should be very private &mdash; there are only six rooms, which start at 40 British pounds a night.</p> <h2>8. Hotel Sidi Driss, Tunisia</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Okay, for any Star Wars fan on this earth, this is a must see. The Lars homestead (you know, Uncle Owen and Aunt Peru that got toasted at the beginning of the first movie?) is now a hotel, and it's awesome. In decidedly budget accommodations, you can live all your Star Wars fantasies until you go numb. Prices are at $10 a night, including breakfast.</p> <h2>9. Capsule Hotel, Netherlands</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>The Netherlands is known for being quite pricey, so your own hotel room for around $78 a night isn't too bad! In old oil rig &quot;<a href="">survival capsules</a>&quot; you can spend the night in this surfing community. The boats are still floating in the ocean, and can fit up to three people. One is even modeled after The Spy Who Loved Me's escape pod!</p> <h2>10. Three Camel Lodge, Mongolia</h2> <p>How about a yurt for the night? Right in the middle of the Gobi desert, <a href="">this eco-lodge</a> has decidedly luxurious tents available for guests, that include a king bed, sink and toilet! And, with horseback riding and hiking expeditions in the nearby Altai mountains, what's not to like? Prices from $80 a person per night.</p> <h2>11. Het Kleine Paradijs &quot;The Little Paradise,&quot; Netherlands</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Our final listing has several options available to guests. Would you like a tree house? A yurt? A &quot;knight's tent&quot; just like Camelot? Or how about the &quot;Writer's Cabin?&quot; Well, you can have your pick, at <a href="">this retreat</a> that aims to get you to reconnect with your inner self and live a healthier life. Doesn't that sound nice? Nights from 55 euros.</p> <p><em>Do you know any other cool, cheap hotels? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The World&#039;s 11 Craziest Frugal Hotels" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Mark Jackson</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Travel cheap hotel cool hotels lodging weird hotels Mon, 04 Aug 2014 21:00:16 +0000 Mark Jackson 1158336 at 10 Surprising Ways to Save Money on Hotels <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-surprising-ways-to-save-money-on-hotels" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="hotel couple" title="hotel couple" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="138" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In my travel experience, I've become quite good at finding a great hotel deal. This post is geared to those of you that would like to find the same deals like me and travel the world a little cheaper! (See also: <a href="">3 Ways to Get Hotel Deals</a>)</p> <h2>1. Refuse Maid Service</h2> <p>This option is available at Starwood Hotels worldwide, and you can ask at other hotels if they offer it as well. If you refuse maid service at Starwood on multi-day stays, you can net either a $5 daily voucher or 500 daily points added to your Starwood account.</p> <h2>2. Book International Travel on Non-US Websites</h2> <p>One tactic I've used during my trips to Europe is to look at the foreign versions of websites that I frequent. Often, they have cheaper rates or free perks that aren't offered to U.S. residents.</p> <h2>3. Check Corporate Rates</h2> <p>This can be a great option if you work for a large firm. Often, corporate rates can save you hundreds of dollars on your room, especially during busy times. It's always good to check this rate against the &quot;best available&quot; rate, though, as I've seen the corporate rate higher than the best available before.</p> <h2>4. Work at a Hostel</h2> <p>If you're staying at hostels, make sure to form a good relationship with the people working there &mdash; you may get to work in exchange for room and board. I've done this before, and I can say it's a good way to see a city on a budget!</p> <h2>5. &quot;Flash&quot; Sales</h2> <p>Many times, hotel chains and hotel room wholesalers offer up &quot;flash&quot; sales with limited inventory, offering up rooms at a steep discount. Starwood has their weekly &quot;StarPicks,&quot; and IHG Hotel Group has their &quot;PointBreaks&quot; for award stays. Be sure to follow each hotel chain on Twitter and Facebook as a way to find out about these rare deals.</p> <h2>6. Don't Choose</h2> <p>My personal favorite website, Hotwire is known for selling you a hotel room in the city you want, in the area you want &mdash; but you don't get to find out ahead of time what the hotel is. The result? You save big money, sometimes 75% on the price of the hotel room. I use this in Las Vegas, where the hotels are easy to guess by their location and amenities.</p> <p>The &quot;Name Your Own Price&quot; function on Priceline is similar to Hotwire in that you won't know the hotel until you finish payment, but this site differs in that you make a bid for a hotel. If you bid too low, your card will not be charged. The key with this site is to not overbid for your hotel &mdash; but if you do an Internet search for the area you're traveling to and &quot;Priceline,&quot; you can find many online forums online that can help you with your exact city that you are traveling to. One great place to start is <a href=""></a>.</p> <h2>7. Points</h2> <p>Not really a surprise, but a reminder: loyalty points! By staying at the same hotel chain for all your hotel stays, you accrue points that can then be redeemed for a night anywhere on earth that they have a property!