Tag Archives: travel

Back From the Dead…

I’m back from my month long hiatus from the blogosphere. I’ve always heard it’s not wise to apologize via blog post for lack of writing but I feel too guilty for this blog disappearing off the face of the earth with no explanation to not show some sort of remorse. I’d also love to muster up some great excuse as to why I didn’t post but honestly, I’ve got nothing. So with that said, I am sorry to anyone who had been consistently following “Saving Sense”and I hope that I have not lost you!

Fortunately, I finally fulfilled one of my college break dreams and traveled! My roommates and I headed up to N.Y.C. for a few days and inevitably blew money on food and tourist attractions…however…I’m justifying this behavior because we happened to uncover a saving gem. Since we refused to shell out a couple hundred on a hotel, staying in a hostel was our next option. I’ll admit it, when I first heard the word “hostel” I thought of the horror movie Hostel where a couple Americans get slashed up in Europe so needless to say I was a little uneasy at first. I’m amazed sometimes at the risks I’ll take in order to save money…

We arrived to our humble hostel, Tone Hostels East in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, and were pleasantly surprised. The employees were down to earth and helpful, offering us advice on things to do and places to go, and it only cost $18 each to stay the night. The hostel had a youthful ambiance and everyone we encountered was around our age. We stayed in a room with four bunk beds, a shower, and sink with three other travelers who happened to be from Canada and Argentina. For me, meeting different kinds of people is the best aspect of traveling, so this was an awesome opportunity.

We ventured out into Manhattan to do our own thing for a bit then headed back to the hostel to query the employees on the area’s nightlife. Without hesitation, one guy ordered me to gather up whoever I could and said he had us covered. After recruiting our hostel roommates and those hanging out in the lounge, the hostel worker took us under his wing and led us into an Irish pub. We huddled together behind him, resembling a fifth-grade class on a field trip to the zoo, but once we settled in, it turned out to be a fun night.

We went back around midnight exhausted after a long day of walking and surveyed the sleeping quarters. Our provided sheets, pillows, and blankets appeared to be clean so my only real concern was that I’d get cold in the night but the room was well heated. Since we were on the first floor by the lounge, the noise level got a little high at points but this was nothing an Ipod couldn’t drown out.

In the morning breakfast was provided and we ate in the lounge with our newfound friends. I’d say the hostel experience was a huge success and I definitely plan on staying in more. I’ve been doing my research and almost every major U.S. and international city has hostels. Next time you travel check out Hostel.com and see whats out there. You have my word, hostels are not as creepy as people (and Hollywood) make them out to be.

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Frugal Traveling

I get pretty idealistic whenever an extended amount of time off from school approaches.  I see this span of time as a golden opportunity to tour the northern cities of the East Coast, head out West and camp in the Grand Canyons, or maybe even jump on a plane to Europe.  I’ll usually find an equally unrealistic friend to map out a travel plan with and we’ll spend hours in the library googling different locations around the world.  Finally, our long sought after break from school arrives, and ten times out of ten, the furthest either one of us makes it out of our house is five miles up the street to the local McDonald’s.  While I can’t really pinpoint exactly why our optimistic hopes and dreams to see the world turn to dust once we get home, something tells me it might have to do with money, or the lack-there-of.

Anyways, it’s that time of year again where I’m sitting in the library looking for things to distract me from my end-of-the-semester work load, so naturally I’ve been surfing the web in hopes of making my visions of becoming the intrepid traveler a reality.  I’ve gone as far as typing into Google “traveling for free” (who am I kidding) and while I have yet to find a free airplane ticket, hotel, or cruise, I did stumble across a site with a rather interesting travel concept.

Vagabondish is a site set up to offer travel advice to vagabonds (those who travel continuously without a permanent residence).  What intrigued me on the site was 8 Tools to Help You Travel Forever and Live Rent Free.  The article described and offered links to eight networking sites created for different types of travelers looking for rent-free places to stay.  Some sites required some sort of exchange-for instance Caretaker’s Gazette is a network designed for people who care for the elderly, house sit,work on a farm, etc. to receive free lodging.  Other sites such as Couch Surfing and Global Freeloaders consist of travelers and hosts, who are willing to offer up/stay in a home for no exchange.

I’m familiar with Couch Surfing and know a few people who have done it.  Basically they went anywhere they wanted to go in the United States and found a person on the site who lived in the area and stayed on their couch or in a guest room.  Everyone I’ve talked to who has tried this has had nothing but positive experiences but I can’t help but wonder about the trust factor involved in this.  However, it is tempting because housing tends to be the most expensive aspect of traveling and couch surfing eliminates this hefty cost.

Besides the eight sites, the vagabond site had a lot of other useful articles and tips on how to travel frugally.  So, for all you doers out there who actually plan on making it out of your town over break, give it a look, and let me know if you’d ever consider couch surfing.

-Tina

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