Wednesday, February 29, 2012

5 Budget Travel Tips for Expensive Destinations

You can enjoy everything an
expensive location has to offer
without spending a bundle.

London and Paris are fantastic places to visit. The sights are legendary, the entertainment is always exciting, but the prices are high. There's no reason that should stop you, however. There are lots of ways to save money when you travel to expensive places. Here are a few to help you get to where you want to go, for less.

1. Free Attractions. First, find all the free attractions where you're going. Major cities always have lots of free things to do. World-famous parks and museums, castles, public beaches and piers, lively entertainment districts. Many cities offer free guided walking tours (but you should plan on tipping the guide). If you do your research, you may not pay a dime for the most fun you'll ever have. If you're traveling to an expensive region, look for local festivals, fairs or other forms of entertainment that are free or low cost.

2. Eat Cheap. Once again, do your research before you travel. Find the ethnic enclaves and neighborhoods--you'll be amazed at the quality, variety, and affordability of the food in restaurants and cafes owned by immigrants.  When you arrive in the area, ask locals about cheap places to eat. Also, look online for coupons, or check out a restaurants website for daily specials. Many cities have street vendors offering delicious food. By staying in a vacation rental, you can take advantage of farmer's markets and cook truly local meals using fresh produce, meats and cheeses.

3. Stay in the Suburbs. Look for vacation rentals outside the city center or in the countryside, away from the main tourist attractions. Most popular areas have great public transportation or access to plenty of rental cars. Depending on how long you'll be in an area, you may want to buy local transportation passes. If you want to visit Zurich or Geneva, for example, consider making your trip more about seeing Switzerland. You'll open up your options, and you'll take in a greater variety of sights and experiences.

4. Avoid Taxis. They're expensive, and there's almost always a cheaper, and many times better, way to get around. Consider walking-- it's a great way to get a feel for a city. Plus, if it's a city like London or Paris, many attractions are going to be within walking distance. Subways and buses are usually a quick and easy way to get around a city.

5. Stay in Vacation Rentals. You'll get more value for the money you spend on lodging by staying in a vacation rental. Plus, you'll live like a local and really get to know the area. Here are some of the world's most expensive cities and areas, with links to vacation rentals.