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15 Things We Pay Way Too Much For While Traveling (And 10 Worth Every Penny)

Traveling is expensive, especially when heading abroad and having to take flights, other transportation, find a place to stay, things to do and food to eat. The costs can get quite high very quickly, and it isn’t like a quick road trip where a backpacker can crash on a friend’s couch and take something out of the fridge. There is a lot of planning that goes into traveling abroad and one of the major things to do is plan the finances out to make sure the bank doesn’t go broke and to ensure there is enough money to get home.

Some things when traveling are very expensive and not worth the money. Sure, there are some moments to splurge when on a trip, because everyone has to live a little, but too much splurging can leave a very empty bank account when you come home. But then there are some items that are worth every penny a traveler would pay for them because they will either enhance the trip, or are vital to the trip itself. So don’t be afraid to open up the wallet when traveling abroad, just be smart in the money spent on a trip abroad and when to indulge.

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25 Pay Too Much: Always Buying Water

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When busy walking, hiking, backpacking or doing any other physical activity abroad, it’s always good to have water with you. But many travelers go to the nearest store and buy bottled water, which can add up very quickly over an entire vacation, plus it creates plenty of plastic that will be thrown away, and it doesn’t always end up in the recycling.

Reusable bottles are better for the wallet, and the environment!

According to lifehacker.com, we drink three bottles of water a day, so it’s better to pay for a reusable water bottle and fill it up at a fountain than to keep spending dollars on something that won’t last long. At the end of a trip, your bank account can be feeling the pinch from water purchases.

24 Worth Every Penny: Indulge In The Food Options

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When traveling abroad, amazing food options will always be available. It will be tough to stay away from great restaurants and bistros, but it can definitely hurt the wallet.

Every tourist should indulge in some local cuisine to get a taste of the country they are in.

According to USA Today, the average tourist should spend around $30 for dinner. It’s all about moderation and making sure the food eaten is worth the price, or finding the little hole-in-the-wall that still offers authentic flavors and quality-food for a cheap price. Don’t rely on fast-food when great options are available. Food is one of the best reasons to travel to exotic places.

23 Pay Too Much: Staying In Hotels

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When traveling abroad, tourists have to find a place to stay for the night. There are a few options available, but one of the most expensive options, is a hotel. Costs for a room can be very pricey and all just for a place to rest their head at night. Hotels have plenty of amenities, but being friendly to the budget isn’t generally one of them, unless of course, the hotel isn’t very good. According to Mic.com,

the average tourist abroad spends nearly $700 a week on accommodations.

And if a tourist wants to stay in five-star hotels the entire trip, it will be a massive expense, all for a place to go to bed at night.

22 Pay Too Much: Credit Card Fees

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Many people when taking a trip abroad rely on their credit cards. It’s not a bad way really, as credit cards are pretty universally accepted and don’t require the cash to be on-hand. Just a simple tap or pin and a purchase is made. The problem can be, fees can add up quickly on a credit card, especially if you’re not watching the amount that is being spent, and there can be fees for using a credit card in a different country, currency exchange fees, and typical credit card fees, such as overages, interest and cash advance fees.

According to CTVNews, the average traveler from Canada is hit with 2.5% more fees when using their card abroad.

So while it’s great to have a credit card on a trip, make sure to contact your card company to let them know you’ll be abroad, and keep an eye on the fees.

21 Pay Too Much: Traveling on a Saturday

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When it comes to leaving for a trip abroad, most of them start on weekends, especially Saturday. Everyone wants to take off on a Saturday, as soon as possible and get to their destination quickly so as not to waste the weekend.

Choosing the most expensive day to travel, can be costly.

The problem is, airlines charge a lot more for Saturday flights than any other day of the week, due to the fact that more people fly on Saturday than any other day of the week. It would be better to travel in the middle of the week, if possible, and beat the packed airports and avoid the higher flight costs.

