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Tourists on a Budget: Saving Money in the US

Being a tourist isn’t always easy and especially not when you’re travelling in the states. They’re known for having an extraordinary amount of fun stuff to offer, a melting pot of cultures just waiting to be discovered and, of course, various ways to spend all of your money at once.

While you may have returned home with far less money than you originally planned on during your previous vacations, this time it can be different. You just have to put your mind into it, that’s all and find ways to prioritise what you’d like to do and what you could do without.

Here is a handful of ways to save money while travelling in general and particularly when touring the US. That way, you might even be able to afford another vacation a bit sooner than you anticipated – and you won’t necessarily miss out on anything either.

First: Booking in advance

If you’ve been a budget tourist before, you know very well that there is a lot of money to save on plane tickets. You don’t really have to book them half a year upfront, though, although some sites seem to recommend that you book these tickets a year in advance if you’re able to. Try to give yourself at least two months, on the other hand, and you might be able to save quite a bit.

Keep in mind that some budget sites can be rather sneaky, though, as they keep an eye on the trips you’ve been looking at and turn the price up to create a sense of emergency. If the tickets increased in price over just one night, who knows what they will cost in a week?

Instead of falling for their sly tricks, you can check out the same ticket on another device and see if you’re able to get it for the price you originally saw. It’s not a guaranteed way of ensuring the cheapest ticket but, by booking two months in advance and checking the prices via different devices, you may be able to save quite a bit.

Next: Find the free stuff online

The Internet is a great place to be when you’re looking to save money. Use it while planning your holiday in the states as well as while you’re there, by the way, to look up all the free events and discounted offers in the area you’re in.

Finding the best deals is actually quite simple; just plot in free events in downtown Nashville, for example, ask around on one of the various forums online and keep in mind that a lot of museums and art events will offer free entrance.

The more you’re able to take advantage of the free or heavily discounted offers, the easier it’s going to be to stay within your budget – or to just splurge on the stuff you enjoy a bit more. Have a look around the web for some free apps you can download and use while you’re there as well, by the way, such as this happy hour app that helps you to discover discounted drinks in your area.  

Travel in the ‘shoulder periods’

Or, in other words, travel right before the high season in order to get low fares, cheap accommodation, and affordable meals out. The high season tends to be around the summertime and Christmas as people want to travel and explore the world during these months.

You might have wanted to do the same, though, but by booking your flight for April rather than in June, you’ll be able to not only avoid all of the tourists but also get prices that are adjusted for local travellers.

This is the kind of stuff that requires some planning, however, so try to keep it in mind for the next time you’d like to travel – or just book that ticket for April right away since you still got some time left.

Other ways to save money is to rent an apartment rather than checking in at a costly hotel. This is a better solution if you’re travelling with a group, though, or your family as you’ll be able to chip in on covering the costs and you should definitely make use of Airbnb while you’re there.

Now all you have to do is to pack as little as possible to avoid any extra charges on your luggage, make sure that you have that travel insurance taken care of and, finally, lean back and look forward to your trip.


How To See More Of the World While You Can

If there’s one thing that the bulk of people wish they could do more of, it’s travel. It’s a big old world out there, and we only have a certain amount of time in which to see it. Unless we’re rich and have all the time in the world, then that means that we need to find inventive ways to explore all the corners of the globe while we have the energy to do so. It sounds difficult, but it’s not; if you have the right attitude, anything as possible. So make travelling a priority. Below, we take a look at some actions that’ll have you travelling and seeing the world more. You can thank us later!

What’s Within an Hour’s Drive?

When we think of travelling, we usually have ideas of boarding a plane, landing in a far-flung country, and then trying to figure out how to get around and interact with the locals. In fact, that’s just one version of travelling. They are many other options out there! And in fact, the easiest version is in your backyard. There are many people out there who have a better understanding of other corners of the world than they do their own country! So take a look: what’s within an hour’s drive? You might just find that there’s a historical monument, scene of natural beauty, or fun adventure to be had…and all you need to experience it is take a leisurely drive.

Visiting Friends and Family

There are good points and bad points to globalisation, but one big plus is that many of us now have close friends and family members living in different corners of the globe. So the next time you’re planning on going away, why not take a trip to visit them? It’s nice to see your loved ones, of course, but the other plus point is that you’ll be able to see the destination through the eyes of a local. How many times have we landed somewhere new, and headed straight to the tourist hotspot because we didn’t know where else to turn? With the family as your guide, you’ll be able to see the “real” version of the place.

