Biggest mistakes of budget travel

Lifestyle Correspondent
Wednesday, March 8th, 2017


Everyone wants a cheap vacation: the more affordable it is, the more you can enjoy, and the more likely you are to take another trip down the memory lane when time allows. Unfortunately with the lure of saving money there often comes a lack of judgement and that is when normally sound people fall into the trap of making a few common mistakes that can ruin a good journey altogether.


Firstly, do not choose a travel agent simply because he or she is a friend. Look at qualifications and experience before the strength of your friendship – you could be losing good money here. If s/he is qualified and is a friend, then that is a great combination but choosing an agent based solely on camaraderie could prevent you from bargaining or voicing your concerns for fear of offending or weakening the relationship.


The next mistake is having a huge wad of cash in foreign currencies. Don’t. Banks are more likely to charge huge premiums when buying foreign currency from your hometown – it is far more convenient to make the exchange at the destination. Rates are better there, but this does not mean you shouldn’t have any of the foreign currency with you – keep a decent amount for immediate use after arrival. And unless absolutely necessary, avoid currency exchanges from booths at the airports, train stations and out of town tourist hotspots: those are expensive and all too convenient locations, and you will get the worst rates possible.


Overpacking is an absolute no-no. Not only are you lugging behind you an excessive amount of weight, you are also paying outrageous fees for checked baggage. At most, bring a single suitcase – it’ll save you a lot of heartache (and back pain) when you discover that your hotel doesn’t have a lift and your room is on the seventh floor.


Budget travel includes not just looking at hotels for overnight stays. If one must be honest, an enthusiastic traveler spends very little time at the hotel: it is just for sleeping at night. Is there then a genuine need for an expensive hotel with a pool, spa and a gym? It is worth looking at hostels: not only is it cheap, but it also affords a great experience where everyone knows everyone else and meals are taken together. Another great idea is to rent someone’s home for the duration of your stay, or perhaps even exchange homes – it is fun, quirky, and unconventional.


Don’t go overboard with this, though. Do not under any circumstances compromise safety just so you can come back home with a great story about a great hotel room at a dirt cheap rate. Because you might just have to rough it in with the dirt and vermin and find your belongings stolen because the locks can be broken with a hairpin if you go for too low a cost.


So stay safe, be wise, and above all, have fun!

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