When you are planning independent travel, working out your budget can be depressing. We all know the ideal vacation will let you have the most fun for the least money, so here are some tips to help you save money on your travels and still have a great time:
1. In general, transportation expenses will take up a big chunk of your budget. Travel by train if you have enough time. It can save you a lot. For example, a round-trip flight from Chongqing to Beijing, costs about 2,800 yuan (US$340), while a round-trip train ticket costs only 800 yuan (US$ 97). That's 2,000 yuan (US$243) you can save on the journey and spend when you get there.
2. When you get to your destination, it's also important to select the most economical mode of transportation to get around. Choose city buses or shuttle buses to get to scenic spots. It will also be worthwhile to buy yourself a map to plan the best transportation routes in advance.
3. Hotel expenses can also cost a lot if you don't do your homework. It's important to bargain over the rate at each hotel, as the prices posted at the desks are almost never final. This can often save you hundreds. If your bargaining skills are that great or you just want to avoid the headache, another good way to get cheap prices is to book your room in advance through a travel agent or on the Internet before you go. Travel agents often have special deals and prior arrangements with hotels in other cities, netting you a reasonable worry-free price.