VirtualTourist is helping travelers stretch their vacation budgets with VirtualTourist’s Top 10 Money Saving Travel Tips. The advice, culled from VirtualTourist’s database of more than 1.3 million travel tips, includes ideas that help travelers get more for their money.
“Fuel costs are rising, and this has made air travel, car travel and most other types of travel more expensive,” said Giampiero Ambrosi, General Manager of VirtualTourist.com. “Finding ways to save money when you’ve reached your destination can make the difference between taking and not taking a trip.”
And that’s where the money saving travel tips posted by real travelers on VirtualTourist come in. VirtualTourist’s worldwide membership of more than 750,000 people includes backpackers, luxury travelers, and all types in between. Accordingly, VirtualTourist’s tips span nearly every budget as well, from the best, cheap dim sum in the Hong King Airport, to the extensive list of freebies afforded to guests of the five-star Ritz Carlton Kuala Lumpur.
“Saving money doesn’t require traveling with a fist full of coupons. You can save a lot by just following the smart advice of fellow travelers who have already been there and done that,” Ambrosi said. “
VirtualTourist’s travel guides consist exclusively of user-generated content and offer travel advice on more than 25,000 destinations. The VirtualTourist Top 10 Money Saving Travel Tips represent the best money saving ideas and reminders from around the globe.
VirtualTourist’s Top 10 Money Saving Travel Tips*
1. Learn the local tipping etiquette. For services on which you tip 15% at home, you may be able to get away with 5% or even nothing at all. In the Netherlands, for example, tipping is not expected in bars or restaurants, but patrons may leave change up to the next euro in a bar, and up to five euro in a restaurant. - BlueBerry_7, United States, VirtualTourist member since March 7, 2002
2. Seek out tax free shopping. Some countries—Switzerland and Poland, for example—offer tax exemptions for tourists in designated shops. You’ll need to secure proper documentation, so do your research beforehand so you know what to ask for and from whom. - Tripack, Switzerland, VirtualTourist member since September 3, 2001
3. Use public transportation when feasible, and inquire about extended passes. In most cities you’ll save time and money when you purchase a daily or weekly pass in advance instead of paying for each fare individually. In London, for instance, a Travelcard is advised if you plan on staying a few days or more. - deecat, United States, VirtualTourist member since September 4, 2003
4. When paying by credit card in a foreign country, double-check the currency in which you are being charged. The slip may read “109.00,” and you may think you’re paying 109 Mexican pesos (about 10 U.S. dollars), but you’re actually signing off on 109 U.S. dollars. When in doubt, always pay cash. - emilienoelle, United States, VirtualTourist member since March 31, 2004
5. Buy sightseeing tickets in bulk. In many cities—New York, Seattle and Toronto, just to name a few—you can save on admission when you buy a booklet of passes in advance. - Madamx, Canada, VirtualTourist member since July 29, 2002
6. Before booking a traditional hotel, explore options such as a “home exchange” with another family. There are online services dedicated to the facilitation of such exchanges. - Rixie, United States, VirtualTourist member since April 13, 2002
7. Avoid fines by researching local tax and transaction laws. In Italy, for example, every sale must be accompanied by a receipt, no matter the amount. And when a receipt is not presented, both buyer and seller can be fined. The law, by the way, is intended to curb tax fraud. - Ciambella, Italy, VirtualTourist member since May 4, 2004
8. When renting recreational vehicles and watercraft—like bicycles, golf carts, Jet Skis, canoes and boats—ask about late-in-the-day discounts. By renting at 4pm instead of noon you can sometimes save. - Gra8ful, United States, VirtualTourist member since September 3, 2005
9. Dine where the locals do. Veer off the tourist path, away from major attractions and hotels, and eat in a restaurant that caters to locals instead of tourists. You may find a cheaper bill at the end of your meal. - ophiro, Israel, VirtualTourist member since May 28, 2005
10. When bartering, dress and act the part. Avoid wearing jewelry or expensive clothing; if the seller senses that you can pay more, they’ll charge more. Carry only small bills; it’s tough to bargain when the seller can see that you have enough cash. And if you try to pay with a large bill, you’ll often hear “no change.” - kymbanm, United States, VirtualTourist member since January 15, 2004