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L.A. Times Travel Show: 3 budget tips for 2014 from Arthur Frommer

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Got questions about the travel outlook for 2014? Arthur Frommer's got answers.

You can see the guidebook author and budget travel legend at noon Jan. 18 at the Los Angeles Times Travel Show, which continues Jan. 19, both days at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Frommer is among dozens of experts who can help guide your journeys for 2014. They’ll be speaking on topics as diverse as what’s new in Europe to staying safe on the road. Frommer’s talk will give you keys to taking the sting out of the new year's high airfares and getting the best value for your buck.

In a recent phone interview, Frommer, 84, peered into what he calls his cloudy crystal ball and shared some advice for those starting their vacation plans.

1. Higher airfares? Deal with them. “Travel has become more difficult than ever in 2014, mainly because of the sharp rise in airfares,” Frommer said. “The continued consolidation of airlines leaving us in effect with only four airlines in the U.S. now.”

He has long lamented mergers of the big carriers -- Northwest and Delta in 2008, and US Airways and American Airlines completed in 2013 -- because fewer airlines mean fewer deals, particularly for travelers in smaller cities far from major hubs.

“To make the entire trip come in at a reasonable price, people are going to have to shift their attitudes, seek out ways of lowering costs for accommodations, for meals, sightseeing, etc.,” Frommer said. For those feeling the pinch, that means spending less on top hotels and fancy restaurants.

2. Consider giving hotels the heave-ho. Frommer recommends taking advantage of such websites as airbnb, which offers vacation rental rooms in 192 countries, and websites such as FlipKey, HomeAway and Rentalo that let out apartments. “You can stay in an apartment for a fraction of what you would pay in a hotel,” Frommer said.

3. Stay current on currencies. When looking for a bargain vacation, consider how far your dollar will go. Last year, Bali's currency took a more than 7% dive against the dollar ($1 equals about 12,000 Indonesian rupiahs), making the island a better deal than ever. Even Japan becomes more affordable; its currency dipped significantly for the first time in decades ($1 equals about 104 yen), Frommer said.

One habit Frommer doesn't think will shift is the way travelers use guides. He and daughter Pauline Frommer are relaunching the Frommer guidebook series. “We’re not married to paper,” Pauline Frommer said in an interview with The Times in October. “We understand that books are going to come out in many forms.”

The Frommers have come out with a slimmed-down series of 2014 guides that fit in a pocket or purse: EasyGuides (252 pages, $10.95 each) and Day by Day guides (184 pages, $13.95 each).

Frommer will join keynote speakers Henry Rollins, Adam Richman and Alyssa Milano at the show. The L.A. Times Events website offers more information about tickets and parking as well as others who will attend.

Find out more about who's coming to the L.A. Times Travel Show on Jan. 18 and 19 at the L.A. Convention Center.

Mary.Forgione@latimes.com

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