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Old 09-03-2012, 12:05 AM
 
Location: classified
1,680 posts, read 3,183,599 times
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It all depends on your priorities.

At home if you don't go out/spend much (ie not eating at restaurants every night, buying the latest gadgets, buying a modest house, etc) you can easily save money for travel.

Also when planning a trip it is important to do research and look for the best deals on airfare. Regarding lodging, staying at B&B's and youth hostels are a cheap (and even fun) alternative to hotels as you get to interact with more people. Of course if you choose to visit more off the beaten path destinations (ie non touristy cities/towns in third world countries such as Vietnam, Guatemala, Ecuador, Honduras, Colombia, etc) those places tend to be less expensive as far as transportation, visiting museums/tourist sights, restaurants, and lodging is concerned compared with more developed countries such as the US, UK, France, Canada, Australia, etc.
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Old 09-03-2012, 08:34 AM
 
5,823 posts, read 10,150,738 times
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I LOVE TRAVELING far and don't care for restaurants, theatre,short weekends so it's a question of priorities.
I don't own a car. One I need one (one month a year) I lease it.
I have double glazed windows and central (natural gas ) heating.
I don't pay a rent anymore (bought my flat).
Besides : I don't smoke, and since I have had a condition, don't drink anymore (or extremely rarely, at birthdays and Christmas ) don't do drugs. I buy my clothes during sales or at cheap outlets.
I like warmth so I travel to relatively cheap countries like Thailand or Mexico. My only "bad calculation" is that it is in winter , so high season.
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Old 09-03-2012, 09:05 AM
 
Location: Hawaii and North Carolina
96 posts, read 296,301 times
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One good way to travel that save tons of money is to do a home exchange. We have done this often. We eat like a local, travel within the destination like a local, and so our only expenses are "things to see and do" and the cost of the airfare getting where we are going. We didn't do this until we retired and now when we go we stay one or two months at least!! This also cuts down on the expenses because there is plenty of time to pace yourself, car rentals are less per day when rented by the month, as are subway passes, and you can buy groceries at a large store with a month in mind rather than running to the local expensive corner market.

There have been several suggestions here about priorities and that is another big factor. We own OLD cars---20 year old cars, and shop at Goodwill for clothes, yet we have spent two months in Israel, two months in Italy, a couple months in France, and two months in Mexico in the last 5 years.....

So, it is possible and not too expensive. We've found that compared to be home and "treating" our grandchildren to special outings, we usually have money in our pocket when we return from traveling!!
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Old 09-03-2012, 01:49 PM
 
5,091 posts, read 8,065,240 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pigeonhole View Post
I like warmth so I travel to relatively cheap countries like Thailand or Mexico. My only "bad calculation" is that it is in winter , so high season.
Good point about the high season in the tropics. Even so, bargains and great rates can still be found that help reduce expenses. Doing some homework ahead of time by hunting for the lowest airfare, accommodtions, etc., can greatly reduce the costs, even during the high season. Networking with people who are from the destination or those who have been there (especially expats) can also be sources of valuable information.

We used to buy items in Thailand that we'd bring back to sell in the US. I'd look for items that were unique, unusual, novel, had good to excellent quality, and had appeal to a wide variety of people - things that people would actually be interested in but hard to find anywhere else. We certainly didn't make a living from it, but we were able to make enough to pay for entire month-long trips, including the airfare. It was like traveling to Thailand for free. It took some creativity and effort, but it was enjoyable and worked out well enough to make it worthwhile to do. Obviously. there are some things you can't bring back or get through customs. So that too requires some advance research.
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Old 09-04-2012, 03:52 AM
 
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2 years ago believe it or not I brought back a ...machete (with a sharp blade!) from Mexico (in suitcase, not in cabin) , I had no problems whatsoever (the Customs chick saw it in my suitcase at PV airport but didn't seem to give a damn!)
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Old 09-04-2012, 04:45 AM
 
Location: Oxford, England
13,036 posts, read 22,014,596 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlohaMarie View Post
One good way to travel that save tons of money is to do a home exchange. We have done this often. We eat like a local, travel within the destination like a local, and so our only expenses are "things to see and do" and the cost of the airfare getting where we are going. We didn't do this until we retired and now when we go we stay one or two months at least!! This also cuts down on the expenses because there is plenty of time to pace yourself, car rentals are less per day when rented by the month, as are subway passes, and you can buy groceries at a large store with a month in mind rather than running to the local expensive corner market.

There have been several suggestions here about priorities and that is another big factor. We own OLD cars---20 year old cars, and shop at Goodwill for clothes, yet we have spent two months in Israel, two months in Italy, a couple months in France, and two months in Mexico in the last 5 years.....

So, it is possible and not too expensive. We've found that compared to be home and "treating" our grandchildren to special outings, we usually have money in our pocket when we return from traveling!!
Nice to meet someone who does home exchanges at long last !!


We have been recommending this mode of travel for over two decades to almost anyone with know now and I don't think ONE person has ever taken it up. Everyone coos "What a marvellous idea " and " We must try it" but that is about it.

Home exchanges to us is the best way to travel. We exchange house and cars and basically apart from flights we can spend a lot more money having fun, eating out, going to concerts, plays etc...

Off to Oregon for three weeks next week and planning next year already... Which organisation do you belong to ?

