Happy December and welcome to another installment of The Expat Diaries! I’m excited for this one because the lovely Betsy Transatlantically is co-hosting and she has a special guest on her blog. Be sure to check it out. :)
Most of you probably know that I was having issues with my website. If you could replace your current Expat Diaries button with the one on my sidebar, I’d appreciate it so much.
And now for the good stuff. I’m going to be talking about how to go broke while traveling because I’m certain my family has made every mistake in the book. Hopefully by reading this post, you’ll save money on your next vacation.
You can go broke by…
1. Forgetting to print your boarding pass
If you decide to purchase seats on a discount airline, make sure you print the boarding pass at home. Sometimes having an airline print the boarding pass for you at the airport counter is much more than the actual ticket and no one wants that — especially when you’re trying to save money! Be sure to read my discount airlines post for other tips.
2. Excess luggage
Checking luggage was a fortune when we booked flights with Ryanair, easyJet and Jet2, so we always brought one carry-on each. Plus, instead of having to haul around large suitcases in the city, we only had to deal with small backpacks; this made our time more enjoyable.
3. Leaving your toiletries at home
When we were headed to Stockholm, I forgot to pack my travel-size bottle of face wash and didn’t realize this until we got to the hotel. I’ve mentioned before that I have trouble skin so I absolutely need to wash my face every night, especially when I wear makeup all day. Since not washing my face all weekend wasn’t an option, I dragged B to a store to find something cheap. One issue. Cheap doesn’t exist in places like Stockholm. The most reasonable bottle of face wash we could find at the store was around $60. After buying the bottle and realizing I’d have to throw it out because it didn’t meet carry-on guidelines (and after we figured out it was $60… holy shit), we returned the bottle and I used a bar of soap all weekend. I broke out lots (sad face). Avoid this issue by purchasing these small carry-on containers. Convenient and cute, right?
4. Trip Insurance
If you’re young and healthy, I don’t see any reason to buy trip insurance because it’s expensive and only covers a limited number of situations. Unless you know of a potential conflict and it’s explicitly stated that your particular situation will be covered, you really shouldn’t bother. But that’s just how I feel.
5. Currency exchange counters
Currency exchange counters are always a big fat scam. In our experience, you get a considerably better exchange rate when you use a bank ATM. My husband compared the exchange rate we received from the bank’s ATM against the posted rates at a currency exchange counter and it wasn’t even close. However, when taking money out of the ATM be sure to only take out what you need since exchanging it back requires a currency exchange counter.
6. Speaking of exchange rates… not being able to calculate this
Make sure you have an app on your phone to calculate the exchange rate. Sometimes this is easy to figure out, but when you’re traveling to the Czech Republic and Morocco, you honestly have no idea. And then you’ll pay way too much for something and it’ll suck.
I’ve mentioned a few travel apps I like here.
7. Eating like a tourist
We’re big fans of street food and cafés the locals frequent. If you’re in a tourist-heavy spot in the city, you can bet those restaurant prices will be steep. Save money by finding food stands, hole in the walls, or buy groceries if you’re renting a place with a kitchen.
Tip: If you’re staying at a nice hotel, big breakfasts are your friend. We always eat the included breakfast and then find something small for lunch. And I may or may not stash muffins in my purse… Shhh.
8. Buying souvenirs like a tourist
The biggest mistake you can make is buying souvenirs at the airport. And then there’s hotel souvenir shops and souvenir shops located in tourist areas. Venture off the beaten path and have fun finding unique treasures for your home. Some of our favorites include paintings and handmade Christmas ornaments, depending on where we go. We’ve also purchased vases and other decorative items to remember our fun times abroad.
9. Taking a cab instead of public transportation
Avoiding cabs means more cash in your pocket. We’ve taken public transpiration in almost every city we’ve traveled to and it’s definitely less expensive. Public transportation can also be more efficient, assuming the train or bus doesn’t break down. I mean, if it’s late at night and you’re in an unfamiliar area, feel free to take a cab. Or if you’re a little tipsy after Oktoberfest in Munich… you should probably hail a taxi cab then, too.
Do you have any money-saving tips?
Filed Under: Expat, Travel