Bucks Guide to Frugal Traveling

This is the fifth installment of the “Bucks Guide” series, which consists of previous posts grouped into topical guides. When I read other blogs I like I’m sure there is older content I might want to read, but usually I don’t have the time to dig through the archives. This is my attempt at making subject matter easier to find here. To that end here is:

Bucks Guide to Frugal Traveling

How to Camp on the Cheap

Is AAA Worth It?

How to Buy a Used Car – Including the Audacious 30% Rule

Eight Essentials for Winter Driving

Car Review from a Tow Truck Driver

My wife and I recently had a vehicle break down and called AAA for a tow. We found ourselves trapped in the cab for the 35 mile trip with a very chatty driver. Besides running us through his entire work history and calling his wife on his cell phone to tell her about his day one of the observations he offered was his opinion on the best and worst cars on the road. In his opinion the best car out there was the Volvo. In his 5 years of towing he had only towed four of them, and those had not broken down but had been in accidents or had flat tires. The worst vehicle? He said the Jeep Grand Cherokee was hands down the biggest piece of junk on the road. He had towed more of them by far than any other vehicle.

I have not owned either vehicle so I don’t have an opinion but I thought it was interesting to get a car review from someone who tows them every day.

The following sites and their descriptions appeared at other places on The Buck List:

Looking for free places to stay while you travel around the world? Check out the non-profit Couch Surfing.

Trippish is a combo direction and weather site. Type in your departure and arrival locations and the date and Trippish will give you the route itinerary along with weather forecasts.

Type in a location to get the current weather, forecast and webcams views at Weather Bonk.

Wi-Fi Free Spot is a directory of locations that offer free Wi-Fi all over the world, including a state by state breakdown of the USA.

Free Campgrounds – This site is geared for finding RVers a place to camp for $10 or less but many of the campgrounds I looked at also offered tent camping as well. Worth a look.

Travel Muse – Plan, create and organize your trips using this site. If you don’t know where to go use the "Inspire Me" button.

The next time you are making travel plans give Kayak a try, a travel website search engine.

Use Gas Buddy to find the lowest gas prices anywhere in the USA.

How do you know if what you are being charged for auto repair is fair? Check out RepairPal for “independent and unbiased repair estimates, user ratings and reviews, plus advice you can't get anywhere else.”
Brave New Traveler – I really like this one. They sum it up best by saying, “Incorporating mostly original content from staff writers and guest authors, BNT avoids “destination-specific” narratives and instead focuses on topics like philosophy, health, politics and culture.”

Visit State Fair Dates to find when state fairs all over the U.S. will be held, as well as links to their web pages. is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation and is a “grass-roots collaborative effort established to help recognize, preserve and enhance selected roads throughout the United States.”

Founded in 1999 in Oregon, BootsnAll Travel “seeks to cultivate an organic community that encourages independent travel.” They offer thousands of travel stories & blogs written by travelers, offer travel guides, and can even book air tickets and adventure trips. Visit their Boot Blog and sign up for your own free travel blog.

Looking for an airline toll-free phone number or website? Bookmark Toll Free Airline for quick reference.

The Rideshare Directory offers to “find a regional or national rideshare, vanpool, or carpool resource.” Search your state and travel together next time.

City Squares is an interesting site that profiles local businesses that might not have a web presence. Type in your town or city and you might find some hidden gems in your own neighborhood.

Type in your zip code and find out what others really paid for their cars at True Car.

cashURwheels is “the only marketplace that connects private vehicle owners with advertisers directly.” If you have ever thought about plastering your vehicle with ads to make some extra money visit this site to see how it works.

Search for cheap airline tickets and price comparisons on Cheap Flights. They also offer free travel guides and a deals alert newsletter.

Travel Chums is a free travel companion matching site. Sign up and create a profile and you then have several options to meet others that are compatible to travel with.

I haven’t stayed in a vacation rental yet, but it sounds like an interesting alternative to hotels and resorts. Check out Zonder where you can search for homes and condos by location and nightly rate.

2 Car Pros offers free car repair advice by certified ASE technicians, as well as a forum, videos and an archive of questions and answers by manufacturer and topic.

