Staying within your budget while on vacation is so much easier said than done. Many savvy travelers pre-plan their vacation budget down to the very last cent. Yet, many still fail to stick to it and end up spending way more than they intended to. If this sounds like yourself, it’s time to reevaluate your travel spending habits before you end up in the red.
To do that, you must pinpoint why you are overspending while on vacation. Here are several possible causes that you can consider.
1. You are spending too much on souvenirs
Souvenirs are great. They serve as physical reminders of your vacation and make excellent keepsakes. They are also great gifts for loved ones back home. But if buying souvenirs has you going way over your travel budget, then it’s time to take it down a notch.
For starters, set a souvenir budget before your vacation starts. This way, you already have a dollar limit in mind before you even set foot in a souvenir store. Looking up souvenir shops is also a great idea. For example, if you want to shop at a vintage shop at your destination, set your mind that you will only be shopping from that store and nowhere else. Disciplining yourself can be difficult at first, but the effort will pay off in the end.
2. You are always willing to pay for upgrades
Upgrades on flights and hotels can provide extra comfort and convenience, but they are not always worth it. If you can afford it, why not? But if you’re on a limited budget, paying for upgrades is not worth the money when you can instead spend it on more important things like food and tours.
3. You’re not looking up restaurants in advance
Food is always going to be one of the biggest expenses when you’re on vacation. As tempting as it may be to overspend on every delectable morsel that you come across, remember that you have a budget to stick to.
A great way to avoid spending too much on food while traveling is to look up restaurants in advance. For example, before going out to dinner, search for restaurants nearby and check out what’s available. At the same time, peruse the menu and see if the restaurant fits your budget. You can also figure out your order in advance so that when you get there, there is little to no temptation to order too much food.
4. You don’t pack food
Eating out at restaurants is not the best option if you want to stay within budget while traveling. And if you don’t pack food or buy some from the local supermarket, you’re probably going to end up either eating out or ordering room service, which are the easiest ways to blow up your food budget.
That said, make it a habit to pack your own food while traveling. For example, to save money on breakfasts, buy some breakfast foods from the local supermarket instead of ordering from the hotel menu. Packing snacks are also important. If you end up hungry while on the go, you can reach into your bag and pull out a snack instead of finding the nearest source of sustenance—which may not always be cheap.
5. You pick the first tour that you see
Many—but not all—package tours are tourist traps, especially in certain cities or countries. These tours tend to overcharge tourists for a mediocre or sometimes even substandard experience. For this reason, make it a habit to do more research when picking out tours for your vacation. Check out the reviews, read the fine print, and compare prices with similar tours. Better yet, ditch the tours altogether and find a way to explore the destination yourself.
6. You don’t convert currencies in your head
If you are traveling to a country wherein the nominal value of the local currency is way lower than your home currency, you may be likely to spend more. The main reason for this is that we tend to think we have more money to spend. After all, the local currency has a lower face value than our home currency. Furthermore, doing mental conversions on the fly is taxing, which can have you spending more money than you can afford.
These are not the only possible reasons you’re overspending on vacation, but they are, for the most part, some of the most common ones for many travelers. If you want to avoid going over your budget from here on out, actively avoid these mistakes when traveling and instead adopt smarter ways to leverage your money.