Plan the list of attractions ahead of time
I make a list of all the attractions I want to visit, and then I list the prices of each attraction.
Then I look for bundled packages so that I can save money on a bunch of attractions.
I also map out the attractions on Google Maps, and define them into zones, so that I just take one trip to the zone, and end up walking to the other attractions.
This helps save on time as well, so you can get it all in.
Map out and learn the public transportation options
Buses, subway lines, and whatever else.
I usually figure out the average cost per use based on the things we want to do and see in the city, and then see if buying a pass or paying ad hoc would be cheaper.
This can also help save money by not having to pay for a taxi.
If you have grouped your attractions into zones, you can map the transportation routes to them ahead of time so you won’t have to spend time or money zig-zagging all over the city.
More importantly, using public transportation can help you….
…save you money on your hotel!
If you can find a Motel 6 or a budget hotel OFF the downtown city radar, you can save at least $30/night in some cases.
All it takes is just a little subway ride to get to your hotel. It’s a little inconvenient, but if you are early risers like BF and I, you just spend the first 15-20 minutes on a train early in the morning, and you are just in time to start the day downtown.
As for eating..
I know a lot of people travel so that they do NOT have to cook, or to try different cuisines.
This was definitely the case when we went to Portugal.
To help save on money and our appetites, we didn’t waste it on the smaller meals.
For example, we made sandwiches from the grocery store for breakfast.
That would last us until lunch, which is the meal the Portuguese consider culturally to be THE MEAL of the day, unlike our supper or dinners.
So we splurged on those lunches when they would bust out their specialties, and stuffed ourselves silly.
Then for dinner, we were so stuffed from lunch, that we had a light sandwich.
When we went to France last summer, we did the same thing — saved on the unimportant meals, and splurged on the big ticket meals.
Luckily, we had an apartment to cook in when we were in Paris, so we spent time cooking some meals made with local, fresh ingredients there, which was a real treat for us.
Note: But we don’t do this in North America.
This is controversial for many, but when we travel in North America, we don’t tend to eat in restaurants.
To me, the food served basically the same as anywhere else I’ve lived, and if I were to choose a place to eat, it’d be to try out the local street vendors, or high-end gastronomic food.
Other than that, going to eat at the same styles of restaurants we would find in any NA city is not really appealing.
BF and I end up eating a lot of food in our hotel room, or eating ready-made meals from Whole Foods and grocery stores.