20 Worth Every Penny: Day Tours

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The best tours to book are generally the ones that last all day long and don’t stop at the tourist traps but go deeper into the culture of the country. That’s why day trips are worth the price compared to short tours, as they will take up an entire day of activity, they generally include food, which according to most travel bloggers is a huge thing to look for to help reduce costs, while also giving a tourist a great taste of the country, and it shows more of the landscape and culture the country has to offer.

Full day trips end up saving every traveler money in the long run.

It may cost more upfront than a short trip, but when you figure you’re spending an entire day out on an adventure, the savings will be noticeable.

19 Pay Too Much: Traveling During Peak Seasons

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Certain destinations are popular during certain periods of time. Think of Caribbean beaches during March break or the winter months, in comparison to when people would want to go to those destinations during the rest of the year. Airlines, hotels and attraction prices skyrocket during these times because of the number of people wanting to travel to them.

Peak seasons are expensive, so if a tourist is looking to go abroad, consider going during the off-season to drastically cut down on travel expenses.

Sure, they might not get some of the on-season tours and attractions, but there are always options available for things to do, even in the off-season. According to Smarttravel.com, peaks also include Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and, of course, summer.

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18 Worth Every Penny: Buying Good Luggage

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Good luggage is worth every penny, as quality will definitely win out over quantity. Why carry multiple bags when one very good bag will do the trick? Quality luggage may cost a little more up front, but a traveler who goes on plenty of trips in the year, will enjoy the fact that they won’t have to buy luggage as often as they would if they were to cheap out on a cheap bag.

A study and capable bag is totally worth the cost to not have to replace anything upon arrival.

Plus, good luggage can save your belongings from being damaged, which is more savings from not having to replace them, and according to BusinessInsider.com, it offers better security for your things than something cheap. It’s a great investment in a traveling lifestyle.

17 Pay Too Much: Using Cell Phone Data

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We live in a world where everyone has a cell phone. We’re constantly taking pictures and uploading them online, which requires data if an active WiFi signal isn’t available. And even more so when touring abroad and taking in some amazing sights of landscapes, culture, and scenery never seen before.

But cell phone data can be extremely expensive, especially if a data plan isn’t purchased for an abroad country.

According to Forbes.com, most people use a minimum, of 50 megabytes a day. Most cell phone plans don’t cover abroad trips and will charge you top dollars to upload a few megabytes of data, which if you’re a photographer, isn’t a lot of photos on social media.

16 Worth Every Penny: Vaccines And Medical Insurance

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Travelers never know when things can go wrong with their health. Accidents happen, sickness comes up and depending on where they are traveling, there could be a local health concern they didn’t expect that could have them looking for a doctor or hospital while abroad. According to medicaltourism.com, 64% of travelers abroad don't get any travel insurance for medical reasons. So, it’s definitely worth the investment to get vaccines before leaving for a trip aboard to avoid any diseases, as well as purchasing medical traveling insurance for those cases when a hospital or doctor visit is needed. Without it, it could cost hundreds or thousands of dollars in healthcare costs, and that’s an expense no one plans for.

15 Pay Too Much: Buying Souvenirs

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Trips abroad create a lot of memories, and tourists generally find some kind of souvenir to mark the occasion. Things like t-shirts, shot glasses, and snow globes are typical souvenirs that tourists buy, but they can be expensive, especially in places that are known tourist traps, and end up just collecting dust on a shelf or be tossed out later on.

According to CNN, travelers in 2013 spent $2.3 Billion on souvenirs.

The best would be to save the money and just not buy anything, and save the memories of a trip abroad through photographs and stories, as opposed to little trinkets that just serve as paperweights more than great reminders of an amazing trip.

14 Pay Too Much: Buying Internet Service

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Everything seems to be connected to the Internet these days and it’s pretty normal to bring a laptop on a vacation or trip abroad. But laptops and tablets need an Internet connection and it can be an extra cost on a trip abroad if WiFi isn’t available and a hot-spot is needed.

Not being connected right away can be annoying, but it saves some money while abroad.

Most hot-spots aren’t unlimited either, and come with restrictions on the number of gigabytes a person can use, so they can be very expensive if a tourist plans on going online often or has to work abroad, which could leave a hefty bill at the end of the trip all due to accessing the Internet.

