Chapter 2 : The Biggest Secret
of Cheap Travel
The secret? Be an opportunistic traveler.
Can you drink rum at a dollar per bottle, instead of your
favorite beer? Can you eat chicken instead of steak? How about
visiting the free sights first, and dancing in the street festival
instead of the disco?
Inexpensive travel can be accomplished in two basic ways.
First, get the best deals on the specific things you want. This
approach is very limited though. For example, find the lowest
price on the best hotel in Honolulu at the height of the season,
and you'll save money, but still have a very expensive room.
Trying to get exactly what you want - or think you want - is
an expensive proposition, in travel and in life.
The other approach to inexpensive travel is to be an opportunist.
This may be difficult for some, and entirely unacceptable to
others. Nonetheless, the travelers who get to travel the most,
learn the most and do the most, are the opportunists.
When I first went to Ecuador, I went because it was cheap. If
it wasn't, I would have had a great time anyhow - somewhere else.
A month cost $1045, including airfare, a $130 fee for a guide
to take me to the top of glacier-covered Mount Chimborazo, and
everything else (This was in 2001).
I never felt deprived or bored. I had a great time, eating
wherever it was cheap and clean, doing inexpensive and interesting
things, and traveling across the country to climb Chimborazo.
I also met and fell in love with my wife Ana.
As an opportunistic traveler you'll have more fun, and almost
everything you want - eventually. Just stop trying to get exactly
what you want exactly when you want it. If the guide for Chimborazo
hadn't dropped his price from $200 to $130, I would have spent
$2 for a bus and gone hiking on El Altar, another great Andean
mountain. It would have left me with enough money for several
other minor adventures.
More Examples of Opportunistic Travel
- Take a road trip with several friends to keep the cost down.
- Watch for travel specials in the newspaper.
- Set aside the money for a trip, pick eight places you would
like to go, and then start watching for a deal to one of them.
Check airfare to each destination weekly until you find a great
deal. If you have flexibility, try different dates.
- Combine a vacation with required travel for your job or
- Look into being a car-delivery driver as a way to travel
- Plan vacations to hot destinations for just before or after
the "season." This can cut the cost of a cruise, in
half, for example.
I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's
sake. The great affair is to move. - Robert Louis Stevenson
Continue with Chapter 3 here: Cheap
Note: This chapter on cheap travel was part of the
e-book Travel Secrets. Now all chapters are free on this
site. See the homepage (the link is at the bottom of this page)
for a list of all chapters and links to them.