Updated from 1:08 p.m. ESTThinking about a spring-fling getaway? As you plan your travels, remember that saving money is sometimes the ultimate expression of "The Good Life." Traveling on the cheap doesn't necessarily mean you'll be hitchhiking alongside beatniks and college kids. Many tried and true cost-saving methods can be used to simplify the dizzying array of travel options. These methods not only save money -- they also can lead to far more satisfying experiences for the adventurous tourist, according to Arthur Frommer, the longtime travel guru whose name now adorns over 300 guidebooks. Appearing with his daughter Pauline, Frommer offered a slew of tips for travelers from all walks of life at the third annual New York Times Travel Show in Manhattan last month. Travelers spend the bulk of their money on three main ingredients: transportation, accommodations and sustenance. In each of these areas, the Frommers offered up some tricks from their trade. In lining up plane tickets to get to faraway places, many deskbound vacation seekers have become indoctrinated into using popular airfare search engines like Travelocity.com, Orbitz.com and Expedia.com. But in some ways, the quality of these search engines has become the victim of their success. Due to the web of relationships they've developed with various carriers, "these companies are being paid to give preferential treatment" to certain airlines, Frommer observed. An Orbitz spokesman denied this, saying the company never gives preferential treatment to any particular airlines. Furthermore, some search engines don't include fares offered by cut-rate airlines like JetBlue Airways ( JBLU), Southwest Airlines ( LUV) and Spirit Airlines, which offer cheap flights to a growing number of destinations. Sometimes, the discount flyers get short shrift because it's time-consuming to visit each of their sites individually to search for fares. Enter the aggregators, including SideStep.com, Mobissimo.com and Kayak.com. "These are the new brand of travel sites on the Internet," Frommer said. "They don't sell fares. They just aggregate information about all the fares available, so they're just advising you on what the airlines are offering. Everyone should become familiar with them."
|Frommer's Budget Travel Magazine |
Tips for value-minded travelers
Hang Your HatOnce you've got your transport nailed down, the second hurdle is finding an affordable place to stay. Most people think immediately of hotels, but nice hotel rooms have become staggeringly expensive at tourist destinations. Frommer recommends finding an authentic bed & breakfast-- not the kind of small, pricey inn that is commonly referred to as a "B&B." He's talking about the sort of private home that takes in travelers, for a small fee, to stay in an extra room. It may sound invasive and awkward, but for a sociable person looking for a genuine cultural experience, this is the kind of option that can greatly enrich a travel experience. "Sometimes, you actually become part of a person's family
|The House of the Redeemer |
A room on New York's Upper East Side for $75 per night