Ask An Expert: Tips For Traveling Internationally On A Budget

June 14, 2014 6:00 AM

No need to break the bank as you plan your next summer vacation. Here are a few tips and suggestions from someone that knows how to save some cash when traveling.

Planning your summer vacation doesn’t always have to break the bank. With a little bit of planning and some important organization, you can enjoy a fantastic trip, even internationally, without going broke. 
Chris Gottlieb
Cruise Director
Norwegian Cruise Lines

Chris Gottlieb is a Cruise Director for a major international cruise line and he’s also a Fort Lewis graduate. He works with passengers on a daily basis to help them with all of their vacation destination dreams. Over the past several years, he’s learned quite a bit about how to make those vacation dreams happen on any budget. It basically comes down to planning but with the right resources Gottlieb explains that you, too, can have the vacation you’ve always wanted. Here are some great tips from Gottlieb for you to try out this summer.

Book In Advance

Last-minute plans happen, but when it comes to cost savings, Gottlieb explains booking in advance and proper planning can save you a bundle. “Book online, because now you can compare prices,” he offers. You can now compare so many different travel destinations, prices and airlines with a click of your mouse. Don’t be afraid to shop around to look for the best deal plus if you plan far enough in advance, you can find amazing deals on some really luxurious and first-class accommodations.

Make An Itinerary

It used to be that only high-end travel agents offered itineraries for vacation plans, however, if you create your own, and stick to it, you can find a lot of cost savings. It’s the random spending and not keeping track of what you are doing that really ends up breaking the bank. Getting around can be a huge cost as well. “Make sure to check public transportation,” Gottlieb offers, “You can really control expenses that way.” Many major cities have great public transportation systems with buses, subways, trains and other ways to get around. Then you won’t need to rent that car and you can save that money for something much more fun like souvenirs.

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Try A Hostel

For the younger, more adventurous crowd, especially in groups, Gottlieb suggests hostels. There are hundreds of them throughout the world and you can find incredibly inexpensive accommodations, especially if you are just looking for a place to sleep. Sure, you won’t be treated to that five-star luxury, but when it comes to seeing the world, why spend your money on the hotel when you can spend it seeing the sights? Worried about privacy? “Many hostels even offer private rooms,” according to Gottlieb, “you just have to ask.”

Try A Shipping Company

For the really adventurous, Gottlieb suggests a shipping company, as they usually offer very cheap passage on their cargo ships upon inquiry. “One caution though,” he offers, “These ships are not cruise lines and very few women work on cargo ships. So be prepared for limited privacy, rough language and crude humor.” If you are willing to take the risk, however, it can be a lot of fun. “The passage is cheap and you’re sure to be entertained by incredible stories at sea from an honestly welcoming crew.”

Ask A Bartender

“Bartenders know everything,” Gottlieb explains. “When you get to your destination, just stop in a local pub and ask the bartender what to do.” There is no better expert when it comes to local color and sight-seeing than the local barkeep. Be friendly, buy a drink or two and chat him up to find the best values and best ways to spend your time and hard-earned money. It’s far better than consulting one of those huge travel guides because the bartenders in the area are much more in the know than anyone else could ever be.

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Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at