Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or plan to head overseas for the first time, there are many simple ways to cut costs without impacting on the fun or comfort of your trip.
Thumbing through well-researched, up-to-date guidebooks helps in discovering little-known delights- and also helps to save money.
Countries differ but, when it comes to shaving costs, here are some general rules to apply.
Never change money at hotel reception desks.
Foreign exchange is an easy profit source for hotels. Staff may tell you their exchange is competitive, but, hotel rates are almost always terrible.
In many countries, money-changer kiosks offer better rates than banks- but not always. Exchanging on the street is begging to be ripped off.
It’s a good idea to have some local currency when arriving in a country. But do a little checking: sometimes it’s better to change money on arrival at the airport rather than in your own country. Also, try and convert what currency you have left at the airport rather than after you get home.
Getting local cash from the ATM is generally cheaper than exchanging money- but check your card will be accepted.
You may also consider having some travelers’ cheques issued in local currency before you leave home to avoid unfavourable exchange rates. To get around paying fees, instead of cashing the cheques at local banks, buy something small with a large cheque and use the change.
Credit cards are a handy way to carry money, as they save on transaction costs and offer reasonable rates of exchange.
The trick is to deposit enough money on to the card to fund your trip before you leave so it acts as a debit card instead of a credit card. Withdrawing money from a credit card that isn’t cashed up is treated as a cash advance.
Withdrawals generally attract a high interest rate which kicks in immediately. The cost of whatever you bought with the cash you withdrew will multiply before you’ve landed back on Australian soil.
Adventure Travel in South America can be understood in many ways but I would like to focus in one of the possibilities. Let’s say you are in a career break in your life, let’s say you have some spare time, let’s say it has come the point in which you want to take this once-a-lifetime trip to discover a continent you are passionate about. What would you do? Well, here you are going to find a good proposal.
There is a company which is organizing trips on the 5 continents around the world. They are not what I would call “adventure travel”, but they are the kind of off-the-beaten-path ones. Traveling with them means you are going to find yourself in a kind of real tourism, sleeping many times in guest houses but not in luxury hotels, doing some easy-level treks and using many means of local transport. You shouldn’t go there if you are expecting luxury, but if you are looking to discover the real country life and go face to face with nature and local culture, then it is a must do activity.
One of their proposals is a trip which goes around South America, starting from Ecuador and running down to Peru, going inland then to explore the mountains and the jungle, reaching Bolivia, going back into Chile, south through the coast into Santiago, further south then, and finally turning right to reach Argentina, cross Uruguay and enter into Brazil running up along the coast reaching the end of the Amazon river.
Amsterdam is indeed a lovely place to roam around, and has been one of the top choices of foreigners for vacation. Because one can do so many fun-filled activities and visit a lot of tourist attractions there, travelers may find it convenient to rent a car so he can easily get from one site to another.
There are virtually countless places to see in Amsterdam. Museums abound in this city, something that lovers of arts and history will truly appreciate. Some of the most well-known museums in this place include the following “Van Gogh,” the “Rijks,” the “Rembrandt,” and the sex museum.
There are also fine restaurants and plenty of shops that visitors may want to visit for souvenirs. For easy site-hopping, having a vehicle would indeed be a wise idea for travelers.
A caution, however, is that renting a car in this European city is quite expensive. To rent a regular car for a week will cost around $275. Renting a luxury sedan for the same period will cost around $1,000. Nonetheless, if one has the money and is willing to maximize his tour of this lovely place, then he may find it worthwhile to travel in Amsterdam by car.
Parking a vehicle may also be expensive, especially on weekdays. On Sundays, however, parking is free outside the city-center. On the other days, one can avail himself of a full-day parking on the city’s outskirts for only 5.50 Euros. After parking, one may take a short bus ride if he wishes to go to the city-center.
Sports is a popular pastime in France with football, judo, tennis and basketball dominating the sporting arenas. France also involves itself in grand racing car events, bicycle racing also making its presence felt in the world of tennis and martial arts.
