Many people wonder how to travel cheap and still get the most out of vacation. After all, it can be tricky traveling and then maintaining some semblance of a budget, as our eyes get big about the prospects of all we can do while away from home. That said, there are plenty of spending mistakes when planning a trip, so we identify those and offer up what to do instead.
Trips out of town, especially when going international, are supposed to be fun and exciting, not stressful and financially draining. If you experience travel remorse because you ended up going way over your personal budget, check out these common money suck mistakes to avoid before traveling.
Buying Your Ticket Months In Advance
Some of us are serious planners who believe the best time to buy a ticket for a trip is months out. However, that smug feeling of thinking you’ve gotten the best bang for your buck can quickly be dashed with the realization that your “good deal” was actually kind of a rip off. There are lots of resources that can help find the cheapest flights as the trip gets closer, so don’t get too anxious to buy too soon.
How To Travel Instead: Check out third party ticket vendors like Expedia and Airfarewatchdog. Those sites are scouring the world wide web for the absolute best fare for your travel budget. It’s also important to spend a minute on Google Flights, which will tell you when your desired flight is likely to rise or drop in price.
Opting For The Cheapest Flight
Yes, we all love a good deal on airfare, but being stuck overnight in an airport, booking an insanely early flight, or flying into a smaller airport that requires a longer cab ride to your accommodations can be utter hell on earth. Is the torture of travel, dodgy airlines and lack of sleep worth the couple hundred bucks you’ll save? We think not. You’ll end up spending the money you saved on overpriced creature comforts to save your sanity and pricier transportation if you’re not flying into a city’s main airport.
How To Travel Instead: Have an honest conversation with yourself. Can you handle travel days from hell, or do you want to make your city hopping as smooth as possible? If your answer is the latter, but you’re still down to buy a cheap flight with a terrible layover, consider treating yourself to an airport lounge pass while waiting for your connecting flight. This will allow a long layover traveler to shower, nap, have WiFi access and not be surrounded by a ton of other cranky travelers trying to find a comfortable position in a chair by the gate!
Traveling With Bad Luggage
Investing in luggage is like investing in nice bath towels — when you have them, it makes everything a little more luxurious. Of course, it’s easy to keep throwing down a little cash for a cheap suitcase that “gets the job done,” but, when the wheels break, seams start splitting and the handle gets stuck, it ends up performing like a worker looking to get fired. It’s no fun when your luggage konks out mid-trip, and if you add up all the money you’ve spent shopping sales racks for bottom feeder bags, you’ll realize you could’ve been traveling with a quality suitcase the entire time!
How To Travel Instead: Buy yourself a quality bag! If you’re not sure which brand or style to invest in, ask your friends what they swear by and check out the top-rated cases online. When you’ve got a bag that leaves you worry free, your trip will feel like a true vacation!
Eating At Restaurants For Every Meal
It’s common when planning a trip to hop on social media and ask your network where all the must-try places are in your travel destination. You’re likely to get an avalanche of responses, giving you a swarm of places to cheap eats to fill your belly with local cuisine. All great recommendations, we’re sure, but this becomes a problem when you decide to go to a sit-down-and-be-served eatery for every meal. Eating out every meal will drain your travel funds faster than you can swallow your next bite of food, and leave you feeling anxious thinking about dipping into money you swore you wouldn’t touch.
How To Travel Instead: Do a little research and map out a few must-try places. If you’re city hopping, allow yourself one or two awesome sit down experiences and, the rest of the time, be more like a local and pick up something from a corner shop and eat it in a public area. You’ll not only get a better experience, but the sit down meals will feel extra special when you decide to splurge and treat yourself!
Only Traveling To The Biggest Tourist Attractions
Cities all over the world have their own personal claim to fame, and it’s only natural that you’d plan part of your trip around seeing these landmarks for yourself. But, sometimes, you don’t care, and end up paying exorbitant entry fees just to check out something you feel obligated to because everyone else has! Well, now is the time to stop that way of thinking and truly do what you want while traveling!
How To Travel Instead: Before your trip, do a little digging online for destinations to see off the beaten path in the city you’re visiting. Start making a list of the not-so-popular attractions that are drawing you in and make them your “must-sees.” You’ll have more fun, interesting social media opportunities and stories to tell than if you followed the pack of every other tourist around you!
Lead image via Getty