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Old 12-23-2009, 08:13 AM
 
195 posts, read 195,407 times
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Before the economy crashed and I started to watch my money, I would not think twice about staying in a nice hotel like the Marriott, Westin, Sheraton and Radisson and pay about $250 a night for a room. Now we have a $75 a night rule and usually book through the name your own price option with Priceline or use the low prices found on Hotwire.

If we can find a good deal on Priceline or Hotwire we will stay at a Red Roof Inn or Super 8. Recently I have been saving money using a special Government Rate, AAA or Entertainment Card Rate. If there are no hotels or motels available for under $75 I will sleep in the car.

How about you, how are you saving money on travel?
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Old 12-23-2009, 10:49 AM
 
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We've generally "cheaped out" on hotels just because we never thought it made no sense to spend money on "fancy stuff" and options that we don't use. I was an independent, traveling sales rep and used to spend 10 or more nights per month in hotels, some of these things I picked up from that.

1. If staying at a place repetitively ask for a "deal". When I went back into sales after 10 years in a staff job I asked other reps where they stayed in different cities.

2. (Maybe the best) Pick up the "hotel discount" books. Sometimes at McDonalds, or Denny's or at rest areas/state border welcome centers. I used one once at a Hampton that a factory guy I was with insisted on staying at. He spent the last 20 minutes of the drive to the hotel bragging on Hampton (Hilton rewards) and how good they treated him. When we got there the clerk checking me in gave my coupon a $20 better rate than the "gold level" card he had. The did cut his rate to match mine though.

3. Places that have mini fridges are always good, although a smallish ice chest works well if you want to brown-bag a meal or two on longish trips. A quart of milk, a banana, an apple or orange and a bagel for breakfast is much better than eggs, bacon, toast etc.

4. If nothing else I'll ask for a "fat man's discount". When the clerk looks t me and says "you don't look fat", I say, "OK, give me the skinny man's discount then".

Generally I can beat the AAA or AARP rates and I carry both of those cards.

golfgod
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Old 12-23-2009, 06:18 PM
 
3,460 posts, read 4,793,244 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by golfgod View Post
3. Places that have mini fridges are always good, although a smallish ice chest works well if you want to brown-bag a meal or two on longish trips. A quart of milk, a banana, an apple or orange and a bagel for breakfast is much better than eggs, bacon, toast etc.
If you don't have an ice chest or fridge, you can always fill the sink with ice to keep things cold overnight.
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Old 12-23-2009, 07:19 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,668 posts, read 71,590,043 times
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In most cases, the only advantage of the discount books on the interstate, is that two (or more) can occupy a room at a single rate (without slouching down in the seat and sneaking in). Often, a desk clerk will give us a single rate if we promise not to touch the second bed and just use one towel.

The other advantage of the discount books is they will give you a clue which towns have the lowest rates in general, because motels are locally competitive. Find the best coupon, and then look for an even cheaper motel when you get to that town. At the motels with the coupons, you can get the same discount using AAA or AARP. Don't join AARP, just use the temporary card they junk-mail you to get the discount. Or just ask for senior discount, they like to fill rooms with seniors because they don't trash theh place.

There are often old motels in town, that are a lot cheaper than the franchises at the interstate ramp, if you're stopping in a relatively small city (under 50,000), which are not to hard to get to because they will be on the business loop. You have to ask about them from locals. But these are getting harder to find lately. Thanks to Lady Bird Johnson's highway beautification act, the only motels that can advertise along the highway are the ones that can afford the huge spotlighted signs 50 yards away from the road, so mom and pops have been pretty well forced out of business. When you check in, you're paying for that big sign.

Some motel operators have told me they could be the cheapest in town, but don't want to, because the cheapest one fills up with people looking for a place to have drunken orgies. They's rather raise the rate and have lower occupancy.
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Old 12-23-2009, 09:01 PM
 
Location: SW Missouri
15,532 posts, read 29,252,557 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stranded and Lonely View Post
Before the economy crashed and I started to watch my money, I would not think twice about staying in a nice hotel like the Marriott, Westin, Sheraton and Radisson and pay about $250 a night for a room. Now we have a $75 a night rule and usually book through the name your own price option with Priceline or use the low prices found on Hotwire.

