Ways to save money while on vacation

Looking for tips to save money on your vacation?

There is no doubt that during these recessionary times keeping on a budget while on vacation is one of the best ways to avoid a guilty conscience when you get back home. Figuring out how much money to take on vacation can be tricky but it’s certainly essential if you don’t want to break the bank.

Surely you can research hotel and flight prices before going there. however, if you are traveling to a new destination and aren’t staying in an all-inclusive hotel you still won’t know for sure how much you’ll spend until you are there.

If you're looking for suggestions, we have for you some great money saving ideas that you can use to help you stay in budget and enjoy your vacation:

Cash Vs. Credit Cards

Most travelers wonder whether it’s best to carry cash or credit cards while on vacation and the truth is that cash is always king abroad. Cash is just so convenient because you can quickly use it to pay for things, tip in restaurants and it also allows you for budgeting better your money on vacation.

Credit cards are supposed to save you money abroad since you don't have to exchange but the thing to remember about most credit card companies (excluding pre-paid cards) is that they charge a fee every time you use them. Also, credit cards aren’t accepted everywhere and using them to withdraw money can be costly indeed!

Eat Where the Locals Do

Fancy restaurants for some strange reason always look even more enticing abroad but eating out at a tourist restaurant every day isn't one of the best ways to save money while on vacation. Also, tourist restaurants always come up short against the off-the-beaten-track eateries in terms of taste.

From experience, you can always guarantee that you’re going to be ripped-off when dining at one of the fancier restaurants in a popular area frequented by tourists. This is why it’s a good idea to know where the locals eat. The quickest way to find out great local eats is by talking to other tourist, expats, and by observing (a large queue of people waiting up patiently around a corner is a pretty good indicator).

Beware of the Exchange Rate

Getting a poor exchange rate while on vacation is a sure way to dig a hole on the pocket money you had planned to use for spending on accommodation, food, drinks, attractions, etc.

This is why it’s wise to exchange at least half of your vacation money before you travel because exchange rates are always unfavorable once you’re there.

Know Where to Exchange Currency

Knowing where to exchange money may sound like an obvious one but you’ll be surprised how we can still get it wrong. As we mentioned earlier exchange a sizeable amount of money before traveling is a great money saving idea because you normally get a better exchange rate at home than abroad.

You may be asking yourself then, where are the best or worst places to exchange money? I would start off saying that exchanging money on the street or in the so called “black market” isn't always one of the smartest ways to save money while on vacation.

It's true that in many central and south American countries the practice of exchanging US dollars in the “black market” is very common among tourists. However, I wouldn't suggest it since the risk of something going wrong (like getting imprisoned) versus saving a few bucks is not worth the risk.

If you’re traveling to regions such as Europe and North America I would definitely suggest avoiding banks and hotels since there are known to offer a “less than kindly” exchange rate for your hard-earned cash. Money exchange offices or places like a bureau de change are definitely the best places to consider exchanging currency because money exchanges are in constant competition with one another thus offering more competitive rates.

Use Public Transport (walk if possible)

There is no doubt that catching a taxi is one of the quickest and most convenient ways to get to and from the airport but the price that you have to pay for a taxi nowadays is surreal and paying up to three-times more for a taxi is frankly not worth it. If you can get a bus to the airport, you'll be saving substantially more, though if you can have a friend drop you at the airport is even better:)

Once you arrive at your holiday destination it’s a good idea to use buses as much as possible or walk. It's a known fact that buses are the cheapest way to get around in most parts of the world, particularly in Southeast Asia and South America which boast pretty efficient and inexpensive public transportation.

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