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If you’re new to Less Than a Shoestring, please take some time and have a poke around! I welcome your questions and comments on the site. This blog shows that travel can indeed be both pleasurable and frugal. Because I live in Europe, you’ll find loads of information on European no-budget travel — but in keeping with This Just In’s post and for your ease, I’ve put together below a collection of my U.S. tips and bargains.

Once a month, the Travel on a Shoestring Carnival turns its focus to the Americas. You’ll find lots of great tips from around the blogosphere collected in the following posts:

Every Friday, the blog features a travel freebie. Some timeless classics for U.S. staycationers and backyard travelers:

Not free, but cheap activities include:

For those traveling a bit further afield, take a look at the posts:

If you’ll be driving to your destination, you’ll want to read:

Before flying, from the wild and wooly world of U.S. airline travel:

Changes U.S. travelers and visitors should know about:

See the no-budget traveler take on the New York Times’ “Frugal Traveler” in the posts:

If you like what you see, subscribe to the RSS feed and have the latest no-budget travel tips delivered to you! It takes just a second to set up, ensuring you never miss a single post.

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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 sixth Travel on a Shoestring Carnival for the Americas. Here you’ll find North American, Central American and Caribbean travel tips for those without a lot of money to spend.

Photographic inspiration this week comes from Ralph Grunewald via Intelligent Travel’s Global Eye feature. You can read the details of his photo from the Milwaukee Art Museum in Wisconsin here.

Kicking us off this week is Alistair Wearmouth at Away.com Family Travel Blog, giving us a rundown of his Top 10 Budget Vacations for Families.

Elizabeth helps you curb your hunger for under $2 in The Cheapest Lunch in Washington, DC posted at Go Green Travel Green.

Stephanie keeps costs down vacationing in the area around Asheville in her post Fun and Frugal in Western North Carolina at Stop the Ride!

If it’s a trip to the Mouse you’re after, Karyn has useful information on visiting Orlando, Florida on the Cheap at All About Orlando. She writes, “With the economy the way it is many visitors planning trips to Orlando are looking for discounts or other ways to save money. Here are some of the best ways to see Orlando and save a few bucks in the process.”

Ashley Thompson of Intelligent Travel gives readers the lowdown on one of the most interesting cities in Kansas in There’s No Place Like Lawrence.

When in Texas, Sheila Scarborough of Perceptive Travel Blog outlines a delightful, free and “funky” museum in Houston in her post Baby, You Can Drive My (Art) Car.

If it’s Northern California you’re headed to, check out Weekend Sherpa‘s regularly updated advice on what’s cheap, free and on.

If NYC is on the agenda, you’ll want to read these sites:

  • Getting a cab from the airport to the city and vice versa just got a lot cheaper with Hitchsters.

Mother of seven Jeana Mitchell shares tips on traveling cheaply with a brood in the post 20 Money Saving Tips For Traveling with a Large Group at Family Hack.

Hilary Green‘s post Best Road Trip Cars at Cars for Girls outlines the average cost of an 800-mile road trip in eight of the season’s newest models.

And if you decide you can’t afford to drive away after all, Tip Diva presents Top Ten Tips – Taking A Staycation posted at Tip Diva, saying, “With gas prices and travel costs rising, many people opt just to stay home on their vacation time – hence, a ‘staycation.’ But being at home, or close to it, can make it seem like less of a break. Here are ways to ignore the fact that you’re home and enjoy your time off.”

If you inherit some money, don’t spend it on airfare! You might just afford your own private island (some are far cheaper than you can imagine). Read more in Neelakantha‘s post 10 Beautiful Private Islands for Sale (That You Could Actually Afford) at International Listings Blog.

Nick presents Honduras wants Sustainable Tourism industry posted at EcoFuss Green News, saying, “Honduras is a cheap Central American destination, and new eco-friendly development could make it an attractive destination.”

Finally, if you’re looking for inspiration to stop resting on your laurels and start experiencing life under your own steam, look no further than Couple Quit Jobs, Sold Possessions To Bicycle Around The World For A Year…Find Adventure And Freedom posted at The Life Less Traveled. “In 2006, James and Sarah Welle sold all of their possessions and left their comfortable jobs at Microsoft to bicycle around the world. During their year-long adventure, the pair encountered interesting people, delicious food, new found athletic prowess and the realization of how close at hand freedom and the choice to shake up your daily life truly are. Read about how they decided to bicycle around the world for a year…and how you can, too!”

