about We are Akila and Patrick. Our minds (and waistlines) expand as we travel, cook, and eat our way around the world with our two dogs.
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travelers talk back: unusual savings tricks

After describing our unusual savings tricks last week, I was delighted by the other unique ideas other travelers suggested in the comments:

  • Erica from Nonstop World Travel (yay for travel and food): Sleeper trains "saves you money on transit and on a hotel"
  • Mike Lenzen from Traveled Earth (soon to be leaving on their RTW): Make a budget because when they spend more one month they take money off on the next month
  • Dani from Globetrotter Girls (two digital nomads with oodles of girl power): Buy items shortly before the farmers markets close because items are half off, use discount vouchers (such a good idea and one we rarely do), and consider subletting an extra room in your house
  • Jerri from DIWYY (all about Doing It While You're Young . . . travel, that is): Share one car per household
  • Theodora from Travels With a Nine Year Old (if you think you can't travel with kids, this single mom with kid will show you how): Choose your battles - realize that it might make more sense to work than spending hours hand-washing laundry

And, then, our panel of current RTW travelers blew me away with some of the coolest savings tricks I have ever read:

Warren and Betsy Talbot from Married With Luggage
Throw a Reverse Birthday Party

When Betsy turned 39 she hosted a party at our house showcasing 39 of her "treasured items" and invited her closest friends.  Each item had a tag telling the story of how she had acquired the item and the memory associated with it.  Guests were then allowed to “shop” through the boutique in our living room and write their names on the back of the tags if they wanted the item.  If no one else wanted the item, it was theirs for a donation.  If more than one name was on the tag, we had a “style off” where each person had to model the items in a distinctive way that would earn them the most votes from the crowd.  The winner of the vote got to keep the item.  The end result was we were able to save money for the trip and Betsy was able to share her closest possessions with dear friends.  You can read more about the party here .

Betsy and Warren Talbot are on a mission to redesign their lives to travel full-time.  They are two reforming type-A personalities who are learning that living large is not necessarily living well.  They just returned from an enviable Antarctic expedition and are taking a transcontinental voyage from Argentina to England.  Their website is chockful of great information include month-by-month breakdowns of their budget.  Follow their journey on their blog , Facebook fan page , and Twitter ( @warrentalbot ).

thinkCHUA and LOCAVORista from Living If
Buy local with a local

The "unusual" savings trick we use on the road can best be summed up as "buying local, with a local."  It starts with the fact that we buy travel commodities such as medicine (i.e. malaria pills can be 30-80% cheaper outside the US) or replacement electronics on the road.  We stop by stores to learn the tourist price, then persuade a local to go and purchase it for us.  In places without posted prices, where "tourist prices" prevail, this usually gets a 20-50% discount.  Persuading a local to do this is easy, buying them lunch or a drink will suffice and you can ask a guesthouse employee or a student to do it for you.  Not only will you save money, but the time you spend with them will enrich your visit as well.

Living IF is about living the ifs that life presents.  Each person has different dreams and opportunities, to live ifs is to seize the opportunities that will lead towards making dreams reality.  Living IF is dedicated to helping people live their ifs through content, personal stories, and a good old kick in the pants.  The Chuas are currently motorcycling through Cambodia.  Their website contains maps, journals, mouth-watering food posts, and beautiful photography of all the places they have been.  Follow their journey on their blog , Facebook fan page , and Twitter ( @livingif ).

Amy and Sean from Surrounded by the Sound
Shop around for good value accommodation

Accommodation is almost always the difference in whether or not we make our daily budget on the road, but since we like to be comfortable, we look for the best value rather than the cheapest room. We typically do some advance online recognizance to get to know the market, then spend some time when we arrive comparing rooms. Often they'll show us the most expensive room first, so we always ask if there is anything cheaper available. While you have the most negotiating power outside of the high season, we've found that getting a discount is often as simple as asking for it. If that fails, bargaining chips include committing to a certain number of days, paying in cash, or forgoing an included breakfast if we can eat cheaper on our own. In Japan we once saved by only getting our room cleaned every three days! We've learned the hard way to negotiate in the currency we plan to use to avoid a surprise increase. Finally, we've found that cheaper, quality accommodations often are in the vicinity of Lonely Planet picks, which tend to increase in price as soon as they get into “The Book.”

Amy and Sean are our traveling doppelgangers (but not in an evil way, of course): Amy is a former lawyer and Sean is a computer programmer and they spent the year before they traveled remodeling and fixing up their money pit house  (been there) and sold it to fund their travels.  They, too, were as devastated by this tragic Super Bowl as my husband was (that's Patrick in the background yelling, Go Steelers).  Their blog is a lovely combination of their personal insights with beautiful photography.  They are currently in the Perhentians and heading to New Zealand, soon.  Follow their journey on their blog and via Twitter ( @amyakabetty ).

Read More About Unusual RTW Savings Tricks:

*Travelers Talk Back is a part of the RTW in Retrospect Community Project , a series that intends to bring together the opinions of travelers on how they planned for their trip and how that planning panned out.  And, we want to hear from you! If you are a recently returned RTWer or current RTWer and would be interested in contributing, please let me know via comments or e-mail at theroadforks [at] gmail [dot] com.