If there’s one thing I know, it’s travel. I’ve acquired some great money-saving tips over the years, and decided I can’t keep them to myself any longer. So here are Jim’s Tips on How to Save Money While Traveling. You’re welcome in advance!
1. Just stay home. If you still feel the urge to travel, go spend a day watching the Travel Channel. Then cook a meal with some kind of sausage that doesn’t taste like any meat you can identify. Goat, maybe? Horse? Soylent Green?
2. Sometimes we travel because we think it’s important to meet people in person. If it’s so important, why are WE doing the traveling? Why don’t THEY do it?
3. Small children don’t need a vacation. They are already on vacation. Their whole life is a vacation. Maybe you’ve noticed: They do exactly what they want, whenever they want. The only people who can do that are babies and CEOs. To take either of them with you on a vacation is not a vacation; it’s a job that doesn’t pay enough.
4. Teenagers do not need a vacation. Remember, they get three months off each summer. Don’t spoil it for them. Leave them at home. No, not alone, but with some caregiver who doesn’t cook or clean as well as you do. The worse, the better. Aunt Tillie, maybe. She’s 80 and yet the 6-foot-4 postman is scared of her. The kids hate it when she visits. She’ll make them porridge with prunes for breakfast and will stand there until they eat it. She makes sardine sandwiches for lunch and, yes, stands there until they eat them. You don’t want to know about dinner. Boy, will those kids be glad to see you when you get back.
5. Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming up, and you might be tempted to travel to Grandma’s house or some other crazy place to “catch up with the relatives” or because it’s a tradition. Here’s an idea: Go to Grandma’s house today, instead. Or sometime not during the holiday rush. Go visit your hometown while the lines at the airport are only ONE hour long. Go before the winter storms start closing airports. Start a new tradition of not traveling over the holidays. You’ll finally be able to enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas.
6. For the money you spend traveling to a wedding, you could have sent a very nice gift. Two, really: one for yourself and one for the new couple. And you’re also giving them the gift of not having to feed you at the reception. That’s 60 bucks right there! That’s money they can spend on tattoos on their honeymoon. And you won’t have to eat the vegan “chicken” that the bride thinks is so wonderful, but that really tastes like library paste. So you’re really doing everyone a favor by sending your regrets.
7. If you still insist on traveling, remember that you’re not saving any money by taking the cheaper flight at 6 a.m. First, it means you have to be at the airport by 5 a.m. And unless you live next-door to the airport, you’ll have to leave the house at 4. If you want to take a shower first, we’re talking about setting the alarm for 3:30 a.m. So instead, you’ll rent a hotel room next to the airport the night before your trip, costing you $200 -- which is exactly how much more money the 9 a.m. flight cost.
8. Visiting the family? Rent a car and stay in a hotel. Make up some story about why you can’t actually spend the night at their house, like, “My doctor says I have to sit in a spa for at least 40 minutes twice a day,” or “I don’t want to bother you with my giant sleep apnea machine.” Or better yet, “Some of my medicines are highly explosive.” They’ll insist that you stay with them but, alas, you’ve already rented the room where you won’t have to share a bathroom with Cousin Itt, and you won’t wake up to Fluffy the cat sitting on your face at 5 a.m.
(Contact Jim Mullen at firstname.lastname@example.org.)