If you like to travel and prefer the local eateries Roadfood is the site for you. Register for free to post in the forums and write reviews of restaurants you enjoy. Also use their search engine to find restaurants along your travel route.

Car Care offers a free car care guide, a repair shop search engine, a service schedule and a listing of DOT websites for the United States and Canada.

Visit Home Away to peruse more than 425,000 paid vacation rental home listings across 120 countries. They say they list properties that rent from $200 to $300,000 per week.

The Tourism Offices Worldwide Directory “is your guide to official tourist information sources: government tourism offices, convention and visitors bureaus, chambers of commerce, and similar organizations that provide free, accurate, and unbiased travel information to the public.”

Vacation Rentals by Owner “provides an online space for homeowners to advertise their vacation properties and make it easy for travelers to search 130,000+ rentals in over 100 countries worldwide.”

You can use Viator to book popular tours and travel experiences at the best value. They hand-select every local travel provider and screen each experience for quality, value and service. Worth a look.

Don’t let the name fool you, Frugal RV Travel is not just for RV owners. They offer a free newsletter, a blog, advice on how to find free camping, frugal travel tips and more. Don’t forget to find out if you are a Shunpiker.

Cities on the Cheap offers insider information on free things to do and deals in various cities across the U.S., Canada and Europe. Subscribe to keep up on all of the deals.

“Fred and Suzi Dow have been visiting, researching, and providing a wealth of information about National Forest campgrounds since 1994.” Check out their site at Forest Camping for personal reviews and photos of the campgrounds they have visited.

Airfare Watchdog finds and lists low fares that are verified by humans. Subscribe to receive free fare alerts and also try their search feature that queries ten other sites.

Lonely Planet not only publishes unique travel guidebooks but also has an award winning website. Check out their travel tips, reviews and the extensive Thorn Tree message board.

Side Step is a travel aggregator that searches over 200 websites to find the best travel values on the web.

Free Campsites – Use this site to find free campgrounds and boondocking locations in the United States and Canada. A search of my state of Iowa produced 46 results, but not all were free. The site is worth a peek anyway.

Traffic “is the #1 U.S. traffic-only website for online and mobile traffic information.” Check out this free site to see how they can help with your daily drive.

Traveleyes “is a travel company with a difference. We provide holidays for both blind/visually impaired and sighted travelers, journeying together in a spirit of mutual independence.” Visit this unique site to learn more.

If you are planning on traveling around the U.S. anytime soon make sure to bookmark the National Traffic and Road Closure Information site. They offer state by state information on construction, weather and road conditions and links to all of the state DOT’s.

DogFriendly provides nationwide city guides and travel guides for dog owners. If you like to travel with your dog this site is indispensible. While there take a look at their free online travel guide.

Fuel Economy “provides fuel economy estimates, energy and environmental impact ratings, fuel-saving tips, and other useful information.”

If you like to bike check out Bicycling. They offer everything from bike reviews to training and nutrition advice, as well as repair and maintenance tips, ride maps and news.

Trip Advisor can give you travel advice, help you to book hotels and flights and provides 1,000’s of traveler reviews.

Fare Compare is an airline ticket comparison shopping website where you can compare prices on thousands of airline flight options from over 500 airlines.

ToursByLocals “connects travelers with local tour guides who are keen to share their knowledge, experience and expertise.” If you like to travel this could be a good way to get an inside tour by a local. If being a guide sounds interesting you could make some money doing that.

Do you hate ticket cameras and speed traps? Visit the National Motorists Association, who “work for more rational traffic laws, reasonable speed limits, fair enforcement practices and traffic courts more interested in justice than ticket revenue.”

Traxo automatically creates and updates one itinerary from over 40 air, hotel and car websites. You can access your plans on paper, your phone, calendar, or the web.

MotorWatch is “an indefatigable protector of the American public’s right to have safe, defect-free motor vehicles.” While they really want you join with a paid membership you can also find plenty of free information by clicking around the website.

Whether you are thinking about planning your first cruise or are a regular “cruiser” Cruise Critic is a site you can’t afford not to visit. Use the site to plan and research your cruise, read cruise reviews, ports of call profiles and destination stories. Make sure to visit the Cruise Critic message boards while you are there.

Related Reading:

Bucks Guide to Food and Cooking

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