Saving Money

Saving Money

Travelers are always on the lookout for bargains and savings when on a tight budget.

Sometimes advance planning will give you to access cheaper services and bargains. Book train tickets and travel passes ahead of time from your own country. They usually work out to be much cheaper. Eurail and Britrail passes provide good value if you are considering traveling around these areas.

Use public transport, not taxis. Booking rail and bus travel in advance is cheaper than booking on the day of travel. Cards that provide unlimited travel within a certain area for a period of time are excellent purchases. For example: a weekly tube pass or Oyster card on the London underground is much cheaper than buying a ticket each time you travel.

Banks in city centers and towns will give you a better exchange rate than those at the airport or in hotels. Try to have a small amount of local currency when entering a country, or change a small amount at the airport but then change the majority of your money later at a bank.

If you have not pre booked accommodation try to negotiate a better rate than the walk in rate you are presented with. If it is late in the day, hotels will often drop their rates for the night, rather filling a room and potentially making money on the restaurants and bar areas, than turning you away. Also negotiate better rates for longer stays. However, it is still cheaper to find accommodation bargains on the internet ahead of time rather than booking at the last minute.

Eat where locals hang out. Street markets are great so long as you find a stall that has a fast turnover with a large local clientele. Alternatively, buy your own food from delis and bakeries and supermarkets. Remember there are often different charges for food that is taken away and that which is eaten on the premises.

In some countries haggling is a way of life. As a general rule of thumb, halve the initial amount asked for and work out a compromise from there. Don’t be embarrassed by haggling. You need to assess what you consider fair value for an item. Trying to beat the seller down to a rock bottom price makes you look foolish and mean spirited. However, not questioning an over priced item also makes you look dumb.

Generally, haggling is a market experience. If you try to haggle in large shops, sporting international brands, you will be laughed at and end up looking pretty foolish. You may try asking for a discount for cash purchases though.

Treat haggling as a social interaction. So when in Turkey, and you are looking for a carpet, take some time, sit down, discuss the carpets, drink some chai and talk about price. Haggling can be a worthwhile experience; enjoyable, educational and interesting, not to mention economical!


Date posted: 29th June, 2011

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