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Travel Secret Number One

My top travel secret recommendation? It isn't really a secret at all, but it takes some time for some of us to learn and apply it. It is to slow down and enjoy the trip more. Going slow and spending more time in each location not only is a secret of cheap travel, but in our experience, it means more fun as well.

Slow Down for Cheaper Travel

Having just returned yesterday (August 13, 2007) from a ten-day road trip, I can report that going slower saves money. But it isn't just about driving less or flying fewer places. Of course when we started driving 200 miles in a day instead of 600 we saved on gas. But we also found that with time on our hands, we could do a better job shopping for a place to stay or eat.

On a road trip, the key is to make the big mile days through the boring stretches, and then when you come to an interesting place, find nice, affordable lodging and stick around a while. For example, once, while driving around the country camping in our van, we discovered hot springs in a wild part of Arizona, with picnic tables and bathrooms and desert hills to explore. At $3 per night, it was worth staying a while.

We stayed for eight days, enjoying the hot pools even during an unusual snowy day. We also hunted for antiquities in the surrounding desert, but more on that in a moment. We drove into the nearest town once for groceries and water. The entire eight days might have cost us $80.

Another time we stumbled into a great mountain town where we wanted to stay a while. Because we were in town early, instead of driving until evening and scrambling to find a hotel, we had time to check things out. Someone told us about a little-known hotel above a pub. The hotel rooms in town were generally $60 per night and up, but we got a room above the pub for $140 - for an entire week. It even had a stove and refrigerator, meaning we could cook our own meals if we wanted to save more.

Slow Down For Better Travel Experiences

Perhaps more important than the fact that slowing down means cheap travel is the fact that when you go slower you discover things you might have missed. At the hot springs mentioned above, for example, we were there long enough to befriend a Mayan Indian who brought us to an old Pony Express station in the desert. He also showed us where we could find old arrowheads (and we found a few). On a hill in the middle of the desert, he showed us perfectly round holes that had been drilled into the rocks hundreds of years earlier, used for water storage. We followed him to an area where ancient pottery littered the desert, and where gemstones could be found.

These are things we wouldn't have found on our own. These experiences were also only possible because we weren't rushing from one park to another, trying to fit as many "sights" into a trip as possible. Travel is more fun and more relaxing at a slower pace.

In that mountain town where we stayed a week for $140, we discovered area waterfalls and secret mountain lakes that only the locals knew about. We used the town as our base and made trips into the surrounding area. Taking the time to talk to people lead us to a well-preserved ghost town that wasn't on our map. Streets full of buildings and foundations were still there, but no tourists.

Travel secret number one: slow down and enjoy the trip.

Other Pages:

United States Travel
Cheap Family Vacations
Cheap Solo Vacations
10 Cheap Vacations

Everything About Travel | Travel Secret Number One