</p> <h2>8. Credit Cards</h2> <p>Want to accrue points faster than staying per-night with hotel chains? Get a <a href="">co-branded hotel credit card</a>. With the <a rel="nofollow" href=";fot=1142&amp;foc=1" target="_blank">Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card</a>, for example, you can get 40,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 within the first 4 months of membership. Considering that you can book a room for as little as few as 5,000 points, that bonus alone can save you a bundle on your next vacation.</p> <h2>9. Status</h2> <p>Another way to save some money at hotels is by using a frequent guest status. You can get this by staying at hotels a lot, or by getting a hotel credit card. For instance, having the <a rel="nofollow" href=";fot=1142&amp;foc=1" target="_blank">Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve credit card</a> will automatically get you Hilton HHonors Gold status, which gets you large room upgrades and free breakfast at Hiltons worldwide. Other chains, like Marriott and IHG hotels, also offer mid-tier status with their credit card products.</p> <h2>10. Negotiate!</h2> <p>Sometimes, if you're a good talker, you can pit hotels against each other. If you see a hotel in the same town that you would like to stay at, see if they'll match the cheaper rate of their competing hotel. The answer is always &quot;no&quot; if you don't ask!</p> <p><em>How have you found deals on hotels? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Surprising Ways to Save Money on Hotels" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Mark Jackson</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Credit Cards Travel credit cards discounts hotels lodging Wed, 30 Jul 2014 21:00:06 +0000 Mark Jackson 1158804 at Best Money Tips: The Travel Edition <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-the-travel-edition-0" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="travel couple" title="travel couple" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some of the best articles from around the web on travel!</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href=";cof=FORID%3A10&amp;ie=ISO-8859-1&amp;q=travel&amp;sa=&amp;;ref=&amp;ss=568j81106j6">Ten Money-Saving Vacation and Travel Tips</a> &mdash; Packing smart and sleeping cheap can help you save money on your vacation. [Get Rich Slowly]</p> <p><a href="">Key Considerations to Help You Book the Perfect Vacation Destination</a> &mdash; When choosing your vacation destination, consider the people who will be traveling with you. [Three Thrifty Guys]</p> <p><a href="">Zoom Zoom - 8 Ways to Save Money at the Airport While Traveling</a> &mdash; To save money at the airport, bring your own reading material and stay out of the gift shop. [And Then We Saved]</p> <p><a href="">How to Be Smart and Safe With Money When Traveling</a> &mdash; Being discreet and using your gadgets can help you be smart and safe with your money when you are traveling. [The Money Principle]</p> <p><a href="">Saving Money on Attractions, Food, and Getting Around on Vacation; Lessons Learned</a> &mdash; Planning early, setting a budget, and asking locals for recommendations can help you save money on attractions, food, and getting around on vacation. [Debt Blag]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="">How to Save on Getting to and From the Airport</a> &mdash; Staying at a hotel that offers a shuttle to and from the airport can cut your transportation expenses. [Money Under 30]</p> <p><a href="">5 Ways to Travel for Free</a> &mdash; Staying with a local or house sitting are just a couple ways you can travel for free. [Financial Highway]</p> <p><a href="">Save Time, Save Money with a Travel Packing Checklist</a> &mdash; Using a travel checklist will help you ensure you don't forget any essentials and have to spend money on things you left behind when you travel. [Money Saving Enthusiast]</p> <p><a href="">83 Extraordinary Travel Experiences of a Lifetime</a> &mdash; If you are looking for a travel experience of a lifetime, hug a sloth in Costa Rica or attend the Kentucky Derby. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="">Travel Tips and Checklist for Parents</a> &mdash; It is vital for parents to bring entertainment when traveling with their kids. [Parenting Squad]</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: The Travel Edition" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Travel best money tips travel Fri, 25 Jul 2014 19:00:05 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1147496 at Want to Cut Costs on Your Next Vacation? Go Green <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/want-to-cut-costs-on-your-next-vacation-go-green" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="travel tablet" title="travel tablet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you purchase an airfare, do you usually choose to pay a carbon offset fee? Have you even heard of a carbon offset fee? (It's a small amount to help compensate for the emissions from the flight.)</p> <p>The answer is very likely &quot;no,&quot; and that's ok. But if paying for trip already leaves you feeling too broke to pay any extra fees, there are other things you can do to minimize your impact on the environment while traveling. (See also: <a href="">10 Things You're Paying Too Much for When You Travel</a>)</p> <p>And unlike the carbon offset fee, these things will actually help you save some money.</p> <h2>Shop Local</h2> <p>What's the point of shopping during a trip if you buy mass-produced things you can easily get at home? The T-shirts, fridge magnets, and keychains you see at gift shops were probably shipped in from factories <em>elsewhere</em>.