So you’ve booked your annual leave and now you are all giddy with excitement and anticipation for this year’s winter travel. Your tickets are purchased and your suitcases have been packed and sitting in the corner for the past two months. Yes, traveling during the holidays can be quite exhilarating, but let’s not let our zealousness cloud our better judgment when it comes to the financial part. Here are a couple of tips to keep in mind when you get to your holiday destination:
You’re all psyched to try out the local cuisine, and you should be. But try to keep dining out to a minimum if you are planning on returning home with money still in your pockets. Shop at the local markets for fresh produce and whip up a healthy meal for you and your fellow travelers.
Look for Restaurants that the Locals Frequent
When you do decide to dine out, try and avoid those restaurants that are setup for the specific purpose of catering to tourists. These restaurants usually have appalling prices, and may rack up a bill that sits in the hundreds. Instead, ask around for the local spots where you will get local prices as well.
Travel like a Local
Never ridden in a bus? Here’s your chance! There’s no better situation then when on holiday, where you get to forgo your preferred method of transport and have a bit of fun while saving money at the same time. Admittedly, it would be much easier (and more expensive) to catch a cab. But why not leave cab catching for home and go local? Using public transportation allows you to really appreciate the sights and sounds of the place and gives you a real feel of the culture, instead of the touristy version.
Find a Bed that Doesn’t Break Bank
You might want to consider alternative accommodation such as a backpackers’ hostel if you are serious about saving money. If you don’t mind shared facilities, then this is the money savers way to go. Plus, you will come across other backpackers from around the globe, where you will be able to exchange stories and tips on how to get around the place. If you feel queasy about sharing with complete strangers, look for hotels outside the main tourist areas. Accommodation tends to be much cheaper in areas that are not central to tourist activities.
Use a Prepaid Phone
If you’re planning on activating roaming on your phone, then consider the crippling charges that come with using the service. Instead, use a prepaid phone. All you need is a recharge card, which can be bought in most convenience stores, and email your key contacts the new number.
Work Out a Budget
Create a budget before you leave for your well deserved vacation. Go online and research on the cost of food, transportation, accommodations and shopping in the destination area. Look at what you currently have in the bank and how long you expect to spend at the place. Estimate your daily budget from these figures to stretch right through to the last day of the trip. When you do arrive, keep within this estimate.
This is a guest post from Andrew Wang who lives in the rainy Seattle area. While he’s not dancing, skiing, or balancing his budget, he runs a blog on International Travel Medical Insurance. International Travel Medical Insurance.