The most popular sports is soccer but the French have a known taste for speed and endurance in car and bicycle racing, grace and precision in tennis and soccer, as well as the rough and tumble spectacle offered in the two rugby styles of League and Union
Bicycle racing – The Grands Tours of France are renowned worldwide as being the oldest and most prestigious. One of them, the Tour de France is the world’s most famous cycling event.
Motor car racing – Endurance racing in sleek and fact sports cars is a test to the limit for both driver and car at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The race is rated as the most famous held on the speed track of Sarthe.
Tennis tournaments – The Grand Slam tennis tournaments are a spectacle to watch on the French turf. One of the four Grand Slam tournaments known as the French Open is played and so is the Paris Masters.
Olympic Games – A French aristocrat by the name of Pierre de Coubertin was the inventor of the modern Olympic Games by his enthused call for a revival of the Games at the end of the 19th century. The hosting of the first Games went to Greece as a fitting gesture for the landwhere the Games were born. France hosted the second Games in 1900 and became the first home for the International Olympic Committee. Since then, France has hosted 4 Olympic Games, with one again in Paris in 1924 and 3 Winter Olympics in 1924 (Chamonix); another in 1968 (Greoble) and the third Games in 1992 (Albertville)
You’ll be totally surprised at how much you can save while travelling. Travelling is a life enriching activity which makes it an excellent way to spend holidays either with family, friends or on your own. However, as enticing as it is, we cannot discount the fact that it may be taxing for other necessary objectives we may have. Therefore, planning for a less expensive yet relaxing kind of trip is a must. The idea may sound like it can take so much time, unless you already know how to go about it. The first thing we usually do when travelling is to look for a place where we can comfortably stay. This task requires at least basic information about the area which will guarantee the best deal possible. Here’s how:
Check the destination’s government authorized tourist website for a more secure and reliable information. These websites usually have “.gov” at the end of the website address or URL. Most of the time, the site offers freebies and discounts for tourists, tour recommendations and the address for its nearest office from where you will stay. You may also check the site if there are hotel discounts you can take advantage of while booking the hotel room. Most countries have these helpful schemes to promote tourism.
You can also check other government sponsored websites such as the one I found for Italy. On this site, I found a listing of hotels in Rome with prices ranging from a few hundred Euros to as low as 30 EUR. There is also a satellite map for the city and the entire country where the hotel locations are marked. The website allows a customized search according to your hotel specifications. I found a 2 star hotel, 150 meters from Termini Station, center of Rome for 40 EUR per night including breakfast, TV, direct dial telephone, mini bar and air conditioning. I checked the hotel’s home page and it matches the address and rate in the government listing. On another listing, I found a 1 star hotel with a Junior Suite for only 13 EUR per night, with WIFI and other amenities, 100 meters from Termini Station. However when I check its homepage, there is not a room type and rate listed under this category.
At some time, no doubt, upon our travels together, we will pass by this royal palace, where once upon a time a prince and princess used to live in happier days – namely the current heir to the throne and the now deceased Lady Diana, who became the Princess of Wales.
So you may ask, what on earth could be the direct connection between this Royal Palace and a revolution that was known as “Glorious”? Why glorious anyway, you may well ask? Well, there we are – the story gets longer and longer, and eventually disappears into the mists of time.
This royal palace, although nowadays no longer a principal royal residence, is still used by certain members of the royal family even after the recent death of the queen’s sister, Princess Margaret, the death of the Princess of Wales on 31st August 1997, and the departure of HRH Prince Charles, following the separation of the couple in 1992.
The idea of this palace came about with accession of the Prince of Orange, the Dutch Stadtholder, as our William III, who was the son of the eldest daughter, Mary, of the executed (yes executed, in 1646) King of Great Britain, King Charles I. Interestingly, William III was married to an English Princess, also called Mary, who was a daughter of Charles II’s brother the Duke of York, who himself became a King, namely James II. So reader, if you are thinking “but this makes them cousins”, then you are quite correct.