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A grab bag of reader advice

From breakfast in Mexico to theater on Broadway, the mail brings cost-saving tips.

August 10, 2003|Arthur Frommer | Special to The Times

These may be the lazy days of summer, but readers are busy compiling suggestions for travel savings. Here are some tips from my mail:

* Before traveling by taxi in foreign (or even domestic) places, ask a local (stop in a shop to question the sales staff) what the approximate taxi fare should be to your destination, said a woman from Oregon. People are happy to help her pay the correct price, she added, instead of an inflated tourist rate.

* You can save a great deal when dining in Spanish- or Portuguese-speaking countries by looking for the reduced-price menu del dia at restaurants in Spain, the ementa turistica in Portugal, the prato commercial or prato feido in Brazil and the comida corriente in Mexico.

The Chicago reader who made this suggestion also advised travelers to eat their big meal of the day at 2 or 3 p.m., followed by a light dinner.

As for breakfast in Mexico, an excellent but inexpensive one can be found around central plazas and markets by looking for a panaderia (bakery) selling sweet rolls and breads to go.

* Anytime you travel, advised a college student from Arizona, take some protein bars or power bars with you. They provide a cheap (about $1.50 each) snack full of nutrients, and they fit easily in your luggage or backpack.

* A new Web site,, will give you comparative details on more than 30 brands of travel insurance, said a California reader. It relies on ratings from state insurance commissioners and insurance industry overseers for information.

* Several privately owned resorts are found on the premises of Walt Disney World, and these can sometimes be big bargains, said a Florida resident. He particularly likes the Courtyard by Marriott, available at discounted rates when booked online. The private hotels have their own buses, he added, which you can use to reach theme parks; you save $5 to $10 in parking costs, making these properties more attractive.

* When driving south from Georgia to Florida, fill up your gas tank just before you cross the border, said a New Englander. Gasoline prices increase dramatically in Florida.

* To buy New York City theater tickets in advance at up to 40% to 50% off their usual prices, check out, or All three, said a New Yorker, offer discount codes for many shows on Broadway. You can then use these when ordering tickets on the Internet or by phone.

None of these sites, the reader said, charges a fee, although you have to join and to get to the deals.

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