So you're going on vacation with friends or/and family. If you're traveling abroad to another country, there is a lot you have to do and to plan to stay on budget. But you also want to spend time on vacay not worrying about finances so you can be in full Relaxing Mode. That takes some work. Everything you do--every move you make, every site you see, every souvenir you buy--has to be accounted while abroad. After you've booked your flight, you have to look for a place to stay. To get your money's worth, you have to decide on a hotel, which is more expensive, but provides more privacy, or else look for other means like house swapping, doing the Airbnb thing, or staying in a hostel. When you get to your destination, you have to find a way not to overspend and cut some corners at the same time you want to want to really explore your locale and make some real, indelible memories that will last a lifetime.
For many of us, it's difficult to decide what's worth spending money on and what's not. A large meal that locals make and which has an authentic flair is worth every penny. Taking a taxi is pricey and can be avoided if you're creative. From splurging on sturdy luggage to the essential tote bag to use while traveling on foot, there are just some things you have to decide if they are worth spending money on. We know it can be overwhelming while on vacay or even just planning it, especially when you want to limit yourself to the money you've kept aside for the trip.
So we're here to help you with some budget tips just for you. So here are 15 things travelers can save money on, as well as a list on what you spend your money on that is priceless, that's worth every penny.
25 save money on: Travel Off-Season
When you want to travel for vacation, you usually want to do that during a holiday, like during Thanksgiving to be with friends and families. But this is during the high season, which means you're going to pay a premium when booking your flight.
If you want to go cheap and save money, you should travel out of season, and be flexible on the timing of your vacation.
You will avoid peak airfare costs, hotel prices will be more competitive and, best of all, you won't have to deal with a lot of tourists.
24 Worth the splurge: Good Luggage
The right luggage is everything when you travel. So this is not the time to go cheap on. Buying the appropriate luggage means it should have quality, style and innovation. It should be sturdy and have trusty wheels.
There's a reason why some brands of luggage are very expensive.
Besides being what the British royalty and Hollywood celebs use, T. Anthony bags are guaranteed to last a lifetime and are iconic in design. Some of the best brands even offer free fixes and a lifetime warranty, like Samsonite.
23 save money on: Use Public Transportation
You can go cheap on getting around when you hit your destination. If you're spending a week or more at your vacay spot, you may be tempted to rent a budget car to make sight-seeing and getting around town easy. But that's just another added expense.
If you familiarize yourself with public transportation, you can nix the rental, and won't be tempted to take a taxi.
Sure, learning the map schedule of public transportation can be confusing, but if you just take time out and study it, you should be fine.
22 Worth the splurge: Comfort Carry-Ons While Flying
If you are flying, and aren't in first class, you need all the comfort aids you can get to make your coach seat somewhat luxurious. And that's key when your flight is over eight or nine hours. A travel pillow will go a long way, and the saliva you're drooling while sleeping will only be seen by you.
Spending the extra dollars on a few small luxuries to make your flight more comfortable is definitely worth it!
A neck pillow is nice to buy because then your head is stabilized and you won't be falling asleep on a stranger's shoulder. A lightweight cotton or cashmere blanket will make you feel toasty, but remember to bring a throw, something smallish that is easily stash-able. Earplugs are a must, and eye masks can make you forget you're confined on a plane and will give you shut-eye.
21 save money on: Go On Foot
Using public transportation is a great way to save money, but there is a drawback: you might miss seeing a landmark or that restaurant your concierge recommended. Since transportation is a big chunk of your vacation travel expense money that you've set aside, the best way to save is to go on foot and find the special places all by yourself (and the help of a map).
In this way, you're sure not to miss an attraction, and it's totally free.
Just bring your hiking boots with you and a day bag or backpack.
20 Worth the splurge: good Shoes
When traveling, you only need to bring with you three pairs of shoes. For men and women, this includes sneakers for walking around, sandals or flip-flops for the beach or pool, and a formal pair of shoes. For both, black dress shoes are the best bet because black goes with everything, especially the little black dress. You should have dress shoes at home.