If we can find a good deal on Priceline or Hotwire we will stay at a Red Roof Inn or Super 8. Recently I have been saving money using a special Government Rate, AAA or Entertainment Card Rate. If there are no hotels or motels available for under $75 I will sleep in the car.

How about you, how are you saving money on travel?
Back in the day when my dh and I traveled extensively for our work, we would always try to stay in a "mom and pop" motel. Usually found near downtown where highways converge! LOL

Although I must stay that we stayed in some pretty questionable places with threadbare sheets and bathrooms that looked as though they had not been cleaned recently - oh and don't get me started on the CARPETS! LOL. It was always QUITE an adventure. And we got a lot of laughs.

Here is an interesting link for you to check out before your next trip. mom and pop motels

(Note: If you ever going through Tucumcari, New Mexico, do not UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES miss the Blue Swallow. It's priceless.

20yrsinBranson
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Old 12-23-2009, 09:30 PM
 
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We have always done picnics on roadtrips. We eat better and cheaper. But it was a challenge over Thanksgiving this year. Many of the rest stops are being removed along I-20.
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Old 12-23-2009, 09:45 PM
 
Location: Planet Eaarth
8,957 posts, read 17,013,046 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AusParent View Post
We have always done picnics on roadtrips. We eat better and cheaper. But it was a challenge over Thanksgiving this year. Many of the rest stops are being removed along I-20.
I've noted that many, many rest stops an all my trips have been closed in the last year on several of the interstates due to cost to maintain.
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Old 12-23-2009, 10:04 PM
 
Location: Bike to Surf!
3,080 posts, read 9,692,782 times
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Europe: Couchsurfing (for the price of cooking your hosts a meal), hostels (~15 EUR or ~20 USD also available in many big US cities), and homestays (often cheaper than a hostel with more privacy, but usually only found in poorer countries).

Asia: If you can't find a decent family-run hotel for under USD 8 in a developing nation, you aren't trying hard enough. Again with hostels in 1st world nations.

USA: Drive around a bit until you find the local motel strip of whatever town you've stopped in. Generally you can find a "MOTE" or "OTEL" for under USD 45. Arrive late and negotiate a lower rate with the owner--usually the one on duty late at night.

Always carry a tightly-knit cotton sleep sheet to keep out the bedbugs. Also helps with comfort and warmth when accomodations are on the rough side.
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Old 12-23-2009, 10:35 PM
 
Location: B'ham
296 posts, read 712,018 times
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I always find it challenging and fun to have awesome vacations on a tight budget (I'm a full time student). Here are some of my tips:

- I take a lot of road trips. The cost of gas, most of the time and weather permitting, is cheaper than a plane ticket.

- I network my butt off. I have friends who live all over and they have friends who live all over. Whenever someone is coming through Chicago, I offer my couch and offer to take them out for drinks. Of course, if we click, I've made new friends or maintained the friendship of the old ones, we keep in touch and I have a place to crash whenever I visit (fill in the blank).

- If I do have to stay in a hotel or a motel along the interstate, I try to stop near the suburbs of a major city as they are sometimes the cleanest, cheapest and more likely to negotiate rate if you phone ahead with the competitor's price. Plus, most offer continental breakfast which I take overly advantage of. Yep, I'm that girl loading up a plastic ziploc with bagels and muffins. The discount books at rest stops and welcome centers are pretty useful as well.

- Roadtripping: I pack easy to prepare or prepared foods, such as peanut butter and jelly, various fruits, jello, and trail mix. I realize that food can and will blow any budget, so I try to eat small meals during the day (like the pb&j) and drink plenty of water. Most of the time, I end up only spending money for dinner and drinks.

- Souvenirs - Postcards. Everyone loves receivng a postcard, no matter how old they are. It's a cheap and fun gift. For my personal souvenirs, I started putting old postcards in picture frames and hanging them.

