Frugal Travel Tips For London, England

London is one of the priciest cities in the world so it is crucial that the frugal tourist take advantages of bargains. And there are bargains.

The Oyster Card

In my opinion, one of the best deals for the frugal London tourist is the Oyster Card. This transit card (can be obtained at underground stops including the one at Heathrow) comes with a 3 £ deposit (this deposit is refunded when you return the card) and can be charged with the amount of money needed (any excess will also be refunded).

The beauty of this card is that it calculates the best transit deal for you. It caps out at the day pass rate. That means that you can spend the day on one of those very London red double decker bus, exploring neighborhoods, hopping on and off at stops like the Marble Arch, or Harrods (to window shop) or Portobello Market (for antiques).

Changing Of The Guards

Of course, while in London, a tourist should go see the Queen and the rest of the Royal Family. The closest the average tourist can get is peaking in at the gates of Buckingham Palace and when better to do that than during the changing of the guard.

Every day at 11:30 am, the guards are changed at Buckingham Palace in a rich and colorful ceremony. This free event is usually packed so get there early (activities start at 10:45) or you’ll only be seeing the changing of the Bearskins (those distinctive hats the guards wear).

Charity Shops

British suits are known world wide for style and quality. However, brand new, they are a bit pricey for the frugal traveler. An option is the numerous charity (consignment) shops sprinkled throughout the city.

The quality of the charity shops depend on the quality of the neighborhood. Some shops are filled with designer, haute couture fashion, even outfits worn by Hollywood stars.

The National Gallery And Trafalgar Square

The National Gallery in the famous Trafalgar Square hosts over 2,300 paintings, one of the greatest collections of Western European painting in the world, and its free. Absolutely free (donations are welcomed). Perfect for one of the rainy days London is known for.

London, England has some bargains for the frugal traveler. The Oyster Card provides frugal transportation. The Changing Of The Guard and The National Gallery supplies free entertainment. Frugal shopping can be done at Charity Shops.

6 Tips & Essentials for Senior Travelers

As we approach our older years, we should not be holding ourselves back from making new memories. If anything, we should just be making up for lost time, but not without caution of course. To avoid little inconveniences that might hinder your smooth-sailing travels, take note of these six tips:

1. Always make a checklist when packing!

This is especially important because it’s easy to forget the smaller items when packing up suitcases (we have all forgotten toothpaste or a toothbrush at some point). Make sure to begin this checklist at least a few days prior to your departure. This way, after making a list the first time, there’s more time to think of more items to write down later. Throughout the day, notice the items used everyday with extra care to avoid forgetting anything.

2. Pack Light.

Try to bring fewer items to lessen the burden of carrying your items. Be sure to check the weather prior to packing and pick out clothing accordingly. Bring clothing that can be mixed together to maximize efficiency. Be sure to wear your heaviest shoes on the plane to lessen the burden in your bag.

3. Make sure to use trusted websites for travel research.

Take precaution when researching for travel locations. Many websites might be providing false deals with hotels and restaurants to grab your attention. Use trusted websites that you are already familiar with. Some popular examples: Tripadvisor, Expedia and Booking.

4. Get travel insurance.

At an older age, travelers are much more prone to injury or sickness. It is especially important for those who carry medication with them. It’s not uncommon for travelers’ suitcases to be lost in transit, and essential medications could be lost in the process. To avoid running out of medication or face an unexpected injury, paying the extra insurance fee is a small price for the reassurance in return.

5. Consult a physician before leaving for travel.

Travelling to new areas expose our bodies to unfamiliar bacteria and illnesses. Make sure to be aware of all destination-specific risks from your physician and take proper preventative measures. Additionally, be aware of traveller illnesses including altitude sickness and traveler’s diarrhea.

6. Always check out senior discounts.

Upon inquiry, many tourist attractions offer senior discounts. For example, many cruises offer additional cruise discounts for members over 55. Prior to booking, if you know any senior travel website, be sure to do some research on the website for a full listing of the offered discounts.

Safe Travel Tips For Young People

Traveling abroad, student travel, safety and road trip planning

It is no secret that when young people vacation with their friends, alcohol consumption is high and partying is the primary past-time. However, with the unfortunate tragedy of Natalee Holloway’s death while on vacation in Aruba, it is important for young people to keep safe while traveling. Irresponsible drinking is not the only issue involved with unsafe travel; there are several safe travel tips that need to be kept in mind while vacationing to ensure your safety.

Whether you’re traveling abroad to Paris, spending spring break on South Padre Island, Texas or taking a summer road trip to Las Vegas, Nevada, it is important to keep safe and aware of your surroundings at all times. By following just a few, small travel tips and keeping a few things in mind, you can ensure that your vacation goes smoothly and that you have a great time.

Basic safe travel tips:

Knowing your limits

Hangovers are not the only thing you need to worry about when partying; binge drinking can lead to black-outs, alcohol poisoning and even worse – death. Most importantly though, alcohol clouds your judgment severely and makes bad situations and decisions look alright. Try to monitor your alcohol consumption and the alcohol consumption of those traveling with you. This leads me to the second rule: the Buddy System.