</p> <p>If you have to buy souvenirs, consider getting something local. For example, visit a market to see artisans at work and buy your souvenirs directly from them. The items you buy will be more meaningful and you'll help support the local economy. Not to mention give you a great opportunity to &quot;place drop&quot; when someone asks you where you got that new hat. (See also: <a href="">Why You Should Never Buy Souvenirs</a>)</p> <h2>Green Hotels</h2> <p>Some hotels differentiate themselves from the competition by their environmentally friendly practices that minimize water and energy consumption. There is currently no one prevailing set of global standards for green hotels, but you can often find them through certification organizations like the <a href="">Green Key Eco-Rating Program</a>.</p> <p>If you can book a green hotel, that's great. But even if you don't, it's possible to practice green habits at a non-green hotel.</p> <p>One of the best things about staying at a hotel is having someone clean the room for you. However, this could also be a wasteful practice as sheets and towels don't always have to be changed daily. If you want to reuse your sheets and towels, let the front desk or the housekeeping staff know.</p> <p>Other things you can do at the hotel include recycling, taking short showers, and turning off all electric devices when you leave the room.</p> <h2>Collapsible Food Containers</h2> <p>Think you can't fit food containers in your small carry-on? Think again. There are collapsible versions that can remain compact until you need to use them. They are not specifically marketed as travel items, but they would be perfect for complying with airline carry-on limits, which get stricter by the day. Just pack a <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001CT4WMU&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=46VB5SOOACO5Q7N3">flattened container or two</a> in your bag, then expand them when necessary for take-outs, leftovers, and picnics.</p> <h2>Reusable Grocery Bags</h2> <p>When I travel, I like to book a suite with a kitchen. Shopping at unfamiliar markets and cooking with local ingredients can be an interesting experience in itself. This is why I pack a reusable grocery bag in my carry-on. It's small, light, and green. Plus, some grocery stores have started charging shoppers for plastic bags.</p> <p>Not everybody goes grocery shopping during a vacation, but do consider packing a reusable grocery bag regardless. These bags are more sturdy than regular plastic bags and would be great for trips to the beach and containing luggage overflow.</p> <h2>Public Transport</h2> <p>If there's a good public transport network at your destination, take advantage of it. You'll see how locals get around and maybe meet some interesting people along the way. It's also cheaper and better for the environment.</p> <p>If you plan to take public transit, check out the city's website for important information like maps, routes, and fares beforehand. These details will help you plan your itinerary and you may even learn some money-saving tips. For example, <a href="">Vancouver's public transit website</a> tells you that a book of 10 tickets is 24% cheaper than 10 single tickets.</p> <h2>Rental Cars</h2> <p>If you have to rent a car, go for the smallest one possible. A smaller car usually consumes less gas, and the car rental company often charges less for it. A hybrid car, if available, would be an even better, greener choice. If you're not familiar with the area, rent a GPS to help you find the shortest routes possible.</p> <h2>Reusable Water Bottles</h2> <p>Bottled water is often marketed as being a healthier alternative to the humble tap water, but the science behind this claim is debatable. At least in the United States, tap water is just as safe to drink as bottled water. Yet, the University of Maryland says <a href="">Americans spent $11.8 billion on 9.7 billion gallons of bottled water</a> in 2012 alone.</p> <p>Single-use water bottles are manufactured at great cost to the environment and most of them are not recycled after use. They're also highly attractive to tourists, who often find themselves walking around for long stretches, unprepared and parched. So if you travel to a destination where the tap water is drinkable, bring a reusable water bottle and save yourself some money.</p> <h2>Digital Reading Material</h2> <p>I used to bring one or two books with me when I traveled, but now everything is on my smartphone. This way, I have fewer things to pack and I can read in the dark before sleeping.</p> <p>Reading on a smartphone is not for everyone &mdash; it's small and it's often too bright. But tablets and e-readers are everywhere and most books are available in digital form. These e-books are often drastically cheaper compared to the printed versions, so you'll save money in the long run.</p> <h2>Access the Sharing Economy</h2> <p>The sharing economy minimizes overall consumption by encouraging people, who are often strangers, to share (actually rent) resources. Thanks to the Internet, there are many ways to take part in the sharing economy when you travel.</p> <p>For accommodation, look into vacation rentals (renting someone's home) through websites like <a href="">Airbnb</a> and <a href="">couchsurfing</a> (sleeping on someone's couch). For longer trips, you could try house-sitting (taking care of someone's home while they're away) through <a href="">HouseCarers</a> or <a href=""></a>. Alternatively, use <a href="">Intervac</a> or <a href="">HomeLink</a> for home exchange (staying at someone's home while the other family stays at yours).</p> <p>Instead of renting a car, you can try ridesharing, which is when a local drives you around for a small fee. <a href="">Lyft</a> and <a href="">Sidecar</a> connect ridesharers in some select cities. If you want something more private, go with peer-to-peer carsharing instead, which means you'll rent a local's car when she's not using it. You can find these cars on <a href="">RelayRides</a> or <a href="">Getaround</a>.</p> <p><em>How do you green your travel? