Traveling represents the perfect means of relaxing, growing as a person and seeing the world.
If only planning for travel was equally as fun, right?
With so many moving pieces to traveling, it’s incredibly easy to get overwhelmed. Additionally, avoiding potential travel snafus and scams can quickly become a headache as we try to save enough money to make our trips possible.
So, how can you travel smart without overspending?
Whether you’re planning your next excursion across the country or across the world, make sure you avoid some of the most common and costly travel-planning pitfalls. Staying vigilant can keep you safe while also keeping money in your pocket simultaneously if you know what to look out for.
Booking Your Flight
Perhaps the biggest mistake that newbie travelers make is not shopping around for deals when it comes time to book their flights. There are a wealth of travel sites out there to help you find a deal; likewise, you can also find coupons when you book your flight that ensure the least expensive airfare possible.
Beyond the price of a plane ticket, consider other ways that airlines can potentially nickel-and-dime you including:
- The time and date of your flight: you can usually get a better deal on your trips when you pick non-weekend dates and red eye flights
- How many bags you check and the weight of your luggage: smaller airlines are especially bad about this, many of which actually charge for your carry-on
- Relying on direct flights: by accepting a layover or mixing-and-matching airlines, you can uncover huge savings
Being as flexible as possible will ultimately allow you save. When in doubt, travel light and keep an open mind as you book your flight.
Know Your Hotel
Especially when booking from sites such as Hotwire in quest of the best deals, you may find yourself disappointed by your accommodations if you don’t do your hotel research. Before you book, look for recent ratings and reviews, preferably within the past few months, that note whether or not your potential hotel has free wifi, parking and complementary breakfast: such accommodations will save you money in the long-run.
Also, consider booking slightly away from major attractions and traditional “tourist” spots as a means of saving money on parking and food, as such areas tend to jack up their prices on both for unsuspecting tourists. Ultimately, staying a few miles down the road may be the way to go.
Planning Too Much
It seems a bit backwards, doesn’t it? After all, shouldn’t we strive to plan thoroughly and do our homework so we don’t get bored? While, there’s no harm in planning ahead, consider the pitfalls of over-planning.
Although you may be tempted to want to see everything on your next trip, consider some of the dangers of over-planning your vacation:
- By cramming in too many activities, you don’t allow yourself time to relax
- You may quickly spread your budget thin as hidden costs such as parking and food pop up at attractions
- It’s easy to misjudge how long an activity might take: by over-planning and booking too many activities in advance, you may miss out on something else you wanted to do
Don’t forget to take time and actually enjoy your vacation. Sure, you should have something planned for each day but don’t overdo it.
Travel should be all about enjoying yourself: however, your trip can quickly go sour if you don’t plan properly. Make the most of your next trip by doing your homework and being flexible as you map out your next adventure.