We go on holidays and visit new places to live, to experience the world. We love to travel, because when we are traveling, we tend to focus on pleasure, on creating special moments. There is, however a darker side of traveling, namely, tourist traps and hidden costs.
When people see my Facebook posts from different countries, many of them assume I must be rich to travel so much. I am not. I just like to enjoy life, and over the years, I have learnt how to travel in style without spending too much.
Today we’re going to highlight five things which are probably costing you money every time you go abroad. Hopefully, with these in mind, you’ll be able to avoid spending more the next time you travel, and you will be able to keep creating all those perfect moments without breaking the bank.
One of the easiest ways to spend too much while you’re abroad is using roaming data services on a mobile phone. While you can tell yourself it’ll be fine, and that you won’t have to connect to the Internet on your cell while you’re overseas, lots of things can spring up which suddenly require you to use it. Many companies charge you for a full day, even if you only use the service for 10 seconds. Wifi is not always available, and having Internet access can sometimes save you a lot of trouble.
You could potentially get lost in an area where nobody speaks your language, and suddenly find the only option is to access the web to make your way back to where you need to be. Your best bet for counteracting this problem is to invest in a global SIM card. Calls and data usage will be cheap, while roaming charges are completely free.
I have also used a portable Internet device once, with good results. Above all, remember to turn off data services on your phone as soon as you land in a foreign country. Otherwise, you might end up with a bill for hundreds of dollars for a service you might not even have used at all.
Room Service and Minibars
If you’re staying in a location where your hotel provides you with some additional benefits (which aren’t part of the initial cost), it’d be wise to turn down their “charitable” offers.
Don’t touch the food that’s provided in mini bars – literally. Some fridges in these types of establishments have amazingly been fitted with motion sensors which will react to any sort of change in weight when items are tampered with.
In my experience, not all mini bars will break the bank, but it is wise to bring in your own 50-cent water bottles, when they are charging you $5 for the same.
As for room service, a quick Google search can provide food delivery services with listings of dozens of restaurants offering a variety of cuisines. I still get offers from the service I used while living in Athens…
Air Travel Costs
Plane tickets can be pricey, but sometimes people pay more than they cost. Online research is key. Of course, trying to avoid high season and buying tickets many months in advance can also help. When you purchase from low cost airlines, make sure you have considered luggage costs and other hidden fees.
When it comes to finding cheap flights, you can seek out the help of comparison sites – it’s the top tip from Secret Traveller, and one you really should follow. In the Internet age, travel agents may not be as hot as they used to be, but sometimes a local agency can find better prices, especially if you become a regular customer.
Tipping habits vary all over the world. Obviously, you won’t want to offend someone by failing to tip, but you should definitely ask around first and see if the country you’re in encourages people to fork over a little extra at the end of a meal. For example, in many countries, 10% is considered an extremely generous tip, and 15 or 20% is almost unheard of.
I love tipping generously, especially when the service has been outstanding, but when you travel, try to avoid over-tipping for mediocre service because you assume the customs are the same as at home.
You’ll almost certainly need to enlist the services of a hire car to get around when you’re traveling. Until relatively recently, it was a case of making a simple payment and then having access to a vehicle which you’d need to do nothing more with than top up with fuel and keep in good condition.
However, as time has progressed and commercialism takes over, more companies are including bolt-on fees which could see costs skyrocket. Adding a second driver is a particularly prevalent charge, so think about electing one nominated person to do this job for the whole trip.
Depending on the country, it will be cheaper to book online or offline. On Greek islands, for example, asking the manager of your hotel will usually produce access to more competitively priced rentals. In the US or Uruguay, international companies like DOLLAR will offer some of the best rates. Asking around and doing a bit of online research will ensure you won´t have pay above market price.
These are just a few of the ways you can overspend while traveling. I try to stay clear of them all, because, after all, what we want is to be able to travel for as long as possible. Because when we travel, we focus on enjoying life and being in the moment. And you don´t need to be rich to do it…