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Ask An OC Expert: Tips For Traveling Internationally On A Budget

Holiday Travelers Begin Thanksgiving Exodus
(credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

From airfares and hotels to paying for bags when you fly, every aspect of traveling has gotten more expensive. Still, you see the travel shows where the host tells you how you can travel relatively cheaply. There are some tricks to learn, but it can be done. No matter where you're headed, here are some tips for saving money on everything from booking your flight to buying food when you're at your destination.

Bobbo Byrnes (credit: Gary Schwind)

Bobbo Byrnes
Guitar, vocals for The Fallen Stars

Bobbo Byrnes plays guitar and sings for local band The Fallen Stars. He has made multiple trips to Europe with the band. Let's face it. If anyone knows about doing things on a budget, it's a musician. He discusses things he's learned in his international tours with the band that you can use whether or not you play in a band.

Set Travel Alerts and Book Your Own Travel
The budget for your trip doesn't start when you arrive at your destination. It starts when you first begin planning your trip, but of course, you can't camp out at your computer all day and watch airfares. Sites like Skyscanner allow you to stay updated on changes in airfare to your destination, and sites like Kayak allow you to compare fares across sites. Meanwhile, doing all of the searching yourself will save you money that you would have spent at a travel agency

Stay Somewhere Other Than Hotels
The ideal situation is to travel to places where you know someone because hotel accommodations are the greatest expense once you're actually at your destination. However, if you don't know anyone in the country where you're headed, you can still avoid the expense of a hotel. Airbnb is a site that allows you to look for vacation homes or apartments to rent when you reach your destination. You'll be amazed at how much money this leaves for all the fun stuff you want to do.

Related: Orange County's Best Luggage Shops

Use Public Transportation...Selectively
When you're traveling around Europe especially, public transportation - whether it's a cab, a bus or a train - can be pretty expensive. However, you do need a way to get around when you're in your destination country. While it may seem unusual to get into a car with a lot of people you don't know, carpooling is a great way to get around and save money. Sites like can help you find someone that is going the same direction as you. That being said, trains are pretty affordable in Asia, while large taxis are a good option in the Middle East.

Eat Food From Street Vendors
If you're in another country and eating in a restaurant every day, you're going to burn through money pretty quickly. The key to saving money on food is to set a daily food budget. One way you can stick to a pretty strict food budget is to buy food from street vendors. Sure, you won't get the ambiance of a restaurant, but the ambiance is what you'll pay more for. Another trick is to go to street vendors at the end of the day when they may be willing to give some food away.

Related: Best Holiday Travel Tips For People From Orange County

Gary Schwind is a freelance writer covering all things Orange County. His work can be found on


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