The Best Outdoor Adventures in California

Although states like Hawaii, Alaska, Oregon, Montana and Florida are hailed for their wide array of outdoor adventures, the massive state of California also has plenty to offer nature lovers.   From pristine mountain lakes and flourishing redwood forests to sunny beaches and sandy desert dunes, these are the best spots for outdoor exploration in More »

The Beauty of Okinawa Japan

I must admit, I don’t know a lot about Japan. It’s on my bucket list to be sure, but beyond Geishas, snow monkeys, and the bright lights of Tokyo, I’m not that fully versed in the country and what else it has to offer. Blame it on action films and nature documentaries, but the Western More »

5 Important Motorcycle Laws

If there’s a road trip in your future, why not consider leaving the car at home and riding across country on a motorbike? It’s better on gas, you’ll love the feel of the breeze against your skin, and you’ll meet plenty of like-minded souls who crave the open road as much as you do. Although More »

Tag Archives: budget travel

Smartest Ways to Spend Money Overseas

When you are planning to travel overseas on a vacation or a business trip, understanding how to manage your money and the smartest ways to do so can help you with saving money and properly spending it without risk or potential theft. Taking a few precautions to keep your money safe and organized when traveling overseas will allow you to feel more comfortable in a foreign country regardless of the amount of money you plan to travel with while you are there.

Research Your Banking Fees

Some ATM and debit cards that are offered in your native country may add foreign travel fees when you choose to head overseas, regardless of your reasoning. Be sure to research the credit and debit cards you have in your name before you book your trip to ensure you are not caught off guard when you reach your destination and want to withdraw money.

Foreign-ATM-bank-machine

You should also call the company that issued your credit card to ask about any special PIN numbers you may be required to setup based on where you plan to travel and how you want to access your money while you are there.

Obtain Traveler’s Checks

Before you head overseas, obtaining multiple traveler’s checks is highly recommended to help with ensuring you have an additional source of cash if you are unable to use your ATM card or if you have experienced theft or the loss of the money and credit cards you may have had on you.

Use the Proper Currency

Images-of-money-foreign-currency

Obtaining the currency of the country you are visiting before you actually leave for the trip will help you feel more prepared and adjusted once you arrive. When you have cash on hand that can be used immediately upon landing overseas, you are more likely to feel comfortable while also having the ability to make any purchases you deem necessary before withdrawing your own cash.

Keeping Your Money and Belongings Safe

Although you are planning to spend money overseas, keeping your money visually out of view at all times is often necessary to avoid potential pickpockets and the loss of the cash or credit cards you have on you. Only carry the cash you need for the day and avoid walking around in a foreign country with all of your money, traveler’s checks and credit cards on you at once. Instead, only carry enough money with you to cover one to two days at a time while you are in a foreign country, which will ensure you have additional money in case of theft or a loss of your cash and credit cards.

Withdrawing the money you will need on you ahead of time before you leave for your trip will also ensure you are capable of doing so, regardless of where you are planning to travel and whether or not there will be an ATM available upon your arrival to your destination.

Written by Natalie Brooke

Natalie has travelled extensively in the past twelve months to over 30 countries. She uses cash passport cards from Travel Money Oz http://www.travelmoneyoz.com every time she travels to keep her travel money safe. She prides herself as a thrifty traveller and loves sharing her thrifty practice with her readers.

How to Have a Frugal yet Fabulous Trip to Barcelona

With its unique cultural attractions, miles of beaches, vibrant nightlife, excellent tapas and the Barcelona FC stadium the vibrant city of Barcelona offers attractions for visitors of all types. For those who would like to visit the Catalan capital on a budget, this is a city that offers free attractions, inexpensive but delicious dining options and user-friendly public transportation. You can find comfortable Barcelona hotels at a cheap price. Here are some insider tips to help you enjoy a fabulous but frugal trip to Barcelona.

