Tip 1. Network before you go:
Talk to friends who have been to your destination and pick their brains (and borrow their guidebooks!) Use your social networking sites to ask friends and friends of friends for recommendations for places to stay, eat, and tips on how to get around. Get as much ‘insider’ knowledge as you can. You’ll be surprised how effective networking can be on this subject.
Tip 2. Agree a budget:
It’s all too easy to get carried away when you’re travelling so decide on a budget and try to stick to it. Decide what you’re prepared to save on and what you might allow yourself to splurge on. Agree before you go to save vacation arguments and tears over that credit card bill when it arrives a month later. Draw cash as you need it at ATMs abroad using your Visa Debit Card.
Tip 3. Places to stay:
In Tokyo, steer clear of the touristy and pricey Roppongi district. Opt for the more affordable Ikebukuro or Shin Okubo (Koreatown) districts of the city – they’re still close to the action. Moscow hotels are pricey – for the most part they don’t seem to have cottoned on to budget hotels so investigate all inclusive packages as these may work out cheaper.
Oslo hotels usually offer cheaper prices in July when they are less likely to fill up with business travelers and big Norwegian breakfasts are usually included so you may be able to skip lunch and splash out on early dinner.London has a good selection of budget chain hotels like Premier Inn (one of the best bargains is the one at County Hall by the London Eye) and Travelodge. However, beware ending up way out in the boonies – it could prove a false economy. Stay in walking distance of a tube station in zones 1-3 and avoid tempting advertisements enticing you to stay in far flung areas like Wembley or Hammersmith, which mean a long journey in and out of central London every day.In Rome, renting an apartment away from the main tourist drag can save big bucks on hotel bills and expensive eateries.
Tip 4. Plan before you explore the city:
Plan efficient routes before you set out so you don’t keep retracing your steps. Don’t assume weekly travel tickets are cheaper than regular ones – do your homework.
Tip 5. Getting around:
In Sydney, a great value trip is the two hour coffee cruise around Sydney harbor (around $50) , a good way of orientating yourself in this spectacular city by the bay. In London, buy a travel card at tube stations or newsstands. It covers tubes and buses on an excellent public transport network. Travel off peak for the best deal.
In Tokyo, a Suica prepaid rechargeable travel card is about the same price as a regular ticket so although you likely won’t save anything, it’s convenient, saves lining up and using complicated looking ticket machines and it’s valid on most subways, trains and buses in greater Tokyo. You can get them at vending machines and train stations and there’s a refundable deposit of 500 yen (about $6).Moscow has the world’s second biggest subway system after Tokyo, and most main attractions can be easily reached by metro and on foot. A one way metro ride costs under $1 and the subway stations themselves are often architecturally stunning.
Sydney may be the most popular city for visitors Down Under, but don’t discount lovely Melbourne. This historic, very walkable city with tons of culture, green spaces and deco architecture and the home of Aussie cricket, is well worth a visit. Foot weary? Jump on a tram – Melbourne has the largest tram system in the world – they’re quaint and cheap to ride. Grab a MetCard and explore.