Five Money Pitfalls to Avoid While Traveling
Has anyone ever tried to make the argument that traveling is too expensive? That they don’t know how anyone manages to travel without using a huge chunk of their savings or worse-- going into debt? Well whoever complains about that doesn’t know how to travel right--and by right I mean cheap. The first place to start is by avoiding some of the most common pitfalls that novice travelers often blindly walk into. Here are five money mistakes to avoid during your travels so you’re not one of them.
Eating Near Tourist Attractions
Any food that you purchase near a major tourist attraction is going to easily be double the price of what you find somewhere else. On top of this, you can kiss food quality goodbye, as restaurants that cater to tourists tend to not care about freshness, taste, etc. Why would they? Most of their customers aren’t coming back anytime soon. If you want real authentic cuisine without breaking the bank, then take the time to ask a local about their favorite restaurants. When I was traveling, I struck up conversations with taxi drivers, hotel managers, and even random strangers about what their favorite eating haunts were. Not only was everyone more than willing to tell me about their favorite food places, but I got to try some amazing dishes and check out areas I wouldn’t have gone otherwise!
Rule of thumb: if you haven’t worn it in over a year, there’s no reason why you’re going to wear it while traveling. I can’t emphasize enough how important underpacking is to your wallet and overall mental health. It’s so easy to throw everything you think you could possibly need into a couple of suitcases, but not only will you feel bogged down by a bunch of stuff you don’t really need, you’ll end up paying up to $100 for each additional bag you carry every time you fly!
Exchanging Money at the Airport
I made this mistake the first time I traveled to Hong Kong. I was excited to be in a new place and wanted to exchange my money right away. I might as well have lit a $100 bill on fire, because that’s how much I lost in the terrible airport exchange rate! To ensure you’re getting the best rate use a travel credit card or withdraw money from an ATM.
Booking Your Hotel at the Very Last Minute
I’ve been guilty of this one in the past and it’s cost me dearly. There’s something exhilarating and freeing about traveling on a whim and there are advantages to doing so. However, if you’re planning on staying at a hotel in a busy location, during a holiday or even on a weekend, then you’re better off booking it at least a couple of weeks in advance. I made the mistake of procrastinating on booking a hotel in Dublin on the night of Halloween and ended up having to book a hotel well out of my budget.
Going Out Drinking Every Night
For some people, traveling and partying go hand in hand. Drinking only costs a few dollars in many places like Thailand and Cambodia. However, if you get a few drinks every night, it’s going to rack up. Two for $5 Pina Coladas are only economical if you stop there. I’m not saying don’t have fun, but be aware of how much you’re spending on drinks and consider limiting going out to one or two nights a week. You’ll find you don’t need it to have fun and feel fulfilled and you’ll easily save several hundred dollars by doing so!
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