Don’t we all fall victim to a sort of splurge spending when on holidays. You know, that feeling of having left all the problems and worries behind in the real world, while enjoying a well-deserved vacation break from all the work and stress? Until it hits you upon return to normal life and you get a hold of your bank statements only now noticing how much you actually spent! Guess what, you are not alone.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to spend a little bit when on holiday. It’s all about the new place, foreign cultures, amazing food, and generally just creating an unforgettable experience. Nonetheless, you can still do all these things without breaking the bank if done correctly. We have consolidated and outlined 12 points that will help you for your next trip and hopefully keep you consciously aware to not overspend.
Reason 1: Eating out all the time
Breakfast not included in your hotel stay? No problem, go have it at the cafe next door, then do lunch in a cool fish restaurant at the harbor and in the evening you need to check out the burger joint that has gigantic organic burgers that supposedly are the best in town with a nice cool craft beer. Does that sound like you? I admit that certainly does sound like me quite a bit. Yes, eating out is fun, yet food expenses typically are on the top of any list when it comes to spending money. This does not mean you shouldn’t enjoy a nice night out, but there certainly are many alternatives that are easy to live with.
One great way is to ensure your hotel or guesthouse has free breakfast included. If you plan well enough in regards to the meal you eat at breakfast, you often can get through an entire day without your stomach grumbling until early evening. Is that the best thing to do? You decide, however, if you do need something in-between that grab a sports bar, healthy snack or salad at a local grocery store. That definitely won’t break the bank and allows you to enjoy other things along the way. While your there (at the supermarket), stock up on bread, cheese, and other easy to prepare foods, lay on the beach and enjoy your dinner there for one evening. Alternatively, do a picnic on a hill overlooking the city. It definitely is something romantic and away from the norm. You can still try new foods from a local grocery, enjoy the picnic, and view all without breaking your budget!
It goes to say, that you do not need to do this every day, but figure eating out three times a day, versus once? Do the math!
Reason 2: Your credit card costs extra when abroad
Don’t we all pay with cards these days? Using your plastic (or your NFC phone connection linked to your account) is easier than ever. Credit cards are small, handy, fit everywhere and are light to carry around. Places like the United States, virtually only use cards for payment. Everything from Taxis to drinks at a bar. However, the freedom of utilizing your credit card during your holidays and not keeping track of your expenses will seem a lot less attractive to you after you look at your monthly credit card statement.
Always make sure to check beforehand what the card’s policies are. Many cards you can use in your home country at no extra cost may incur heavy fees while abroad, and that for every transaction! That being said, check the small print of the card you hold and use the man internet comparison sites that show exactly which card you can use where. As an option don’t shy away from checking with your bank in regards to fees they may have when traveling. Asking costs nothing!
Reason 3: You fly on Saturday
Yeah, we get it. Flying on a Saturday is nice. You finish work on Friday, still have enough time to pack and say goodbye to everyone, perhaps even read a guide book or blog post before your trip starts the next morning. What does this mean?
Logically, this day of the week is one of the most popular for traveling and as such is reflecting in the price of airline fares. Hence, you should try starting your holiday during the course of the working week. Apart from cheaper tickets, there may be the added benefit of less busy airports, quicker security checks and generally less travel stress. Nice!
Reason 4: You only book direct flights
Everyone wants to get from A to B really fast. It’s precious time, no? You left work and have a few days to enjoy and relax. So logically the goal is to get to your destination as fast as possible.
However, personally, travel is much more about the experience, the journey and all that comes with it. On top of that, if you are a bit flexible and willing to fly with a layover, you’ll end up saving a few Euros. Know that flights with a layover tend to be cheaper than direct flights.
Reason 5: You buy food at the airport or on the plane
It does not matter what airline you fly with or what airport you are leaving from. Eating in planes and at airports is always incredibly expensive. You are paying for a premium, just because businesses can make you pay that premium. If you are hungry and there are only a few select places to eat, chances are you won’t leave the airport and go to the city and come all the way back. You’ll pay a few extra Euros for the convenience.
Remember, unlike liquids, food is generally waived through security without hesitation. And keep in mind, if you stock up on healthy snacks for along the way, rather than ultra salted greasy fast food, you will end up feeling better upon arrival and help reduce jet lag along the way.