Job Relocation

But who says that you need to just visit friends and family members who have headed for pastures new? The increasingly smaller world means there are job opportunities all over the place. Might you be able to land a job for yourself? It can be a big thing to move to another country and set up a new life, but it’s a decision that rarely disappoints. If the pressure of moving gets too much for you, always keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be forever: your home will still be there, even if you leave for five years!

Work/Travel Adventures

Alternatively, if you’re young and just want to explore the world, but also make money, you can look at taking part in a work/travel adventure. There are a lot of countries that offer temporary visas to young people. You could go to the United States, UK, Australia, Canada, and more. You’ll be able to spend between four months and a year living and working. And since you’re only there for a set period of time, you’ll find that you throw yourself into the life as much as possible.

Setting Up a Base

That option tends to dry up once you read your mid-twenties, due to restrictions. But that doesn’t mean that your only option is to move elsewhere permanently or limit yourself to just taking short trips. There is another option, which is to set up a base overseas. In doing so, you’ll be able to explore that area again and again, as well as explore the surrounding region. Find apartments for rent in Singapore, for example, and you’ll be able to explore that country and also all the neighbouring countries, which are just one short, inexpensive flight away. You’ll also be more inclined to travel if you know you have a place that feels like home waiting for you once you land.

Long Weekends

If time is an issue, then you’ll want to make the most of any long weekends you have. If you’re off work on either Friday or Monday – or even better, both – then you have enough time to take a short flight or drive. It doesn’t sound like much time, but give it a try, you’ll be surprised how much you can fit into 72 hours.

Going ‘Anywhere’

If money is an issue, then you might have to adjust your expectations of what’s possible. You’ll find it difficult to travel to New York, for example, if you’re watching the bank account like a hawk. But that doesn’t mean that you have to forever stay at home. Go somewhere else! A good way to find affordable destinations is to use Skyscanner’s ‘Anywhere’ feature. You simply put in your nearest airport, select a date, and then put ‘anywhere’ as the destination. It’ll show you all the flights that are available. The cheapest option might be a place you’ve never even considered before, but why not go?

Small Savings, Big Changes

Though of course, while that’ll get rid of your travel itch, it won’t help you tick destinations off your bucket list. For that to happen, you’ll need to have two things: patience, and self-control. It’s always possible to save money, but you might have to cut some things out of your life. Prepare your own lunch rather than buying it, for example, and you could save enough money to travel when you multiply the daily rate by a year.

Final Thoughts

If travelling is your dream, then don’t wait for the perfect circumstances to present themselves. You’ll be waiting forever! Instead, make things happen. We live in an age where it’s easier than ever before to get out of our comfort zone and explore. If one of the above options doesn’t work for you, then another will!


A Whistlestop Tour Of Kuala Lumpur, Asia’s Perfect Compromise

Kuala Lumpur, referred to affectionately as KL by locals, is one of the most exciting cities in the whole of Southeast Asia. Situated in the heart of Malaysia and serving as the seat of government, it offers Western tourists a level of service and excitement that they will struggle to find elsewhere in the region.

Singapore is undoubtedly the city’s primary tourist rival. But that city has its problems. Yes, it’s rich – extremely rich – but it’s also a controlled environment. The government there keeps tabs on everything, and there are cameras everywhere: it’s hard to relax and let go when you feel like you’re being watched.

The other competition is Bangkok in Thailand. Bangkok is a riot of colour and activity, but it too has its downsides. It’s often difficult to get good service when you go off the beaten track, and it has a reputation for being seedy – not something that the majority of visitors want to put up with.

Kuala Lumpur is unique, therefore, among large southeast Asian cities. It has all of the excitement and pizazz of Bangkok and the wholesomeness of Singapore, without any of the hyper-control or blandness. To look at the city at night is to marvel at its beauty.

What’s so interesting about Kuala Lumpur is that it is a city which grew organically, like so many of the greatest cities around the world. It wasn’t even classified as a city until 1972, despite its immense growth throughout the previous two decades. The people who live there are there by choice, not because of some government programme.

