Travel Experiment

Next week, I have a trip to Seattle planned where I am going to meet up with some college friends. Before heading there, I decided to stop by Portland, a place I am interested in seeing. Normally, I am employ a lot of strategies to finds discounts or keep costs down, but still make sure I am able to enjoy the trip. I have decided on this trip, I am going to try some new strategies for me to keep everything affordable.

Priceline or Hotwire Hotels

While I have booked hotels through these websites, I have never tried bidding on a hotel or staying at a mystery hotel. I really do have a complete understanding of how the process works. However, I understand you are using flexibility to score a cheaper rate. Luckily, I am a pretty low maintenance guest. I just do not want to be murdered in the night, or have a room that would fail a health code inspection. This makes me a little more willing to roll the dice and jump into the unknown


I have wanted to try Couchsurfing for a while, but have not had the opportunity. There should be a cost saving, since you pay no fees to use the service. Despite the no fees, I expect to help out, buy dinner, bring a gift, or provide something for my guest. It am also interested in meeting local people and getting their perspectives. As stated above, I think my flexibility will increase the likelihood of both parties having a positive experience.


I did once buy a Groupon deal for my fiancee, but in terms of travel I have never used it. I really like doing active pursuits and activities on vacation. I imagine Groupon can help me out in this category.

Mystery Shopping

I have just signed up for a mystery shopping program and am itching to try it out. Mystery shopping for restaurants is one of the opportunities they provide. What better time to mystery shop at restaurant than when you are on vacation? I normally eat out a lot more on vacation, which I also feel is part of the travel experience. Sadly, it is also a part of travel expense. A meal covered and a couple bucks coming my way can allow me to still experience the cuisine on the west coast while helping my wallet.

Signing up for Dining Loyalty Program

Like most companies, many restaurants have loyalty programs to entice and track customers. Often when signing up, you can get some type of sign on bonus meal. This would also help limit the cost of dining. I doubt that this will get me a free meal at any fine dining establishments, but I think I can go a meal without an authentic experience.

I am almost as excited to try all these new options as I am for the trip. Saving a few bucks here and there eventually can make it possible to go on another trip or work towards achieving some other life ambitions. Sometimes “cost cutting” measures, can also add value or fun to your trip. A hostel is a budget way to travel, but I have also found the social aspect as a solo traveler makes it more enjoyable than a standard hotel. Maybe this list will yield a similar learning moment. I will update you on what works, what does not, and any other thoughts in a future post.

Hope that helps,




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