- When I do fly, I check as many airlines as I can to see who offers the best rates and I sign up for their 'Rewards" programs (such as Jet Blue's True Blue program) to save on future flights. Another way I learned to cut down on flight costs is to leave during the week and return after Sunday - result: I scored tickets to New York to celebrate NYE for $173 round trip.
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Old 12-23-2009, 11:06 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
20,808 posts, read 37,487,214 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stranded and Lonely View Post
...Now we have a $75 a night rule and usually book through the name your own price option with Priceline ...If there are no hotels or motels available for under $75 I will sleep in the car.

How about you, how are you saving money on travel?
Some might call me cheap rather than frugal, but...
Last week 7 day trip to Hill country of TX cost me under $280 (<$40/ day) INCLUDING airfare from PNW + 7 day rental car.)

That is a 'luxury' trip for me, as I can get by much cheaper near home.

1) Driving - I have a fleet of 50 mpg vw's (over 2 million miles since 1976...) They run on free fryer grease, bio-diesel, jet-A, kerosene, used motor oil... just about anything, even dino diesel.I get my 'like-new' tires at the junk yard for $5, I mounted up a set yesterday with my $100 'Coats' tire machine I got off Craigslist, + a balancer!.
The cars cost me from $free to $400 for Rabbits, up to $1850 for my 1996 and '97 Passats (air bags / AC + 25 gal tank = 1200 mile range). The wagons are nice enough to sleep in, I am building a 'deck' with storage for coolers and cooking and clothes. I also have a compact 'fold-out' 'camp-box' cabinet w/ all food stuff and condiments / silverware / paper towels, grocery storage...).
Some have a trailer hitch for cargo needs. "snowbear" 2000#GVW is a great trailer and can work as an RV with a canopy. (or a hearse for 3,000 miles once) Also good for hauling motorcycles to Moab! I have a 50 mpg VW pickup if I need to haul freight + trailer. (it gets clear down to 44 mpg when loaded)
a) Have a 20 mpg class C motorhome (VW Rialta) Rialta Heaven - Home 4 floor plans to suit you!
b) Fleet of Diesel trucks and Cummins Dodges (20 mpg on 4x4's)
c) Touring motorcycles (50 mpg, very old ~ $500 my pristine 1972 xs650 Yamaha is my favorite)
d) Touring bicycles (very old too!)


Lodging'
1) Free Campgrounds for RVs
2) Private Guest Home Directories ` $10-20 / night (by far my favorite way to get to know and area) The Affordable Travel Club How it Works

Food,
1)I have a nice SMALL (backpacking) cook stove.
2)Buy produce from famers I stay wit, often get for free from helping with chores.
3) eat at 'fun raisers' to meet community and support the local activities.
4) Have a 'motor-aid' hot water heater for cocoa, cup-o soup, shower ... ~ 5-10 minutes of driving gets it plenty hot.
5) Wendy's $.99 menu (only ONE Item daily) If I want to splurge.
6) get excess produce from the 'produce' man.

Free Entertainment
enroute (plus volunteer at some venues of interest.)
America's Byways®: National Scenic Byways Online
EnchantedHighway.net -- Enchanted Highway in Regent, North Dakota
Dan Klennert's Spirits of Iron
Workamper News
Relocate cars, trucks, motorhomes, boats, airplanes...
other entertainment... buy annual museum passes from CHEAP museums that have a 'reciprocal agreement'. $80 US Parks pass is a bargain for discounts it makes.
Keep a CDL current and drive truck occasionally for fun + bucks.

nice amenities while traveling.
1) community pools and AC libraries when hot.
2) NICE hotel lobbies / malls / hospital lobbies when Cold

BTW:, this is a nice item for the traveling Chef
http://www.amazon.com/Cadac-6541HP-S.../dp/B00173CGVK
Or better yet... Have dinner done when you arrive.
http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-gre...the-heat-is-on

Last edited by StealthRabbit; 12-23-2009 at 11:27 PM..
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