What to splurge on are the sneakers and the sandals.
When traveling for vacation, you'll be doing a lot of walking. For men, the best bet is the New Balance 574. NB combines fashion and function and are so stylish-looking that they are now known as the most iconic sneaker you can buy. For women, NB is also great, and so is Tretorn; their breathable mesh shoes have insoles that gently massage your feet, so they're not only cool, they're also actually incredibly comfortable. Say no to crocs, always!
19 Save money on: Logo Souvenirs
So you're visiting New York and you hit Times Square where you end up buying those ubiquitous I Heart New York T-shirts and hats and the like. You're thinking, how do I show off my visit when I return home? Well, your way is no way to do it.
Tacky souvenirs exist at every tourist attraction;
with logo wear from places that are mainly only for NY residents, you can have a more authentic memento that doesn't scream "tourist."Here's an example. The Strand---18 miles of new and used books--has a tasteful gift shop with items like totes and caps that have the Strand logo on them. Then you're wearing a part of the city that mostly locals only know about. And you won't break your bank.
18 Worth the splurge: Unique Souvenirs
Yep, you should go cheap on souvenirs, but if you buy a souvenir that can only be obtained at your destination or has been hand-made by locals and costs a lot, it will be worth every penny. To do this, look for souvenirs from local shops and open markets.
The main takeaway here is to never buy something that you can get at home.
Shopping locally is the best way to find pieces that will end up reminding you of your trip. A Louis Vuitton bag is not a memento. A lachrymatory vessel bought at a local glassblowing shop is
17 save money on: Hotels
Don't stay at a hotel. If you're going somewhere hot, like Hawaii, you may think a quality or name-brand hotel is the best spot because these places are often on or close to the beach. But why spend a lot of money for a place that you'll only sleep at?
In Hawaii, for example, if you go off-strip, you'll likely find a better deal at a motel, and they often come with kitchenettes for you to save money on food.
If you don't mind walking to the beach with your beach chairs and towels, then this is a sure bet.
16 Worth the splurge: Your every day travel bag
While traveling, you need a fairly large tote bag because if you are flying, this counts as a carry-on. Here size matters because you can stow all the important things you need in case your luggage gets lost, including medicines and travel chargers. The bag is also perfect while sight-seeing because then you have something to carry your souvenirs.
You shouldn't go cheap here; you need a quality bag that will last a long time so you can use it on your next trip.
It is important that it is light enough to carry, and doesn't weigh down or leave any indentations on your skin. Purses are fine because they count as a 'personal bag', but you may want something less stylish, but more practical, like a good backpack.
15 Save money On: Live Like The Locals
Let's face it. The hotels and lodging you choose to stay can be very expensive. If you want to go cheap, try couch-surfing, which is staying temporarily in someone's house for free.
Besides the no fee, the best thing about couch-surfing is living with locals who can show you their culture first hand.
You'll find that the host or hosts will gladly show you parts of their world so that you can have a more authentic experience, and you don't have to worry that you'll end up at all the tourist sites.
14 Worth the splurge: Good protection for the electronics
Some great cases double as a duffel and as a protective case for your electronics. Some can even set you back a few hundred dollars, but to protect your very expensive tech gear, it is totally worth it. The high price of some of these bags and their longevity are due to the fact that they use better materials, and they are usually not just water-resistant, but entirely waterproof.
These bags are made to last, and that guarantee that your things won't break if they get tossed around, or get ruined by a sudden downpour, is totally worth the money. And, fun fact: A Duck canvas tote is guaranteed to carry two fifty-pound blocks of ice! That's incredible!
13 Save money on: The House Swap
House swapping became acceptable after the movie The Holiday came out. It looked totally fun. Cameron Diaz swapped her beautiful LA mega-home to Kate Winslet so she could stay in Winslet's London home for free. Both were able to immerse themselves in another world, another culture.
