The Dos And Don'ts Of Spending During Your Travels
There are so many websites available that allow you to save some money when travelling. Yet I want to discuss the concept of “smarter spending” when traveling, not just going on a budget trip. There are some things during a vacation that you should get discounted as much as possible, and some things that are certainly worth spending a little more on.
DO – Compare hotel and flight deals
With the Internet at our fingertips, it is easier than ever to compare prices on flights and hotels. You can almost instantly be guaranteed that you are getting the lowest price for a hotel and flight. It is OK to save on a flight (so what if you do not have a little extra legroom) and it is OK to save on a hotel, if you are not uncomfortable during your stay.
I have been able to get some amazing deals on flights just by being willing to be at the airport at 4 AM. No, it is not my idea of a good time, but if the airline is willing to cut the price of a ticket almost in half for me being there early, I have no problem setting my alarm.
AVOID – Eating at the hotel
This does not mean that you CANNOT eat at the hotel. When you eat at the hotel, you are paying for the luxury of barely having to move around to get a bite to eat. This often comes at an inflated price. Instead, walk the 10/15 minutes that it takes to find a good, local restaurant, and you will find that it costs a great deal less.
DO – Book a central location
You probably heard it before in real estate – “location, location, location.” If you are OK with spending a little more, you can be in the heart of things with a good hotel. Oftentimes it is worth it to pay a little more to have a hotel in a central location.
Even though the initial price may appear much higher, you have to factor in that you can walk anywhere, that you will probably not need a rental car or a cab, and that it is easier to get where you want to go. When making the comparison, people often find that their overall expenses balance out. If you have to travel an hour to get to your next sight, you might be saving money, but you are wasting vacation time.
AVOID – Renting a car right away
Unless you need to travel more than an hour when you arrive, chances are that you do not need a car from day one of your vacation. Do not rent your car unless you are leaving town, this is going to help save on parking and rental costs. If you fly into Paris for example and intend to explore the city first, why start your car rental the day that you come in? Remember that most large cities have a well-preserved historic center. This means that you will not be traveling to all the big sights of the city by car.
DO – Get VIP tickets to skip the line
If you are in a tourist hotspot like Paris, Barcelona, Rome, or London, chances are that you will have the option to buy VIP tickets to skip the waiting line. If you are traveling in the off-season, that might not be necessary. If you are traveling during peak times though, this is one of the better investments that you can make.
Just imagine being able to walk through or have to wait a half hour rather than spending in the hot sun for four hours. Trust me when I tell you that the Vatican Museums do not have the same je ne se quoi when you have been standing in 90-degree heat for several hours.
AVOID – Going crazy on the pre-booking
You have your trip planned, airplane booked, and you are already pre-booking activities where you will be visiting. You can book boat cruises, walking tours, museum tickets, all without ever sitting foot near your destination. Remember that the weather does not always cooperate, you may have become sick, tired, have blisters, what have you.
I am not suggesting that you should not plan out itineraries, but pre-booking everything puts you at the risk of wasting money if you cannot go, and it also puts you at risk of burning out rather quickly. Some things are worth buying in advance (a ticket to see the Eiffel tower for example) and some are simply best left until you actually need them.
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