I’ve been told that travel tips are often rigid and impersonal.

I give tips all the time and I don’t think I’m rigid or impersonal, so I’ll give this a shot. Here are four fluid and personal travel tips for your enjoyment:

Roommates Aren’t So Bad

Remember when you were younger (maybe high school or college) and you used to sleep anywhere from 2-45 people in one bedroom just to save some cash. You might also remember that living in very close proximity to your travel partners is actually somewhat of a bonding experience.

My favorite vacation ever was spending 5 weeks in Europe sleeping in hostel beds right beside two of my friends and next to around 3-16 other complete strangers. Sure it was cheaper than hotels, but it also really helped me bond with those two guys. Bunk up and you’ll save a few bucks as well as get a little closer to your friends.

Trade Living Spaces

You probably have friends that live somewhere you want to visit. You probably also don’t want to stay with those friends because they have a small apartment or you aren’t really close to them or you are really embarrassed about your horrible body odor.

Don’t visit those friends; trade homes with them! Switch places with them for a week. You pay $0 in lodging for your trip and have a built-in housesitter to feed your dog. For the most advanced travelers, you can even set up a three or four way swap.

Don’t Travel For Stuff You Have at Home

I’ve never understood people who spend tons of money on flights and hotel rooms to go to a different city and do the exact same thing they would do in their hometown.

beach feet

photo credit: flickr.com/epsos

There’s no reason to fly to Vegas to go to bars when you probably have 100’s of places in your hometown you’ve yet to party in. Go to Vegas for the shows that you can’t see anywhere else. Similarly, don’t pay a bunch of money to go to Florida in June to sit around at a pool when you have a pool down the street. Go to Florida to surf or scuba dive. On the other end of the weather, don’t go somewhere cold like Canada just to hole up inside and sit in the heat. Get out, embrace the cold if it’s something you don’t have at home. Build a snowman. You can find plenty of cheap vacation packages that would involve or at least suggest some fun winter activities.

Getting away is great, but you’re only getting half the benefit if you’re only changing location. Change what you’re doing too.

Use Current Events to Your Advantage

I went to Mexico a few weeks ago for super cheap. I’m sure everything was cheap because of all the bad publicity Mexico is getting about violence and gangs, even though none of that affects the area I was in.

I’m sure there are some great travel deals in places like Greece, Italy and Spain right now, considering the fact that those economies are in the pooper and they desperately need customers.

Pay attention to the news and don’t do anything stupid like scheduling a trip to a border town of Mexico, but use the news to your advantage and get a great deal from people who are dying for your business.

Readers: How do you save money on traveling?