You can design any trip to fit your budget. Visit Your Library for the latest information. The Travel Neighborhood features a wide variety of travel guides. Travel Bags are available for select destinations such as New York, Las Vegas and Hawaii, each with an assortment of books and maps in a convenient container. All are available for check out.
Then it’s time to hit the Internet. Whether on a Library computer or at home, you can find the most current travel deals online. I’m currently planning a trip to Philadelphia. With four days, I plan to see as much as I can within that time while trying to spend as little as possible.
Are you flying, driving or traveling by train? Transportation must be determined and booked a couple months in advance. The longer you wait the higher the rates can climb. Websites such as Travelocity or Expedia (among others) are very popular for finding discounts. Often combining your flights, hotel and rental car can get you even better deals.
Once at your destination, public transportation is cheapest. If you plan to spend time outside the city you may need to rent a car. Make your reservation as soon as possible! Rental car rates go up considerably the longer you wait. Jumping from $20-a-day to $90-a-day is not unheard of. I learned this lesson the hard way.
Lodging is where you can be the most flexible with your budget. It is possible to go extremely cheap here, but you might be giving up quality. Still, if all you need is a clean bed to sleep in, this is where you can save the most money. Be sure to check with national travel sites along with websites for the specific hotel or chain.
Make a list of all the attractions you plan to see. Keep track of operating days and times. Many museums are closed one day of the week. Some have a free or discount night. You do not want to pay full admission price when you could have waited a few hours and gotten in for free. Plot the location of each attraction on a map. This saves a lot of backtracking.
Many cities have a discount card or pass that admits you to 5-6 attractions for one low price. You might even write or email an attraction asking about discounts. They could even send a free pass. Thank you, Phoenix Zoo!
The bottom line to traveling on the cheap is to start early and do your research. Your Library has a wealth of information at your fingertips.