Trip Planning Tips and Tools from the Frugal Traveler
Travel Blog • Eva Holland • 05.07.09 | 12:23 PM ET
In his latest blog post, the New York Times Frugal Traveler (and World Hum contributor) Matt Gross offers a detailed look at his pre-travel research and planning process—including an exhaustive list of the resources, both print and online, that he makes use of to put together his dollar-efficient trips.
It’s an excellent collection, and I don’t have much to add to it—I will mention one overlooked area, though.
Facebook and Twitter (both of which land a mention in the post) are useful for their sheer size, and the range of users they draw, but there are also some handy travel-specific social media sites that I’ve made good use of over the years. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree forum has thousands of users sharing answers to even the most obscure travel queries, and BootsnAll offers a similarly active forum. Matador Travel’s forum is a newer entry to the mix, but I’ve had helpful responses there, too—this one’s especially worth noting for the depth of regular user expertise on Latin America and South East Asia.
But—I can hear some of you asking—isn’t all this verging on overkill? Isn’t “real frugal traveling” (as one commenter on the Times piece put it) about “showing up in a new city with nothing but your backpack/suitcase and winging it”? Well, not in my book. As I’ve mentioned before, I think being well informed is the key to budgeting on the road—for me, “winging it” is a luxury that often winds up costing money.
Besides, as Matt Gross points out, there really is no such thing as too much research: “The thing about all this preparation is that it never fully prepares me for the sight of a new place, the smell of its streets and the charmingly surprising behavior of its people—the moments of discovery that inspire us to travel in the first place.”