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Want to Cut Costs on Your Next Vacation? Go Green" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Deia B</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Green Living Lifestyle Travel eco-tourism green tourism green travel sustainable tourism Thu, 24 Jul 2014 11:00:05 +0000 Deia B 1166920 at 19 Things Most Tourists Overpay For, and How You Can Avoid Them <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/19-things-most-tourists-overpay-for-and-how-you-can-avoid-them" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="tourist shopping" title="tourist shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's almost a given that tourists overpay for things. Sometimes it's because we don't know the actual (local) cost, or are unaware of negotiating tactics. Sometimes we think we're getting a good deal, but are actually unwittingly crippling local economies.</p> <p>And before you think, &quot;I'm fine with overpaying, the money means more to them than me,&quot; think again. In some countries, the potential profits are so disproportionately high for locals that working in the tourist sector &mdash; even just selling cheap souvenirs to tourists &mdash; means a higher income than highly trained (and necessary) doctors, for example. This can shake economies negatively such that there's no incentive for locals to sustain their own infrastructure in aspiring towards valuable and necessary careers in their own country. If everybody wants to work in the tourism industry, and hard times hit the tourism sector, the local economy suffers unduly. (See also: <a href="">9 Travel Expenses You Forgot to Budget For</a>)</p> <p>And sometimes, it just sort of sucks to get ripped off.</p> <p>Whatever your motivation, your goal should be to get a fair deal. Here's how.</p> <h2>1. Souvenirs</h2> <p>Often, those little &quot;local&quot; trinkets were mass produced somewhere else for a song, and are being sold for &quot;locally handmade&quot; prices. Check out a few markets and shops before you buy; if you see identical stuff, it's not as special as it may seem. If you still want it, make sure it's priced (or negotiated down) accordingly. If you're in a foreign language country and you want to negotiate, learn a few phrases in the local language; you'll endear yourself much more to the vendor.</p> <h2>2. Hotel Laundry</h2> <p>$10 for a clean shirt? You've got to be kidding. Chuck some shampoo in the sink and hand wash that puppy. Or better yet, pack enough clothes to make this a non-issue. Who wants to spend vacation time fighting stains?</p> <h2>3. Taxis</h2> <p>Some dodgy taxi drivers will take you on the (not so) scenic route, if they're charging by the mile and it's obvious you're not familiar with the territory. Ask a local (such as hotel staff) how much a taxi should cost to your destination and how long it should take, and either pre-negotiate the fee with the driver, or if it's a metered cab, confirm with them how long it will take to get there.</p> <p>But the best way to avoid overpaying a taxi driver? Take public transportation instead.</p> <h2>4. Airport Junk</h2> <p>Almost everything at the airport is overpriced, especially after clearing security, since they have you hostage while awaiting your flight. Eat before you go, or take food with you. Bring an empty water bottle and fill it at the fountain after clearing security. And for goodness sake, don't impulsively browse airport shops.</p> <h2>5. Currency Exchange</h2> <p>You can't avoid currency exchange fees and commissions, but you can minimize them by avoiding airport currency exchange counters, and if you're using a credit card, decline the vendor's offer to charge your card in your home currency (which comes with extra hidden fees). (See also: <a href="">37 Hidden Travel Fees You've Probably Paid But Shouldn't Have</a>)</p> <h2>6. Flights</h2> <p>We don't always overpay for flights, but if you're like me, you're afraid you do. Just in case, use a site like <a href="">Yapta</a> to track prices and ensure you get the best price &mdash; even after you've bought your ticket. (See also: <a href="">How to Get the Lowest Price on Airfare Even After You Buy</a>)</p> <p>Don't forget about free or highly discounted flights with <a href="">frequent flyer miles</a> and <a href="">mystery shopping</a>.</p> <h2>7. Guided Tours</h2> <p>Many guided tours have higher overhead than necessary. Research the cost of average tours before traveling, and go local if you want a more local scoop. Also keep in mind that some cities (especially in Europe) offer &quot;free&quot; guided walking tours whose guides operate only on tips, meaning they're incentivized to make sure you have a great experience. (See also: <a href="">How to Tap Into the Local Scene While Traveling</a>)</p> <h2>8. Minibar</h2> <p>Hotel minibars are categorically overpriced. Avoid overpaying by walking down the street and buying what you want locally.</p> <h2>9. Room Service</h2> <p>If you want to splash out and get (often mediocre quality, and always overpriced) food delivered to your room, go for it. Otherwise, you'll get better food at better prices in your hotel restaurant &mdash; and even better-priced food down the street.</p> <h2>10. Water</h2> <p>In some countries the local water isn't potable, but you don't need to buy bottled water. Some hotels have water coolers for you to fill your own bottle, or you can filter or sterilize water yourself, for example using a <a href="">SteriPEN</a>.</p> <p>And if you're in a country with potable water, there's no excuse for overpaying and creating waste with bottled water. Fill reusable bottles at fountains, or if you must buy bottled water, avoid overpriced concession stands in touristy areas.</p> <h2>11. Restaurant Gratuity</h2> <p>Few countries have such rich tipping policies as in North America. In most places servers are paid proper hourly wages, and tips are nice but not expected. And even if it's expected it's not 18% <em>plus</em>. Research tipping etiquette before you travel.