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Archive for September, 2008

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SUV - do you really need one?

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008
by Sck

If you’re like most people, the purchase or lease of a vehicle will be the second largest financial decision you’ll ever have to make. Just think, most of us make that decision every 3-6 years. The choices and options can seem overwhelming. While the decision is as personal as… well, the person, sport utility vehicles (SUVs) have become a very popular choice for many.

suv-pros-and-cons

Need or Novelty?

Do you need an SUV, or is it just a novelty? I once told a salesman I didn’t need “Feature X”, or “Feature Y”. With a large smile the salesman said, “That’s OK, because those features aren’t for the ‘needy’ they’re for people like you who wantthem.” Still, those are the exact features I always point out to friends first. Of course I didn’t need them, but I did want them. The question was: how much was I willing to pay for them?

The Best Way to Travel on a Budget

Monday, September 29th, 2008
by Sck

Author: Stuart S. Travel

Well you won’t be traveling to Monaco and staying at a five star resort on a budget, will you? Maybe so!  Mostly, traveling on a budget means finding the cheapest price for the experience you want.

When traveling on a budget it’s best to keep in mind the following points:
1. Travel in the off-peak seasons. You can save up to as much as fifty per cent off air flights and accommodation costs if you plan to travel in low season times.
2. Stay away from popular tourist spots (unless they are on your ‘must-see’ list). If you can go off the beaten track with your destinations, things can be cheaper to see and do and your cultural experiences will be richer.
3. Try camping. Not only is it the cheapest form of accommodation it’s a great way to get up close and personal to nature. It’s the best way to see National Parks and Heritage listed areas.
4. Look for special travel offers (or packages). But make sure you check everything that they include - and don’t include.
5. Invest in a travel pass where you are able. Most developed countries have a rail or bus transport system where you can obtain day, week or monthly passes that will get you around cheaply.
6. Get a work permit if you aim to gain employment while traveling overseas. Working can help subsidize places that aren’t so cheap, such as Europe and Australia.
7. Look for good exchange rates on the dollar. This may help you decide which country to travel to.
8. Think about shortening your visit to destinations that are expensive and increasing your length of stay in cheaper places.
9. Where possible use your credit card. The exchange rate is better.
10. When staying in a hotel, avoid paying for ‘extras’. Don’t touch anything from the honor bar. Don’t watch the in-house movies and don’t use the hotel phone. And try not to use room service too much!

On the world scene there are some great places to travel on a budget for under thirty dollars a day. In Asia you can try India, Laos, China, Cambodia, Mongolia, Pakistan, Thailand, Sumatra and Burma. In Central and South America you can visit El Salvador, Bolivia and Ecuador. If you are after a budget experience in the Pacific, try Fiji or New Zealand. Over in Africa there are some great budget destinations such as Kenya, Egypt, Morocco, Malawi, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Ghana. Don’t forget the Middle East where places like Iran, Syria and Turkey provide excellent value for money and wonderful experiences for the budget traveler.

There is no ‘best place’ to travel on a budget. Just be prepared to look around, avoid the pitfalls of unwanted costs in package deals or hotel bookings. If you want to travel and your budget doesn’t meet your expectations, be flexible and see if there is somewhere cheaper you might like to experience. You could be pleasantly surprised with your stay in India or Iran, when you thought you wanted to go to Tahiti.

This article was provided by:
Stuart S. Travel / Your All World Travel Guru
http://www.stuartstravel.com

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/travel-tips-articles/the-best-way-to-travel-on-a-budget-534054.html

About the Author:
Stuart S. Travel / Your All World Online Travel Guru:
Sherry Hardesty has been a professional flight attendant for over 15 years. Her experience is extensive and she provides professional travel consulting and booking services at  http://www.stuartstravel.com

What is a Realistic Budget for Traveling?

Monday, September 29th, 2008
by Sck

Author: Stuart S. Travel

One you can afford – seriously.

