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Avoid These Expensive Vacation Mistakes

Going on vacation is fun, but it can quickly become a costly affair if you ignore certain aspects of your trip.

Unfortunately, there are many ways to blow right through the budget and end up in the red, tired, angry, and with more bad memories than good – unless you take certain precautions.

In the article below, we’ll break down the most expensive mistakes one can make when going on a vacation and avoid them derailing your trip.

1. Missing Your Flight

Great rates often tempt people into booking flights they have little chance of making. Be it a 6 AM flight after a night of partying or booking a rapid connection time to avoid wasting a few hours at the airport – the desire to save, in this case, may cost you more in the long run.

Not only will missing your flight put the rest of your vacation in jeopardy, especially if you have not only accommodations but activities pre-booked.

In addition, a missed flight will cost you a pretty penny (sometimes even upwards of $1000, depending on where and when you’re flying to) to get a ticket on such short notice on the next flight out – and that is if you’re able to get that extra ticket at all.

While spontaneity always has a place when traveling, it’s supposed to be about the adventure! So, flights shouldn’t be on the list of things you’re spontaneous about.

If the cheapest flight isn’t the one you’re sure you can make, pay a little more for a better one. The risk of missing the flight usually isn’t worth it.

2. Not Knowing Local Laws

We are all aware that laws vary wildly from country to country-they can even vary in-between countries in the same region that are nigh identical in cultural aspects. 

When traveling, you must remember that certain things that are common and seem natural to you may be illegal in other countries. 

For example, if you’re visiting the Arabian Gulf countries, you must remember that alcohol is a strictly controlled substance (since Islam prohibits drinking) or outright forbidden.

Similarly, South Korea prohibits gambling, etc. Breaking such laws may result in a hefty fine or some jail time at worst.

And then there are more minor things: safety rules, transportation rules, rules about indecent behavior, etc., that may result in fines. Not as expensive as having to fight your way out of jail, but still bad enough to blow a hole in your budget.

Read more on this topic here.

3. Not Doing Enough Research About Booking Your Trip

Booking the trip at the right time is half the work for a successful trip.

Those who’ve traveled a little already know that booking your trip too close to the date is just asking to get fleeced.

There are, of course, those “amazing last-minute deals” you always hear about – but chances are those deals, while not as expensive as full price, still cost more than they would if you booked the trip a little in advance.

But on the other hand, did you know that booking your trip too far in advance may cost you too much? Half a year before the flight, ticket prices may often cost more than a couple of months. On the other hand, Airbnb apartments are sometimes cheaper to get last-minute, especially if the host doesn’t want the apartment to stay empty during the busy season.

And, last but not least, it may not cost you much in the way of money but will cost you in time – not booking tickets for tourist attractions online. It means you’ll have to spend a lot of time in a ticket line, wasting precious limited trip time. 

Ordinary Traveler has more great travel tips on their blog.

4. Keeping All Your Money in One Place

Yes, that includes the card.

Keeping your funds diversified between cash and card(s) during a trip is smart. Not all places accept card payments, and not all places accept cash. But another reason to keep your money diversified is to cut down on the risk of winding up with no funds in a foreign country if you fall for a scam or get robbed.

This doesn’t mean keeping a few bills on your person separately from the wallet (though that would be smart) but instead using a hotel safe or a locker to keep a little extra cash (or another card) set aside for emergencies. 

And while we’re at it, you should keep a copy of your passport alongside that cash so that if you lose your bag/wallet, you can get the necessary help from the consulate/embassy.

5. Skipping Out on Travel Insurance

If you’ve gone on one too many trips with no accidents, you may be tempted to cut down on your travel budget at the expense of travel insurance.

Do not do this!

If anything does happen, it’s bound to happen when you decide to skip out on insurance due to Murphy’s Law. You might pay hundreds of dollars over your budget to have it taken care of since your domestic insurance isn’t likely to cover your bills abroad, and most governments don’t cover expenses for foreign travelers – Click here for more reading on this topic.

Photo by [Vlada Karpovich]

Post Author: Lillia Hall

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Welcome to Foreigner’s Finances, your guide for new money decisions at home and traveling abroad!

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July 2024