Tag: Budget Travel

26 ‘Chinatown Bus’ Operators Shut Down

A few years back, we posted news that the cheap and occasionally safety-challenged Chinatown buses—cult favorites among budget travelers in the Northeastern U.S.—were reportedly cleaning up their act. Turns out the effort fell short. After a year-long investigation, federal safety officials have closed down 26 carriers operating in the busy Northeast corridor—16 based in New York, and 10 in Philadelphia.

So R.I.P. Chinatown buses. But never fear, budget travelers—BoltBus is still kicking.


What Does $5 Buy You in Europe Today?

Editor’s note: For his new book, Europe on 5 Wrong Turns a Day, Doug Mack traveled around the continent using a decades-old copy of Arthur Frommer’s “Europe on Five Dollars a Day.”

So what will $5 buy in Europe these days?

During the course of their World Hum interview, Leif Pettersen asked Doug just that. Here’s what Doug came up with:


Free Admission This Saturday at all National Parks

The latest in a series of fee-free days falls this Saturday at all 392 U.S. national parks. Enjoy. (Via Arthur Frommer)


Mapped: The Places Your Travel Dollars Will Take You

Kayak has unveiled a pretty cool new Google maps-powered feature, Explore. Enter a price range and departure city—plus a few optional bonus fields, like your preferred temperature at destination—and Explore generates a map of all the places you can fly to on the budget you’ve specified. $550 dollars from my home in Whitehorse to San Francisco? Tempting, Kayak. Very tempting. (Via Kottke)


How to Drink for Free in New York City

Frugal Traveler Matt Gross tells all. Hint: Neighborhoods with a high wine shop density are key.


Finally Some Good News on Travel in Mexico

Finally Some Good News on Travel in Mexico iStockPhoto

Drug cartels. Murders. The news is often bad out of Mexico. Peter Ferry journeys beyond the headlines.

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Kimchi Taco, Meet the JapaDog

Kimchi Taco, Meet the JapaDog Photo by macrohead via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by macrohead via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Anyone who was intrigued by L.A.’s kimchi tacos will want to read the latest Frugal Traveler dispatch from Vancouver, wherein Matt Gross explores daikon- and soy-sauce-topped hot dogs and other low-budget fusion delights.


Ryanair: ‘Too Mean’ for Canada?

Jaunted predicts that the not-so-cuddly budget airline wouldn’t go over well with Canadians, who “prefer their service providers amiable and their experiences congenial.” Too true, eh?


JetBlue’s Unlimited Flight Pass: Sold Out

Arthur Frommer may have had his doubts, but he was in the minority: After unexpected levels of demand, JetBlue cut off sales of the pass two days ahead of schedule.


Ryanair Introduces the Good Samaritan Fee

In its latest effort to prove that you get what you pay for, the notorious budget airline charged a nine year-old girl for the return of her lost purse. The price of a good deed? €10.


Is JetBlue’s Flight Pass a Bargain?

There’s been a lot of buzz about JetBlue’s new, month-long All-You-Can-Jet flight pass. Arthur Frommer offers a few words of caution.


William Shatner: America’s Favorite Negotiator?

Christopher Elliott has come across an unexpected statistic: According to a recent survey, 10 percent of Americans believe that William Shatner, the public face of travel clearinghouse Priceline.com, is “the best negotiator out there.”

Barack Obama clocked in just behind Shatner, with 9 percent of the vote—maybe the President should recruit “The Negotiator” for his ongoing battles with Congress?


Motel 6 Gets an Upgrade

Motel 6 Gets an Upgrade Photo by qnr via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by qnr via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Yep, the roadside budget standby has got a flashy new interior design, described as “bold, sleek, frugal euro-modernism”—but don’t worry, the new look won’t affect the reliable prices. The Los Angeles Times has photos and a review.


Contiki: ‘Backpacking is so 1997’

Contiki: ‘Backpacking is so 1997’ Photo by kreativitea via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by kreativitea via Flickr (Creative Commons)

So said a message that the popular bus tour company posted on Facebook awhile back, with the added boast that Contiki holidays were “hundreds of dollars” cheaper than independent travel in Europe. Nomadic Matt objected—and now he’s crunched the numbers to prove Contiki wrong, on the savings claim at least. As for backpacking being “so 1997”? I guess that’s subjective.


Gadgets on the Cheap

Frugal Traveler Matt Gross has just posted his latest in the New York Times: the top ten travel gadgets that cost less than $50. It’s a good list—I’ve never been much of a gadget lover myself, but I especially liked his suggestions of a money clip instead of a wallet, a power strip with multiple outlets, and a good old notebook and pen.


Parking Fees Around the World

The Economist has a great chart on parking fees around the globe. Among the highlights from its report: “European cities have some of the highest daily parking rates, with Amsterdam and London coming out on top. Tokyo is the most expensive place to leave your car outside Europe.”

Cheap travel tip: You’ll find great rates in Chennai, India. Um, road trip!

(Via the Idea of the Day blog)


Give Some Time, Get Some Free Travel

Volunteer plants tree in national park Photo by USFS Region 5 via Flickr (Creative Commons)

A new promotion from Sage Hospitality encourages travelers to “give a day” of service and “get a night” back, via a free hotel stay or 50 percent off the rate at 52 hotels across the U.S.

Programs like these show potential to encourage public service in exchange for travel perks, especially among folks with more spare time right now than spare change. There’s no obligation to stay additional nights. Just complete eight documented hours with a registered 501(c)3 non profit organization. Extra (karma) points if you work for a green cause to help offset the environmental impact of your trip.


Backpackers in Thailand Just Won’t Quit

Backpacker arriving at Tailay beach, Thailand Photo by René Ehrhardt via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by René Ehrhardt via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Tourism in Thailand has been suffering significant declines lately, and desperate vendors are offering discounts like free domestic flights, extra nights and other perks to lure money-conscious visitors.

But in spite of the setbacks to leisure and luxury travel, the AP reports “budget travel hasn’t suffered as badly, with beer stalls and hostels along Bangkok’s Khao San Road and other havens for backpackers still bustling.”

Keep on, keepin’ on, backpackers!


Cheap European Travel Deals Paying Off

Cheap European Travel Deals Paying Off Photo by ninette_luz via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by ninette_luz via Flickr (Creative Commons)

According to Jean-Philippe Pérol, Chairman of the European Travel Commission, “for the first time in many months, global traffic to Europe is growing,” thanks in part to the fact that the dollar is stretching 15 percent further across the pond today than it did a year ago. The boost in primarily leisure travel was also fueled by drastically lower trans-Atlantic fares and packages, like these discount tips just posted by Frommer’s.


Travel Headline of the Day: ‘Ryanair Passengers ‘Could Put Own Luggage on Plane’’

Travel Headline of the Day: ‘Ryanair Passengers ‘Could Put Own Luggage on Plane’’ Photo by jon gos via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by jon gos via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Forget a blurring of the lines: the boundary between Onion-esque humor and real airline news is long gone. Today’s headline caps a story about the budget airline’s plans to scrap checked luggage entirely. The Independent adds blandly: “An in-flight online gambling system is also being considered.”