Free things to see and do

Parque Guell

Parque Guell -- Gaudi -- Barcelona, Spain

The works of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi are among Barcelona´s most valuable cultural treasures. There is an admission fee of over 10 euros to visit monuments designed by Gaudi such as the Sagrada Familia, Casa Battló and La Pedrera but Parque Guell, a lovely park designed by Gaudi, is completely free to enter. In Gaudi´s highly individualized style, the park is complete with colourful mosaics, curves, twists and organic shapes. Children will enjoy the bright colours, exotic shapes and the mosaic lizard.

Las Ramblas

Pedestrians on street -- Las Ramblas -- Barcelona SpainThis lively street, replete with shops, restaurants, street vendors and street performers, is one of Barcelona´s principal tourist attractions. The street performers are known to be particularly quirky and fascinating. Children and adults alike can spend hours on Las Ramblas enjoying the sights and sounds without spending a single euro.

Free Museums

Arts Museum

Most of Barcelona´s museums offer free admission once a month. With some careful planning and good timing, you can visit the Picasso Museum or the Museu Nacional d´Arte de Catalunya for free on the first Sunday of the month. Practically all of Barcelona´s attractions offer senior citizen and student discounts as well as free admission for children. If travelling with children, take note that some museums offer free admission to children until six years of age while others set the age limit at 10.

Font Magia

Font Magia - fountains at Montjuic - Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona’s Font Magia is a free event that is surprisingly enjoyable. Font Magia is a light, music and water show at the . This completely free show happens on Fridays and Saturdays from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. from October to April and Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. from May to September.

Beaches

Playa beach Barcelona Spain

Another unique characteristic of Barcelona are the several miles of beaches within walking distance from the city centre. The beaches are public and therefore charge no admissions fee. If visiting with children, you may want to steer clear of nudist sections like the Playa de la Mar Bella.

Eating out Cheaply

La Boqueria

This market is a feast for the senses. The meats and fish, brightly coloured fruits and vegetables and prepared foods provide options for hungry visitors of all types. Buying a piece of fruit or even a prepared vegetarian meal in La Boqueria does not necessarily have to be expensive but make sure you are clear on the price before you buy. Go for a fixed-price lunch menu. Most Spanish cafeterias and restaurants offer a fixed-price lunch menu known locally as a menú del día. They generally include a beverage, bread, a first course, second course, and desert and/or coffee. Especially if you wander away from the tourist centre and find a more residential neighbourhood, you can purchase one of these hearty local meal deals for less than 10 euros. Ordering individual menu items is significantly more expensive.

Other General tips

Public transportation

To save money, avoid the red tourist buses and taxis. Public transportation in Barcelona is user-friendly and inexpensive. Depending on how far you want to travel around the city, you may want to consider purchasing a transportation pass that gives you unlimited access to trains, metro, buses and trams.

Enjoying a fantastic but frugal trip to Barcelona is not difficult if you follow some simple insider trips. Take advantage of free things to see and do and make sure you choose places to eat wisely. If you stay in a centrally located hotel, you will be able to walk to many of the tourist destinations that you wish to see. When walking is not possible, take public transportation. Following these simple suggestions will allow you to enjoy your trip without breaking the budget.

This post was brought to you by HostelBookers.com the budget travel specialists.

Ditch Bodrum for Istanbul

Istanbul Cistern

It’s really easy to find the cheapest airline tickets to package holiday destinations. Pick one of the ones you know to be overdeveloped and overcrowded; the Costa del Sol, Majorca, Faliraki… you get the picture, and you’ll see just how cheap they are. A lot of people who decide to go a little further afield and go for Turkey, choose one of the coastal resorts such as Bodrum.

Tourists think they’re getting the Turkish experience with tours organised by travel agencies paying a visit to things like the Turkish baths, where the men giving massages to tourists in bikinis sometimes look genuinely ashamed. Tours might take you out on a boat or to a local bar and the guides act as if you are getting the ‘local’ experience. But it certainly doesn’t always feel that way.