13 Worth Every Penny: Getting A Cell Phone Data Plan

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If you’re taking selfies in front of beautiful landscapes or paintings, or just want to show off to your friends the amazing trip you're having, and for that, you’ll need a cellphone data plan. Data overage charges are extremely high, but buying a data plan for your cell phone will ensure that if you’re going to access social media on your phone that massive data charges aren’t waiting on your bill. Most major cellphone companies have good travel data plans to ensure being connected on a mobile device is never a problem, and at a fraction of the cost of going without a data plan and risking your overage charges won’t leave a massive bill the following month. AT&T, for example, charges $60 for a phone plan that includes calling, text and data for abroad travel.

12 Pay Too Much: Tourist Traps

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Every tourist destination has them. Those traps that try and bring tourists in by the numbers to show them a sight, or an event that they can only see at this location. And then they charge you a pretty penny to see them and sometimes they don’t live up to the hype and are a waste of time.

Tourists traps are s-called because they are a literal trap!

Short trips generally leave your wallet light and don’t take up a lot of time, so a tourist still has to find other activities to do for the day, which can put a big crunch on their wallet.

11 Pay Too Much: Currency Fees

via worldtraveling.com

If heading abroad, one thing that can’t be avoided is getting the proper currency. Every country has their own dollar and a tourist will need to make a stop to pick up some money. If they wait, however, until they get to the airport, it could be very costly, as airport exchanges add on exchange fees since they are the last place to get it done once a tourist lands and realizes they don’t have any money.

Being prepared before the trip might just save you some money.

Make sure to stop at the bank where they won’t charge exchange fees and stay away from money marts who may offer good exchanges, but with some hidden fees. According to Smarttravel.com, also be mindful of ATM fees that range from $2-3 when abroad, as that can eat away a bank account quickly.

10 Worth Every Penny: Staying At A Hostel

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When looking for accommodations when on a trip abroad, look at hostels for a very cheap place to sleep for the night. According to the Independence, hostels can cost $12.50 Euros per night. Hostels are famous for their cheap accommodations, just as long as you’re perfectly fine with giving up a little privacy and sharing space with other travelers.

Hostels are less expensive, and sometimes, in certain countries, much nicer than the hotels.

But that’s sometimes the best part, as other tourists will also be staying and joining them can lead to other adventures as well. Plus, hostels generally have rules about the number of hours a tourist can stay in them, so it forces the traveler to get out and experience the country they are in.

9 Pay Too Much: Buying Individual Bus And Train Tickets

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Taking the train or bus is a great way to travel when abroad, as it can be less expensive than a plane. In Europe, the train rides are fast and easy to get from one country to the next, because they are usually quite close together. But where a tourist could go wrong with spending is buying one ticket at a time and not thinking of round trips or multiple tickets to lower the cost.

Think of back home and how much a bus fare is, and how much savings there are when multiple rides are purchased.

The same goes for the time spent abroad and it’s a great way to keep a few extra dollars on hand, especially if a tourist is thinking of going from country to country, or doing a lot of inner city travel. According to travel blogs, such as happytowander.com, the best thing to do is look for cheap bus services and compare prices to ensure the cheapest tickets.

8 Pay Too Much: Relying On Car Rentals

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Tourists have plenty of options when it comes to getting around while they are traveling abroad, but some decide they want to be in complete control and look at car rentals. It does offer plenty of freedom, as they don’t have to wait for the bus, pay for a taxi or train.

But renting a car can also be very expensive, especially if a tourist isn’t using it. 

According to the National Post, the average car rental was $116 USD a day. What’s the point in renting a car if you’re just going to be driving to one destination and parking all day long? Add in insurance costs, gas and paying for parking, renting a car can be expensive and should be saved for specific days and not rented for the entire week.

