6 Ways To Avoid Overspending While On Vacation
I’m all about making travel work within your budget, whatever that may be. But, after you’ve booked your vacation, it can be really easy to overspend while on your trip. Whether you are tempted by shopping, constant eating out, taking cabs around the city, or if you are just clueless about the exchange rate, every little bit spent adds up and can turn a budget-friendly vacation into a splurge in no time. However, I’m not saying you have to completely tighten the belt or give up on fun. Doing a bit of preparation beforehand will help you save on this vacation so that you can put your hard-earned income towards your other savings goals or another trip!
1. Research in advance
I always advocate for doing research in advance before arriving at your destination, sometimes even before booking a flight. Spending an evening with a cozy cup of tea, your computer, and the comfort of travel blogs and websites can help you save so much money on a trip, and prepare you to not miss out on any of the sites, museums, or architecture that you are interested in seeing.
2. Take public transportation or walk
Many cities offer excellent public transportation options that are incredibly affordable. Once you arrive at your destination, simply study the map, check the ticket prices, and you are set to go. By taking public transportation or even opting to walk, you can save your hard-earned cash for something else. Remember that in many European countries, your public transportation ticket isn’t valid until it has been validated and stamped.
The only time I suggest taking a cab or Uber is if it is dark, if the area seems sketchy, or you feel uncomfortable for some reason. It is always better to be safe than worry about spending a bit of extra money.
3. Write a wish-list
While I’m traveling, I’m always tempted by the unique shops and handcrafted items that aren’t available at home. It could be very easy for me to overspend with the justification of we can’t get this at home. Instead of justifying each and every purchase you make, consider writing a loose wish-list of items that you actually need instead of wanting to buy every unique thing you see.
If you are working within the bounds of a capsule wardrobe, saving the shopping step creating a wardrobe suited to use is perfect for when you are traveling because you might be able to find unique pieces that fit within the vision for your wardrobe.
4. Look for discounted activities or free museum days
If you are a museum-lover or hope to visit every amazing site in the guidebook you’ve read, the entry and activity fees can get very pricey. To save a bit of money here, check museum websites to see if they offer any free days or visiting times. Many museums offer discounted or free visiting times once per month, so check to see if your visit overlaps with these more affordable dates.
As a rule of thumb, other free and cheap options include parks, churches, and free walking tours offered by tourism boards. Purchasing tickets online vs. in person often tends to be cheaper as well.
5. Set a daily spending budget
Setting a daily budget can help to prevent yourself from overspending on food, shopping, or sightseeing. Allow yourself to be a bit flexible with this budget, considering that some days you might spend more and other days you might spend less. To keep your spending within budget, I recommend trying to eat breakfast in your accommodation, choosing a free activity or sight to see daily, and opting for a cheaper meal, such as a meal from a food stand, picnic, or groceries to cook at your accommodation, at least a few times during your trip.
6. Know the conversion rate and be familiar with the currency
One of the biggest mistakes many travelers make is not paying attention to the exchange rate or learning the currency. Feeling as though you are carrying Monopoly money can seriously burn a hole in your pocket. When you are working with cash, learn the exchange rate and look at the currency so you can actually know the amount you are spending in U.S. dollars.