A canceled flight, an unexpected storm, a poorly-timed flu – no matter how much thought and eager preparation we put into our vacation plans, we always run the risk of something going wrong. Whether the plan is an epic adventure or some low-stakes relaxation, taking a trip means stepping out of our routines and accepting some risk to experience something new.
But while we can’t predict the weather or guarantee that our flights always leave on time, there is one thing that may be easier to control on vacation than we realize: our budgets. Though travel is always an investment, there are plenty of small steps we can take to save money and spend less while travelling, helping ensure our vacations don’t clash with our financial plans. These tips can help you avoid nasty surprises on your bank or credit card statement at the end of your trip.
Plan ahead to save on travel.
Booking transportation and hotels as far in advance as possible is usually a good way to get the best price. Not only do prices tend to rise as the date itself gets closer and available spots are snatched up, but booking in advance will give you more time to compare costs and options, track price fluctuations, and keep an eye out for deals.
While the belief that airlines charge less on certain days of the week than on others for tickets on the same flight has long since been debunked, it is true that flights on Tuesdays and Wednesdays tend to be less expensive than flights on or around the weekend – so if planning well in advance gives you some extra flexibility regarding the dates of your trip, it could mean significant savings.
Do your research, compare prices, and book in advance.
The term “tourist trap” exists for a good reason. In many locations frequented by vacationers, some people and businesses aim to take advantage of the ignorance of non-locals by overcharging for low-quality services.
The best way to ensure you have the experiences you want on your vacation for a fair price is to arrive prepared with information. Read recommendations and reviews for restaurants, excursions, and tours from others who have recently traveled to your destination. Compare prices from different providers and decide which experiences are your top priority. When possible, reserve in advance – this will not only help you know how much each outing will cost, but in some cases, you may get a better price for booking ahead of time. Some popular destinations, such as parks and museums, even offer free admission at certain times or on certain days, which can help you plan the best moment to visit.
Keep household costs down while traveling.
One great way to save while you’re traveling is to make sure your home isn’t spending your money on its own. Take advantage of the fact that you won’t be at home to save on electricity, heating or cooling, subscriptions, and more. On your way out the door, remember to unplug nonessential electrical devices, turn out lights or put them on a timer, adjust your thermostat, and pause any subscriptions or automated delivery services that you won’t be using while you’re away.
Use a mobile wallet to track your spending digitally.
Keeping track of every small expense while enjoying our travels can be a headache. Digital tools like mobile wallets can keep track of your spending for you so you can focus on having fun. Beyond keeping a list of our transactions and cash withdrawals, many mobile wallets can alert you when you’re approaching a set spending limit or can be pre-loaded with a fixed amount of spending money to help ensure you stay on budget. approaching a certain spending limit, or can be pre-loaded with a fixed amount of spending money to help ensure you stay on budget.
Save your receipts for tax refunds.
If you do some shopping on your trip, there may be a way to get some of what you spent back when it’s time to head home. Many countries – including Australia, Japan, Korea, and much of the European Union, among others – offer tax refund programs for tourists that support local businesses on their travels by purchasing clothing, decorations, or other souvenirs. Every country that offers a tax refund program handles it a little differently, so you’ll need to look carefully at which purchases are eligible, if there is a minimum spending requirement, and what paperwork you’ll need to complete, but depending on how much you plan to spend, the savings can be significant.
Send yourself money and have cash waiting for you.
Are you planning a trip abroad? Make sure you have some local currency to spend by using Ria’s global money transfer network. Simply visit one of our store locations or download the Ria app to send yourself a transfer. We’ll take care of the conversion and have cash waiting for you to pick up at your destination – with more than 520,000 locations worldwide, there’s sure to be one that’s convenient for you.
These are just a few of the many ways that some careful planning and know-how can help you enjoy your vacation without breaking the bank. No matter where your journey takes you, you can bring the power and convenience of Ria’s global network with you using our iOS or Android app. Download to start sending and receiving money today.
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