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Welcome to the sixth Travel on a Shoestring Carnival for Asia, Oz. Here you’ll find Asian, Australian, New Zealand and Oceania travel tips for those without a lot of money to spend.

Photographic inspiration this week from Nancie McKinnon, another fabulous image courtesy of Intelligent Travel’s Global Eye. You can read more about Nancie’s stay in a South Korean Buddhist temple here.

Intelligent Travel‘s got quite a few recent posts worth a gander:

If you are heading to the Olympics (or just flying into Beijing anytime soon), David Feng of CNReviews has written a great post to familiarize you with your transportation options called Beijing Capital International Airport Express(way) Guide (PEK). His extensive guide to getting around the city by underground avec color map can be found at Beijing Subway Guide: Map, Stations and Colors.

Beijing is the latest city to join the bicycle-rental trend — if you’re not afraid of traffic and thousands of other bicyclists, try Donald Morrison‘s Beijing on Two Wheels, posted at IHT Globespotters Blog.

Also at IHT, Joyce Hor-Chung Lau has just the thing for a sunny Hong Kong day in her post It’s Hong Kong beach season!

If it’s rather Australia you’re headed for, Vera Lang advises saving money and enjoying nature in her post Bushwalking in South Australia posted at Travel Trip Vacation. “South Australia offers amazing diversity and breathtaking beauty in every direction … and it does not come cheaper than walking.”

Onward to India, Anand Giridharadas of the IHT Globespotters Blog presents his advice on How to Behave Like a Local in Mumbai. My favorite tip, especially for business travelers, is his #9:

To save time and whiz through a meeting, specify in advance that coffee-tea service not be done. To extend the meeting for hours, on the other hand, keep asking for tea and coffee at regular intervals. If you really want to create an awkward situation, wait until everyone is about to leave the meeting and then call for tea and coffee and some “snacks,” which usually will mean something fried and time-consuming.

Maneesh at AdmirableIndia.com presents Bangalore to Mysore on Bike: Day 1: Part 2: Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, Brindavan gardens and Krishnarajasagara or KRS dam.

You’ll find other advice on traveling in Karnataka in J‘s posts on Chikmagalur, Srirangapatna and his Trip to Dharmasthala, Kukke Subrahmanya and Mangalore.

Wrapping up this week, nomad4ever Chris drags his broken motorscooter across an “unspoiled” Indonesian island near Bali in Around Lombok in 4 days – if you are insane enough.

Thanks to everyone for participating. Submit your blog article (or encourage your favorite travel bloggers to submit) to the next edition of Travel on a Shoestring: Asia, Oz using the carnival submission form. Next week this time we travel to South America, Africa, the Middle East, and Antartica. You can still submit your posts to that carnival till Wednesday.

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Welcome to the fifth Travel on a Shoestring Carnival for Asia, Oz. Here you’ll find Asian, Australian, New Zealand and Oceania travel tips for those without a lot of money to spend.

Photographic inspiration comes to us this week from Alan D. Newton. You can read all of the details about his visit to Hachioji City, Japan, at Global Eye: Takaosan Buddhas posted at Intelligent Travel.

Laura Morelli describes when and where to get your batik on authentically in The Genuine Article: Malaysian Batik at National Geographic Traveler.

Donald Morrison changes his mind about public transportation in the Chinese capital in The New Beijing Subway: Suddenly, a Pretty Good Ride posted at IHT Globespotters.

Steve Madsen presents free, historical highlights of Canberra in his series Australia’s Capital Treasures posted at Exit Row Seat.

Angelinaaahh has three currency exchange tips for those on their way to Phnom Penh in Riel-ing and Dealing in Cambodia posted at Wanderus. If you’re headed on to Thailand, you might also want to read her recommendations in Trekking Through Chiang Mai.

But first, don’t forget to check out Andrej‘s collection of things you might find useful to know Before you go to Thailand posted at ThailandTime: Bangkok & Thailand!

Never go hungry in Singapore or Malaysia after Austin Hill‘s rundown of local food courts in How To: Eat At A Hawker Center posted at Travellious, saying, “One of the best ways to eat cheaply in relatively expensive Singapore is to hit up stands at hawker centers. I give you the low down on how to do it right.”

Jeet has all the info you’ll need for a trip to Mysore, India, posted at Traveling Beats.

Tired of getting socked by currency conversion fees (or don’t know whether or not your credit card is profiting wildly on your overseas purchases)? Raymond to the rescue with his List Of Credit Card Foreign Currency Transaction Fees posted at Money Blue Book.

Finally, a great resource to start planning your trip the internet way is Niharika‘s post on the 50 Best Web 2.0 Travel Tools at Travelhacker.

Thanks to everyone for participating. Submit your blog article (or encourage your favorite travel bloggers to submit) to the next edition of Travel on a Shoestring: Asia, Oz using the carnival submission form. Next week this time we travel to South America, Africa, the Middle East, and Antartica. You can still submit your posts to that carnival till Wednesday.

