12 Costly Mistakes Everyone Makes When Traveling

It’s insanely easy to spend money on frivolous things when you’re on vacation. While it’s okay to spring for an expensive dinner or late-night taxi back to your hotel here and there, you don’t want to make it a habit.

Of course, there are several ways to save money on vacation without making it a total drag. You just have to be willing to think a little harder each step of the way.

If you’re planning a vacation anytime soon and want to be sure you won’t plow through all of your cash while there, check out these 12 costly traveling mistakes…

1. Eating near tourist attractions: Sure, when you visit a city, you want to go to all the neat tourist hotspots. But rest assured that you don’t want to eat near them. That’s because, in general, food is double the price when it’s within a six-block radius of the attraction.

Daniel Schwen

2. Tipping when you don’t have to: While it’s customary to tip your waiter or waitress between 15 and 20 percent in the United States, that’s not how it is in most countries. Most countries pay their servers an actual salary, so the tip is unnecessary. (That said, don’t expect the same kind of service you’d find in America!)

iwona_kellie / Flickr

3. Booking things too late: Booking in advance can mean that you have more time to cancel or exchange tickets without paying a fee. Not to mention, it allows you to have more time to pick out where you want to stay and for exactly how long.

Pedrols / Wikipedia

4. Traveling during the day: Let’s face it, most people travel during the day, but did you know it’s often much more cost-effective to opt for the nighttime mode of transportation? That’s because airlines, buses, and trains are looking to fill their seats when fewer people are traveling.

Vinicius Depizzol / Flickr

5. Having all your money in one place: There are lots of good places to keep your money on your person. Whether that means putting a few extra bucks in your sock or in the tongue of your shoe, just remember: if you don’t keep it all in one place, you can’t lose it at the same time.


6. Forgetting to partake in ride-sharing options: If you won’t always have access to a vehicle while traveling, you should always know how you’ll get from place to place. Instead of springing for a taxi, you could check popular apps like BlaBlaCar or use Lyft Line, which allows you to carpool with other guests to your location and saves you lots of cash!

David Falconer / Wikipedia

7. Not purchasing travel insurance: Not only is travel insurance relatively inexpensive, it can also save you from having to spend lots of money to replace damaged or stolen goods while abroad. It’s always better to have it and not need it than to not have it when you need it.


8. Exchanging currency: A common mistake tourists make is to carry the majority of their cash with them. It turns out that your bank card will most often have the best rates for currency exchange and you won’t have to pay anything extra. You can even look into acquiring one that reimburses you for any ATM fees you may encounter on your trip.


9. Falling victim to pickpocketing: For fear that you might end up in a foreign territory without any of your credit cards, phone, or ID, you’ll want to protect yourself from being pickpocketed. To do so, you can leave some of your belongings in the safe at your hotel. You can also divide your belongings and place them in separate bags; this way, so if one of them ends up lost or stolen, you’ll still have the others.


10. Not using the correct credit card abroad: When traveling abroad, it’s integral that you determine whether or not your credit card has international fees. If you find that it does, you may want to look into getting one without them.

Aranami / Flickr

11. Buying into everything you read in travel books and tourist guides: As soon as you exit your plane, you’ll be inundated with different books and magazines telling you where to go and what to see while in town. Unfortunately, the hotels, restaurants, and businesses all pay to be featured in such books. Your best bet is to do a little online research before leaving and finding the best deals on your own.

Gideon / Flickr

12. Not exploring all options to get around town: You probably don’t want to rent an expensive car while traveling, so it’s important to find other options. Many cities offer different modes of transportation. Public transportation, Uber, and Lyft are always smart, and services like Citi Bike are great options, too.

Shinya Suzuki / Flickr

It’s important to have fun and let loose when traveling, but being prepared is a great way to save yourself some money in the process!

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