Buddy System

Remember those afternoon buddy checks at the local swimming pool? The buddy system, it is tried and true and it works. Wherever you go with your friends whether it’s the bar, a club, the beach or a party, keep tabs on each other. Try to stay together at all times. Realistically this doesn’t always happen and people get separated. If you do get separated or you decide to go your own ways, which is not recommended, try to check in with each other at least every hour or so. Also, plan ahead a meeting place if you cannot locate each other. It is important to remain with your friends or close by them at all times. For guys, if you find yourself in a fight, you have your buddies there to help you out. For gals, if you’re receiving unwanted sexual advances, your ladies are there to help you out of an unwanted situation.

Don’t take candy from strangers

When young people vacation, they are out mingling, partying and meeting new people. You need be careful of strangers though and shouldn’t completely trust anyone. Be careful of what they’re offering you; there are a lot of scam artists out there. For women, if a man buys you a drink you need to be aware of the fact that he may try to drug you or if he buys you an excessive amount of drinks that he may be trying to get you drunk and take advantage of you. Not to sound like EVERYBODY is out to get you, but you need to be aware of the possibilities and be wary of trusting people you have just met. Most importantly though, never leave alone with someone you have just met and never give them the number to your hotel room.

Think of the consequences

To take risk of sounding like my mother, you really do need to think of the consequences of your actions. They need to be kept in mind, especially when traveling abroad.

Traveling abroad and student travel tipsKnow the rules, customs and laws

Each year more than 2,500 Americans are arrested abroad and more than one-third of those arrests are drug related and student travel related. Simply because it’s legal to smoke marijuana in Amsterdam, doesn’t mean that it is legal to take it with you to Germany. When you’re traveling abroad it is vital to be completely aware of the rules, custom and laws that are associated with the countries you are visiting. Young people and students are commonly arrested for being intoxicated in public areas and for drunk driving; this is common for not only people traveling abroad, but also for student vacationing in the United States. If you do get in trouble while traveling abroad, contact the local US embassy.

Dress to unimpress

Theft is another common vacation mishap. Leave the bling at home, don’t carry excessive amounts of cash and don’t bring with you unneeded credit cards. Dressing nicely, wearing a Rolex and flashing your cash screams steal from me. In case items do get stolen, you should make two copies of your passport identification page before leaving. This will help expediate the time spent getting your passport replaced if it is lost or stolen. Leave one copy in your hotel room and the other back home with someone easily contacted.

Road Trip Tips:Plan ahead

Before embarking on your trip, you need to plan ahead, and come up with a travel itinerary that should include what roads you will be traveling on and where you will be staying. The travel itinerary should be given to someone who is not going with on the trip so they can know where you are at all times in case something does go wrong.

Check it out

It only seems logical to have your car tuned up before heading out on the road; however, this is a step that is often overlooked. Before leaving on a road trip take your car to a local car shop and have them check it over, change the oil and have the tire pressure checked. It is also recommended that you have access to AAA or some other emergency roadside service in case something does go wrong.

And last don’t pick up hitchhikers. It is not 1960 anymore and it is not safe.Vacations are supposed to be fun and by keeping these few safe travel tips in mind, you can make sure that they remain that way.

Family Vacations Tips – 6 Ways to Bring the Costs Down During Your Family Getaway

Whether you’re headed to the Bahamas, Hawaiian Islands, Alaska, or a big city with the kids, there are always ways you can save money here and there on family vacations.

Here are a few budget tips to help you keep the costs of family travel down:

1. Consider staying at a hostel with access to a kitchen. You might not get your own private kitchen, but do you really need one? Hostels can be very cheap and many are just as clean as the average hotel. Even if you book two private bedrooms with multiple beds at a hostel, you will still pay less than what you would for a hotel suite.

2. Keep an eye out for free admission days. Most museums, national parks, gardens, zoos, etc… have a free admissions day at least once a month for one reason or another. All US National Parks have free admissions on Veterans Day, MLK Jr. Day, National Public Lands Day, and the first day of National Park Week. It’s always a good idea to plan family vacations around these holidays.

3. Save on water, milk and juice by bringing reusable bottles with you everywhere you go. Most public places including airports and hotels have water fountains, so you can simply refill bottles with free, clean water.

4. If you need to rent a car, keep in mind that family-sized vehicles tend to cost more than an economy car. Look for discounts and promo codes wherever possible. Compare the rates of multiple rental companies at once. Don’t just pick the lowest priced one, take the time to read the terms and conditions regarding gas options, GPS, whether or not child seats are free or have additional costs, etc.

5. If you don’t want to do the hostel thing during family vacations, then stay at a hotel or resort where kids eat for free. In case there isn’t much of a meal selection at the hotel or resort, at least stay at a place near restaurants where kids get to eat for free. Also, most hotels these days have mini-fridges in each room. Go get a few groceries your first day there and make use of the fridge.

6. Travel discount sites aren’t just for saving on airfare, cruises and rooms. You can often find promo codes and coupons that you can use for entertainment, tours, and other “things to do”.

In Conclusion

Keep these tips in mind when going on family vacations. Every little bit you can save will really add up after a few days.

Online coupon codes and promotional offers are useful for booking family vacations. You can use the site’s tools to not only find discount travel prices, but to help you plan your itinerary as well. There are a lot of helpful resources that are easy to use.