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How to See the Sights on a Shoestring

Although some might say travel is an unnecessary expense to begin with, some people just get that travel itch, especially as the weather gets warmer. Travel doesn’t have to mean spending money on hotels and tourist traps, though. Follow these tips to reduce the costs of each aspect of your trip so you can see the sights on a shoestring.

Where to Go: When planning a trip on a budget, avoid the typical tourist destinations. These places are usually expensive and not always the most interesting. For a more unique and adventurous travel experience, plan a trip to a city near your own hometown, or a small town with a beautiful natural landscape.

How to Get There: You can reduce your transportation costs to zero by staycationing, taking a vacation in your hometown. If you do want to travel a little distance, try Megabus.com for a cheap ride to a nearby city. In general, the slower the method of travel, the more inexpensive it will be, so consider taking a bus or train and packing some extra books rather than flying to your destination.

When to Go: Most destinations have peak travel seasons when costs will be higher, so consider traveling in the off season. If you are booking travel on planes, trains, or buses, book your tickets either well ahead of time or at the last minute to take advantage of discounts. Being flexible with your travel dates can allow you to get the best deals.

Where to Stay: Try websites like CouchSurfing.com or HomeExchange.com to find a unique and free place to stay. Both of these sites require you trust in the people you stay with, or you allow to stay in your home, but both websites have extensive reviewing systems in place so you can feel safe. Airbnb.com is another great option for cheap and unique lodging all around the world.

Where to Eat: Rather than eating out three meals a day, bring snacks like granola bars or fruit, and all the fixings to make sandwiches for lunch. Purchasing these items at a grocery store is much cheaper than buying lunches at restaurants. You can even bring mini cups of cereal for breakfasts. Just stop at a convenience store for individual milk cartons.

What to Do: Do some research ahead of time to find out about free and cheap attractions in the city you are visiting. Although it might be some distance away, the beach or a lake is often a very inexpensive place to visit, especially if you pack a cooler full of snacks and beverages. Many museums have free or pay-what-you-will pricing on certain days of the week. Ecotourism activities, such as hiking, bird-watching, or visiting a national park, are another inexpensive option.

Mix and match or follow all of these tips so you can satisfy your urge to travel without breaking the bank.

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