Thought Catalog
March 23, 2015

7 Smart Ways To Avoid Overspending While Traveling

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What is the issue?
Overspending while traveling is a big concern for many people who are sticking to a close budget – including myself – and I’ve never talked about it in as explicit details as I’d like to. I haven’t because it’s such of a diverse area that it’s impossible to create a price guide to make sure you don’t overspend, especially depending on your budget. There are a few things that you can do, however, to rest a little bit more assured with your purchases.
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1. Create An Itinerary (That’s Somewhat Clear):

Open up an Excel spreadsheet or pull out a napkin with a pen and then start mapping out what you’ll need to buy for your trip and break down the budget that you’d like to stick to. This is going to give you a goal to hit and be the most important part of avoiding overspending and staying happy while you are spending money. It’s going to be hard to get much more than a rough budget built, but it’s much better than having nothing.

2. Research Accommodation Prices:

Using sites like Hipmunk, (full disclosure: I have done writing for them recently, but I’m not being paid to use their name. They are honestly a great website.) You can search for hotels in “X” city, let’s use San Francisco for instance, and then from there see what the low-end hotels look like. For San Francisco they would include things like reviews and what the hotels offer as well. There are always cheaper accommodation options too like using hostels and couchsurfing.

3. Avoid fees:

I hate paying fees with a passion and they are an easy way to rack up unneeded expenses. You can avoid them more often by getting a credit card that doesn’t have foreign transaction fees, making yourself aware of the fees associated with getting a hotel room or renting a car, and understanding the airline requirements for baggage. Do a little close reading before you book anything and understand how your card works and you should avoid the majority of your fees if not all of them.

4. Run Away From Tourist Areas:

Okay, well maybe you shouldn’t run away because you’ll look awkward and creepy, but avoid them like the plague. They are all overpriced and the food costs exorbitant amounts compared to the food that you can get a few blocks away. It’s one thing if the whole point of your trip is to visit Disney World, but if you’re just looking for a fun activity, it’s best to go elsewhere.

5. Stick To Your Feet And Buses:

Taxis cost a ton of money and should only be used if you’re intoxicated because you don’t want to be that smelly drunk on the bus who is sleeping on the person next to you. If you’re sober, avoid the taxis and ride the bus, which is generally no more than a few dollars, or you can just walk if you’re not that far away. Naturally, the easiest and most convenient option for transportation is generally going to be the most expensive.

6. Understand What To Expect:

Are you going to Vegas during the summer months or France in February? Seasons and places play a big role in how much you will end up spending. If you are traveling somewhere during the summer expect to pay more for flights and general travel expenses compared to the dead of winter. It’s also important to know that some places are much more affordable than others, if you’re on a budget, Mexico may be a better place to travel than New Zealand.

7. Stay Budget-Smart:

Keep in mind how much you’ve spent and sticking to your itinerary. Buying a lot of souvenirs and impulse buying (I may have a slight problem with this. Oops!) Is an easy way to drain your money. If you need a little extra help with this you can download an app or carry a small journal to track how much you’ve spent and what you have left available to you. Always ask yourself if you need something before you buy it.

These are only a few simple ways to make sure that you don’t overspend and you’re keeping your money in-check. What methods do you use while traveling to save on the road? I’d love to hear them! TC mark