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: Americas using the carnival submission form. Next week this time we travel to Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Oceania. 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 the Americas. Here you’ll find North American, Central American and Caribbean travel tips for those without a lot of money to spend. 

This week’s photographic inspiration comes from the Canada article at DirectoryM.  The entry is loaded with tons of information about the country, including a really interesting section on distinctly Canadian cuisine. Now let’s get down to business!

If you’re in the mood for a city vacation, you’ll want to check out the following posts:

+ Montreal.  In Montreal is for [Vietnamese Food] Lovers posted at The Ironic Mullet TM :: Culture and food from a traveler’s perspective :: The Tiny Guide, Lee Ann Westover deliberates the cheapest way to get there from NYC and runs down your best options for authentic pho.

+ BostonMarilyn Terrell’s post Beantown is Greentown at Intelligent Travel describes bike rental options and other green travel ideas.

+ Abingdon.  On I-81 between Knoxville and Roanoake, not far from the TN-NC-VA border, lies a unique historical theater.  Read about this cultural excursion in Joanne Scarborough‘s post GB Shaw wanted spinach: the Barter Theatre at Perceptive Travel Blog.

+ Using public transport.  Penny Nickel presents 15 tips for a frugal, relaxing, earth-friendly vacation that’s car-free! posted at Money and Values.

+ Booking hotels for less.  Ybother lays out the basics of using Hotwire, from figuring out which hotel you’re booking to making sure the room you book meets your expectations, in Using Hotwire? 10 Hot Tips on Booking Hotels via Hotwire posted at A Top Ten List Everyday to Jumpstart Your Knowledge.

If want to get back to nature, try on the following posts for size:

+ Matthew Paulson presents Camping Frugally: Spending Less in the Wilderness posted at The Travel Advocate.

+ Julie Bloss Kelsey presents Website of the Week: National Park Service posted at Mama Joules, saying, “Tips for navigating the National Park Service website before you head out on your next trip.”

Perhaps you’re headed for an island vacation instead?

+ Global Traveler presents Budget Traveling In The Caribbean posted at Traveling Around The World, saying, “The Caribbean is a great place to travel at any time of the year for a tropical island vacation.”

+ The Traveling Mamas were on location in Hawaii and have a bunch of great posts on cheap experiences.  Try Molokai Sunset on Papohaku Beach, Mama on the Move – Hawaii Hiking to Petroglyphs, or, if you’re hungry, Where to Eat a Great Fast Food Lunch in Hawaii.

+ Ron presents Museums on the Big Island of Hawaii posted at Your Aloha Connection.

If you’re looking to save money on plane tickets, have a gander at:

+ Raymond presents The Best Frequent Flyer Airline Miles Credit Cards For Cheap Flights posted at Money Blue Book.

+ Linda W. presents Getting To The Caribbean posted at The Eclectic Female, saying, “If you’re planning a trip to the Caribbean, you probably automatically started looking up flights to the area.”

Can’t afford to fly?  Then take the bus instead!  Jack Norell presents Bus travel around the world posted at Eyeflare – Travel Articles and Tips, saying, “Bus travel is often as budget as you can get. Cheaper than trains, but faster than walking, here are some of the best cheap bus operators in the world.”

General tips for budget travel come to us this week from:

+ Heather Hills with 10 Best Ways to Travel on a Budget posted at Chick Vacations, Women Travel.

+ Heather Johnson with 10 Frugal Travel Tips for Your Summer Vacation posted at FIRE Finance.

+ Amanda S reminds us they’re not expensive if you share in Timeshare On A Budget posted at RCI member informer.

+ Matthew Paulson tells us how to do it all on the company dime while saving a nickel in How to Go on Business Trips & Come Home With Extra Money posted at The Travel Advocate.

Andy Fletcher shows us how to have a good time with just 51 cents in The Souvenir Smashed Penny Collector posted at Andy Fletcher’s Custom Trains Blog.