Look at how much you earn. What can you put aside for a trip? What are you prepared to sacrifice to make your trip a reality? Maybe you’ve been saving for a while and have a few thousand dollars in the bank. You do? Great. Well that’s your realistic budget. If you want to fly to Europe tomorrow and you only have ten dollars in the bank then you are not being realistic. But it might be enough to get you in to the local museum for a few hours escape.

When you are setting your budget, be practical. Everyone has different needs for their travel experience and if your travel plans include overseas flights, you will need to budget accordingly. Sure you can find great deals and get there cheaper than you might have expected, but make sure you have enough money in your budget to not only get you there but to travel around, find a place to sleep, oh and have enough money to be able to eat!

So how do you go about setting a budget? Following these steps might help:
1. Draw up a table with two columns.
2. Column A is for Expense Items. Column B is for Approximate Costs.
3. In column A write down all the things you can think of that will cost you money while traveling. These might include: air flights, car hire/fuel allowance, travel passes, sight-seeing tours, accommodation, food, insurance, immunizations, and souvenirs.
4. In column B write an estimate of how much you think these things will cost while on your trip. You can research your travel costs quite easily on the Internet. Food allowance might be a bit more difficult. If you are traveling alone, as a couple or in a family you will need to budget food costs accordingly.
5. Now add up the costs. This will give you an estimate of how much your trip will cost. Can you afford it? Yes – then this is a realistic budget for you. If not, then you may have to rethink your destination and the type of travel experience you want.

Remember that this table will only be an estimate of your travel costs. You must also budget for incidentals and prepare yourself for things to not go to plan. For example, have you got enough money in your budget to buy new clothes if your luggage goes missing? A realistic travel budget will have extra built in to it to cover emergencies. Setting yourself a budget of about sixty-five dollars a day, if traveling alone, is a reasonable amount. If you are traveling as a family or in a group, this number will be vastly different.

Also consider if you will be traveling and working. If this is the case, then you may not need as much to start with, just enough money to get you to your destination and a place to live while you look for work. (And enough money to buy you food until you begin earning a wage.)

Start making your travel plans with your budget in mind. Don’t exceed your budget, always keep a little in reserve so you can buy that fantastic Italian leather handbag or go jet-skiing in Hawaii if the desire takes you!

This article is brought to you by: Stuart S. Travel – Your Online Travel Guru
www.stuartstravel.com

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/travel-tips-articles/what-is-a-realistic-budget-for-traveling-563164.html

About the Author:
Stuart S. Travel / Your All World Online Travel Guru:
Sherry Hardesty has been a professional flight attendant for over 15 years. Her experience is extensive and she provides professional travel consulting and booking services at  http://www.stuartstravel.com

Where to Travel With Kids on a Budget

Monday, September 29th, 2008
by Sck

Author: Stuart S. Travel

Of course you can travel just about anywhere with your kids on a budget. Like any travel experience on a budget you need to research and plan well to make the most of your travel dollar. Many places, however, are family or kid friendly and will throw in added extras for the children. So whether you intend traveling at home or abroad, look for places that will cater to your family’s needs.

RV trips are a great way to travel on a budget. In fact, traveling with a car is almost essential for families. It is usually cheaper than buying rail passes or catching taxis everywhere. But more importantly, it gives you that ‘door to door’ freedom that is necessary when traveling with kids.

If you are traveling overseas, have you considered staying in a hostel with your family? This is a much cheaper option than staying in hotels and many hostels are family friendly and have no age limit (except in Bavaria where you can’t be older than twenty six). You can request a room with enough bunk beds to accommodate your family and you can cook your meals in the communal kitchen. Huge savings to be made!

In the USA there are many places to travel with your family on a budget. Consider these options:
1. Camping. The cheapest option around for any travel adventure. Many campsites have activities for kids and if you don’t like the idea of staying in a tent, many places have cabins to rent that are still cheaper than a hotel room. Camping gets you up close and personal with nature and gets the kids outside and running around.
2. What about spending some time at a Working Farm or Dude Ranch? Look around for reasonably priced holidays at these destinations and you will find plenty of activities and atmosphere for kids and adults alike.
3. Head to Disneyland in off peak season for big savings.
4. The same can be said for traveling to Hawaii. Check the packages available in low season and see how affordable it is.
5. You’ll also find some excellent deals in traveling to Mexico. Go for all-inclusive resorts, especially in the low season.