7 Worth Every Penny: Using Ride Share Apps

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When tourists need to get around, they could try renting a car, taking a bus or calling a cab, but today, with ride-sharing apps available, tourists can hope in a car at a cheaper rate than they would get from a taxi service and get to their destination fast. Most major cities have ride-sharing apps for mobile devices, so it’s pretty easy to download one and get started traveling around. According to smarttravle.com,

ride-share apps can save riders over 50% on their bill, depending on the city.

It’s also great because, generally, the drivers are very friendly and have plenty of knowledge of the area and can make recommendations themselves. Plus with the mobile app, travelers know exactly where their driver is so they aren’t waiting around for them to pull up.

6 Pay Too Much: Bringing Lots Of Bags

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Depending on where a tourist is going, there could be a bunch of clothing needed. The more clothing options needed, the more luggage that is required and that will quickly add up at the airport when baggage fees start to come into play.

Generally, airports allow a carry on bag and some even allow one free checked bag.

But, nowadays, most charge for any bag that goes under the plane and the more baggage, the more the fees will add up. According to luggageforward.com, prices can get over $100 per bag over the third bag. Sometimes extra luggage is needed, but in other cases, decisions need to be made about how much to bring and what can be left at home.

5 Worth Every Penny: Buying Train Tickets In Bulk

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Before traveling abroad, it’s a good idea to think about where you’ll be heading, how to get there each day and how much it will cost to travel there. Because if you find yourself needing a bus or train every day, it’s best to buy tickets in bulk to save money.

Plan ahead and account for all transportation necessities, especially if they could be bundled together.

Train and bus tickets are worth every penny because you never know when you’ll find yourself needing to get back to the hotel without a ride and a bus is a great option. Most transit systems give discounts when buying tickets in bulk, so save the extra money and get them all at once.

4 Pay Too Much: Eating Out Every Meal

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When heading abroad, one thing is certain, tourists need to eat. And depending on where they travel, like Italy or France, food is definitely a major expense and something everyone needs to do. Food costs can get out of control, however, especially if a tourist is eating out for every single meal at amazing restaurants and bistros.

Five-star dining is great every once in awhile, but if a tourist is planning on hitting as many Michelin star restaurants as they can when abroad, they could come home with a very empty hole in their wallet.

At least they won’t have an empty hole in their stomach and will be quite full.

3 Worth Every Penny: Cooking Your Own Food

Via New York Post

Travelers need to eat, even when abroad, and eating out every night can be pricey. So if you find yourself abroad and have access to a kitchen, try cooking your own meals instead of going out to fancy restaurants.

Cooking is a great way to save money to begin with, but cooking while abroad is a great way to try local ingredients.

According to Forbes.com, it's five-times more expensive to eat out than cook at home. Hit the open markets and pick up local produce and learn to cook the way the locals do so that when you head home, you can reproduce the food you tasted and have a taste of your abroad trip whenever you feel like.

2 Worth Every Penny: Staying In An Air BnB

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When looking for accommodations on a trip abroad, use the Airbnb service to find something cheap, unique and better than a typical hotel. The benefits of an Airbnb is that you can get rooms for cheap prices, or get entire apartments for the cost of a hotel room, meaning there could be multiple bedrooms and access to a kitchen, which is a great way to save money. According to Forbes.com, in every major city, Airbnb is cheaper than hotels on average, saving anywhere from a few dollars to a few hundred, depending on the city. If the owner of the Airbnb lives in the home, they also can offer up plenty of suggestions on places to travel to, where not to go, or even join you on a tour to show you around. Some hosts offer more than just a place to sleep and truly make a trip memorable for the traveler.

1 Pay Too Much: Direct Flights Only

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When traveling abroad by plane, the natural thing to do is just get from point A to point B as fast as possible. Some people don’t want layovers, they only want direct flights. But direct flights are generally more expensive. If a tourist is willing to take a flight that has a stop or two along the way, the cost can be drastically reduced, as it could mean a smaller airplane is being used which requires less fuel. Being open to taking a few layovers could save a few dollars in the trip expense.

Reference: CNN, National Post, CTV News, Forbes, SmartTravel.com, Independence

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