#cheapest way to travel
This tough economy doesn t mean you have to shelve your wanderlust
Although a trip may seem like an extra expense that should be shelved in today’s economic climate, most devoted travelers are not inclined to relinquish their cherished pastime. Instead, those of us who aren’t ready to hang up our packable travel hat are desperately seeking less expensive ways to get away.
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If you want to stick to your budget and satisfy your wanderlust, try rethinking your travel style. Just because one type of trip is less expensive than what you’re used to, it doesn’t mean you’re getting a sub-par experience — you’re just getting a different experience. Go out on a limb and try some cheaper ways to take a trip, like cruising, couch surfing or taking a day trip. You’ll save money by choosing a less expensive vacation, and the best part is you may even discover a new favorite way to travel.
Go couch surfing
No, this is not an activity that mixes water sports with furniture. Couch surfing is an unconventional way to find cheap or even free accommodations in a destination by arranging to sleep on a local’s couch (or sometimes in a spare bedroom, but we think “spare bedroom surfing” sounds less catchy).
One of the most popular couch surfing networks is CouchSurfing.com, where citizens of the world meet and arrange couch stays with other travelers. Sleeping in the home of a stranger naturally raises issues of safety, but a good host will provide plenty of references. In addition, CouchSurfing.com has developed a number of safeguards for its users. For example, the site has a verification process for hosts; in order for a host to confirm that he or she is an actual resident of his or her community, the host must enter a special code online after receiving the code on a postcard in the mail.
While couch surfing is generally a safe way to travel, nothing is foolproof. A sense of adventure is a prerequisite for any successful couch surfing experience. If you don’t feel comfortable sleeping in the home of a stranger, don’t do it!
Travel in the low season
With spring approaching, travel providers are serving up a variety of shoulder-season deals for popular destinations like Europe and Alaska. While shoulder-season deals offer great prices to destinations just as the weather turns favorable, those brave enough to take the less-traveled path of low-season trips can expect to put up with less desirable weather for deliciously low prices. In many destinations (like Ireland and Greece), some attractions, restaurants and even hotels close during the low tourist season — but that doesn’t mean that you can’t plan a great low-season vacation.
Plan ahead to make the most of your low-season getaway. Buy a good guidebook and call each place you want to visit ahead of time to make sure that it will be open. Dress appropriately, especially if you will be dealing with frigid temperatures. And focus on the positive!
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