What about if you want to travel overseas? Where are some good places to take the kids on a budget?
* Although Australia is a long way away and can be a bit pricey to get there, it is a very child-friendly place with lots of cost saving adventures to be had for the kids. Australian off peak is different from North America so do some research.
* Europe can be done on a budget with kids. Pick your destinations with the kids in mind. Get them involved in your itinerary. Stay in hostels and travel by car. You’ll be amazed at how much you save and how much you see.
* Some island resorts are very child friendly. In Fiji there are resorts where children under twelve stay and eat for free. Do your research!
* How about a family cruise? Cruises are great because they are all-inclusive, cater for families and you get to explore lots of places. There are some good family package deals to be found with most cruise companies.

So get planning and get packed. Plan your family vacation and check out the deals available. Going off peak is the best way to save money. If you are going to take the kids out of school buy them a journal so they can record their experiences. It’s amazing how much they’ll learn by traveling with their family.

This article is brought to you by: Stuart S. Travel – Your Online Travel Guru
www.stuartstravel.com

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/travel-tips-articles/where-to-travel-with-kids-on-a-budget-563454.html

About the Author:
Stuart S. Travel / Your All World Online Travel Guru:
Sherry Hardesty has been a professional flight attendant for over 15 years. Her experience is extensive and she provides professional travel consulting and booking services at  http://www.stuartstravel.com

Student Discounts and Other Travel Deals

Monday, September 29th, 2008
by Sck

Author: Stuart S. Travel

Being a poor student doesn’t mean you have to put your travel plans on hold. In fact traveling as a student, whether it be at home or abroad, can be done on a small budget as there are many deals there for you to take advantage of.

Use the fact that you are a student to get discounts. Before you go traveling get yourself a student discount card and use it. The ISIC (International Student Identity Card) will get you concessions on tourist attractions, food and shopping among other things. This card is for any student regardless of age or for youth aged between twelve and twenty six and can be used in over one hundred countries. This student discount card comes complete with an international phone card and a voice mail account. This ensures you can be contacted while traveling.

There is also the International Student Exchange Card (ISEC) which gives travel discounts across the globe. Discounts can be as much as fifty percent on such things as museums, movies, transport options and accommodation. Not only will this card save you a lot of money while traveling, it also provides other benefits including assistance with medical expenses and evacuation fees if caught in a disaster. You also have access to toll free emergency phone service world wide should you need help in urgent situations. The ISE card will also provide you with airline bankruptcy protection. If you book your flights through an ISE agency, you will be covered if your carrier goes bust.

And finally there is the International Youth Travel Card (IYTC) which you can get if you are under twenty six years of age. There is a small charge associated with this card, but the benefits outweigh this cost when traveling. This card will get you discounts in about fifty countries including airfare discounts, accommodation reductions and entry in to tourist attractions at a reduced rate.

Other student cards that offer discounts are transport cards such as the STA Travel card or Young Persons railcards issued in the United Kingdom. But the offers don’t stop there for students. In western countries it is wise to ask if there are student discounts in any place where you are about to part with your money. Discounts can be given by restaurants, retailers (on just about anything) and hostels. Not all places advertise that they give discounts so if you don’t ask, you’ll never find out what savings you can make.

Students aren’t the only lucky ones to get fabulous travel discounts. Seniors also have deals available to them while traveling as do group travelers and families. Investigate what discounts apply to you and ensure you take advantage of them.

This article is brought to you by: Stuart S. Travel – Your Online Travel Guru
www.stuartstravel.com

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/travel-tips-articles/student-discounts-and-other-travel-deals-564537.html

About the Author:
Stuart S. Travel / Your All World Online Travel Guru:
Sherry Hardesty has been a professional flight attendant for over 15 years. Her experience is extensive and she provides professional travel consulting and booking services at  http://www.stuartstravel.com




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