5 Things to Avoid on a Budget Vacation

  • UPDATED Oct 23, 2018

Regardless of why you’re on a tight budget next holiday, whether it’s because you over splurged on flights or simply want a humbler getaway, there are a few surefire ways to overspend when abroad. For most people keeping their finances in check at home is challenging enough, but when you’re in an exciting new place where you are also out of your element you may find that the normally ironclad grip in your wallet will start to loosen up.

While there are plenty of tips to making a travel budget and sticking to it, below are five things you should avoid doing on holiday if you are striving to keep to your daily limits! 

5. Eating Every Meal at a Restaurant

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Dining out in a new city is great, and if you’re well prepared with extensive TripAdvisor research then the experience is well worth the cost. However, if you are planning an extended stay then you may want to reconsider your plan of fine dining at every lunch and dinner.

Restaurants, especially in tourist areas where visitors are more likely to spend time, can be a huge cost and there are other ways to get a local food experience that are less taxing on your wallet. You can cook at your hostel if a kitchen is available and mingle with other visitors, purchase some local items at the supermarket, or even try out some street food vendors that tend to cost less.

4. Shopping Sprees at the Most Popular Souvenir Shops

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Souvenirs and reminders of a visit are often a must, whether for yourself or as gifts for family and friends. While this cost is often unavoidable, you can significantly decrease it by avoiding the popular sites and aiming for more obscure tokens of your travels. 

You’ll quickly find that the popular shops are all selling the same trinkets, and by moving beyond the traditional souvenir shopping areas you give yourself a chance to explore other parts of the city and, if you’re lucky, find something a lot more unique than what the regular stores are peddling.

3. Flashy Casino Nights

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Depending on your destination, casinos may seem like a good idea thanks to free drinks and the allure of flashing lights. Albeit fun and good for a quick free drink, especially in some of these Vegas hotspots, they are by no means a form of budget entertainment. 

Quite the opposite, if you can’t afford to lose your bets you shouldn’t play casino games, and when you’re on a budget trip every dollar is precious and can contribute to a unique and memorable activity. No matter how tempted you are to grab a free beer, it’s best to steer clear of potential money traps that are all over most casino floors.

2. Bringing All Your Cash & Cards Everywhere 

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Unless you are missing a safe in your hostel or hotel room, in which case ignore this next bit of advice, leave most of your credit cards and cash in your room. While you should never take too little either, the best way to stick to your budget is to have daily allowances depending on the activities you planned in. This way you are a lot more likely not to make impulse buys that haven’t been pre-approved by your budget self (we all have an impulse shopping persona deep inside). 

1. Ignoring Local Tips

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Tourists and backpackers alike have one very bad habit when abroad, and that is sticking too much together and relying on other travelers for local tips. While this can be a great way to learn more about where to go and how to save and make the most of your experience, a huge downside is that it limits your circle of interaction to people who don’t permanently live in the place you’re visiting.

One way to overcome this pack mentality is to ask your hostel or hotel reception for room perks as well as local tips. You can also attempt to reach out and socialize with locals in bars or even on the street. This way you are more likely to get better guidance on where to go and, if you ask, how to make the most of your dollars in their home city or country if you plan on visiting multiple places.