Subject: Travel bargains
Ziners, Fanny is on to something. Ziners offer great advice on trip planning and often include prices, but using terms such as moderate, reasonable or pricey mean different things to different people.

One person's feast is another's famine. Accommodations are one of the few things a traveller can control. Restaurant food prices, train fares, car rental and museum admission fees are set.

Often, I find that hotels recommended by Ziners as reasonable are more money than I would spend. We look for the cheapest accommodations possible. For example, we have not spent more than $150 U.S. in New York City and Paris and 90 pounds in mid-town London, for two people (these prices still boggle my mind with memories of European travel from 30 years ago). We have stayed in a local YMCA in Vienna to save money on the place we will spend minimal time in, preferring to splurge on food, museums, etc. We also generally buy the cheapest fare for cruises, taking an inside cabin on a lower deck, again because we are only paying for a bed and shower. Others may want a fine hotel stay. C'est la vie.

Having said that, we did splurge and spent $20 on a small villa in Koh Samui, Thailand (called First Bungalow for Ziners who may travel to the island) rather than $2.50 on a hut because the hotel had a gorgeous pool where we lounged for three days. We felt foolish when talking to fellow travellers who had spent so little money on their accommodations because the $20 was considered high end for the island but after two weeks of backpacking travel we needed the break.

We have found two great travel bargains. One is the American Southwest. Basic, clean roadside accommodations at $25-$40/night and restaurants with meals for two at under $40. Australia is another bargain vacation, once you've paid the airfare. Again accommodation and food costs are reasonable and out-of-country travellers can buy air and bus passes for a good price. An added bonsu is that Australians are among the most hospitable hosts you will ever meet. Lucy, Toronto (always on the hunt for a bargain)