6 Tips For Keeping Expenses Down On Vacation

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Whenever you’re out and travelling the world, it becomes very easy to exceed your budget. Regular travellers sometimes get used to this problem and learn how to manage things more effectively, but for many of us, even with a firm budget in place, an expensive meal here, a fun activity there, and an unexpectedly expensive taxi now and then can be enough to throw things out of whack. Simply put, spending too much while travelling is a common problem, and one a lot of us fall prey to far too often.

On some occasions, you simply have to stretch your budget a little bit in order to enjoy the experiences you want. This is alright, so long as it doesn’t happen often, and especially if you’re able to make up for it in other areas. This brings us to some fairly basic, general tips that can help any traveller to keep expenses down while abroad. Each one may or may not apply to a given trip or destination, but altogether they can give you a nice idea of how to start thinking about savings while travelling.

Spend With Cash

It’s very common advice for travellers to contact their banks in advance and arrange for cards to be usable overseas. Instead though, it’s a good idea to just do a currency exchange once you arrive at a destination, and then do most of your spending with cash. It’s actually been shown that using cash makes you spend less, and the psychology is fairly simple. With a card, you don’t really see a loss in funds; with cash, you can watch your supply deflating. You can use this distinction to your advantage while travelling, just as an extra incentive to be careful with your budget.

Plan Lunches, Not Dinners At Restaurants

This is a very straightforward trick. At many, if not most destinations around the world, there’s bound to be a nice restaurant or two (or hundreds, in some places) that will tempt you. Particularly for foodies, these establishments can be hard to ignore. But there’s often a way to sample their food without paying too much, and it’s to plan a lunch instead of a dinner. Not every restaurant will be open for lunch, or have the same menu. Generally though, it’s a more affordable way to eat pretty much the same food, and then you can do something cheaper for dinner.

Go To Clubs, Not Shows

Very often as you look at recommended activities at a given destination – particularly an urban one – you’ll see local theaters, comedy clubs, and concert venues. These can make for fun nights out, but they also involve ticket purchases, which can be quite pricey. Consider instead finding a club – not necessarily a late-night dance club, but any club that may have dancing of a certain kind, jazz performers, a live mic, dueling pianos, or whatever else it may be. Many cities will have these kinds of options, and they can often give you a night of thrilling, unique entertainment for half the price of a theater ticket.

Research Transport

It’s a little bit amusing, almost, that we tend to spend so much time figuring out how to get somewhere and so little time on how we’re going to get around once we’re there. This can leave us relying on the most expensive transport options without realising that there are better ways of doing things. One common example of how to get around this is reading up on Eurail passes if you’re planning to venture around Europe. But there are plenty of other instances in which some advance transport research can be of assistance. There are some countries in which motorcycle taxis are far cheaper than normal ones; there are some places where a quick flight on a small plane is more affordable than a train ride. It all depends on the destination.

Skip Casinos

This will only be a decision you have to make at certain destinations, but then casinos are a little more prevalent than most people think. It can be fun, but these days you can find your favorite games and play online thanks to massive casino software providers based mostly in Western Europe. That means you can play conveniently and cheaply, and sometimes for free, to satisfy that casino itch. On the other hand, in-person casinos have all kinds of subtle tricks that are meant to nudge you into spending more, which means they can do a number on your travel budget.

Skip Hotel Bars

If you’re on a tight budget, you may not be staying at the kind of hotel to have its own bar in the first place. Even so though, at many city destinations around the world you’ll discover that some of the most highly recommended bars are the ones that belong to nice hotels. They can be beautiful, but at the end of the day they tend to offer the same (often too sour) cocktails everyone else has, in fancier seating and with nicer lighting. You can typically enjoy a more “real” bar experience someplace cheaper, and possibly enjoy your drinks more anyway. This can actually make up a difference of quite a bit of money on any given night, and is one budget travel tip even more free-spending travelers may want to heed.


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