Budget travel and getting around

One of the biggest parts of a travel and vacation budget is often the cost of getting from one place to another. It is important to budget for this important expense, and to consider some unique options, in order to make your travel dollars stretch as far as possible.

When choosing a rental car, it is important to choose the most economical and fuel efficient car that meets your needs. Obviously, the size of your family will impact the choice of rental car, but compact and even subcompact cars can be great for motoring around cities, particularly when it comes time to park in those tight spots.

In addition, a smaller car will get better gas mileage, which is no small consideration, especially if you plan to do a lot of daily driving. And if you plan to travel far and wide, it may be important to choose a rental deal that provides unlimited miles, since charges for mileage overages can be quite costly.

When it comes to the decision of whether to accept or decline the optional collision coverage on a rental car, always be sure to see if you are already covered elsewhere. For instance, your auto insurance company may already provide insurance coverage for rental cars, as may your credit card company. If you are covered by these policies, there is no need to accept the costly collision insurance offered by the rental car company. And of course you will always want to top off your rental car with gasoline before dropping it off, as refueling charges by rental car companies are generally quite high.

Of course, there is a far less alternative to rental cars that few people take advantage of, but in many cities public transportation can be a far less costly, and far more convenient, alternative to paying to drive, and to park, a rental car.

Of course public transportation does not make sense in every location. Many small towns, and even some larger cities have public transportation systems that are infrequent, inefficient, inconvenient or even nonexistent. In other locations, however, using public transportation makes a lot of sense. In New York City, for instance, visitors can buy a pass that it good on all subways, buses and trains. The cost of a weekly pass can be less than what a visitor would pay to rent a car for a single day.

And public transportation provides an additional benefit as well; it frees the tourist from the hassles, and expense, of parking the rental car. Many locations in New York, for instance, charge $20, $30 or even more for parking, and other major cities are almost as costly.

Getting around using public transportation is not as difficult as many people imagine either. Many public transportation companies, particularly those located in major tourist destinations, publish guides which give the route numbers to popular destinations, and bus drivers a train conductors in these locations are often quite adept at getting tourists where they need to go.