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From the producer of our poorly-orchestrated increased airline security measures (“Only Terrorists Carry 200 ml of Toothpaste”) and the creator of the color-based national security threat chart (“Like Clockwork, Orange!”), a new move certain to alienate our closest friends and allies:  starting January 12, 2009, all travelers to the U.S. who travel without visa restrictions (15 million people annually) will now be required to register themselves and their travel plans online at least 72 hours prior to travel or be denied boarding on their chosen air or sea carrier.

Just whom does this affect?  Try Andorra, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.  (In the near future, our friends from the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Slovakia and South Korea too.)

What hasn’t changed?  This is the same information the U.S. government has always collected from these travelers on a form passed out by each carrier prior to arrival and turned in to border agents.  The digital information will be kept just as long as the paper version:  an unbelievable 75 years!  Canadians and Mexicans are not affected by this regulation, nor are those arriving by car, foot, bus or bicycle.

What has changed?  The information can be submitted ONLY via internet.  Travelers must provide this information no later than 72 hours in advance of their departure or will be denied boarding.  Those denied visa-free waivers will be notified prior to arrival on U.S. soil that they will not be granted admission and directed to apply for visas.  While currently free, the government is reserving the right to charge for this “service”!

What’s improved?  If your passport details don’t change, your ESTA travel authorization remains valid for two years and for multiple entries into the U.S., meaning frequent travelers will in fact have less paperwork.  If you were going to be denied visa-free entry, you would find out ahead of time, allowing you to apply for a visa prior to travel.

What’s still unclear?  Who exactly is responsible for filing the information:  you or your ticket agent?  What happens for last-minute travelers?  How will airlines know who’s filed and who hasn’t?  Will the EU approve the measure following its examination of the related treaties of its member states? And might they seriously start charging to finance the change?

Reactions, not surprisingly, have been negative.

New Zealand Herald:  Travel Agents Association New Zealand president Peter Barlow said travellers to Europe increasingly chose to travel via Asia because of the US’s “extreme” stance on security.  “This is just another compelling reason to not go via the States.”

Washington Post:  Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, a Dutch member of the European Parliament, said the effort “contributes to an atmosphere of general distrust” fostered by American security measures. “Transatlantic cooperation between the intelligence services is the only way forward, not the massive collection of data in general,” she said.

Australia is the only other country which has a similar program in place for visa-free travel.  They currently charge $20 AUD for running the check.

Interesting factoid (from Business Standard):  the program was to be called ETA [Electronic Travel Authorization] but became ESTA instead after Spanish officials expressed reservations because of the Basque separatist group also known as ETA.

Thanks to Dana for the tip!

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Want to fly overseas in the next year? Here’s a quick calculation of what you’d have to save over the next 12 months to pay for your flights:

$2000+ = plane tickets between U.S. and Australia/New Zealand

  • At the lower end, this works out to $5.55/day, $38.89/week, $166.67/month.

$1500 = plane tickets between U.S. and Africa, really unlucky peak season fliers between U.S. and Europe

  • This works out to $4.17/day, $29.17/week, $125/month.

$1200 = peak season (Easter-September, Christmas-New Year’s) plane tickets between U.S. and Europe, U.S. and Asia

  • This works out to $3.33/day, $25/week, $100/month.

$800 = off-season plane tickets to the above

  • This works out to $2.22/day, $15.55/week, $66.67/month. At $100/month, you’ll have finished in eight months rather than 12.

$600 = plane tickets between U.S. and Central/South America

  • Over 12 months, $1.79/day, $12.50/week, $50/month. At $100/month, you’ll have finished in six months rather than 12.

Through the cheapo’s eyes, we see:

+ Plane tickets will be the shoestring traveler’s largest single expense. Therefore it pays to shop around: changes to airlines, itineraries, days of the week can shave off hundreds of dollars. Sign up for email notification of sales. Know what a bargain price is and when to jump on it!

+ Travel more often by traveling off-peak. Summer in Europe is nice, but is it four months of saving nicer than fall? Put another way, in five years of $100/month travel savings, you can experience 5 European summers or 7 European falls, winters or springs. Wouldn’t you rather take two more trips for the same amount of money?

+ Consider other travel destinations. Keep saving and you will someday get to London. In the meanwhile, you can visit Costa Rica *and* Peru for the same airfare (and your money will go further on the ground as well). Don’t be afraid to try unusual destinations you can afford; embrace the fare as guide!

Tune in tomorrow for the Friday Freebie. Saturday’s post, Saving for Plane Tickets, Part Two, will outline creative ways to put travel savings in perspective to get you socking money away without excessive deprivation.

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Welcome to this week’s edition of the Travel on a Shoestring Carnival. It’s been a good long while since our last carnival, so instead of trying to catch each carnival up individually, we will throw them all together (hopefully resetting the BlogCarnival listings) and hold the very first SUPERCARNIVAL. In this adventure, we’ll circle the entire globe twice in search of the best posts on travel for those without a lot of money to spend. So without further ado . . .

