Creative ways to work the system for cheap travel

Call it cheap. Call it resourceful. But when you’ve got travel on the brain and you’re on a budget, you gotta do whatcha gotta do.

A post on embraces the cheap with ingenuity. They’ve pulled together a list of ideas for shaving a few dollars off of some of those travel necessities. Some are a little questionable, others are tried-and-true favorites, but they all do the trick. Try them for yourself:

  • Access free wi-fi from hotel parking lots. (“As long as you don’t camp out for too long, you’ll rarely get hassled.”) Holiday Inns and Best Westerns come highly recommended.
  • Ask for the flagpole/boiler/ice machine room (the one that nobody wants because it’s too noisy)
  • Earn a free Whopper at Burger King after answering the phone survey found on receipts
  • Ask the parents to come along so you can use the senior discount
  • Grab food from the complimentary breakfast and save it for a snack or lunch
  • Snatch pre-read magazines from seat-backs on the way off the plane
  • Buy food souvenirs from local grocery stores instead of tourist shops
  • Make your own oatmeal, with the help of the in-room coffee maker
  • Take advantage of membership discounts through Costco, AAA, and AMEX

What about you? What are your own unusual tips for saving money?

Amex is Abandoning Prepaid Traveler’s Cheque Cards

Travelers cheques are a pain. Well, not that I’d know. I’m a child of the ATM era and I’ve always had access to one, except in Laos and Cambodia, and I carried cash there (to be honest, I don’t know if my guesthouse proprietors there would know what to do with a traveler’s cheque anyway.) Using your debit card at ATMs can get expensive if you use them too often, but I’m a budget traveler so I never really had much of a problem. Have you?

Anyway, Amex has decided to abandon it’s Travelers Cheque Card, which allows you to load your card with cash and use at will along your travels. There were several unattractive features of the card — initiation fees, ATM withdrawal fees and foreign conversion fees to boot — and I guess consumers decided it was more of a hassle than it’s worth. I foresee another problem too: while American Express is widely accepted in North America and Western Europe, I have an Amex credit card and I’ve came across a lot of businesses in foreign countries that don’t accept it.

If you have an Amex Travelers Cheque Card, don’t worry. The program will be discontinued as of October 31, and Amex will refund any balances on customer cards left over after that.