Reason 6: You travel during the high season
Before anything else, if you are bound to the school calendar and your kids’ holiday schedule, please move on to the next point. You have no other choice. To everyone else, considering what time of year you are traveling. If you can, avoid the seasonal holiday periods such as high summer, Christmas or Easter breaks depending on the country you live in. This way you can avoid standing in long queues, miserably long waiting times, and immoral high prices for hotels and flights. And if you do travel during these periods with the argument of the weather, well that no longer is a valid argument. You can literally fly anywhere these days at any time, whether high or low season and get the weather you want (potentially) – whether sun or snow, skiing or beautiful green grass. Be flexible with regards to where you want to go.
Reason 7: You use your mobile phone as if at home
This reason is two-sided, however, while the mobile internet is a blessing, roaming charges can be a curse. If you simply use your phone during holidays, especially in a foreign country, just the way you do at home, sending pictures via WhatsApp and making phone calls to friends and family, etc, your bill at the end of the month might blow you away. However, you can easily prevent any and all shocks by checking with your mobile provider if they have a data plan for roaming and contract additional services for international travel. Alternatively, you can get a local sim card with next to nothing these days with a different mobile number, however, you’ll be reachable, have data to send photos and text, all without breaking the bank.
The reason we also say it’s two-sided is that if you have a contract with a mobile carrier within the European Union, thankfully, you now can roam freely around the EU without additional roaming charges. Only make sure to check the conditions of your mobile carrier. Some have certain limits like X amount of data abroad or Y amount of minutes for calls. Nonetheless, no extra charges!
Reason 8: Booking your rental car last minute at the airport
You are on the plane and suddenly realize it would be really cool to be mobile at your destination. You want a car! No problem. Car rental providers are everywhere. However, it’s common sense that walking up to a counter and booking a car last minute will probably be on the higher end of the spending scale. The best way to avoid high costs when renting is to compare upfront and plan out ahead, picking out the best deal before you even step foot out of your home. This is true for both the car rental fees and insurance. On top of this, a great way to save a few extra Euros is to take along your own navigation system, so as not to have to rent one.
Reason 9: You buy maps, navigation devices, and travel guides
A holiday is a big deal, no? Logically you want to be prepared and the temptation to get something as an excuse is high. A trip to the bookstore to equip yourself with a guide book and maps is great. On top of this, you may also want a phrasebook. Well, all these cost money. They will eat into your holiday budget.
Honestly, how much time do you spend reading travel literature before a holiday? Do you study the maps beforehand or use them along the way? A majority of the time, the time you have is not enough. You just want to pack in between all the stuff you need to do on a daily basis and go. Who has time to sit down and read a travel guide?
As an alternative download an app on your phone. There are many great travel guides, and apps to help with the language. Yes, being prepared is great, but sometimes the most exciting places are discovered without know your destination by heart.
Reason 10: You get a new travel insurance
Travel insurance is a must and we highly recommend it. It takes away the risks of a “just in case” scenario. However, if you are looking to save a few Euros, then perhaps you may want to take out an annual insurance contract instead of a new one just for each holiday. Especially if you take multiple vacations per year, like short city breaks versus long summer beach vacations. You potentially might save a whole lot more than taking insurance out with your provider for the specified holiday period.
Alternatively, you can still always check comparison sites rather than taking a policy out with your standard home insurer, or check out our affiliate, World Nomads.
Reason 11: You buy single tickets for public transport
If you head to a city for a holiday break, chances are you are going to be using public transportation – should that city have it. Whether a subway or bus, it is often cheaper to buy daily or weekly tickets versus paying each trip individually. It really depends on how long you plan on staying and how often you think you’ll use public transport. Many cities offer tourist cards that include public transport and museums as a bonus. So, calculate those costs and see what ends up working better for you. This way you’ll be able to save a few Euros along the way.
Reason 12: You exchange money at the airport
While reason 2 is high on this list in regards to being able to use your credit card (plastic) virtually anywhere, having some cash in your pocket in the local currency makes sense. If you need to exchange money, make sure you check online for the best exchange rates and see where you’ll get a better deal. A majority of times, you’ll be paying higher fees at airports whereas changing locally at your bank may have made a significant difference.
That being noted, we hope that you’ll remember some of these points for your next holiday. This way you can end up coming home with a few extra Euros in your pocket all while still having enjoyed a great holiday. You do not need to break the bank while traveling. It’s just a matter of making a few small tweaks, changes and being a bit thoughtful about certain things along the way. It doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice a great vacation. It simply means that you are a bit more conscious about where you put your money.
Is there anything we left off this list? What else breaks the bank for you? Let us know in the comments below.