DO begin saving a few months before your trip for souvenirs. Once you have arrived, you will know exactly what your budget is and can use it as a guide for deciding what to bring back home. I love buying perfume in each Country I visit to remind me of my experiences there, so I set aside $150 in advance for each trip specifically for my perfume souvenir.
DON’T forget your priorities. It is easy to get caught in the trap of spending money on everything you come across. Keep in mind your overall goal for the trip. Is it to try amazing food? To have experiences that leave an impression? Whatever it is, make sure you allocate the majority of your resources to that priority.
DO get friendly with the hotel staff and/or locals. They are usually happy to share their favorite restaurant or local bar that is most likely ½ the price of the tourist trap you read about in your guidebook or ordering room service.
DON’T wait until the last minute to reserve activities. Planning your activities and museum visits in advance can have clear cost advantages. Many museums offer combo passes on their website or give discounts for reserving in advance. Even big cities offer tourism cards that give access to multiple attractions for one price.
DO set a daily budget. Breaking out what you anticipate spending each day on food, activities and transportation can help keep you on track when you get tempted by that amazing Moroccan rug that you don’t actually need.
DON’T use your go-to credit card without thinking in advance which is more appropriate. Credit card companies have many benefits for travelers and those who use smartly are rewarded. While traveling internationally be sure to use cards that charge no foreign transaction fees. When dining at restaurants, use the card with the most dining points. Strategic credit card planning while travelling can have a big impact by the time your trip is over.
DO utilize the sharing economy. Uber, Airbnb, Eatwith, Viator. There is no shortage of options for the savvy traveler and they are no longer just for the young backpacker. Typically cheaper than booking through the hotels concierge, these authentic sharing experiences with locals may even enhance the experience.
DON’T mindlessly waste cell phone data or make long-distance phone calls while traveling. Free Wi-Fi is everywhere nowadays; there is no need to rack up expensive cell phone bills while traveling anymore. Coffee shops are a reasonably simple way to get free internet access but portable Wi-Fi devices are gaining in popularity for travelers as well.
DO eat heavier lunches and lighter dinners. If you are traveling and must eat out every meal, make lunch the heaviest meal and try tapas or appetizers for dinner. Dinner entrees are often 35% more expensive than lunch entrees, despite being quite similar in size.
DON’T forget your tax refund. Some countries let you get the retail sales tax back by simply filling out a form. It is a quick process and can save you a bundle.
Photo Credit: Hesby Blog, A Vulcan Astronaut, Girly Me