Save money on travel: Become a local tourist


I'm a travel junkie.

Given a choice of ways to spend money, my first impulse is generally to eat something bizarre and potentially toxic. My second impulse is to travel somewhere exotic. Of course, once I get to where I'm going, I make a point of eating something bizarre and potentially toxic, thereby combining two of my favorite things. It's like having raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.

The only trouble, of course, is that travel is really expensive. Even if you know people who live in exciting, far-off lands, and even if they are nice enough to let you sleep on the floor, you still have to go through the trouble of traveling hundreds (or thousands) of miles. Then, once you're there, you have to pay for all your meals, cover transportation costs, and shell out for all the myriad incidentals. Better yet, after you're done sightseeing, you have to play Russian Roulette with the local restaurants, banking on the hope that the place you choose will be a memorable little bistro, not an overpriced swill hut with unrecognizable meat and surly, porcine waitresses. While my travels have brought me to some of the most amazing restaurants imaginable, they have also dragged me through some sleazy, sweaty joints that would give William S. Burroughs the heebie-jeebies.