Budget Travel Tips Tuesday

I’m no travelologist (or someone who is particularly good at traveling), but it’s my favorite thing! I’ve often said I wish I could just travel the world and blog about it (until I remember that living out of a suitcase is no place for a sweaty runner’s clothes). Anyways, I got a lot of questions about how Ben and I planned our Panama trip and I thought I’d share some of my  travel tips for saving money.monica is on a place

1. Get a friend. If you already have a friend you’re one step ahead of me.

Let me be more specific – get a friend that works at a major hotel chain. Then, buy that friend a muffin and kindly ask them if you can use their discount.

Ben and I stayed at the Marriott in Panama city because of a friends and family discount. Otherwise it would have be all hostels and bed bugs style.panama marriott

2. Kayak.com I can’t believe peeps don’t know about this site, but I recently mentioned it to a friend and she didn’t know about it?! If you don’t use Kayak already – start.image

3. Lonely Planet books. This line of books, along with “xxx for Dummies” are super helpful on the road. I know this is crazy, but sometimes when you’re traveling you don’t have 24-hr access to the internet. It’s tragic.

Luckily, back in the day people used things called books for information on where to stay/sightsee while they were out of town. IMG_2749 (800x600)

Added bonus: the Spanish translation book tells you what to say to hook up and break up with someone.IMG_2751 (800x600)

4. Trip Advisor Forums. These are super helpful since a lot of the active members are very well traveled and can give you great tips. image

When we went to Belize for our honeymoon the message boards gave us the name and phone number or someone who could give us a ride to our hotel – this was a lot cheaper and easier than a taxi and we were able to arrange for him to pick us up at the end of our trip!

Why is travel on my brain anyways?

Well, because Ben and I are going to Florida for Christmas again this year and I just realized we leave in 24 days! florida back yard

Luckily, staying with his family is very relaxing – their little sleepy town has a nice, slower paced feel. I’m really looking forward to it after such a busy travel year!christmas in florida 2

Do you have any travel planning tips to share?

Bonus Question: Anyone got a friend who works for the SNA airport shuttle?


  1. Regan says

    Hi Monica! Great little post on trip planning, I loved your pictures from Panama…it reminded me so much of my home…and made me miss it even more!

    We moved from Panama to Florida, and I have been a long time reader. I don’t know how jammed packed your schedule is when you come down to visit, but I would love to meet you or run and eat with ha ha. I don’t know if your comfortable sharing this info but where in Florida will you be? I forgot if you mentioned it in the previous visits to FL.

  2. Bethany says

    Love TripAdvisor, it is real people, like me leaving information. I also love Eye Witness Top Ten books, they are small and give you the top ten thing to do/see in a city or area.

  3. says

    I love lonely planet books, and agree, Kayak is an awesome site. I dont’ know if you’ve ever used the bing travel site for flights, but it’s really good at predicting if prices will go up and down based on when you’re looking to go.

  4. says

    I’m not sure anyone would want my travel tips! I love travel (and am actually–hopefully!–heading to China in February!) but I love the adventure of not necessarily planning it all! Some people love it, other people HATE traveling with me as a result. I will say that I adore Lonely Planet’s website, the Thorntree. It’s a discussion forum for users to ask questions, advice, etc. It can be more helpful than the books just because it is more up to date than the last publishing (like that time I showed up at a “restaurant” in Bolivia and it was a cow field….thanks LP!)

  5. says

    Kayak worked great for us, once we got it booked. For the longest it kept giving me problems when booking like I’d start typing my info and by the time I was done that airfare had been raised or the seat taken…and I’m a fast typer. It was beyond frustrating but eventually we got our tickets booked. I LOVE to travel! We went on an 11 day cruise last month to New England and Canada… I keep meaning to blog about it and share pics. Panama sounds way fun too. Have a fab time in Florida…where at? Jess

  6. says

    Totally agree with Trip Advisor. I think I do everything you do, and I also have an American Airlines credit card that I use for the sole purpose of earning miles. I hardly ever fly without having some type of discount ’cause I am a little insane about earning miles and finding deals ^__^ I also subscribe to travelzoo and stalk airlines’ sales in general. I guess it helps that I am an independent contractor and single so I can take off whenever-the-eff I feel like it :) yay traveling! I also don’t mind staying in hostels… Hostel.Com is dope! Totally reliable reviews of hostels all around the world.

  7. says

    My mom loves Kayak.com! Seriously, she recommends it to everyone.
    And translation books are so odd sometimes. My best friend had a Chinese translation book for when she studied abroad there last summer, and it had some very..uhm..interesting translations, to say the least.

  8. Sarah says

    I lived in Belize for a few years when I was a toddler and once grabbed my father’s $500 prescription sunglasses and threw them into the ocean. But he went snorkeling and found them. Ridiculous right? I was a great child. I love Kayak.com! Its so convenient.

  9. says

    We always use Kayak to find out who is cheapest and then book through the airline. It’s usually less expensive.

    Also priceline and name your own price is a great way to score really inexpensive rental cars. I’m not enough of a gambler to use it for flights or hotel rooms.

  10. Dean says

    An airport shuttle hookup would be ideal. I’ll be serving as the shuttle to ONT for my mom and step-dad when they go to Florida for New Year’s.

    I have a lot of (running related) traveling coming up in 2012 so this is all helpful info. Portland trip for RnR in May is already booked. Chicago trip for RnR in July needs to be planned and Maui in September (which I already have a “for Dummies” book on because I planned to go 2 years ago) needs to be booked as well. Someday I’ll get to travel out of the country to exotic places like you, but for now I’m just happy to be making my way to areas of the US I’ve never ventured to.

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