To copy the swap, all you have to do is go to sites like Lovehomeswap.com and check for availability in the place you want to travel.
Most sites require a registration fee, but that's nothing when you get to live for free. All you need is a house or an apartment to swap!
12 Worth the splurge: Tech Cases for the smaller things
When packing for our trip, we just stuff all our iPhone chargers and other tech accessories into our bags. When the time comes that you need the charger, you either can't find it in your mess or else all the wires are in tangles. Brands like Mark & Graham Leather Charger Roll Up came up with a good way to, individually package, and protect your smaller chords and earphones, and in a very stylish way.
You unravel the roll up and will find three separate pockets to keep all your cables and charges in one place.
Then, when you roll up the bag, it's like a pencil case, which is perfect because you want something small to carry with you. And since this is M&G, you can monogram the bag with your initials for free and you can choose from an array of bright colors.
11 save money on: Rent Your Home
If you want to travel on a budget and make some money out of it, your best bet is to rent out your home. Just make sure your home is somewhere near attractions so your guests don't have to travel far while visiting your town or city.
Many travelers choose to rent a house because it has perks like a kitchen, Internet and cable services and laundry rooms. And that's it! Natives can also participate in Airbnb.
There's a service fee, but the money is insignificant because you are charging your renters. You are basically being paid to travel, we can get behind that idea!
10 Worth the splurge: Attractions and Sites
Sites like the Sistine Chapel and the Colosseum are among the most visited tourist attractions on Earth. But you skip them because it takes a great deal of trouble--and money--to get there from your hotel.
You may think you're saving but you'll regret your decision back at home. You just don't go to China and snub the Great Wall.
There are just some iconic sites that you can't pass up when you visit a different country. So budget these visits into your travel money. Not all will cost you a lot, but even if they do, we swear you won't have misgivings.
9 save money on: Planning Your Trip Without Travel Agents
There was a time when travel agents were essential to plan your vacation. They are definitely a thing of the past, thanks to the Internet. You can easily book your flight and hotel online, and sites like Skiplagged, FlyerTalk, Skyscanner, and many more are dedicated to help you find the best deals for hotels and airplanes.
Travel agents also used to give you itineraries, but nowadays we can plan on what we want to do and see on our own, thanks to sites like Arrivedo, a company that provides hotels thoughtful destination guides for the traveler who wants to avoid tourist traps.
8 Worth the splurge: Vaccinations
One thing that you should actually do before visiting a foreign country is get vaccinated to prevent you from getting any diseases.
Don't hesitate because of the cost; any foreign country you go to may have foreign germs and bacteria.
If you don't, you may just fall victim to a sickness. There goes your vacation! And what happens then? You may have to go to a foreign hospital if you're too sick and then you'll have to pay foreign hospital bills that may be very expensive.
7 save money on: Asking For Upgrades
A mistake that many travelers tend to do is to not inform the cruise or a hotel before your arrival that your stay is a special occasion.
Before you leave, talk to the front desk or the general manager letting them know you've just got hitched, for example, and we guarantee you that you'll get some props, like an upgrade in your room or a cabin festooned with party items like balloons and even a cake.
So if it's a special occasion, milk it for all it's worth because any upgrades they let you have will be entirely free.
6 Worth the splurge: The Day Tour/Guided Bus
A day tour in a foreign country may be too touristy for you, and you might also eschew it altogether because of the cost. If you want to stay on budget, then maybe go on only one. That way, you'll be able to familiarize yourself with the city so that when you actually visit a site, you'll kind of know the lay of the land.
The biggest way it actually saves you money, is that during these day trips, you are always occupied and your day is planned out for you, food included.
Plus, every one of these buses has tour guides narrating the places you're passing. These people know the area well, and they also will share with you insider spots like the best restaurant or the best market.