xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' World Toddler: 5 Tips for Affordable International Travel

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

5 Tips for Affordable International Travel

1. Stay in privately owned apartments instead of hotels


An apartment on Airbnb, an online service enabling you to rent accommodations from individual owners, costs around 30% less than a comparable hotel room (for a comparison by city of airbnb versus hotel costs, see busbud.com). In addition, most Airbnb apartments have fully-equipped kitchens, so you can save money by eating meals at home. Finally, staying in an Airbnb apartment enables you to stay in less-touristy neighborhoods where restaurants and basic necessities are more affordable.
Aunt Rach prepares a home-cooked meal in our Buenos Aires Airbnb

The main down-side of Airbnb, as we have come to learn, is its unpredictability. You never know what to expect from one lodging to the next—will the apartment really be as it appears online? Will the host meet you for check-in at the appointed time? Will there be enough towels and will the sheets be clean?

Aside from some missing apartment keys here and some cockroaches there, we have found our hosts to be prompt and helpful and our accommodations to be as advertised.  All in all, booking an apartment on Airbnb is a gamble, but one that usually pays off.


2. Use public transportation to get to and from airports


The most expensive taxi ride you will probably take while traveling is to and from the airport, which is almost universally located on the outskirts of your destination city. While it can be overwhelming to land somewhere new, exhausted from travelling, and first try to navigate a new public transportation system, doing so can save loads of money.  Prepare for the adventure by researching the transportation system before leaving and, if possible, stay somewhere conveniently located to public transportation inside the city.
Ready to fly, Santiago, Chile

3. Follow tour itineraries but skip the tour


Don't waste precious travel time planning your daily excursions.  Instead, go online, find a reputable travel company, and use their itinerary, one they have undoubtedly spent a lot of time and money designing to perfection. Rent a car or use public transportation to access the itinerary points.  Doing so limits your expenses to entrance fees and public transportation or car rentals, saving you up to $100 per person per day trip.


4. Buy tickets online and check for discount coupons


Many attractions, from museums to guided tours, offer at least a 10% discount for booking your tickets in advance through their websites.  In addition, you can google the name of the attraction and "promo code" to see if there are other available discounts online.

5. Take advantage of free stuff


Perhaps there is no such thing as a free lunch, but there is such a thing as a free tour, a free museum, and even a free fair.  Search the web for "top free activities" in every city you visit before arriving.  Many museums are free abroad. Other activities are free certain days of the month, so plan accordingly.  Many cities offer free walking tours, where you are asked only to tip your guide at the end of the tour.  If you're following my first tip (staying in apartments instead of hotels), you won't be staying somewhere with a concierge desk, so take advantage of the tour guide's knowledge and ask for recommendations for restaurants, shopping, and attractions.
Tours for Tips, Valparaiso, Chile
(free) Museum of Fine Arts, Buenos Aires, Argentina

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