Photo: Google Maps
When New York Times columnist Seth Kugel sits down to plot his next ‘Frugal Travel’ adventure, he’s not the only one to weigh in. “It’s not like some gold mine, like I have a stash of gold coins in my office and I can go anywhere I want and then write about it,” said Kugel, whose most recent travels took him to Norway and Denmark. “There’s where I want to go and where my editors want me to go. But by the way, I never say no. There’s pretty much no where I don’t want to go.”
Once a destination is locked in, each step is plotted by Kugel himself, from which airline to choose––discount carriers aren’t his favourite––to where he’ll lay his head at night (“Anything over 100 a night is pretty much unacceptable.”).
“I have a lot of colleagues who’ve been travelling for 20 years,” he told Business Insider. “There’s a little bit of a learning curve for me.”
Lodging is of particular concern, since it’s likely to take up the biggest chunk of any traveller’s budget, including Kugel’s. There are countless sites dedicated to giving consumers the cheapest hotel rates in a specific area, but when he was ready to book a stay at Martha’s Vineyard for an upcoming column, he found an even better way to search:
“I went to every hotel site I could think of, Hotels.com, the chamber of commerce website, and every site had a slightly different list of hotels. I thought this is ridiculous,” he said. “I went to Google Maps, zoomed in on a specific area and searched for ‘hotels.’ 80-seven [options] popped up and I just went through every single one.”
It’s the simple, most organic way to search, he said.
“Anything else is somehow biased. Some of these sites, the hotel has to agree to be a part of them and they pay a fee. Other places are based on critics. This works much better in places where there aren’t 4,000 hotels though. I wouldn’t try this in NYC.”
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