</p> <p>Also beware of automatic gratuity being added to your bill. Before you chuck on an extra tip, read the fine print to ensure you're not double-tipping.</p> <h2>12. Hotels</h2> <p>Hotels aren't your only option for accommodation; hostels have comfortable options including private rooms, and for a more local experience, you can get <a href="">free accommodation</a> with hospitality exchanges, <a href="">home exchanges</a>, <a href="">house-sitting</a>, and more.</p> <h2>13. Meals</h2> <p>Restaurants in tourist districts are usually overpriced. If you want to (or need to) eat in that area anyway, lunch is a cheaper option than dinner, with a similar (if not identical) menu and portions.</p> <h2>14. Food at Concession Stands</h2> <p>Concession stands in parks, tourist areas, and amusement parks are consistently overpriced. Avoid overpaying by bringing your own food, or buying snacks at a local shop down the street.</p> <h2>15. Cell Phone Roaming</h2> <p>Taking your cell phone abroad with your home SIM card could result in hundreds of dollars of roaming charges, even if you don't use the phone. Avoid this entirely by having an unlocked phone and buying a local SIM card, or using an international SIM card with no roaming charges. (I'm currently using one from <a href="">G3 Wireless</a> that works like a charm.) And failing that &mdash; make sure your emails and Internet notifications aren't being pushed to your phone! It could cost you hundreds.</p> <h2>16. Airplane Meals</h2> <p>Don't assume meals are provided in the fare, even on long flights. Confirm whether meal service is included with your ticket, and if not, buy your meal at the airport. You're still paying more than you should, but it's less than you would if you wait until you're on the plane.</p> <h2>17. Car Rentals</h2> <p>Look for alternatives to renting cars like <a href="">car sharing</a>, <a href="">ride sharing</a>, or using a <a href="">vehicle delivery service</a>. If you must rent a car, remember that rates are negotiable, and you can usually get a <a href="">free upgrade</a> simply by asking for it.</p> <p>Also remember to check your credit card's automatic insurance policy so you can waive the comprehensive (and expensive) insurance offered by the car rental agency. (See also: <a href="">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>18. Foreign ATM Withdrawals</h2> <p>There are two things to be aware of when using foreign ATMs. One is that you should use bank-affiliated ATMS so you don't incur the extra fee (ranging from $1.50 to $5) charged by private ATMs. The other is to avoid withdrawal charges levied by your home bank (usually $5 per withdrawal).</p> <p>Some banks automatically refund ATM charges or offer free foreign ATM withdrawals. Check your bank's terms and conditions, and if necessary, upgrade your account to include free foreign ATM withdrawals (and maintain any necessary balance to avoid monthly charges for the upgraded account). (See also: <a href="">Using Your Credit Card While Traveling</a>)</p> <h2>19. Baggage Fees</h2> <p>Baggage fees are becoming increasingly common when flying; avoid charges for overweight or checked bags by traveling with carry-on only (check out this <a href="">sample carry-on packing list</a>). And if you need extra carry-on room, check out <a href="">this sneaky little trick</a>.</p> <h2>Remember to Have Fun</h2> <p>Don't be so concerned about overpaying that you forget to have fun. I remember once getting really upset that I couldn't negotiate my desired price with a taxi driver &mdash; before realizing I was squabbling over the equivalent of less than a dollar. Be aware of the exchange rates, and don't sweat the small stuff (too much).</p> <p><em>What else have you overpaid for while traveling? Share your experience in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="19 Things Most Tourists Overpay For, and How You Can Avoid Them" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Nora Dunn</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Travel shopping travel travel costs travel ripoffs Tue, 22 Jul 2014 17:00:07 +0000 Nora Dunn 1163704 at The Guide to Staying at Hostels for People Over 30 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-guide-to-staying-at-hostels-for-people-over-30" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="hostel" title="hostel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>While the term &quot;hostel&quot; seems synonymous with youth culture and student backpacking trips, I've met people of all ages and professions while staying in hostels. What many adult travelers don't realize is that hostels are great for business people, retirees, and even family vacationers who just want a clean bed to sleep in and a safe place to stash their luggage while they explore a new city.</p> <p>Most hostels I've stayed in throughout Europe cost anywhere from $40 to $70 per night, far less than hotels in the same cities. While I've met a huge array of people from all walks of life in hostels, I've found that people who prefer to stay in hostels are united by a minimalist travel philosophy more than anything else. I've met European aristocrats who stay in hostels because they don't see the value in paying for a hotel room that they will basically use as storage for their laptop computers and spare underpants. It's not just about stretching a Euro. It's about a type of travel experience that puts human interaction over privacy. (See also: <a href="">5 Reasons to Travel Off the Beaten Path</a>)</p> <p>If I could only give one piece of advice about staying in hostels as an adult it's this: <a href="">Read the online reviews</a> before you make reservations. Reading online reviews is the best way to avoid experiencing what my sister and I refer to as Wong Family Travel Blunders. And by blunder I mean our parents accidentally booking us into a Panamanian brothel for a family vacation. (In my parent's defense, the brothel's beachfront view was spectacular.)