The result of organic growth is a sense of controlled chaos, the type that you get in the world’s other most celebrated cities. Buses share roads with moped overflowing with livestock, small electric vans, and luxury cars. It’s a bustling environment, and has a character all of its own, though few people from the West have a sense of what the place is like. It’s glamorous, distinctly Malaysian, and surprisingly wealthy.

Tea In The Orchard

So what’s there to do in a city like this? Why would you visit the Klang Valley, anyway?

One of the most surprising things about the city is just how far it is prepared to go to cater to Western tourists. You would think that the last thing a British (or any European person for that matter) would want to do in an Asian city is indulge in a spot of afternoon tea. But if you find yourself missing Old Blighty, then the Malaysians have you covered. There are several places you can fill up on crumpets, and cucumber sandwiches all washed down with a big pot of tea.

Tea in the Orchard is a highly recommended venue. Here you’ll find afternoon tea served in the traditional manner under the canopy of a beautiful conservatory. The view isn’t particularly British, of course, but the experience is surprisingly convincing.

The Petronas Towers

Once upon a time, before the completion of Taipei 101 in 2006 in Taiwan, the Petronas towers were the tallest in the world, taller to the top of their spires than the Sears Tower in Chicago.

For over a decade, the towers have pierced the city’s skyline, rising high above the surrounding buildings. Over the years, the city grew up around them, but they remain the largest and most iconic of all Kuala Lumpur’s buildings.

Go To The KL Bird Park

If you’re an animal lover, you’ll love the KL Bird Park. Located near the Perdana Botanical Gardens, the bird park sits in over 20 acres of land, right in the heart of the city. Here you can view more than 3,000 different species of bird. Birds are free-roaming and kept in walk-in aviaries.

Birds in the park are divided into four distinct zones. In zone one, you can experience bird life as it exists in a tropical rainforest. Here you’ll find crowned pigeons, yellow-billed storks and doves. Area two is home to some of the rarest birds in the world, including the Nicobar pigeon. Zones three and four are home to the rhinoceros hornbill and the rare parrots. The entire experience is a feast of colour and sounds from the different birds. Although you’re right in the heart of one of the largest cities in southeast Asia, it certainly doesn’t feel like it.

Take A Trip To The Sunway Lagoon Theme Park

It can get hot in Kuala Lumpur. Seriously hot. What you want, therefore, is somewhere you can go to enjoy the feeling of cool water and have fun at the same time. Sunway Lagoon is the perfect place for you. The theme park, founded in 1997, has now grown into the city’s largest, with dozens of attractions, both wet and dry. The park is located a few miles outside the centre in the suburb of Petaling Jaya and is ideal for families with different tolerances for scary rides. The designers of the park split it into four zones, one with mild rides, another with water rides, an area dedicated to animals, and a zone for only the most seasoned thrill-seekers.

Visit The Central Market

If you want to find out what’s for sale in KL, you must visit the Central Market. Though the name might not inspire much curiosity, the market itself is crammed with local sellers showing off the city’s best wares.

Initially, sellers collected in the market to sell fish, fruits and vegetables. But over time the market evolved and is now separated into numerous sections reflecting different ethnic differences. Although the city is majority Muslim, there are significant Indian, Chinese and Thai populations, all with their own unique food heritage. The selection of food available is enormous, meaning that you can prepare practically any meal you like, should you have facilities available to you.

If you get bored perusing the produce, then there’s always entertainment to be found on the upper floor. Music shows and street performers flock to the area because of the high footfall.

Munch Your Way Through Some Street Food

Street food is only just finding its footing in the West. But in the East, it’s been a part of the culture for decades, especially in the cities. What’s more, because there are so many sellers trying to entice you to buy lunch from them, the quality of the food is exceptional – far better than anything you’ll find available on the streets of Europe or the US.

At the centre of the Kuala Lumpur street food scene Hutong. Located in the Lot 10 Mall, it’s a unique place. Although the vendors are all under one roof, they have all been individually selected to be there because the food they sell is authentic and traditional. It means that visitors get access to some of the best street food in the city without having to trudge around the streets looking for the right vendors.

So what food can you find in Hutong? The cuisine includes omelettes, noodle soups, roasted meats and dumplings.

Take A Trip To The Suria KLCC Under The Petronas Towers

If you get bored just staring at the Petronas Towers, take a trip to the KLCC, a complex of shopping malls near their base. The mall stretches over more than seven floors and contains practically every Asian brand imaginable. If you head down to the basement, you can check out rare souvenirs and find arts and crafts vendors selling unique products.

