Research is the first step to travelling on the cheap. Start by googling the destination site, adding the words "cheap" or "frugal" or "affordable." I love checking out travel books from the public library too. They are full of beautiful pictures and helpful information.
Before traveling anywhere, read up on the place you want to visit in books and online. And then list all the places you want to see, researching these places too.
Visit Free Sites
Here are some free places to visit when traveling:
Notre Dame Cathedral (you do have to pay to climb the tower, though), Paris, France
Maison de Victor Hugo (Victor Hugo Museum), Paris, France
Versailles Gardens (you have to pay to see the palace, but gardens are free), Paris, France
Plaza del Toros (Bullfighting Museum), Madrid, Spain
Palacio Real, Madrid's Royal Palace (free on Wednesdays), Madrid, Spain
National Museum of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland
Leinster House, National Parliament of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland
Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, London, England
Tate Modern Museum, London, Museum
U. S. S. Arizona Memorial, Honolulu, Hawaii
Consider Hostels or Home Trades
I have not yet tried trading homes, but people who have traded homes for vacationing rave about the benefits. In Home exchange, I could stay in a chalet in the Swiss Alps while the owner of the chalet stayed in our Orlando area home. The hospitality exchange would mean that I would host the Swiss family and later on, the Swiss family would host our family.
Carefully consider your transportation options when you get to your vacation destination. We found that the cheapest option in London, considering our plans, was to purchase a travel card for the tube. We could travel wherever and whenever we wanted for an inexpensive fee. If you are traveling across Europe, consider a Eurail pass that will allow you to travel wherever you want to go for one fee.
When we landed at Heathrow, we followed our pre-trip plan of taking the tube from the airport. This complicated trip was compounded by each of us carting 1 large suitcase and 2 carry-ons. We hadn't realized that we would be walking up and down stairs.
Having said that, be willing to splurge on what is important to you too ... like a taxi!
Make Wise Choices
Decide how you want to travel. Do you want to relax and experience the flavor of the places you are visiting? Or do you want to pack in as much sightseeing as you can? The answers to these and other questions will determine how you spend your money.
Merey (Meredith Ludwig Curtis)