</p> <h2>Hostelling International</h2> <p>Official hostels are part of a huge network of hostels that operate under the umbrella of <a href="">Hostelling International</a>. HI requires a <a href="">membership</a>, which is basically just a card that costs $28 per year and gives you discounts and benefits such as currency exchange and free email access during your stay. If you don't think you'll be staying at least six nights a year in HI hostels, then you can stay at most official hostels for an additional $5 per night, and save a little money by not buying a membership. There's really no risk in not signing up for a membership in advance, as after six nights, HI will give you a membership. If you decide to pay as you go, make sure you pick up a &quot;guest card&quot; at your first HI hostel and get it stamped each day, so you can prove you've stayed the required six night minimum for membership.</p> <p>Although HI Hostels have to maintain safety and cleanliness standards to stay in the network (which is comforting) some official hostels still have curfews, daytime lock-out, limited check-in times, and other old-fashioned rules that are annoying to contend with as an adult business traveler who is arriving on the 3 a.m. train and doesn't want to wander the city streets until dawn.</p> <h2>Independent Hostels</h2> <p>Independent hostels are becoming more commonplace. Independent hostels are not part of the Hostelling International network and don't require a membership card. The benefit of independent hostels is flexibility; they don't have to conform to the rules and bureaucracy of Hostelling International. The drawback of independent hostels is that they don't have to conform to the rules of Hostelling International in terms of cleanliness. Also, while HI Hostels have gender-segregated dormitories, some independent hostels only have mixed-gender dorms and apartments.</p> <p>For women travelers who do not feel comfortable sharing communal space with men (or just want a make-up mirror and hairdryer in the bathroom) there are hostels that <a href="">cater to women</a> who are traveling solo.</p> <p>While there are <a href="">some</a> independent hostels that rival boutique hotels in terms of their charm, a lot of flea-bag hotels have started listing themselves online as hostels, since &quot;hostel&quot; apparently sounds more appealing than &quot;flop-house&quot; or &quot;roach motel.&quot; (Do your research or risk staying in brothel.)</p> <p>Although hostels supply guests with clean sheets and towels, you will have to supply your own soap and shampoo. While I don't enjoy schlepping extra toiletries with me when I travel, most hostels more than make up for this minor inconvenience by providing cheap or free Internet access and other money saving perks.</p> <h2>Book Early</h2> <p>Obviously, the best-reviewed hostels fill up early, especially during high tourism events like Oktoberfest and Carnivale. Make reservations early to ensure you'll have a place to sleep that fits your needs.</p> <p>Pro Tip: Call the hostel directly!</p> <p>Hostels, like hotels will usually hold a few beds for drop-ins, or don't update the online booking service when someone cancels a reservation. Even if the online booking service says there are no beds, it never hurts to double-check.</p> <p>Also, if you like a specific hostel, quiz the owner or manager for leads on other great hostels. I've been able to daisy-chain incredible vacation accommodations with no advance planning by asking my current hostel staff to reserve me a bed in my next destination city.</p> <h2>Co-Habitating with Kids</h2> <p>While I am usually twice the age of most of my hostel bunkmates, at age 44, I am rarely the oldest person at a hostel. In fact, Hostelling International offers a reduced membership rate for people over 55, which make hostels a great deal for senior travelers.</p> <p>Personally, I enjoy the company of Kids These Days, and likewise, exploring new places with people who are still full of vim and optimism about life. As a business traveler, sharing communal space with young adults is often a welcome respite after spending the day with grown-ups who view business travel as an inconvenience rather than an opportunity have fun.</p> <p>That said, I value my sleep, and make a point of avoiding hostels that have glowing reviews about their 24/7 <a href="">party atmosphere</a>. As a night owl, I hate lock-out curfews. They are infantilizing and cramp my late night snack schedule. As an old person who went to college, I love lock-out curfews because they force my bunkmates who are hardcore, binge-drinkers to spend the night barfing in the street and not in our shared shower.</p> <p>On a side note, because most car rental companies will not rent a car to anyone under 25 years of age, hostels in rural or suburban areas outside of the city center and beyond the reach of public transportation, usually cater to older people by default.</p> <h2>Consider Communal Spaces</h2> <p>While the classic hostel experience is sleeping in a twin bed, in a dormitory, and storing your luggage in a locker, many hostels offer private rooms or apartments with shared or private bathrooms. Sharing a private room in a hostel is a great way for couples to enjoy a romantic getaway on the cheap. Families can get a huge break on travel costs by sharing a suite or apartment.</p> <p>Hostels with communal kitchens can make a pricey vacation affordable. When I travel I eat the free morning meal that the hostel provides (which can be anything from a cup of coffee and a cookie to a huge buffet), and at night I make a simple meal of bread, cheese and fruit in the communal kitchen. Eating in the hostel for two meals allows me to blow my food budget on extravagant and memorable lunches.