We can't wait to be retired so we can do long exchanges like yours. I quite fancy spending a few months in New Zealand and Australia for example.
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Old 09-04-2012, 05:14 AM
 
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I did once some personal homework on the concept of home exchange and what I found out is that it was extremely difficult to do if your home is not a nice house or at least a big flat (certainly nothing smaller than 1000 sqft)and located in a "coveted" neighborhood : either direct on sea or lakeside or in central city (Manhattan , central London or Paris), not the suburbs.
As for couch surfing...I believe it's not for "old" folks like us (57 and 63 yo)
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Old 09-04-2012, 05:20 AM
 
1,464 posts, read 2,752,229 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strawberrykiki View Post
I have so many places on my travel list but it seems I never have the money to really travel. I've been to a lot of places in the US, Mexico, and Canda, but those international destinations are really expensive. How do you guys manage it? Do you save for awhile, try to find the cheapest deals when you go somewhere, something else? I have a decent job yet with the cost of living and everything else I worry I'm never going to be able to afford to go the places I really want to go.
I really wish I liked to travel. We have gone as far as Northern Maine and that is about it. We have pets we don't like to board anywhere, take the dog with us most of the time but then she gets all confused and off schedule. Gas is now 4.05 a gallon here in CT so that would mean we would have to take the Scion, not comfy for long trips.

A good alternative to long trips for us has been day trips around the state of CT and perhaps even to Mass., or Rhode Island..closer places. The coast of CT is gorgeous as is the coast of Rhode Island. I find we still get that refreshed feeling once we do get home and we don't always have to take the dog with us as we are not gone that long. My favorite thing to do is go antiquing along the coast on route #1..great fun.

Other than day trips, we have an inground pool and do invite friends over..lots of work but it is set away from the house a bit and fenced in with 6 ft. privacy fence so it is almost like we are away on vacation.

With the price of gas soaring again, fall coming...looks like we break out the Scion again for day trips to look at the foliage.
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Old 09-04-2012, 06:44 AM
 
5,002 posts, read 4,251,553 times
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We go off season also. We just moved and sold off our business and some properties, cut back on non essential items. I never had an issue taking the kids out of school to travel ; their teachers were always great about it and we would bring something (usually candy) back for the other kids. Now the kids are teenagers so i may not take them out of school for a while.
It gave my kids the travel bug which is wonderful. Go off season, dont stay in the most expensive place, but have fun.
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Old 09-04-2012, 11:57 AM
 
5,091 posts, read 8,065,240 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pigeonhole View Post
2 years ago believe it or not I brought back a ...machete (with a sharp blade!) from Mexico (in suitcase, not in cabin) , I had no problems whatsoever (the Customs chick saw it in my suitcase at PV airport but didn't seem to give a damn!)
As long as something like a machete is stowed in your check-in baggage, it might not be a big deal. Customs inspection vary from country to country. I think it's still a good idea to double-check about what items are allowable and what aren't to avoid the hassle of being at the airport to catch your plane only to be told that a certain item is not allowed and being forced to give them up if you want to continue with your flight. I always pack items, like pocket knives, in luggage that will be stowed in the cargo hold of the plane. I'm not sure what customs is like going to or from Mexico though. A few decades ago, I bought a few automatic knives in Asia for people I knew were collectors and stowed them in my check-in bags. No problem, but then that was before security tightened down after 9/11.

As you note, the big issue is with things in carry-on luggage, backpacks or anything that can be carried on your person. The main concern is usually with US customs, which can be very fussy about inspections when departing from the US to Asia, as well as reentry from Asia. There are items that are prohibited or some things you should do before packing up to head for the airport. I know things have changed over the years, but it's up to the traveler to make sure of what you can and can't have. It's all subject to change with little to no notice.

A number of years ago, on a return from SE Asia, we had a load of porcelain vases, bowls with stand and lids, and small figurines, not only packed in our check-in luggage, but in our carry-on luggage as well. On entry in the US, it was no big deal. But I was one of those "selected at random" for inspection before boarding a connecting flight from Seattle to Portland Oregon. Because porcelain is very breakable, single piece was well wrapped with newspaper to avoid damage. The guy that pulled me aside went through and opened almost every single piece, whch was time consuming. Maybe he was looking for drugs. The flight was ready to take off and wondering what the hold up was. The guy's partner was ticked off for the same reason telling him it's just porcelain and that he's holding up the flight. Every item had to be carefully rewrapped and repacked. I made the flight, but was embarrassed because of the delay. The guy could've just as easily run the items through an x-ray to see if there was anything "hidden" inside the items. On the first point of entry in the US for international flights, at least from Asia, all luggage is usually opened by Customs and inspected, most likely looking for drugs or other kinds of contraband being smuggled in, as well as any food items that might be considered a health hazard.

On another occasion, I had no problem carrying a Bic lighter in my carry-on luggage traveling to Asia, with a brief hour or so stop at Narita Airport in Japan to refuel, drop off passengers, etc., before reboarding to continue on to Bangkok. Heading back to the US and passing through Japan again was a different story though right at the boarding ramp to the plane They looked through the bag and said the lighter couldn't be taken aboard the plane. I let them take it because I wasn't about to be turned back and miss my flight, but it shows there can be differences in what's permitted and what's not.

I make it a practice, even if it really isn't necessary, to take batteries out of any items (while packing up before going to the airport) and store them separately, even in my check-in luggage. I just take such precautions in stride ahead of time to ensure that my flights will be as smooth and hassle-free as possible. No problem with notebook computers though.

Most airline websites contain guideline information as to what you may or may not be allowed to travel with, as does TSA. It only takes a few minutes to go through the check lists to make your flight as easy as possible.
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