Istanbul sunset

While Turkey is a secular country, Islam is the dominant religion. Some of the Turkish people who live and work in the coastal resorts seem caught between dismay at the skimpily clad tourists and a delight in the business those tourists bring in. Covering up may not even help prove your modesty that much. Also, the famous markets in places like Bodrum may be big, but a lot of the things sold there are dodgy (like mouldy tobacco). It’s not necessarily worth spending your money on most of it.

There’s a bit of a lack of beach in places and the sea is a bit devoid of sea-life. If you want to come to visit Turkey, ignore the package deals and book yourself on to a historical tour to less tourist frequented beach destinations and see all the things of archaeological significance. Or visit Istanbul.

In Istanbul you will find the Istanbul Archaeology Museums. These include the Archaeological Museum, the Museum of the Ancient Orient and the Museum of Islamic Art.  The Blue Mosque has to be the most famous and iconic of the buildings in the city. While there are hundreds of stunning buildings that were built during the many years the powerful Ottoman Empire was ruling, the Blue Mosque is the picture that makes it to your postcard. The interior is covered in thousands of blue tiles that lend themselves to the name of the building itself. There are many domes and minarets and the patterns in the interior are phenomenal. Another resplendent building in the city is Topkapi Palace, home over the years to sultans and consorts. One of the most interesting of all the fabulous things to see here is the Gate of the White Eunuchs. The entrance leads to the Third Court, which was once staffed by White Eunuchs. Also here is the Imperial Treasury, which holds many fascinating objects including the Topkapi Dagger, which has three massive emeralds in the hilt.

Istanbul Topkapi Palace - Middle Gate

Be sure to book yourself into a good restaurant at some time during your stay so you can sample kebabs and koftas as well as spicy tomato-based dishes. Try the yoghurt drink Ayran alongside the spicy dishes and for dessert a delicious baklava.

This is a guest post from John Hutchinson.  John has enjoyed travelling since he was a young boy when his parents first took him to visit family overseas. Since leaving home, John has tracked down family all over the world and regularly jets off to faraway lands to see distant relatives.

5 Great Things to do in Bangkok, Thailand

Things to do in Bangkok -- Wat Pho Temple of the Reclining Buddha

Things to do in Bangkok

Looking for exciting things to do in Bangkok?  There’s plenty to keep you busy in this Asian metropolis.

Check out our list below, and if you have even more exciting things to do in Bangkok, let us know in the comments section below.

Things to do in Bangkok — #1: Wat Arun

Things to do in Bangkok -- Wat Arun

Wat Arun, which is also called Temple of the Dawn, lies on the west bank of the Chao Phraya river.  It was started in 1809, and is one of the central landmarks of the Bangkok skyline.  To save money in Thailand while getting there, take a river ferry for 10 Baht (around 30 cents) from the dock just a short walk from the next of our things to do in Bangkok…

Things to do in Bangkok — #2: The Grand Palace

Things to do in Bangkok -- Grand Palace

The Grand Palace is one of the must-see things to do in Bangkok.  It is the former residence of the King of Thailand, and it is marvelous.  Open from 8:00 until 4:00 daily, the cost is 350 Baht (about 12 US dollars).  Warning though — do not listen to the “official” looking people outside. They will tell you it is closed because of a special holiday.  They are only trying to get you to go on a scam tuk-tuk ride.  Also, no need to rent or buy pants from the ladies outside the Grand Palace — they are available for free inside.  Stand your ground, and just walk right in.  If it is closed, the guard in the army uniform will tell you so, and the gates will be closed. After your tour of the Grand Palace, it’s a short walk to the next of our things to do in Bangkok…

Things to do in Bangkok — #3: Wat Pho

Things to do in Bangkok -- Wat Pho Temple of the Reclining Buddha

Wat Pho is also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha.  It’s only 100 baht to get in, and is open daily from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm. Wat Pho is so much more than just the famous reclining Buddha though.  Take a walk around the expansive temples grounds and look in awe at the thousands of images of Buddha.  This temple also has some bragging rights — it was the birthplace of Thai Massage. You’ll need one after lugging around your loot in the next of our things to do in Bangkok…