Visit One Of Malaysia’s Oldest Mosques

Malaysia is a mainly Muslim country. But it wasn’t always this way. As a result, the oldest mosques in the region aren’t particularly old. Take the Jamek Mosque near the confluence of the Klang and Gombak rivers. Built at the start of the twentieth century, the mosque looks like a new build, despite having many of the architectural features of ancient mosques in the Middle East and Turkey.

Visitors can tour the mosque and enjoy the surrounding rivers.

Take A Trip To Chinatown

Whenever a city has a Chinese population, Chinatowns spring up. They’re all over the world in cities like New York, London, and even Kuala Lumpur. Here you can find many of the things that you’d only usually be able to experience in China proper, including delicious Chinese food, temples, and markets.

Spend Some Time At The Money Museum

KL grew up so quickly partly because of the explosive growth of the banking system in the 1960s and 1970s. Today, it’s one of the region’s premier financial centres with a rich history of banking and money. The Numismatic Museum, run by Maybank, is a financial institution in and of itself, showcasing the region’s monetary history.

You can find out about the various financial crises that have hit the city over the years, view money sculptures, and take a look at the history of notes and coins in the region. The museum is relatively cheap to access and provides at least an afternoon of entertainment. Just don’t get too sidetracked by the real money tree.


Visiting Cape Town On Budget

Cape Town, South Africa, is one of the top tourist attractions in the world and promises adventure, incredible food, and natural beauty that is hard to beat. But, because many of its visitors are paying in foreign currencies like dollars and pounds, some of the more popular attractions can be a little expensive for South African tourists that are visiting Cape Town on a budget.

Don’t let tighter purse strings stop you from visiting Cape Town, though; because there are loads of freed or cheaper things to see and do that still spell out the magic of the Mother City.
Free or Cheap Attractions for Those Visiting Cape Town on a Budget:

Walking Tours

Take your own self-guided walking tour of the city centre and include must-sees like Greenmarket Square, Long Street and all its quirky shops and boutiques, The Company Gardens, Bo-Kaap, the Castle of Good Hope (impressive from the outside, but there’s a reasonable entrance fee of R50 for adults and R25 for children and pensioners), and the District Six Museum in Buitenkant Street (which has an entrance fee of only R40 for adults).

Free guided walking tours are on offer from the Motherland Coffee Company at St George’s Mall. These leave every day at 11h00, 14h00, and 16h20. To book, visit their website – freewalkingtourscapetown.co.za.

The V & A Waterfront

As one of the most popular malls on the African continent, this attraction may not seem to be very budget-friendly. But, there’s so much to see apart from the actual shops and restaurants. Browse the African arts and crafts at the market; watch the yachts, tugs and even cruise liners come into the working harbour; admire the sculptures at Nobel Square or the African Trading Port; and watch as tourists from all over the world discover Cape Town against views of the majestic Table Mountain in the not-too-distant background.

Free Museum Tours

Although most of the museums in Cape Town ask a nominal fee for entering, there are some that are free to enter or that work on a donation basis. These museums include the incredible Cape Town Holocaust Centre (City Bowl), the Cape Medical Museum (Green Point), the Centre for the Book at the National Library (City Bowl), and Rhodes Cottage Museum (Muizenberg).

Zeitz MOCAA

Normally, the entrance fee to this absolutely breath-taking contemporary African art gallery is R190. But, on Wednesdays, visitors that have any form of African identification (like an ID book or driver’s licence) can experience the magic for free. Situated at De Waterkant, just a few minutes’ walk from the main mall of the V & A, this is a must for locals and visitors to Cape Town.

The Company’s Garden

Right in the heart of the City Bowl, there is a lush green oasis known as the Company’s Garden. Feed the squirrels, visit the birds in the aviary, eat under the trees at the restaurant or from your own picnic basket, and explore the fountains, ponds, and the bamboo forest that is more than 80 years old.

Green Point Park

Families, couples, or those needing a time-out will love relaxing at this gorgeous urban park, which is flanked by Signal Hill and the Atlantic Ocean. There are several play areas for little ones, as well as an outdoor labyrinth, walking and cycling paths, ponds with fish and birds, picnic areas and water features. An added bonus is that it is within walking distance from the hubs of Green Point and Sea Point.


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