</p> <p>While I can count on one hand the number of bad shared bathroom experiences I've had in my life, take some precautions: Wear flip flops in the shower to avoid getting fungal infections and wake up extra early if you have an important morning meeting &mdash; you might have to wait in line for the shower. Also, if you are sharing one toilet with a number of strangers, be strategic about using it. Don't be the lady who pees in the sink of the communal kitchen because she waited until the last minute to go.</p> <p><em>Frugal travelers, please share the name of your favorite hostel, or your best hostel tip in the comments below!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The Guide to Staying at Hostels for People Over 30" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Max Wong</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Travel cheap travel frugal travel hostels hotels lodging Mon, 21 Jul 2014 17:00:29 +0000 Max Wong 1162783 at 15 Ways to Save the Most During a Hawaii Vacation <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-ways-to-save-the-most-during-a-hawaii-vacation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="surfing" title="surfing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Hawaii is a magical place that draws people from around the world.</p> <p>Nearly 8 million visitors came to the Hawaiian Islands in 2012, with close to 5 million from the U.S. alone! As more and more people visit, there are more and more hospitality businesses offering their services to travelers. Which means sometimes just getting started can be overwhelming, not to mention costly. (See also: <a href="">For Amazing Affordable Vacations, Travel Slowly</a>)</p> <p>To help you save the most in your next Hawaii vacation, here are the top 15 tips from a Hawaii resident.</p> <h2>Think Beyond Resorts</h2> <p>If you restrict yourself to resorts, you're imposing a major &quot;beach tax&quot; upon yourself.</p> <h3>1. Explore Other Hospitality Search Engines</h3> <p>Research shows that hotels have a <a href="">financial incentive to rig the reviews from sites</a>, such as <a href=""></a> and <a href=""></a>. By increasing a single point on TripAdvisor's five-point scale, a hotel could <a href="">increase its price by 11.2%</a> and still maintain the same occupancy. This means that you end up paying an extra premium.</p> <p>Here are some cheaper options to consider:</p> <ul> <li><a href="">Airbnb</a>: Just for Honolulu, the site offers over 1,000 possible accommodations. A great advantage of Airbnb is that hosts often are willing to act as your guide, provide complimentary parking (most places charge for this!), and give freebies.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href=""></a>: Young travelers (and young at heart!) may enjoy the option to interact with travelers from all over the world, while saving a buck. This directory includes hostels, such as <a href="">Hilo Bay Hostel</a>, <a href="">Banana Bungalow Maui Hostel</a>, and <a href="">Kauai Beach House</a>. Read the fine print and verify that you qualify for a stay before booking.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Bed and Breakfast: There are several B&amp;B's across the Hawaiian Islands, however these smaller operations cannot afford to advertise as much as others. Start your search for the perfect B&amp;B with directories, such as <a href=""></a>, and the <a href="">B&amp;B Hawaii Island Association</a>.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Tip</strong>: Clear your browser cookies every single time that you visit any hotel booking engine, so that prices don't &quot;suddenly&quot; start going up, forcing you to book ASAP.</p> <h3>2. Dine, Shop, and Use Services Outside Resort Areas</h3> <p>Don't do this:</p> <ul> <li>Chowing on a burger at Aulani Disney Resorts costs you a cool $21, and that's before tax and tip, and parking (sorry, Mickey doesn't give parking validations).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Learning to surf right on Waikiki with starts at $60 per hour (with a group) and goes up to $110 per hour (with a private instructor).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Renting a snorkel set from a hotel is a double whammy: a poor fit that diminishes your enjoyment and a $12-$20 hit every rental.</li> </ul> <p>Do this instead:</p> <ul> <li>Eat a Flintstones-sized burger at local chains, such as <a href="">Kua Aina Burger</a> or <a href="">Teddy's Bigger Burgers</a>, starting at $5.99.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Rent a surfboard at local businesses outside the Waikiki area, such as <a href="">Blue Planet</a>, for about $19 for a whole day or $149 for a whole month.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Invest in a new snorkel set that fits you well at a local Walmart or Costco. In just two dives you'll make your money back, have a great experience, and may even be able to return the gear.</li> </ul> <h2>Enjoy Free Activities</h2> <p>The Hawaiian Islands offer unique experiences, and the best part is, many of them are free.</p> <h3>3. Hiking</h3> <p>Hawaii has lots of hiking trails. For example, in the Hawaii Kai area you can find the <a href="">Kuliouou Ridge Trail</a>, the <a href="">Koko Head Steps</a> (a.k.a. Nature's Stairmaster), and the <a href="">Dead Man's Catwalk</a>. Most hiking trails in Hawaii have no admissions fee and provide free street parking.</p> <ul> <li>Explore a <a href="">full listing of hiking trails</a> and select a trail that matches your fitness level.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Bookmark sites that provide visual guides, such as <a href="">Unreal Hawaii</a> and <a href=""></a>, on your smartphone for your reference throughout the hike.