Guest Author - Jim Fortune
If you have traveled to Europe in the past few years, say 2005 through 2009, you know that the prices of the vacation could be a bit much. The good news is that the prices of things in England, while not cheap, have come down since January.
I don't think it makes a lot of sense to spend your entire vacation bank account on an England vacation. There are a lot of other places to go where your money will go further. However, if you are planning a trip to England, there are ways to stretch your budget. Yes, visiting English cities and sites used to be expensive but that doesn't mean that you can't find ways to cut expenses without cutting out the fun. Here are the best ways on how to save money while on vacation:
Plan your trip carefully. I say this so often that friends have come to expect that anytime I go someplace, they know in advance - plan, plan and plan some more. This includes the time of your visit and the places you are planning to visit. You have two choices when deciding the season of your trip: high-season and low-season.
High-season is during summer. It is the best time to visit the cities in England because of extra hours of daylight and almost no chance of rain. However, traveling during this time can be expensive. Cities can be crowded. Hotels may be fully booked. And you may experience long lines (or queues) when going to a popular destination.
Low-season may be an unorthodox time to visit English cities since the weather can be unforgiving. But most would say that they are willing to trade good weather for an inexpensive flight, discounted hotel accommodation, less-crowded cities and a unique vacation experience.
If you want to take advantage of high-season weather and low-season rates, you may want to go a few weeks before the high-season changeover. This is known in a lot of places as shoulder season. You have to do your homework and find which cities offer the best rates at the best times. Also, check their web pages for a "Contact Us" e-mail address. Drop them a line to find out when the rates are best. I let it drop that I was flexible in my travel dates and if they had an attractive rate opening, to let me know. I was able to get a room during high season at low season rates, so it is worth trying this tip out.
It is equally important to choose your destination well in order to get the most out of your money. Since major cities and tourist spots in England are few hours apart, you need to choose your itineraries well. For example, on your first day, you can take a guided tour around the city of London. On your next day, rent a car and drive to the Stonehenge while making stops in Salisbury and other towns and country side along the way.
When you are not traveling, you can spend your nights in budget chain hotels. They may just be offering the basic services it can save you big bucks. Also when conversing via e-mail with one hotel, ask for a reference, also ask if you mention their name could you get an additional discount?
I always eat like the locals. Fancy restaurants, that are flocked by tourists, are very attractive. It can be very expensive too. Look where and what the locals usually eat. The places I go do not have a lot of tourist trade, so I get to talk with the local people to get tips on where to go and when. They can point you to restaurants and diners that offer great food without the cost. It is also a good idea to maintain your daily eating habits. If a cup of coffee and some toast can keep you full throughout the day at home, why not keep it that way?
Despite the economy I hope you are travelling and enjoying yourself. Until next time, let me know what is on your mind, and how you are doing, O.K.?
Jim Fortune - the Bella Budget Travel Guy