When staying in someone else’s home, it is expected you act considerately towards your host. Tip Diva presents Tip Diva | Top Ten Tips – Being A Considerate House Guest, saying, “When you’re traveling, a friend or family member may offer you a room for a night, a week or even longer. Even though you may be close to the person, you’re still a guest, and there are some things that every gracious person should know.”

Wrapping up this week, minnemom reflects on the reason behind the vacation weekend in Memorial Day Observance posted at Travels with Children, saying, “While not describing a particular destination per se — an observance like this can be found around the country — I think it is important to stop and pay tribute, and not to think of “holidays” as just “vacations.” Maybe we can all take some time out of our travels for observances such as this.”

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: Americas using the carnival submission form. Next week this time we travel to Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Oceania. You can still submit your posts to that carnival till Wednesday.

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Help *me* feel the love!  There’s just two more days for you to give me your advice on Frankfurt-Hahn and surrounds, Cologne/Bonn, Seville and Granada.  Everyone leaving a comment has a chance to win a modest prize, hand-selected from each destination by yours truly.  So get entering!

Carla from Phoenix is planning some extensive travel around the Midwest, “Chicago to Madison, from Madison to Minneapolis, from Ann Arbor to Chicago from Chicago to Iowa City and Urbana,” and wanted to know the cheapest options for getting around.

It makes most sense to look at the major ground carriers: Greyhound, Megabus and Amtrak.  If you’re willing to share rides, Craigslist for each of those cities should come up with a list of people offering space in their cars (for example, Minneapolis); don’t overlook university websites, either — try contacting the student government at each university for more information on online ride boards.  If you have more money, you can fly between the bigger destinations.  Naturally there is also car rental as an option.  What’s right for you will depend on both the budget and the time frame involved.

Dana from Durham wanted to know what detergent to carry for travel laundry needs.

If you are cheap or have allergies, it is possible to use the laundry detergent you have on hand while on the road. If you use a liquid, pour some over into a 100ml or less travel bottle and carry in your liquids bag. If you use a powder, half a snack-size baggie should be more than enough for your trip.

Popular in Europe are “travel tubes” of handwashing detergent.  You can get these tubes for under a euro at any drugstore.  Unfortunately, most are 125 or 200 ml, making them too large to fly in carry-on luggage.  I did find a travel-sized tube of Burti, but 30 ml struck me as quite small!  I will purchase the mini Burti for my upcoming trip and report back.

In a pinch, shampoo is always quite good — it smells nice, breaks down oils, is readily available and cheap!

Next cheapest option is simply buying detergent wherever you arrive. A bottle of store-brand detergent can be found for $2-3 in most any grocery or drug store.

Then for convenience and peace of mind, there are travel-sized packets of Tide or Woolite for washing, Shout Wipes for instant pre-treating. 

Finally, a worthwhile addition to the travel laundry kit is Febreeze — it handily takes the stink out of smoky, sweaty clothes when you don’t have time to wash. There are now “Febreeze-to-Go” bottles that are TSA-friendly, but you can pour over any bottle you already have into a mini spray container or atomizer.

Patricia from Norman wanted to know how to best exchange money when arriving in [insert developed country here].

Most straightforward and cheapest is an ATM withdrawl.  There will certainly be cash machines at any international airport; often if you google for the airport in question, you can even find which banks have ATMs and where they are located, which can save you withdrawl fees if your bank has international partners.  Don’t forget to call your bank and credit-card companies in advance and warn them of your impending international transactions; otherwise, you may find yourself blocked off from your own money, for your own security!

You should ALWAYS have at least one backup method; if your primary method is electronic (i.e. credit or ATM), be sure your secondary method is physical currency, such as cash or traveler’s cheques.  $100 in backup is enough to get you through a pinch, if necessary. 

Megan from Ithaca wrote with a plea on behalf of international exchange students:

American families can help make international travel and education affordable for high school exchange students by hosting these young travelers. If you have seen the world and relied upon the generosity and kindness of the international travel community, I encourage you to give back by hosting a young adventurer. Volunteer host families in the U.S. are hard to come by these days, but they are the reason that many of these students are able to visit the U.S., learn English and share their culture with us. To those of you who have hosted, I thank you on behalf of the international education community. For those of you who have considered hosting and have not, please take that next step — reach out and help a student study in the U.S.!