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Be prepared and follow the <a href="">hiking safety guidelines</a> from the Department of Land and Natural Resources.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Among the very few trails that charge an admissions fee, the ones that are worth every penny are: <a href="">Diamond Head Crater</a> for its historic importance, and <a href="">Haleakala National Park</a> for its unique landscape.</li> </ul> <h3>4. Surfing</h3> <p>There is plenty of surf around the island. Locals stay on top of the latest surf forecast through the <a href="">Surf News Network</a>. Keep in mind the difference between regular height and Hawaii height of waves. In Hawaii, surf measurements are always in feet and scaled so the actual height on the face is roughly twice what's quoted.</p> <ul> <li>All beaches have public access by law, no one can charge you for surfing on the ocean.</li> <li>Avoid leaving valuables in your car, they are safer at home.</li> <li>Never surf alone in a beach that you've never been before.</li> <li>Oahu is chock full of opportunities to <a href="">catch a wave</a>.</li> <li>Pick a <a href="">surf spot</a> for your skill level; there are spots even for <a href="">beginners</a>.</li> <li>Wear plenty of sunscreen, and a <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;node=2237643011&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=W6HKN4TY7EBXVD4A">rash guard</a> (think wetsuit T-shirt) is always recommended for long sessions.</li> </ul> <h2>Do What Locals Do</h2> <p>When in Hawaii, follow the locals for the most fun and affordable activities.</p> <h3>5. TGIF</h3> <p>Skip the flyers handed to tourists full of overcharged events, and read the TGIF section from the local newspaper, which comes out every Friday and is also <a href="">available online</a>.</p> <h3>6. First Friday and Last Friday</h3> <p>In Oahu, every <a href="">First Friday</a> of the month visit Chinatown (free admission) and every Last Friday, the <a href="">Honolulu Museum of Art</a> ($10 admission)</p> <h3>7. Block Parties</h3> <p>Honolulu offers free-admission block parties or celebrations in the Chinatown and Waikiki areas around the year, some examples are:</p> <ul> <li><a href="">Honolulu Festival</a>: Marvel at the eclectic cultural mix that Hawaii offers.</li> <li><a href="">Waikiki Spam Jam</a>: Celebrating Hawaii's official &quot;meat.&quot;</li> <li><a href="">Lantern Floating Hawaii:</a> Beautiful tradition to remember our loved ones in May.</li> <li><a href="">Halloween's Hallowbaloo</a>: A major block party with costumed partygoers in October.</li> </ul> <h3>8. Important Landmarks</h3> <ul> <li>Visit important landmarks for great photo opportunities, such as the King Kamehameha Statue (both in <a href="">Oahu</a> and <a href="">Big Island</a>), and the <a href="">Duke Kahanamoku Statue</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Invest in visiting the <a href="">Iolani Palace</a>, the only real palace in the entire U.S. (admission starting at $14.75 for adults and $6 for children)</li> </ul> <h3>9. Eat the Street</h3> <p>A family friendly food truck event that takes place on the last Friday of every month in Kakaako. <a href="">Eat the Street Hawaii</a> gathers 40 food trucks and vendors from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. View the <a href="">full calendar of upcoming events</a> and check if one takes place during your visit to Oahu.</p> <h3>10. Yelp Bash</h3> <p>Attention Yelp fans and elites: the local community is very active and has <a href="">several free bashes</a> throughout the year. While the event is by invitation only, it doesn't hurt to submit your RSVP and see if you qualify. RSVP confirmations are usually emailed out 48 hours before the event. The events offer free food, drinks, and entertainment. Plus, you have the chance to meet new local friends during your stay.</p> <h2>Avoid Big Fines</h2> <p>While local culture has a pretty relaxed attitude, Hawaii still has laws that everybody needs to follow. If you don't, then be ready to pay up.</p> <h3>11. Don't Use Cell Phone While Driving</h3> <p>Using your cellphone while driving is fined with $207, and $307 in school or construction zones.</p> <h3>12. Respect Local Animals</h3> <p>Hawaii offers great opportunities to spot beautiful wildlife. For example, in Oahu you can get close to green sea turtles in the North Shore's Laniakea Beach and to dolphins out in the ocean in Waikiki. However, you need to keep your distance and observe the <a href="">suggested viewing guidelines</a>. If not, then there are fines for <a href="">disturbing animals in Hawaii</a>, ranging from $500 all the way up to $100,000.</p> <h3>13. Use Your Seatbelt</h3> <p><a href="">Click it or ticket</a>! If you don't and are caught, then you can be fined $102 on Oahu, Maui and Hawaii, and $112 on Kauai. Repeat offenders may get additional fines up to $500 and be required to take a four-hour class.</p> <h3>14. No Jaywalking</h3> <p>Be careful when crossing the street and wait until you have the right of way. In Honolulu, the top two spots that tourists get fined for jaywalking are Waikiki and Chinatown. The fine for not using the crosswalk or <a href="">ignoring the &quot;don't walk&quot; sign is $130</a>.</p> <h3>15. Agricultural Inspection</h3> <p>And before you leave back to the mainland, don't forget to let airport staff do the <a href="">agricultural inspection</a> for all your checked-in baggage bound. Otherwise, you may get a fine.</p> <p><em>How do you save during your Hawaii vacation?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="15 Ways to Save the Most During a Hawaii Vacation " rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Damian Davila</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Travel cheap travel free events hawaii vacation Fri, 18 Jul 2014 11:00:04 +0000 Damian Davila 1161525 at