Over the weekend, I attended the DC Travel and Adventure Show where I was fortunate to spend 5 minutes each with Pauline Frommer and Samantha Brown. Those Q&A sessions will appear in future McCool Travel articles.
Pauline Frommer gave two talks. Here are some fantastic tips from her first talk, “Travel Smarter: When to Splurge and When to Scrimp.”
Individual preferences vary, of course. Pauline polled the audience for each travel category and there usually was a good division between scrimping and splurging. She even admitted to disagreeing with her father, Arthur Frommer, on one category (which one? see below):
Travel Tips From Pauline Frommer
- Lodging. Scrimp. With alternate lodging and home exchanges, in particular, you can get greater value for less money. Two resources she uses are HotelsCombined.com and Hipmunk.com; use the overlay map with categories such as food (good) or vice (avoid).
- Airfares. Splurge (involuntarily). She suggests buying airfares now as expectations are that airfares will continue to increase. For airfare searches, Pauline likes momondo.com and dohop.com. For business class flights, she suggests using flights.com and cheapoair.com.
- Car Rentals. Scrimp. Look for firms that do not annually turn over their inventory. Mom and pop agencies can be found on breezenet.com. Pauline also suggests using AutoSlash.com and Priceline/Hotwire.
- Sightseeing. Splurge. Look for small group adventure tours rather than anyone using a bus. “If a bus is involved, it will be a big tour company.” She particularly likes Gap Adventures (now G Adventures), Intrepid, Adventure Center, and Djoser. These companies use local transportation and stay in local guest houses. Per day rate is on the order of $50 instead of $200 for bus company.
- Food. Depends. Sometimes street food is preferable and sometimes you want to take advantage of world class chefs. Pauline suggested signing up for and using Groupon and Living Social. “NEVER ask a concierge for a dining recommendation.”
- Cruises. Scrimp. This is where Pauline and her father differ. He likes to splurge on cruises. Pauline says to use public transportation to visit excursions and save a ton of money–and avoid the crowds. An example she cited was visiting the Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska ($80 cruise fee or $3.50 public bus). Some resources with discounted excursions include ShoreTrips.com and PortPromotions.com.
How about you? Do you scrimp wherever possible? Always splurge?