Even if you cannot take someone into your home for a school year, remember there are lots of ways for you to help foreign students while they are in your country:  invite them over to celebrate holidays with your family; take them along on an outing, excursion or vacation; drive them around (since they don’t have driver’s licenses and cars, even trips to the mall are welcomed!); teach them how to cook a local specialty and let them cook theirs in your kitchen; etc.  Start the good karma rolling by reaching out just once this year to an international student (university as well as high school students).  College students, it is so easy for you to extend hospitality by simply inviting the kid from down the hall to go to the dining hall with you or to accompany you on your next Target run!  They will be grateful for your efforts, I promise.

That’s all for this round.  If you’ve got a question, feel free to shoot me an email via the contact form

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Welcome to the fourth Travel on a Shoestring Carnival for Europe. Here you’ll find European travel tips for those without a lot of money to spend.

Photographic inspiration this week comes from yours truly, with a sloping street view of flowering balconies, rain-slicked cobblestones and lush wisteria growing over ancient stone walls captured in Girona, Spain in April.

Andrew Evans reminds us of the pleasures travel has to offer if we simply give in to fate in Paris Sans Agenda posted at Intelligent Travel.

Karen Bryan of Europe a la Carte has the scoop on the latest cheapo hotel rooms for early-bird bookers across the UK in Travelodge UK £19 rooms Summer offer and a warning for rental car travelers flying out of Pisa in Almost impossible to refuel your hire car near Pisa airport.

See the new Europe on two wheels with help from Tim Leffel‘s resource-studded guide to getting off the beaten path of cycling tours in Biking in Eastern Europe, posted at Transitions Abroad.

Headed to Firenze?  Tom Meyers of EuroCheapo Blog is helping Italian travelers easy the pain of dropping dollars with his tip-off on a new program in Florence: Americans save 10% on hotels, food throughout 2008.

Alex Robertson Textor provides a few more clues on the architectural and cultural puzzle that is Brussels in his post Brussels: Some Impressions, Some ‘Hoods, and a Great City Guide at Spendthrift Shoestring.

Get your celeb on with Christine at the Cannes 2008 – Short Film Corner – Tarantino in Cannes posted at Me, My Kid and Life: An American Single Mom Living in France.  Unless you’re there to work, Christine advises enjoying the festival from the outside rather than in.

If you haven’t had enough Hollywood action after that post, check out the Indy Adventure Contest Winner: #3 posted at Intelligent Travel.  Anyone who’s ever chased a speeding bus will sympathize with this one. 

Christopher Cook describes one easy method for avoiding transaction costs in Understanding ATM Fees: cutting the cost of bank fees overseas posted at noambit -Travel Europe.  One tip, from experience:  before you go signing up for a Bank of America account, make sure you search the internet for their latest account signing bonus, which usually ranges from $75-100 in FREE MONEY.  (If that link has expired, try a quick search for “Bank of America” at the site Bank Deals.)

Who knew guidebooks were so darn useful?  If you haven’t figured that out cornerstone of travel yet, take a gander at Global Traveler‘s post Vacation Guides – Your New Best Friends at Traveling Around The World.

Raymond of Money Blue Book is still gaming the credit-card offers in The Best Frequent Flyer Airline Miles Credit Cards For Cheap Flights and How To Maximize Your Free Citi Thank You Network Credit Card Rewards.

Wrapping up, Joshua Seth presents a USB solution to your in-flight power problems in Laptop Charger Travel Tip posted at Joshua Seth Blog.

Thanks to everyone for contributing! If you’d like to see your post on budget European travel in July’s carnival, submit using our online form. Next week, we’ll be back to North America, Central America and the Caribbean. Submit your posts for that carnival before next Wednesday!

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Today’s quiz: how many of the 13 Canadian provinces and territories can you correctly name? (Extra points if you can identify the one that didn’t exist when you were in school.)

By popular demand and just in time for the summer driving season, find a comprehensive guide to Canadian highway map and tourist information request forms after the jump.

(more…)

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