Archive for the ‘Currency’ Category

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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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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U.S. credit card and bank account holders, today is the last day to submit your Currency Conversion Fee Refund Claim.  It’s at least $25 absolutely free if you used a credit card or ATM abroad (or purchased anything in foreign currency) between 1996 and 2006.

This is totally legit and the easiest money you’ll earn (back — remember, it was yours in the first place) today.  Read all the details about it here.

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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!


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A three-night trip to Malta, including round-trip airfare, cost me a whopping 50 euros. I’ll show you how after the jump.Mdina

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Here are a few thoughts as I prepare to head back from my holiday travels on questions posed recently.

+ If you don’t travel often or are traveling to a part of the world you haven’t been to before, contact your bank and your credit card companies prior to departure and let them know your travel dates and destinations. This will save you from headaches were legitimate withdrawals or purchases denied as suspicious activity while abroad.

+ Heading to a new destination, looking for activities and not sure where to start your search? Using Google, type in your destination and “convention and visitors bureau” to find official tourism information online. Next stop: the city’s daily newspaper website. Both of those should find you relevant ideas and new search terms to help you along.

+ On January 1, new TSA regulations went into effect regarding spare lithium batteries. The short version: lithium batteries MUST be carried on; if spares are not in their original packaging, they must be isolated from metal objects and other batteries (easiest option: pack each individually in a plastic bag). Check out further information here and here.

+ Traveling through countries with different currencies? coupon organizer fileA great way to keep your various bills and coins organized is a mini expandable (coupon) file, like the one pictured here. You can pick one up cheaply at your nearest dollar store or Target. Keep all phonecards, bus tickets, rechargeable metro cards, little maps — anything retaining value for a future visit — sorted inside as well. Handy while traveling, it will also make finding these useful “leftovers” for your next trip that much easier!

+ If there’s a chance you’ll be driving while abroad (i.e. renting a car), pick up an international driving permit before leaving home. In the U.S., you’ll need to head to your nearest AAA with 2 passport-sized photographs, your current valid driver’s license and $15; in other countries, contact your national driving association for further information. Your IDP is valid only with your state-issued driver’s license, so carry them together when traveling.

Looking for more tips? Try Random Travel Tips #1.

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