If you’re looking for a quick spin, try on these first 15 16 posts for size!

Let us start down under, where The Frugal Travel Mum presents A Frugal Guide to Melbourne, a must-read for first-time visitors to the city.

Heading up to China, Joyce Hor-Chung Lau takes us on a hilarious tour of snack stands and popular, low-end cuisine in What in God’s Name is That? Hong Kong Street Food, Part 1 and Part 2 and (update!) Part 3 at IHT Globespotters Blog.

Across the Pacific, Tim Leffel over at Cheapest Destinations is pushing the idea that Central and South America are where weak-dollar travelers will find the greatest bang for their buck. His recent posts on Cheap Fares to Latin America and Prices in Honduras (divide those in the photo by 19 for dollar equivalencies!) certainly have me convinced!

With all the talk of summer gas prices and higher airfares, there is certainly pressure for U.S. consumers to narrow their travel horizons this year. That doesn’t mean there aren’t a wealth of fun, interesting and cheap destinations in your backyard. No matter what corner of the U.S. you’re looking to explore, you’ll find inspiration from the following authors:

Hopping the Atlantic, we find advice from Christine on enjoying Barcelona on 10 Euro Per Day For Two People posted at Me, My Kid and Life: An American Single Mom Living in France.

Pam Kent explains how to see world-class performances in Britain for free in Get Outdoors this Summer in England at IHT Globespotters Blog.

Kristen Gunderson presents a collection of delightful and often-overlooked small museums in the French capital in Paris House Museums posted at Intelligent Travel.

Have you gotten your feet wet? There are even more quality posts after the jump!

(more…)

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IMD ticketToday is International Museum Day and thousands of museums around the world will take part by offering free entrance or special events this weekend only.

You can find a partial list of participating countries and museums here. If you don’t see your museum of choice listed, don’t fret — give them a call and find out if they too have something on.

If you don’t already have plans for this Sunday, treat yourself and your loved ones to a little backyard tourism in support of museums at home and abroad!

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Welcome to the fourth Travel on a Shoestring Carnival for Asia, Oz. Here you’ll find Asian, Australian, New Zealand and Oceania travel tips for those without a lot of money to spend.

Sculpture by the SeaPhotographic inspiration this week is courtesy of Karen Castle. Her image of Niall David Begley’s Swaanen is from the annual Sculpture by the Sea event in Perth, Australia. This year’s sculptures are on display at Cottesloe Beach until March 18. Check all the details here.

I found this event, tomorrow’s Mends Street Carnivale and many, many others listed at EnjoyPerth. Simone takes care to mention which events are free and provides a useful resource for visitors and residents alike.

Fig and Cherry‘s got the scoop on good eats, if you’re looking for falafel in Sydney or fish and chips on the NSW shoreline.

I was intrigued by Pickled Eel‘s post on a forlorn and forgotten cemetery in the shadow of a Sydney highway, I Fell in Love with a Cemetery. A fan of cemeteries myself, I will often spend a quiet afternoon admiring gravestones while traveling.

If a downunder perspective is missing from your current list of reads, you can find these three and many other Aussie bloggers at the Aussie Bloggers Forum.

On to the Asian mainland . . . First up is Pam Mandel at Nerd’s Eye View and her recent series of posts from her trip to SE Asia. She recommends you read “about the swirl and crazy that’s Hanoi” in her post Hanoi Slideshow. I enjoyed the ones about high-impact tourism, gaping at monks, dealing with difficult historical sites and how to be prepared for Angkor freakin’ Wat. You’re sure to find something good, so click over and start reading.

Daisann McLane writing at Globespotters has two articles of interest. First up: if you missed the Berlinale, try Electric Shadows: Hong Kong’s World-Class Film Festival, which gets underway on March 17 and runs through April 6. Second is her description of Tea and Treasure in Taipei’s National Palace Museum, which she touts as “the best collection of Chinese art anywhere. . . . rich and deep and painstakingly curated.” If you’re the type (like me) who can lose yourself for hours in the silver collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, this sounds like a museum to remember.

Oddly enough, Marilyn Terrell at Intelligent Travel passed along their recent story Found in Translation, which profiles the author of the previous two articles (when not writing for the International Herald Tribune, apparently she moonlights for National Geographic!) and her meeting with her Chinese alter ego. That coincidence was simply too cool to ignore . . .

Ending on a high note, listen to Chris Christensen of the Amateur Traveler and his next post in the series “Island countries you’ve never been to starting with M” as he takes you to Micronesia.

Thanks to everyone for participating. Submit your blog article (or encourage your favorite travel bloggers to submit) to the next edition of Travel on a Shoestring: Asia, Oz using the carnival submission form. Next week this time we travel to South America, Africa, the Middle East, and Antartica. You can still submit your posts to that carnival till Wednesday.

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