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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California

    Default The Frugal Traveler

    A couple of years ago, WESTWAYS magaine (the publication of Auto Club of Southern California, i.e. AAA) published a one-page article in their March/April 2017 issue. The article was "The Frugal Traveler: 11 Money-Saving Trip Tips from Your Westways Staff." Evidently I'd clipped the article about a year ago when I cleared the house of the 2017 magazines. Reading it, it summarizes many points that we make on these forums about saving money:

    1. Renting a car in cities with good transit could be done in the downtown facility rather than at the airport.

    2. Bring a cooler to pack your own lunch.

    3. Look for hotel rooms with a microwave and a refrigerator to be able to heat up leftovers and save money on going out to eat.

    4. Never check bags, so you can save on luggage check fees. (Personally, we stick to Southwest Air when we must fly, as they don't charge for two checked bags.)

    5. Book through a knowledgeable travel agent. (Hmmmm.... on that one.)

    6. Use a bicycle sharing program if you ride.

    7. Find the best foodie souvenirs (like locally made jams, candies, chocolates) in the grocery stores rather than pricey gift shops.

    8. Always ask for AAA discounts (if you're a member). (I add, ask for senior discount if you qualify.)

    9. Use public transit in a new city, as it's cheaper than a taxi or Uber and you learn more about the place.

    10. Sign up for hotel loyalty programs. Some include perks like free wi-fi, or build up free nights.

    11. Stay at hotels that include breakfast and/or happy hour snacks, and don't be afraid to talk to other guests if you do so. Sometimes they have some good ideas of places to visit in the area!

    WESTWAYS magazine, March/April 2017, summarized


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default ...and Another

    There is one other way to save money on a RoadTrip that comes up fairly regularly on these forums and is a personal favorite of mine: Shunpiking. Turnpikes and other toll roads came to prominence in the 1950's as post-war traffic picked up considerably and people were willing to pay for high-speed roads that let them bypass major cities, especially in the northeast and along the southern shores of the Great Lakes. Those roads worked so well and now carry so much traffic that the older free US Highway system has been relieved of much of the traffic that made the turnpikes inevitable. And large portions of the Interstate System, built with your tax dollars, are also 'free'.

    Now, there is obviously a trade-off involved here between speed and cost, but if you have even a little extra time beyond the absolute minimum required to get from point 'A' to point 'B', want to enjoy the intervening countryside at less than mile-a-minute speeds, or want to see anything along the way, there are always alternatives to the pricey turnpikes and other super-slabs. One particular trip keeps this in the forefront of my mind. I got a call one evening about a family illness that required me to get from Maine to Delaware that night. I had no cash and ATMs were not prevalent in those days. The things I had going for me were that I knew the route and the wee hours of the morning were my normal working hours. So with 10¢ in my pocket and a full tank of gas I set out. I 'shunned' the Maine Turnpike, the New Hampshire Turnpike, the Massachusetts Turnpike, the New Jersey Turnpike and toll bridges across both the Hudson and Delaware Rivers, and completed the 400+ mile trip in just about eight hours - and still had 10¢ in my pocket, but a now empty gas tank.

    As with the other hints that Donna has retrieved from that AAA magazine, Shunpiking won't work for everybody all the time, but on what should be relaxed enjoyable RoadTrips, it's certainly an arrow that should be kept in one's quiver.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Great thought, and one we've used ourselves!

    Another thing I just thought of, to go with #8 above, if you qualify, is to enquire about Military/Veteran Discounts. A lot of places do offer these IF you are a card-carrying person. I recently read that there is a movement afoot to try to get some sort of veteran card, if you don't have a VA card already.


  4. Default

    Wonderful tips from that article! Definitely worth especially checking by frequent travelers.

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