It may seem like a bit of an oxymoron, but it’s actually possible to save money while on vacation. How? It’s simple, spend less. That could seem impossible, but if there’s anything Oliver & I recently learned when it comes to traveling, spending lots of money doesn’t actually render a better time spent on vacation. We found that staying away from the tourist traps and exploring the hidden gems is actually way more worthwhile, and gives you an even more honest depiction of the culture coming from that particular area. Plus, you’ll be pleasantly surprised how much your stress level decreases when following these money tips. Here’s a few from us:
One of the most important lessons I took from my father’s travel experiences is his ability to plan out every single day in advance. Although I wasn’t the biggest fan at the time, looking back at it now I can see how much of a money saver it must have been for our family. Instead of roaming the streets of Paris and spending copious amounts of money, we had a daily plan filled with a mix of free and inexpensive things to do throughout our day.
Now you may not be as extreme as my father, but Oliver & I did find it helpful to plan the day over our morning coffee before venturing out. I’m not talking “from this time to this time we do this particular activity,” but a general blueprint of things we would like to do. We researched cheap (yet still highly rated) hole-in-the-wall places to eat, found free exhibits and adventures to go on, and even left space for us to take time relaxing in a park to read or hang out.
Find the free things to do.
On a similar note, mixing in a list of free things to do with your checklist for the day is key in making sure you don’t spend money every waking moment you are on vacation. We were surprised by how much free art we were able to find throughout San Francisco, like the Palace of Fine Arts and the murals located in the Mission District.
Limit yourself to a certain amount daily.
When Oliver and I were planning the wedding, we knew that having a large registry would be pointless since our apartment in New York wasn’t going to be big enough to hold it all. So the second part of our registry was a honeymoon fund, which proved to probably be the best idea we ever made. Because of that we were able to gage how much we could spend throughout our honeymoon, and even divide that by a daily amount (which in return determined how we spent our time every day). For example, if we spent more at an expensive restaurant the night before, we made sure to factor that into the amount for the following day by keeping it cheap.
Ask the locals.
Although I would love to take credit for all our amazing finds in San Francisco, I have to give a shoutout to my friend Raj. He’s resided in the bay area for a few years now and was able to give us a specific insider look at all the hot spots in San Francisco, and even Berkeley. If you’re traveling to a particular city or country that speaks to a friend’s heart, reach out to them and ask! Trust me, people love to talk about where they from or what they know. For example, if you want to know about the go-to spots in Chicago next time you visit that beautifully windy city, feel free to reach out to me. I could talk about Chicago for days!!
Prioritize what you want to do/don’t want to do.
For Ollie & I, we wanted to avoid tourists at all costs. When we travel, our priority is to try living like the locals since we ultimately want to learn about a culture that is different from our own. We take this into serious consideration when planning our daily musings and choosing places to eat. We found that by prioritizing what we wanted and didn’t want in our travels, we were able to eliminate activities that could potentially be money-suckers.
So before traveling, take a few minutes to reflect on why you travel. This will help you to figure out what your priorities are when going on your journey, and will give you a better picture of how you want your journey to go. Plus, when you give yourself time to reflect on the ultimate outcome of your journey, you will feel less of a sense of FOMO, a.k.a, feeling like you’re not getting enough out of your experience.