Your Thrifty Travel Tips: 2009
In his Thrifty Fifty travel tips, Rick shares his best suggestions for saving money while traveling in Europe: from staying in B&Bs to assembling gourmet picnics. Do you have tips to add to the list? How do you stretch your euros, pounds, kroner, etc.?
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Camp grounds and laundry
We travel for three-four weeks at a time with a week here and a week there throughout central Europe. We've learned to use the laundry facilities at campgrounds. You don't have to stay at the campgrounds in order to buy a washer chip, and campgrounds are clean, safe, and typically someplace nice enough to warrant a few hours' rest while the machines do their work.
Reston, VA USA Fri 10/23/2009
We learned the hard way - any coins you have left SPEND before you leave. We had Swiss coins we thought we could change back but found no coins will be taken in for exchange. Would have been better to spend...or keep till you return again.
Concord, NH USA Tue 09/15/2009
Easy Duty Free In Spain
I recently spent three weeks in Spain. About a week in, I discovered El Corte Ingles, a large franchise department store all over Spain. They have groceries, toiletries, clothing -- high and low end -- luggage, souvenirs , soccer jerseys...they have just about everything you can imagine spread across six or seven stories with the basement usually being a grocery store. Anyways, if you do most your shopping here, save all your receipts and at the of your time in Spain you can go to the store's "servico al cliente (customer service)" and they will give you all you need for your duty free return. They count all the receipts from all Corte Ingles from any city. You don't even have to speak Spanish, just take your receipts and passport and they'll know what you want. Most gift shops have a minimum purchase policy before they'll do the duty free paperwork. At El Corte Ingles, your value accumulates. Anyways, I loved El Corte Ingles in Spain. They don't take siestas either.
Laredo, Texas USA Fri 08/28/2009
Water at Restaurants
This is a very mundane topic, but it is something I wish I knew before I went on my trip to Germany last month. We are a family of 4. At every meal, we would each have one bottle of water (without "gas" ie without carbonation). Each bottle was approx 2 Euros, x 4 people = 8 euros per meal x 2 meals = 16 Euros per day (approx $24/day on water). Spending $24 a day on water, particularly on 1 measly bottle per person per meal, was not ideal. We FINALLY figured out we could order what is basically tap water, at no charge. I've been told not every place will do so, but upon learning of the option, we had no trouble. Needless to say, in Europe you should have no trouble with traveler's disease from drinking tap water.
In France you can ask for a carafe of water, which is basically tap water and free, "Je voudrais un carafe de l'eau."
If you don't ask in either country, you will be charged for your water. If you are on a budget, skip the bottled water and ask for the tap water.
San Diego, CA USA Sun 05/10/2009
Pleasant dreams for less than $10.00
I spent an amazing month in Germany camping for less than 10 Euro's a night. The campgrounds are safe and have very clean bathrooms and cooking area's. In addition, most campgrounds have laundry facilities. I had an awesome time meeting other european camper's and blending with the locals. Happy travel's!
La Crescent, MN USA Sun 02/15/2009
Hitch a ride in Europe
Buying a train ticket from Vienna to Salzburg in Austria costs 44€. Imagine you can do the trip for about 9€ to 15€! I´ve done an 8 month Europe trip using hitch a ride websites most of the time. Carpooling.com and mitfahrzentrale.de are two of the biggest, connecting drivers and passengers all over Europe. Signing up and sending emails works great when your schedule isn´t too tight. The drivers are registered and it all worked great for me. I saved 70% on transportation.
Paris at the moment, RSA Mon 02/09/2009