A lot of people see travel as a luxury. This can be true if you decide to go to an exclusive destination and like to travel in style. But in many cases, traveling is much more expensive than it should because of simple mistakes people make.
Some of these mistakes are because they don’t know better, or they might assume that there’s only one way to do things. Little do they know that they could be saving hundreds or even thousands of dollars by making a few minor adjustments. Here are some of the travel budgeting mistakes you should avoid at all costs.
Not Having a Budget
The biggest travel budgeting mistake that you can make is not having a budget, to begin with. You might think that being frugal will be enough for you to not go over your limit, but you will be surprised at how small purchases can start piling up.
Food and drink are prime examples. We still need to eat on vacation, and in some cases, going on vacation is a good excuse to eat out in nice restaurants, drink way more alcohol than usual, and snack at different times of the day. Whereas at home you probably stick to mealtimes and make your own meals, when traveling, you would much rather eat out. In addition, if you are staying in a hotel, cooking meals isn’t an option.
Unfortunately, it is very easy to overspend on food and drink, especially if you like to get drunk every night. In some places, food and drink are very expensive, such as cafes in St Mark’s Square in Venice. For this reason, it is sensible to research typical prices and set a budget for your daily expenditure. If you need to keep your costs low, book self-catering accommodation or an all-inclusive hotel deal where food and drink are included in the price.
So, in summary, make sure that you have a clear budget, not only for the whole trip but for every day.
Leaving on the Wrong Day
One of the biggest travel budgeting mistakes is just picking any day to book your flight. Some days will cost you much more. The worst days to book a flight are Friday to Monday, and the best days are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Shut-eye flights also tend to be cheaper.
Use a flight aggregator like Skyscanner to check monthly flight price trends. You can see if low prices match your desirable departure dates, and if not, move your travel plans accordingly.
Higher prices tend to happen over major holidays, such as Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, Labour Day, etc. If possible, steed clear or making travel plans during high season if you can or avoid major holidays and events.
Booking Too Late
If you’re going to leave during the high season, then you need to make sure that you book as early as possible. Prices will go up as you get closer to your date, so why not buy the tickets right now when they’re still cheap? As long as you have the destination and accommodations locked, there is no need to wait until the last minute.
Leaving your booking until the last possible minute is always a huge mistake. It is sometimes possible to find discounted tickets near the day of departure if a flight is under-booked, but in most cases, airlines increase their prices.
The only exception is when booking hotel rooms. If a hotel is half empty, you might be able to secure a discounted rate or an upgrade for free. However, this is a risky strategy, and you could end up without a bed for the night, especially during the peak travel season.
Choosing the Wrong Type of Accommodation
When it comes to accommodation, hotels are usually the worst in terms of price vs quality. Chances are you could get something much better with an Airbnb or similar. If you don’t feel comfortable with those, then a serviced apartment or self-catering villa should be considered. You’ll get so much more space and will be able to split the costs with the other people you’re traveling with.
Not to mention that you’ll be able to prepare your own food. One of the biggest expenses on trips is food and eating out for all three meals can put a serious and unnecessary dent in your budget, especially if you’re traveling with family. Cooking at your accommodation will allow you to save so much money that you can spend on having fun instead.
Another way to save money is to look for housesitting opportunities. Housesitter websites are a great way to travel for less. You can stay in someone’s home for free, in return for taking care of pets, livestock, and anything else the owner needs.
Not Leveraging Rewards Programs
You need to leverage rewards programs if you travel often and regularly use a card to make purchases. We would suggest that you look for a card with nice rewards, and more importantly, a nice sign-up bonus. Make sure that you check the requirements on the bonus, however, as some will require that you spend a specific amount of money within a certain time frame to be eligible.
If you travel regularly as part of your job, it won’t take long to accrue enough air miles and hotel reward points to use on a personal trip, such as allowing your partner to tag along on a work trip so you can both take a vacation at the end of it.
Not Taking Advantage of Special Offers
There are also plenty of deals to be had out there specifically for travelers. There are sites that will get you deals on everything from gear to flights. You could find deals on accommodation, car rentals, and pretty much everything you would need during your trip. All it would take is a few minutes. So, take the time to look at some of these deals as they could help you save a lot of money when added up.
Not Booking Things Like Car Hire In Advance
Waiting until you arrive at the airport before you hire a car is foolish. You’ll end up paying a lot more. Always book things like hire cars in advance. It’s also worth booking trips and excursions in advance if possible.
Don’t rush and book the first travel deal you see. Take your time. Figure out the best time to book, the best travel aggregator sites to use, and price check what deals are available from your local travel agent. This is a sure-fire way to find the travel deals that fit your budget.