We’ve all fallen into the same trap on holiday: paying for the flight and hotel and then paying the same amount again for food and entertainment. In a foreign land, even if you’re just on a weekend break, trying to find places last minute or attempting to mentally adjust foreign currencies can result in being overcharged.
However, there are a number of methods of insuring your weekend break doesn’t break the bank.
Research, research, research
The key to a cheap weekend breaks is research. There are a number of free events or cheaper restaurants away from the traditional tourist areas. Certain countries will spot browsing tourists and inflate prices accordingly, making the resulting meal or event far pricier than it should be. By looking online, or consulting a reputable guide book, events can be plotted prior to even setting foot on the plane. For example, the museums and art galleries of a foreign land are normally free, or charge a nominal price, giving you the opportunity to kill a few hours while learning about the culture of the destination that you visit.
If you have a smartphone, be sure to download a money conversion app. This will enable you to be sure of the price before spending any money. If you’re unsure that the price is correct, walk away. Many local items can be bought in multiple stores, making it possible to easily pick up the same product in another location. Although a phrase book can be helpful, memorising a few words is far less obvious, and pronunciation can be researched online.
Avoid chain restaurants
As tempting as it can be when you’re within the UK, steer clear of the chain restaurants. Not only do these restaurants provide exactly the same food as the food served at home, but it’s always worth exploring local independent places and putting some money back into local businesses. Phone before booking to find out if any restaurants offer a set menu meal or early evening menus, or if they offer a pre-theatre set menu. This will allow you to eat earlier, giving you enough cash to have a late supper or desert.
Explore other options
If you’re planning on heading out in the evening, theatres will often have a matinee performance that’s far cheaper than the evening option. Similarly, a local comedy club may have a late night performance, starting closer to midnight, which is far more affordable. In foreign countries, walking the streets within the city can be equally as entertaining, and you don’t have to shell out any cash. Street food is often just as filling and enjoyable as that served in the restaurant. Be aware that bartering for prices is only acceptable in certain locations, and never be afraid to walk away. It may even get you a better price!
The majority of locations around the world can be heavily demystified with a little research, whether it’s online or plan your weekend break using a guide. Never go into an unfamiliar city, whether it’s at home or abroad, without any idea of where you’re going to eat or what you want to see.