Traveling on a Budget Lame? Think Again!

If you think that people who travel on a budget are simply too cheap or thrifty for their own good, you might want to re-consider. Traveling on a budget can save you a lot of money as well as stress.

And while you might feel the urge to splurge and stay in a super expensive hotel, here are a few reasons why traveling on a budgett can actually be a very good idea:

Save Money by Planning Ahead

You can save money by taking a little time to prepare. You can skip the hotels and go right for a vacation home- you’ll have all the ammenities you could want for probably the same price as a ritzy hotel room.

Get information on fuel prices both on your travel route and at your destination, and sit down and figure out which meals you will eat in the room or suite and which ones you will eat out.

And, because you’re really thrifty and savvy, find out what types of restaurants are in your destination and check to see if they have a website.

If so, you can see if they have a menu on their site or at least given an idea of what their meal prices are, and read reviews. No sense going to a pricey restaurant if people who have visited before say it isn’t worth the money.

Then, you add a little extra for emergencies. That way, you know you have enough money.

No Huge Credit Card Bill

Traveling on a budget means you don’t have to worry about running up the credit card bill or how you’re going to pay that bill off. By using a budget, you’ll only put the things you absolutely have to on the card.

If you have to use the credit card number to hold a room or other reservation, you can make sure it is understood that it is simply to hold the room, and you will be paying for the room with a check or traveler’s check.

Finding Good Accommodations at a Good Price

Traveling on a budget means you are willing to “settle” for something a little less expensive, but it didn’t mean you’ll have to sleep in a “dump.” Rather, you’ll stay a little further away from your destination, or find a less-expensive hotel that still offered a continental breakfast.

One word here about continental breakfasts. If they mainly consist of pastries, sweet cereals, and things you would not normally serve your family simply because you know everyone would be suffering a sugar crash by 10 in the morning, then they aren’t a good deal.

If this is the case, you will want to find a grocery store (not a convenience store) and purchase cereal, milk, microwaveable breakfast sandwiches, and fresh or canned fruit.

The money you spend will be minimal compared with what you would have to buy on extra snacks to offset the mid-morning slump.

Traveling on a budget means you will actually have a little more to spend than you thought because you budgeted so well. If that is the case, you can decide whether or not you want to eat an extra meal out as a treat or visit one more attraction.

Or just save it for the next vacation.

How to Fix Hotel Problems

Hotel Problems
Hotel Problems

If something seems too good to be true, it probably is – and that definitely the case when you’re traveling. If you see an amazing hotel deal, chances are there’s a good reason the rooms are so cheap! All experienced travelers had had at least one bad hotel stay. Maybe the pictures on their website look nothing like the dump you find in real life. Maybe the service is horrible. Maybe the site is under construction.

Whatever the problem, if you show up and the hotel isn’t what you expect, there are some things you can do to fix it – and without spending any extra money to upgrade to a nicer room or find a new hotel at the last minute.

Problem #1: The room is dirty.

If it looks like your room hasn’t been cleaned in ages, sometimes all you need to do is complain to get the problem fixed. Maids at cheaper hotels and motels aren’t paid very high wages, and in order to get their work done more quickly, they might cut corners. Before you even set down your bad, go back to the front desk – in person – and voice your concern. Many will give you a discount on the spot and send a cleaning crew to redo the room.

Problem #2: Your room is loud.

Construction, traffic, and other problems can all account for your room being too loud, and often it is out of the hotel’s control. Simply ask to be switched to another room. Most are happy to accommodate you if they possibly can. To avoid this kind of problem, check into your room as early as possible. Most hotels give out the “bad” rooms (i.e., the ones that are louder) last.

Problem #3: The room isn’t as nice as the picture.

If you paid a really low price…well, unfortunately, there might not be much you can do! Before you leave, print out your hotel conformation information, along with a picture of the room you expect to get. Sometimes, if there’s a big difference in the picture versus what you’re actually given that you can point out, the hotel will upgrade you to a suite or refund some of your money. You can also look into reporting them to the Better Business Bureau if you think they’re being dishonest.

Problem #4: The hotel was overbooked.

As long as you paid for your room, it shouldn’t be a problem – even if a hotel is overbooked, they have a duty to give you a place to stay. You might find yourself driving to another hotel, but this minor inconvenience could actually work out in your favor. If you keep your cool and are polite, sometimes they’ll bump you to a suite, offer free meals, or give you other perks – all you have to do is ask!

Problem #5: The staff is rude, non-existent, or otherwise unsatisfactory.

Write down the names of the people who bothered you (along with a description if the hotel is larger) and ask to speak to a manager. If the manager is the problem, call their corporate office – from your actual hotel room. If it is late at night or early in the morning, wait until business hours. Managers working the day shift often have more power or even own the hotel, so they’re better equipped to help you.

Still nervous about hotel problems? Purchase a travel insurance policy before you leave. That way, if you get there and things are horrible, all you have to do is call your insurance company and they’ll help you find new accommodations that better fit your needs.

This guest post is from Allison, who works with www.TravelInsurance.org.