5ways to travel comfortably and not break your bank account !

Monday, July 09, 2007

I think many of you have realized I have a passion for finding bargain and that include travel too. By the way, this is not a pay post, I am sharing with you my many years of traveling experiences.

I think every family should at least take a week off for a short vacation every now and then. It is very beneficial to take a break from your daily routine. It will refresh you physically and mentally. I am very sure the kids will enjoy the times with papa and mama and that will leave them with a lasting sweet memory !

Many people think it takes a lot of money to go somewhere for holiday. I personally do not think so unless you want to go to some luxury holiday destinations which your boss goes to or your next door neighbor or you insist on staying in porch hotels etc. And on other hand, there are many people who say they are too busy to go anywhere but they have all the times in the world to play golf every Saturday and Sunday without their families ?

I think it takes conviction, priority to decide if you want to go holiday with your family. The $1million question of who is more important ? your family or golf balls ? When you have the answer, the rest is not an issue at all.

These are 5ways on how you can travel comfortably and not break your bank account.

1. Budget. Find out what are the 5 things that you buy which are not 'needy' items. Use that money for your family vacation's budget.

2. Time. Find out the time of the year where everyone in the family are more likely to go for a week vacation together. Make that time, your family vacation schedule.

3. Transport.Find out the choice of transport, land, air or sea. It is always cheaper to book ahead with airlines or cruise. If you are going by car, make sure you get your family mechanics to check out your car before you take off, is your oil-change about due ? AC/heater in tact ?

A check list of what you need to take on the trip.
A check list of house / pet sitter plan.

4. Room. Then comes the accommodation issue. If you are like us, we love to stay in motels which are appropriate to our budget but they need to be clean and in safe location We love Motel 6. It is by far one of the cheapest franchise motel we have found. Location, location, location. Don't compromise your family safety with cheap price.

5. Food. When I first came to the US, I was very conscious of the exchange rate for I was not working then. Everything seems so expensive when I convert back to Malaysian Ringgit. I used to bring my own rice cooker to the motel we stayed. I used to bring can food such as cane tuna or cane chicken. We would normally ate out for lunch and had dinner in the motel with rice and chicken. But now that I am making money with my gold investment and also work here in the US, I don't do that anymore :). We dinned outside for all our meals.

Some cheaper motel chains like Motel 6 does not provide refrigerator or microwave. Some motels do, for eg. Day Inn provide refrigerator and microwave oven. Some of these motel offer continental breakfast, some don't.

If you travel by car, you can always plan some simple meals to eat on the first day on rest stops. Stock some packet / bottle drinks , snack bars , fruits for the family. It will help you to cut down a lot of unnecessary unplanned expenses.

When my son was younger, we used to request baby crib and most motel provide the facility, but it would be nice if you request them upon the time of booking.

Some hotel offer cheaper rate on internet booking and some offer discount for AAA members.

We are not extremely rich but we, as a family have traveled a lot together during the last 7years of marriage. My son has traveled with us as young as 8 months old. We believe family members traveling together have a stronger family bond, my 2cents observation only.

We stayed at Motel6 in Chattanooga, TN and Asheville, NC.

There was a waffle house (a fast food chain kind of restaurant) next to the Motel6 we stayed in Chattanooga, TN. (which is quite common for most motel, I think it is a very good business idea, synergy !). In fact, I have never eaten in waffle house in my town. I always thought it only offers waffle but I was wrong. It has quite a good breakfast menu. These were what we got for our breakfast, 2 set of $5.99 meal :)-

Some of the motels that we have stayed over the years are Motel6, DayInn, Knight Inn, BestWestern etc. (these are some of the more common franchises ones and there are a lot out there; and there are also a lot of local motels that are not franchise). I personally prefer franchise motel because they tend to have the same kind of standard all over every state you go. However, in some tourist spots, some local bed and breakfast are good, for eg. the Victoria House bed and breakfast we stayed for our honey moon at St.Augustine was excellent.

No matter where you go, it is best that you book a week before your trip because you are able to get better rate than walk in especially in busy season such as summer or spring break. These are one of the booklets you often see on rest stops' booklet stand or tourist information center : roomsaver - http://www.roomsaver.com/. You might like to check the site.

A lot of the rest stop's tourist information centers offer good information. It is alway worth while to stop by and pick up some brochures; and you might also want to ask if there are any discounts that you are not aware of. I remembered we picked up a good bargain last summer (06) while we were at Louisiana tourist information center. In fact, we did not intend to stop over at New Orleans but the lady in the information counter gave us a bargain which we could not turn down. After Katrina Hurricane, a lot of hotels were giving big discount to attract tourist. There was this hotel @ French Quarter that was normally in the price range of $350-400's was offering $39. and on top of that if offered free valet parking (if you know French Quarter in New Orleans well enough, you know it is very expensive and difficult to park because all the streets were very narrow and hardly any parking room for cars, so most hotels have their underground). We thought wow, that was incredible and we graped the opportunity right away. Even Motel6 was more expensive than that and there was no way Motel6 can be found in French Quarter. And it is not a franchise motel but a French style hotel : Place d'Armes @ French squares. I mean even the name you smell French.

Look at how Frenchy the room's furniture and decor is ?

And of course not forgetting the Frenchy court yard :)-

And of course the French style breakfast ? croissant anyone ?


kuanhoong said...

Hehe, sounds like a sponsored post.

Good to know you are travelling always. I love travelling too.

kayatan said...

Yes, it sound like sponsored post but it is not !!!!!
I am glad u love travel. If u happen to visit US, let me know. We can give u lots of tips here and there.