Things to do in Bangkok — #4: Chatuchak Weekend Market

Things to do in Bangkok -- Chatuchak weekend market

Of all the great budget tips for Thailand the most important is this: BARTER! It is expected especially here. You can get all kinds of souvenirs here to take to the folks back home. You can get anything here — clothing, food, jewelry, live (and dead) animals, pottery, and the list goes on. Allow half a day to explore the market, and remember, it’s only open on weekends.  Bus 53 and 54 will take you to the Chatuchak Weekend Market from the Khao San Road area, and it costs only 24 Baht. After all that shopping, you will have earned the next of our things to do in Bangkok…

Things to do in Bangkok — #5:  Get a Thai Massage

Things to do in Bangkok -- fish massage

Or any type of massage for that matter — neck massage, foot massage, oil massage, and yes, even fish massage — they are all readily available on almost every street corner in Bangkok.  Price and quality vary, so ask around — your hotel will be a great resource. If you’re so inclined, you might want to also check out a Ping Pong Show while you’re in Thailand.

What are some of your favorite things to do in Bangkok?

Top 5 Budget Travel Thailand Tips

River ferry in Bangkok Budget Travel Thailand

Budget Travel Thailand

Asia has long been known as a great budget travel destination, but there are some easy ways you can stretch your precious dollar here even more with these budget travel Thailand tips.

Leave a comment below if you have even more tips for saving money in Thailand.

Tip #1:  Don’t Buy Bottled Water

That doesn’t mean drink the tap water. There are  drinking water vending machines located throughout Thailand where you can refill your bottle. Bangkok has tons, especially near the budget backpacker area known as Khao San Road.  And there are plenty located throughout the rest of Thailand as well. Only 1 Baht for 1 litre, and 5 Baht for 5 litres. One US dollar is currently equal to 30 Baht, so that is definitely good value.  This YouTube video shows what they look like.  Sorry, but it’s in Thai…

Tip #2: Take a Taxi

I know what you’re thinking — Thailand is the land of the tuk-tuk.  But if you’re traveling on a budget, a tuk-tuk is not always the best deal.  First of all, they often rip you off.  Second of all, all taxis in Thailand are metered so you know you’re getting charged what the locals do.  I took a tuk-tuk from the Khao San Road district in Bangkok to the train station, and it cost 150 Baht.  I did the same trip in a taxi a few weeks later and it cost 90 Baht.  And it was air-conditioned. Now that’s a better way to budget travel Thailand — a place where the heat and smog can be oppressive.

Tip #3: Ride like a Local

There are a couple of ways to save money by riding like a local:

Tip #3A: Take a Bus

Local buses are cheap in Thailand.  And locals are usually pretty willing to point you in the right direction.  In Bangkok, most buses can get you anywhere for about 24 Baht.

Tip #3B: Take a Boat

Boats are a great way to see Thailand.  And if you’re in Bangkok in particular, they can save you a stack of money.  At only 14 Baht for most destinations along the river, they will happen you stay on your budget.

River ferry in Bangkok Budget Travel Thailand

Tip #4: Eat on the Street

Budget travel Thailand doesn’t mean you have to starve yourself. Thai food is among the best in the world, and the same goes for “street meat”. If you’re into great food, but keen on budget travel, Thailand is a dream come true.  Usually, as long as you can see the street vendor cooking it, you are in the clear.  And if it’s meat you’re after, then make sure you get it very well done.  I usually cut open the meat at its thickest part before I dig in — just to make sure it’s done all the way through. But try to stay away from veggies that look like they have been washed — they’ve probably used tap water.  And ending up in the hospital with some weird stomach bug will surely ruin your budget.

Tip #5: Research Before You Go

Thailand on a budget is easy, but made a lot easier if you do your homework.  Use websites like Agoda or HostelBookers to compare prices on where you want to stay. LateStays.com is another great site for Asia.  They will all give you and excellent idea of what hotels fall within your budget.

We’d like to hear from you!  Do you have any tips for Budget Travel Thailand?