There is no chance to change this issue: we start spending money from the moment we leave home.

I will dedicate this post to the art of travel on a budget.  No doubt it is an art.  Imagine you won a ticket to let’s say, London.  Ok, you have the tickets for free, so you must use them and besides you want to stay ten more days visiting other european countries. And money is your problem.  Then you begin to think about which is the best way to enjoy your trip without spending a lot of money per day or without suffering.  There are items you cannot avoid, you should eat three times a day, unless you are on a diet, you should sleep in a clean and comfortable room and you must move from one place to another and if you do not consider this, you should unpack and stay home.  On the contrary there is no need to shop like a possessed and there is no need to go to expensive shows or theatres.  Now that we have this clear, let’s begin to solve this problem.

As soon as we arrive at the airport we have to pay the boarding fee and, since we are bored waiting in the pre boarding room, we go to the duty-free shop and begin to get excited about shopping things that probably we do not need but which seem absolutely necessary for the trip. It’s fun to go to the duty-free shop, but can be devastating. So we go. Because we are bored. Best thing is to go without the wallet and without the boarding pass, we leave to those who travel with us and if we are alone, well, we pretend we forgot the wallet at home. We look around for a while, we try all the creams and perfumes, we put what we like most -the expensive items- in the basket and get in the line for the cash desk,  there is always a line. Then we think better, we put the basket on the floor and go the way we came, to sit and wait to be called for boarding. At that time we will surely thank not yielding to temptation and become convinced that we are leaving the purchases for the end of the trip.

Manchester Airport T1 duty free shopping area (October 2009)

Manchester Airport T1 Duty Free   By NewbieRunner

We arrive at our destination and there we find another problem. We must reach the hotel. Obviously the cheapest way is the street bus which surely will pass by from one moment to another, but we are tired and it is not a matter of suffer loading bags, the carry-on and that jacket we grabbed at the last moment in case it was cold, but it’s hot . A wise thing to do is to find out if there is a bus from the airport to make the trip Airport – City, get off at a stop near our destination, take a taxi and arrive at our hotel smartly.


This is an issue. Some say you will get better prices by booking in advance, other think that the last-minute is the best option. We must look for online promotions, sometimes there are hotels that give good weekend promotion at half price. The other option is to save on hotel and spend overnight in a train, when the idea is to visit several cities, but I don’t think this is amusing, it is definitely uncomfortable, you do not have that feeling of belonging, the thing moves and makes awful noises and when we get off we are more tired than when we got on. I do not rule out that for one night this a good option, but not always. Another thing that often happens is that check-in times at hotels are usually from two in the afternoon and always, always, we arrive well before that time, tired, wanting to go to the restroom and dump all baggage and take a shower. Not much solution for this. You can book the hotel for a day before (a luxury that may save lives) and go straight to the room, or if not, leave the luggage at the hotel, check in and go out to explore the area, not too far away, have a coffee, read the newspaper and pray that a miracle will give us the room before the scheduled time. It happens.

Often happens that when we book the hotel through a website, there is no room when we arrive for either the hotel is overbooked or the room is not what we asked for. Well, then make a complaint. Ask for an upgrade or a change into another affiliate hotel but better, since they have caused us so much trouble. Or we can ask for a free night, some small hotels can consider this possibility in exchange for the inconvenience.

If you need two rooms, consider booking a two-bedroom suite, it will be cheaper and still keep privacy.

Casa velas hotel lobby garden view

Casavelas hotel lobby   By Hotel Casavelas


Some hotels include breakfast, some not, and they charge breakfast quite expensive. In the latter case, we can go and have breakfast at any patisserie or coffee shop near the hotel, or better, have breakfast in the room, just go out and buy some delicious croissants and a cappuccino to go and take it to the room and have breakfast comfortably watching TV or reading the newspaper.

Fixed price menus are normally offered at noon, so it is smart to have a full lunch and have a light the evening meal. Whether you choose for a picnic feast in your hotel room or to dine in a nearby restaurant, each meal should be carefully and lovingly planned

At the restaurant look around to check if dishes are generous and act accordingly. If they are huge, then ask for an entry (always cheaper) and a desert, not for a main course, or you can share an entry and a main course and the dessert. Wine increases the check, as we all know, so we leave this issue entirely up to you.

Continental breakfast

Breakfast   By cbcastro


Well, now that you have slept well and had breakfast already, we should get around the city. It is best to plan the routes by neighborhood, so we can take a subway or a bus to reach the destination and then go walking. This way we avoid running back and forth spending money on transportation and wasting time. Find those discount cards to visit museums and exhibitions, as well as the days when admission is free. The same with transportation. The bus is a great option, is slower, but we get to know the city, while in the subway we travel underground and when we emerge to the surface we never know where we are.

city sightseeing bus @ london

Sightseeing bus London   By pineapplebun


Do not pack too much luggage, airlines may charge an extra baggage fee, same for taxis.

Do not change money at the airport. Bring some money to move on when you arrive and then exchange at the hotel or somewhere else.

We all know that phone calls are very expensive at the hotel, even more, when we reach the hotel room we look at the phone as if it were the devil and we care very well not even touch it, unless you know it for granted that local calls are free. How do we call home? Prepaid phone cards are a problem for me. First I have no idea which card to buy, once I find one I sit on the hotel bed and try to scrape with a coin or my nail to see the code, which never looks good, and when I manage to complete the twenty-five instructions, is that I talk for a minute, two if I am lucky, or I cannot talk at all for the access number is busy, or PIN does not work. So my advice is to look for an internet cybercafe or a telephone booth and call your loved ones.

Hotel minibars are so expensive and can be even more if you open the door to just move contents around, either to see what’s inside or to accommodate your own drinks.  Some mini-bars have electronic sensors and motion detectors, so be aware, you can look but not touch.



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